A leader in the packraft industry, SSI has been offering packraft specific training for over a decade. While others race to figure out how to best teach this evolving skill, we have years of experience and refinement with regard to our tailored curriculum. These are typically for the wilderness enthusiast and packraft aficionados – in other words, for those who wish to advanced their basic paddling and self rescue understanding when it comes to downriver packraft travel, but don’t require certified training for employment. If you would like to discuss setting up a custom course in your area please contact us.

We offer two non-certification training tracks, Basic and Advanced and each training track can be used as a prerequisite for the PACKRAFT EXPEDITION TRAINING courses offered on the Owyhee River in Oregon.


  • Recreational Paddlers
  • Intrepid river travelers wishing to prepare for packraft expedition style trips
  • Those that are new to packrafting or wish to advance their skills in either a basic or advanced paddling capacity
  • Those seeking information on repair, packing, storing and basic care of packraft style craft
  • Any packraft student wishing to gain professional instruction from a qualified packraft instructor from the training institute that put packraft training on the map – SSI.


BASIC – If you are new to paddle sports, new to packrafting, new to the river and/or have never had formal paddling training before, the basic course is for you. It is designed to take those with minimal experience and give the foundational skills necessary to make reasonable decisions and understand craft mechanics and maneuverability. We will start with the basics: boat inflation, outfitting, personalizing your fit, paddles, paddle strokes and self-rescue. We will spend a good amount of time in and out of our boats as we travel down river each day working on training objectives while we paddle class II+ – III- water. The course is tempered to deliver paddling fundamentals as well as some basic swimming and recover techniques. You can expect to learn a lot about packrafts in the water and on land. This course will be 50/50 in paddling skills and getting the fundamental of everything else down as well.

For those that have prior experience, have perhaps taken formal trainings in the past (not required), gone on several packrafting adventures, consider themselves to be competent in class III water, are comfortable in self-rescue as well as companion rescue 100% of the time, are comfortable with throw bags, understand how to right a loaded packraft and are wishing to advance their skills on class II+ – III+ water. The advanced paddling course really focuses on paddling skill development.
  1. A desire to learn
  2. Packraft, paddle, and all associated boating gear necessary to travel downstream
  3. Proficient swimmer
  4. Physically capable
  5. All of the listed PPE
  6. Meet all of the Essential Eligibility Criteria 

ONLINE MODULE: Yes – optional online training (1-2 hours)

MINIMUM AGE: 16 with parental consent – 15 with a parent participating


Packrafting Big Water Packrafting Payette River Packrafting Payette River

Learning Objectives for Non-Certification Courses:

  • Hydraulics
  • Group communication
  • Trip planning
  • Gaining comfort with swimming in rivers
  • Throw bagging
  • Basic paddling skills and paddling components
  • Self recovery and assisted recovery in a packraft
  • Swiftwater dry exit
  • Packraft field repair
  • Rescue priorities
  • Foot entrapment extrication
  • Shallow water crossings
  • Hazard avoidance and recognition
  • Paddling essentials including posture, strokes, edging and bracing