The RuckRaft by Above and Below transforms any rucksack into a raft to tow across lakes or down rivers, making multi-day adventures over land and water possible
Picture the scene. You arrive at the shores of a humongous Scottish loch after a long day of Munro-bagging. Tantalisingly you can see your car across the water on the opposite shore. So close yet so far. You still need to hike an energy-sapping 11km around the lake before you can access that pack of Percy Pigs you left in the glove compartment. “Damn it, if only I could swim across” you think.
Well, now you can, thanks to an innovative new product that transforms any rucksack into a raft to tow across water. The RuckRaft by new brand Above Below is a waterproof, fully inflatable raft that comes with a giant drybag to stash all of your gear, be it a backpack, tent, hiking boots, spare clothes or food supplies. Think of it as a mini dinghy for your kit. A 21st century upgrade to sealing your gear in a black bin liner, like Leonardo DiCaprio did when he swam across shark-infested waters to reach The Beach. All you have to do is pull on your wetsuit (or Speedos/bikini if you’re feeling brave), attach the RuckRaft to your waist, and get swimming.
Of course, it’s not really pitched at people too lazy to walk around lakes (although it does work for that rather specific scenario). The RuckRaft ultimately is for outdoor enthusiasts who want to combine hiking and swimming in their multi-sports adventures. The idea is to journey across all aspects of a landscape in an authentic way – to stand atop its highest peaks and dip in its deepest, coldest waters. The best of both worlds.
We wanted to just jump in and go from A to B without any limits and take all we needed with us.
The founders of Above Below – Yorkshire brothers Tom and Will Watt – call this approach “cross country swimming”, which they define as multi-day trips across land and water. During their childhood adventures in the Lake District, Scotland and further afield, the duo can vividly remember “walking around lakes and wishing we could simply swim across and keep hiking, or seeing rivers and thinking how epic it’d be to float along with the water from campsite to campsite”. So they decided to do just that.
As Will explains: “We always saw the water as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle, and our dream was to open up the landscape. We wanted to just jump in and go from A to B without any limits and take all we needed with us. So, over the years we experimented with ways to transport our kit across water, even starting with tying luggage straps to large children’s swimming inflatables. Slowly we began to create our first tow raft and after a series of design prototypes, extensive product testing and tweaking, the RuckRaft was ready to go – and we’re proud to say it works like a dream.”
The RuckRaft is a U-shaped rib boat designed for stability and buoyancy, with the load – housed in an XXL waterproof dry bag – wedged between the arms of the raft and held in place by sturdy straps and clips. Another strap connects the RuckRaft to your waist, ensuring it floats neatly behind you as you swim. The raft itself inflates in 30 seconds via a two-way value (no pumps required, just your lungs), and is made from tough, marine-grade Rivertex materials for enhanced durability. The 120L capacity dry bag (70cm wide, 95cm deep), into which you can easily fit a 15kg expedition backpack, is fully waterproof, has no zips and features a neon orange colour to keep you visible in the water. The RuckRaft weights 1kg, packs down pretty small and costs £139.99.
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