First Canadian Packrafting Roundup

  • “So, what do you do for a living” people were asking while we were waiting for our paddling group to get organized in the different cars we would use to get to the river.
  • “I just quit my job to go adventuring for the summer” I said, not sure what the reaction would be.
  • “Awesome!” people said. I knew I had found my kind of people. This is not a reaction that I was getting very often.

In the spring of 2016, I had been chatting of packrafting for more than a year before I finally went ahead and ordered my first boat. Coming from a long-distance hiking background, I saw my new inflatable piece of gear as a way to combine calm water paddling and lake crossings to long distance hiking. Little did I know that less than a year after getting my boat I would have fallen in love with white-water, start talking about eventually trying class 4 runs and set out on a remote expedition across northern Quebec, my little boat safely strapped to my backpack. My new passion was making me look at maps differently. What initially looked like impossible portages suddenly became possible. I felt like I could go anywhere with a boat in my backpack.

I was initially nervous on my first river outings. I did not know much about paddling rapids and did not know anyone that could coach me. Luckily for me, I decided to attend a meetup of packrafters in the United States and discovered an amazing group of people that helped me gain skills and confidence. I also took the opportunity to attend a Swiftwater Rescue class, which taught me very useful rescue techniques and paddling skills. I felt like I had found a second family in the form of a community of outdoor enthusiasts that like to explore the world in tiny inflatable rafts.

Attending the US roundup was such a positive experience for me that I started dreaming of having a similar event in Canada. I started chatting about it with other Canadian packraft enthusiasts and a few of us committed to organize the 1st Canadian packrafting roundup, which will take place from August 31 to September 3, 2018 in Mount Robson provincial park, British Columbia, with the generous support of many sponsors.

It’s a volunteer-run event that will take place over three days and a half. We are planning to explore local rivers, share packrafting stories, make new connections and surely leave with unforgettable memories. We are hoping that the first edition of the Canadian roundup will help build a strong and fun community of packrafters in Canada. We have access to such amazing rivers and wilderness, now we only need a strong network of local enthusiasts!

For more details on the First Canadian Packrafting Round-up, please see the event website. See you there!