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Category: River Equipment

Taking a photo on a river trip

Being “unplugged” on a river trip doesn’t mean you have to forgo technology fully. I love to unwind before bed by reading a few pages on my Kindle, and to capture memories with my phone camera. Below is my advice for bringing technology on a NWRC river trip. Charging Electronics NWRC does not provide charging capabilities for electronic devices. If you think that you’ll want to charge up your devices during the trip, we recommend bringing an external power bank and charging cords. There are many… Read More

River Trip Camping Gear

All of our river trips include tents, sleeping bags, and pads. While you are welcome to bring your own gear if you like, we take pride in providing exceptional camping gear with no extra fee. While our gear may vary very slightly depending on available models when it comes time to replace, we try to keep it as similar as possible. This is what we currently bring on trips: Tent Length: 7 feet 6 in Width: 8 feet 6 in Height at the center: 5 feet… Read More

River Rafting Safety Kit

Whitewater paddlers should carry rafting safety kits and obtain safety/rescue training – especially on rivers that are Class III and harder. Safety kits (also known as “wrap kits” or “pin kits”) contain equipment that can be used to unpin rafts, rescue trapped swimmers, and/or transport people and gear around dangerous rapids. A few years ago I wrote an article about the heavy duty outfitter safety kit we bring on our multi-day commercial trips. For day trips with paddle boats or catarafts I bring a slimmed down… Read More

River Shoes

I’m often asked by guests about what type of footwear they should bring on their river trip. It’s a good idea to have river shoes that stay on your feet and separate camp shoes that are comfortable for hiking or wearing around camp. While technically any shoe that will stay strapped to your foot will work, here are my top picks. River Shoes: Astral Footwear Astral Shoes are our guide’s favorite do-it-all shoe. You can easily go from rafting to hiking with these river shoes. My… Read More

Creature Craft on the North Fork of the Smith River

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity row a Creature Craft down California’s North Fork of the Smith River. These unique inflatable boats were inspired by an unflippable Russian whitewater boat known as the Bublik (Russian “bagel”). The Bublik has two large bagel shaped tubes separated by a wood frame that is typically crafted at put-in. This unflippable Russian boat design allows Russians explorers to run many of the large volume, continuous rivers found in Siberia. The Bublik has the ability to go into big… Read More

Using Pins and Clips with Sawyer MX-G Oars

During our whitewater rowing schools the conversation often turns to boating gear. The right equipment looks good, is durable, and will set you up for success on the river. The wrong gear can create headaches and can be potentially dangerous. It’s also nice to purchase from gear companies who are active members of the whitewater community. Oars The three main oar manufacturers are Saywer, Carlisle, and Cataract. I prefer Sawyer Oars since they are made in Oregon and have a thicker shaft. Here are the oars… Read More

SOTAR ATV in Conehead Rapid on the Chetco River

Last week we returned to the spectacularly beautiful Chetco River. This mighty river has it’s headwaters in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and flows 56 miles to the Pacific Ocean. We are lucky to outfit and guide a few intrepid groups down this river each year. Anyone who has been down the Chetco will talk about it’s amazingly clear water, jaw dropping scenery, and the hard work it takes to get there. Developing the techniques and equipment to run this style of trip has been a fun project… Read More

AIRE BAKraft Expedition on Rough and Ready Creek

Since my first trip on the Chetco River I’ve been looking for a lightweight inflatable kayak for hiking into remote and challenging rivers. Last year AIRE introduced the BAKraft Hybrid, a 7 foot long boat constructed with a urethane bladder and protected by a Spectra outer layer. This was a step in the right direction, but not big enough to run difficult whitewater with overnight gear. Recently AIRE has been designing and prototyping a 10 foot, 10 pound version of the BAKraft called the “Expedition.” The… Read More

SOTAR specializes in beautifully made custom rafts

Picking the right raft is, like many things, complicated. Your choice will depend on the type of boating you’re doing, your budget, and even your geographic location. The first thing you want to consider is your raft material. Here are the main choices: 1. Urethane: Pros: Slips nicely over rocks, most durable fabric, lightweight, best puncture and tear resistance, durable. The welding process they use to make these boats is bomber. Cons: Fairly expensive, tough to roll and transport, difficult to field repair*. 2. Hypalon: Pros:… Read More

"Bus Stop" - 1 Person Gets Off, the Bus Moves On

Deciding between the two most common oar retention systems, oar locks and pins and clips, is a common debate among boaters. It’s much like the “ale vs lager” debate for beer drinkers. Some people only drink one type of beer, say derogatory things about the alternative and couldn’t fathom switching sides; enlightened people realize that there are times and places for both. Most rowers feel strongly about one method of attaching their oars to their frames, but have little or no experience with the alternative methods.… Read More