Packrafting, the possibility to not see water bodies as an obstacle on your trekking trips, but as an Opportunity: An opportunity to cross lakes, float down rivers, or even go white water rafting! With the Anfibio REBEL 2K the Packrafting Store has launched a packraft which is ideal for both absolute packrafting beginners and seasoned packrafters, too! It’s versatile in use and it’s compact pack size and light weight make it a dream for remote backpacking - packrafting trips!
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A ridiculously small pack size and a weight of around 2 kg make the Anfibio Rebel 2K an absolute dream to carry on backpacking trips, especially if you go off-trail over the hills. On the water the Rebel 2K shows that it’s not a kids toy: You can run rapids in it, with the optional skeg you paddle large water bodies more efficiently and faster, and the tube bags are amazing to store your gear while paddling, without having a backpack in front of your eyes! Watch the Video to see it in action:
The Rebel 2K arrived in March 2020 with me, and I have used it for paddling on lakes and rivers, paddling in the Kvarken Archipelago and I paddled 80 km on the Ivalojoki in Lapland. It has seen a lot of use, and the season isn’t over yet!
IMPORTANT! The Anfibio Rebel 2K you see in this Review and Video is an early version (late 2019), and since then some things have been changed (e.g. the handle on the inside has been removed) and other details further improved.
The idea of a packraft was to allow you to ferry across large rivers and water bodies in remote areas. Nowadays packrafts are a sport on itself, and are used to run difficult, hard white water rapids, in Adventure Races, for fishing and also for trekking and relaxed paddling! Packrafts are inflated with an inflation bag and have one (rarely more) large air chamber. They are light weight - anything from 500 g to 5 kg or more.
My Anfibio Rebel 2K with the optional tube bags weighs all in 2430 gram. Included in that weight is also the special Anfibio Rebel 2K Comfort Seat, which is 295 g, and the Anfibio DeckPack with 225 g. Not included, but useful to take along on large lake crossings, is the Anfibio Skeg, which is 85 g light. And obviously you also need the inflation bag, which is 108 g. You also need a paddle, PFD and a ∞ Helmet if you want to paddle rapids.
The features, according to the Packrafting Store:
- Spacious, 37 cm wide inner with great foot space
- J-shaped Spraydeck which can be rolled to the side, making it an open boat
- Optional TubeBags for transport of your gear inside of the packraft
- Fin Mount for the optional Skeg
- Included Comfort Seat
Designing such a playful, versatile and lightweight yet durable packraft is an innovation, yes. You have to be more careful on low water, but with normal care and the intended use this packraft should last you long!
The Packraft is Made in China, and this helps with it’s quality. Not many Western countries have access to the skilled labour force, the materials or tools necessary to produce such high quality packrafts which still do not cost a fortune. I found the quality, looking at the complete package, to be great. As the Packrafting Store gives an extended 3 year Warranty on the Rebel 2K, I imagine they are also convinced that it is a quality product!
Sustainability & Recyclability
As the packraft is Made in China it means it has to be transported by sea to Europe or elsewhere, and also labour and environmental standards are still lower in China than in Europe. On the other hand, most other packraft manufacturers also use materials which are made in China. I didn’t find a mention about sustainability or similar on the Packrafting Store website, which is something which could be addressed. In use a packraft is a long-lasting item, and always can be repaired, so I am not sure if the topic of recyclability is needed.
Edit: I found this short information (in German) about the materials, recyclability and fair pay. The Packrafting-Store.de also reached out to inform me that their packrafts, which are Made in China, are transported via a land route to Europe, and not via sea!
I absolutely am in love with the light weight of my Anfibio Rebel 2K packraft setup. Together with the 920 g light Anfibio Wave paddle, the Anfibio BuoyBoy Vest and my ∞ Petzl Helmet I have a packrafting setup which weighs around 4,5 kg. However, more important for me is the compact pack size which fits easily into or on top of a ∞ Hyperlite Mountain Gear SouthWest 3400 pack or the HUCKEPACKS Phoenix Lite. Having such a compact packraft setup, which also is able to run Class II or more rapids, is immensely useful for me as it allows me to go more off-the-beaten track and run more remote waters.
I found the Rebel 2K to perform well in rapids up to Class II+ with a good amount of water. The raft is agile and it’s easy to get it to go where I want it to go, and it also breaks well through waves. It’s OK in turning into an eddy or easy surfing, and I never capsized in it - it’s a pretty wide boat, and then packrafts generally are difficult to capsize. I haven’t tried doing an Eskimo roll in it, as I don’t have thigh straps, but you could install those for getting even more control over the raft and doing rolls. I used my legs, pushing against the inner tubes, for control, which worked good. I think also beginners will feel confident in this packraft, when running their first white water (as confident one can feel when one is for the first time running white water!)
