|MEETING PLACE:||Whitewater Cowboys, 210 Merlin Rd, Merlin, OR 97532|
|MEETING TIME:||1:00 PM|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 6:00 PM to Whitewater Cowboys|
|RIVER RATING:||Class III|
|PUT-IN:||Almeda or nearby launch site|
|TRIP LENGTH:||7 days / 6 nights|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 18 (16 with parent/guardian also in the class)|
|BOAT TYPE:||Oar rafts|
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Each trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
Meet your trip leader at 1:00 PM at Whitewater Cowboys. We will spend the afternoon in a classroom setting for dry land instruction. This classroom time will make our transition onto the water significantly smoother. We will shuttle off to the put-in location later in the day and set up camp for the evening.
After coffee and breakfast each morning, we pack up our belongings, and then we’ll discuss and practice boat rigging. Everyone has ample opportunities to row in a variety of whitewater levels. Each rower can expect to row half the time. There are a variety of boat sizes and loads, and people rotate from craft to craft practicing in lighter, more- maneuverable boats up to fully-loaded-heavy gear boats. We stop each day for lunch with sufficient time for questions and discussions. We will discuss how to best select and arrange an ideal camp, proper meal preparation and clean up, and the essentials of “Leave No Trace” practices. Each evening, we hold classroom discussions, where we review whitewater rafting topics from A to Z. After lunch on day 7, we have a short float to our take-out point at Foster Bar, arriving around 2:00 pm. Upon packing up our gear into the vans, we relax for the scenic, 2-3 hour mountain drive back to Whitewater Cowboys. We arrive at approximately 6:00 PM.
The following list is an example of the course content taught at the Rowing Clinic.
- Basic Rowing: Push, Pull, 4 Ferry Angles
- Hydrology 101
- 4 Dynamics of Whitewater
- Rock Depths
- Maneuvering: Which Ferry-When & Why
- Example Rapids
- Rigging Boats
- OARS Safety Talk
- Rowing Technique and Finesse With In-Water Demo
- Private Safety Talk
- Avoiding Flips and Wraps, Righting a Boat
- Throw Bags
- Boat Spacing, Eddy Catching
- Leave-No-Trace Ethics
- Hydrology 201
- Water Depth
- Eddy Fence Strength
- Low and High Water
- Repair Kit/Patching
- Rescue and Z-Drag
- Mule Creek Diagram
- First Aid and Emergencies
- What’s Next for You?
- Gear to Buy/Boat Types
- Other Rivers to Consider
- Students Run the Day
- Swiftwater Navigation
- Oar Raft Techniques
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled, professional guide service
- All meals from dinner on day 1 through lunch on the final day, with limited beer & wine at dinner
- 6 nights riverside camping
- Expedition equipment including all rowing equipment, PFD and helmet.
- Two waterproof bags to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall; 3318 cu in; 54.4 L). Your sleeping bag and pad must fit into one bag and your remaining gear will fit into the other bag. Please note: If you rent our gear it will come already packed in one of the two waterproof bags. Your remaining gear, therefore, must fit in one bag.
- One small waterproof bag for camera and other small items you’ll want during the day (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter; 1081 cu in; 17.7 L)
- Two-person tents
- Personal flotation device (PFD) and helmet, which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with safety regulations
- 12-ounce insulated Klean Kanteen with Café Lid to use for drinks in camp
- Camp chairs
- Eating utensils, cups and plates
- Highest quality inflatable rafts and related equipment
- Transfers from Whitewater Cowboys to the river and back
- Wetsuit–weather dependent (does not include footwear of any kind, including wetsuit booties)
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Whitewater Cowboys
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Rogue River Access Fee
- Sleeping bag & a deluxe 3-inch thick air-filled sleeping pad (these items may be rented from OARS)
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
- Items of personal nature (see suggested packing list below)
Available For Rent
Please indicate on your guest registration form whether you want to rent a sleep kit or if you prefer to bring your own.
- Sleep Kit: Can be rented for $40 per person. Sleep kits consist of a sleeping bag with sheet liner, a deluxe 3-inch thick air-filled sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet, pillow and pillowcase.
