How To Buy A Whitewater Raft

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Selecting The Right Whitewater Raft For Your Rafting Needs

Whitewater rafts come in a variety styles, shapes, and sizes. Each tailored to specific whitewater needs. Fishing, day trips, multi-day, paddle boat, oar boat, big water, flat water, you name it and someone makes a raft specifically for it. And with so many uses come as many manufacturers: AIRE, Rocky Mountain Rafts, Star, Saturn,  NRS, Triton, Maravia, SOTAR, DIB, Hyside, Alpacka, Avon, and on and on…  Not to mention materials: Urethane, Hypalon, PVC.  So where to start?

Hyside has gained a reputation as one of the industry’s most durable inflatables.

Not To Worry, Paddling Life Is Here To Help

You first need to decide what your new whitewater rafts primary use will be. What rivers do you want to be able to run? How many paddlers will be in your raft? How much gear will you want to haul? Figuring out your primary needs will narrow down your raft selection.

If you haven’t done so already, consider joining your local paddling club. They will be the best resource for determining what type of whitewater raft is best for your local rivers.

Ask the Whitewater Rafting Community.

Mountain Buzz

Mountain Buzz has been a long time favorite forum for river runners. Feel free to jump right in. There are seasoned boaters with untold years of experience willing to help and share:

When is the Best Time to Buy a Whitewater Raft?

When it comes time to buy a whitewater raft the best deals will be available in the fall when water levels and temperatures are dropping. Retailers and manufactures alike will be motivated to let go of their remaining inventory before winter settles in. Of course this means inventory may also be limited. So if you’ve got your heart set on a specific raft in a specific color you may miss out waiting around for a better deal.

Consider Renting Before You Buy a Whitewater Raft

Depending on where you live, when it comes time to buy a whitewater raft your local rafting / kayak shop or whitewater outfitter may offer rentals. This is a great opportunity to get a real world feel for what “YOU” like in a whitewater raft once on the water. The difference between a 14 foot and 16 foot raft can feel substantial when guiding. Not to mention the ease of transporting the raft. Does it roll well? Does it fit on your trailer, roof rack, in the back of your truck?