Canoe-dling in a Packa Shack

Post by Allie Cherry
February 04, 2018

So, getting up close & personal in our tailgate awning or getting out in your canoe or kayak and getting changed ready to head out onto the water or once you’re back from your adventure and getting changed and dry before heading home after a great day out in the water.

Packa Shack extends the space your vehicle offers, giving you shelter and privacy wherever you and your vehicle can get too.

The Shack also lets you extend your experience by offering you a space to hang out after your trip and shoot the breeze with your fellow paddles over a cuppa before heading home or off to your next watery adventure.

Whether you prefer sea kayaking around our beautiful coastline or running the rapids on one of our many fantastic rivers, the Shack will enhance and extend your experience.

Double Slalom Canoe

So, for the uninitiated amongst us, here is Packa Shack’s duffer’s guide to canoe slalom…

  • Canoe slalom is a race against the clock through a combination of up and downstream gates on a whitewater course.
  • The course length and number of gates varies with a maximum of 25 gates and length of 300 meters.
  • The course is set with a mix of upstream and downstream gates; each presents a unique challenge for the athlete, significantly testing their ability to read and work with the water flow whilst maintaining their trajectory, balance and speed.
  • The direction the athlete must travel through each gate is indicated by colour: red for upstream and green for downstream.
  • The difference between a kayak and a canoe is simple; it’s the number of blades on the paddle and the athlete’s position in the boat.
  • In kayak, the paddler is seated and uses a double-bladed paddle pulling the blade through the water on alternate sides to propel the boat forward.
  • In canoe, the paddle has a single-blade and the athlete is strapped into the boat with their legs bent at the knees and tucked under their body.

Introducing the baby of the family, the Hatch Shack..!

Post by Allie Cherry
February 04, 2018

It may be the baby of the Packa Shack family, but the Hatch Shack still packs a punch! Offering space, privacy and shelter for hatchback and estate owners, wherever they and their car can get to!

Designed around the Nissan Note, the Hatch Shack is the most recent of the Shacks to be designed at the request of hatchback and estate cars, increasing in height from 150cm on the roof of the car to 200cm high allowing all but the tallest of us to stand up in the back.

Hatch-Shack-Tailgate-Awning|Packa Shack

The standard measurement here at Packa Shack HQ is how many people can fight their way out off a wetsuit inside a Shack, in this case 2, accompanied by the international cry of the surfer / open water swimmer / kite surfer 'my elbow's stuck, get this off me!"

The Hatch Shack is a must for all you lovely hatchback and estate owners out there offering you somewhere to get changed before and after getting up to shenanigans in the great outdoors whether that's the hills, forest tracks, the river, beach or sea, and having a lovely cuppa in comfort when you get back!

In common with all of our Shacks which have a bit of a Tardis effect ‘it’s a lot bigger inside than you think’ the Hatch Shack offers a similar internal space to the Original Shack, which is 200cm high all the way across and slightly wider on the vehicle.

Unfortunately, the angle that the tailgate of hatchbacks opens to varies quite dramatically from car to car, so it might not work on your car.  The tailgate supports the Shack so if it opens too acutely it'll pull the Shack up off the ground.  As long as it comes out over your bumper at not too acute an angle it should be fine, but get in touch to double check.

Make a Hatch Shack part of your escape from the norm! #packashack

5 Star review - "Useful piece of kit"

Post by Allie Cherry
February 04, 2018

"Useful piece of kit"

Many thanks to Kerry C, who bought an Original Shack from us a few months ago.

"I've only used this once so far with my car (Mazda CX5) for a camping weekend but will be using it again shortly and I'm really looking forward to it. It's easy to put up and take down and packs away into a very neat roll. I also plan to use it when taking my elderly parents out for s drive, as somewhere sheltered to sit for a brew, but also to keep in the car to use with MR for getting changed in after a cold wet day searching. Well done Packa Shack, it's a great idea."

Packa Shack car awnings offering you freedom, extra space, shelter, warmth, privacy and comfort wherever you and your vehicle can get to in our great outdoors.

Make Packa Shack part of your escape from the norm! #PackaShack

The TARDIS Vs the Original Shack, who'd win...?

Post by Allie Cherry
February 04, 2018

It's a lot bigger inside than you'd think! an apt description of our first tailgate awning to be designed, presenting the Original Shack!

So, what do Dr Who in his various incarnations and yours truly, Allie Cherry-Byrnes, have in common...?

We both spend a lot of time in something which is people often exclaim is a lot bigger in side than you'd expect.

The Original Shack is where it all started at Packa Shack HQ, when I had my eureka moment after a particularly cold surf at Belhaven Bay near Edinburgh a few years ago. 

Picture the scene... February, horizontal sleet, me getting changed out of my wetsuit at the back of my Fiat Multipla.  Getting some shelter from the tailgate when I suddenly thought 'I could add walls to this'.

So, I went home got out my mum's old sewing machine and made the first one on the kitchen table, and here's the photo!


Then people started to ask me where I'd got it so, I thought I should make a more tailored prototype before taking it to a manufacturer.


So, I may not be able to travel through time, or battle evil across galaxies like the good Doctor.  But, I'd take my Packa Shack adventures over his any day!

Make Packa Shack part of your escape from the norm! #packashack


Packa Shack's Guide to BMX

Post by Allie Cherry
February 04, 2018

Packa Shack and BMX a match made in heaven, extra space, shelter, privacy, comfort where ever you, your BMX mad family and your vehicle can get to.  

