Rafting in the Rain

Rafting outfitters around the globe run commercial whitewater rafting trips in all types of weather – hot & sunny, cool & rainy, and everything in between. Since outfitters cannot control the weather, they are prepared for all kinds of conditions on the river and make recommendations to their guests on what to bring and wear on the river based on the predicted forecast.

So what to do if you have booked a white water rafting trip and the clouds have shown up and it is raining …

First, look at it this way: what other outdoor activity is going to be fun in the rain? Many activities will be cancelled or impacted. For example, are you going to the amusement park? big rides will be shut down for safety. Are you going for a Rail Trail bike ride? – yuk. Maybe you are renting a boat on the lake for some tubing? – much better in the warm sun than getting rain drops in the face at 35MPH!

Second and most important, don’t think you have gotten unlucky or shortchanged! Rafting in the rain can be a special and unique experience. You will notice an interesting thing on a rainy day at Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting, for example. Guests arrive and look unhappy that fate has dealt them an ugly blow with the low clouds and steady rain. However, the Raft Guide Staff is strangely upbeat. Why? because guides know that it will be a special day on the river.

On rainy whitewater rafting trips, clouds and mist often settle into the river valley and form amazingly beautiful and spooky vistas from the raft. You’ll hear guides and guests alike make references to “Jurassic Park” rafting or “Lord of the Rings” views.

On very cool days when the cloud cover is especially low and the difference between water and air temperature bring the mist and fog right to water surface level, things get spicy on the river! There are times when you can only see one or two rafts in front of your own raft and then the raft in from of you disappears into the mist as it enters the next rapid – you can hear the screams of excitement from the paddlers and commands from the raft guide as they ride the whitewater rapids and then they their noise is soon drowned out as your raft enters the same rapids entombed in the mist. It is a very unique and cool experience.

Before arriving for your whitewater rafting trip on a rainy day, check out the outfitter’s website or give them a call for recommendations on what to bring and wear that day. Many outfitters will offer wetsuits and/or splash gear that will keep you warm and comfortable but certain layers under or over a wetsuit or splash gear can make you even more comfortable and happy on the river

Frank Mooney, River Manager 1990-2018

Crab Apple Whitewater


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