Hang around the guides at Outland long enough, and you’ll soon know we have our own language. This slang is essential to communicating with your guide and your fellow passengers. Brush up on your river lingo below while you are at home practicing your social distancing and we can’t wait to see you this summer!
Bar – an accumulation of sand or rock along the river banks or in the river channel
Boof or boofing – the sound or act of a raft or kayak when it hits big air and slaps against the water
Bow – the front of the boat
C.F.S. – cubic feet per second; the measurement of volume flowing in a river
Confluence – the point where two or more rivers merge
Dig or Dig in – paddle command used for paddlers to “dig” paddles deep in the water to propel the raft forward
Dry bag – waterproof bag used for storage
Duckies – inflatable kayaks
Dumptruck – when a raft literally dumps everyone and everything into the water and carries on downstream
Eddy – a place where the current of the river either stops or changes directions
Eddy fence – the water between the eddy and the current
Flatwater – calm water without rapids or high waves
High water – water flow is above average with fast currents
High side – a command meaning all paddlers move to the high side of the raft to re-distribute the weight, preventing a flip or dump truck
Hole – where water flows over an obstacle and reverses back into itself
Groover – portable toilet on the trip; the name comes from early models of ammo cans that had no toilet seats and would leave grooved lines on passengers’ backsides
Left bank or the river left – the left side of the river when facing downstream
Line – the path through a rapid
Low water – water flow is below average with more rocks and obstacles
P.F.D. – personal flotation device
Put-in – the spot where a river trips start
Rapid – a stretch of water that has fast-moving and turbulent water
Riffle – a small rapid of shallow, bubbly water
River mile – a term used for the miles along a river, beginning at the mouth
Right bank or river right – right side of the river when facing downstream
Runoff – water from snowmelt which flows down from the mountains
Sinus cleaner – a short, unexpected plunge where water may get up your nose
Stern – the back of the boat
Swamper – a crewman who helps with camp setup, cooking, and any other odd tasks
Take-out – the spot where a river trips end
Do you know of any river lingo we forgot to mention? Is there something that you’d like more clarification of? Let us know.
Have a great week!
—Outland Expeditions, Inc.
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Photo courtesy of Outland Expeditions, Inc.