The Spraydeck is a bit of a weak point for me, though - the Velcro closure will at some point let some water through, and I can’t get the Chimney to close reasonably well around my chest which means it will slide down after a while of paddling. I maybe simply should sew on some shoulder straps to solve this issue 🤔 (Edit: The Spraycdeck + Chimney has been improved in current models, and should be better than mine, which is a packraft from the first batch.) I also had some water pool on the Spraydeck after especially big waves, but simply pushing my knees and the Chimney up got the water off the boat. If I don’t need the Spraydeck it’s stowed away in a minute, neatly rolled and strapped to the side, making it an open boat. This is ideal for only crossing water bodies.
The Comfort seat which comes with the raft is good and comfortable, but the strap which you use to connect the seat to the raft ripped out of the seat after a day on the water - that should probably get a better, more durable seam in the future. In use I found this great, as that way I could take the seat easily out to inflate + deflate and use it in camp for sitting. Inflating the seat is hard work - the valve needs strong lungs to inflate, and deflating it is also not my favourite part of a trip, but practice makes perfect. Overall the cockpit of the raft is really generous - 37 cm width on the inside is plenty for me, and I can sit with legs completely stretched out in the boat. There’s a lot of space for my feet and legs, which allows me to move around to switch positions.
On calm lakes, the sea and slow-flowing rivers the Rebel 2K performed flawlessly, especially with the Fin mounted and the wind in the back. I was able to paddle 4 to 5 km an hour with it under such conditions, but even paddling into 10 m/s wind I paddled 2 km in an hour. I do feel it is best suited for paddling on rivers with a good flow - or then that’s what I prefer, as it’s less work with good speed 🤣
At the start of my Ivalojoki trip I got a tiny puncture into the main tube after I was sliding over gravel in some really low water sections (I should have simply got out and walk it, but I didn’t want to get wet feet 😬) and it drove me insane - I spent two evenings looking for an hour each for the hole, without success. On the third day on the water I by coincidence found it and was able to fix it, which gave me peace of mind. I also would recommend anyone who wants to buy a Rebel 2K to order a set of LifePatches with the raft, as strangely there’s some repair fabrics coming with the raft but nothing to attach them with. That tiny puncture wasn’t bad, I had to inflate the packraft every hour with two, three puffs to get it again fully inflated, but it still was something that made me feel uneasy when running the more demanding rapids - something which I could have avoided completely if I’d remember my Rule #1: “Never slide with your packraft over gravel banks!”. So, learn from my mistakes, and do it better!
Finally, the optional Tube Bags. Well, optional only if you are not going to do long paddling trips with the raft, and as you’re reading this review chances are that is exactly what you have in mind. So take the Rebel 2K with TubeBags. It’s so much better than strapping the backpack with all your gear to the front of the boat, it limiting your view on the water and the possibility to transport your bike on it. I love the TubeBags. They are so easy to use, and 70 l of Volume per Tube Bag is ridiculously large. I could fit the complete content of my backpack in there, all the camera gear, and the backpack itself. It’s fantastic. You need to plan what you need throughout the day, as you can not open the TubeBags when the raft is inflated (doing that will break the TubeBags), so pack your stove, coffee and lunch into the DeckPack and you’re good to paddle the whole day without going hungry or decaffeinated.
Could be better
Durability versus lightness, it’s the Battle of Eternity. In one of the MRS Packrafts I can slide over gravel all day long without much of a problem - but then it is almost double as heavy as the Rebel 2K, and also a lot bigger in pack size. And as my packrafting style is more of a “Hiking in the hills and then paddling” the Rebel 2K suits me much better, as it makes the hiking and backpacking part of the trip more enjoyable. Nevertheless, I wish the Rebel 2K could be a tad more durable, while still being just as light. I also would wish for a better Chimney on the spraydeck, or a way that it gets tighter on top and doesn’t slide down so easily. I know that this is a problem which only really slim people like me will have, but this is my review, and I can wish here for things that better suit me 😆
If you’re new to the world of packrafting and want the packraft to be an addition to your backpacking trips, or want to be able to paddle easy white water rapids, or cross lakes or the sea, then the Anfibio Rebel 2K is for you. This is one of the most versatile packrafts on the market, which combines a lot of great features:
- Light weight and compact pack size
- The forgiving and easy handling of the packraft in white water makes it ideal for beginners
- TubeBags are fantastic to transport gear on paddle trips
- With the optional fin you get faster on lakes and paddle more straight & efficiently
- The fantastically low price of 827 €!
- Did I mention the compact size and light weight yet?
All in all the Rebel 2K is for me the ultimate adventure packraft – the packraft I take when I will be hiking off-the-beaten track to get to scenic rivers, on which I then can paddle back into civilization. It is light on my backpack and great on the water - exactly what I expect from an adventure packraft!
If this sounds good to you, head over to the Anfibio Packrafting Store to order your Rebel 2K!
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