Spray Deck or No Spray Deck?

Hi All,

I recently discovered packrafting through a friend i met on holiday and now I’m back home in Scotland I’m seeing potential for journeys and river running all around me!

I have decided to get my own raft but I’m stuck on the choice of if I should get one with a deck or not. Some advice would be greatly appreciated.

It is unlikely that I will use the raft on anything more serious than rivers with the odd short section of grade 3 white water. most of the use will be in lochs & sea lochs and on unclassified or grade 1 & 2 rivers. This will be more often as part of a journey than just going out for a paddle (though no doubt i will go purely rafting a lot when I first get the boat)

I have done a small amount of open canoeing & some kayak surfing and I’m a very competent sea kayaker so i’m hoping the boat control will come quickly - though I have minimal experience on rivers!

Things that put me off a deck are: Is it still a raft?, the extra weight, the extra cost, it will be harder to empty water, you probably still can’t roll the boat,
Things I like about getting a decked boat: It will make the boat more versatile, gives a little more storage options, weather protection, will be important if I want to run longer sections of whitewater abroad.

Anyhow if you guys are happy to share your experience i’m sure it will make the decision easier!!!

Thanks, Adrian

The cruiser deck can be zipped almost entirely off (except for a small section on the nose), so you can decide whether to use it or not.

Some advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Not sure you and I understand a spray deck the same way. In my experience, a spray deck doesn’t do anything besides keep (you guessed it) spray from getting in the boat. And it doesn’t even realllly do that super well. It does not add any storage options whatsoever. As for weather protection, the only thing it really does is keep your legs out of the sun. But sun pants would do that better as it tends to trap heat VERY well.

Sounds like you don’t need one. Even if you do run longer sections of whitewater, unless they go on for miles, you’d be fine to dump the boat after each section.

If you were really really concerned, you could order a boat with a spray deck on, and only ever actually put it on the boat when you knew you were running long sections.