Packa Shack | Parr Family

A beginners guide to BMX with thanks to the Wikipedia fairies...

BMX began during the early 1970s in the United States when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in southern California, inspired by the motocross stars of the time. The size and availability of the Schwinn Sting-Ray and other wheelie bikes made them the natural bike of choice for these races, since they were easily customized for better handling and performance. BMX racing was a phenomenon by the mid-1970s. Children were racing standard road bikes off-road, around purpose-built tracks in California.[1] The 1972 motorcycle racing documentary On Any Sunday is generally credited with inspiring the movement nationally in the United States; its opening scene shows kids riding their Sting-Rays off-road. By the middle of that decade, the sport achieved critical mass, and manufacturers began creating bicycles designed especially for the sport.

In the UK, BMX was a craze which took off in the early 1980s, specifically 1982/3, when it became the "must have" bicycle for children and teenager. Previously a small niche area, BMX exploded at this time into the dominant bicycle for the younger rider, with older teenagers and even adults becoming known names through publications like BMX Bi weekly, featuring big names like Tim March and Andy RuffelI. The shift to Freestyle from Racing came in 1985 with popular styling moving from chrome frames and contrasting components in black blue or red being the norm, to brightly coloured bikes in one colour only, including their mag wheels and even matching tyres. Perhaps the most iconic of this era was the all white Skyway models, with their famous red/Blue decals, capturing the excess of mid 1980s fashions perfectly. Because BMX exploded into Britain's streets so suddenly, it was perhaps inevitable that it would implode with similar speed, when the kids who rode the bikes left school and went to work. This was indeed the case, as by 1986/7 sales in the UK had dropped off dramatically, with the new ATB or "Mountain Bike" taking off and soon to become the generic adult bicycle, again from California where it had begun in the mid 1970s.[2] As Mountain Bikes began to dominate, this was the period when the millions of BMX bikes sold during the early/mid 1980s went through their "worthless" period, as the Raleigh Chopper had done during the BMX boom. A new spike in BMX came in the 1990s but fashions had changed. Colour schemes were low key, mirroring street fashion, the opposite to the bright colours and flashy decals of the 1980s. The influence of the "trendies" had given way to the next generation, with bottle green or even Brown frames, black components and a general lack of visual identification. Mag wheels were firmly out of fashion. The original UK BMX scene was now history.

Make Packa Shack part of your escape from the norm!


Is that a polar bear swimming next to me...?

Post by Allie Cherry
February 04, 2018

Open water swimming this winter?  Packa Shack offers you shelter, warmth and privacy wherever you're getting your bits out...! 

Make sure you’ve covered all the bases before taking the plunge. Thanks to the Opendoor Swimming Society for the following tips.

The following is the Opendoor Swimming Society pledge to 'embrace the rejuvenating effects of cold water' is a valuable mindset change for any open water swimmer. At first it may seem inconvenient that British waters are not warmer, but you may soon find you're addicted to the fresh feeling of natural water.

The good news is that it's relatively easy to acclimatise yourself to water temperatures in the UK, by nothing more complicated than swimming regularly in them.

The human body acclimatises to cold water so well that hundreds of swimmers cross the channel every year (at around 16 degrees, for 10 hours or more, any untrained swimmer would get hypothermia). Over seventy swimmers have done the Ice Mile (one mile in water at 5ºC and below wearing only a swimsuit, hat and goggles). A few swimmers have trained themselves to swim in the Artic.

Getting yourself into a situation where you enjoy summer swimming, particularly if you're prepared to start out with a wetsuit, should not take long.


First a note of caution; if you have a heart condition or asthma, see your doctor before taking up swimming outdoors. And ensure you read the section by Dr Mark before leaping in. Then...

  1. TAKE THE PLUNGE! Much of the acclimatisation process is mental - knowing the moment of immersion will feel cold, and embracing it anyway. Don't jump into really cold water unless you're acclimatised.
  2. EXHALE AS YOU GET IN. In cold water the ribcage contracts, which leads many swimmers to feeling they can't breathe. Exhale and the next breath will come naturally in. Shrieking, grunting and fwaw-fwaw-fwawing for your first strokes are perfectly natural accompaniments to a wild swim.
  3. WAIT 90 SECONDS. The pleasure of open water might not be immediate. Give your body a little time to react, and soon your circulation will start charging around and you'll feel alive. 
  4. FIND A ROCK OR TREE TO SWIM TO. Don't just jump in and think about how it feels, as the answer is likely to be 'cold', even unpleasant (particularly in wetsuits, where the expectation of warmth makes the cold dribble in around the zip particularly cruel). Set your intention (to swim to x), and then get in and do it. You'll feel good once you get moving.


The main safety risk you face as a wild swimmer is getting too cold. 

You get in, and after a few minutes of feeling uncomfortable the water feels pleasant. As a novice swimmer, you then attempt to cross the lake, but half way across start feeling cold again.  Your body continues to lose heat, blood shunts to the core to keep organs warm, muscles slow, arms and legs become weak, and swimming becomes increasingly difficult. i.e. you are "in difficulties" and are in imminent danger of drowning.

The media often report water related deaths as if they are mysterious, as if we can't predict what will happen when we're in it, and therefore we should just stay out. This isn't true. We know how cold impairs swimming, and we can moderate our risk by:

  1. Wearing a wetsuit, silicon hat, maybe even booties and gloves depending on the time of year 
  2. Swimming close to the shore
  3. Acclimatising