I have a both a Yukon Yak and a Supai and love them both. Packrafts are probably the most versatile water craft ever devised. But just for trips involving long distances and no white water, I began to wonder if it was possible to have a boat with the speed and directional stability of a kayak, but with a weight close to that of a packraft. I knew the lightest folding kayaks were around 20 pounds, but that’s four times the weight of a Yak. I was thinking closer to 10 pounds.
I’d learned about Cuben Fiber from some tent projects and discovered a heavier version that could work as a kayak skin. Using this and a mixture of aluminum tent poles, carbon tubing and inflatable sponsons I managed to make a 14 foot kayak that weighs 10 pounds. I’ve used it for a few trips now totaling about 150 miles with no problems. For a portage I just pick up the boat and carry it under my arm. It packs to maybe 50% more volume than a Yak. I can carry it in a backpack with all my camping and paddling gear.
I’ve now made three folding kayaks with Cuben skins, and I am getting them down to well under 10 pounds. The latest one I finished is a 13 foot inflatable hybrid at 8.6 pounds. At the moment I’m working on a skin on frame folder that I’m hoping will come in at 7.9 pounds. I have a web site covering these projects as well as some Cuben tents. It’s http://www.cubenmaker.com.
Just thought you guys might find this interesting.