The Packraft Handbook
Winner! 2021 National Outdoor Book Award in Outdoor Adventure Guides
Winner! 2022 Banff Mountain Book Competition Guidebook
This book is to the burgeoning and exciting sport of packrafting what “Freedom of the Hills” has long been for mountaineering: a foundational tome, an encyclopedic body of knowledge for beginners and experts alike, a book that will surely stand the test of time. Compelling writing, excellent photography, and superb illustrations combine to make this an exceptional guidebook. Most importantly, it is a treatise on risk taking and risk assessment. It is not an exaggerated claim to say that this book will actually save lives.
Chris Kalman, Banff 2022 Book Competition Jury
The Packraft Handbook is the definitive instructional resource for packrafting—everything you need to know to begin, improve, or assist others. Caring, curiosity, and intentional practice will help you anticipate what might go wrong and how to react when it does.
It was a pleasure to illustrate 80+ drawings with Luc Mehl for this book.
You can read more about the book and Luc's work here.
More information on the book here.
Here's the review of the experience that I wrote for GoodReads:
On January 13th of 2020, I tore my ACL, crumpled my meniscus, and did all sorts of damage to my knee. I had surgery and was on crutches for four months. I couldn't work my usual job of rope access welding for six months, and was on light duty for the next twelve. Compounding the injury, Covid-induced isolation made indoor activities and friends out of reach.
Although it was a stark year in many ways, I can honestly say I'm somewhat glad that I got injured because it allowed me to illustrate The Packraft Handbook. If it wasn't for a non-functional knee, I wouldn't have sat still long enough to give the book the attention it deserved. I poured myself into that book, obsessing over the project more than I'd ever obsessed over any art job in my life. The result, I believe, is that I helped make a truly gorgeous textbook that is packed with really great information and fun details.
Luc is a brilliant writer, hilarious storyteller, and is wildly earnest about packrarft safety. His knowledge, attentiveness, and wit made The Packraft Handbook a joy to illustrate. Even though it has nothing to do with anyone else's experience reading the book, I give The Packraft Handbook infinite stars for giving me a source of purpose, fun, and connection during an otherwise painful and grim episode. It absolutely carried me through a spring on crutches, a summer of canceled plans, and gave special joy to a fall of packrafting with a group of badass women who became some of my favorite humans.
I've loved packrafting for many years, but this book made me love it infinitely more. I hope it does the same for you.