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Bikerafting gear loading, & resources

Last updated March 3, 2023

I’ve been using this loading method since Spring 2020 and am happy with stability, tracking, paddle reach, and relatively low windage. Here’s how I distribute the mass of the bike and gear on the loaded packraft. Approximately 11 % in the front third, 9 % in the aft third, and 80% (including paddler) in the centre third.
A – Bike frame/fork/handlebars, rear wheel, and rear rack with empty panniers, frame bags. 11.2 kg. This weight is considered centered over the front third of the packraft.
B – Blue waterproof deck bag/backpack, and 750 ml Aquabot bottle. 4.2 kg. Approximately centered in the hull with the exact location on rear wheel determined by raft trim in the water. (in this on-water picture I had the deck bag between my calves/knees)
C – Inside the packraft hull and evenly distributed AND secured just behind the paddlers hips. Tent 1.0 kg, sleeping system 1.1 kg, stove & fuel 0.6kg, food bag 1.6 kg, 2 litres of water 2.2 kg, bike helmet & Scarpa riding boots 1.5 kg.
D – Front wheel of bike, double-strapped to the stern of the packraft. 2.3 kg.
E – Paddler wearing a drysuit (not pictured), PFD, NRS boots, etc. 74 kg.

– The presented bike, raft, and all gear & 2.7 litres of water weighed 29.9 kg on March 1, 2023

This PDF file is from a presentation and interactive demo given to the Bow Waters Canoe Club on March 1, 2023.

Recommended resources:
– The Packraft Handbook – Awarding winning guide book by my friend Luc Mehl.
– Adventure Smart – Canadian trip planning website and companion smartphone app.  A good resource and great time-saver.
– Things to Luc At (website) – I’ve taken both the on-line trip planning and Wild Ice courses.  Simply excellent!  I’m planning on taking the Paddle Up a Level course also.
– American Packrafting Assoc. – whitewater focus
– Alpacka Rafts (website)
– DIY Packraft (website)

direct link to Matt Pope’s blog on packraft selection. Excellent!

direct link to Matt’s video overview of DIY packrafts.

direct link to the Telkwa raft shown in my presentation

in 2020 Matt did a solo month long hike and packraft traverse of the length of Vancouver Island and published a series of videos, blog, and gear lists.  Totally bad-ass!!!
– Four Corners Guides  (website)  Colorado based bikerafting guides. Well worth a look!
– Bikepackers Foundry – Unique ultralight gear, DIY ideas, and blog.  (full disclosure – this is my adult daughter Sara’s bikepacking business)

direct link to some of the Telkwa modifications made

Here’s a link to a Ride With GPS Ride Report of a Fall 2022 bikerafting trip.

Loaded bike with packraft and 4-piece paddle in the handlebar harness

Packing a Rollingdale hardtail adventure bike for “no-backpack” bikerafting.  Total weight of bike, raft and all gear with food and 3 litres of water is around 65 pounds.  The numbers and descriptions immediately below match the numbers in the subsequent photos.
1.  Bikepackers Foundry downtube FenderBag MSR – Carbon Reflex 1 tent and DIY full footprint, spare bottle of fuel in bottom of bag.
2. Bikepackers Foundry StraddleBags (left & right) – smartphone tripod, buff, bear spray, Park tool, nitrile gloves, lock, bug net hood; extra space.
3. Bikepackers Foundry custom white full-length top tube bag – InReach w/padded case, 1 litre Aquabot by Lunatech, sunglasses in hard case, ~2,000 calories of nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, sunscreen, OR folding cap, water purification tablets; extra space.
4. DIY left pannier – 3-4 days of freeze-dried meals, long-handled Ti spoon, toiletries, bear-hang kit, extra snacks & emergency food, first-aid kit, spare headlamp, all in OR zipper bag; black zipper bag with all PD cache batteries, cables, spare bike light, knife;  Sea to Summit ultrasil backpack containing hooded down jacket, Gore Tex hooded rain jacket and full-zip rain pants, insulated vest, Gore Tex overmitts, spare gloves.  
5. DIY Framebag – spare Carbon Drive belt, Leyzne mini floor pump, tools and spares for bike, MSR 2 litre water bladder, GSI nesting bowls and small camp towel with MSR Reactor stove with fuel bottle and lighter; extra space.
6. Top of DIY rear rack – Salsa EXP dry bag containing; flat folded ThermaRest NeoAir XTherm wide sleeping pad, OR compression dry bag containing regular ThermaRest Hyperion -6 C 900 fill-power sleeping bag, Sea to Summit pillow and inflation pump with adaptor hose, merino top, bottom, & boxers, spare compression socks, RAB down booties, RAB down pants, OR down beanie. 
7. DIY right pannier – raft repair kit, combo throwline and bailer, spare straps, Kokopelli USB rechargeable inflator, neoprene socks and gloves, Crocs water shoes, Mustang hybrid PFD with emergency whistle and knife. Not visible are a waterproof 3 litre deck bag, and a lightweight 40 litre drybag for all this gear that also serves as an back-up inflation bag and secondary air chamber inside the inflated raft.
8. DIY Jones H-loop handlebar harness – “Telkwa” DIY Packraft, 4-piece Werner packraft paddle, 4 Voile type straps. The raft is rolled around the paddle sections.

All gear laid out on a DIY tent footprint.
All gear laid out on a DIY tent footprint.

red “Telkwa” DIY Packraft with a blue Alpacka raft set up for an evening paddle

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