Editor: Cory McLaughlin
Just the Facts:
An advanced inflatable boat developed with input from professional kayakers and packrafters, the LiteWater Dinghy – LWD – will expand your backcountry playground. Easy to take with you, the LWD weighs only 35 ounces and packs to the size of a one-liter bottle. Made from lightweight, durable polyester, it resists tears and punctures. Six tie-off zones lash gear, and the pump doubles as a dry bag. The LWD inflates quickly, tracks well, maneuvers easily, and delivers a supportive ride making it agile, stable and comfortable enough for canyoneering, finding your own private island, or just spending a day bobbing on a remote alpine lake.
|Weight||35 oz / 992 g|
|Dimensions||76 in x 45 in / 203 cm x 114 cm|
|Pack Size||4.5 in x 9 in / 11.43 cm x 22.9 cm|
|Inflation||Inflation Stuff Sack/Dry-bag Included|
|Capacity||350 lbs / 158.8 kg|
|Raft Rating||Class 2; We recommend the LWD for conditions of mild flat water to small waves.|
|Fabric||210 D ripstop polyester top and bottom|
There really is nothing better than getting out on the lake and wetting a line. It is a peace that only those who fish can really appreciate. I love to backpack and I love to fish and luckily the two go together nicely. I do sometimes find myself in alpine lakes that are rather large and wish that I had a way to fish them from the water. Well, every now and then wishes come true and the Klymit LWD is just that. This little pack raft is absolutely perfect for fishing or navigating just about any relatively calm water.
When packing a backpack weight is a huge factor. It is because of this that I have never wanted to pack in a float tube and pair of waders. The next issue is that of size, most of the popular tubes and waders would need a pack all for themselves. So, Klymit saw the need and came up with a light weight option that keeps you out of the water and stows into a package about the size of an average sleeping bag and weighs about as much too.
As you can see I have my LWD in a side by side comparison with my sleeping bag. It is more than an acceptable size especially when you consider that the dry bag is also the pump. That’s right! The bag that holds this great little raft is also the pump that inflates it. There is a small port at the bottom of the bag that connects to the inflation port on the raft. After making the connection you simply use the breeze or a quick breath to fill the dry bag with air and roll the top down forcing the air through the one way valve and into the raft.
Be prepared as there is a little bit of a learning curve with to how this pump actually works but once you get the hang of it you will see that it is very efficient and works wonderfully.
I planned to take the LWD on a packing trip into the cascades but I wanted to make sure that it was going to work before I lugged it up a mountain. There is a small reservoir near my house and it was a perfect place to try this little guy out. Once I had the LWD inflated I set it into the water and attempted to paddle out.
It did not take me long to realize that I need a different type of paddle. Yes, a single paddle will work but it is not ideal. This boat has a tendency to sort of waddle, meaning the front moves left and right with each stroke of the paddle. In the end of the test I found that the LWD would in fact float and so it was time to test it in the backcountry.
Our hike was relatively simple and ended one the shores of a rather large lake in the Cascade Mountain range in Washington State. After camp was set I was ready to get out and find some fish for dinner. Utilizing the steady breeze I positioned the dry bag to catch the wind and soon had the LWD fully inflated and ready to paddle after some alpine trout. I purchased a small collapsible kayak style paddle that was far better suited for this type of craft and it was much more user friendly.
It was not long after I started that the first cutthroat trout was flopping on the bottom of the LWD. I had my dinner fish on the stringer so the rest of the night was spent catch and release fishing. Fellow hikers watched from shore as I paddled with ease from hole to hole. The following day I planned to hike an avalanche shoot that was on the other side of the lake and I had to use the LWD to get me to the other side. During this journey I placed my pack in the front of the boat and made a very helpful discovery. The weight from the pack evened out the craft and the raft tracked far better. The side to side motion from paddling was greatly decreased and made for a much better experience. I was also lucky enough to catch some nice fish while heading across the lake.
After using the LWD for 3 days fishing both morning and evening and using it to as a transportation vessel I have to say that I was very impressed. I did experience a little bit of wetness while doing some aggressive paddling. There is a small crease where the raft begins to widen right near your pants pocket area. The water that came in was not so much that I was soaked but I did have a wet rear end. That is just something to consider if ever planning to use this in cooler temperatures. In an attempt to stick to the use that the name implies I used this in “Light Water” so, I cannot speak to its ability to handle rapids. I will say that I think it would be more than capable of staying afloat but would definitely leave you wet. What I can say is that it is a fantastic little raft that will help to make an alpine fishing trip just a whole lot more fun. I see nothing but more good times ahead with the Klymit LWD.
Find it Here: http://www.klymit.com/litewater-dinghy.html
What could be done better?
The Klymit LWD is everything I hoped that it would be. It is compact, lightweight, durable, and most importantly functional. I cannot see any huge improvements that I would make to this great little raft. If use for its intended purpose I believe you will be extremely happy with this raft. This is a simple and effective pack raft that just flat out works. What more could you ask for?
I give the Klymit LWD a solid 5 STARS for preforming exactly as advertised and helping me land some great cutthroat trout.