I just returned home from 40 days in thailand, i brought my alpacka dory and it really changed the entire trip trip for me. I live in homer and use it in kachemak bay frequently. I put it in my luggage and as a travel theme it took over my trip. I rented a motorcycle and it fit nicely on the luggage rack, i bought many maps and asked locals and set out from chiangmai in northern thailand and saw things and met people i would never have encountered had i not been out on the water. It worked well in rivers with the paddle in kayak mode, lakes , reservoirs, ponds , and marshes were all my friends. When you appear at the edge of a rice paddy in an irrigation ditch the locals have a way of taking an interest in you. Appearing at a shoreline with a backpack no one has any idea what you are up to , when they see what you are up , in thailand anyways, they seem absolutely delighted. and things just kind of take off from there. One night i went out at dusk and watched it get dark , and layed back and stared at the stars. I may have slept a little. When i was paddling back in a group at a beach bar could see the white tips of the oars coming in out of the dark and no idea what it was, when i emerged out of darkness , folded up , and took a seat at the bar i may as well have come in from the moon, i was poured more than one glass of mekong whiskey, and a great evening followed. I think these rafts are truly vehicles for keeping the water option open at all times and getting off the beaten track. I met people and made friends that referred to me as the guy with the blue raft, Now i keep it in the trunk of my car and use it as an option for a place to meet, “why don’t we talk about this while we’re floating?” The alpacka dory is really a kick. will anderson
Wills’ post is a great one – it shows that the packraft brings joy not just to wilderness travel but to travel in general: traveling is best when the traveller is not jaded (take a packraft on your next trip to add novelty!) and the locals are interested in you (they’ve not yet seen a packraft).
Travelling is worst when you are bored (no boat) and the locals ignore you.
I am inspired by your words Sir…
I am an absolute newbie to pack rafts. Scratch that, newbie to any boats in general.
I am buying a raft to explore the rivers and streams we have here and pack rafts always come out as the best option any direction i look.
Thank you for your blog. It gives me hope and i look forward to travelling with it. (Whitewater is not my forte yet - learn to crawl, walk then run!)
For me the ultimate aim of pack rafting is not conquering the rapids, but more to get to know my own land and people in a way that others of today have not seen yet.
Rivers were the connecting lifeline between villages and cultures. The European colonialists and plains people all came up to our hills via rivers with intents more dubious and commercial than philanthropic in the past. Its time someone rediscovered the old trails methinks.
Thank you Will.