Tune-Up Tuesdays Every Tuesday in May! Gain confidence & get ready for river season while meeting new paddle partners!

Alaska Packraft School, a leader in skills courses & education, is teaming up with Knik Canoers & Kayakers for this special course.  

This progressive 4 week series starts at ground zero & helps anyone new to paddling or river sports grow the skills needed to access class II rivers with packrafts in Alaska.  This course exposes you to everything from gear, paddle skills, rescue basics, river mechanics- even the “raft packing” land travel tips & tricks essential for hiking & integrating their use as access tools. 

The beauty of weekly lessons allows time to practice & refine the skills you just learned- this allows for a deeper & more thorough understanding of material covered.  Different from a typical “weekend warrior” course format, you’ll have time to let the content really sink in before we meet again the following week to strengthen & build on skills covered the week prior.  “Tune Up Tuesdays” have low student to instructor ratios (4:1) & a “challenge by choice” teaching methodology to help meet you where you’re at with your packraft goals.

Don’t miss this opportunity!  Gain confidence & get ready for river season while meeting new paddle partners!


Minimum Age: 16 (minor participants must be accompanied by parent/guardian)


Gear Rental Rates:

  • Packraft $30 day ($100 full course)
  • Drysuit $30 day ($100 full course)
  • Paddle $5 day ($15 full course)
  • PFD: $5 day ($15 full course)
  • Whitewater Helmet: $5 day ($15 full course)
  • Everything: (boat, drysuit, paddle, PFD, helmet for L2/3): $50 day or $150 full course


Gear Requirements: 

  • Packraft (w/ appropriate whitewater outfitting: combing & spray skirt/self-bailer, foot block, seat, backbend, thigh straps). Thigh straps highly recommended for Level 2 courses or anyone interested in whitewater paddling
  • Inflation method
  • Effective “grab loop” on bow (or bow bag) and stern/perimeter grab loop and/or line
  • Whitewater Helmet (climbing or bike helmets not acceptable)
  • Whitewater PFD, min 15.5 lbs flotation. (PFD must have whistle)
  • Whitewater paddle (large power face; under 210 cm, breakdown or full length okay)
  • Drysuit (wetsuits okay, but not recommended)
  • Appropriate base-layers/insulation
  • Paddling pogies/gloves (optional)
  • Footwear (running shoes/neoprene paddling booties, no open toed shoes/sandals/crocs)
  • Dry bag or bow bag for personal gear (must securely attach to boat, NO non locking carabiners)
  • Water bottle, lunch, snacks
  • State Parks Decal or day parking pass (for Eagle River sessions)



We meet at Goose Lake in Anchorage for group introductions & course expectations. We’ll go over all the packrafting equipment, sizing, use & considerations with gear selection.  Learn basic paddle strokes, receiving individual feedback to refine technique & proper body mechanics.  Instructors demonstrate effective methods for re-entering a capsized boat (self-rescue & whitewater swimming practice).  We take full advantage of the warm temperatures & calm water to practice group rescue scenarios & quick decision making before applying it to moving water later in the course.

  • Gear Basics: Equipment & terminology (boat, paddle, PFD, drysuit, clothes), maintenance care
  • Entry Level Paddle Strokes: Forward, backwards, bracing & sweep strokes
  • Boat Control & Effective Body Mechanics
  • Wet exit & re-entry techniques/self rescue
  • Assisted & group rescue techniques
  • Defensive swimming techniques



Meet at Briggs Bridge trailhead parking lot in Eagle River. Here we explore “raft packing” basics and answer questions before packing up our gear and hiking  to the put-in on Middle Eagle River.  The 2 mile hike is relatively flat with a trail the entire way, taking about 1 hour.  At the put-in beach you’ll learn  tips/tricks for stowing gear as you rig your boat (& yourself!) for river environments.

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.  Course ends at the trailhead parking lot. 

River Difficulty: Class I



Meet at Begich Bogg Visitor Center in Portage.  Here we’ll practice wet-exit & re-entry on the lake before continuing downstream.  This class II section of river offers the ample opportunity to focus on reading rivers and class II whitewater while growing our paddling skills & boat control.  This session emphasizes catching eddies & effective ferrying to maneuver within fast current. 

By the end of the evening, we’ll create & stage opportunities for “live action” wet-exits, swiftwater swimming & rescue scenarios in moving water.  You’ll be supported by your instructors &  peers with both self & group rescue drills. 

River Difficulty: Class I-II



Meet at Briggs Bridge Eagle River Greenbelt Trailhead, the “Bridge to Bridge” section put-in.  Our last lesson begins with a “mini classroom” session: unpacking basic hydrology concepts & how it applies to packrafters.  Throw rope rescue techniques are demonstrated & practiced on dry land before going to the river.  Additional rapid scouting tools are shared before continuing with paddle skills, boat control, river reading throughout our last session.

We’ll also share insight on rapid scouting & “when to portage” considerations.  We’ll use the infamous class III/III+ Campground Rapid as an ideal teaching venue.  When & how to scout, land scouting vs boat scouting & methods to help you identify when you should simply “get out & walk around.”

Depending on water levels & skills, students may have the opportunity to run Campground Rapid.  Instructors will model class III techniques & skills- monkey see monkey do :) before setting safety for those interested at the bottom.

We’ll run shuttle & wrap up our last session with a group debrief and Q/A before we part ways. 

River Difficulty: Class II/II+

Dates & Locations

(Every Tuesday in May, 5-9pm)

  • May 7th,: Goose Lake, Anchorage
  • May 14th: Middle Eagle River (above Briggs Bridge)
  • May 21st: Portage Creek
  • May 28th: Eagle River, “Bridge to Bridge”

$400 (all 4 sessions)

Rentals not included

Group Max


Trip Dates

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Related Courses & Trips

Level 1: Packraft Foundations

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have 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.

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.