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# whitewater rafting

Our whitewater rafting cheat sheet, making your way to riding rivers, easy!

Rafting is a recreational activity, amongst which we use an inflatable raft to navigate our way around the body of a river. Good team work makes the experience great for a team building activity!

  • Why do it? It's a heart pounding experience!

  • How to do it? Rafting is not an outdoor experience you would do on your own. Professional rafting companies, experienced in local rivers will offer the service, making white water rafting a safe adventure, for almost everyone!

  • Physical intensity: medium - light, depending on the river difficulty. Usually you would raft down the river for 1 to 5 hours.

  • Risk level: low/medium depending on the difficulty and intensity of the river rapids. Rafting companies operate with certified and experienced instructors who should be able to steer the raft on their own. For safety reasons, kayakers go in front of the rafts to control and monitor any unforeseen situation.  

  • Do I need a certification? No. Always check that the rafting company is certified to operate on a certain river and that it has proper insurance schemes. Whitewater rafting is not an experience for non-swimmers.

  • What to buy? Nothing. The rafting companies provide all the necessary for the experience (helmet, wet suit, boots, gloves, life jacket, water jacket, paddles, rafts, safety gear).

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River rafting is a fantastic activity for the whole family, a chance to see a region's beautiful countryside whilst cascading down one of its rivers!

How much does white water rafting cost? 

Prices differ from country to country, but expect a range that goes from 75 to 250 USD per day and per person. 

Is whitewater rafting a safe activity? 

It is! But as said before, do not go down a river alone if you do not have kayaking or whitewater rafting experience. Whitewater rafting needs swimming ability.

Is whitewater rafting OK for a family?

Families will enjoy it most, as it is a group activity. Rafting companies will set limits from 12 to 14 years for children.

What to bring on a whitewater rafting experience?

In warm conditions:

  • Quick dry shorts/bathing suit

  • Synthetic shirt for warmth and sun protection

  • Wetsuit boots (no flip-flops) or sneakers

  • Hat with brim to protect face from sun

  • Sunglasses with retainer strap

  • Avoid all cotton clothing, as cotton gets cold when wet…

In cold conditions: 

  • Outer layer of windproof and waterproof jacket

  • Outer layer of windproof and waterproof pants

  • Thin, snug, warm hat

  • Synthetic or wool socks

  • Synthetic long sleeve shirt(s) and layers

  • Synthetic long underwear layer for legs

After the rafting:

  • Set of dry clothes, shoes and socks – warmer gear if you expect cool temperatures after the trip

  • Bag for wet clothes

What to take in the raft:

  • sunscreen

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The rapids are caused when the riverbed steepens in gradient, creating an increased acceleration in the water. This is why river rafting often includes steep drops, dramatic twists and turns and layered waterfalls.

Safety recommendation for whitewater rafting

  • Before starting to raft down the river, instructors will provide you with specific knowledge about the river and the techniques to make the team on the raft perform. The instructor will also explain on how to react when somebody falls from the rafts.

  • There is a chance a boat can trip and the whole group flies overboard. The important thing is not to panic! Regulate your breathing, stay calm and concentrate on getting back onboard. Grab onto the line that's attached to the perimeter of the raft to give yourself stabilization. If you still have your paddle, hand it by the T to someone inside the raft so that you can grab onto the raft with both hands. Hang on the side of the raft until someone is ready to pull you in.

What are the different classes of rapids?

Whitewater rafting companies would usually guide people for a rafting experience on river difficulties that range from Class I to IV.

The International rating system classifies rapids as follows:

Class A: Lake water. Still. No perceptible movement.

Class I: Easy. Smooth water, light riffles, clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves. The most difficult problems might arise when paddling around bridges and other obvious obstructions.

Class II: Moderate. Medium-quick water. Rapids with regular waves, clear and open passages between rocks and ledges. Maneuvering is required. Best handled by intermediates who can maneuver canoes and read water.

Class III: Moderately difficult. Numerous high and irregular waves, rocks and eddies with passages clear but narrow and requiring experience to run. Visual inspection required if rapids are unknown. Open canoes without flotation bags will have difficulty. These rapids are best left to canoeists with expert skills.

Class IV: Difficult. Long and powerful rapids and standing waves, souse holes and boiling eddies. Powerful and precise maneuvering required. Visual inspection mandatory. Cannot be run in canoes. Advanced preparations for possible rescue work is important.

Class V: Extremely difficult. Long and violent rapids that follow each other almost without interruption. River filled with obstructions. Big drops and violent currents. Extremely steep gradient. Even reconnoitering may be difficult. Rescue preparations mandatory. Can be run only by top experts in specially equipped whitewater rafts, decked crafts, and kayaks.

Class VI: Extraordinarily difficult. Paddlers face constant threat of death because of extreme danger. Navigable only when water levels and conditions are favorable. This violent whitewater should be left to paddlers of Olympic ability. Every safety precaution must be taken.