Before setting out on the Ocoee River, ensuring you have the right gear is critical for both safety and enjoyment. The unpredictable nature of whitewater rafting means preparation is key.
We’ll provide you with all the equipment like self-bailing raft, life jackets, helmets and paddles, but you’ll want to bring a few things of your own. You’re more than welcome to bring your own rafting equipment (we recommend checking out NRS for rafting gear).
We suggest keeping personal items locked in your car and yes, we’ll be happy to hold your keys. Here’s a list of things we suggest bringing to make your stay and rafting experience most enjoyable.
Here’s a rundown of the essential items you need to bring along:
Safety Equipment we Provide
Helmets: A must-have for protecting your head against bumps and knocks from the boat or rocks.
Life Jackets: Ensure it’s U.S. Coast Guard approved, fits snugly, and is suitable for whitewater use.
Protective Footwear: Closed-toe, secure, and comfortable shoes that protect your feet and provide good grip on wet surfaces.
Quick-Drying Clothes: Wear synthetic materials that dry quickly and keep you comfortable. Avoid cotton as it stays wet and can make you cold.
Splash Jacket and Wet Suit (optional): Depending on the weather, a splash jacket or a wet suit can provide additional warmth and protection.
Change of Clothes: Bring a dry set of clothes for after your rafting session to change into.
Waterproof Bags: Essential for keeping your valuables and change of clothes dry.
Sunglasses with Retainer Strap: Protect your eyes from the sun and glare off the water, and ensure they don’t get lost in the river.
Sunscreen and Lip Balm: Water and sunlight can be harsh on your skin, so protection is key.
This gear list is your foundation for a safe rafting journey on the Ocoee River. Remember, the river’s conditions can change, so being well-prepared allows you to focus on the thrill of the adventure while staying protected.
Warm Weather Rafting
Rafting in warm water conditions offers a refreshing escape from the heat, but it still requires careful preparation. When the Ocoee River’s waters are warm, comfort and sun protection become top priorities.
Lightweight, Breathable Clothing: Opt for light-colored, quick-drying garments that cover your skin to protect against the sun.
Sun Hat and Sunglasses: A wide-brimmed hat can shield your face and neck from direct sunlight, while sunglasses protect your eyes.
Sunscreen: Apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed skin, reapplying as necessary throughout the day.
Hydration Packs: Keeping hydrated is crucial. A hydration pack or water bottle ensures you have easy access to water without adding bulk.
Insect Repellent: Warm weather can bring out insects. A repellent can keep them at bay, especially during early morning or late afternoon.
Cold Weather Rafting
The Ocoee River can be chilly, especially early in the season or during late fall. Proper gear is essential to protect against hypothermia and ensure your rafting experience is enjoyable rather than uncomfortable.
Wet Suit and Neoprene Gloves: A wet suit provides insulation, while neoprene gloves keep your hands warm and functional.
Splash Jacket: A waterproof and wind-resistant jacket helps maintain your core temperature.
Thermal Layers: Wear synthetic or wool base layers under your wet suit for additional warmth.
Skull Cap or Beanie: A cap made of neoprene or a quick-dry material helps reduce heat loss through your head.
Footwear: Neoprene socks or booties can provide warmth and protection for your feet.
Cotton does NOT work well in cold weather, you’ll be cold and miserable. Fleece, polyester or woolen tops, bottoms and socks will keep you warm even when you’re wet.