Withstanding the White Water Rapids – Preparing For a High Adrenaline Adventure.

By: Thomas Hunter

A rafting trip is the perfect vacation for everyone in your family. There are few things in this world better than rushing down a river, feeling the water splash on your ankles, and squealing with delight all the way. There are a number of things, though, that you should do to prepare for your white water vacation with your family.

Think safety first and above everything else. If you go with a rafting company, they can help guide you on the safety tips you need to know. If, however, you are choosing to go it alone, here are some safety tips to help you prepare. First, be sure you have a personal flotation device, like a life jacket, on each family member at all times. Even if you are a good swimmer, white water currents can be a serious danger, and a flotation device can help save your life or that of a family member when you get in a tight situation. Proper clothing is also important. Be sure to wear fabrics that dry quickly. You should also wear lightweight shoes, as heavier shoes can make swimming more difficult should you fall in. Good equipment is also essential. A solid raft and good paddles can make your experience much safer, though this shouldn't be an issue if you've chosen to work with a rafting company to rent your equipment. If, however, you're borrowing something from a friend of a brother-in-law or something like that, it can be a good idea to inspect the equipment thoroughly. Finally, be sure everyone in your party has the ability to handle the rapids you'll be facing. You don't want to get in over someone's head. If that happens, people can panic, the boat can turn over, and you'll lose everyone and everything.

Another thing to consider is the special equipment you may want to take along on the trip. Not just any life jacket will do. You want ones that are specifically rated for rafting. Moreover, you'll need waterproof bags to carry your gear. The last thing you want to find is soaking wet gear after a long day of fighting the river. Finally, be sure both your boat and your paddles are rated for the kind of river use you'll be putting it to. If they're not, either rent some that are or buy some that are. White water rafting is a unique sport with unique equipment needs, and realizing that from the start can make your vacation go much smoother.

An additional thing to consider is what to wear while you're on the river. You'll want to dress according to both the water temperature and the air temperature, as you'll spend most of your day getting at least a little wet. During the summer months, shorts and a t-shirt are a good idea. On cooler days, you'll probably want a wet suit. It can help you keep warm, and it is quick to dry. For a bit of extra warmth on those cool days, you might consider fleece or wool jackets and sweaters. Wearing a cotton jacket or sweater will not keep you warm, as it will sap your body heat. Fleece and wool have the ability to provide insulation even when wet.

Sun protection is also essential, no matter what season you choose to raft in. You need both a high powered sun block and sun glasses to protect yourself. You might even want a hat to protect the top of your head, your neck, and your ears from the sun. Sun burns can happen every easily when you're out on the river all day, and you can prevent soreness and injury by packing a bit of sun protection.

Finally, be sure to pack the perfect meals for your trip. You want things that are easy to prepare, tasty, and nutritious. It can be a good idea not to pack anything that needs to be refrigerated, because once your cooler is out of ice, the side of the river is a bad place to stop and get more. More than anything, though, after a long day on the river, you'll be both tired and hungry, so packing something that is easy to prepare that will fill you up is essential.

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