Why Experienced Guides “Rig to Flip” and You Should Too

Posted by on Jun 13, 2023 in Rafting
Why Experienced Guides “Rig to Flip” and You Should Too

Whitewater Rafting is an exhilarating adventure that is sure to get your heart pumping, but when you’re out on the river, unexpected situations can happen. Flipping your raft is not uncommon, and it’s important to be prepared for it. One of the most important things you can do is secure all your gear to the raft, so it won’t become a hazard in the event of a flip; this is also known as “rigging to flip.”

This is important for multiple reasons, as your first aid kit won’t do you much good 800 feet down the river. Not only does this ensure that you won’t lose any of your belongings, but it also helps to protect the environment. In this blog, we will cover the importance of “rigging to flip” but also how to properly prepare.

Colorado River Overnight Rafting

Securing Gear to the Raft

Keeping track of your gear is important when it’s your lunch, but it’s even more important if it’s your first aid kit. When you’re on a rafting trip, it’s easy for gear to get lost or misplaced. This can cause multiple issues. Firstly, if gear falls into the water, it can create a hazard for other rafters or wildlife.

For example, food scraps could attract animals to areas they wouldn’t normally go to and potentially create dangerous interactions. Furthermore, losing gear in the water can also create hazards for other rafters or watercraft. Stray items floating in the water can get caught on rocks or other obstacles, creating a dangerous situation for anyone in the vicinity.

Colorado River

What to Wear

Preparing to flip has more to it than just ensuring your belongings are secure, it’s also being ready to enter the water in case of emergency. One of the most important things you can do is to wear the right gear. This includes a properly fitting life jacket, a helmet, and appropriate clothing and footwear. A wetsuit or dry suit can help keep you warm and comfortable in cold water, while sturdy, tightly fitting water shoes or sandals can help protect your feet from rocks and other hazards.

Woman jumping from rock wearing life jacket

How to Secure Gear to the Raft

To secure your gear to the raft, you’ll need a few tools:

  • Locking carabiners: These are metal clips that can be used to attach gear to the raft.
  • Cam straps, also known as ratchet straps or tie-down straps: These straps feature a cam mechanism that allows you to easily tighten and loosen the strap, making them a popular choice for securing larger or heavier items.
  • Dry bags: These waterproof bags are designed to keep your belongings dry and can be attached to the raft using carabiners and cam straps.
  • Dry box: a waterproof and crushproof container that is designed to keep your gear safe and dry in even the harshest conditions.



Once you have your gear ready, follow these steps to secure it to the raft:

  1. Organize all your gear into waterproof bags. Be sure to seal the bags tightly to prevent water from getting in.
  2. Use carabiners to attach the bags to the raft. Clip the carabiners to the handles on the bags or to other secure points on the raft.
  3. Use cam straps to hold items that can’t be placed in bags. For example, you might use a cam strap to hold a cooler in place or to secure a paddle to the raft.
  4. Double-check that all gear is securely fastened before setting out on your trip.

Family smiling on rafting trip

In conclusion, whitewater rafting is an exciting adventure that requires proper preparation and planning. Rigging to flip is an important aspect of preparing for a successful trip, as when everything is properly secured, you can enjoy the rush of adrenaline as you navigate through the rapids without worrying about the impact you’re having on the environment. Watch a video on basic raft rigging to pick up some more tips! So next time you hit the rapids in Colorado, gather your friends and family, make sure to properly secure your gear, and head out on the river for an adventure you won’t soon forget!