How To Bikeraft Q&A with Doom Continued

Colorado River to Lake Powell Bikerafting

How do you choose a route?

First, figure out where you want to go. Say you want to go to Bolivia. If I were a beginning bikepacker and packrafter that might be a bad choice. The terrain is very steep, complicated and mountainous. From a beginner’s standpoint, I would choose a route that was in my hometown. Ask yourself: “What are the waterways where I live? Can I ride my bike there? Can I self shuttle? Is it Class I?” That’s where you should start. If I can ride out my door to a river, paddle down it safely and put my bike on my boat, perfect. That will just set the hook immediately. Don’t just be like, I got a boat, I like biking, I’m going to go to Alaska and go to the Brooks Range. That’s crazy and the wrong way to approach choosing a route. Do something close to home.

Are there other things that people should consider when planning their adventures?

Where and when are your food resupplies? If those food resupplies are super rural little stores, you might want to know if they’re open on Mondays or not. Lots of places aren’t open on Mondays for some reason or Sundays in Utah.  Make sure you know how you’ll resupply your beer in Utah. Or you may want to know something about the liquor laws in that state or country you’re visiting. Are all the trails you’re riding and rivers you’re running legal? Are you crossing a national park? Do you need permits? There are a ton of details to consider. 

What’s the ideal number of people on a trip? 

I think the most efficient group for extreme, exploratory trips is three to four people because you can share gear and the burden of tasks–bike mechanics, navigation and just logistics in general. Six or seven people in my opinion is too many. You’ll often move really slowly, and you’re more likely to have mechanical issues. Fewer people means fewer popped sleeping pads and boats. Also, more things can go wrong with more people. What if that seventh person’s bike doesn’t show up? You’ll have to scrap the whole trip because you’re waiting for that bike. Less is more. You could equate it to a climbing trip. What’s the ideal number of people to climb a wall with? Two to three. Four is possible because you can climb in two groups. But more than that, and it becomes a shit show.  

What should I consider when I’m going solo versus with a group?

Well, first off, the river you’re doing should be much easier than what you might do with other people. And, you should know the river really well. Don’t go on a new river that you know nothing about by yourself. 

And going by yourself means you have to carry a lot of extra gear. If you don’t, you’re taking a big risk. You have to bring all the gear you might need in case something happens–a pump, a patch, kit, a tube, a multi-tool, first aid kit, etc. Sometimes you’ll even have to carry an extra paddle. 

Colorado River to Lake Powell Bikerafting-bikerafting the Colorado River