Lovin’ Lately: Advanced Elements Packlite Kayak


It is without doubt that I very much enjoy backpacking to alpine lakes. It’s pretty much all I live for during the warm summer months! It was not until last year that I added a children’s floatie to my summer gear list and let me tell you, trekking in that extra pound is totally worth being able to casually float around the alpine lake that probably took 5 miles to get to. So when I was introduced to pack rafting, and discovered Advanced Elements, a world of opportunity to explore our alpine lakes in an entirely new way presented itself and I was all over it!

Deflated kayak & accessories all taken apart.
Model: PackLite Kayak 
Use: Recreational
Weight: 4 lbs.
Occupancy: 1 person
Max. Weight: 250 lbs.
Length: 7'10"
Width: 35"

Model: UltraLite Pack Paddle 
Weight: 23.6 oz
Length: 224 cm.
Packed Length: 60 cm.

Foot Pump
Model: PackLite Bellows Foot Pump
Weight: 15.2 oz
Lingering snow in September & first time paddling!

Why I’m loving the PackLite inflatable kayak?

Easy to use and weighing just under 5 lbs. including all required accessories for a good time on the water, Advanced Elements PackLite inflatable kayak is perfect for pack rafting remote alpine lakes.

As an avid backpacker, I know that every ounce counts when it comes to packing up; so I will say that adding the extra 5 lbs. to your summer pack is totally worth it! It takes literally less than 5 minutes to blow up using the PackLite Foot Pump (sold separately), which weighs less than a pound, and has a deflate-able option as well! The UltraLite Pack Paddle (sold separately) is a 4-piece single paddle that folds down to 60 cm, which fits nicely on the outside of my backpack. There is also an inflatable seat that is included with the kayak and is blown up separately from the main chambers.

The length of the kayak is 7’10” and provides just enough space for your backpack and all of your gear. While I have not yet experienced actual “pack rafting” the carrying bag for the inflatable kayak can also be attached to the front, allowing you to paddle with all of your gear. This makes me really excited for new summer adventures next year, as I’m sad to say summer has officially come to an end.

Pretty colors on the lake during sunset.

My First Experience with Advanced Elements

This past weekend, a friend and I set out to soak up every last bit of summer sunshine in the Eastern Sierra and I was super excited to have gotten my hands on the new PackLite inflatable kayak from Advanced Elements. We love ourselves a pretty glacial lake and was excited to see that there were still some pretty colors in Emigrant Wilderness. After picking up our permits and driving to the trail-head, it was time to pack our bags and trek on to a new trail we hadn’t hiked before.

This was my first time ever trekking in an entire kayak, so I was a little nervous on now having an entirely new way to pack my bag. After a few years, you sort of have a certain way of doing things, lol! It actually wasn’t that bad at all! I was able to squeeze in the tube for the foot pump inside the carrying case, saving some space inside my pack. I also love that the paddle is 4-pieces, making it easier to distribute the weight on my back.

Our hike was not strenuous, but it was a difficult 1.7 miles to our destination. Yes, 1.7 miles, but the elevation gain was close to 1,700 ft and adding the extra 5 lbs. did make it a little more difficult. We took our time, however- racing sunlight, we eventually made it to our destination about an hour and twenty minuets later. The winds started to pick up just a little bit but we were determined to get on the water.

Luckily, with the ease of pumping the PackLite we were all set and ready to go just as the sun was starting to set behind the mountain. We had just enough time to paddle around the entire lake and hang out for a bit before the winds picked up again. I believe because I did not have my pack on my kayak, the front was weightless, making it a little more difficult to steer in the right direction. Next time, I am going to include my backpack and see if that helps to anchor the front.

My friend explained to me the proper ways to store, making sure to completely dry off and wipe down the kayak before rolling it back up. These were great tips for proper storage! After a nice solid wipe down, I used the foot pump to deflate any access air that I was not able to get out the first time around and that made it really easy to roll up and pack away!

Final thoughts…

This PackLite inflatable kayak is perfect for backpackers, fishing, and anyone who just loves to be on the water and enjoys the great outdoors. Being an ultralight pack raft and actually being able to pack down to a small size, makes it easy to take along on most adventures, pack away when stored and very little is needed to keep it maintained. I was a little worried about the initial length of the kayak, I am 5’2- but after blowing it up and paddling around, I understand the reason for the extra space.



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Vanessa is an outdoors enthusiast, hiker at heart, and the storyteller behind Forever She Wanders; a women's lifestyle + travel blog inspiring all to get outdoors, seek adventure and live an active lifestyle. As an outdoors enthusiast, Vanessa has found passion in being outdoors while backpacking, camping, hiking and creating memories of a lifetime.

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