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.
- 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
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.
Level 1 Gear Requirements
- Paddle (under 210 cm)
- Backpack (50L 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
1 day, 5-6 hrs
Meet up at:
Briggs Bridge Parking Lot
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.
- Packraft $40 day
- Drysuit $30 day
- Paddle $5 day
- PFD: $5 day
Everything: (boat, drysuit, paddle, PFD): $50 day
Latest Past Events
This is a custom course for the Wojtowicz group; registration only for this party (not open to public).
This is a classic “must do”overnight trip with excellent “packraft symmetry.” 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. Packrafting Eagle River vs hiking down the valley allows better opportunities for wildlife spotting & taking in the surrounding Chugach Mountains.
For paddlers with previous packrafting experience wanting to strengthen their ability to read and paddle class II-III rivers. 2 full days