Luggage transport in the Packraft

Traditionally packrafters strap a pack over the bow. Transportation on the boat works well. Tracking and bow/stern balance even improves a little. The backpack on the bow has become the symbol of hiking with boats ("strap and raft"). Alternatively, in larger models (such as Sigma TX, Delta MX, Nomad S1), luggage can of course also be transported in the boat (foot box, behind the back).
However, this techniques have some disadvantages: 
  • exposure to wind, water and rain
  • limited load capacity (volume)
  • high center of gravity 
These problems are solved by transportation within the tubes itself.
The following systems are available for this purpose:
  1. Packraft Sidebags (TubeBag etc.)
  2. Internal Storage System (ISS)
Common to all two systems is storage of gear inside the hull tubes. Loading always takes place before the actual inflation of the boat.
This has the following advantages
  • Improved handling (low centre of gravity)
  • Increased capacity (transport volume)
  • Protection against moisture and wind
By lowering the center of gravity, the boat becomes more stable, increases momentum and manoeuverability. No top heavy load and redused visibility in technical water. It also enhances expedition-style boating resp. applications with high volume transportation.
However, loading and unloading needs some planning. Naturally, it is not possible to get gear on the water.
Below are the systems explained in detail:
1. Packraft Sidebags (TubeBag etc.) 
Sidebags consist of two centrally positioned zippers with directly connected (integrated) inner pockets, which are filled with luggage. The luggage compartment is thus separated from the main air tube.
When loaded, the luggage is automatically positioned correctly by the inner pockets and secured against slipping. The construction is absolutely insensitive to dirt and wear. A possibly damaged zipper does not lead to leakage of the boat.
Packraft side bags are available in three different versions:
1.1 Anfibio TubeBag 
Anfibio TubeBags are sidebags with IPX7 waterproof zips. The volume of the bags is 70 litres each. The system has a total weight of 400g. 

Currently available boats with Anfibio TubeBag: Anfibio Rebel 2K 
1.2 MRS ISS2
The MRS ISS2 uses the air- and watertight TiZip Superseal zippers (same as the Internal Storage System, see below). The redundantly airtight system thus fulfils the function of separate chambers (separately inflatable). The capacity is 60 litres. The additional total weight is 800g.
Currently available boats with ISS2: MRS Nomad S1
1.3 Nortik sidebags
The side pockets from Nortik have simple zippers (neither air- nor waterproof), but a zip cover, which protects against wetness from the outside. The system has a volume of 50 litres per bag. The additional weight for Nortik's side pockets is 450g.
Currently available boats with Nortik side pockets: Nortik Trekraft Expedition (with/without deck)
2. Internal Storage System (ISS)
The ISS uses a robust, pressure resistant zipper (TiZip Superseal) in the stern of the boat and includes two waterthight drybags (100x25cm resp. 130x30cm) that slide and clip inside the boat tubes. However, additional luggage can still be stored directly in the tubes, which results in a very high transport capacity. The system brings 300g on the scale.

The TiZip is highly resistant to damage caused by dirt, but will require more care. Avoid unnecessary contact with sand when open. Flash with water or toothbrush before opening. The zipper must be dried well after use. It must not stay wet for longer than 48h (especially packed up). Otherwise it may lead to mold, which can damage the coating of the zipper and cause leakage. However, if you pay attention to this, the system enjoys a very long service life.*
Addtional information can be found on the TiZip data sheet.

Currently available boats with ISS: MRS Microraft, MRS Alligator 2S (Pro), MRS Adventure X2, MRS Barracuda R2 (Pro) *

Luggage is one of the central issues when travelling, and in packrafting this is no exception. The various variants of luggage transport open up new possibilities for tour planning, especially for trips lasting several days. No matter what you decide on, all systems have their justification. 
* A retrofit (zipper installation in retrospect) is available as Workshop service. After very long time using, The ISS can also get exchanged in our workshop however.



Classical transport on bow and/or stern

Traditional way of stowing luggage in the boat

Transport in a tube (here Anfibio TubeBag)

Luggage transport in a tube (here ISS)

Sidebags consist of two luggage compartments


Construction/principle of sidebags

Anfibio TubeBag during loading/unloading

Waterproof zipper on the Anfibio TubeBag

Sidebags (MRS ISS2)

Loading the side pockets of the ISS2

Airtight zipper on ISS2 (chamber inflated)

Luggage zipper in the stern of the ISS

Waterproof, lightweight pack sacks on the ISS

Luggage stowage (loading) at the ISS

 Fixing the bags on the ISS

Packraft packbags size comparison (ISS)

Inflating, ready for deployment (ISS)