This summer, many people have been spending their recreational time closer to home. However, they still want to explore and have new experiences, says Elizabeth Lumkes, Camping Hiking Adventures small business owner. Since most people aren’t spending their holiday budgets on airfares and hotels, many find that they have the extra cash to invest in higher-quality items that will add value to their lives. According to Lumkes, many people have decided to invest in a packraft this summer as a new way to enjoy the outdoors.
Packrafts are not new, but they have mostly been familiar to whitewater enthusiasts and adventurers until recently. However, this year, they have become more mainstream as couples and families discover how versatile and fun they are. As their name suggests, packrafts are inflatable boats that are easy to carry in your backpack. Most weigh under 10 lbs. They can easily roll up to fit in a bag or the trunk of your car. Lumkes says that the possibilities they have opened up to her family are exciting, “We’ve always been a family that loves the outdoors, and we go hiking as much as we can in the summers. In the past, we’d hike up to a gorgeous mountain lake and sit and look at it as we ate our lunch. Now, we can inflate our boats (n under 5 minutes and set out for a paddle. We can even take a different route home, via a stream or river with our packrafts. Suddenly, our teenage kids actually want to go hiking/rafting, and we are engaging the outdoors on a whole new level.”
There are a wide variety of packrafts. Some are designed especially for rivers and whitewater; others are great for still water and lakes; while others are built for two people or are self-bailing. They are becoming increasingly popular for recreational fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and exploring. Camping Hiking Adventures sells MRS (Micro Rafting Systems), a brand that developed in Europe and was mostly known and loved in Europe until recently. They stand behind their products with a three-year warranty that their customers appreciate but seldom have to use, as their boats are much more durable and rugged than they initially appear.
Like many of us, Lumkes has had to pivot and make some changes over the past 18 months. Helping people find a quality packraft that suits their needs and will last for many years has been a source of joy not only for her but for many customers. As Mark, who recently purchased a packraft, said, “Thanks for making my son’s dream come true.” And making people’s dreams come true is what small business is all about!