Packrafting is seemingly on the cusp of a boom at the moment with more and more people keen to experience the advantages that a packraft provides. This cool and highly addictive adventure tool opens up the opportunity to visit remote and amazing environments – some of which are only accessible via challenging rapids and through steep-sided gorges. With ever increasing numbers and a wider variety of participants, it is important for both newcomers and ‘experienced’ packrafters alike to consider the inherent dangers of river environments. This site focuses on providing you with some important tips and resources to keep you safe whilst maximising your fun on the water.
As a whitewater kayak instructor and passionate packrafter I have to admit that I have often been nervous and concerned about the lack of preparation and insight that some packrafters exhibit to the dangers of whitewater. In a kayak it usually takes several years for a paddler to become proficient enough to paddle grade/class IV and above, rapids. Such a timeframe is a good thing in that this often allows kayakers to become highly competent at self and group rescues on easy water before they start tackling stretches of serious committing rapids. With the increased confidence that a stable packraft provides many inexperienced packrafters fail to see the dangers that exist in a dynamic whitewater environment. As a result they are over confident about their ability to handle challenging river environments. I regularly see a significant number of inexperienced packrafters tackling potentially dangerous rapids and remote river gorges that are way beyond their actual competence level should something go ‘unexpectedly’ wrong. It doesn’t matter whether it is grade II or grade V, all rivers need to be respected and to be taken seriously as whitewater fatalities regularly happen on easy graded water too.
A successful and safe trip is based on intelligent pre-planning before you head outdoors.
Click on the LINKS BELOW to learn more about the ten points that I recommend all packrafters consider before getting on whitewater:
As time goes on I hope to add in a lot more links to videos and websites that teach and highlight these principles