- Sleeping Pad Only: The deluxe 3-inch thick air-filled sleeping pad only may be rented for $15.
- Tents: Included with your trip cost.
TRIP PREPARATION CHECKLIST
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
☐ Trip forms (online): Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving your school within 60 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.
☐ Reserve flights and/or shuttles: Verify with your adventure consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety/ or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
☐ Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our essential eligibility requirements.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 60 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like for us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Meeting Place & Time
On the day of your trip, we will meet at 1:00 PM at Whitewater Cowboys in Merlin, OR. Your trip leader will provide a thorough trip orientation and give you an opportunity to ask any last-minute questions.
Click here for a google map.
Getting to Whitewater Cowboys (Merlin, OR)
|Medford to Merlin||37 miles (45 minutes)|
|Portland to Merlin||240 miles (4 hours)|
|Sacramento to Merlin||344 miles (6 hours)|
If you’re arriving by car, parking is available at Whitewater Cowboys.
OARS cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage to vehicles or their contents.
We recommend flying into Medford, Oregon. United, Horizon / Alaska Airlines all fly into Medford. As an alternative, Portland International has more frequent flight options. There are several car rental companies located at both airports, or you may choose to take a shuttle from Medford to Whitewater Cowboys.
Whitewater Cowboys offers a shuttle service to shuttle your vehicle to our takeout location at Foster Bar. Airport rides can be arranged through Uber or Lyft.
- Whitewater Cowboys – 1-541-238-5969
- Lyft or Uber
- Cascade Shuttle – (541)-488-1998
- Double “D” Taxi – (541) 476-7773
By Bus or Train
Greyhound services the Grants Pass area, while Amtrak only services Klamath Falls or Eugene, Oregon.
After Your Trip
On the final day of your river adventure, you will return to Whitewater Cowboys at approximately 6:00 PM.
Please note: If you are planning to visit the Oregon Coast following your trip, or looking to limit your time spent in a van with other people, we recommend you have your car shuttled to the take-out location at Foster Bar so it is waiting for you when you get off the river. This will save you five or more hours of driving time and backtracking. For this option, you will need to arrange for your car to be transferred from Whitewater Cowboys to the take-out at Foster Bar so that you can continue heading west, to the coast, from there. You will arrive at Foster Bar between 2 and 3 PM. Whitewater Cowboys can arrange this car shuttle service for you. Please contact them directly to set up this option.
Please contact us before your trip to alert us that you have made arrangements to have your car shuttled to Foster Bar. Logistics are easiest with a duplicate set of car keys.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost.
- Galice Resort (541) 476-3818
- Buona Sera Inn (541) 476-4260
- Shilo Inn (541) 479-8391
- Best Western Inn (541) 582-2200
- Holiday Inn Express (541) 471-6144
- Hampton Inn and Suites (541) 474-5690
- La Quinta Inn and Suites (541) 472-0152
- Indian Mary Campground (800) 452-5687
- Josephine County Parks (541) 474 5285
- Lake Selmac Resort (541) 597-2277
For additional activities, lodging and camping information, please contact the Grants Pass Chamber of Commerce (541) 450-6180 or go to www.visitgrantspass.org
Few rivers offer whitewater excitement suitable for such a wide range of ages and experience levels as the Rogue. Its Class III rapids are a great whitewater introduction for the beginning rafter, yet challenging enough to excite experienced river runners. The Rogue’s flow is regulated by upstream dams; this allows for reliable river flows all summer long. Enjoy rolling wave trains and exciting drops, separated by calmer waters, as you float down this scenic river.
The number and variety of boats on an OARS trip will vary based on water levels, the number of participants and other factors we take into account when planning your adventure. Please be aware that in doing so we will ask you to share boat time with your fellow travelers. We don’t assign boats, nor can we guarantee exactly which crafts we bring, but trust us to provide you with the best possible mix for you and others on your trip. The following boat will be a part of your experience:
Learn more about the boats on your trip at https://www.oars.com/experience/boats/
After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Upon arrival, our first task is to unload the boats. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to set up tents. If needed, a crew member will give a demonstration on setting up a tent. The group will set up the kitchen and central dining/seating area with camp chairs. We will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the portable toilet.
