About the author: Luc Mehl

Luc grew up on the Kuskokwim River, McGrath, Alaska, and works as an environmental data manager and outdoor skills instructor in Anchorage. Luc has traveled 10,000 miles of Alaska by packraft, ski, boot, and bike. Luc works as an environmental data manager and has Master’s degrees in Geology and Geophysics from MIT and UCSB.

Luc is an ambassador for Alpacka Raft and serves on the education committee of the American Packraft Association. Luc is a certified instructor for the Swifwater Safety Institute.

Visit thingstolucat.com for trip reports and resources.

Packrafting might change your life. It changed mine, twice.

I bought a packraft for better access to Alaska’s wilderness. Suddenly, all of the blue lines on my topo maps became trails. Part of wilderness travel is learning how to get through the hard parts. I gained confidence in my abilities and learned that the hard parts are finite: it always gets better. I carried this mantra and newfound confidence into the other parts of my life.

The second life-changing event was when my friend Rob Kehrer drowned while packrafting. Rob’s death forced me to reevaluate risk assessment, for myself and the packrafting community. I enrolled in a swiftwater rescue course and then got certified to teach it. The Packrafter’s Handbook is everything I wish Rob and I had when we started learning how to packraft.