There are many natural wonders within the state of Colorado that make it the ideal playground for outdoor activities like skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking. One of Colorado’s famous attributes is its roaring rivers providing exquisite whitewater opportunities. If you live in the state, you are most likely well aware of this perk and might even be preparing a river trip for the upcoming season. With any activities in the wilderness, being prepared with the appropriate gear is essential! If you are unsure what exactly you might need before heading out onto the river this spring, the following items are a great start.
Whether you enjoy the challenge of a whitewater canoe, are a hard-boat kayaker, or want to get on some rapids in an inflatable raft, you will need a boat!! Hard boats take a decent amount of practice to master, so if that is the route you take, make sure to do your research and hone your craft in milder water before hitting bigger rapids. If you are looking for a raft to run with some of your friends, a great option is somewhere in the 12 to 14 foot range in length. This will allow for a level of balance that provides a bit of security when dealing with class IV-V rapids, while simultaneously allowing for maneuverability when needing to squeeze through tight spaces.
2.) Personal Floatation Device
One thing you should never do is try to run whitewater without an appropriate personal floatation device. There are a variety of PFDs that you can choose from, but it is absolutely crucial for it to be rated for whitewater. You can confirm the rating of your floatation device by checking its tags before purchasing. If you are planning to guide or go on a lot of extreme whitewater, you may want to purchase a rescue PFD with a quick release attachment. This can prove useful if you find yourself in a rescue situation!
3.) Paddles and Throw Bag
You don’t want to find yourself on the water ‘without a paddle’. Your role during a river trip will affect what paddle size you will want. Obviously with kayaks, a double-sided paddle that will work in that hard boat. For rafting, a T-Grip, durable paddle that won’t break on rocks is important. Another necessity is a good throw bag that allows you to perform rescues if needed. Make sure to do your research on how they work, how to pack the bag, and what would work best for the rivers you will be running. You may even want to practice your tossing skills in the back yard before hopping on the river!
4.) Dry Bag/Pelican Case
Losing belongings is never fun. Losing things on the river is a inherent risk when out on the water but there are some essential things you can do to avoid such a scenario. A dry bag or pelican case can go along way to ensuring that you keep your items safe and secure. A dry bag is an affordable option and can be attached to the D-rings on a raft with a locking carabiner. A pelican case is the next step up when looking to protect your belongings on the river. Pelican cases are made of hard materials that protect it from damage when it is knocked around, and is fully water proof.
Overall, these items are a MUST while heading out on the river. Even if you have spent many years enjoying river sports, it is important to keep your gear updated and in great condition. These items will not only make sure you have a great time, but also keep you safe out on that whitewater. Last but not least, don’t forget some good water shoes and a helmet!!