Wilderness Packrafting + Fly Fishing

“This trip has been a life changing experience for me. I have learned some basic life skills like cooking, taking good care of my health, and making the right decisions. It has also taught me to be the best possible person I can be, and be really appreciative of all the people and things in my life.”

-Tashi, MWS Wilderness Packrafting student

Explore the Montana wilderness in an extraordinary way both on foot and in a packraft! You will start your adventure backpacking through the mountains leading to your remote river launching point. Students will practice MWS core outdoor skills and transfer their knowledge from land to water as they start navigating a scenic river in their inflatable packrafts. As the expedition progresses the expeditionary team will develop swift water paddling skills and backcountry decision-making while diving into MWS' wild ecology curriculum learning about the importance of wild and scenic rivers, public lands and the history of wilderness areas.

Expedition Overview

Dates: July 7 - 21st, 2018
Ages: 16 - 18 years old
Group size: Max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 15 days

1 week backpacking & 1 week packrafting (inflatable kayaks) + Fly Fishing

*This expedition usually takes place in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex*

Questions? Email Us.

Tuition: $3,150

Additional Resources Enroll Now

Expedition Highlights

  • Backpacking in a remote wilderness area (likely the Bob Marshall Wilderness)
  • Packraft (inflatable kayak) whitewater on a scenic Montana river
  • Learn swift water rescue techniques
  • Adventurous backcountry paddling experiences
  • Learn to fly fish
  • Wilderness decision-making and communication skills
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife and pristine ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Wildeness Packrafting + Fly Fishing Adventure provides multiple forms of adventure while promoting personal growth, character development, and technical skills. Students will spend the first week of their expedition backpacking covering significant mileage and negotiating mountain passes. Upon reaching a remote river launch point , students will spend the second week packrafting out of the wilderness and fly fishing along the way. The unique continuous flow of this expedition itinerary will give students outstanding opportunities to develop land and water based leadership skills while traveling through the vast and remote Montana backcountry. In addition to basic paddling, students will learn swift water rescue skills and be challenged to apply those on the river. For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression see Expedition Life.

Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Backcountry camping and navigation skills
  • Use safe backcountry kitchen practices to cook nutritious meals on a camp stove or fire
  • Demonstrate an ability to select an appropriate campsite and set up a shelter while minimizing the impact on the ecosystem
  • Understand and demonstrate how to stay healthy, warm, and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand and demonstrate techniques for camping and traveling in bear habitat
  • Use various navigation and route-finding tools and methods for on and off trail travel
  • Travel efficiently in backcountry environments using map and compass skills
Teamwork and communication skills
  • Learn positive communication skills with their diverse group members to create a healthy community, build trust, and make sound decisions in the backcountry together
  • Develop an expedition philosophy, apply it to the course, and understand how it can transfer back to the student’s home environment

Safety and wilderness based decision-making
  • Backcountry hazard evaluation and risk reduction guidelines and tools
  • First aid awareness for backcountry settings: identification and treatment of common backcountry illness and injuries
  • Learn to collaboratively make decisions in remote environments that prioritizes individual and group safety

Conservation Ethic
  • Use basic observational and interpretive skills to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the natural environment
  • Discuss the history, facts and potential solutions to pertinent environmental and social issues affecting the wilderness in the expedition area
  • Reflect upon and discuss the conveyance of wilderness conservation ethics into personal life and build a capacity for commitment and stewardship to wild places
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of Leave No Trace© ethics and apply them during the expedition
Technical Skills


  • Inflating, deflating, packing and securing equipment in an inflatable packraft
  • Reading water and understanding hydraulics in swift moving water
  • Swift water rescue skills
  • Packraft control and paddling skills in swift moving water and rapids

Fly fishing

  • Basic understanding of Entomology in respect to fishing
  • Catch and release principles and ethics
  • Fishing techniques; Casting, Knots, reel control
  • Basic river and mountain lake ecology