Basic packrafting skills – what you should know before your first packraft trip

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What skills are required for packrafting depends very much on what you are planning on accomplishing with your raft. A leisurely paddle on a small flat water pond will  not challenge you even if it’s your first paddle.

A first descent on a challenging whitewater course requires a thorough command of your packraft, confidence in your river reading skills, knowing how to use your equipment and lots of practice in less challenging environments.

This is my (made up on the spot) attempt at splitting packrafting into a set of skills:

  1. Use of basic equipment (short trips on flat water)
  2. Basic paddling skills (longer trips on flat water)
  3. River paddling skills (class I)
  4. Basic river reading skills (class II)
  5. Scouting and rescue
  6. Advanced boat handling and river reading (class III+)
  7. Trip planning (long trips, first descents)

In parenthesis is the type of rafting you might consider once you possess that skill level.

Please note that I consider myself to be in step 4 at the moment, so I’m extrapolating above my own skill set quite a lot. I still think this can be a quite useful road map for those just starting packrafting.

Let us enjoy packrafting!


Post time: Mar-20-2019

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