PackRafting Level 1

Introduction to Packrafting

Packrafting Level 1 is designed to teach novice paddlers how to use a packraft in moving current (class I), basic river safety and how to execute entry-level packraft trips.

No packrafting experience necessary
Fitness level:
Must be able to remain outside all day, swim in moving water, hike 2 miles on varied terrain, sit and paddle a packraft for up to four hours.
Course Duration:
One day
Eagle River, Briggs Bridge picnic area.  
See Event Calendar for times, dates, meeting locations for this class

This Level 1 course is for students and visitors alike. A great experience for anyone who wants to test out packrafting. Designed to teach the basics for any level of adventurer. We will cover how to use and paddle a packraft, river safety basics and how to execute entry-level packraft trips in class I rivers.

Level 1 provides students the full packrafting experience. Just ten minutes from Anchorage, on Eagle River, you will hike forty-five minutes on a gentle trail, stow gear, blow up you boat, learn efficient paddling technique and practice the skills required to “drive” your packraft safely down the river



Level 1 is for those that have never packrafted. It is the perfect class for those curious about the sport, those that own a packraft and want to learn safe practices before they venture out on their own or for Alaskans looking for a unique alternative day activity for their reasonably fit visitors. The class meets at the parking area of the Briggs Bridge access to Chugach State Park off of Eagle River Loop road (from the Glenn Highway take the Hyland road/ Eagle loop road exit, continue east to the brown state parks access sign, turn right, drive to end of the road).

You will need your own pack; minimum 55 liter If you have your own packraft, please arrive with everything packed and ready to hike. We recommend you have one pair of shoes for the class. Bring a running shoes (shoes MUST lace, no sandals please) that will serve as both your walking shoe and your river shoe.

It is a forty-five minute hike to your “put-in” on Eagle River. Before donning your drysuit, we recommend you change your base layer clothing and socks to a different dry set. On glacial fed rivers, even on sunny days, wearing damp base layers under your drysuit will make you cold.

Your instructor will show you how to store your gear inside the tube of your packraft. If you have your own packraft and it does not have TIZIP tube storage, you need to bring parachute cord to properly secure your pack to your deck. Please contact us before your class, we can send you instructions and pictures on how to create a bombproof harness.

Upper Eagle River is a gem! The mountain valley is spectacular. There is a true wilderness feel to your adventure. Before getting on the river you will engage in some “dry land” training to develop efficient paddling technique. Your instructor will also cover how to stop in eddies, move left and right in the river, proper boat angle to avoid collisions with trees on river bends, reading the river to avoid shallow areas and how to let the river do the work by selecting the optimal route.

Down the river you go. You will have the opportunity to “drive” your packraft where you want to go. Our goal is help you build the confidence to feel safe, in control and ready to launch your own packraft adventures.


Course Outline:

  • Equipment and use
  • Packing and carrying your packraft
  • Efficient paddling technique, posture, torso rotation, high angle vs low angle
  • Basic boating maneuvers
  • Strokes; forward, reverse, sweep,
  • Reading moving water, class I with strainers and sweepers
  • Catching eddies and ferry techniques
  • Day trip planning


Required equipment: you supply

  • Backpack ( 55 liters/ 3400 cu inch minimum)
  • Packraft, PFD, Paddle, ( rental$20)
  • Harness system to secure backpack to packraft deck if using your gear
  • Drysuit, Packrafts are wet, AK is cold, even with no rapids a drysuit is worth it. (rental for $20).
  • Running shoes that you can hike in and immerse in the river. Shoe must lace, no sandals (old pair of running shoes work great)
  • Warm under clothing, top, bottoms, socks (recommend one shirt/socks for hike, one for float)
  • Rain coat (weather dictated).
  • Snack (you will be out for 5-6 hours)
  • Water bottle, (ability to clip into boat is of value)
  • Warm hat/ Sun hat. Helmets are optional in this class
  • Bug spray
  • Sun screen
  • Dry bag: to secure cell phone, snack, warm hat, sun block, clip to secure in boat.

State Park parking fee Either $5 to State of Ak or have a Decal

Questions? Contact


Eagle River, Alaska