As dinner is being prepared by the team, you might enjoy some hors d’oeuvres while we will continue to discuss rowing techniques and other rafting topics.
In the morning, the first wake-up call will let you know that coffee, hot water for tea or cocoa, juice, fresh fruit and cold cereal are ready on the hors d’oeuvres table. You can fill your mug and grab a bite, then begin to pack up your personal belongings and sleep gear as the cook crew prepares breakfast. We may include a morning clinic topic. After breakfast is served, the entire camp will be broken down and packing will be completed. The gear will then be loaded onto the boats, and we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.
The meals we serve are hearty and delicious, complete with fresh ingredients and a variety of foods. A typical morning on a multi-day trip might start with French toast, bacon, fruit, orange juice, and coffee or tea. Lunch might be a delicious salad, a spread of cold cuts and cheeses with several types of bread, or pitas stuffed with veggies and hummus. There are always cookies and a cooling drink. At dinner, our guides’ cooking skills truly shine—sizzling steaks or salmon, chicken enchiladas, and delicious stir-fry dishes are all part of their repertoire. Dinner generally includes a salad, and desserts are frequent. Hors d’oeuvres are a pleasant surprise before many meals.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. However, there may be a supplemental menu fee ranging from $5-25 per person per day to cover our costs.
Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets without applying a fee. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as we do for our regular menu. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in our locations, so feel free to bring your own favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Please let your Adventure Consultant know if you intend to do so.
We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy. Also, due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).
Beverages / Alcohol
We provide plenty of water and lemonade throughout the trip. While on the river, we provide one soda per person per day along with a limited supply of beer and wine. You are welcome to bring your own favorite beverages, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring additional beverages, please let us know in advance. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited at camp.
OARS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our guests and for our staff. We ask that smoking of any kind be done away and downwind from other trip participants.
We are obligated to adhere to the regulations established by the managing agency with jurisdiction over the area in which our trip operates. Use of marijuana on federal lands, whether it be medicinal or recreational, is illegal and therefore we ask that you refrain from bringing it with you on your OARS trip.
We carry sufficient drinking water along with us to provide for your needs throughout the trip. Water jugs are accessible in camp, at lunch time and before hikes for filling personal water bottles. In some cases, we will resupply water jugs with river water filtered through a purification system we provide. (No iodine is used in the purification process.)
The Portable Toilet
While the idea of a river trip is appealing to most people, many are inhibited or reluctant due to modesty or uncertainty. To minimize our impacts, we carry out all solid human waste and use a portable toilet system that is set up each day at camp in a secluded location a discrete distance from tent sites. It is essentially a toilet without plumbing, and it is available from the time you pull into camp each afternoon until you leave camp the next day. Toilet paper and a convenient hand washing station are provided. Some of the campsites on the Rogue have permanent outhouses with pit toilets.
We also carry a small container called the “day tripper,” which can be easily accessed during the day should the need arise. It is a personal disposable toilet, which includes an odor-proof transport bag, chemical solidifier and odor eliminator, toilet paper and an oversized hand wipe.
On popular stretches of wilderness rivers, the common refrain is “dilution is the solution to pollution.” We practice this approach by urinating in the river during the day.
Bathing is allowed in the Rogue River, but not in any of the side streams that feed into the river. We recommend using the smallest amount possible of liquid biodegradable soap such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s, which can be purchased in most stores that have a camping section. Disposable antibacterial towelettes (Coleman Swash Cloths, baby wipes, etc.) are good alternatives to submersion in the river and are especially convenient for spring and fall trips.
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. We recommend you bring some sandwich-size Ziploc™ bags. These bags can be used to store products during the day while you are on the river. Used pads or tampons can be disposed of in the trash at lunch or in camp. We provide some menstrual products on most trips for emergencies.
