This Guy Has Been Using A Bicycle And A Packraft To Travel Across Europe For More Than Two Years

By Darren Alff

bikerafting with a touring bicycle and packraft

27-year-old Casey Link is traveling across Europe on a bicycle with an inflatable packraft attached to his rear rack. When he runs into a road, Casey packs up his bicycle, deflates his raft, and straps all of his earthly possessions onto the back of his bike. But when Casey reaches a river or lake, he can quickly inflate his packraft, pack his bicycle onto the small boat, and float away in the water.

For the last two years, Casey Link has been slowly making his way across Europe in this manner. Watch the video below to hear Casey discuss his bike touring and packrafting expedition with Darren Alff of Bicycle Touring Pro.

Casey Link met up with Darren Alff of Bicycle Touring Pro in Sibiu, Romania, which is where this video interview was conducted. The video is a recording of a live Internet web event that took place on Sunday, September 14th, 2014.

Details About Casey’s Boat & Bicycle:

Casey is traveling with a an Explorer 42 packraft, made by a company called Alpacka. The raft is a two-person packraft designed for single-bladed canoe style paddling or for a single- person carrying a large load (like a fully-loaded touring bike).

The Explorer 42 packraft that Casey is using weights about 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs), but the seats add about 150 grams each, bringing the total weight of the raft (minus the paddle, floatation device, etc.) to about approximately 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs).

The paddle Casey is using is a collapsible webbed paddle made of fiberglass and carbon fiber. It is a 4-piece paddle, meaning the blades make two pieces and the pole itself splits into two pieces as well. The blade collapses to a packed width of only 2.7 inches, so it is much easier to fit on a touring bike. The weight is 1 kg. It works best in flat water – not wild water.

Finally, Casey is using riding a Surly Long Haul Trucker Deluxe with Ortlieb roller classic panniers and Tubus racks. The Deluxe model of the Surly LHT touring bicycle comes with S&S couplers that allow Casey to split his bicycle frame in half, which is not only useful when packing his bike inside his packraft, but also when flying with the bicycle or traveling with it on boats, buses or trains. When asked whether the S&S couplers on his touring bicycle were necessary for the type of bikerafting expedition that he is undertaking, Case replied by saying that, “Fitting the bike and gear onto the packraft wouldn’t be feasible without the couplers.”

Casey Link floating down the river in his loaded packraft

Important Bikerafting Links & Information:

young man on loaded bike raft touring bicycle in romania

Highlights from the Bike Touring / Packrafting Video:

Use the information below to jump to the part of the Casey Link bikerafting interview that interests you the most.

  • Introduction – 00:01
  • Why use a packraft instead of a kayak or a canoe? – 04:35
  • What type of packraft are you using? How much does your packraft weight? And how much does a packraft cost? – 07:30
  • How does a packraft differ from the cheap, inflatable rafts you can purchase at stores like WalMart? – 09:00
  • What type of packraft do you need to do for a bikerafting expedition? – 10:30
  • How much does your touring bicycle weigh (with the packraft loaded on the back of it)? – 11:30
  • Where do you sleep when you are traveling with your bike and raft? – 14:00
  • How do you get your boat through the locks on big rivers? – 15:20
  • What was the best part of your bikerafting adventure in Europe? – 20:30
  • How long have you been traveling? – 24:20
  • How do you find the time and money to travel by bike/boat for years on end? – 25:15
  • What happens if you get a hole in the bottom of your packraft? – 28:30
  • Do you like traveling alone? Do you ever get lonely being by yourself all the time? – 36:00
  • What are your bike touring and packrafting plans for the future? – 38:00
  • How has bicycle touring with a packraft changed the way you view world travel? – 39:20
  • What are the weirdest questions people ask about your bikerafting trip? – 44:00
  • How much camping do you do during your travels? – 45:30
  • What one tip would you give to someone who wants to conduct a bikerafting expedition? – 47:30

If you have a question or comment for Casey Link about his bike touring, pack rafting or bikerafting expedition, the gear he uses, or anything else, please leave a comment below.

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4 Comments

  1. Gerry van der Weyden

    September 23, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Very interesting pursuit Casey – love it. Cycled from Istanbul to Amsterdam myself this summer and completely understand your comment re “seeing the river end”. Followed the Danube to its source at Donaueschigan and made a little “pilgrimage” to the point where 2 streams meet to start their journey to the Black Sea. At the same time, the dedicated paths along the river can become monotonous (like the canal you refer to linking the Main and the Danube) so we found alternatives. Always a pleasure to hear from like minded souls – both yourself and Darren. Keep living the dream!

  2. Mario Botero

    January 22, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Good Article, the world is very big, and dont have walls to the persons to have big dreams.

  3. Doug Tally

    March 13, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Hi Casey and Darren: the youtube video was extremely helpful. I’ve been researching and getting closer to decisions to bikeraft. Was decided on the the 20″ folding bikes but decided to use a 6″ non-folding disposable bike. I’ll remove the front wheel for packing in the raft. At least to start I won’t invest in a bike until I know what I need/want.

    You opened my eyes to the Explorer to accommodate backpack and bike. I was going to consult Alpacka about sizing and I’m sure now they will suggest the Explorer.

    I’ll be spending my time in N Wisconsin, UP of Michigan and Northern Michigan until I fine tune my awareness and uncover my limits.

    I didn’t want my note to be about me… I want to let you know how helpful the video was to me and share I have your interests too but more US for now.
    All the best,
    Doug

  4. Doug Tally

    March 13, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Oops… that was 26″ non-folding not 6″
    Doug

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