Repost from Adventures with Packraft

I’ve been done with my Owyhee trip for a week now. Since starting work on the Oregon Desert Trail late last year it’s been my goal to hike/packraft the entire 750 miles. This Owyhee chunk has me up to 425 miles, and I’ll complete the trail in September with the section between Bend and Plush, Oregon.
For a packraft alternate in the Owyhee canyon, I’ll be putting together specifics on which sections are suitable at low water to paddle; from 3 Forks to the area just after Iron Point I would recommend paddlers be comfortable scouting and running low flow to at least Class III. From Five Bar to 3 Forks and from Iron Point on I think less experienced paddlers would be fine (200 cfs and less). Stay tuned for more details.
All this rating of rapids in a remote canyon however is a bit of a faulty science. After talking with Kirk and length about what a Class III looks like road-side, compared to a Class III in a canyon days away from civilization, it seems like there could be a better rating system. Not all rapids are equal depending on your surroundings.

He shared this video with me about Addison’s scale that separates rapids or rivers into ratings based on the difficulty, danger, and exposure. Based on this rating boaters can get a much better picture of the true risk involved in a rapid or river.

For example, with the trip I just completed at low flow on the Owyhee, there wasn’t too much difficulty in the rapids, definitely some maneuvering and scouting, so I’d rate it a difficulty of Class III. The danger – risk of injury or death, was also in the realms of 3, however I think some of the portages may have been 4, getting around The Ledge, Half Mile, and Widowmaker involved some serious rock scrambling, lifting and lowering of the boat, climbing…even being very careful I slipped and cracked my tailbone good on one portage. Risk can be high, so I’m inclined to go with a 4. As for exposure, you are far far away from help on the Owyhee. If I had to hike out it would be days to help. I had a Delorum Inreach beacon, so that could have brought help to me, but that could take at least a day as well. So for exposure I would give the Owyhee a C rating. So for the Owyhee at low flow I give it a Class III-4-C rating.

Now for my gear list. I definitely had some extras that I should have brought, 4 pairs of socks??? Don’t know how that happened. I brought 2 throw bags, didn’t need 2. So below is mostly what I brought, but leaving off the extraneous things that I regretting bringing.

Item Specific Item Weight
Pack Six Moon Designs Flex Pack 51 oz
Packraft Alpacka Llama with Cargo Fly 8 lbs (with added thigh straps, back band and other modifications)
Paddle Werner Player 4 piece 40.5 oz
Helmet Sweet Protection Strutter 14.1 oz
PFD Astral Hybrid (no longer available, sob, I want one!! I used Kirk’s for the trip)
Throw bag Kirk made a small one
Bow bag Kirk made me one
Patch kit Tenacious tape, aqua seal, boat patches
Sleeping Pad Gossamer Gear Air Beam 3/4 Wide (Air Beam is not available anymore) 11.7 oz
Sleeping Bag Western Mountaineering Ultralight 20 degree 29 oz (I need to get a summer quilt, this was too warm)
Ground Cloth Tyvek 5 oz
Shelter Six Moon Designs Deschutes Cuben Fiber 7 oz (I should have brought a free standing net tent)
Stakes TOAKS Titanium stakes x6 1.3 oz
Poles Black Diamond Z-Poles with foam for tips when storing in boat 17 oz
Cook Pot TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot 4 oz
Spoon Oboz plastic spoon/spork 1 oz
Stove TOAKS Titanium Backpacking Wood Burning Stove 7.9 oz
French Press I bought at REI 10 years ago, I use plastic inner cup
Water Containers Platypus Hoser 1.8 liter 3.4 oz
Vapur 1 Liter Bottle 1.4 oz
Water Filter Sawyer Mini 2 oz
Water treatment eye dropper of bleach
Camera/Phone Galaxy S5 5.1 oz
Lifeproof Case 1.6 oz
GoPro 3 (3 batteries) (I lost my GoPro day 2)
External Battery Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 10.9 oz
Headphones Generic
USB charger & 2 charging cords Verizon 7 oz
GPS/Beacon DeLorum InReach 7 oz
Umbrella Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow 8 oz
Headlamp Petzel Tikka RZP Rechargable Headlamp 4 oz
Stuff Sacks OR UltraLight Dry Sack 1.6 oz
Knife Gerber US1 1 oz
Bag Liner Trash compactor bag
Jacket Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka 11.8 oz
Patagonia Hoodini 4.3 oz
Outdoor Research Helium II 5.5 oz
hat Hikertrash trucker hat 2 oz
Outdoor Research Pinball Hat 2.7 oz
First Aid Misc
Long sleeve shirt Outdoor Research Reflection sun shirt 7.5 oz
Pants Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant
Skirt Purple Rain Skirt
Long johns Outdoor Research Essence Tights 5.2 oz
Socks X3 pairs Point6 merino socks (should have just brought 1 pair of socks)
Shoes Oboz Luna 12.6 oz
Luna Sandles – Mono
Rain skirt trash compactor bag
Mittens Gordini Stash Lite Touch Mitt
Gaiters OR Gortex Gaiters 10.2 oz

2 thoughts on “Repost from Adventures with Packraft

  1. I hope this note finds that you have successfully completed your adventure!

    I’m a beginner packrafter just doing some lakes up Cascades way. Awesome to hike in and paddle about, visit No Name lake at Broken Top, Green Lakes etc. A little bike camp rafting the Deschutes but without any real complexity or risk…

    I would really appreciate additional info, advice, notes even a little consulting if that is your interest. I’ll send this note along to your email and hope to chat when you have the time/return from the wilderness! 🙂



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