White water rafting is a rapidly growing vacation activity that attracts adventure seekers from all walks of life. This exhilarating sport can be intimidating for some, as it seems to require physical fitness and intense preparation to ensure safety. In fact, participants need to let the tour guides do the worrying, while vacationers should be more concerned with getting together the necessities for a week or so of adventure, excitement and great memory making events.
White water rafting newbies may find that the outfitter or guide with whom they book the trip supplies them with a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts, what to pack, what to leave behind and also how to prepare for the first day on the water. Obvious items to pack for these adventures include swim wear, waterproof sunscreen, sunglasses, bug repellent and changes of clothes. Comfortable shoes are another must as these trips can often involve hiking in the canyon.
Not quite as obvious – but just as essential for creature comforts – are the minutiae of the packing list. The shoes, for example, should be well worn in and comfortable and suitable for hiking on rocks. The clothing should be of a fabric that wicks moisture away from the body, and dries quickly. Sunglasses should be held in place with a retainer strap so they are not lost in the water. (It’s not a bad idea to bring an extra pair in case the first pair is lost or broken.) The sun’s glare off the water can be fierce. Plastic bags to store wet clothes and secure, sealed bags to keep the dry ones away from water are also necessities for a this adventure.
Contrary to what you might think, it is not necessary to hit the gym for weeks leading up to any white water rafting trip. There are different kinds of river tours for differing ability and fitness levels; the participant and guide decide together which level works best for the first-timer. Thereafter, he or she has a good idea of all that is entailed in rafting and can choose the next trip based on prior experience.
Though it is not necessary to be an accomplished swimmer before joining a white water rafting trip, it is important to practice floating with a life vest. Make it a point to teach a younger participant how to float while wearing a life vest and what to do if s/he falls out of a boat. Many outfitters book trips for children as young as eight years of age, if accompanied by a guardian, so this is a crucial piece of their preparation.
Don’t be surprised if an outfitter or river guide has you complete a medical form. It is important that they know about medical issues, especially in the Grand Canyon where medical help is not around the corner, and stabilizing an emergency situation could require some basic information. Diabetics, epileptics, or those with asthma and heart conditions need not be excluded from a river rafting trip, but if a sudden attack requires an intervention by the guide, he must know what he’s dealing with.
Follow these simple steps when preparing for white water rafting trips and it is highly likely that the first-time rafter discovers a new hobby he or she will return to time and again.
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