Value redefined

Probably the best investment in outdoor gear 

An MRS packraft is a significant investment – here’s why it will be the best investment you will make!

Many people still have not heard of packrafting, and even fewer have had the fortune of being able to see one in person or try one on the water! We can see how easy it is to confuse an MRS packraft with cheaper “comparable” products from other national retailers or online. Some common statements we hear are;

“What kind of inflatable kayak is this?”

“Yes I know the product well, they can be quite heavy and need a bulky pump”

“Why do they cost so much more than other inflatable kayaks?”

The confusion with packrafts is they look inflatable, and the colours can make them look “playful”. The reality they are a very serious piece of adventure kit and probably unlike anything you have seen or tried before. MRS Packrafts – Highest Quality!

Packrafting is unlike any other sport, combining many different outdoor pursuits with paddling! What is Packrafting?

Unlike anything else

The first thing is that these are not normal inflatables. Inflatable kayaks and canoes from traditional manufacturers are generally produced for the mass market; this means cheaper materials and an automated manufacturing approach. Often these are made from far cheaper and inferior PVC, with internal inflatable PVC bladders and a heavy duty nylon outer cover pulling the inflatable sections together. Those cheap inflatables are great as a cheap means of getting on the water, and because of simple separate components made of PVC, are also very easy and cheap to manufacture in large numbers. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news though. Those cheap PVC inflatables are heavy and prone to failure; very weak PVC inflatable inner “bladders” are prone to their seams failing, and the need for a nylon outer (usually with pretty graphics) make them heavy and cumbersome, stored in large heavy bags. Owners of those craft often do have fun when on the water, but because of their weight and size when packed, it’s a hassle going for a paddle, requiring allot of planning, parking near to where they launch in the water (as those cheaper inflatables are so heavy, you can’t carry them far!). What does this all mean? You use them less, and whilst they appear good value for money because a PVC inflatable has a lower purchase price, the reality is for most people, they are infrequently used and remain in storage for the majority of their lives – those craft are simply not designed for regular usage, they are designed to put in the water a couple of times a year, then being thrown away after only a small number of trips spread over a few years. Those cheaper PVC inflatables also tend to use glue for the seams making them further prone to failure.

Pictured below are the MRS Tulo (2.27kg) and MRS Barracuda R2 (5.1kg) taken as hand luggage on a plane to Croatia – perfect for exploring lakes, rivers and coastal islands close to shore (suitable conditions permitting).

You might think, “not all PVC inflatables are cheaply made”. You would be correct. Some PVC inflatables are technologically advanced, with those at the upper end of the market generally being those which use high pressure i-beam technology (like your paddle boards!). Those inflatables are generally of a comparable price to a packraft and being high pressure, tend to perform well on the water. However, to achieve the high pressure in the walls/floor of those inflatables requires far thicker PVC than the cheaper PVC inflatables, making them heavy. Further, high pressure PVC inflatables (with glued seams!) are at high risk of seam failure with those seams under allot of strain – then as the glues holding the seams age, they weaken and become more prone to failure – owners of such craft will generally find the inevitable happens, and as more and more leaks appear with weakening glue on the seams, those craft are eventually disposed of.

How does this compare to a packraft?

Well, MRS packrafts use technologically advanced polyurethane coated nylon (often referred to as TPU), a more expensive material than PVC. That extra cost delivers an extremely advanced material, far lighter than PVC, stronger, very resistant to UV (so holds it colour, strength and flexibility for many many years), and is heat welded together by MRS during the manufacture of each packraft. Shown below is the MRS Alligator 2S Pro, the pinnacle of white water packrafts, hurtling down a challenging section of river. We often get asked if packrafts are robust … see below.

This means that MRS packrafts are able to be super light (think 880g to approx 3.5kg for single packrafts and around 3.6kg-5kg for tandems VS around 14/15kg for a solo PVC inflatable and up to around 20kg for a tandem PVC inflatable!). You can literally throw them in the air and catch them! The model shown in the photo below is the 3.48kg MRS Microraft L – a great all rounder.


TPU coated nylon combines the strength of the nylon with the flexibility, durability and airtightness  of TPU to allow MRS packrafts to use less material. This means they are super compact and can fit into or on your standard backpack – not like the cheaper PVC inflatables that come in massive carry bags! Those cheaper inflatables are often branded as being “portable” but because they are so heavy and come in such large bags (that you can never get them back into!) they end up being used infrequently.

By contrast, an MRS packraft can be rolled so compact that it will fit in your backback, on your bike handlebars, or as shown in the photo below even in your backpack side pocket! Models shown below are the MRS Tulo weighing only 2.27kg. Also – you don’t need to carry a big pump with an MRS packraft, you can use the supplied ultra light and compact inflation bag (which is very quick and easy to use!).

What does this all mean?

It means you will be able to use your MRS packraft far more than your cheaper PVC inflatable. Your MRS packraft will take up very little storage at home, and you can simply chuck it in your car or backpack, take your inflation bag and head to the water. Cannot park near the water, or have too much other gear to carry that would make carrying a heavy PVC inflatable impossible? No problem! You can take your ultra compact and ultra light MRS packraft with all your other gear!

The value in a packraft is all because of the incredible technologically advanced TPU material. Because it is so small and compact compared to a PVC inflatable, you will use it far far more, and it will open up paddling opportunities you never previously thought possible. Wanted to take an inflatable abroad but couldn’t fit it in with your other gear? No problem with an MRS packraft. Wanted to paddle that mountain lake or access the top of a river with no nearby road or car park? No problem with an MRS packraft. Wanted to go on multi-day wild camping trips and incorporate paddling into your route? No problem, you can take an MRS packraft with you. Need a tender that fits in the smallest spaces, is easy to inflate on board and you can take with you rather than leaving on shore? No problem, you can with an MRS packraft.

The other significant value in an MRS packraft is the material and the way it is manufactured. Being TPU, all seams are heat welded meaning they are not prone to failure like PVC inflatables which use glues. Heat welding means the seams on an MRS packraft are permanent and strong, and do not weaken over time like a PVC inflatable with glued seams. Simply, your MRS packraft will be your loyal adventure companion for many many years unlike cheap inflatables that need replacing often.

An MRS packraft is a long term investment, not a disposable product like many cheap PVC inflatables. It is better for the environment to have a product that lasts rather than needs frequent replacing over the years.

So why do MRS packrafts cost more than the PVC inflatables I can buy at an online adventure/sports shop?

For all the reasons above and elsewhere on this website. Whilst cheap PVC inflatables have their place in the market place by helping more people try paddling to see if they like it, or to get on the water when better craft (like packrafts) cost more, they do not compare well to MRS packrafts.

Also, for 2024, Paqualife have decided to make owning an MRS packraft even easier – we have teamed up with Klarna to offer multi pay options, spreading the cost of buying your amazing MRS packraft, making it far easier.

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