If you’ve ever felt the need to add a little more adventure in your life, nothing beats a day on the river. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the beauty of nature while rocking along the rapids? Many choose to go with a rafting company, while other courageous folks strap a raft on their car to head out on their own. Whatever you choose to do, here are 4 essential items that you’ll need before you hit the water.
1- Protective Head Gear
First and foremost, safety should be a consideration. If you plan to go rafting at all, you should definitely grab some protective head gear. Any place you choose to go rafting will likely have rocky paths or other debris that can easily become a danger. While bobbing along with the ebbs and flow of the water there is a chance you may bump into one of nature’s nuisances, or fall out of your raft. Protect yourself with a well-fitting helmet, and know how to properly adjust your helmet. Check out some recommendations from the CDC on what to best look for in your helmet.
2- Life Jacket
While on the topic of safety, you need to consider a well-fitting, Coast Guard approved life jacket. You need to make sure you are prepared for anything while on the water! Whether you can only doggy paddle or you could show up Olympians with your swimming skills, you should still wear a life jacket. Again, think of where you will be rafting. Fast moving currents and other factors can weaken even the best of swimmers. If you are planning to go with a rafting company they should have life jackets for you, but you can always bring your own so you know you’ll have one that works for you. This handy dandy infographic will give you a visual of exactly how the life jacket fitting process should go. Life jackets can only help you if they are properly fitted for your body.
3- Quick Dry Clothing
Third, on our essentials list is quick dry clothing. While in the raft, the river is bound to tease you with a splash or two of the cold water. It may be welcomed at first on a hot summer day, but no one really enjoys sitting in soaked clothes. The quick dry or moisture wicking clothing will help to keep you somewhat dry on your adventure and keep your core body temperature regulated. There are tons of great products out there for you to choose from in a variety of price ranges. My best advice is to simply go with what brands and products you like. This is honestly an item where you don’t have to spend a ton of money for a product that works well.
The fourth item on the list would be a camera of some type. While you will likely have to spend a bulk of your rafting experience with a paddle in hand, nothing beats capturing a few memories while you’re in calm waters. Now, this probably isn’t the time to break out your camera with interchangeable lenses, but a simple smartphone or digital camera in a waterproof case will do. Certainly do your research to find the best case for your phone or camera, even if your equipment is advertised as waterproof. No one likes to be the person who finds out that these claims aren’t quite what they are advertised to be.
A bonus fifth essential item would be to bring a great attitude. Laughter and good vibes are infectious, so bring plenty to share with your raft mates. Whether this is your first or fiftieth time on the water, relax and enjoy your experience. Know that you are well prepared and ready to rock this rafting adventure.