There are a couple of books that live on the nightstand by my bed. Most are the type of books that I can pick up just about anywhere and mindlessly skim whenever I feel like it. My most recent go-to book recently is The Packraft Handbook by Luc Mehl and Sarah K. Glaser.
The title of the book is a bit deceiving. While the book goes into instructional level of detail about techniques for proper packrafting, it also dives into some equally important topics such as river safety, risk assessment and the principals of river running.
Originally, I picked this book up because we’d recently purchased an Alpacka Raft for our family river trip needs and I wanted to know more about how to best paddle and pack them for multi-day river trips. As it turns out, I ended up being fascinated with the level of detail in the sections about river hydrology and the principals of river running. Turning each page not only gives reasons and ideas on how rivers function on any watercraft, but they also offer pro tips on many of the pages. These tips are pure gold to many of us — I’ve often mentioned the wealth of tips you pick up from other rafters while floating downstream.
This book should be on any river runner’s bookshelf or nightstand. Period. The ease of reading has made it a joy and will forever sit in the back of my mind for all my future river adventures with or without a packraft.