Gear Kits

10 Essentials for Packrafting in the Yukon

Packrafting down the Alsek River in the Yukon and Alaska is no small feat!

Curated by Laura Hughes

The environment is incredibly rugged and ready to change on you in a heartbeat, so you always have to be prepared for every turn of the nearly 200-mile long river. The 13-day trip I was on required a lot of logistics and gear management, so here are 10 pieces of gear that enhanced my experience.

The weather in the Yukon changes rapidly, but whether it was for wind, rain, or river splash protection I found myself wearing this jacket for nearly the entire trip! Highly durable with great hood pull adjustments and brim to keep sun and water out!

Rubber boots are an essential for getting in and out of the water, as well as hiking through streams and soft, silty sands. Extratuf boots came highly recommended by our guides for their comfort and durability!

I ended up wearing these sandals any time I was at camp or out hiking because of their durability and versatility on the ever-changing landscape. Everyone seems to have their own preference with sandal style, but I personally love the ZX/2 Chacos and do recommend getting a pair with the toe strap for increased stability on uneven riverbed terrain.

If you like setting up your camp with a little more style like our rafting group did, you'll want a speaker like the one from Kicker. Their BF100 speaker is the perfect size for packing onto a raft and it's shaped to work well anywhere--from camp tables to clipping on carabiners.

I set up this tent almost every night while out in the Yukon and I loved both the ease and effectiveness it brought in all weather. These tents hold up incredibly well in the wind, and have roomy vestibules to keep all your gear dry on rainy nights outdoors. The Trango 2 would work well for solo travel, but rafting trips in the Yukon tend to be a group activity so we used the Trango 3.

Airblaster's Ninja Suit is my go-to cold weather base layer. When temperatures dropped at night I definitely appreciated having a close-fitting one-piece with a clever rear zipper. The thumb holes and snug hood design make this one a winner!

I won't go anywhere without SmartWool socks, and this trip was no exception. If anything, I wish I'd packed more! I typically travel with more of the SmartWool Light Crew socks, but I would recommend an ample supply of Mountaineer socks as well for this type of trip.

Obviously if you don't have a Sony RX100 Series camera, this specific piece of gear is not relevant, but I was stoked to use the Sony underwater housing for the RX100M3 camera because it's a relatively affordable option to make your camera completely waterproof and unlike underwater bag housing, I knew I could trust it completely. Even in a 48-hour downpour, photos still happened!

Mosquitoes aren't a guarantee out on the river in the Yukon, but they're a high possibility if rain has recently come through. We had a lot of mosquitoes at camp, and I was glad I came prepared with Sawyer Picaridin bug spray because it's more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET and won't destroy your technical fabrics or skin.

Ironically, it can be challenging to stay hydrated being surrounded by so much water! Drinking from a Hydroflask kept my drinking water cold and refreshing all throughout the day, and the wide mouth was easy to clean in the event the bottle was dropped in the sand or mud. Bonus tip: make sure you have the Wide Mouth Flex Caps for your vessels so you can easily secure them to the boat with a carabiner!