When most people think of rafting, they think of warm waters, summer breezes and light clothing. They do not think it’s possible or safe enough to enjoy rafting in the wintertime. In reality, every season is suitable for rafters who are willing to take the challenge. Here is a brief guide on how to prepare well for rafting this winter.
Safety and Protection
The biggest concern is the safety of rafting during the coldest months of the year. The risks to the health of you and your passengers are intense. Spending one day out in the cold is disastrous for people with weakened immune systems. After one day, your trip could be cut short by a case of the common cold or pneumonia.
First, decide who’s strong enough to raft outdoors for hours in the cold. They do not include young children, the elderly or those with severe health conditions. Rafters must be mentally prepared for the challenge, as well, and not be prone to making complaints or excuses on why they can’t complete the trip.
Winter Clothing and Survival Supplies
When it’s cold, protecting the body with clothing is the most effective way to stay safe. It’s more important when there are risks of hypothermia and frostbite. The risks increase more for rafters who often fall into the icy cold river waters.
Many outdoors people wear the wrong type of clothing. Some choose to wear the most stylish clothes instead of the types that provide the most protection. Protective clothing is made of insulating materials with several layers that seal in warmth. Since rafters often fall into cold river waters, they should wear wet suits and multiple layers of clothing to protect themselves.
In addition, bring along the right survival supplies for winter in case you and a group of people get stranded in the wilderness. A backpack or bag full of supplies should have a first aid kit along with blankets, lighters or matches to make fires and non-perishable foods. Also recommended is a compass, map and a few communication devices like flares or satellite phones.
Many rafters get stranded in areas with dense forests and mountains. It’s difficult or impossible for members of a rescue team to see them from helicopters. Pack bright-colored flags or blankets to be able to attract attention from above.
People go outside during the winter to enjoy the unique sights that await them, such as falling snow, icicles and frozen rivers. Prepare a list of sights to visit this winter. Look for rivers that lead to seas along with mountains, cliffs and valleys. Choose certain destinations and follow routes for several miles that lead to waterfalls or caves.
Prepare thoroughly for your rafting trip during the harshest season of the year. Falling into the icy cold river is the biggest threat along with hypothermia and frostbite. You have to be comfortable enough to enjoy the rafting and be prepared to survive the wilderness overnight. Know what to expect and not expect this winter.
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.