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5 Tips for Spring Rafting

Posted in General, Rafting

Spring rafting on The Hudson brings some of the biggest whitewater on the East Coast and serious fun along with it, but it can be a tricky time of year to plan for. Water levels depend on spring runoff, rain and snowpack, and the weather can change at the drop of a hat. But there’s a reason we get pumped about spring time rafting every year—holy smokes is it fun.

Best whitewater on the East Coast1. It’s Cold

No way around it, a spring rafting trip can be downright chilly, especially if you’re not prepared for it. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. NO COTTON NO COTTON NO COTTON. It may seem redundant but every spring someone shows up in a cotton t shirt and sweats ready to go. We know you’re tough, but we guarantee that if you wear cotton on the river you will be putting on whatever extra clothing you can get your shivering little fingers on. If it’s coming from a guide’s drybag there’s a good chance it will have that special drybag aroma that we hold so dear. You won’t care how stinky you are. Save your neighbor’s nose and dress appropriately. Wear clothes like you would to go skiing: poly pro, fleece or wool base layers, fleece on top of that, wool socks, wool or synthetic underwear, a wool or synthetic hat. Under Armour works great, so does Smartwool. If you prepare well and take advantage of our wetsuits (always included in the price) chances are you’ll actually be pretty comfortable on the water. And it should go without saying that whatever you wear will get wet, so bring a change of clothes. We have long underwear in stock for purchase on the day of, but give us a call to check on sizes. If there’s only one thing you remember from this list have it be NO COTTON NO COTTON NO COTTON.

2. Stay Hydrated

Even though it may be cold, it’s important to remember to keep drinking water. Spring time rafting=lots of paddling which = energy spent, so drink water. We bring drinks along at lunch (and hot soup too!), but they are packed in a cooler, so if you want water accessible, remember to bring a bottle along.

3. It’s Not for the Faint of Heart

Leave Granny and Little Timmy at home for this one. Unless of course Granny is a rugged gal, in which case, hand her a paddle and All Forward! But in all seriousness, spring time rafting is not for people who are not sure they want to go rafting, people who can’t deal with being a little cold, or people who are younger than late teens (call us for specifics). It’s big water, it’s chilly, and it can be scary instead of fun for those who don’t really want to be there. Bring those folks back during the summer. Make sure everyone in your party is ready for a high-level adrenaline rush and has their party pants on (non-cotton of course)!

4. There is Such a Thing as Too Big

On The Hudson, every outfitter operates with the same commercial rafting cut off limit. When the water is at flood stage, it can take down trees, wash out rapids and create hazards that didn’t exist beforehand. No company will raft above a certain threshold, and it wouldn’t be worth it if they did. Lucky for us, The Hudson has many raft-able sections. It doesn’t happen often that The Gorge is too high, but if it is, we just hop on down the road and raft a wild section farther south!

5. It’s Darn Fun

There’s a reason guides and customers alike come back to raft religiously in the spring despite the cold. If you go rafting at high water once, you’ll be hooked. There’s nothing like big, high volume water to make you feel one with Mother Nature. We’re pretty sure that if you raft really big water once, you’ll start to get that same twinkle in your eyes that we do once the snow starts to melt. Give us a call at 1-888-454-8433 or book your spring rafting adventure at See you on the water!


Photos by Jim Swedberg

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Beaver Brook Outfitters

Beaver Brook Outfitters