Pack Rafting

Olof and Whitney Hedberg will be racing Untamed New England this summer for Team NYARA along with Chris Rice and Bruce Swanson. Team NYARA’s strategy for the infamous pack rafting section is to use two rafts that are each designed to hold two people. One raft is the Alpacka Explorer and the other is the brand new Alpacka Gnu. Whitney and Olof have been busy testing and modifying their Alpacka Gnu. Since neither have ever used a pack raft before they have been focusing on getting up to speed.

Step one: Figure out how to blow the thing up. Then do it faster.


From Whitney: “our first attempt to inflate the raft took a looooong 9.5 minutes. We have gotten a lot more efficient and can now inflate the raft, sort gear and pack the raft in a little over 6 minutes. We feel pretty good about that time”

Step two: Paddle. Then paddle some more.



The pair tried a number of different paddling combinations and have settled on having Whitney using hand paddles (homemade) up front while Olof uses kayak paddles in the back.
From Olof: “This is a good set up as long as we have relatively short distance to cover or are moving downstream. If we have longer, flat water sections we will probably both use kayak paddles.”

Step three: Practice. Practice. Practice!

On the boat: “Although this boat is on the larger size–compared to a single person basic raft–we are super happy with our choice. The great people at Alpacka helped us choose this new model that they designed with adventure racing in mind. It is super responsive and feels fast (especially for a pack raft). The Vectron fabric is really tough and let’s us get the boat really full of air, which helps make it more efficient in the water.”

On modifications: “I love modifying gear to make it work even better, but we haven’t had to do much on this boat. We added some para cord loops in the front and back to make it easier to carry and a couple of extra para cord loops inside the boat for attaching dry bags. The boat comes with lots of sewn in webbing loops and other connectors so we really didn’t do more than tie on some para cord.”

What’s next: “We are testing the raft on flat water tomorrow and will continue training in it on the river. We also want to practice our transition a few more times it get it as efficient as possible” “We are also looking forward to taking this boat on other adventures after the race!”

A big thanks the Alpacka Raft for sponsoring Untamed New England and the sport of Adventure racing.

10 Questions with the Race Directors: Krell Adventure Run


We sat down with Rodney Villella and Amy Bartoletti to get some insight about the upcoming Krell Adventure Run on Staten Island. Here’s what they had to say.

Q). What makes a Krell race different from other obstacles races ?
A). Well, there are actually a couple of unique differences.  First, these events are specifically  geared towards teams of 2 and most of the challenges require some form of teamwork.  Second, instead of a linear course where participants simply follow a course to all of the obstacles, in a Krell race, you will be given a map 15 minutes prior to your start which will show you the location of all the challenges/obstacles.  You get to choose the order in which to do them and you can also do as many or little as you like.  Also, not all of the obstacles will be physical.  Some will be mental (think puzzles and brain challenges) and some will be a combination of both.  What we have tried to create is an event that requires thinking as much as physical brawn.  You’ll need to think strategically and use the skills of your teammate.
Q). Do you have any specific gear suggestions for this race ?

A). The event requires very little gear.  We would suggest a good pair of trail running shoes and a watch to keep track of your time in the Arena (on course).  Some people also find a pair of gloves to be helpful and if I were racing, I would probably use them.

Q). How long is the course ?

A). The beauty of our events is that you can choose your own course, so you can make it as long or short as you like.  Generally speaking, if you are going to try to do all of the challenges/obstacles you can figure on traveling between 3 – 6 miles.

Q). Do I need navigation skills to finish this race ?

A). No, you do not need to have any formal navigation skills.  The map is very basic and the challenges are not hidden.  If you can read a road map or subway map, you’ll be fine.

Q). Is this a solo event or should I bring a team mate ?

A). This event is specifically geared for teams of 2.  You are also welcome to travel with other teams if you like.

Q). Do I need to carry my own food and water – and if so – how much should I bring ?

A). This is really a personal preference.  We will provide water stations on the course and we don’t think it’s long enough to need any food…but again that is based on personal preference.

Q).  Do you have any tips or tricks I should know about?

A). Sometimes slower is faster.  Take the time to look at the map and plan your route.  Also, when you are on the course, make sure you take the time to read the instructions at each challenge.  (You’d be shocked at how many people don’t really do this.)

Q). Can I sign up on race morning ?

A). While we will allow sign ups on race morning, we strongly discourage this.  First, the price goes up on race day, but more importantly, we won’t be able to have your race packet prepared for you ahead of time, thereby delaying your registration process.

Q). When I’m finished with the race will there be something edible at the end ?

A). This will vary from venue to venue, but generally speaking there will be food and beverages available at the finish.

Q). Do you have any last minute suggestions to all the racers to make this extra awesome?
A). Try to get your friends to participate in the event!  We always find that shared experiences are better than solo ones (hence the team concept) and a little healthy competition between comrades is always fun!  It will also give you other people to talk to about the event when it’s over.


Sounds like an awesome race! If you haven’t registered yet, grab a teammate, tell your friends and head over to NYARA’s website to sign up. Also check out this video — it will make you want to get out there and challenge yourself!

2nd Race Update for the Jersey Inferno

One Month to go

Hope all you adventure racers are training hard — the summer season is about to get really busy. NYARA has a few great events coming up including the Jersey Inferno — a 10 hour race in Northern New Jersey known for being a challenge. The Race Directors just released the second race update and it is filled with great info, including an overview of the race sections to help you prepare. Check it out! And register for the race!! Also, if you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering please email

Inferno Update 2