raft on a river

5 Tips To Beat The Heat On A Rafting Trip In Tahlequah

Embarking on an adventurous rafting trip on the Illinois River in Oklahoma is a great way to explore the outdoors. Whether a beginner or an experienced rafter, you can find a trip that suits you, from short float trips to longer overnight camping trips. But when you’re out in the hot sun, planning and preparing for the heat while on the river is important.

preparing for a rafting trip

How Do You Prepare For A Rafting Trip?

Heading out on a rafting trip can be the perfect way to beat the summer heat. With the right preparation and tips, you can ensure to stay cool and comfortable while riding the current downstream.

Know What To Pack

The heat can be exhausting, and preparing before you undertake your adventure on your raft is essential. Here are some basic items to bring for a hot-weather river trip:

1. Hats

Pick a hat that is lightweight and breathable. A wide brim to provide the most protection from the sun’s rays is also applicable. Fisherman hats are nice because they shade you from all angles and help prevent sunburn.

2. Sunscreen

The sun can be relentless. Better apply your sunscreen evenly and liberally to cover all exposed skin areas. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply as needed throughout the day.

3. Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays is also important. Wearing sunglasses not only protects your eyes but also helps you see better in bright light. We recommend you NOT wear your best, most expensive pair of shades, as many people drop their glasses in the water and never see them again.

4. Small First Aid Kit

First aid is essential for any outdoor adventure. It’s important to be prepared and ensure you have one on hand. A small kit containing the basics for minor cuts, scrapes, bug bites and sunburn is sufficient.


Family preparing first aid kit for outdoor adventure


5. Waterproof Bag

Always bring a waterproof bag, no matter how prepared you are. Choose a floatable bag with a roll-top closure, as this provides extra protection for your things.

6. Snacks

Packing items like trail mix, granola bars, and high-water-content frozen fruits is also essential. As the heat affects your body, eating these snacks will give you the energy to enjoy the day. Float trips can be ruined by those “hangry” bears!

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for a successful trip in hot weather. Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue or heat stroke, so pack plenty of water for the duration of your trip. You better bring a small ice chest or styrofoam containers to keep your water bottle cold.

Wear Appropriate Clothes

Quick-drying and breathable clothes can make a big difference. Avoid wearing cotton, as it absorbs sweat and can make you feel sticky and uncomfortable. Always wear comfortable water shoes that provide good protection from rocks should you exit your raft.

Protect Yourself From The Sun

Protecting yourself from the sun is also important for a safe trip. No one likes sunburn – it’s hot and can expose you to dehydration and heat exhaustion. If you feel too hot, take a break in the shade. Look for some spot where you can tie rafts to a tree and stay covered in the shade for a few minutes.


Boy Resting On Bench under the tree Drinking Water From Bottle


Staying Cool On The River

Swimming is one of the best ways to stay cool while on a rafting trip. When swimming, ensure life jackets are properly adjusted and fit snugly. River conditions or the river bed with sharp rocks can be unpredictable. Wearing a life jacket will always be a common practice.

Tying rafts together and securing them to something on shore is common among floaters on float trips. We recommend you don’t tie a kayak though, as they are heavy and awkward and can cause damage.

Beat the Heat. Plan Ahead!

The best way to beat the heat on a rafting trip is to have a float plan in mind when using rafts and kayaks. Truly, a short float trip on the Illinois River can help you take in all the fun being outdoors offers.

With the right preparation and precautions, you can enjoy your time on the river while staying safe in the hot weather. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing float trip or a more challenging whitewater experience, like kayaking, Oklahoma has something for everyone.

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