Whatever overnight trip you decide on, there are a few aspects you will want to keep in mind before setting out for your epic Colorado overnight trip.
Breakfast/ lunch/ dinner will be prepared for you. Bring additional snacks and water. Adult beverages are welcome (NO GLASS). Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advanced notice.
You will be sleeping in tents with sleeping bags/ sleeping pads under the breathtaking Colorado stars! Sleeping bags are available for rent or you can bring your own.
Expect to get a little dirty! It is usually pretty uncommon to get muddy river water on your clothes or skin unless you roll around on the side of the riverbank. No showers will be available but it is recommended to bring along a bottle of biodegradable soap and a wash cloth to wash off some grime while at camp. You can always opt for the good ole polar plunge into the river to wash off!
Everyone always wonders where you use the restroom while camping on the river. A groover system is used for solid waste, consisting of a toilet seat on a tripod stool (Typically an amazing view comes along with it!). As for liquid waste you will be asked to pee on the ground or in the river a short distance away from camp. While on the river rafters will be given a “poop kit” for mid-day needs.
Expect to wake up around 7:00am-7:30am to enjoy coffee/ hot beverages while your guide prepares a delicious breakfast for you. You will pack up camp and get back out on the river between 9:00am and 10:00am. You’ll spend the morning rafting then pull over riverside for lunch. Expect to be on the river until about 3:00pm-5:00pm. Feel free to bring some riverside games (Frisbees/Deck of Cards/ Fishing Poles) for entertainment while at camp. Dinner and dessert will be served around the campfire (Barring any fire restrictions)
You will encounter a variety of weather while on your trip. Expect periods of rain (heavy at times). River corridors tend to be windy so dress for it! The best way to prepare is to pack enough clothing to keep you warm and dry, on and off the river. Be ready for the weather to change drastically throughout your trip. As the saying goes in Colorado… “If you don’t like the weather, wait about 10 minutes!”
What gear do you need for an overnight trip?
Make sure not to overpack! Narrow down your gear to the essentials! A big factor in packing is based on where you will be rafting. For example, it may be very warm during the day but then drop significantly in temperature at night. Packing proper clothing is crucial to making sure you have a great trip!
Here is a sample packing list for everything you may need:
· Clothes to paddle in
· Long Pants
· Long Sleeve Shirt
· Light/ Fleece Jacket
· Extra socks
· Sunscreen/ Lip Balm
· Head Lamp
· Water bottle
· Small Pillow
· Close Toed Shoes/ Extra footwear for around camp
Safety tips for an overnight trip?
Rafting is meant to be very fun and adventurous! By following a couple of safety rules your trip will be even more enjoyable!
1. Choose a licensed and professional rafting outfitter (My personal favorite outfitter in Colorado is Arkansas Valley Adventures)
2. Always wear a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD)
3. Be safe and comfortable. Wear the protective gear.
4. Make sure you have the right outerwear for the day.
5. Hold the paddle properly – Always hold the “T” Grip. Otherwise someone may end up with a black eye or a fat lip.
6. Stay in the boat! — If you fall out, the most important thing to do is…. DO NOT PANIC! Find the boat!
7. Know proper swimming techniques — “Down river swimmers’ position” is your best friend if you end up taking a surprise dip into the river. This is on your back, nose and toes to the sky with your head up to see where you are going. Feet down-stream with knees slightly bent.
8. Know the commands – High siding is a command that your guide may call out as a last minute effort to keep the boat from capsizing.
9. Never Panic! — Panicking is a waste of time!
10. Listen to your guide during the safety talk and also while on the water! — All guides are very experienced so listen and have a fantastic time!
How to choose the right overnight trip for your group?
Difficulty of your overnight rafting trip: Carefully choose the correct level for your group. Keep in mind minimum age, swimming ability and fitness levels of your group.
Best time of the summer to raft: Water levels fluctuate based on snow melt in Colorado. High water is usually early to mid-June. Low flows are typically in late August. Minimum ages may be raised due to high water. Medium flows are ideal!
Length of multi-day trips: Most trips can last anywhere from 2 days to 6 days. Most people underestimate the comfortability of camping and how much it will actually relax you while unplugging and connecting with nature.
Camping or Lodging: You can camp on the river under the stars during these overnight rafting trips. Or the other option would to split up activities over multiple days and stay in a cabin at the outpost. While staying in a cabin you have the ability to do other activities. Zip-Lining, rock climbing, fly fishing and horseback riding just to name a few.
Best place for an overnight in Colorado?
Arkansas River: 2, 3, 5-day rafting/ camping overnight activities. Conveniently located in Central Colorado about 2.5 hours from Denver. The Arkansas allows for a variety of white water for all levels of experience. Class III to Class V rafting. Minimum age of 7 years old. The most popular sections of the river that will be rafted are: Pine Creek/ The Narrows/ Browns Canyon/ Big Horn Sheep Canyon/ Roal Gorge
Gunnison River: 2-day trip. Located 5 hours west of Denver. One of the most secluded wilderness rafting trips available in Colorado. It offers exciting white water with calm sections of glassy whitewater mixed in.
Upper Colorado: 2-3 Day trips available. Located 2 hours from Denver in Kremmling Colorado. Mellow float trip with a few Class II and Class III rapids. Radium Hot Springs is easily accessible riverside and if water levels permit there are some great spots for Cliff Jumping.
There are many overnight rafting trips available in Colorado on countless rivers. Listed above is the just the tip of the iceberg. No matter which one you choose you will be able to see all of the breathtaking views that the Colorado outdoors has to offer.