River rafting may be the funnest thing ever! At least that’s the opinion of the owner (Eric) of CampsitePhotos.com. It’s also an adventure sport with a lot of dangers both on land and water. It takes years of experience and training to learn how to safely navigate rivers with big rapids. The same can be said for planning, coordinating and pulling off a successful overnight (multi-day) river trip.
The best way to go about it is to do a little research on what types of rivers you’d like to raft, where you might want to raft and how long you want to be out on the river. Then you’ll want to find a professional commercial outfitter to take you on the trip. Be sure to check out the reviews of river outfitters to see what others say about their guiding ability, safety record, cooking/food and storytelling around the campfire.
Commercial multi-day/overnight trips can range from 1-14 days in the U.S., and like most adventure vacations, they can be expensive. The outfitter will provide all of the river boats/gear, guides, river shuttle-transportation, kitchen stuff, food/drinks, a waterproof stuff sack (or two) and some other creature comforts like the groover (we’ll touch on that later).
For most trips you’re going to be camping along the shores of the river where mice, rats, raccoons, bear, deer, scorpions and other creatures like to roam. You may even get lucky and spot a walking-catfish one night.
There are a few rivers/trips where you can stay at lodges or B&Bs (Oregon’s Rogue River comes to mind), but for most river trips you’ll be sleeping under the stars or in your tent.
On overnight river (camping) trips you’ll need to bring your clothes (including river shoes), camera, flashlight, toiletries, meds, sleeping pad/bag and sometimes a tent. A hat, sunglasses (2 pair) and lots of sunblock are also a must. Just don’t bring the expensive shades – you may lose them.
Long time river-rafter and CampsitePhotos.com fan, Gini Granholm, was kind enough to put together a list of camping tips for river rafting trips to help make your overnight river trip a little more-comfortable and safe. Gini has rafted hundreds of miles on dozens of rivers throughout the U.S. so she knows a thing or two about camping on a commercial rafting trip.
After helping with unloading the boats, you’ll want to scout for a nice level campsite away from the kitchen and groover, So what’s a “groover” you ask? It’s a 20 MIL rocket box . . . that you poop in; or in other words it’s the river toilet complete with a toilet seat. You can actually buy your own ECO-Sage Toilet System and practice at home if you want.
You’ll also want to clear away any sticks and rocks, make sure there aren’t any creature holes nearby and then put up your tent. Because river canyons can get quite windy, it’s a good idea to stake down your tent if possible, or secure the corners of the tent with large rocks. Or, you can always just sleep under the stars!
Here are a few hints on camp set up and getting ready for bed:
Please let us know if you have some other camping tips for river rafting trips!