Tips for Rafting The Canyon

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tips for Rafting The Canyon

The Web site for PRO, Professional River Outfitters (, has a wealth of information about how to prepare for a rafting trip. The Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association ( has a terrific personal packing checklist. Most commercial outfitters also will supply you with a list of what to bring in the way of personal gear.

Some personal tips for the trip:

* Even if you're on a cater-to-the-customer commercial trip, plan on roughing it. And for entertaining, people in our group brought musical instruments, hula hoops, boccie balls and poetry.

* Cellphones don't work on the river, but satellite phones do. Headlamps are great for hands-free getting around in the dark.

* Sun showers -- vinyl bags that hold four or five gallons of water that can be heated during the day by the sun and that have hose and shower attachments -- are great for washing off the day's sweat and lotions.

* Lotions and sunscreens? You can't have too many.

* If you're going to paddle or row a raft, you'd better be in great shape. Not only the rapids, but the stills are a challenge. And even if you're a passenger, it pays to be fit. Loading and unloading boats (which some of the commercial groups expect passengers to do) can be strenuous. And hikes, an integral part of the Grand Canyon experience, are not a walk in the park.

-- S.B.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company