In this post I give a summary / gear list on what gear to take when planning a packrafting trip. I will describe the factors affecting which gear to take, essential packrafting gear, packrafting gear for whitewater, gear needed for the camp site and additional gear. Additional items might be added in the future.

Packrafting Gear in Sweden - Alpacka Raft - HMG Porter 4400


Before planning on what to take for a packrafting trip you have to think about several factors which could affect the gear you are taking with you.


How long is the trip? A few hours or several days?


Spring, Summer, Autumn, winter? Can affect e.g. the clothing and shelter needed.

Geographic location

Season is different on different geographic locations which can effect weather conditions as well.


Are shelters available during the trip? Are you planning to camp or stay e.g. in a hostel?

Food & Water

Do you have to bring your own food? Are you planning to fish? Are you eating in a hostel? Are water sources available?

Fire wood / gas etc.

Are trees growing in the area? Is the wood usable (e.g. after long raining season it might be wet). Do you prefer to cook with a gas canister? How much gas to take?

Climate / Weather forecast

Petzl Meteor Helmet - HMG Porter 4400 - Alpacka Raft - Essential Packrafting Gear

Essential Packrafting Gear


The packraft itself should be packed as well. It’s a good idea to attach it outside of the backpack.


Ideally a paddle which can be dismantled into 4 pieces e.g. Werner Shuna paddle

Inflation bag

The inflation bag helps you to inflate your boat. First you fill the the inflation bag with air and then you push the collected air into your boat.

Paddle leash

A paddle leash can help to prevent losing your paddle.

Windpaddle Sail

If you expect to have strong wind then a windpaddle sail could be beneficial.

Layering Clothing for Packrafting - Teva Sandals - Icebreaker Anatomic Brief - Smartwool Socks - Anfibio Packsuit

Clothing for Packrafting

Dry suite or waterproof clothing

In very cold conditions it might be safer to wear a dry suite rather than waterproof clothing. It’s good to know the water temperature and weather conditions beforehand.


Gloves help to prevent getting blisters. During the summer you can use bicycle gloves and during the colder seasons a neoprene glove would help to keep your hands warm.

Shoes / Sandals

Take hiking shoes or trail runners if you also plan to hike during your packrafting trip. Sandals can be used while packrafting. They dry fast and give a better grip when getting in or off the packraft.

Merino Base Layer and Socks

Merino wool keeps you warm even when it’s getting wet. In colder conditions you should always wear a merino base layer under your waterproof clothing / dry suite. It also helps you to keep you warm in case you fall into the cold water (can save your life).

Fleece jacket / Down jacket

In very cold conditions it’s also good to wear a fleece jacket over the merino base layer while packrafting. A fleece dries faster than a down jacket. A down jacket does not insulate warmth once it’s getting wet. A down jacket can store warmth better than a fleece jackt and should be worn on the camp site.


On very windy, cold or sunny places it’s good to wear a cap (even under the helmet).

Shorts / swim suite

In warmer conditions and if you are planning to packraft nearby the shore a swim suite / shorts can be worn instead of waterproof clothing.

Gear for packrafting in Whitewater - Petzl Meteor Helmet - Werner Shuna - HMG Porter 4400

Gear for packrafting in whitewater

Life jacket

A life jacket should be always worn. In stronger rapids a more advanced life jacket should be worn which floats better and protects your body against rocks.


If you are planning to packraft in a rapid then wearing a helmet should be mandatory.


A knife can be useful if you get stuck somewhere or you want to cut a rope in an emergency situation.

Throw rope

A throw rope has several functions. It can help to rescue other paddlers or for example as a clothes line which you can use to hang your gear to dry.

Spray deck /skirt

A spray deck keep the water out of your boat. You wear it under your life jacket.

Packrafting Gear for the camp site - Hilleberg Anjan - Jetboil stove

Gear for the camp


Exchange clothes e.g. underwear, socks, down jacket, merino cap

Stove / gas / matches /cutlery / frying pan

To heat up water. Depending on your style of cooking you might also need a frying pan and cutlery.

Sleeping pad / bag

Sleeping bag which is suitable for the environment. A synthetic sleeping bag is more useful in wet environments while a down sleeping bag is much lighter.

Tent / bivy / tarp

A tent preferably with a mosquitoes net or a tarp if there are not many mosquitoes around to save some weight.


Dehydrated food from the camping store or you eat what the environment offers you e.g. fish, mushrooms and berries. Taking food with you is the safest option.

Water filter / bottle

In order to avoid carrying a lot of water it might be a good idea to take a water filter with you.


A headlamp helps you during the night or in emergency situations.

Other packrafting gear - HMG Porter 4400 - Petzl Meteor Helmet - Aquapac Camera Pouch

Other Gear

First aid kid

Pain killers and plasters, etc.


A towel is good to have if you want to go swimming after your paddling day.


Preferably a waterproof backpack to keep your gear dry should be used.

Dry bags

Clothes and sleeping bag should be packed in a seperate dry bag to keep them dry.

Compass / map / GPS / phone / satellite messenger

Always take a map, compass, phone and in remote areas a stellite messenger with in case you get into an emergency situation and there is no phone signal.

Money / passport / visa, credit card etc.

If you travel abroad a passport, visa, credit card and money is needed.

Camera, spare batteries, USB charger etc.

If you want to take pictures take a camera with you.


Needed to keep yourself clean.

Any additional optional gear

Fishing rot, carving knife, etc

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