PackRafting Level 2

Introduction to Whitewater

Packraft Level 2 is designed to give the student the knowledge of the risk and the skill needed to navigate class II rivers. Students learn how to read the river, develop efficient paddling technique and the ability to find and stop in eddies. You are only as safe as the weakest link in your group. Therefore understanding and employing group safety protocols is an important safety element inpackrafting trips.

Packrafting Level 1 or have one day of packrafting on a class I or II river Students need to be capable of controlling their packraft in moving current
Fitness level:
Must be able to remain outside all day, swim in moving water, sit and paddle a packraft for several hours.
Course Duration:
One day
Eagle River, bridge-to-bridge section. Other locations maybe used depending on water conditions.  MAP for parking
See Event Calendar for times, dates, meeting locations for this class



Level 2 is for those that are ready to develop control and confidence in faster class II water. If you are ready to take charge, stop pin-balling down the river on a hope and a prayer, and control your boat rather than have the river control your boat, then this is your class.

The entire class is delivered outdoors. You begin by scouting the river and identifying critical features formed by rocks such as: pour around; pour over; holes; and standing wave features. In addition students will identify real hazards versus perceived hazards. And, the most important feature – eddies; your brakes in the river.

After the river scout, the group will drive to the put-in to begin practicing control. The class will cover different types of packrafts, how to size your boat for whitewater and rigging safety lines. Paddles matter: We discuss how paddle length, stiffness and blade shape impact ones performance in whitewater. Students engage in dry land paddling drills to develop proper torso rotation, which is key to power in river paddling.

Students will proceed down river to practice ferry skills and eddy turns. The key to controlling ones descent is the ability to maintain a proper upstream ferry angle and the ability to stop in any eddy anywhere. In addition to developing these two skills, students will also have the opportunity to capsize their packraft and learn how to remount their packraft from deep water  in a safe controlled setting. Remounting is an important skill to master, level 2 gives you the opportunity to find out how “hard” or “easy” remounting is for you but we do not focus on this skill. Level 3 devotes significant time to mastering this safety skill. As students proceed down the river you will discuss and implement  important group safety protocol when running class II rapids.

The class concludes with a scout of a class III rapid discussing potential hazards and preferred “paddling lines” for the rapid. You will walk this rapid.

Course Outline:

  • Equipment; packraft differences, paddle characteristics
  • Hydrology, river gauges, planning your trip, resources
  • Efficient paddling technique, posture, torso rotation, high angle vs. low angle
  • Basic boating maneuvers
  • Strokes; forward, reverse, sweep, draw,Reading moving water class II with strainers, sweepers. rocks, holes, waves
  • Catching eddies and ferry techniques
  • Day trip planning
  • Scouting rapids from shore and from the river (read & run)
  • Group safety: whistle signal, hand signal, lead boater, sweep boater, buddy system


Required equipment: you supply

  • Packraft. a spray deck is not required. If your packraft is more than 8 years old you should consider renting one of our Alpacka boats ($20 rent).
  • Paddle If yours is > 200 cm (many of you have >=210cm, it’s too long. Whitewater requires a high angle technique which requires a shorter paddle. If you are under 5ft 10 inch a 210 cm paddle will handicap your ability to develop proper whitewater skills. Consider renting a shorter paddle ($5 rent)
  • Drysuit.  ($20 rent).
  • Whitewater helmet. Old school climbing helmets are bad. Your helmet must be secure so as not to tip back exposing your forehead. If we do not like your helmet we will give you one
  • Wet suit gloves. water is cold, not required, but if you do tolerate cold, they are worth it
  • Running shoes. Shoe must lace, no sandals, 
  • (you will be out for 5-6 hours)
  • Water bottle. (ability to clip into boat is of value)
  • Bug spray (optional).
  • Sun screen (optional).
  • Dry bag (optional). Have a clip to secure it to your boat.
  • Dogs Leave them home. You will be away from your vehicle for 4 or more hours.
  • State Parks decal. Your car will be parked on State Park land requiring a $5 parking fee  or decal.


Questions? Contact


Eagle River, Alaska