Sun Protection for One-Day Whitewater Rafting Trip
Safety is always the number one concern on a whitewater rafting adventure. Trust is placed in
an outfitter to provide safe equipment, competent river guides and safe transportation to and
from the river. There are also measures that the customer can take to add to the safety of their
trip. One of these measures is to bring sunscreen and proper clothing to protect from the sun.
Sunscreen is a must on whitewater rafting trips. Exposed skin needs to have a healthy dose of
sunscreen applied before the trip. Start with the face and head, especially the nose and ears.
Life jackets and personal floatation devices cover the torso, but leave shoulders and arms
exposed. Hit these areas hard with sunscreen if they are left exposed on the river. Legs may be
partially covered with a swimsuit but the lower legs need a layer of sunscreen as well. Footwear
appropriate for the river may leave the tops of feet exposed – cover up here as well.
Bring a small tube of sunscreen in a zippered pocket during the trip. Sunscreen should be
reapplied on longer trips. Sweat and splashes from the river will definitely remove the original
application. Take advantage of a stop alongside the river for a break or lunch to re-apply.
Clearly there is appropriate clothing for a rafting trip and it is important to plan out that clothing
but it also adds some protection from the sun. A hat is a good start. Most river trips require
helmets, but hats can fit under helmets comfortably and add much needed cover. If helmets are
not required, wear the hat but don’t forget to secure the hat to your life jacket with a string so it
is not lost during the trip!
Choose a shirt that covers the shoulders to keep the sun off. Tank tops are not the best option
for a long day on the river. More and more people are wearing tights or yoga pants for outdoor
activities – these are perfect for covering up the legs during a trip. Safe and appropriate footwear
include a variety of sandals that leave parts of the feet exposed. Lean towards good footing and
traction in the raft when choosing footwear and add a bit of sunscreen to the exposed bits of
If you are headed out on the river, don’t forget the sunscreen. Re-apply during the trip. Wear
clothing that is comfortable but takes into account exposure to the sun’s rays.