Why You Should Take a River Trip this Summer

As has been the case for many of our activities as Columbia’s Directors of Toughness, I had never really given kayaking much thought. As daft as it may seem, I didn’t even really know that river trips existed for people who didn’t own boats.

You would be surprised at how inclusive a river trip can be – people of all ability levels can enjoy a few days on the river. The water might seem intimidating, but if you have the right guide, gear, and attitude you’ll have a great experience.

Gear:

The big difference between a trip on the river and hiking is the amount of gear you can take. If backpacking is unappealing, because you can’t function without your morning coffee, favorite book or even a nice meal then a kayaking trip could be just what you’re looking for. You don’t have to carry all your gear with you if you’re booking a trip through a trusted river guide. Therefore, you can afford to bring with you a few more luxuries than you’d expect. Within reason, you can take the heavier tent, the warmer sleeping bag or even that bottle of champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Guide:

Picking the right guide for your trip is crucial – particularly if you’ve never done anything like this before. Pick the wrong guide and you’ll be wringing out your underwear whilst crying into a dehydrated mac and cheese at night. Pick the right guide and you’ll sit gazing up at the stars warm and dry with a belly full of steak.

You would be surprised at how inclusive a river trip can be.

A good guide will take you from complete novice, like me, to safely negotiating your first rapid on the first go. Choosing a guide who knows the river well and who guides there often is a huge advantage. They will be able to navigate you through the water according to your ability, which makes it an activity suitable for the whole family.

Boat:

And for me, the biggest piece of advice when looking towards your first river trip is to choose the ‘Duckie’ option. A ‘Duckie’ is a single or double inflatable kayak which puts you firmly in the driving seat. Skip the tour where you’re a passenger on a guided raft and get stuck in!

If you’re looking for a fun, exciting, and a little bit of challenging adventure this summer, then I highly recommend getting out on the river.

Director of Toughness Mark ChaseMark Chase is the first international Director of Toughness and joins the company from Gloucester, England. Raised on a diet of climbing, skiing, camping, hiking and rugby, it was obvious that a warm office and a cozy bed was never going to cut it. An ex Semi-professional Rugby player, Mark is used to pushing himself both mentally and physically and is always up for a challenge. You can follow Mark’s journey as Director of Toughness here and social channels including: Twitter | Instagram

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