8 Tips for Your First White Water Rafting Trip
White water rafting offers plenty of benefits. The rivers are gorgeous, the banks are breathtaking, and taking a trip through the rapids is often an adventurous workout that leads to a serene and relaxing spot at the end of the day.
However, if you have never gone river rafting before, there are lots of things you need to know including how to stay safe, what to expect and how to enjoy the best trip possible.
1. Choose the Right Company
If you have a zest for adventure, it can be tempting to sign up for the coolest, most aggressive white water rafting trip you can find. However, if you've never done it before, you need to be safe and choose the right company, trip and location. When making your reservations, tell the person you speak to that it is your first time. He or she will make sure to book you on a trip that is exciting but also safe for your skill level. You can always try a trip with more rapids as you become comfortable with white water rafting.
2. Decide Where to Go
There are so many amazing white water rafing destinations in North America and around the world. The USA has some of the best locations for beginners and advanced levels, these are some of the most amazing destinations to consider:
- Arkansas River, Colorado
- Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Nenana River, Alaska
- Ocoee River, Tennessee
- Tuolumne River, California
- Salmon River, Idaho
- Rogue River, Oregon
- Gauley River, West Virginia
- Kennebec River, Maine
- Chattooga River, South Carolina And Georgia
3. Wear Sensible Clothing
Dressing appropriately is important for ensuring you have a safe and fun rafting trip. You'll be in the water, so you'll want to avoid wearing expensive shoes, but flip-flops aren't safe. An old pair of sneakers work well, but river sandals or water shoes work better if you have them. During warm weather, a bathing suit underneath of sports clothes works well for getting wet. If you want to raft during chillier temperatures, polar fleece or wool helps to keep your body heat in. Avoid wearing anything too bulky. You'll need to be able to fit a life jacket over it. A helmet is also required.
4. Learn How To Hold the Paddle
Knowing how to hold your rafting paddle is essential for safety, so be sure to take a lesson beforehand. If you choose to go rafing in Colorado you will find most Denver rafting companies provide lessons before you head out onto the water. When holding your rafting paddle, place one hand on the shaft right above the base of it. Your other hand must always be on the T-grip at the top of the oar. This portion of the paddle is made of hard plastic. If you don't hold onto it correctly, the rapids could jostle it and cause you to get a black eye or even knock out your own teeth. Using the grip properly helps you maintain control in rough waters and will add your hand as a protective barrier for your face if you do accidentally hit yourself.
6. Bring Plenty of Sunscreen
Remember to check the weather before you head out. You want to be prepared for the elements. More often than not, this means being prepared for the sun. Put it on before you even head out your front door for your trip. Reapply as you can throughout the day, but avoid above your eyes since you don't want water and sweat to trickle the sunscreen into them. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that have straps to hold them onto your face and around your neck.
7. Listen to Your Guide
Above all else, listen to your guide. He or she is specially trained in rafting and has taken the trip you're about to take hundreds or even thousands of times. Guides help to keep you oriented, remind you of proper techniques, and answer your questions to ensure you have a safe and fun trip. Guides are often licensed and certified to teach and lead the rapids trips. They also have CPR and first aid training and carry two-way radios, so sticking close is essential for your safety.
8. Enjoy the Adventure
White water rafing really is the thrill of a lifetime, go in with an open mind, don't be scared and just enjoy every moment in the great outdoors. Happy rafting!
River rafting is an excellent way to have fun with friends and family this summer, or even to simply relax on a trip with you and other adventure lovers. If it is your first time, remember to choose a reputable rafting company that is licensed, insured, has strong reviews, and provides high-quality, well-trained instructors.
Do you have any recommendations for going white water rafing? Let us know in the comments section below.