There are a few good websites out there that trace the evolution of the packraft. According to the folks at Alpacka Raft, packrafting can be loosely defined as "boating with a small packable boat that can be carried easily to wherever you want to use it."
The folks at packrafting.de have a pretty extensive history of the packraft beginning with Lieutenant Peter Halkett of the Royal Navy in 1844. 20 years after the invention of waterproof fabrics, Halkett introduced the "Cloth-Boat" that could also be worn as a cloak. Fast forward to 2000, and the modern packraft as we know it begins to take shape and can actually be used in moving water with some control. (check out the above links for more info)
Alpacka Rafts has been setting the bar high with their recent design by changing the bow and stern shape from the traditionally oval boat. This improvement has allowed river runners to actually run the rivers, waterfalls and navigate with much more control.
|So light, so amazing|
The boats are not designed to roll, but with some modifications Kirk and others have been making, rolling is now possible and makes this little boat about six pounds and able to go down almost anything!