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Rafting Equipment 

Rafting on the Nymboida River (or Nymbo as it’s known to river guides) is certain to entertain the complete novice as well as experienced white water warriors.


A lifevest, or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is essential for anyone planning to pursue white water rafting (or any other water sport) regularly. Given the strenuous nature of rafting, you should have a heavy-duty lifejacket that can withstand the bumps and knocks that you could well experience, as well as keeping you afloat, should you fall out of your raft. Most white water operators put their clients in Type 5 lifevests (though some Type 3 vests are also used) and the same should go for your own personal PFD. Features to look for include a high level of buoyancy (151/2 lbs +), a head pillow and zipper closures. Always get your PFD professionally fitted before you buy.


A strong, durable helmet that fits well and comfortably is another must if you want to go rafting. The best helmets give good, all-over head protection, are lined with a decent layer of shock-absorbing foam and have a fully adjustable chin strap.

Raft Package

There are a number of whitewater outfitters, particularly in the US, who can put together a raft package for you that includes all the basic equipment that a keen rafter should have. If something like this appeals to you, the first thing that you need to do is to decide what kind of rafting you are planning to do, as an 'expedition' raft package requires more specialized items than a 'weekender' raft package. Whichever raft package you choose, here are some of the items that may well be included:

* A Raft
* A Frame
* Oars
* Oar Blades
* Oarlocks
* Oar Sleeves
* A Dry Box
* A Cooler
* Cam Straps

From these basics, you are should be free to add more and customize your order.


This is where the fun really starts. As you would expect, there are many different kinds of raft and inflatable boat on the market and a number of quality brands vying for your business. These days, most boats are self-bailing inflatable rafts, specifically designed to lose water as fast as you can put it in, so at least that's one thing you don't have to worry about. However, when making your choice, here are a couple of things to consider:


What kind of rafting will you be doing? The specs on a basic inflatable raft used on Grade 1 & 2 rivers a couple of weekends each summer are very different to those for a expedition raft which ploughs through Grade 5 water every other week. Think seriously about how and when you will be using your inflatable.

Solo, or in a group? The size of inflatable raft that you buy will depend on whether you go rafting alone, or with others. Will there be just a couple of you, or do you plan to take your whole family on a rafting holiday?

Your raft will be your biggest rafting expense, to make sure you o your research thoroughly before you buy.

Rowing Frames

A whitewater rowing frame is designed to give you as much rowing power as possible against the awesome power of the river that you are riding and so is made from the toughest, but lightest, metal possible – usually anodized aluminium. A rowing frame also gives structure within the inflatable raft, providing all the rafters in the vessel with a stable position from which to row. Once you have a rowing frame it is possible to customize your raft with items like rowers seats, should you wish.


There are a lot of oars and oar accessories being produced and again, you really need to think carefully about your own personal preferences before you make a purchase. Oars made from aluminium, wood and composites all have different plus and minus points and you need to go with what works for you. How does the oar feel and is the weight OK? What length of oar do you need and do you prefer to attach it with oarlock or clips/pins? The best way to decide is to test out a number of different types of oar until you find one that you feel comfortable with.