We provide a small waterproof bag (17” tall x 9” diameter—approximate sealed size) to hold your camera and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection. We also strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. Make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries, and any other extras you will need.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip and leave your drone at home.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is no cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the river, consider investing in a small, waterproof case just for your phone.
We are not able to provide a power source for powering or recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS, a CPAP and other devices working you may need spare batteries or portable power. Options include compact portable solar panels that can recharge devices directly, portable power banks that store power, or a combo unit that can be charged before the trip and recharged with a built-in solar panel. Solar panels must be designed to withstand outdoor elements and fit in your dry bag (roll-up or no larger than 12” x 12”). Keep in mind direct sunlight in a river canyon may be limited and even non-existent at camp (mornings and evenings).
Once you are on the river, there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is not available. Our guides carry a satellite communication device for emergency use. They can call out, but we cannot call them. The trip leader will periodically check in with our office. If someone needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-346-6277). If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind it could be several days before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home, before you depart on your trip you should define what you consider to be an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
Wildfires & Smoke
Fire activity frequently impacts the air quality on our trips, and occasionally wildfires may be present in the immediate vicinity of where we’re traveling. Smoke impacts are more likely in the latter-half of the summer season, so those with asthma or other respiratory conditions may wish to steer clear of this time frame. In general, we will not cancel a trip on account of smoky conditions, except in cases of clear danger to life or property. Necessary changes to logistics and/or destination may occur with very short notice as fire conditions are constantly changing. We will do our best to keep you apprised of excessively smoky conditions that can be foreseen for your upcoming trip, but we also encourage you to stay informed about local fire activity: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
Our standard cancellation terms & conditions apply, should you choose to cancel due to environmental conditions resulting from a wildfire near to where our trip operates. Please review our Terms & Conditions section in this document, below. Furthermore, we recommend you consider investing in a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan that provides you the ability to “cancel for any reason”, should you feel conditions from a nearby wildfire may result in you canceling your reservation.
Our guides do not carry firearms on our trips, and in most cases are prohibited from doing so by the managing agency. As a matter of preference, we ask all our guests to kindly leave your own firearms at home or in your vehicle.
If you require the use of a CPAP machine and intend to bring one with you, be sure to alert your OARS Adventure Consultant prior to your trip to let us know the dimensions of the machine, description of battery(s), and any protective case(s). Travel-sized CPAPs are readily available and often come with a battery kit. You must assess the power needs of your CPAP and bring the battery(s) needed to operate it for each night of your travels. We’re able to accommodate the transportation of your machine and accessories on the trip in metal dry boxes or soft dry bags; however, please understand that despite efforts to protect your equipment we can’t guarantee your machine and accessories won’t suffer water or impact damage and therefore we recommend additional protective case(s) for your machine & accessories.
Weather & Water Conditions
The weather in Southern Oregon is quite favorable during the summer months. The days are long and typically dry, making for a pleasant journey. However, the weather in Southern Oregon is often unpredictable. Spring trips can bring a wider range of temperatures, and one should always be prepared for rain. Being properly prepared for weather variations is an important factor in fully enjoying your trip.
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend the following website for weather in Grants Pass, Oregon: www.wunderground.com.
Average Air and Water Temperatures
|Air (Day) °F||Air (Night) °F||Water °F|
River Runners Responsibility Code
1. Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.
2. Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.
3. Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
4. Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.
5. Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.
6. Abide by the managing agency’s rules.
7. No drugs or alcohol prior to, or during, your trip; alcohol is allowed in moderation in camp on overnight trips.
8. Minimize your impact on the environment.
9. Wear the OARS-issued and properly–fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when in the boats or swimming. Wear a helmet when required.
10. Your children are your responsibility!
Packing for Your Trip
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/pack-river-rafting-trip/
The information below is subject to when your trip takes place. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.
During the day— Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks and synthetic or merino wool shirt as a base layer. Depending on the weather, temperature and how wet you’re getting in the rapids, additional layers for sun protection or insulation can be added or subtracted.
In camp – When the weather is warm, a pair of lightweight cotton pants or shorts and a shirt make great camp wear. Anytime the forecast calls for cool evenings and cold nights, a dry set of long underwear is the perfect base layer under long pants and a fleece sweater.
