– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Highly Recommended Watch: Packrafting 101 Videos!

You really want to take a look at this! (At least if you have any interest in packrafting or boating rivers in general.)


Whitewater packrafting at Kymijoki in October 2012.

I spotted the Packrafting 101 video series by Media Feliz from Dave C’s excellent blog but in my opinion they are so good they deserve a post of their on – and few comments.

As packrafting is gaining popularity there has been a screaming need for a simple introductory video series on. Roman Dial’s book Packrafting! is a great resource and worth getting but for teaching boating technique a video is way better format than text. Although personal teaching from a guide or experienced boater is the best way to go, the high quality video series is very helpful – and even completely free!


Packrafting in Reisadalen in September 2012. I’ll be returning there in a week!

The first video is about getting ready for the river: how to inflate your raft, get into the boat and into the water. It’s showing the new Alpackaraft Whitewater Spray Deck but with the Cuiser Spray Deck things are actually even simpler. Personally I prefer inflating the seat and backrest before inflating the boat itself but I guess this is a matter of personal preference.

The second video is about the basic strokes, eddy turns and ferrying. Very good stuff, though I consider the eddy turns in the video to be beyond basic skills as packrafts are very stable and unless you turn into very strong current not much special maneuvering is needed. But of course, it doesn’t hurt to do the things in the proper way from the beginning. Ferrying is an important skill and I’d like to highlight also the usefulness of back ferrying (i.e. back paddling to slow you down and at the same time reposition yourself in the current to navigate obstacles or to get to the line you want to run).

The third (and final?) video is about river navigation which is maybe the most important skill for any river boater. In my opinion the video could start from even more basic things (like the “Vs” in the water, etc.) but it’s still very good stuff. Pay attention to dangerous obstacles, swimming in current and self-rescue with a packraft, which is surprisingly easy and useful technique! And remember, it’s never wrong to portage!

“Packraftafari!” 😉

PS. There’s also the Kickstarter funded Learn to Packraft! project by Ryan Jordan. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to back the project at the time so I don’t know what’s the situation of it but I’m expecting veru helpful super high quality outcome. And good news is that the 3-hour introductory level part will be available for free via American Packrafting Association.

– – –

Update, 2.9.2013:

In case you are into more advanced stuff and found the contents of the Packrafting 101 familiar, Luc Mehl has added a good Class IV Packrafting introduction on his great website. Good stuff and I think a lot of it is usefull in class 2 and 3 white water as well. And I agree with Luc, I highly recommend taking a course and going out with more experienced boaters. To my knowledge, beer works for kaykers all over the planet, not just in Alaska. 😉

Luc’s article also lead me to NSR’s Youtube channel which has a video series on Safety and Rescue. Worth taking a look if you’re interested in more serious whitewater packrafting as the safety perspectives are basically the same in packrafting and hardshell boating. I guess one of the few differences between hard shell boating and packrafting is in the self-rescue: Wet re-entry self-rescue with a packraft is quite easy and very usefull and naturally not mentioned in hardshell boating videos so you want to keep that in mind as well. Again these videos are something more for inspiration and ideas than actually learning skills. Skill are learned in the field so take a course and/or get out with experienced people.

(The above video is the first of 12 episodes, a good way to spend you lunch break today…)

– – –

And a little unpaid advertisement:

– In Finland and interested to try packrafting? Rent one from Mark at Backpacking North!
– Would you like to learn packrafting in safe and efficient way or go for an epic packrafting tour in the Northern wilderness? Hire me as a guide!
– Living in Europe and wanting to buy a packraft (or cool accessories)? Packrafting-store.de is what you are looking for!


7 responses to “Highly Recommended Watch: Packrafting 101 Videos!

  1. kirisyko 29/08/2013 at 15:14

    Reblogged this on Sykose Extreme Sports News.

  2. korpijaakko 29/08/2013 at 15:18

    Thanks for the reblogging! 🙂

  3. Martin Rye 29/08/2013 at 23:07

    I respect the efforts to push safety I see in the Packrafting community. I salute the way its pushing skill as well. Its good to see. The videos are great! What will the Ryan Jordan ones be like Vs those ? Free/Paid for. Will paid for content be any better? Who knows. Its good to see stuff like this.

  4. korpijaakko 29/08/2013 at 23:35

    Thanks for your thoughts, Martin!

    Pacrafting started from an unconventional idea backpackers in boats! Thus the perspective on safety was and still is different than in the established, more traditional and somewhat concervative boating. And this is not always a good thing. I think skills and safety go hand-in-hand here so videos like these are very important. Though of course safety requires also understanding and sound judgement, which are little more difficult to teach via videos or books. But as we also have courses, guiding and instruction available, we are going the right direction.

    I understood that the “Level 1” introductory videos (3 hours total) would be available for free in SD-format. So at least there is a lot more material than in the Packrafting 101. I hope it also starts from even more basic things as the 101 here is more of a river boating videos than an introduction to packrafting in general. The intermediate and advanced sets (Levels 2 & 3) will be paid content and should offer bang for the buck as it will be about more advances topics and techniques. Depending on the quality of the Level 1 I might go and invest on the Levels 2 and 3. At least I have high hopes. 😀

  5. korpijaakko 02/09/2013 at 11:20

    I added a little update on the post on 2.9.2013.

  6. Dave 16/08/2015 at 05:13

    Thanks for posting the videos. 🙂 Been looking for them.

  7. korpijaakko 17/08/2015 at 11:22

    You’re welcome. Excellent videos!

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