5 Tricks to Help You Survive the Heat on a Rafting Trip
We’re going to start off our “how to beat the heat” advice by stating the obvious…
If you’re on a boat, and you’re hot, you’re stupid. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that’s the truth.
Now, with that little tip out of the way, we can move on to the real advice. Here are a few of our favorite tricks for staying cool when you’re out in the elements all day long. In other words, this is what you need to know to avoid getting fried on a rafting trip.
How to Beat the Heat When You’re Rafting
1) Clean out the store’s sunscreen aisle before you go, because you’re going to need it.
Wearing sunscreen goes without saying, but it’s the frequency that you put it on that’s key. You want to avoid the burn at all costs, otherwise, you’ll really find out what hot feels like. So, when you wake up, put on your sunscreen. Before you get on the boat for the day, put sunscreen on. When the boat pulls over to a beach for a quick leg stretcher, you guessed it, more sunscreen. After you swim or hit a crazy section of rapids, sunscreen. Apply it all day long, whenever you have the chance, and trust us, you’ll be a much happier (albeit greasier) camper. Worried about slathering on all that sunscreen? Here are some of our favorite eco-friendly brands.
2) Keep ‘em on (your clothes, that is).
This one kind of goes against basic logic, because when you’re super hot you want to be in the least amount of clothes possible. But honestly, regardless of which river trip you’re on, when the temperature gauge is soaring and the sun is beating down on you all day long, sometimes the best thing you can do is stay covered. Invest in some lightweight UPF clothing that will provide extra help in blocking those UV rays even if you forget to dab the sunscreen underneath your armpit. And if you can only splurge on one piece of gear, choose a long-sleeve shirt with a UPF rating. And that brings us to our next tip…
3) Take your shirt for a dip.
Sometimes you’re on a boat heating up and there’s not enough time to take a swim before the next set of rapids. Or, let’s be honest, you don’t want to jump out of the boat because you’re afraid of what you’ll look like trying to get back in (nobody is staring at your butt as you’re hoisted back into the raft, promise). But whatever the situation, this is a prime opportunity to take your shirt (or hat, bandana, etc.) for a swim instead. Just dunk it in and throw it on. Voila! Instant heat relief.
Pro tip: In extreme heat, a cotton shirt or sarong can be an ideal pick over a synthetic layer since it provides evaporative cooling. If you’re headed out on a desert river trip like Grand Canyon or Cataract Canyon, or know you’re in for a heat wave when you’ll be rafting, cotton is actually your friend despite the oft-shared “cotton kills” advice you typically need to keep in mind in outdoor environments.
4) Bring a locking carabiner for your water bottle so it’s always at the ready.
Staying hydrated is not really an option, it’s a must (you know, if you want to stay alive). But it’s a pain to have to go into your dry bag every time you need a drink of water. Instead, invest in a locking carabiner. Clip it on your water bottle before you go and you’ll be able to hook it anywhere on the raft (there are typically boat straps all over the place). This way, every time you look at your water bottle, you’ll remember to take a sip. And please do, because one of the first signs of dehydration is moodiness and nobody wants to be stuck on a raft with a crab.
5) Be a shade hunter.
Do you ever notice how it feels almost 10-degrees cooler in the shade? That’s because your body can stay cooler when the sun isn’t directly hitting your skin. So take advantage of the ample times during the day when you can hole up next to a tree or underneath an umbrella for some added relief. Some guides will even rig up umbrellas on their boats for sun protection in calm, sunny stretches, or will erect them riverside so you can be shaded from the sun while dipping your feet in the river. Grab a cold beer while you’re at it. Now, that’s the ultimate way to stay cool.