During the day— The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes and won’t come off in swirling current. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heel strap are a good option. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
In camp— We recommend wearing shoes in camp due to the risk of kicking a rock buried in the sand, or stepping on a sharp stick. It’s also nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. The athletic shoes or light hikers you bring for hiking can double as your camp shoes. Flip flops or slip-on sandals are OK for wearing in camp only.
Please note: If you buy new shoes or sandals for the trip, make sure you break them in first!
During the day—Wide-brimmed hats are a good choice for sun protection. Ball camps are also useful since they fit under helmets, which are required attire when paddling our whitewater rivers.
In camp—When the weather is cool or cold, you’ll want a beanie-style hat to wear in camp. Warm hats are the perfect remedy for bed-head as you rise from your sleeping bag to secure your morning cup of coffee or tea, or for retaining warmth in the evening hours after the sun sets.
To Avoid Being Cold
Synthetic or merino wool long underwear is a must-have on river trips. It can be worn under shorts, rain gear, T-shirts, etc., then stripped off when the chill of the morning has worn off. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet (which can happen easily), dries quickly, and it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your small waterproof bag or daypack after you take it off. It can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. In cooler weather, a rain jacket and pants can work better than a wetsuit. This is because the jacket and pants can be put on when it’s cold or when you’re going through whitewater then easily taken off when the sun comes out and it’s hot. On early-season and high-water trips, wetsuits will be provided for paddlers. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.
Something warm for your top & bottom: You need to be prepared for inclement weather. Bring a good fleece or wool top and bottom, along with a warm hat and gloves. You’ll want to double up on your base layers so that you’ll have a set to wear in the boat and a set of warm, dry clothes for camp.
May on the Rogue
May is surely one of the most beautiful months to be on the Rogue River, but this area of Oregon can experience extreme changes in weather. Therefore, it is very important that you come prepared with extra layers and follow the advice in the “To Avoid Being Cold” and “Something warm for your top & bottom” sections above. Even though you may not use every item, it is better to be prepared!
Raingear protects you from rain, wind, and the splash of the rapids. It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have no matter what time of year you are traveling. Look for a jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended. Good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists and ankles. Do not bring a rain poncho, as it cannot be worn under your PFD.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously! In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs.
A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are also a must. Rheos, the official sunglasses sponsor of OARS guides, offers polarized floatable nautical eyewear with 100% UV protection. Use promo code OARS15 to save 15% on any purchase from The Nautical Eyewear Collection.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
You can either bring your own sleeping bag, pad and ground tarp, or you can rent our sleep kit. If you are purchasing your own bag for the trip, keep in mind that a synthetic-fill bag rated to 20°F (the normal range for an all-around, “three-season” bag) is recommended for early and late season trips.
Suggested Packing List
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ Sleeping bag, pad, sheet liner, small pillow, 5×7-foot tarp. Sleep kits including these items may be rented for $40. (For trips in April/May/early-June we suggest a synthetic-fill bag rated to 20°F.)
☐ Two 1-liter water bottles, insulated bottles recommended for trips in hot climates to prevent water from becoming too hot to drink
☐ Locking carabiner (for clipping a water bottle or personal dry bag into a raft or inflatable kayak)
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized such as Rheos floatable eyewear www.rheosgear.com) (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ Toiletries, including soap and shampoo (preferably biodegradable)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities
☐ River shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco®) “Aqua socks” strongly discouraged
☐ Athletic Shoes or light hikers: for hikes or in camp
☐ Socks: Wool or synthetic for the river and hiking; cotton is ok for camp
☐ Face covering(s) for use while riding in shuttle vehicles and entering enclosed spaces
☐ Long-sleeved shirts: lightweight and light color for sun protection (old dress shirts work well)
☐ Long pants: lightweight and light color for sun protection
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap – flexible enough to wear underneath your helmet
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant). A hooded jacket with secure closures is recommended.
☐ Swimwear; a two-piece is recommended for women for changing and using the restroom. Tankinis and board shorts are a great option.
