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Get Ready for Winter Boating

I’m getting ready for my first day of winter boating on Washington’s Wind River. Every November when the rain begins I dust off my cataraft and piece it together after a few months of neglect. Here are some things I do before before my first winter paddling trip.

Initiation Rapid on the Wind River
Initiation Rapid on the Wind River

A Few General Reminders

  • Inspect your PFD for inflation and consider purchasing a new one.
  • Inspect the gaskets and lubricate the zippers on your drysuit.
  • Check your frame and oar bolts for tightness. This is also a great time to replace old, rusty ones.
  • Replace old, warn cam straps that might break during the boating season.
  • Do a safety inspection on your trailer. This is a good time to grease your hubs and check your trailer lights.
  • Put together a cold weather (or “hypo kit”) with extra fleece, fire starters, and hand warmers.
Near flip on the Wind River
Near flip on the Wind River

Lean and Mean Safety Kit

Make sure everything is there and nothing is moldy or rusty. This is what I bring for day runs like the Wind River where road access is fairly close.

The exact contents of your repair kits should depend on your boat, difficulty of rivers you run, and your training.

Lean and Mean Repair Kit

Repair kits are often overlooked and rarely restocked. The exact contents of your kit will depend on your particular raft material, frame, and oars.

  • Every repair tool your frame and oars might need – nut driver, socket wrench, channel locks, allen wrench, oar blade tightener, screwdriver, and more
  • Replacement parts and bolts for your frame
  • Repair material, glue, sandpaper, and brushes
  • Tear Aid for quick repair
  • Duct Tape

You might also want to consider repair materials and tools for your friend’s boats too in case they forget.

Typical First Aid Restock

This is a list of items that commonly needs to be restocked in your first aid kit.

  • Ibuprofen
  • Band Aids
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Medical tape
  • Check your CPR mask to make sure it’s still in good shape
Personal First Aid Kit
Personal First Aid Kit

If you have any other suggestions please add them in the comment section below.


Originally Published: | Updated on

Author

Zachary Collier

As owner of Northwest Rafting Company, Zach Collier combines international guiding experience in places like Siberia, Bhutan, and Chile with a natural business acumen for systems and logistics. Whether he’s on big water or in the back office, Zach strives to ensure NWRC offers exceptional whitewater and wilderness experiences for guests and guides alike.

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