Whether you're a rafting regular or simply enjoy the occasional whitewater excursion with your family, there's a good chance you've given some thought to the possibility of buying a whitewater raft of your own. Owning a raft means holding greater freedom when determining the location and timing for your next trip. However, raft ownership also forces you to take on a number of additional expenses and responsibilities. It's important to determine whether you are capable of operating under such constraints before you invest in a raft of your own.
The Best Time To Buy A Whitewater Raft
Given the excitement of rafting, it's no wonder so many individuals decide to go all in with raft purchases after enjoying a single whitewater rafting adventure. However, it is definitely not advisable for a beginner to invest in a raft before building up a reasonable level of experience and understanding. A lack of knowledge surrounding the activity could lead to the purchase of the wrong type of raft, which, in turn, could result in an unrewarding experience and potentially put users at risk.
The best way to build the experience necessary for owning your own raft is to attend guided rafting adventures in a variety of settings. This will give you a better feel for the type of rafting your prefer; ultimately, such preferences will determine whether a particular raft is good fit. If you're ready to conquer rafting on your own, consider renting a raft of interest and testing it in a favorite location before making the big purchase.
How To Find An Affordable Raft
Rafting equipment is, by nature, expensive. Often, a simple glance at a raft's price tag is enough to dissuade enthusiasts from the prospect of owning their own rafts. Add in the cost attached to brand new life jackets,helmets and paddles, and it's no wonder so many whitewater rafters choose to stick with rental equipment.
Fortunately, even when you're strapped for cash, it's possible to find a high-quality raft without emptying out your bank account. You may, however, be forced to let go of your dream of owning a brand new raft. For the recreational rafter, a used raft is far more practical than a new model. Outfitters carry a variety of used rafts; all of these are thoroughly vetted to ensure that they are in excellent shape.
Selecting Raft Style And Occupancy
Are you hoping to take part in a leisurely rafting experience with your kids? Or is your wild side aching for a crazy rapids-based adventure? It's important to determine your purpose before you buy a whitewater a raft, as a model suited to slow-paced family trips might not work well in Class IV rapids. Occupancy is a particularly important consideration, as your raft needs to include sufficient space for both people and equipment. The most common size rafts used by private boaters are between 12 and 14 feet long. Larger and smaller rafts are available but are better suited to specialized uses rather than general recreational activities.
Once the intended size of the raft has been determined, it's important to think about the ideal raft material. PVC plastic is a common material that proves quite popular with recreational rafters. However, some consideration should also be given to alternatives, such as Hypalon rubber or polyurethane. These types of material are far more expensive than PVC, but they also hold up better to wear and tear, making them preferable for challenging rafting trips.
Raft ownership certainly is not for everyone; this approach takes away many of the conveniences offered through guided trips and rental raft opportunities. However, some dedicated rafters are willing to give up these conveniences in exchange for the flexibility of raft ownership. If you identify with this mindset, it's of utmost important that you try out a variety of models to determine which whitewater raft best meets your unique needs.
Rent Before You Buy A Whitewater Raft
Before purchasing your own whitewater raft, you may consider renting the equipment as an option. Raft Masters rents rafts, inflatable kayaks and rafting equipment seven days a week from March through October, water permitting. Take a look at our raft rental rates, equipment list and prices.