This review of Packrafting! from Amazon.com:
Valuable Information and thought-provoking, August 11, 2008
By SwissPete (McCarthy, Alaska) - See all my reviews
For the wilderness traveler, this books offers some very essential insights, tips and information. For many, in and outside of Alaska, this ‘new’ way to get around will open all sorts of opportunities not considered before and Roman Dial deserves credit as one of the fore-runners in this activity.
However, is it really necessary to put forth one’s own terminology and white-water-rating system, just because a different craft is used? Somehow I cordially disagree. Water doesn’t really care what sort of craft one propels oneself down a current in. If you swim in a rapid such as ‘Jaws’ on Six-Mile or you do the same in a large raft or C-1, the rating is the same, although much more troublesome for the swimmer. So why the PR system? To leave a personal, romanesque touch? If one wants to do a serious run, one might as well learn how the rest of the boating community rates rivers. It’s like the Euro: No more deutsch-marks, french-francs, kroners etc. Everybody understands the meaning of a Euro. Perhaps the second printing will see some adjustments there. Still, I’m glad I got the book:-)
The PR rating system is open ended, unlike the current whitewater rating system, which results in down-rating of waters. It’s well known that Class III and Class IV rated waters are packed with a heterogeneous grouping of rapids. There are the original III and IVs as well as the downrated IV to IIIs and Vs to IVs. Imagine what would happen if rock-climbing had been capped at 5.10…well, that’s what’s happened with the whitewater system. The current 5.15 would be called 5.10 and 5.5 would be filled with old 5.5s and downrated 5.10s! This sort of mismatch of rating is what I found and so I came up with another, more informative system to use in my upcoming guidebook.The PR rating system is based on techniques needed to get down, not on danger. SwissPete is mistaken: for example, becasue “swimming Jaws on Six-Mile” used to be Class V in Embick’s book but is now just Class IV in Timmy J’s.
Moreover, SwissPete like other critics is likely a former/current kayaker, and kayakers also have their “own terminology” for their sport. For example, big rafts don’t Eskimo role and I don’t think canoes boof, both techniques of kayaking.
Anyway, I’d like to hear others’ thoughts on these topics.