As the weather turns warmer in the high country, the snows of winter melt and give way to the whitewater rivers of summer. The same snow that provides world-class snow skiing and snowboarding opportunities melts, rejuvenates our alpine ecosystem, and gives way to whitewater rapids in the summer in a cycle of outdoor adventure fun. There is a whitewater rafting experience for anybody in Colorado, and necessary preparations should be made as to what should be worn on the river. Here is what to wear white water rafting in Colorado.
The rivers of Colorado are largely fed by snowmelt, so regardless of the temperature outside, the water will be cold! Fortunately for you, Colorado River Rentals has wetsuist and splash-jackets available to keep you warm despite potentially falling into the water. Wetsuits do not keep you dry, however, as the way wetsuits work is by using your body heat to warm the water that gets trapped in the wetsuit. For this reason, we recommend wearing something dri-fit or synthetic so the cold doesn’t get trapped in a material like cotton or denim. Quickly drying materials like wool, fleece or polyester work great. You should also wear something not too tight or constricting on your rafting movements and important personal items such as jewelry, keys, phones and wallets should be left in the car or at the outpost to avoid any accidents.
Footwear should have a secure heal and you should wear something that you are comfortable potentially swimming in. Old sneakers or water shoes work great but crocs or flip flops are not allowed on our trips. While the goal is never to fall out of the boat, there is always a chance and if that does happen you need something to support and protect your feet from the very rocky riverbeds that will injure your feet if not properly protected. If you do not own shoes that fit the criteria above, you can always buy water shoes at any of our outposts for around $15. For sanitary reasons, we do not rent booties or water shoes.The time of year should also be a factor in the preparations being made for your rafting trip. A crisp, spring morning calls for different layering than a trip in mid-July. Wool socks with a closed toed shoe would be appropriate for colder trips and layering is appropriate so long as you are keeping in mind the material restrictions.
So, you’ve got your dri-fit clothing and appropriate secured-heeled shoes on, what else? Sunscreen, and plenty of it. While most of your body will be covered by the wet-suit and splash jacket, sunscreen is still highly recommended for your face and hands. At higher altitudes, there is not as much atmosphere to filter the sun’s harmful radiation, so you burn at a quicker and more intense rate than at lower elevations. A water-resistant sunscreen of at least 30 spf is recommended for rafting. Also, don’t forget the shades at the radiation is just as harmful to your eyes as it is to your skin. Don’t forget the croakies, because it can get wild out there on the river.
Have any questions about what to wear or how to prepare for a day out on the rivers of Colorado? Give Colorado River Rentals a call at 970-423-7036.