Itiwit 500 Packraft
Itiwit inflatable kayaks were one of the few IKs that remained available (and without price hikes) during the Great Lockdown IK Shortage of 2020. In 2021 Decathlon’s initial entry into the packraft market with the 12-panel, semi decked ‘500’ model got off to a lumpy start, or at least ended up not being sold in the UK for more than a couple of weeks. However for 2022 the cheaper and plainer Packraft 100 model is definitely here in the UK (and probably everywhere else) for £380.
What they say
Designed for packrafting beginners, this packraft can be carried in a backpack! Cover a calm water course or a lake then descend or cross it!
This extremely compact packraft will enable you to enjoy your hikes in a whole new way, travelling along a calm class 1 river, or across a lake: Create your own tailor-made adventure.
(It’s not easy to locate the X100 pdf manual)
Decathlon/Itiwit kept things simple on the 100 with a basic, six-panel Kokopelli-like design and a flat hull with no rocker (bow uplift). The boat is made with 210D? TPU tubes and a 420D floor measuring up, we’re told, at 204cm long by 97cm wide, a bit shorter but a lot wider than Anfibio’s similar Alpha XC. Using graphic extrapolation developed in Bletchley Park, I estimate the interior width at the seat is 45cm and 25cm at the feet, with an interior length of 118cm, although the pointy ends will make that feel a bit less.
Weight rating is 110kg and the claimed weight of the entire package: boat and hose in the carry/airbag, is 2kg.
In that second video, product engineer Julie tells us with English subs that the Packraft 100 runs 1psi right over an image (left) that clearly states 1.5psi around the valve. Then again, the preceding action vid shows 1psi at the valve and on the air bag too. Perhaps they decided to play it safe at the last minute, but assuming it’s sewn and welded with tape like most packrafts, it should be able to handle a bit more for a better ride. Of course there’s no way of measuring pressure without a low-psi manometer.
As with their IKs, Itiwit have their own way of doing things with seemingly little reference to competitors. So Packraft 100 looks oversquare and with long hand straps front and rear, rather than the usual grab loops (there are two up front inside). It’s possible hand straps are a requirement of paddle craft safety regulations in France.
Unless I’m missing something, the very wide seat with a handy one-way valve uses an oddly clumsy securing strap, but the carry bag cleverly doubles as an inflation bag and then a roll-top dry bag once on the water. The orange floor is 420D TPU. In an emergency, flip the boat over and wave.
To inflate, you clamp a hose from the bag to the Boston valve, catch some air, roll up the ends then kneel on it (above left or watch the second vid). Top up by mouth only (see video below on this link), as they advise a hand pump may risk over-inflation. Then again we all managed packrafting for years with just air bags and mouth tops-ups long before mini hand-pumps came on the scene.
So there it is, Le Packraft 100 for le packrafting beginners, as long as they’re at the lighter and less tall end of the spectrum. And one good thing is Itiwit always make it clear spare parts are available.
At £380 I’m pretty sure it’s about the cheapest of the proper TPU packrafts (as opposed to PU nylon ‘crossrafts‘) and ought to be available wherever you find a Decathlon outlet.