When you join us on our Main Salmon River multi-day rafting trips this summer, there will be a wide variety of water crafts for you to become well acquainted with! From Oar Rafts, to Paddle Rafts, to Inflatable Kayaks, 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, get to know the different guides, 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 you 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 2-3 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 while your guide steers form the back using two oars
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 runnable waves
Pro Guest Tip: If you’re into splashing your friends or siblings, the paddle raft is the way to go. Paddles make great splashing tools. **Note: Crew must consent to being splashed!**
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. And practice getting back into your IK at the beach so you’ll know what to do if you have an unintentional out-of-boat experience.
The Hard-Shell Kayak
This craft is available only on the 6-day Main Salmon River Kayak Trip for hard-shell kayakers (actually, you bring your own)! Think of it as a full immersion kayak vacation. This incredible wilderness stretch of river is a great place for advanced beginner and intermediate kayakers to experience the beauty of Idaho’s wilderness while paddling your favorite craft. Over the course of 6 days and 80 miles, Wet Planet instructors will work with be there to show you the lines, provide support, and share paddling tips. Rafts will support the trip by carrying all personal gear, food and camping equipment, allowing you to focus on kayaking and the joys of being on the river. Plus, non-kayaking friends and family can join in a raft!
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: Previous kayaking experience required. Advanced beginner-intermediate kayaker with a solid combat roll. Check out our kayak skill level overview to make sure your skills are a good fit.
You Need To: Know what a kayak is before having read this. If you didn’t and are now intrigued, check out our Beginner Kayaking Courses.
Known For: Boofing, surfing, peeling out, charging, sending, splatting, and sometimes carping
Pro Guest Tip: Bring your non-kayaking friends & family along as rafters. It’s a rare opportunity for your loved ones to see you in action, doing one of your favorite activities! Plus, they’ll realize how cool whitewater kayaking is, and maybe they’ll decide learn! Who knows, you might gain a new paddling partner!
Join us for a relaxing escape on an Idaho multi-day rafting trip on the Main Salmon River, and let us know what your favorite whitewater craft is once you’ve tried them all!