Important Information

In planning a whitewater rafting trip, many questions arise. This page is designed to help answer some common questions you may have in choosing a whitewater rafting trip and outfitter.

How Should I Begin Planning My Trip?
Who Can Go whitewater Rafting?
What do the Classifications Mean?
What Should I Take With Me?
What Should I Wear Rafting?
Is There Danger Involved With Whitewater Rafting?

How Should I Begin Planning My Trip?
In planning a whitewater rafting trip it is important that you know the limitations of all in your party. Do not pressure someone into a trip which is not appropriate! Begin by contacting outfitters in the areas you are considering a trip. Each outfitter will supply a brochure which will detail the trips they offer including prices and difficulty levels. Be sure you understand your chosen outfitters cancellation policy! If members of your group are minors that will not be accompanied by a parent or legal gaurdian, make sure you have the appropriate forms mailed to you. Many rivers or sections are very popular and often offer limited seasons and seating. Be sure to make your plans as far in advance as possible to secure your selected trip dates or times.
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Who Can Go whitewater Rafting?
Just about anyone can go whitewater rafting. There are trips available for all ages and ability levels. Most rivers only require that you be in reasonably good physical condition. However, some rivers and sections do require you be in top physical shape, some require a physical test before departure. If you have any question about your physical fitness for a given trip or section be sure to consult your physician and the outfitter.
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What do the Classifications Mean?
The whitewater classification system is intended to be a gauge of difficulty. Many outfitters classify their trips as “family class”, “adventure class” etc. their brochures or website will offer a description of their chosen system. When reading an outfitters brochure each river or section should have a classification associated with it. If you have any questions, ask your outfitter! River and rapid classifications run from I (being the easiest) to VI (considered unrunnable). Below you will find an adapted classification table.



Class I ::

Clear, wide channels with small waves. No obstructions
or hazards.



Class II ::

Slightly larger, more frequent waves. Little
or no obstructions or hazards.



Class III ::

Waves up to four feet in height. Some obstructions
present.



Class IV ::

Difficult with large frequent waves and obstructions.



Class V ::

Large frequent waves which are often unavoidable.
Techincal rapids with many hazards and obstructions
present.



Class VI ::

The upper limit of navigation attempted only
by crazies!



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What Should I Take With Me?
Most guides will carry dry bags or boxes to secure small personal items you may bring with you and will usually have room to accomodate an extra layer of clothing. Be sure to take any necessary prescription medications such as inhalers, bee sting kits, insulin etc. DO NOT take your car keys, wallets, cell phones etc. with you for the trip. You will want to be sure to take along sunscreen, sunglasses with a strap to secure them and a camera. Disposable water proof cameras are readily available, easy to take along with you and take good quality pictures.
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What Should I Wear Rafting?
On most rivers during the summertime a simple swim suit, nylon shorts, tennis shoes or sandals, and a hat are appropriate. Spring and fall trips often require additional clothing. In any case be sure to dress in layers so that you can easily add or remove articles as you need. Aside from summer, warm-water rafting trips, avoid cotton clothing. Cotton wicks warmth from your body. Wool, polyester fleece and other synthetic materials will keep you warmer and will dry faster than cotton. Many outfitters have wetsuits available for rent, some even require that a wetsuit be worn on the trip. Ask the rental costs so that you can be prepared upon arrival. Be sure to consult your chosen outfitter regarding appropriate attire for the trip before you leave!
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Is There Danger Involved With Whitewater Rafting?
As in any outdoor adventure activity there are inherent risks involved with whitewater rafting. You will be required by the outfitter to sign an acknowledgement of risk form stating that you are aware of the dangers involved in whitewater rafting. Outfitters strive to maintain outstanding safety records and require that guides are certified in first-aid and CPR. Most guides have additional safety training. When you are planning your trip, contact the outfitters and ask them about their safety record and what medical training is required of their guides.
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