River Rafting Trips: How To Plan

Both experienced and novice river rafters should learn how to plan river rafting trips before setting out for the next big adventure.  Planning ahead can help save an excursion from boredom or becoming too exciting, à la “Deliverance.”  Weather, routes and stops are a few of the key elements when you plan solid whitewater or river rafting trips.

  1. Check the weather forecasts for any nearby major cities.  Weather can be a major factor when you plan a river rafting trip, as it may well mean the difference between getting wet in the froth or rained out.  The US government’s National Weather Service site features up-to-the-minute reliable weather reports across the nation.
  2. Visit the Bureau of Land Management website for the state or states you’ll be river rafting through.  The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for most of the rivers and waterways that rafters will use in the United States.  International rafters should check with the land management officials for their target nation.
  3. Use the river maps provided by the BLM to plan your trip routes.  Look for potential portage issues as no one likes to carry their raft when they should be enjoying the ride.  Also check for public campsites, which make excellent overnight camping areas for days-long river rafting trips.
  4. Call your cellular provider or check their website to find coverage areas.  Today’s rafter is far less likely to be stranded with hillbillies who think he has “a purty mouth” as cell coverage may let him call out for emergency assistance before such problems arise.  Even if your cell phone won’t reach into the deep woods, knowing what nearby cities are covered may be very handy.
  5. Make a To-Do list of everything you need to pack and prepare before your tip.  The final step to plan your river rafting trip is knowing how to pack your kit for the upcoming adventure.  Lay all of your gear out and inspect it before counting on it in the bush. 

Don’t just trust to experience when the resources for careful planning are a click away.  No one needs to know where you got your perfect wisdom about the upcoming weather and waters ahead.

Bureau of Land Management

National Weather Service

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