How can I Prepare to Go White Water Rafting?

While water water rafting, be prepared to do a lot of paddling.
It's important to bring along a sturdy pair of sunglasses when rafting.
Wet suits may be rented while water rafting.
It is recommended to bring sunscreen on a white water rafting trip.
Bottled water can be packed for a rafting trip.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2014
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Planning ahead can make your next white water rafting adventure a roaring success. Perhaps the most important decision you can make regarding your white water rafting trip is who to go with. If this your first time rafting, you may choose to go with a travel adventure outfitter that can organize all the details and provide an experienced guide to help you once you're in the river. Trips offered by outfitters range from easy half-day river trips to multi-day white water rafting trips including camping and hiking. If, however, you're an experienced rafter, there are many companies that will rent you the necessary equipment so you can enjoy the river by yourself or with your choice of friends.

For inexperienced rafters, companies recommend starting off with a class III trip. This provides a lot of excitement without too many risks or exhaustion. Senior citizens or families with young children may want to try a class II river or choose an oar boat trip, on which it's not necessary for all passengers to paddle.

To prepare for a white water rafting trip, start by making sure you meet all minimum requirements. While being a good swimmer is naturally an advantage, many non-swimmers also go on rafting trips, since wearing a Coast Guard approved buoyancy vest is mandatory. More important than being able to swim is being in good physical condition. White water rafting can be demanding, and you should be prepared to paddle along with your companions.


Bringing appropriate clothing is another must when going white water rafting. Company websites usually offer suggestions on what to bring depending on the time of year and weather. As a general rule, however, avoid wearing cotton, which retains water, and sandals, which can easily slip off. Choose synthetic materials for summer trips and consider renting a wet suit for spring and fall white water rafting.

Hats and sunglasses are a must in summer, as is sunscreen. It's also important to bring an extra set of clothes to change into after the trip. Even in summer, a synthetic or wool sweater is recommended, since the water can be cold enough to lower your body temperature by several degrees. Following these simple suggestions can help make your next white water rafting trip an experience you will remember for years to come.


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