Pro Tip: 7 Tips For Multi-Day Raft Trips in Cold Weather
Without the proper gear and preparation, rafting in cold weather can go from being fun to a survival situation fast. With the right gear and knowledge, though, cold weather rafting can be a great time! Here are 7 tips to help make your cold trip a fun one.
Keep your hands warm on the river
Neoprene gloves are a great way to keep your hands warm during the day, even when their wet. Pogies aren’t just for kayakers! They also work great on raft paddles, and even on oars if you are running easier whitewater.
Pro tip: Zippo makes some excellent hand warmer options.
Zip up your hood
Sometimes using your gear to its full potential is all you need to do to stay a little warmer. Hoods on jackets aren’t just for rainy weather. Pull your hood over your head and zip it up to keep from losing heat from your neck and head.
Drink warm drinks
Bringing an insulated drinking vessel is great for cold weather trips. Even though science shows that drinking warm beverages doesn't do a lot to warm us up internally, it can be a nice way to keep your face and hands warm. Plus drinking something warm is way more appealing than drinking cold water. This can make the difference between staying hydrated or not.
Herbal teas are a great option for a non-caffeinated drink. Hot chocolate can give you the quick calories your body needs to help it stay warm.
Stay warm at night
Uninsulated stainless steel or BPA-free water bottles can be filled with hot water before bed and used inside your sleeping bag like a sauna stone to help you stay warm. Just make sure the caps are screwed on tight! Lining your sleeping bag with another blanket and wearing enough non-cotton clothes will also help you stay warm.
Bring personal Items inside the tent
The clothes that you hung up to dry at camp are not going to get any drier once the sun goes down. Bring in any clothes, shoes, and electronic devices inside your tent overnight. This can help protect them from freezing and becoming dewy. You can even put mostly dry clothes in your sleeping bag with you overnight and your body heat will help dry them out. As a bonus you get to put on warm clothes in the morning!
Dry feet are happy feet
Tall waterproof boots are great to wear at camp. They are especially nice if you need to step in a little bit of water to get on and off the boat. I recommend boots that are both waterproof and meant for cold weather like Muck Boots Arctic Sport. Make sure you have a way to store them during the day so they don’t get wet. They are easily stored in a trash bag in you dry bag, or in a dedicated spot in a dry box. Another option is to have a dedicated dry bag for shoes that can be shared between a few people on the rafting trip.
Bring separate clothes for on the river and at camp
You can’t count on clothes that you wear during the day staying dry on a rafting trip, no matter how careful you are. You should have your cold weather river gear, and a separate layers and gear for in camp. Even rain jackets worn on the river can easily get water inside the sleeves when paddling. Bring a trash bag so you can isolate wet clothes from dry ones while packing your dry bag in the morning.
What are your favorite ways to stay warm and enjoy cold weather multi-day raft trips? Leave your tips in the Comments down below.