Get Ready for Winter Boating

by Zachary Collier

I'm getting ready for my first day of winter boating on Washington's Wind River. Every November when the rain starts I dust off my cataraft and piece it together after 5 months of being rolled up and stored in my garage.

Getting my cat boat ready for winter!

Getting my cat boat ready for winter!

Putting my boat together took a lot longer than I thought! Here are a few pre-season reminders:
1. Check all your frame and oar bolts for tightness. I found a few loose ones! This is also a great time to replace old, rusty ones.
2. Replace old, warn cam straps that might break this boating season.
3. Do a safety inspection on your trailer. This is a good time to grease your hubs and check your trailer lights.
4. Put together a cold weather (or "hypo kit") with extra fleece, fire starters, and hand warmers.

I also went through my "minimalist" safety and repair kit. This is a list of lean and mean equipment I bring for runs like the Wind River where road access is fairly close.

Minimal Safety and Repair Gear

Minimal Safety and Repair Gear

1. Two 30' sections of webbing for anchors
2. Two or more prussics
3. Six or more locking caribiners
4. Two Pulleys
5. Bomber throw bag (not shown)
6. A couple different climbing nuts. They're lightweight and come in handy sometimes for anchors in tight places.
7. Every repair tool I might need. My cataraft requires a nut driver, socket wrench, channel locks, allen wrench, oar blade tightener, and a screwdriver for repairs. Every boat is different and the minimum gear should be channel locks, screwdriver, and blade tightener.
8. Replacement parts. I use pins and clips so I bring and extra pin, extra oar holder, and extra hose clamps.
9. Repair material. I'm really happy with the way Type A Tear-Aid repairs Urethane so I bring that instead of urethane material and glue.
10. Duct Tape (not shown)

Finally, I also took some time to restock my personal first aid kit.

My personal first aid kit

My personal first aid kit

Here are some things that typically need to be restocked each season.
1. Ibuprofen
2. Band Aids
3. Triple Antibiotic Ointment
4. Medical tape
5. Check your CPR mask to make sure it's still in good shape

Have fun out there and be safe!

This Wind River photo was taken the day after I wrote this

This Wind River photo was taken the day after I wrote this

Please comment below with anything you do as you prepare for winter boating. I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Zachary Collier

Zach is the owner of Northwest Rafting Company and has led groups throughout the U.S. as well as Siberia, Bhutan, Nepal, Honduras, and Chile. His passion for wilderness shines through how he runs both his trips and his company. He's as confident on the oars as he is on the chess board, while he delivers a truly memorable experience in the most amazing places on the planet.

Connect with Zach:  Google+  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Related Posts

Exploring the Smith River

/ Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Entrance to Oregon Hole Gorge

Last week, our guides had a break in their scheduled Rogue River trips, and we decided to grab some friends and explore the Smith River in Northern California. The Smith is the only undammed river system in California and is famous for its rocky geology and unbelievably clear water. We ran the famous Oregon Hole Gorge first. This narrow canyon can be seen easily from Highway 199, so many a boater has stopped to take a look at its awesome rapids. We put-in just above the...

20 Legendary Whitewater Rafting Trips

/ Friday, March 6, 2015

Airplane Turn on the Cal Salmon River

Last year I wrote about the World's 13 Legendary River Trips, a list of the best expedition style, multi-day river trips. That post was the catalyst for some great discussions about the most legendary single day rafting trips. What makes a trip legendary? The gold standard for a legendary rafting trip is one that is frequently inquired about, remembered, and rehashed around the campfire. The most important factor is great whitewater, but I also considered scenery, length of season, and reputation. I've attempted to order these...