On our packrafting trips we always follow 3 steps if we come across a rapid which we don’t know and where we are not able to see what lies ahead of us.
Step 1: Scout
Once we are on a spot where the rapid gets stronger and where we cannot see what lies ahead of us we always step out of our packrafts and scout. Sometimes scouting can take some time but for safety reasons it’s better to take your time and arrive a bit later rather than get into an emergency situation in the backcountry.
Step 2: Evaluate
Once we scouted the rapid, we decide if we should paddle through it or not. Some of the criteria we use in our evaluation process are:
- Are there any obstacles? Is there a safe way to avoid them?
- How long is the critical part of the rapid?
- Do we have enough experience to paddle the critical part of the rapid?
- Where can we get out of the rapid in case of an emergency situation?
- How easy or difficult is it to get out of the rapid?
- Does anyone need to stay on the ground to secure the other?
- Who wants to go first?
Step 3: Packraft, Carry or Deflate
After evaluating the rapid we decide if we should packraft the rapid, carry our packrafts around the critical spots or to deflate our packrafts if we have to carry them for a longer time.
Our packrafting trip in the Sarek National Park in Sweden. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.