Tag Archives: whitewater rafting

Pins and Clips vs. Standard Oarlocks

I’m going to start off  by telling you I am extremely biased in my opinion regarding pins and clips and standard oarlocks.

I’ve been rowing drift boats and rafts since I was 12 years old and I’ve always used standard oarlocks. However, since I’m reviewing each method, I’ll be as balanced as possible (pins and clips are for wussies).

Advantages of Standard Oarlocks

1. The oar isn’t locked into one position. Some people  would deem this a disadvantage, but it’s better to have your oar free. You need to be able to move your oar around in the oarlock.

There are countless times rowing that you need to pull your oar in to avoid hitting the bank or some other obstacle. The standard oarlock allows the free movement of the oar, it’s easy to pull them out of harms way. 

It’s also a lot easier to tuck your oars forward or back when you need to, like when you’re slipping through a tight slot. Hell, I’ve even had instances where I’ve had to pull the oar free of the oarlock altogether to keep it from snapping. This is impossible to do quickly with pins and clips.

2. Feathering the Oar. Some oars-people consider this showing off, but whenever I’m pushing a raft down river with standard oarlocks I always feather the oar so the blade is horizontal to the water as soon as I’ve pulled it from the water and am pulling it back to the top of the forward push.

I do this to help the blade cut through any wind resistance. It’s become a habit for me and I do it even when there isn’t any wind.

With pins and clips the oar is locked in place and can’t be feathered. It’s quite noticeable when a brisk wind comes up. Continue reading Pins and Clips vs. Standard Oarlocks

Apply for Idaho River Permits

It’s time to look to the upcoming summer and put in your dates for securing a river permit for Idaho’s wild and scenic rivers.

It’s always tough to look so far ahead, I mean ski season just started, but you need to get on it and plan for your summer river trip.

You can apply online via the previous link until January 31st. Applying doesn’t guarantee a start, it’s a lottery(odds are 1 of 30 last I checked), but at least you’ll have a chance.

Better the Odds

To increase your chances remind your river running buddies to apply as well. Make a pact with them; if you get a permit you’ll invite them along, and they will reciprocate.

Pick a date you think will probably work then have your buddies pick the same day, this’ll increase your odds of one of you getting that start date. Don’t forget, anyone 18 years or older can apply, so if you buddy has kids…

The nice thing about figuring all this stuff out so early is that you’ll know whether or not you got a permit in March. If you or your friends got a permit you’ll have a couple of months to get the time off and plan for the trip.

Planning for these big river trips isn’t easy and will be a topic for an upcoming post on outdooringdad.com. Continue reading Apply for Idaho River Permits

Best Gifts for Whitewater Rafting

It’s definitely the off-season in my neck of the woods for rafting, but that only means it’s time to gear up for the upcoming whitewater season.

Christmas is the perfect time to pad out your rafting gear. So what should Santa bring his whitewater rafting good girls and boys? Here are 5 essentials:

  • Dry Bags- is your dry bag on its last leg? Is the bottom covered with more duct tape than rubber? Dry bags these days are very well made, but they still wear out. I’ve owned many dry bags, in fact my first was a Navy surplus black bag that worked beautifully for over ten years. Dry bags come in all sorts of sizes these days, so even if you don’t need a full size personal bag how about a small or medium-sized one for a quick access day bag? My most recent dry bag is made by SOTAR. It is well made and is relatively inexpensive. NRS also has good dry bags.
  • Sleeping Pad- How long has it been since you upgraded your sleeping pad? For years I used a tiny Therm-a-rest pad, I had the smallest version possible to accommodate my self-support kayaking trips. I could only afford one pad back then, but now I can actually afford 2. There are some awesome therm-a-rest pads out there and the company is second to none in customer service. In fact when I was a poor starving river guide I bought the pad, and whenever it needed repairs I’d send it back to them and they’d replace the pad free of charge. I don’t know how they ever made any money, I never bought more than one therm-a-rest in over 10 years of guiding!
  • River Knife- If you’re like me you can never have too many river knives. I’ve never had to use one to save my own or anyone elses life, (I usually use them for spreading peanut butter) but when you need a knife you better hope you have one handy. My favorite river knife is the simple yet reliable spyderco knives. I have the serrated knife-edge for sawing through thick rope or even tenacious kayak plastic. I’ve had my knife attached to my life jacket for over 15 years now, and only the color has faded. It’s performance is still awesome, it cuts effortlessly and stays attached to my jacket through thick and thin.
  • Life Jacket- It may be time to update your life jacket. There are a lot of choices out there, but I choose the PFD that works for both rafting and kayaking. I’ve had my Kokotat life jacket for many years and it never seems to lose any of its functionality. It’s by far the best, most comfortable life jacket I’ve ever owned. I love the pockets, the ease of fitting and the safety features…don’t do class V without it.
  • Raft Pump- Finally a raft pump that is small enough and sturdy enough to stuff into the load but will pump up a raft in no time. Oh yeah and it’s super easy to operate. Even if you have a pump you’re happy with, I bet you’ll switch to this one after you try it.

So if you’re stumped on what to get your river person this year, these 5 ideas are a great start. Already got it? well a rafter can never have too many beer huggies!

Autumn Rogue River Trip

Summer’s winding down, but don’t think the rafting season is over, because September and October are great times to raft the wild and scenic stretch of the Rogue river.

A permit is still required to run this section of river, (the permit season is from May 15 through October 15th), but you won’t have any trouble getting a permit. Every remaining day of September and October are loaded with unclaimed river permits.

All you have to do is figure out which days work for you, call the BLM office on the link above and grab a permit.

This is one of the greatest times to float the Rogue River because not only are you getting a great whitewater rafting trip in, but you’ll also probably hit some great Steelhead fishing too. Lots of folks choose to bring their Drift Boats instead of their rafts just so they can fish more efficiently.

Summer’s Last Gasp

This time of year in Southern Oregon is what they call Indian summer, in short, there’s not much precipitation and the days are warm. You’ll need a coat and long pants at night, a cozy sleeping bag and probably a tent, but the days can be wondrously warm.

Of course the days are shorter and the nights longer, but you’ll still have plenty of time to get to your next camp without having to work too hard.

If you want to maximize your time on the water and don’t want to camp at all, you can look into booking a couple of nights at one of the lodges in the river corridor. They provide a huge family style dinner, clean sleeping areas and a send you off with a hearty breakfast. Continue reading Autumn Rogue River Trip

Oregon Whitewater River: Best for Kids

I live in Southern Oregon very near the famous Rogue River; it flows no more than ten minutes from my front doorstep. This may make me biased but The Rogue River is the best whitewater river in Oregon for a family river trip. 

raft on the rogue
Our 15 foot SOTAR

 The Rogue winds more than 130 miles before entering the Pacific Ocean in Gold Beach Oregon. The best section for a family whitewater river trip is the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River. In order to float this federally protected stretch you need to have a highly sought after river permit.  Continue reading Oregon Whitewater River: Best for Kids