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DIY Packraft construction & packing notes

Having good success with rolling the raft, seat, DripDeck, and four-piece paddle using this approach.  The TI zip is showing any wear or loss of function after more than 75 cycles.   The placement of the paddle blades provides a smooth interface for the TI zip in the final roll.
The stern of the raft is folded under to protect the end of TI zip. The raft is not rolled tightly, just small enough to slide into the front of the bike.
The rolled raft is slightly tapered to help insert the raft into the DIY Jones H-Bar harness.  The centre Voile strap is secured over the front loop of the bar.  Total weight for this package is about 3.5 kg, 8 pounds.  While it looks a little ungainly it works very well under all conditions except tight singletrack.  No backpack bikerafting! 🙂

Telkwa #1 with DripDeck, and loaded with fatbike and gear on a #ridefromhome trip, April 2020

This post is a work-in-progress documenting changes or additions made during the construction of four Telkwa packrafts purchased from the awesome folks at DIY Packraft. DIY Packrafts are extremely well designed and the kits assemble exactly as demonstrated in the excellent videos and printed instructions.  My intention is to substitute the  Leafield D-7 inflation/deflation valves to replace the supplied Boston valves.  While heavier and more bulky my experience is that inflation/deflation is much quicker due to larger porting, are easily cleaned, and are field-replaceable without thermal welding.

July 26, 2020 – When paddling a raft in higher winds I’m finding the bow rides high without a bike on.  This addition is an internal tie-down and haul line that allows a weighted bag to be secured inside the bow.  For new builds I suggest welding two points in place. One near the Ti Zip and the second one near the centreline of the bow.  The line is routed through both side tubes allowing for easy positioning, securing, and retrieval of the bag in the bow.  I keep a spare plastic bag for adding rocks if additional ballast is required. 

 The patches are approximately 3″ x 4″ with a 3/4″ Beastee Dee Ring welded into the patch with strips of floor material.  I choose this style of ring as it has a larger surface for the line to pass over.  Total weight for both attachment points and 18′ of 550 Paracord is around 50 grams.

Completed raft #1 with homemade DripDeck made from the supplied inflation bag materials*.  The deck slides open the full length of the cockpit on the perimeter grab line. The black round snaps can be opened for both adjustments and complete removal. Installed weight is ~140 grams. The black 5 mm webbing loops at the rear corners allow the deck to double as a sail in light downwind conditions. * Primary inflation is from a Kokopelli Feather Pump which completes the task in less than one minute!  There are sources on Amazon which appear to have very similar options.  The backup is a spare Klymit inflation bag, modified for the Leafield value.  This bag does double-duty as a storage bag and additional air chamber inside the raft. 
Telkwa #2. The only substantive change was to cut the matching colour sealing strips ~1.5 inches wide for easier welding.  The D rings on the tie-downs were eliminated as it’s unlikely that this boat will be used regularly for bikerafting.  The seat back also had an internal baffle added to yield a flatter back panel.  This addition is more comfortable, however the seat back could benefit from even more shaping.  For Telkwa #3 a second internal baffle will be added to the back panel.

There’s really only one tool that I’ve found that materially improves assembly processes.  It’s a small stainless steel mixing bowl with a flat bottom slightly wider than a typical welding area.  To the bottom of the bowl two parallel strips of 3M double-faced window film sealing tape are added just outside of the working area.  This easily removable tape typically has enough adhesion to complete the welding of one tube segment.  Removal and replacement of the two tape sections takes about a minute.


Double-faced tape on the bottom of the bowl prior to the removal of the printed backing strips.

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