Private rafting trips in Colorado can be a ton of fun, but they can also be a bit difficult to plan, especially in the springtime where weather conditions can change dramatically by the day. So, we are going to go over our eight best tips for a spring trip!
1. Plan for any weather condition!
This is going to be the most important part of planning a spring trip, so I will go over it first. Springtime in Colorado can be a wonderful, beautiful time of year with temps in the 70’s to 80’s and nice clear skies. It can also be cold and snowing with temps in the 30’s! Because of this, make sure you are prepared for anything. Bring plenty of layers, an extra sleeping bag or two, and even be ready to cancel your trip if it looks like the forecast is going to be too much to handle. It can also get quite windy on spring afternoons, so it is a good idea to get on the river early, as most wind hits in the afternoon.
2. Plan Ahead
Try to have at least a general idea of where you are wanting to set up camp, how far you are wanting to go on the river each day, and what you are going to eat. There is nothing worse than getting to the camp later than planned, having to set up camp in the dark, and then still having to make a complicated dinner after a long day on the river rowing against a steady headwind all day. My best recommendation is to plan for less river miles, and if you are making good time, you can just slow down and do some fishing or just get to camp early and enjoy the rest of the day. There is also a chance the campground you wanted will be taken and you will have to go further than you were planning. Also, make sure you have your shuttle figured out for the end of the trip.
3. Plan Your Meals
Cooking a fancy meal at camp can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a real pain after a long day on the river. Sometimes it is nice to have something quick and easy when you are tired and wanting to relax with your favorite beverage. That is why I recommend having an easy meal on those days. Cook something ahead of time and freeze it, then just throw it in a pot at camp and heat it up! Pastas work great for this, but just cook the noodle al dente and put them in a plastic bag and freeze the sauce and meat mix. Also works great for soups too! It is also nice to make your lunch in the morning and put it in a container until you want to eat. This makes it so you do not have to get everything out again when you are ready to eat lunch. For more meal ideas you can check out other blog post about the best meals to pack when rafting.
4. Have a Layover Day
Being on the river is awesome and fun, but sometimes it is great to just relax all day with your best friends and family, enjoy some of your favorite beach or card games, go for a cool hike, or just chill out next to the water fishing and drinking your favorite beverage. I recommend a layover day if you have the extra time to do so.
5. Rig to Flip, Dress to Swim
Maybe this is your first time ever taking command of your own boat, maybe you are a seasoned river veteran. It does not matter. As they say, “We are all in between swims”. Make sure your stuff is properly attached to the boat, make sure you, and everyone else, is always wearing their PFD, and be dressed for not only the air temps, but the river temps as well. The water is cold, and hypothermia can happen in just 5 minutes on Colorado rivers.
6. If you Fish, Get a License
This is a simple one. If you are going to fish, get your license! There are always Officers patrolling the area, so you will not only be avoiding a large ticket, but it is the right thing to do. It costs a lot of money to keep the rivers in Colorado stocked with fish, as we have way more people fishing than the rivers can naturally keep up with.
7. Have the Right Equipment
To keep your stuff dry, you need to have enough drybags. Keep your drinks cold and your coolers with room for food, pack a couple drag bags. Make your camping fun! I recommend packing cards and yard games. Also do not forget your battery powered radios and spare batteries. Maybe pack an extra camp chair in case there is an accident. Speaking of accidents, pack a good med kit and know how to use it. Cuts and scrapes are pretty common on a river trip.
8. Have fun!
Seems simple, but things can get a bit stressful on a river trip. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Be ready to change plans on a moment’s notice. You may have to go further than you wanted for camping, you may have to deal with unexpected weather, etc. But remember, you are on the river!