by Jörgen Johansson
The packraft is born in Alaska, where forest, mountains and rivers are plentiful - and bridges are scarce. It only weighs a couple of kilos and can be carried inflated or deflated, depending on circumstances. Starting out with an ultralight pack is good, since my packraft including paddle and personal flotation device added 4 kilos to my load.
Practising close to Abisko Mountain station the day before I took off on my hike.
On my way through the birch forest towards Kårsavagge from the Mountain station.
The sun was beating down, so minimising my clothing to my combined merino tights and underwear felt really nice whilst climbing out of Kårsavagge on my way to Håiganvagge.
Crossing the mountains from one valley to another I walked along this shelf with a magnificent view of the land around the northernmost part of Kungsleden (The King's Trail) in the valley below.
My packraft in it's blue bag was not a large packet, especially not compared to my size 45's. The raft was an Alpacka Denali Llama weighing 2,9 kilos. This loaf fitted nicely along the spine of my pack, with the sleeping bag in the bottom and the rest of the gear tucked around it.
Late evening sun floating over my camp in Håiganvagge.
I fastened the pack with a couple of ordinary packstraps of about 2 meters each. Bungy cords with hooks is another way which makes for faster attachment and detachment.
You can strap the pack in different orientations. This is one, but smarter is to twist it 90 degrees with the hipbelt pointing forward. That way you can just shoulder your pack for a portage and the raft will be attached like in the first photo.
With a NeoAir inflated you insulate your butt from the cold water and keep it reasonably out of reach from water spilling in collecting at the lowest spot. I got some deciliters of water sloshing in every now and then, since the less than professional floating device I used made it difficult to cinch everything completely tight around my waist.
This kind of whitewater was pretty common in Alesätno and was easy as pie to handle even for an amateur like me.
This kind of whitewater I happily left to the pros and did in fact pack up my raft and start the hike towards the alpine regions around Mårma.
On my way towards Mårma I look back towards Alesvagge and Alesätno. An impressive valley, unknown to me and also I believe to many others inspite of the nearness to Kungsleden. Or maybe because of that.
On my way from the alpine Mårma region down to the valley of Vistasvagge and Vistasjåkkå, which does look tempting to a packrafter...
Vistasstugan mountain hut waited in the birchforest, with the valley of Stuor Räitavagge och and the spike of Nallo in the distance.
Ready to go from Vistasstugen, looking forward to an exciting trip downstream to Nikkaluokta and the bus on the following day.
This narrow arm of water with the "sweepers" along the shore ended my rafting. I was dunked and the paddle was swept away in the resulting mess.
Drying out the worst of my gear (everything that needed to be dry was dry) and repacking with Nallo as background. From here on I walked to Nikkaluokta, where I was just in time for a cup of coffee before boarding the bus at 1600 hours the day after.