More than 20 kilos? A little bit perplexed I stand on the tent meadow at Nahe river, taking a critical look at my backpack. Hmpf... Hey, actually there are only a few things in my backpack.
My boat. Paddle. Drysuit. Breakfast. The cooker. A pot. Water. My sleeping bag. Our little tent. Dry clothes to change. Chocolate. The dry bag. Even more chocolate. Neoprene shoes and socks. The Hardshell jacket. All right, so this is my first learning on this sunny day at the end of April: Reducing weight with a boat in your backpack is no luxury. 😉
But that's what I'm here for: To learn. How do I pack and what do I pack for an outdoor trip of several days with the Packraft? Because I've never done that before. It's the first day of two days of the premiere of the newly introduced 2-day Multiday Packrafting Trainings Hunsrück-Compact.
Day 1: Theory, familiarization, paddling
After a cosy get-togethers with the other participants - all in all we are seven plus guide Sebastian - on the sunny meadow with springlike temperatures and a tasty chocolate buffet we start with the theory. Together we think about what we (could) need, if we would travel autonomously outside for several days. Sebastian introduces us to his system, empties his backpack and the individual packsacks, then goes through everything individually and answers all our questions. I am amazed how many more parts and equipment come out of his backpack. And that with almost the same weight as my backpack. So I still have a lot of potential for improvement, but that was already clear to me in advance. 😉
After the theory unit, we'll pack it all up. Pretending as if we're about to go off into the wilderness. At the edge of the campsite we set up our boats, then we go on the water for a little paddling course with capsize practice in the evening sun. When we finally arrive back at the shore and pack up, it starts to rain slightly. Sebastian smiles as we try to keep our dry clothes dry and pack everything quickly. "Great practice conditions, it's far too boring when only the sun is shining." Right, I have to admit, the learning effect is actually higher.
Back on the tent meadow we set up our tents in the drizzle, make a fire and prepare our dinner together, the cheese fondue on the campfire. A tasty, cosy end to day 1.
Day 2: On tour
The next morning we are starting early. We have breakfast, there is coffee, then we pack our backpacks. I decide to leave the wet tent, the sleeping mat and the sleeping bag on the campground like some of my fellow participants, we will come back here in the afternoon. More easy conditions, so to say.
In the morning: The trekking section
A transfer picks us up at the campsite and takes us into the Hunsrück, to the start of todays stage in Hahnenbach-valley. Today's section corresponds approximately to the last day of the Hunsrück tour, we start with a trekking section to Kirn. It is still very quiet as we march off into the forest, always following the markings of the Soonwaldsteig. A first ascent. Above the valleys lies the morning fog, it begins to drizzle slightly, then to rain. What an atmosphere, what a beautiful feeling! And this special "rain in the forest smell", wonderful.
The hiking route is demanding, it goes up and down paths, wide views reward for the effort again and again. It may sound trite, but it's exactly like this for me. At a particularly beautiful vantage point we take a longer break, snack and discuss the topic of "eating on tour".
An almost endless topic with very different approaches and possibilities, thousands of questions. There is no right or wrong, what is good is what you deal with best. So the motto is also here: Try it out and get to know yourself. Anyway, at this moment I only know one thing: I am hungry. 😉
In the afternoon: The river section
Around noon we finally reach Kirn, in bright sunshine and springlike temperatures again. On the banks of the Nahe, at the mouth of the Hahnenbach, we take our lunch break. For one hour we enjoy the sun, prepare the boats and our luggage for the following section of the river and exchange experiences.
Then it says: Get in the boats and up the creek. Um, the Nahe, of course. So, up on the river. From here we will paddle back to the campsite, our starting point.
A repair workshop follows at a break on the way: What do I do on the way, if my boat gets a crack or something similar. Sebastian shows us his repair set and some application possibilities. Once again I'm annoyed that I didn't pack anything to write on. I would have liked to take at least a few notes with all the exciting and important input. So another learning for me, for today it has to be smartphone photos and quick notes.
In the late afternoon we reach the camping site again, after a really nice and partly already known to me from the end of season river section with some wilder playgrounds.
The boats out of the water, a graduation photo in full kit, then dismantle, pack up. Afterwards we sit together again in the meadow, it feels almost like summer, discuss the course and the past one and a half days.
Exciting, exhausting, instructive, very beautiful - that's how I would characterize them. For my part, I took a lot with me and found the course to be exactly the "sniffing around" in multiday land-water-undertakings that I had expected.