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Rafting Checklist

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 31-08-2007

Whitewater rafting is a fun and exciting way to spend an active healthy day in the great outdoors, connecting with the family in a way that’s sure to live on in your and your kid’s memories for years. In order to insure these memories are ones your kids will reflect upon fondly later in life and not the subject matter of sessions with a therapist, proper trip preparation is key.

First off, check with outfitters to make sure they offer a family-friendly adventure. Some trips can be fairly aggressive and therefore not appropriate for younger kids. Generally, kids as young as eight are allowed to raft when accompanied by an adult, but keep in mind that age restrictions vary on different rivers and trips.

As a parent, you know the importance of having the right equipment on hand when it’s needed, especially when you’re away from home. Therefore, I highly recommend bringing the following items to help the whole family have a great day on the river.

  • Old sneakers—in and out of the raft, a good pair of shoes is essential.
  • Non-cotton clothing—wet cotton dries slowly and can make you cold even on warm days.
  • Swimsuit—plan on getting wet with plenty of opportunities to swim.
  • Waterproof sunscreen—sun intensity increases on the water, so a high SPF sunscreen that won’t wash off is a great call.
  • Sunglasses—again, sunlight can be intense on the water. Just make sure to use a sunglass retainer strap to avoid deep sixing your shades.
  • Bug repellant—never hurts to have a bit on hand in case you run into hungry mosquitoes.
  • Warm, dry clothes—a change of clothes at the end of the day will keep everyone comfortable.
  • Snacks—check with you outfitter to see if food will be supplied.

Follow these simple preparation guidelines, and you’re sure to have a fun, exciting, and rewarding family experience. So grab the family and get on the river!

- Scott Kaier, Northern Outdoors