Paco Pads

1 04 2011

Just recently my partner told me he wanted to purchase a “Paco Pad” for his 8 day trip down the Colorado River.  I said sure if this will help you sleep better.  What I didn’t realize was the price tag attached to a “Paco Pad”.    The price of these pads ranges from $150-$340.  So, I asked myself really what is a “Paco Pad”?

According to all our river guides here at the River House it is a “must have” on the Grand Canyon.  Each one of our guides has a special relationship with their own paco pad.  I am wondering if this is like the relationship I have with my water bottle?  I have been thru so much with my water bottle.  We have traveled to 5 different countries, 16 different states and even an island.   I do get the special relationship some of us might have with our outdoor equipment.  Everyone at work here assures me that the $$$ spent on Mike’s Paco Pad will make him feel like he is on his Tempur-Pedic at home.  According to the manufacture it is feather bed of outdoor camping.

Photo from River Connection


Please read the following excerpt from Jacks Plastic Welding Inc. (the manufacture of Paco Pads):

One of the great selling points of Paco Pads for river runners was the fact that they did not need to be rolled up. When they are unrolled, they are as functional in the day time as they areat night for sleeping. To illustrate this point, consider a raft that has a lot of coolers, and ammo cans and stuff in the cargo area. This stuff can clank around, and a passengers fingers can get smashed or even cut off if they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Paco Pads not only cushion the passengers, they also keep them from getting stuck where they don’t belong. Add to this the insulating factor that pads provide on a raft and there is a great benefit to a ice chest’s ability to hold ice. We have even rolled up beverages inside them and kept things cold inside a rolled up pad for the entire day. On our long Grand Canyon private trip it is fun to watch the evolution of a raft rig. On the first day a raft will be rigged so that all the stuff can be secured to the boat. By the second or third day, the passengers have figured out how to rig the boats so that the pads are actually elaborate lounge chairs. There is a lot of heavy snoozing that can go on during the day, and they figure out how to make it work well fast. There has been a lot of peanut butter and jelly smeared on Paco Pads. They work well as a place to set up lunch, and help to keep food bits off of the beaches. They can be simply rinsed off in the river. It is a good idea to wash them with soap and water occasionally so that rodents do not get the idea that they are something to eat in the winter while they are in the garage.

Alright I get it!  It is functional, durable, has multiple uses, and waterproof! And guess what, they make Paco Pads for your pets too! I guess I will be taking Vida and Pepper on the river with us this summer. Stay tuned for some pictures!

To  learn more about the Paco Pad from the Jacks Plastic Welding Inc. go to their website:

written by: Melinda Koshi Vega, Recreation Office Coordinator at the River House

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