How to Go Whitewater Rafting


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a challenging set of rapids is the kind of rewarding, soul-stirring adventure
that helps remind you you’re alive. What if you’ve never done it before,
though? Is it wise just to hop in a raft and charge on down the river? Anyone
with a sense of self-preservation would say no.

is a more accessible sport than you might think. Guided tours of most popular
rafting spots are simple to book, and because permits are required in many
areas, we recommend working through a guide until you understand the logistics
of setting up a trip. Here’s how you can get started.

Choose A Beginner-Level Rapid

Colorado and Oregon are just a few states that offer excellent rafting
opportunities for beginners
. Many guides don’t require helmets for class 1 and 2 rapids, which
makes this an easy way to get familiar with being in the raft, maneuvering and
just the experience. It also makes taking the whole family along less
stressful. Rafting is a nice happy medium for those who want to get extreme,
but can’t imagine something like skydiving.

the sport appeals to you, you can easily book a trip for a more challenging
rapid that will test your rafting skills. If you discover it’s your sport,
there are many opportunities to get out and see beautiful country you might
otherwise miss. It’s even been connected to feelings of accomplishment,
relaxation and nature appreciation
, for obvious reasons. Maybe you’d like to plan a
multiday rafting expedition down a longer stretch of river, for example. It’s
possible with a little practice.

Be Ready to Get Wet and Wild

is right there in the name, and it’s a big part of the rafting experience. You
can expect to come away from your expedition tired and wet, but that doesn’t
mean you’ll feel bad. Rafting is fun with the right equipment.

should dress in synthetic fabrics that won’t pull heat away and will dry
quickly when you get out of the raft. As for footwear, trade
your flip-flops for a grippy pair of sandals
or water shoes. Many rafting
injuries occur outside the raft while navigating slippery rocks. Wear plenty of
sunscreen, and be sure to apply it everywhere — not just the places you think
will see the sun. Failing to do so can lead to nasty burns on a multihour
rafting trip. Don’t bring anything you aren’t completely OK with getting

the electronics, wallets and cherished family heirlooms out of the raft. As you
ramp up your difficulty level, be prepared to get dunked entirely. Some rides
just come with the expectation that you’ll be ejected. Be sure to bring your
game face. You can burn just as many calories in a good day of rafting as you
would in the gym, so buff up those arms and legs/ You’ll need them to stabilize
yourself and steer the raft through challenging bumps.

The Right Whitewater Experience

an extreme sport nearly anyone can get out and try, rafting is really an
underappreciated pastime. You might be amazed at how easy it is to get hooked,
so sign up for a whitewater adventure today and try it out for yourself. You
might get a little wet, but you’ll feel a whole lot better afterward.