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….