How to start into pack rafting?


Hey there! I would love to get into pack rafting + would love any advice or really top gear items to have for starting out? Thanks!!!


  • mikesee
    mikesee Member Posts: 5

    You need to give a lot more info on where you live, where and how you plan to use your new boat.

  • krysta_king
    krysta_king Member Posts: 11

    @mikesee thanks Mike! I live in Washington state but frequent Southern Utah + AZ with all the states along the way. Ideally I’m looking to use it for non-whitewater trips, less aggressive. Backpacking, hiking + route finding are in my wheelhouse so I’m looking to put them all together while adding the rafting element!

  • bdavis
    bdavis Member Posts: 5

    @krysta_king Pack rafting is a super user friendly activity that requires minimum skill set. The rafts are easy to paddle, especially on flat water. If seeking to utilize them in current or whitewater, I would suggest getting some good instruction--which is becoming more and more prevalent at whitewater instruction programs. Some good resources for all things pack rafting include the following:

    American Pack Raft Association--

    Alpacka Raft--

    The Pack Raft Handbook --

    There are also numerous facebook pack rafting forums for meeting others; condition reports; used gear; etc.

    Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.


  • krysta_king
    krysta_king Member Posts: 11

    @bdavis thank you so much for this helpful information!!! I’m just looking for the flat waters- Can’t wait to get out + start exploring!!!!

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92

    before you seriously invest in any watercraft, join a kayak or canoe club or just visit. Most LOVE newbies and really like to help. You will learn a lot of stuff

    1. you will need help
    2. you will need a group
    3. Rent one first.
    4. you should not as a new person, go alone. Can you swim? How about upside-down?
    5. See what do men buy? What do women buy and quietly shop the sales or used gear
    6. How are these things transported and stored in the off season?
    7. What kind of vehicle will you need?
    8. What kind of upper torso strength do you need for loading, hauling, storing, or paddling?
    9. Take your time.
    10. What are the "good" brands and why?
    11. Do you prefer salt, brackish or fresh water?
  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 100

    Hi @krysta_king,

    I was just going through old posts, and came across your question. There's some good advice above. I think some of what I included on this thread may also be of use:

    I am far from an expert, but have enough trips under my belt to have a feel for things, and totally understand not knowing where to start. Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.