What’s Rafting?

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Rafting is a thrilling aquatic adventure popular in the US, using specialized rafts to navigate white water rapids of varying difficulty levels. Rafters can take short trips or longer expeditions, with safety precautions and expert guidance recommended. Rafting is a great way to connect with nature.

Rafting is a popular type of outdoor sport, especially in the United States. Also referred to simply as rafting, this sport is a thrilling aquatic adventure that can be enjoyed by individuals of all skill levels with proper guidance and instruction. In some areas of the United States, rafting is available year-round, although it is generally seasonal, depending on snow cover, rain, and dam release schedules.

White water rafting uses specialized rafts which are very sturdy and flexible. These rafts can accommodate a wide range of people, depending on need and size, although eight to ten individuals is a standard number. All rafters feature paddles, which are used to steer and propel the raft through the water. With an expert guide it is possible to have a dinghy with only one or two experienced people and a crew of novices, depending on the difficulty of the rafting waters.

The excitement in rafting comes from white water, a term that refers to the level of turbulence in the river, or rapids. White water can be caused by changes in elevation relative to the river bed, rocks or other obstructions in the water, and by the flow of snowmelt and rain. Whitewater rapids come in a range of classes, from one, indicating small, slow-moving rapids that are safe for all experience levels, to six, indicating a dangerous and possibly never-tested rapid that should only be attempted by professionals.

Rafters can take short trips lasting a few hours and culminating at a pick-up point further down the river, or longer expeditions that combine rafting and camping. Especially in the West, longer camping and rafting trips are quite popular and a wonderful way to see nature, often in a rather intimate way. There is a wide range of rafting companies, many of which offer a range of experiences, from adventures geared towards more professionally trained individuals to family rafting trips, where rafters will rarely encounter more than two. There is an element of risk to rafting even first-class whitewater, which can be alleviated by following basic training, wearing safety gear, and always obeying your guide’s instructions. Even basic swimming skills are strongly recommended in an emergency.

Especially when rafting in upper classes, it is assumed that the rafters are professionally trained and have a much better understanding of their skills. In the more popular rapids, safety precautions should always be observed to prevent injury, and rafters should also be aware of the prevailing weather conditions. When done with safety in mind, rafting is great fun and a fantastic way to connect with the outdoors.

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