Yesterday Luc introduced me to Toby Schwoerer when we did a little Echo Bend flip -- two runs on the prettiest river in the Anchorage area -- Eagle River in the mountains. Indeed, hiking up the Eagle River Trail to the Eagle River crossing and then floating back now would make for a great girlfriend/wife/daughter/person-who-doesn't-like-packrafting-as-much-as-you-do (yet) trip. The colors are awesome, the mountains steep and big, the river manageable, and the difference in views between hiking up in the woods and floating back amazing. But best to take out just above Echo Bend with beginners.
But for intermediates Echo Bend offers a super Class III adventure worth multiple runs and with Polar Bear Peak at the end and Yukla as a backdrop at the beginning, it's as much fun to look around as it is to move nimbly between the rocks shooting slots at will.
Anyway, Toby and I got to talking and he told me that Goo Vogt had the Bailee by Feathercraft, a heavy but study packraft that Goo already put thigh straps in -- Goo's an inflatable boater going back decades -- and that Toby has posted a review of it and a comparison with his mid-oughts vintage Yak:
Check this out
But don't call Goo. I already have and he's out hunting caribou, so I have dibs on demoing the boat next week.