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Tips For Whitewater Rafting Beginners

Laura Sanchez 0

One of the most popular action/adventure vacation activities is whitewater rafting. Being able to set out on a camping trip that will involve dramatic nature scenes and exciting journeys down frothing and wild whitewater rivers is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

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Depending on the time of year you will want to dress accordingly to protect yourself from both cold water and intense UV sunlight. Rafting is an intense activity, and you will be soaked pretty quick to prepare for theday in which you will be wet most of the time. Some rivers have prolonged stretches of calm water in which case clothing may dry out if the air is warm and the sun is shining but in general rafting rivers include enough rapids to guarantee a wet experience.

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Wetsuits, synthetic fleece, and polypro clothing are all recommended for keeping your skin dry and body temperature stable when rafting. If the weather is particularly hot or humid, you may not need a wetsuit since the protective layers can make it quite uncomfortable in the hot sun. Of course, if you are going to be exposed to sunlight make sure to have a high SPF waterproof sun lotion to protect skin. Keep away from cotton, once wet this fabric will only make your skin colder. A tough pair of sneakers or running shoes, a hat and sports sunglasses and you’re good to go.

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Even though a river seems navigable and the water depth manageable it is always recommended that you wear a life vest when rafting. Rapids can be deceptively powerful, and currents are always pulling with a strength many are unprepared for so save the macho act for the gym and put on a life jacket. Personal flotation devices are indispensable on a whitewater rafting adventure and will keep everyone safe during the more treacherous stretches of frothing river. Again, rivers vary in the degree of difficulty but expect to be tossed from the raft at least once during a trip. Many people will instantly panic during such an event and have the life vest on will keep you afloat so you can safely return to the raft and your teammates.

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Other equipment that can be taken on a whitewater rafting tripĀ includes dry bags, basic first aid supplies and spare paddles and oars. In a dry bag or mesh bag you can store fresh drinking water, power and energy bars, extra clothing including sweatshirts, socks and windbreakers and even disposable waterproof cameras. Remember you may have long stretches of smooth sailing which is a great time to get your energy back with snacks and change out of drenched clothes. A basic first aid kit in a waterproof container is always a good idea. Having clean bandages, sterilization liquids, and pads, gauze and scissors will be enough to treat common scrapes and cuts that occur on rafting trips. Lastly, paddles can get lost very easy during a rough ride through tough rapids so having a few extra linings the bottom of the raft will come in handy.


Preparing for a whitewater rafting trip takes careful planning to ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable. Though the point of whitewater rafting is fun and recreation, the activity is not without its hazards, and anyone about to go on a trip needs to take into account the proper clothing and equipment that will make a rafting trip safe and successful.

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