Drysuit Care, Maintenance, and Usage

  • Post last modified:April 23, 2023
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Below we've compiled a list of tips for maintaining and prolonging the lifespan of your drysuit. Cold weather and cold water boat becomes infinitely more fun when using a drysuit instead of a wetsuit particularly if you find yourself swimming a rapid. However, drysuits can quickly become ineffective if not properly cared for. Learn how to effectively put on and take off your lifejacket with minimal probability of blowing a gasket. Also read about best practices for maintenance of your drysuit. Take Care of your Booties Drysuit booties seem to be the most common place to spring pinhole leaks so it's crucial to take care of them…

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Best Whitewater Rafting Shoes and Sandals

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:22 mins read

Proper footwear can make or break your river rafting experience. Quality rafting shoes and sandals dry quickly, secure well to your foot and provide traction in a variety of conditions. Unfortunately the same footwear is not ideal for everyone and every white water trip. Some trips need footwear that is primarily suited for swimming, others need it to be better for walking on rocks. This article answers the question of what shoes to wear white water rafting by breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of the most common and best shoes and sandals for rafting. We also discuss which shoes/sandals are better for specific types of white…

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Sun Hoodies for Water Sports

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:16 mins read

The sun hoody market has gone crazy over the last couple of years. We've learned that covering up with UPF 50 clothing protects much better than using the best SPF 50 sunscreens. Plus it means spending less time applying and re-applying sunscreen. Jump to list of recommended sun hoodies. This post reviews the best sun hoodies I've found for kayaking, hiking, surfing and guiding whitewater rafting trips. Ideally, sun hoodies provide insulation from the sun while allowing for plenty of air flow and athletic movement. While some sun hoodies are better than others, choosing a specific sun hoody depends mostly upon the time spent in the water…

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Best Sunscreens for Water Sports

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:19 mins read

In this post we focus on the best zinc-based options for water-resistant sunscreens that are reef friendly. The research points towards these mineral based sunblocks being the safest options for humans and wildlife while also protecting skin from the sun when playing on rivers, lakes and the ocean. These sunscreens are all also ideal for kids and toddlers. Skip to recommended sunscreens. Read about making a DIY reef-friendly sunscreen. Do a little research and you will find the commercial sunscreen industry is full of dishonest claims. In the fall of 2021, an Environmental working group (EWG) peer-reviewed study of sunscreens concluded that most U.S. sunscreens provide inadequate…

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Throw Bags: Uses and Buying Guide

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:21 mins read

In this article we will focus how to maximize your ability to use a throw bag, including breaking down throwing techniques, advantages of different bags, where to rig your throw bag, how to place yourself in a position to affect a whitewater rescue and other uses for throw bags. The most important aspect of throw bags is practice. As our friend Santi says "If you care about your friends practice your throw bag, if you don't want to have any friends don't practice your throw bag." When carrying and deploying a throw bag it will most likely be used to save someone else. It is probably the…

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Top 7 Rafting Knots

  • Post last modified:April 26, 2022
  • Reading time:7 mins read

The three main ways to rig (tie-down) equipment are cam-straps, rope and webbing. While cam-straps have made knowing knots less necessary many times it is still easier to use rope or webbing. Below are the rafting knots I use most often along with videos of how to tie them. Rope versus Webbing In general ropes are easier for tying knots and pulling but webbing is much stronger for the cost. Most bow and stern lines are rope while most rescue lines are webbing except for the haul-line being pulled. Certain knots are better suited for webbing than rope while other knots are vice versa. This is particularly…

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High Water Rafting

  • Post last modified:April 23, 2023
  • Reading time:14 mins read

Rafting a river at high water can be an exhilarating adventure. However, high water trips can quickly get out of control. They are best approached with a focus on maximizing safety and minimizing exposure. In this article we discuss what we see as high water along with the best practices for team boating, PPE (personal protective equipment), and prepping crews. What is High Water Rafting High water rafting most commonly means rafting a river at a higher flow within the runnable range. The Tuolumne River in California is generally rafted between 1,000 cfs and 10,000 cfs. Most companies consider the river above 5000 cfs to be high…

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How to Scout Whitewater Rapids

  • Post last modified:May 3, 2022
  • Reading time:11 mins read

Scouting Rapids might seem simple. Get out of your raft or kayak, walk downstream and look at the rapid. Then decide upon a planned route through the whitewater and finally run the rapid. However, there are steps and details within the scouting process that can greatly improve the probability of success while minimizing risk to you and your team. Before Launching Before launching on a trip have a guide meeting at put-in to discuss logistics for the day, boat order and any hazards of note. During the meeting decide which rapids to scout as well as where to pull over to scout. It is important to create…

