“Pack” Rafting comes to Mother Lode!

What is the best way to encounter whitewater? Some contend it is in a hardshell kayak. Not only is it exciting to be down at river level, with practice, there is the possibility of spinning in reversals, executing extreme moves like enders, squirts, rolls and generally “messing around in boats” in ways that can only be enjoyed in these river “sports cars”.

But then, if you have a group of friends, or perhaps the whole family, even hardcore whitewater kayakers concede that you need a whitewater raft! These craft have made rivers accessible to the broadest spectrum of enthusiasts. From the young, to the old, from experts to beginners, advances in whitewater rafting gear and technique have made whitewater rivers from Class I to Class V available to the broadest spectrum of enthusiasts.

The fact is whitewater rivers have so much fun to offer, and it comes in so many sizes and flavors, that it is similar to choosing a dog or a cat as a pet. There is no one answer to which is better. In fact, why not have……both?!!

Enter the “Pack”Raft!  The ultimate answer to this kayak vs raft debate may be a unique new inflatable craft that is light (some weigh as little as 5 lbs), yet has the size of a kayak and can float an adult comfortably. True to its name, it can be rolled into a tight package and backpacked into rivers, lakes and streams that cannot otherwise be easily accessed. Unlike hardshell kayaks that flip over easily, packrafts are stable and forgiving- they bounce off rocks, float over shallow obstacles, and don’t require learning advanced technique like the Eskimo roll. Small, yet mighty, advanced design packrafts such as our new Kokopelli “Recons”, are equipped with self-bailing floors and thigh straps. This allows the mastery of even difficult whitewater. With recent advances in material science, these boats are amazingly rugged and resistant to both puncture and abrasion despite their light weight. As their popularity grows exponentially on an international scale, the pack rafting community posts more videos each season of boaters performing maneuvers once thought only possible in hardshell kayaks. These boats can even overcome their relative small size by installing zippers in their tubes. This allows you to fill them up with gear for extended expeditions. There appears to be almost no limit to the possibilities!

As one of California’s original whitewater rafting companies, Mother Lode has a reputation as an innovator. For instance, we are the only California rafting company with its own ropes course and zipline, outdoor school and sustainable practices program. So………why not us?  We look forward to introducing you to a whole new approach to whitewater boating this season, ….Pack Rafting….

Picture of Scott Underwood

Scott Underwood

Company owner Scott Underwood has enjoyed the privilege of helping Mother Lode share his love of rivers with over 290,000 people. He is proud to have helped facilitate the writing of over 29,000 letters which, in turn, have helped save 15 rivers along the Sierra.
Activites at Mother Lode

On The American River

At The Adventure Center

Team Building & River Skills

Special 50th Anniversary Ropes and Rafting Events

Join us on  for a thrilling half-day of high ropes and rafting—no minimum group size required! Celebrate with us and book your adventure now!

Event Dates: June 15th, June 22, July 20th, July 27th, August 10th, August 17th