Self bailers vs solid floor

I’m looking to see what people’s experiences are with self bailing packrafts. I’m thinking about converting mine and wanted to know if they handle heavy loads. The raft currently floats me and my gear no problem, but I’m worried that once converted I’ll be sitting in a pool of water, despite using an inflatable floor.


i have a koko self bailer and yes you can expect to get a little wet. If i inflate my seat fully it is not to bad i sit right around water level but i find it uncomfortable so i deflate my seat slightly and sit anywhere from 1in to 1/2in in the water.

I have an Alpacka Yak, self bailer with a cargo zip. I found no problems paddling class 3 with it loaded for a 4 day trip. that being said, I have little experience with solid floors. What little I’ve paddled solid floor models, I’ve found the self-bailers seem to move more slowly, due to drag and the added water weight. I’d like to paddle a solid floor model some more to get a better feel for them, but I am very comfortable in my self-bailer!
It is especially great for fishing trips, when you are constantly in and out of the raft, you never have to worry about a skirt or dumping the boat(especially when it is loaded!). I typically wear a drysuit, but I’ve also done a 2 day trip with only rain gear, and had no issue with the water level in the boat.

I’ve used a self bailing Llama extensively in up to class 3+. I’m around 200 pounds and I’ve had 50-60# of gear in it on many occasions (mostly in the cargo fly). Sometimes I even have a 40# dog too :slight_smile:

I actually haven’t noticed it floating lower when loaded. The seat is typically just above the water line - barely. Unless it’s hot out, I always wear dry pants. The self bailer is definitely a wet set up, but it’s soo nice for getting in and out of.

I have only a little experience in a non-bailing boat, and I didn’t notice much difference in handling - but again I’m generally running class 3 and under.