Custom-Crafted Ultralite Packrafting Gear

3-minute read + 11 minutes in videos

Aqua Bound Ambassador Dan Ransom was looking for better ultralight packrafting gear for his own expeditions. So he did what many outdoors folks have done before—he started to make them himself.

packrafter on a river with ultralite gear

The goal is to make every packraft adventure easier and more streamlined

Dan attributes his design and sewing development to others who have mentored him. Now he makes and distributes a handful of packrafting gear items so other packrafters can use them too.

He told us, “Packrafting is at a cool place that’s gaining a lot of momentum and there is a ton of innovation happening, especially with boat designs (and paddles!). My goal is to design custom gear that supplements and integrates with packrafts both on the approach hike and on the water. 

“For a true packrafting trip where you carry all your gear on your back and every ounce matters, each little improvement in weight and efficiency adds up to a much more fun and streamlined experience.”

Dan also believes strongly in multi-use gear. He said, “One of the big principles of my designs is that every piece of gear should be able to do multiple things well. A good example is the ultralight Bow Bag that integrates seamlessly with a backpack, or a boat, or can be used entirely on its own as a day pack.  It saves weight by eliminating redundant pieces of gear with one item that does multiple things.”  

Here we highlight three of his ultralight packraft gear items ideal for backcountry packrafters looking to keep their packing and paddling weight down as much as possible:

Packraft Seat Bag

The 6-liter Packraft Seat Bag weighs just 3.4 ounces. It doubles as a hip pack for hiking treks or can be attached to an expedition pack. The Seat Bag is made with Challenge Sailcloth Ecopack EXP200—a two-layer recycled polyester fabric. The heavy-duty zipper opens and closes easily even when faced with dirt and mud along the way.

This Seat Bag is ideal for storing things like your repair kit, pogies, a hat, the detachable hip belt and other small items. It’s designed to attach directly to the back of a packraft’s seat. It comes in standard black or can be custom-designed in a variety of colors for a slightly higher price.

See more details and photos here.

Packraft Bow Bag

Supremely versatile, the 15-liter Packraft Bow Bag weighs a mere 5.1 ounces and can be used in three different ways:

  • It integrates with an expedition backpack for extra storage
  • It’s designed to strap to a packraft’s bow for easy access
  • With the additional webbing straps, it can be used as a day pack for off-water treks

The Bow Bag is hand-constructed with the same Ecopack EXP200 fabric as the Seat Bag. It uses the same molded-tooth zipper as well, ensuring easy access in all conditions. The exterior Daisy chain system means you can attach this bag to almost any packraft and allows other items to be attached to it. Its streamlined profile prevents it from getting hung up on river hazards.

The Bow Bag is intentionally not waterproof to save on weight and price. The mesh bottom drains water instantly and it’s easy to stash either waterproof items or non-waterproof items in a dry bag inside.

The Packraft Bow Bag is available in standard black or you can get colorful with a custom model. You can accessorize it further by including shoulder straps or a Paddle Pocket.

Here you can see the Bow Bag in action in this video of Dan and his buddies packrafting Oregon’s Lower Crooked River:

Get more details and photos of the Bow Bag here.

Ultralight Packrafting Pogies

These Pogies are designed for ultralight packrafting with breakdown paddles. They fit snugly over the shaft to prevent water from getting in, so they need to be inserted from the blade end of the shaft (with the blade removed), not over the ferrule.

packraft sits next to a whitewater river equipped with paddle/pogies and other ultralite gear

A packraft equipped with Pogies, Bow Bag and Seat Bag

These are made with EPX200 fabric in standard black or a variety of bright colors if you prefer a custom pair. While not insulating like neoprene pogies, Dan has “found them to work extremely well because they prevent water exchange and nearly eliminate evaporative cooling.” They weigh just 2.3 ounces.

See more details and photos of the Ultralight Pogies here.

How to Buy

US, Canada and Australia residents can order these items directly from Dan’s website at Sockdolager Equipment.

“Sockdolager is still less than a year old, but I'm stoked with the response so far and excited to announce a handful of other products over the next few months,” Dan said.

Dan Ransom is also a professional outdoor photographer. See some of his paddling photos here. Follow him on Instagram and YouTube.

All photos and videos courtesy of Dan Ransom.

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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