tips for cold weather rafting 134330 1 - Tips for cold weather rafting
June 28, 2022

Tips for cold weather rafting

When some people think of white water rafting, they think about trips that take place in the middle of summer when the temperature is high and the sun is out. You don’t need to plan your trip during the few months in the middle of summer though. Rafting is just as popular during bouts of cold weather.

During the early spring, you may even find that the trip is a little more thrilling because the water comes down from the mountains and changes the rapids. Whether you are an experienced rafter or this is your first time, make sure you know the top tips for cold weather rafting.

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Choose the Right Materials

You probably already know that you need to wear the right clothing when rafting, but did you know that the materials you choose also matter? Wool is often the best because it locks in the heat. If you topple out of the raft, wool socks and a matching beanie will help you retain your body heat. Synthetic materials work just as well.

Do not wear cotton materials when rafting in cold weather. Cotton dries very slowly and also lets you lose some of your valuable body heat. You should also consider dry-fit clothing and other materials that dry quickly.

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Layer Your Clothes

White water rafting trips are available both in Yellowstone National Park and along the Yellowstone River. On a Yellowstone River rafting trip, it might be cold so adding multiple layers at the beginning of the day would be great.

While you can remove those layers as the temperature heats up., you’ll like knowing that you can put them back on as the temperature drops again later. Start with long underwear that you wear beneath fleece pants and at least one tee. You may find it helpful to wear two tees with a long sleeve shirt and a jacket on top. Don’t forget about a hat and gloves.

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Bring a Thermos

Even if you have more experience and plan on never leaving the raft, you never know what might happen. It’s easy to lose control when you shoot the rapids and fall into the river. A Thermos filled with a warm drink helps your body come up to temperature fast and can help you feel warmer. Tea and coffee are good options for some. You may want to add some sugar or cream before you hop in the raft because it’s almost impossible to add it later. Hot chocolate is another nice choice because it has caffeine that gives your energy and also contains some calories that help if you can’t stop and eat.

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Change Positions

The temperatures around Yellowstone can range from 34 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in spring. You can expect the water temperature to drop even lower. Changing positions on the raft is an easy way to stay warm and reduce your exposure to cold water. Start the day with each person in a different spot. Take a few minutes to pause and rotate everyone to the left or right once an hour. Keep rotating positions on your trip until you reach the end. This ensures that no one person gets the brunt of the cold.

Take Breaks

As much as you love white water rafting, you don’t need to spend the entire day sitting in a raft on the water. Yellowstone is beautiful and has plenty of places where you can stop and take a break. When you bring a dry bag, you can tuck your camera or phone inside to keep it safe from the water and use it to capture shots of the scenery. Rafting guides often recommend that you stop every few hours or more often for a break. Getting out of the raft and walking around not only allows you to stretch your muscles, but the activity can also keep your muscles from locking in place due to the cold.

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Enjoy Cold Rafting Trips

Who says Yellowstone River rafting is something you can only do in the middle of the summer? Guides offer tours nearly every day of the year to help groups with more or less experience shoot the rapids. Get ready for a trip in the winter or summer when the temperature drops with some handy tips on staying warm and safe.


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