Pro Tip: Planning A Multi-Day Raft Trip
Many people have gathered with their friends to submit permits for multi-day trips across the country. Deadlines for some of the classics pass at the end of January. Everyone is patiently waiting for that email fulfilling their summer dreams.
There are also tons of people new to the boating world and are just figuring out how much it takes to plan a multi-day raft trip with their friends. They are just figuring out how much work goes into gathering their group of friends to commit to spending vacation on the river. There seems to be endless tasks when planning a trip. However, I have broken trip planning down into a couple parts to help make things a little more streamline.
Many of the classic river trips require you to have a permit during the summer or peak season. Check out our list of the classic trips with links to apply for a permit. If you don't win a permit read up on each river's cancelation policy. With persistence and luck you might just be able to get a last minute cancelation permit.
Off season trips can be an excellent way to still get on the river. Keep your fingers crossed for warm weather and no rain/snow. Fall and early spring is a great time to enjoy the river while others might still be skiing or enjoying the pumpkin patch.
Put-in and take-out
Make sure you do a little research before your trip as some stretches of river have a couple access options. Some are nice developed paved boat ramps with restrooms and water, while others are hard to find pull offs in the middle of know where. If you have access options pick one that fits your needs. Here are a couple things to think about to set yourself up for success:
- Arrival time (coming in at dark can be hard)
- Trailer or no trailer
- Pre trip accommodations
- Group size
One nice thing is take-out options tend to be just one option. However, it is still important to know what it is called so you can communicate that information to who ever is doing your shuttle.
There are many different ways to take care of your food needs. Longer trips, such as Grand Canyon, there are companies you can pay to take care of all of your food. This is really nice since they are experts in planning and packing food and have the resources to do it efficiently.
Shorter trips are much more manageable since an error isn't as detrimental to the trip. My favorite way to break food up is designating small groups to be responsible for a breakfast and dinner. Making lunch "on your own" is simple and can make lunch stops quick and easy. Breaking into groups help spread out the work not only for buying food, but also with camp kitchen duties.
Shuttles can really make or break your trip. While there are lots of things to go wrong on your trip, it is a HUGE BUMMER when your vehicle isn't at take-out waiting for you.
Have a spare key hidden on your vehicle as well as extra in your repair kit
Having a shuttle company take care of your shuttle can really help save a lot of time. To me, the extra coast is worth the time save and stress of having to figure out the logistics on your own.
Whether you have your vehicle shuttled or do it on your own make sure you have directions written down. Lots of river access points don't have reception, rendering your phones ability to give your directions useless. Getting lost is a bummer way to end a trip.
Enjoy the river
Don't forget you and your friends are on vacation and fun is required. Putting work into planning before your trip can really help everyone relax and enjoy river.