‘Beyond the Backyard’: Bike-to-Packrafting the Potomac River

Powerhouse paddle brand NRS just posted its latest feature film short, and just by looking at the gear list, it’s amazing.

“Flipping. A tornado. Trespassing. And poop water. Everything was going according to plan.” NRS‘ “Beyond the Backyard: The Nation’s River” film debuted today online. It’s a 12-minute short that follows two friends as they bike-to-packraft paddle the Potomac River.

Before you watch, here’s some background for why they chose this river (other than the fact it’s in their backyard).

For decades, the Potomac River was the dumping ground for industrial waste. But the Clean Water Act of 1972, along with years of work by environmentalists, has helped clean up the water and bring it back to life. “Or so Michael and his best friend thought,” teases the film.

The team travel by human power, packrafting and biking (there and back) from Great Falls National Park to the Chesapeake Bay. Their gear list includes packrafts, bikes, spare tubes, repair kits, PFDs, 100L dry bags, helmets, ratcheting straps, hydration bladders, and, of course, food, water, shelter, and coffee.

As you can imagine from the teaser, there are some roadblocks, including dangerous and unexpected weather. The film focuses on the power of this massive and wild river.

This film was produced and directed by Michael CB Stevens.

Photo Cred: MeatEater, "Das Boat"
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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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