Grand Canyon Packrafting

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Grand Canyon Packrafting

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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to:

    Grand Canyon Packrafting

    Tony Burnett


    Locale: OH--IO

    Of all of the canyon photos I have seen, those are the first (canyon photos) that actually make me wish I was on the trip. Until now, canyon hiking did not interest me.


    Richard Nisley
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    An excellent piece of journalism… Congratulations Ryan and Roman! The hair on the back of my neck was standing on end and I started to sweat as I read about this adventure.

    Sam Haraldson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Gallatin Range

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the two articles and the podcast related to this trip. It was interesting to read the pre-trip permit process and listen to the podcast relating to such and then follow that up with the trip report and photo-set. It allowed me wrap my head around the entire trip scenario and appreciate it for it's fullest.

    s k


    One of the reasons that I used to watch Don Imus was his taste in music. One morning, I tuned in to Lucinda Williams "wringing out" a rendition of "Changed the Locks".At the end of the recording, in an acknowledgment of the song's intense, emotional grip, Don articulated what the audience was feeling, "That song, has been sung!"

    You have a way, Roman, with making room in your adventures and perceptions, for vicarious presence. I enjoyed my place under the fo'c'sle head and do freely pronounce "That yarn, has been spun!"

    Jason Brinkman
    BPL Member


    Locale: Idaho

    Great piece BPL. Thanks Roman!

    I've personally never run the Grand, but I have several friends and boating buddies with multiple trips. My hat's off to Cody for the fortitude to pick a line through Crystal! A May high-water Middle Fork Salmon trip still puckers me up – and on a 14' cataraft!

    BPL Member


    Locale: NorCal - South Bay

    Easily one of the best articles I have read on! The writing style gives us the information we need without drowning us in detail. I felt a part of the trip.

    I hope we see more writers like this who can draw me in and get me moving.

    Now about that packraft order I need to place!!!

    Jeff Cadorin
    BPL Member


    Locale: paper beats rock

    ive already started snapping pics of golf and other stuff I dont use anymore… packraft coming soon…

    Frank Perkins


    Locale: North East

    What a great article. Great work on photo slide show as well. Any plans for posting your gear lists?

    Larry Risch


    I thought this might be a trip where you float your gear between rapids and trails, but no more like a whitewater trip.

    I kayaked it in 1985 with raft support. A group there at the same time was the first to go down in infattible (IF) kayaks. The packrafts don't look much different then IF kayaks.

    I have friends who go self–support (not sure how much raft support they have).

    This doesn't look much different , esp. if they are running Crystal. Not really hiking , no matter how u spin it. Whitewater trip, taking minimal gear, jammed in boats that might not carry any gear if they had raft support.

    Jeff Cadorin
    BPL Member


    Locale: paper beats rock

    Larry…would you hike 50 miles into a river basin with a kayak and tent and other gear for a week? The trips im wanting to plan with this in mind are neverending in my mind.

    kayak atleast what 25lbs?? being nice

    packraft around 5?? I know what I want to bring on a whitewater trip.

    Roman Dial


    Locale: packrafting NZ

    In many ways the Grand Canyon represents the "ultimate whitewater run". Of course it's not, but everybody associates it with big water and as no place for packrafts.

    A packraft is not like an IK. An IK is slower to respond but more stable fore and aft.

    IK boaters often flip in packrafts backwards 'cause they are used to being able to lean back.

    I think IKs stink. I have used them only a few times but they are so different than packrafts that I avoid them like the plague. They are almost as heavy as a hard-shell and almost as limited to what they can do as a packraft. IN other words they are the worst of both worlds.

    Packrafting for me is really about crossing landscapes: multiple divides linking multiple rivers. If any of you call that a "whitewater" trip you have tunnel vision and can only see the waves, drops, and tongues.

    Running the GC was about testing the limits on a standard, about calibrating skills with what's likely the most frequently run wilderness river (i.e. camping required) in the world.

    I am sorry if you missed the point of the article — my bad as the writer.

    If you ever get a chance to read the new packrafting book, you'll see that packrafting is about far more than whitewater. It's about the best adventure available today.

    Jeff Cadorin
    BPL Member


    Locale: paper beats rock

    Roman,I apologize by generalizing with "whitewater trip". To be honest I have never done any serious water. The picture you paint in your last post is EXACTLY the type of trips im dreaming of. I am waiting(impatiently) to buy a copy of your book. I am trying to convince everyone I know to save and buy one so I have some people to plan trips with.

    Roman Dial


    Locale: packrafting NZ

    No need to apologize! I was sort of reacting to Larry's comments.

    Packrafting can be to backpacking what climbing can be to backpacking. There are trips where the backpacking is the approach to the climb; then there are trips where climbing and backpacking are more integrated, as in mountaineering.

    Same with boating. It's possible to hike in, just to run a river — and that's what Larry saw our trip as. It's also possible to integrate boating with hiking and that's how most of us start.

    My son likes the whitewater more than the hiking; my wife likes the hiking more than the boating. I just want to go out on trips with each of them!

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