@T.L. - I rarely take gloves backpacking between about April and September unless I'm doing a high mountain trek, so any gloves I take for whitewater packrafting are always with an eye towards maintaining paddle sensitivity and control. In the winter, I use neoprene Toasters (NRS), and in the spring, I use the NRS Hydroskin gloves. The latter are my favorite.
I like barehanded for short runs, but cold hands on longer backcountry runs is pretty miserable.
The orange packs are the old ULA Arctic Dry packs, now called the "Epic". I've mostly switched over to HMG packs (Porter 4400) for packrafting due to better durability and comfort while trekking. The Arctic/Epic are pretty uncomfortable with loads more than about 35 or 40 lbs for me.
@hknewman - every waterbody is different. Huge floods on the Yellowstone River below Livingston can be really fun big water to packraft. The same flood through town would be suicidal in packrafts. For tiny creeks, you need a lot of water. Like Dave said, I like to catch runoff after the peak, because wood *tends* to be cleaned out, but this isn't a hard and fast rule. I start keeping my eyes peeled, and rafting, once water levels start to rise.
@jfjobin - Very satisfied with the Stowaway. I still crave seat, elbow, and knee patches.