Packrafting in Alaska

Packrafting: A True Alaska Adventure

Packrafting: A True Alaska Adventure

You can’t get more born and raised in Alaska than packrafting. This sport was created right here in Alaska and has gained popularity in recent years among enthusiasts looking to explore more of this beautiful state – by both trail and water. It’s one of the most intense forms of adventuring you can do, but well worth the effort!

Why Packrafting?

If you’re looking to travel to more remote locations and don’t want to be limited by areas that may require a water crossing or water travel, packrafting is a fantastic option. Unlike hiking, kayaking, or rafting alone, packrafting combines hiking with rafting into one experience. Load up your gear and journey along rivers, lakes, creeks, and streams. The raft is a single person boat that rolls up to the size of a sleeping bag and weighs just a few pounds, with a lightness and efficiency that allows you to go further, for longer.

You’ll be able to use the packraft to reach terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible (think remote areas, national parks, and preserves). Packrafting allows you to see beyond the trodden trails and into the vast spaces of this beautiful state we call home – so it’s no wonder it was born here in Alaska.

Packrafting among icebergs in Alaska

Bikerafting in Alaska

Yep, you read that right! As if combining hiking and rafting wasn’t enough, bike packrafting brings pedaling and paddling together to get you to a level of adventure you simply can’t get with just a hike. Using fat tire bikes (recommended in coastal regions especially) or mountain bikes, you’ll be able to cover greater distances and terrains by bike, while having your packraft to carry both you and your bike across water channels.

Many people who enjoy bike packrafting travel via trail, near the coast, through mountain ranges, and more. Keep in mind that these multiday excursions are highly intense and will require preparation to the highest level, as well as conditioning and experience.

Bike packrafting in Alaska
Photo Credit: @alaskan_bren

Packrafting Trips in Alaska

Packrafting trips across the state are almost limitless, many of which begin with fly-in drop-offs in remote locations. These trips are only appropriate for people with backcountry knowledge and packrafting experience. However, if this adventure sounds up your alley but you’ve never done one before – you’re in luck! Guided packrafting trips are available from several guiding services throughout the state. Outfitters will set you up with your gear, arrange transportation and meal logistics, teach you some paddling technique, and lead you through stunning backcountry terrain on the adventure of a lifetime. Some trips require previous paddling or backcountry experience and others are catered towards beginners – so be sure to pick the trip that meets your experience level.

Some popular destinations for multi-day packrafting trips include:

If you’d rather just dip your toes into packrafting before committing to a multi-day adventure, several tour operators offer packrafting day trips in the following areas:

Packrafting trip in Alaska

Packrafting Safety

Be mindful of the dangers that accompany this and other outdoor activities. Drowning, hypothermia, and wildlife are always dangers, so be sure to plan accordingly and put safety before adventure. Always assess the terrain with your skill level and be prepared for and mindful of weather changes at all times. If you don’t have experience, attend a packrafting course or join a guided trip before venturing out on your own.


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