Renting a raft can be a great way to see an area's best river rapids with a few friends. Most areas with rivers that are able to be rafted do have a raft rental shop or two, which makes this a great choice for a vacation activity. However, there are a couple of tips you should always follow if you choose to rent a raft and ride down the river.
Only rent if you or someone in your party has experience.
Rafting on any sort of rapids is a skill that takes some time to learn. If you and an entire party of inexperienced rafters head out, you may struggle to raft properly and safely, and that won't even be fun! So, you should only consider renting a raft if you or someone in your party has rafted before and has a solid grasp of the basic techniques. If you are all inexperienced, that doesn't mean you can't go rafting—just that you'll want to book a raft trip with a guide or instructor, rather than renting a raft independently.
Don't over-size your vessel.
Most raft rental places have several different size rafts. They may, for example, have 2-person rafts, 4-person rafts, and 6-person rafts. It can sometimes be tempting to rent a larger raft than you need, just in case some extra friends want to join at the last minute. But maneuvering a raft that was designed for more people than are in your crew can be difficult. The raft may not submerge as far into the water as it is intended to, and it can feel wiggly when you try to steer. Rent the raft that's the right size for the number of people in your group.
Rent the extra gear too.
In addition to renting rafts, most rental shops rent life jackets, coolers that attach to the rafts, portable pumps for mishaps along the way, and even picnic packages. Definitely add on the life preservers, as they are an important safety item. Renting a cooler is smart too, especially on hot summer days when you want to bring drinks with you. If there are other items that you think may make your trip more pleasant, allow yourself to splurge a little.
As long as you have some rafting experience, renting a raft and heading off on the river can be great fun.
For more information, contact a business that offers raft rentals.