Packrafting 101: Learn Basic Packrafting Skills
Learn to Packraft: Perfect Your Paddling Skills!
Turn the blue lines on maps into trails and learn to packraft in this beginner course. We’ll teach you what you need to know to run more difficult rivers! We seek to offer opportunities that, “get you on the edge of your own reality to feel things you’ve never experienced,” as FCG co-founder Steve “Doom” Fassbinder says. And we work hard to enhance your existing paddling skills so you can do bigger and more exciting packraft adventures, while at the same time pushing you just a bit further so you can, “find out what you’re really made of.”
This Learn to Packraft course is for the budget-minded adventurer wanting to practice paddling skills, catch and peel out of eddies, read the river, and more!
Meet your guide from 9:30a.m.-4p.m. in Durango at Santa Rita Park for a day of learning skills and practicing drills on the Animas River.
A 50% deposit is required to secure your space. The remaining balance will need to be received through 30 days prior to your course. The remaining balance is due immediately if you are registering inside of the 30 day window.
Cancellation Policy: Please review our cancellation policy, which you will find on our Terms, Conditions & Cancellation Policy Page.
This course includes instruction, an open packraft, PFD, paddle, helmet, permits.
Lodging, transportation or food.
You will need likely not need drysuit, though we recommend you rent a wet suit in case of bad weather. Rent locally at 4CornersRiversports.com (they only have four), or get a 15% discount if you order them online at BackcountryPackraft.com (we will give you the discount code once you pay your deposit).
Steve “Doom” Fassbinder: Steve is one of the country’s first Level 3 American Canoe Association Packraft Instructors, as well as a Level 3 Kayak Instructor. He is also certified in Advanced Swiftwater Safety and Wilderness First Responder. An early adopter of packrafting, he has guided for three years and done remote packrafting expeditions around the world for over a dozen years.
We base our learn basic packrafting skills instructional courses on confidence and skill progression. The course reviews the basics. And then we push you a little harder as the days progress, tailoring the experience to your own personal abilities.
Intermediate boaters will learn more advanced paddling skills and expedition planning. This is a list of some of the things you will learn:
- ✓Swimming and general water confidence
- ✓Self-rescue & buddy assistance
- ✓Dealing with currents
- ✓Aggressive & defensive swimming position
- ✓Decision making
- ✓Hazards & river dynamics
- ✓Basic paddle strokes
- ✓Using eddies
- ✓Swift water entry
- ✓River commands
- ✓Spacing on the river
- ✓Equipment (use and care)
- ✓Field repair-tips & tricks
- ✓How to pack light for backcountry packraft adventures
The day of this basic beginner course will take place on up to Class II+ rapids on the Animas River. We spend a lot of time spent in the Animas City Kayak Play Park. Days 2 and 3 we will be on the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers, paddling from Naturita to the “Hanging Flume” section on the Dolores.
Length of Play Park: 1.25 miles
Length of Daily Adventures: 5 to 8 miles
Difficulty: Class II III at 500-2000 CFS
Class III to IV 2,000 CFS and up.
High Water Flows: May-July
Flow: below 500cfs is low; 1,000-2,000cfs ideal for this course. Water Flow please see water levels
Length of Adventure: 22
Difficulty: Class II+
High Water Flows: April-July
Flow: below 400cfs is low; 400-2,000cfs ideal for this course. Water Flow please see water levels (does not include the Hanging Flume section, but the river levels are the same as reported via the link).
This course is a beginner course, and you do not need any experience to take it. You will have the opportunity to challenge yourself on Class II+ and III if you learn the skills you need to do so and your guide gives you the thumb’s up.
You do need to know how to set up your own camp and cook your own food in the backcountry.