Level 1: Foundations Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have had some exposure/paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

Curriculum

  • Gear Basics: Equipment & terminology (boat, paddle, PFD, drysuit, clothes), maintenance & care
  • Land Travel & Transport Basics: packing, hiking, carrying & boat inflation
  • Stowing Gear & Rigging for the Water
  • Entry Level Paddle Strokes for Basic Boat Control: Forward, backward & sweep strokes
  • Trip Plans: Executing day trips on class I moving water
  • Alaska Specific Considerations

Itinerary

Meet at trailhead parking lot for group introductions & course expectations. Here we discuss gear basics and answer questions before packing up our gear and hiking to the put-in. (45 min-1 hr)
The 2 mile hike is relatively flat with a trail the entire way; the trail may be wet with mud or snow. (1 hr)

At the put-in beach you’ll learn inflation basics & tips/tricks for stowing gear as you rig your boat (& yourself!) for the water. (30-45 min)

We go over paddle techniques & safety concerns/situational hazards for moving water before launching. Then the river becomes our classroom: paddling 3.2 miles of class I while refining boat control & paddle strokes along the way. (1.5-2 hrs) Course ends at the trailhead. Final Q & A, debrief and course wrap up before departure.

NOT COVERED IN LEVEL 1: Self or group rescue, swimming or rescue scenarios, throw rope use, intermediate/advanced paddle strokes, multi-day/overnight trips, reading class II (or higher) rivers and safety considerations.

NOTE: If water levels are too high on Eagle River; you will be notified if location changes to Portage Creek. 

Level 1 Gear Requirements

  •     Packraft
  •     PFD
  •     Paddle  (under 210 cm)
  •     Drysuit
  •     Backpack (60L min)
  •     Hiking clothing
  •     Base layers for drysuit
  •     2 pairs socks (trail is often wet=1 for hike, 1 for paddle)
  •     Paddling pogies/gloves (optional)
  •     Footwear (running shoes/neoprene paddling booties, no open toed shoes/sandals)
  •     Dry bag for personal gear (must attach to boat, carabiners must be locking)
  •     Water bottle, lunch/snacks
  •     State Parks Decal or day parking pass (Eagle River courses)

River Difficulty: Class I

Length

1 day, 5-6 hrs

$175

Group Max

10

Course locations:

Eagle River

(Portage Creek as needed)

Meet up at:

Briggs Bridge Parking Lot

Gear Rental

If you require gear rentals to participate in a course, call or email the school to confirm availability & make your gear reservation PRIOR TO ONLINE REGISTRATION & PAYMENT! 

Packrafts & drysuit rentals are limited; these items also have size specifications.

If you book & pay for a course without rental confirmation you are responsible for providing the gear list items- people often borrow from friends or rent from elsewhere.

Rental Costs

  • Packraft $40 day
  • Drysuit $30 day
  • Paddle $5 day
  • PFD: $5 day

Everything: (boat, drysuit, paddle, PFD): $50 day

Course Dates

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Event Series Level 1: Foundations

Level 1: Foundations (AM session)

Briggs Bridge Parking Lot Eagle River Greenbelt Trailhead, Eagle River, AK, United States

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have had some exposure/paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

Event Series Level 1: Foundations

Level 1: Foundations (PM session)

Briggs Bridge Parking Lot Eagle River Greenbelt Trailhead, Eagle River, AK, United States

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have had some exposure/paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

Event Series Level 1: Foundations

Level 1: Foundations (PM session)

Briggs Bridge Parking Lot Eagle River Greenbelt Trailhead, Eagle River, AK, United States

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have had some exposure/paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

Event Series Level 1: Foundations

Level 1: Foundations (AM session)

Briggs Bridge Parking Lot Eagle River Greenbelt Trailhead, Eagle River, AK, United States

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have had some exposure/paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

Event Series Level 1: Foundations

Level 1: Foundations (PM session)

Briggs Bridge Parking Lot Eagle River Greenbelt Trailhead, Eagle River, AK, United States

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have had some exposure/paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

FAQ

Related Courses & Trips

Crow Pass Traverse

Hiking the Crow Pass Trail then paddling Eagle River offers all the best parts of Alaska: traveling the Historic Iditarod Trail, viewing historic mining areas, taking in waterfall views & epic glacial scenery in the high alpine before floating downstream.

Level 2: Whitewater Essentials

For paddlers with previous packrafting experience wanting to strengthen their ability to read & paddle class II-III rivers.  River safety, rescue skills & risk assessment is also practiced.

Week of Rivers: Class II

The “Week of Rivers” offers a blend of exploration & skill progression. This is a frontcountry tour, showing you a different river each day, a mix of roadside runs & others we hike into.