When you join us on our Main Salmon River multi-day rafting trips this summer, there will be a whole slew of water crafts for you to become well acquainted with! From Oar Rafts to Inflatable Kayaks, and many things in between, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy all ranges of adventure on the river. It’s typical to switch boats throughout the trip as you make new friends and get more comfortable on the river. We encourage you to try them all at some point on your trip!
The Oar Raft
The largest boats on the trips, these rafts are rowed by a single guide in the center of the raft while relax and enjoy the ride, hanging on through the rapids. The oar rafts also carry all of the gear needed for the expedition.
Aka: Gear Boat, Oar Rig
Size: 16 -18 feet
Carries: You and up to 3 friends, your guide, and all gear for the trip: food, clothing, sleeping bags, games, tables, tents, and the kitchen sink (literally)
Powered By: Your guide and their finesse, using two oars
Crew Qualifications: Appreciation for relaxing (enjoying a good conversation is a plus)
You Need To: Share snacks with friends in smaller crafts
Known For: Being stable and comfortable. Also for having ample snack supplies.
Pro Guest Tip: Bring a camera. This is the driest place to take on-river photos during your adventure.
The Paddle Raft
Smaller than the oar rafts, paddle rafts hold up to six guests and one guide. The guide controls the raft from the back, while the “crew” is responsible for paddling the raft through the rapids. Paddle rafts are active and exciting, providing lots of big splashes.
Aka: These boats don’t need any fancy nicknames, they’re fun enough on their own
Size: 13 feet
Carries: You plus 3-5 friends (and your guide)
Powered By: Teamwork. Everyone will use paddles to navigate rapids, steered by your guide
Crew Qualifications: Know your right from left
You Need To: Share your spot in the front with your friends
Known For: Lots of jokes, conversations, and finding the biggest runable waves
Pro Guest Tip: Ask your guide what they’re up to. There’s a whole other world swirling around under the surface of the water that they’re navigating.
The Inflatable Kayak
The inflatable kayak is sort of like a one person raft, where the solo paddler controls the boat with a double bladed paddle. Perfect for the adventurous rafter who wants the challenge of paddling on their own.
Aka: Ducky, IK
Size: 8-11 feet
Carries: You and your water bottle (clipped in, of course)
Powered By: Your sense of adventure
Crew Qualifications: Be comfortable in the water, no experience needed
You Need To: Know which way is downstream
Known For: Guaranteed splashes
Pro Guest Tip: Resist the urge to go on your own solo adventure to find parts of the river a boat has never been before. Just follow the rafts.
The Stand-Up Paddle Board
Imagine a large surf board that you can paddle while standing up. SUP’s are perfect for cooling off on hot summer days, because paddlers often spend as much time falling off as they do standing up.
Size: 10 feet
Powered By: We’d like to say you, but really just your abs
Crew Qualifications: Balance and zen
You Need To: Your abs will get tired, either from trying to balance or laughing at yourself
Known For: Being like yoga, done in rapids
Pro Guest Tip: Spider-monkey pose is better for saving a fall than downward dog.
The Hard-Shell Kayak
*Available on the Main Salmon River specific kayak trips only
Aka: Kayak, boat. If you hear your guides talking about their own “boat”, often with never ending details about different design characteristics, they are probably referring to their kayak.
Size: 5-12 feet
Powered By: Your entire body working in harmony
Crew Qualifications: Experienced beginner/intermediate kayaker with a solid combat roll
You Need To: Know what a kayak is before having read this. If you didn’t and are now intrigued, sign up for a Wet Planet Kayak Course.
Known For: Boofing, surfing, peeling out, charging, sending, splatting, and sometimes carping
Pro Guest Tip: Be careful trying this sport out, it may change your life. Just ask your guide.
Join us this July or August for our first summer rafting the Main Salmon River, and let us know what your favorite whitewater craft is once you’ve tried them all!