River rafting for the first time can be an exhilarating adventure. However, it can also be one that makes you a little unsure of yourself, especially if you’re not used to water sports as much. If you decide to head to the river this summer, don’t feel shy about asking as many questions as you want. The more understanding you have about your trip, the more confident you’ll feel and the more fun you will have!
Many people will go into the experience blindly, which is also fine. But if you’re someone who likes to come prepared then it’s best if you brush up on your white water rafting knowledge. That way, you can enjoy your rafting trip to the fullest! Each trip is different, and it’s strongly recommended that you stick with beginner courses at first. The rapids are a little gentler and you can adjust to it a little easier.
Some rafting adventures are also longer than just a few short hours. Many companies offer river trips that expand overall several days (and in some cases up to an entire week!) But for now, let’s stick to the basics so you’re not overwhelmed with the smaller details of whitewater rafting.
Before You Start
There’s a lot to consider before you even book your river journey. First and foremost, people are often concerned when their swimming skills aren’t necessarily up to par. Falling out of a raft can sometimes happen, but it isn’t something that you should fret over too much. Even if you’re not the strongest swimmer, guides will instruct you on what to do prior to boarding the raft.
You’ll also be provided with a life vest and more often than not with a wetsuit. Both of these are tremendously helpful in keeping you afloat and warm. You also don’t need to worry if you’ve never rafted before, because everyone has to start somewhere!
Remember to keep in mind that even on beginner trips you’ll come across rapids! You’ll have to use a little elbow grease to help your group steer through the water- but again, you don’t have to have the strength of 1,000 bodybuilders to do this.
The good news is that you’ll burn off quite a few calories. The bad news is you might be sore the next day but it’ll be well worth it! Your rafting adventure will require you to stay alert but will be a memory you can share with friends and family for life.
What To Bring (Or Not Bring)
Heading out on your first rafting trip will require you to carry a few things from home with you. While other stuff items should stay safely in your car or not be brought at all. It’s important that you follow instructions staff or a rafting website states. The last thing you want is to end up losing valuable items or forgetting something vital. The experience should be an exciting and enjoyable one and not one that leaves a bad taste in your mouth (so to speak).
Things you should definitely bring include:
- A water bottle
- Water-resistant clothing or clothing that can get dirty and protects you from the sun
- A change of clothes
- A towel
- A disposable camera or one that will handle constant water being splashed on it (but be warned-more expensive cameras can easily fall into the river so plan accordingly).
Things that might be best left at home:
- Money in ALL forms (where are you going to go anyway while you’re on the river?)
- Electronics (yes, even your beloved phone)
- Purses, wallets, etc.
Staying Safe On The Water
The biggest priority for any rafting company is to make sure you’re of course comfortable, but that you’re also safe! Both the staff and guides painstakingly and thoroughly try to ensure that each element of your rafting trip is handled well. Many guides also have years of experience on the water and understand the landscape, weather, and surroundings better than anyone else.
The number one rule to follow is that you should take into consideration everything your guide recommends. They will make sure to remind you to reapply sunscreen and drink water for instance. Both are easily forgotten when you’re taking in all that nature has to offer. So be sure to heed what they have to say. They’re the experts and want to help you avoid things that can easily ruin your experience.
Rafting for the first time can be an incredibly thrilling activity, and even more so when you come fully prepared. Set yourself up for success by knowing the basics and ask important questions right off the bat.
You can even ask others who have already gone what it was like for them to give you the inside scoop. Also, stick to Class I or II rapids as well, and mention you’re new to rafting when you check in with the company you’ve chosen.
Find a new way to connect with nature and try out whitewater rafting! You’ll be challenged and left with a sense of wonder and might become more of an outdoor enthusiast than you already were.