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops: 1-2
☐ Synthetic or merino wool long underwear: 1 set top & bottom (light-, mid- or expedition-weight depending on the time of year, weather, location)
☐ Jacket: fleece or down/synthetic fill puffy (depending on the time of year, weather, location)
☐ Camp clothes: comfortable and appropriate for season. Cotton recommended for hot weather trips. Women may prefer an athletic skirt or dress.
☐ Wetsuit booties and/or neoprene, wool or synthetic socks (for wearing inside your river shoes)
☐ Fleece top & bottom
☐ Warm hat and gloves: synthetic or wool
☐ Extra set of synthetic or merino wool long underwear top and bottom
☐ Neoprene rowing gloves
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Sarong: useful for sun protection, evaporative cooling, changing clothes, etc.
☐ Small day pack, waist pack or hydration pack for side hikes
☐ Bathing wipes: pre-moistened disposable towels
☐ Small bags: stuff sacs, zip locks or similar for organizing items in your dry bag
☐ Large empty bag: laundry bag, pillow case or similar for putting clothes into after your trip
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Splash jacket and pants
☐ Lightweight cord and clothespins for drying clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Stand-up Urination Device
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore + 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Local Outdoor Equipment Stores
DICK’S Sporting Goods – 293 Rossanley Dr Ste A, Medford, Oregon (541) 930-3254
Sportsman’s Warehouse – 1710 Delta Waters Rd, Medford, Oregon (541) 732-3700
Big 5 Sporting Goods – 65 E Stewart Ave, Medford, Oregon (541) 858-1685
Packing Your Gear
Each person will be given two large waterproof bags (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall; 3318 cu in; 54.4 L). One bag will be for your clothing and personal items. The second bag will be for your sleeping gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet and pillow). These two bags will essentially be your “checked luggage” and will only be accessible in camp. Tents are stowed separately. Please note: if you rent our sleep kit, it will come already packed in one of the two waterproof bags issued to each passenger. We also provide a small waterproof bag per person for day use, where you can keep items such as raingear, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter; 1081 cu in; 17.7 L). The bags are cylindrical and pack from the top. Please pack light; river attire is very casual―comfort, convenience and boat space takes precedence over style. At the end of the trip you will return to Whitewater Cowboys with your packed waterproof bags where you will be able to unpack your gear for your return trip home.
If you have extra luggage, it should be locked in your car or stored at your hotel.
We recommend you leave your valuables at home. For personal items like wallets, purses and cell phones, we recommend leaving them in your car.
Tipping is optional, but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 10 – 15% of the trip cost. It is customary on OARS trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader in the form of cash, a personal check, or by mobile app (a “peer to peer” payment method such as Venmo, PayPal or similar) who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll note a $1/person/day donation to American Rivers, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to Wild and Scenic Rivers. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to American Rivers, and your contribution is tax-deductible. This donation is voluntary and may be removed from your invoice if you choose not to participate. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.
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Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $400/person deposit is required at the time of booking. Deposits may be made by check, money order or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.
Canceling your trip after your deposit has processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 50 days prior to the departure date will be canceled without exception.
Cancellations and Refunds
Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.
If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection below).
Date of Cancellation Cancellation Fee
180 or more days prior to your trip $50/person
179 – 90 days prior to your trip $100/person
89 – 60 days prior to your trip $200/person
59 days or less prior to your trip Full Fare
Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation e-mail for details.
OARS reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 45 days prior to departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip. If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd -party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers; however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.
If you need to move your reservation to a different trip during the same season, or to a credit account for the following year, there is a $25/person fee up until 90 days prior to departure for a one-time transfer of your payment. Transfer requests made 89 days or less prior to departure will be treated like a cancellation according to the schedule above.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.
Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0 when getting a quote here: www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you
may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.
Liability Release / Assumption of Risk
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release / assumption of risk form before the trip, confirming awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. West, Inc. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, pandemics, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and wellbeing of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 4 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, all travelers must obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. Prices subject to change without notice. Upon advancement of deposit, the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. OARS is an equal opportunity provider.