What a question! Sure you can. Unless of course your dog agrees to participate in a fantastic adventure in the bosom of nature, about which it’s furry friends can only dream of.

From this article you will learn, among others:

  • how to prepare for a packrafting with a dog
  • what to take on packrafting with a dog
  • what to do if we fall overboard the packraft into water

Why do I write about packraft travel with a dog?

A few years ago, a thought to infect Poles with packrafting appears in our heads. Even then, the possibility of traveling so close to the nature in such an independent way from anyone makes our hearts jump on the fifth gear 🙂 And when we realized that we would be able to invite not only our children but also our four-legged friends – we jumped up high from the excitement!

I want to flow. The dog says he wants too. And what now?

It’s easy: you`ll have to prepare for it. You have to do everything to allow you spend your free time safely. Everything to count the same amount of participants and equipment after a day in the bosom of nature.

Of course much of it depends on the size of our pet as well as ourselves. It should be remembered that the Pinpack is one of the largest packraft available on the market. Thus, it gives us more opportunities to transport the luggage.

The next questions you have to ask yourself are:

  • how long journey we plan to choose for?
  • how much luggage we will have to carry with us (except for our pet)
  • what packraft we possess (with or without deck). If it is a Pinpack with the deck and we have luggage to take with us, then we can install the luggage using the two D-rings. The average size bag can also be placed under the deck between the legs. With this solution, we have the whole surface of the deck for our pet.

Very important note:

REMEMBER TO NEVER swim with a dog under the deck. Even if it shakes from the cold or for another reason it will want to “go under the deck”. This applies to all types of water. The dog must always be able to swim out to the surface of the water after a possibly fall overboard. We can never be sure that in the case of a capsizes, we will help the dog quickly. It may turn out that water will decide differently and we will fight with the element ourselves.

If our Pinapck is without a deck, the situation is clear: the dog sits with us inside. Its size depends on whether it must sit between our legs, or we will send it to the “stork’s nest”, that means to the bow, where it will be able to look around for a game for supper 🙂

How do we travel with our dogs?

If we move around the a water body (open waters), dog always has to have a life jacket with an adequate buoyancy. We never clip (bind) an animal to us or to the packraft. Only the luggage is attached to Pinpack and sometimes the paddles. In this case, we must be sure that in the event of a capsizes, won’t tangle up into the line connecting the paddle and packraft. However, better is not to combine the paddle with the packraft.

What to take on a packrafting trip with a dog?

It’s worth to make a list of things needed on the trip. Our list looks as follows:

  • life jacket for a dog
  • full board
  • reflective element
  • address book
  • foam mattress as a lair
  • toy, ball to retrieve
  • leash

Note: we are not saying that we know your dogs better and we know everything about them. We share only what we have developed over the years and thus we enjoy safe travel together.

Before you set off – practice it with your dog

The first exercise that must be absolutely performed (repeatedly and repeatedly) is to enter Pinpack from deep water. We must remember that we will be obliged to draw our four-legged friend aboard.

When deciding to take a dog with you, we must be aware that we are responsible not only for us, but also for our passenger. Therefore, the “dog-human” communication must be at a really high level. It is obvious that the leader of this trip must be a man (specialists say that the dog must be obedient ). And we are not writing here about the reaction on the command “sit” or “leg” ,which we give in the backyard garden, holding the treat in hand. We must control the animal absolutely under all conditions.

What to do if it comes to a capsizes in the middle of the lake?

We should remember that after a capsizes on an open water body, we land in the water with our pet, and then we have to divide the whole situation into several activities:

  • we need to have positive buoyancy (if we have a proper life vest, then we can be calm)
  • turn the packraft (if turned upside down) and grab the paddle. Manuals are different here. Some instruct you to catch the paddle first and after the unit. Second – instruct what was described earlier. The truth is that everything depends on our preparation and the weather conditions. What will come from catching the paddle, if at the same time the wind gives away the packraft from us so much that there will be no chance of reaching it?

Personally, I prefer to go on board with a wet dog and call for help (if I thought about the means of communication in advance) or wait until the wind brings us ashore. Unless we’re at sea and wind just starting to blow from land. Then a longer journey awaits us. If this is the Baltic Sea, then you need to prepare a vaccination book for the Swedish customs service 🙂

How to swim with the dog on the river?

Placing a dog in such a situations in pankraft is very similar to described above. Sometimes we practice the third place of its location: overboard. Yes, we know that it sounds a bit sadistic, but we do it only when we are rafting on the river we know. Dog is very happy, sometimes able to run with us and sometimes swim. Little birds are much less happy, but We never got any complaints 😉

When it comes to rafting by packraft on a river, here the matter in our opinion is a little bit more serious. First of all, let’s never suggest with a small depth. 15 cm deep on an even surface, with a sufficiently rapid current – can move a medium-size car. Thus, our pet will not be able to execute the “stop” command under such conditions.

About the dog’s life jacket on the river – here the matter is highly controversial. On the one hand, it protects the pet from “going” under water and this is undoubtedly the great advantage of this solution. But there is also the other side to be afraid of , this is the “fastening system”. Then even shallow, lazy flowing water becomes a death trap for the animal.

The human life jackets on white water are constructed in such a way that, with a possible catch hold it’s easy to get rid of pulling one element out of the life jacket. Dogs can’t do something like that. The best, method in our opinion is when the dog is running or swimming, doing it all at our level and on the same side of the river as we do. Then in case of any problem, our help is immediate.

Naturally, we do not even think about taking a trip down the heavier sections of the river, although it is normal that sometimes it will tempt us. However, this is the PACK element in the word packrafting, so that we can easily march this section with our dog.

We are aware of the fact that some people who spend their free time on the water say: “I do not intend to fall into the water”. Unfortunately, reality sometimes turns out to be different and that’s why we think that every person should first of all rely on their skills. As an example of this are people practicing tripskate in Sweden, who are not only able to help themselves in a crisis situation, but are still training how to help others.

Remember young traveler: you will fall into the water one day 🙂

Probably the most important principle that should be adopted when doing packrafting is that once in the least desired moment – we will land in the water. It doesn’t have to be that way, but if this happens, and we prepare ourselves for it, we will be able to find ourselves in this situation and nothing will surprise us. And our chances that one day we want to move from the TV in the bosom of nature will be much bigger.

I warmly encourage you to share a rest with four-legged friends. I am sure that this way of spending free time will fall into your memory for a long time and will be an incredible fun for your pets 🙂