No way around it, whitewater rafting in the spring has the potential to be downright chilly. Snowmelt brings us the huge water we love, but that same snow is what makes the water so cold this time of year. The good news is that modern gear can help you stay comfortable while you raft the big stuff. Take a look below to find out the best way to stay warm during your springtime Hudson River whitewater rafting trip.
If you’ve ever gotten a rafting confirmation from Beaver Brook Outfitters you’ve had it drilled into your brain: NO COTTON, NO COTTON, NO COTTON! Cotton is a great fabric for insulation when it’s dry, but the moment it gets wet it loses all its insulation potential. Wet cotton cools you off instead of retaining your body’s heat (and it takes ages to dry). Instead of cotton, dress as if you’re going skiing. Choose synthetic, wool or fleece layers to wear next to your skin. When these fabrics get wet, they work exceptionally well to keep you warm because they trap the heat coming off your body and work to retain heat. Here are a couple great articles that go in-depth to explain the age-old cotton vs synthetics debate. Tight fitting long underwear works well underneath your wetsuit, while thicker fleeces are great for over top your wetsuit. Which brings us to…
Nobody looks good in a wetsuit but everyone’s happy to wear one. A wetsuit is a non-negotiable piece of equipment for rafting in the spring. A good wetsuit absorbs water, heats it up to your body’s temperature and helps prevent heat loss. A wetsuit doesn’t keep you dry but rather ensures that your body temperature doesn’t drop too low when wet. Over the wetsuit goes a splash top, which works like a raincoat. It maintains a barrier between the water and your skin. While they aren’t completely dry, splash tops add a nice layer to help keep wind and big splashes off your top half. Beaver Brook ALWAYS includes a wetsuit and splash top in the price of your rafting trip. We don’t think you should have to pay extra to be comfortable.
These puppies are going to be soaked all day. Your hands and feet will be 100% sopping wet all day long, so it’s critical to make sure they stay warm. Along with your wetsuit, all guests get neoprene booties and gloves that work just like your wetsuit does. The great thing about them is that you can get a pair roomy enough to fit a glove liner or thick (wool or synthetic) sock inside of them. Don’t forget about your head! A warm (again, non-cotton) hat is a great way to retain some heat underneath your helmet.
Rafting Class IV+ water requires a lot of momentum–that’s where you come in! Paddling keeps the boat headed where it needs to be and it helps keep you warm too. So when your guide yells “All Forward” dig that paddle in!
So is spring rafting worth it? ABSOLUTELY! A high water Hudson is one of the best whitewater rafting trips in the country. If you want bus-sized waves and a healthy dose of adrenaline, this is the trip for you.