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My friend Scott and I tested the PackLite Kayak on the Gallatin River in Southwest Montana. The stretch we paddled was about 3.5 miles long and dominated by Class II whitewater with a few rapids rated at Class III-. It took us about two hours to paddle this stretch of the river (higher water volumes in this stretch would have increased the difficulty of paddling significantly, and would not have been appropriate for the PackLite). We both come from a kayaking (hardshell) background,with Scott being a solid Class V paddler and myself comfortable padding Class III/IV-. In addition, I've completed several weeks of wilderness packrafting, mostly on Class II/III waters in Northwest Montana.

When reviewing this kayak we tried to approach it from the standpoint of knowing who our audience is. Since the majority of BPL readers are backpackers first and foremost, we understood that the primary purpose for a reader's interest in a packraft is to complement their wilderness travel (not as a means to an end like most kayakers). As a result we focused primarily on (1) whether or not the PackLite Kayak is a practical complement for wilderness travel and (2) what types of water is appropriate in order to maintain paddling comfort and safety.


  • The Test
    • Weight and Specs
    • Durability
    • Stability
  • The Big Drawback
  • Summary

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