5 Tips for the First-Time Rafter

Has rafting has always been on your bucket list? Maybe your friend just shared their rafting trip photos on Facebook and it just looked like the best time!? Or perhaps your partner’s been trying to get you to go rafting every destination you’ve traveled?

Whatever your motivation, you’re keen to go white-water rafting but you’ve still got some questions before committing. Here are five tips based on some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been asked by first-time rafters over our 25 years of operation that should help with that fear of commitment!

1.Do your research!

It can seem daunting at first, there are a lot of companies and trip options out there. So how do you narrow it down to the best company for you? And how do you pick the right rafting trip for you?

As for narrowing it down to the best company for you, consider the company’s history. How long have they been in operation? Are they licensed with the governing body of river outfitters? How experienced are their guides and how much training do they get before they guide you on the river?

Also ask yourself the more practical questions. How close are they to where you are or how far is it to travel? Do they have a shuttle available? Do they have guides and staff who speak your native language? Do they have gear that will be dry and fit you properly for your trip?

Even better, simply ask the company’s reservations team to tell you why you should choose this company over another one and see how their answer makes you feel!

Canadian Outback Rafting Company (CORC) and its guides are fully-certified to the highest standards of the British Columbia River Outfitters Association (BCROA) and have taken 100,000+ people rafting since it first opened its doors in 1992. That’s 25 years of operation with an outstanding safety record! We also pride ourselves on delivering the best experience to every rafter; from the moment you pick up the phone to make a reservation, to when you hop on our shuttle, then get your nicely dry and quality gear, to when you’re on the river with one of our amazing guides, and then get back to our rafting base to enjoy the photos and videos while having an apres-rafting drink or meal.

And when it comes to picking the right trip for you, ask yourself how adventurous do I feel? How much time do I want to spend on the river or on the trip? Another great way to know if a trip is right for you is to look at the video footage on the company’s website. If an image is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million!

And while you speak with the reservations team about the company, ask them what trip they think would be best for you! They should be able to suggest a trip that would be best suited for you by then asking you questions of their own and from experiencing each trip first-hand!

2. Don’t break the bank

And don’t solely base your decision of the company or trip on the price! The cheapest or most expensive price isn’t an automatic indication of quality or safety. As you may already know, you often get what you pay for. Once you’ve chosen the best company and right trip for you, the price should be representative of all those factors you considered important when making your decision.

Find out what you’re paying for! Validate what’s included or not! There are a lot of things that go into a trip price, some more obvious than others. There’s the gear included, the quality of that gear, the transportation included, the number of guides and safety kayakers, the level of training and experience of those guides and safety kayakers, the food and drinks, the duration of the trip, etc, and then there’s the river access permits and tenures, the insurance, and much more.

3. Manage your nerves

You’ve taken the plunge and booked your trip and you’re excited! …But maybe also a little nervous, and that’s entirely normal!

You’re asking yourself “am I going to fall out of the raft?” or “what if the raft flips over?”. Rather than asking yourself, ask the rafting team! Yes, there is a risk of falling out of the raft or of the raft “flipping”. At CORC, we do everything we can to minimize those risks by setting high staff safety and experience requirements, providing in-house swift-water training, putting high safety measures and procedures in place, giving you the proper training and gear before getting on the river, and more to prevent this from happening, and to make sure we get you back on the boat safely and as soon as possible if you were to go for an impromptu swim.

Keep in mind that different rivers offer different trip experiences. On other rivers, it may be part of the fun for those things to happen, and that’s where picking the right trip for you can make all the difference!

You’re still a little nervous? Talk to your guide on the day of the trip; they’re on the river daily and know it better than anyone. They also know where the best place to sit on the raft is when you want to be a little more stable, a little closer to them, or a little bit drier!

You’re about to step into the raft and you decide it’s just not for you? That’s ok too, hop back on the bus and they’ll get you home safe, no muss no fuss!

4. Pack Light

You’ve never done this before so you feel the urge to bring anything you could possibly need. Stay strong and resist that urge! The rafting company will usually tell you what you need to wear and bring, or even better, they’ll give you a list of what to wear, what to bring, and what will be provided for you.

At CORC, we provide you all the gear you need for the river from wetsuits and jackets, to booties, lifejackets and helmets. So just bring along your swimsuit, a towel and some dry clothes for when you return. Leave any valuables at home, in your car, or in the locked changing rooms.

You want to get a shot of the action but your camera or cellphone isn’t waterproof? Leave those behind, they WILL get wet! CORC has a photographer on every trip so you can focus on having fun and still get memories to last you a lifetime! You’ve got a waterproof camera or GoPro? You’re welcome to bring it along, just make sure it’s secured to your helmet or another safe location so as not to lose it. The river has expensive taste! Don’t have your own GoPro camera? CORC has some available for rental and our staff will show you how to use it so you can get as much footage as you like!

And last, you’re thinking this rafting trip will leave you hungry. Pack a snack and water bottle and bring it along! Whether you’ve got a snack or lunch included, you can always munch on your favourite food of choice before or after the trip.

And that’s you sorted!

5. Embrace it!

White-water Rafting is not your every day activity and that’s often part of the fun! You get to break free from your daily routine, try something new and exciting, see places you’ve never seen before or see them from a new perspective, and you always make new friends!

And be ready to get wet! Rafting happens rain or shine (apart from in extreme weather conditions, of course). Why? You’ll get wet regardless! No more worrying about your highly anticipated plans getting cancelled last minute because of a cloudy day or some pesky rain.

Be prepared for what may very well be the highlight of your vacation, or weekend getaway! And although it may be your first time, it likely won’t be your last!

Still have some questions? Visit our FAQ page.