6 Tips for Beginners on your First Private River Rafting Trip

6 Tips for Beginners on your First Private River Rafting Trip
Written by: Katie Schneider

We know the transition from commercial rafting trips over to private river excursions can seem daunting.  Our team is here to help make this process as easy as possible, because what’s better than some time on the water and a night camping under the stars?  Check out these 6 tips to help you plan your first private overnight rafting trip on the river!

1.  Bring Layers and Dry Clothing

You could start your day off under the Colorado sun and 75 degree weather, but don’t be surprised when temperatures drop as the sun goes down.  You’ll want to bring a change of clothes anyway so you’re not sitting around in your wet gear all evening, but layers are key for trips like this.  Wool is the best for layering because it’s not bulky but provides plenty of warmth.  Don’t forget a dry pair of socks, either!  If you’re still not sure what to wear while on the river, refer to this webpage to answer those questions.

2.  Properly Plan and Pack

Plan your meals.

Maybe you’ll want to whip out the propane stove when you pull over at a campsite towards the end of the day, but do you have lunch and snacks packed for on the river?  Will you really want to cook a full breakfast the next morning, or will bagels and fruit do the trick? 

Plan your camping set up.

Think about utilizing the space you have as best as possible.  Bring a backpacking sleeping pad if you want, or a hammock would work great too as long as your campsite has trees.  Bring your smaller two-person tents, some foldable chairs, a roll out table, and only the essentials.  

Plan activities for your free time.

Pack a deck of cards, a football, a book, a fishing pole, or whatever it may be to entertain you riverside once you pull over for the evening.  If you want a good campsite you’ll have to make a decision late afternoon, which gives you a few hours before sunset to explore the area and enjoy some downtime.

3.  Utilize the Colder Colorado River

The Colorado River tends to be on the colder side, especially as we get into the fall season.  If you have a camping water filter and don’t want to bring a 5 gallon jug you can definitely send the river water through your filter.  Another great function of the colder water is keeping your beer chilled in a drag bag while you’re rafting all day.  Instead of taking up space in the cooler, through your brews in a netted bag and securely attach it to the back of your raft.  Last but not least, don’t forget to pack a biodegradable soap that’s environmentally friendly to allow you to wash your dishes after cooking dinner that evening.

4.  Get Your Bathroom Situation Locked Down

We’re telling you right now you do not want to flip a coin at the end of your trip for who will be cleaning the groover after a night or two on the river.  Don’t know what a groover is?  It’s a portable toilet specifically for camping and overnight situations like this one.  No sweat, we have an entire blog post dedicated to this part of overnight rafting trips.  Educate yourself and rent a groover from Colorado River Rentals for your rafting trip.

5. Setting Your Own Shuttle

Often overlooked when converting from commercial rafting trips to private excursions – setting shuttle.  It’s not our favorite part of the adventure, but it’s key to not flustering the next day if you forgot to put a vehicle at your take out location.  If you do decide to rent equipment through Colorado River Rentals, we offer an option for vehicle transportation to eliminate this step of your planning.

6.  Don’t Forget Your Sense of Adventure

We know it sounds cheesy, but in all honesty the best thing you can do when planning a private rafting trip is not have a ton of expectations.  Have a plan A, B, C, and D, and be ready to just roll with the punches if it all doesn’t work out.  By not overthinking your trip and focusing on just enjoying your time on the river, you couldn’t set yourself up better for a great 24 hours in the Colorado Rockies.

Not everyone has all the gear that’s needed for an overnight trip along the river.  If you have any questions or need to rent any equipment for your adventure, reach out to us at Colorado River Rentals and we’d be happy to help.