River Comfort, Fun and Safety TipsImportant items to remember as you plan your Colorado Rafting vacation!
Choose a Trip Appropriate for You
River rafting is not a carnival ride for which all you have to do is get strapped in and sit – you may need to self-rescue or help others who go in the water. When selecting a trip, be honest with yourself and your outfitter about your level of fitness, swimming ability and capacity for remaining calm in an emergency. Many outfitters offer a variety of trips from more family friendly options to more extreme adventures which can be selected based on your experience level, fitness and desires for the trip.
Choose a Trip That Suits Your Schedule
Some CROA outfitters offer half-day trips that only require the commitment of a few hours only, while others offer more extensive trips that allow you to escape on the river for multiple days. Ask your outfitter for a full menu of options.
Make It a Combo
Rafting is an easy sport to build a vacation around or to add to a larger itinerary. Many CROA outfitters offer packages that combine rafting with other fun activities – everything from horseback riding, rock climbing and fishing to hiking, mountain biking and 4-wheel drive outings. Ask your outfitter for a full menu of options.
Don’t Leave the Little Ones at Home
Rafting can be a wonderful experience for children, and Colorado offers many trips appropriate for kids as young as four. Still, be sure to ask your outfitter about the age and weight restrictions in place for the given conditions on the trips you’re considering.
Listen to Your Rafting Guide
Listen to your rafting guide before and during the entire trip – even if you've been rafting a lot and feel comfortable on the water. Rafting guides are specially trained and experienced, as well as knowledgeable about local history, culture, geology and wildlife.
Pay Attention to the Pre-Trip Safety Orientation
All CROA outfitters will hold a pre-trip safety orientation prior to launching their boats. Pay careful attention to what’s said and make sure your family and guests do as well, since these experienced professionals will prepare you for almost any event that could happen on the river. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or express concerns. Be sure to watch our Whitewater Safety Video to further understand the nature of a whitewater trip.
Know What to Bring and Wear
The outfitter you choose will give you a specific list, but following are some items that are generally considered standard for any rafting outing:
- Quick drying shorts or swim suits (no cottons!)
- River sandals or old tennis shoes (no flip flops!)
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Sunglasses with retaining cord
- Waterproof disposable camera
- A dry change of clothes
- Cash for souvenirs, snacks and guide tip if you enjoyed the trip and his or her service
Know What the Outfitter Provides
Again, your outfitter will clarify this further, but most professional outfitters provide the following either complementary or as a rental item:
- Personal Flotation Devices, or PFDs – aka, life jackets
- Splash jackets
- Transportation between their offices and the river
Remember That You’re in Colorado
If you’re coming from a different part of the country or the world, you may not be used to Colorado’s elevation, dry weather and abundant sunshine. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated during your entire visit to Colorado, limit your alcohol intake, ease your way into strenuous activities and be sure to pack that sunscreen, hat and lip balm.