Kit Review - Above Below RuckRaft for Swimming and Trekking

Andrew Wallace
28.10.20 09:43 AM Comment(s)

Hiking and Swimming Using the RuckRaft from Above Below

We've been testing the RuckRaft from Above Below through late summer and Autumn here in Pembrokeshire and we love it! 

What's a RuckRaft?

A RuckRaft is a swim tow float with a difference. Designed to carry hiking gear, it's a bow shaped swim tow float and comes with strong webbing that's used to strap hiking gear into it and then tow it across open water.

Swimtrekking ruckraft from Above Below.
A 'RuckRaft' from Above Below.

How Does the RuckRaft Work?

The RuckRaft also comes with a very well made dry bag. The dry bag is designed to store all your hiking gear and keep it dry when you tow the RuckRaft behind you in the open water. It is very well made, highly robust and will withstand a lot of abuse on the trails and in the water. And, of course, it is 100% waterproof!

RuckRaft drybag for swimtrekking
The RuckRaft comes with a heavy duty dry bag
Carrying kit on long swimtreks
Your hiking gear straps into the RuckRaft ready for the swim

Able to Carry Heavy Loads in Open Water

We tested the RuckRaft in open sea, in the Autumn, in Wales.

If you know Wales at all you will know this can mean some rather unpredictable conditions!

On our initial swim / trek trip the RuckRaft performed extremely well, beyond expectations given the combined weight of the backpack, gear and the sea conditions at the time, which had taken a turn for the worse and had become quite choppy.

Here's a summary to give you an idea of what we were dealing with on the swim trek.

Pack: Osprey 65L rucksack

Kit: Hiking clothes, jetboil stove, brew kit, dried food, fruit, snacks, jacket, walking boots, kids gear

Kit weight: 23-25kg

Sea Conditions: choppy, open water sea, exposed to the elements

Average Swim Distance: 0.8 - 1.5 km

Total Swim Distance: 3 - 3.5km

Total Swim / Trek Distance: 12km

When you go swimtrekking the kit is carried on your back when hiking and on a tow float when swimming

Despite the conditions the RuckRaft bobbed along nicely, floating over the waves and was extremely stable. At no point did it look like the raft would tip over and we did not feel as if we were towing 25kg at all, in fact we barely noticed the weight any more than a normal swim tow.

It's even stable enough to hold onto if you need to for a breather - we found it useful to face the point of the bow and use the two overhead straps on each side as hand grabs.

Swimtrekking tours around Pembrokeshire
The swimtrek involved swimming in open sea around the Pembrokeshire coast

Designed to Take a Beating

We were immediately struck by how well this kit is made. It's designed for hard core use and will take a major beating. The webbing is tough, well stitched and of ample length (there is nothing worse that cost cutting measures such as shortening webbing to save production costs!)  The buckles are military grade and very sturdy. Everything about the product oozes quality.


The RuckRaft is a great idea and is well-made with no scrimps on quality.

Yes, it is a specialised piece of kit and will not likely be in the average open water swimmers kit list or Christmas stocking, but it does open up a whole new world of wonderful adventures!

If you like being outdoors, enjoy wild swimming and want to try something different, we would thoroughly recommend investing in one.

Interested in Swimtrekking?

  • We run swim trekking activities year round, around the beautiful and rugged coast of Pembrokeshire.
  • Route difficulty, length and level of 'extreme factor' can be tailored to your needs!
  • Overnight swim trekking options are available upon request.
Book your Swimtrekking Adventure!