Choice of spraydeck
Depending on the model, packrafts can be equipped with different kinds of spraydecks or without a spraycover (open boat). A special case are self bailer. Spraydecks come in handy against rain, cold and splashes. They are a must in whitewater. However, an open boat can also be a good choice depending on the application. It ensures weight saving and a smaller pack size.
Spraydecks with hatch and skirt
This is the spraydeck in the style of a kayak. The spraydeck is equipped with a cockpit which houses highly flexible poles that form the coaming rim. The skirt worn by the paddler is secured over the rim.
The fully enclosed boat responds more like a kayak, without losing any of its versatility. The open cockpit is very large and almost feels like an open boat so can be enjoyed without a sprayskirt in calm or warm conditions. Then, when needed the seal is leak proof and closes securely while opening effortlessly and reliably when you need to bail out. The packing size is slightly larger due to the poles.
The following models are available with this type of spraydeck: MRS Microraft L/XL, MRS Nomad S1, MRS Alligator 2S (Pro), MRS Barracuda R2 Pro, Nortik Trekraft (Expedition), Kokopelli Rogue.
Spraydecks with velcro and zipper
This type of deck is opended with a zipper and velcro fastener and sealed to the body with an elastic band, which may may let penetrate some water, but effectively prevents the boat from flooding An inflatable pad can prevent the accumulation of water in the lap.
This kind of spraydeck is a more comfortable to open and close. It is not 100% leak proof, but it is adequate in moderate conditions. It is perceived as less technical and more flexible. Without any coaming the boat assembles and packs faster. It is good for a relaxed paddling style.
The following models are available with this type of spraydeck: MRS Microraft S/M, MRS Microraft L/XL, MRS Adventure X2
Open boats (without spray deck)
To choose a boat without spraydeck can have good reasons. One of them is weight and pack size. Also, an open boat makes it less complicated to transport large things, such as bicycles or game.
In calm water and moderate climate it is the way more pragmatic and provides a maximum in freedom. In these conditions there is no need for a deck for sure. Furthermore it is possible to use the boat also in the colder conditions by using a dry suit or dry pant.
The following models are available without spraydeck:: Anfibio Nano SL, Anfibio Alpha, Anfibio Delta, Anfibio Sigma, MRS Adventure X2, MRS Nomad light, MRS Ponto, MRS Barracuda R2, Nortik Trekraft (Expedition), Supai Flatwater Canyon II
As a selfbailer drain holes in the floor system allows water to drain through the floor when it enters the packraft. An inflatable floor insert provides extra buoyancy, and additional height to the paddler to keep them above the waterline of the craft. A self-bailer boat excels in white water. The advantages of a self-bailer over a spraydeck include quick entry and exit of the craft. However, a self bailer always remains a small amount of water in the boat, depending on the load. Water sports clothing is recommended. In comparison, a self-draining boat is somewhat slower than spraydeck closed or open packrafts. A typical self bailer model is the Kokopelli Nirvana Self-Bailer.
Open and spraydecked boats
Fully closed boat (spradeck with hatch and skirt)
Large, open cockpit without skirt
Spraydeck with velcro and zipper
Open packraft without spraydeck
Light boat without spraydeck
Self-bailer with drain holes and inflatable floor