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What to Wear White Water Rafting

  • Post last modified:August 18, 2023
  • Reading time:23 mins read

Deciding what to wear on your white water rafting trip depends primarily upon the type of river trip and the time of year. However, almost no matter where you raft it is best to bring river attire for sun and cold. Even during the summer, a splashy day of rafting can turn cold when the sun goes behind some clouds. In this post we try to help you understand how to best use the items on your packing list and steer you towards some of our preferred gear options. We've broken down our list into essential items and later discuss additional options that can improve your rafting…

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Best Practices for Swimming Whitewater Rapids

  • Post last modified:April 23, 2023
  • Reading time:18 mins read

Numerous people stop rafting rivers after a bad swim. Most bad swims can be prevented by training of crews to keep everyone in the raft, wearing more flotation and using best practices once in a rapid. A key component is training with whitewater skills regularly to be comfortable using the swimming techniques and one's PPE (personal protective equipment). Active Swimming: Self-rescue This is the preferred technique and should be used during most whitewater swims. Be an active part of your rescue rather than lying on your back waiting for someone to come rescue you. The most common use of active swimming is to swim back to the…

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Whitewater PFD (Life Jacket) Flotation

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:17 mins read

The most important aspect of whitewater rafting life jackets is flotation. This article looks at how flotation impacts the amount of time swimmers spend under water as well as other advantages of high flotation PFDs. If you are not a big fan of reading check out this video discussing the importance of flotation with my friend Zach Collier. There are many reasons why people don't select a high float PFD: how it fits, how it looks, where the pockets are, what color it is, it's easier to move and swim in low float jackets. Yes, these are all considerations when selecting a whitewater PFD. However, flotation actually…

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Read more about the article Wrapped Rafts
Blossom Bar Wrap

Wrapped Rafts

  • Post last modified:May 29, 2022
  • Reading time:11 mins read

When I started guiding in the early 1990's we were still using bucket boats. Once those rafts wrapped (and they did so much more often than self-bailers), they were extremely challenging to remove from a rock. Luckily the stiffer hypalon and polyurethane self-bailing rafts don't wrap nearly as often (they flip more!) as the old hypalon bucket rafts. However many people still treat wraps like their rafts are bucket boats. In this article we will review some basics about preventing wraps and simple ways of getting your self-bailing raft off a rock. How to Prevent a Wrap The best way to unwrap a raft is to not…

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Whitewater Raft Materials and Designs

  • Post last modified:May 29, 2022
  • Reading time:16 mins read

There are variables to consider when purchasing a whitewater raft: design, size, cost, materials, and type of usage. People tend to focus on the size (particularly length). However, raft performance depends heavily on raft materials (scroll to materials) and design. In this post we are going to break down these variables along with what different manufactures offer to help you figure out the right inflatable raft for you. We also have a post on the different types of whitewater crafts. Variables of Raft Design Raft Length People tend to spend the most time considering length which is a good place to start. The length of a raft…

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Homemade Zinc Sunscreen Recipe

  • Post last modified:April 4, 2024
  • Reading time:12 mins read

Make your own sunscreen with ingredients aimed at achieving SPF 50 protection, more reliably than many commercial alternatives. This natural formula combines zinc oxide for its broad-spectrum defense against UVA and UVB rays, with olive oil, coconut oil, and beeswax for a skin-friendly and reef-safe blend. While exact SPF values are hard to guarantee, this DIY approach puts you in control of using trusted, non-toxic ingredients, offering a promising route to safer, high-SPF sun care. Problems with Commercial Sunscreens Finding a good sunscreen is challenging. Many store-bought sunscreens don't work as advertised. Consumer Reports and EWG (Environmental Working Group) each found significant lower SPF's than the manufactures'…

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Read more about the article Recommended Guidebooks and Reading
Hunter Creek Falls

Recommended Guidebooks and Reading

  • Post last modified:February 8, 2024
  • Reading time:22 mins read

While the internet is a great resource there is nothing like flipping through a whitewater guidebook while lounging on the couch dreaming of your next boating road trip. Or flipping through it on your extended road trip figuring out how to find put-in when there is no cell service. Scroll to books on California, Grand Canyon, Idaho, Oregon, International and Instruction. Western Whitewater Guidebook Great descriptions on the classic rafting runs of the west.   California Less in-depth than California Whitewater but covers way more runs. Thorough descriptions of classic California rivers Best New Book on paddling California with a focus on Norcal. Best Field Guide to…

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