White water rafting requires advanced preparation, and this is especially true in spring. Heavier clothing is recommended in the spring and fall because the weather is cooler than in the summer. When the snow starts to melt, the rivers start to rush and some consider spring to have the best rafting of the year. Another benefit of spring rafting is most rivers are less crowded than in the summer, so you may get more time on the water. Here are some tips for preparing for spring white water rafting.
Clothing is Important
Naturally, you expect to get wet when you go rafting, but do not plan to wear a bathing suit unless it is under other clothing. The appropriate clothing in the spring may include essential items such as a hat and polypropylene or wool socks. Cotton clothing is not ideal as it takes a long time to dry and once it gets wet, it is heavy. Cotton will pull heat away from your body, reducing your core temperature. Wool, polypropylene or fleece will be more comfortable and will dry quickly. Those who have access to nylon paddling clothing or a wetsuit should wear them. However, personal rafting gear will need to be compliant with any state safety laws. Sometimes, you can rent these items. The shoes you wear should have a good grip and easily drain away water. Water shoes or closed sandals with a solid sole will work. Don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen and drinking water. Keep dry clothing and a towel, along with jewelry and money, locked in your car.
Consider Age Guidelines
You may find that the minimum age guidelines on some rivers are raised in the spring. This is because the snowmelt may make the rivers more challenging for young children and beginners. If you are planning a trip with children, choose one that has age requirements suitable for your child’s age and physical abilities.
Competent Swimming Ability
In the raging waters of spring, your swimming ability should be good. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert swimmer, but you should be a competent swimmer. You will be asked to stay calm and follow your guide’s directions if you fall out of the boat. If you aren’t confident in your swimming ability, many rafters recommend that you go rafting during the summer or fall when most rivers have a normal flow.
When you first get the idea of taking a white water rafting excursion in the spring and have selected a short list of companies, it is a good idea to call ahead to find out what is included with the rafting. For example, if you are planning a family outing or a stag party, you need to know what the company offers. The company should tell you the fun and interesting things it plans for your group both off and on the river.
Whenever you go rafting, it is important to follow your guide’s instructions carefully. He or she will explain everything you need to know to be safe and have fun and give paddle commands that you need to follow. Rafting is a team sport to stay clear of obstacles in the water and steer properly, and your guide knows the river. If you are ready for a wild ride, spring is the time to go white water rafting.
This article, Colorado’s top vacation destinations this summer, was written by Ryan Thomas for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.