5 Things to Know Before Your Whitewater Rafting Adventure

By Mia Barnes – April 9, 2023

If you’re reading this, perhaps your adventurous side has kicked in and you want to try out whitewater rafting. It may seem like a fun and active activity, but there’s a lot more to it than that. There will be lots of challenging paddling and working as a team as you bounce off the waves, getting your adrenaline pumping. 

Before heading out on your adventure, you must ensure you’re prepared. Here are some things to consider before taking on the challenge of whitewater rafting:

1. The Whitewater Rafting Experience 

When you’re trying out a new adventure, you must first know what you’re getting into. Whitewater rafting is likely different from other sports and activities you’ve tried before; it’s an activity that requires you to paddle down a rapidly flowing river with a group of people in an inflatable raft, for crying out loud!

Person whitewater rafting.

Depending on your experience, you should choose a good river grade to ensure you’re not going on a too challenging route as a first-timer. There are grades from one to six that go from easy to extreme. Typically, as a beginner, it’s best to start from anywhere between one and three.

2. Preparing For Your Trip

If you’re going through a tour company, you won’t need to do much. They’ll provide you with gear and instructions while supplying the directions for the river. The best way to prepare is to listen to your instructor and get ready to have fun.

For those with a fear of rapid waters, you may need to prepare for that aspect mentally. The guides are there to ease your worries and take good care of you. Their concerns are centered around your safety and ensuring you’re comfortable.

Usually, your tour company has a list of things to bring on its website. You’ll undoubtedly want to bring an extra pair of clothing, towels, food and drinks for afterward. Check with your guide the day before to pack whatever they suggest as safe. If you wear glasses, find a way to keep them secure, and bring sun protection.

3. Whitewater Rafting Risks

Whitewater rafting.

With any physical activity comes risks. Even in activities with no physical contact, typical injuries like sprains, concussions, knee injuries and more can occur in any circumstance. Usually, bumps and bruises are the extents of the injuries you’ll experience since the guide’s top priority is your safety. While that doesn’t rule out serious injuries, they aren’t common.

4. What to Wear

The clothing is your choice, but you should bring waterproof shoes or ones that strap securely to your feet. The climate you’ll be in sets the standard for what you should wear. People commonly wear tight pants and synthetic T-shirts since they don’t retain as much water as other fabrics. In a warmer climate, cold water on your clothing may not be as much of a concern.

You can even wear a bathing suit under your clothing to dry quickly once you’re done. In cold weather, you can wear wool or fleece sweaters and socks with a windbreaker to keep you warm. Your guide will also suggest you rent a wet suit in these climates.

5. What to Expect 

Before your trip, you’ll have a meeting or orientation to discuss safety and the general information you need. You’ll watch a video or listen to instructions on gear, getting in the boat and standard tips for your specific trip. Depending on the trip, expect to be on the water for anywhere from one to six hours.

Prepare for Whitewater Rafting the Right Way

Whitewater rafting is a fun and one-of-a-kind experience you’ll remember forever. If you’re looking for something new and exciting to try, we hope these whitewater rafting tips prepare you for your next adventure.

About the Author

Mia Barnes is a health and wellness writer and editor-in-chief at Body + Mind. She specifically enjoys writing about women’s fitness, as well as mental health-related topics. When she’s not writing, Barnes can usually be found reading poetry, taking a dance or cardio class, or hiking.


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