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Answers to top 3 questions about rafting in Alaska

Rafting in Alaska is an exhilarating and breathtaking experience. The rivers are often fast, deep and cold, but they give you a unique way to take in the gorgeous views. However, if you do not prepare, you could end up in a dangerous situation and suffer a serious injury

According to, it is crucial to thoroughly plan out your rafting trip. You should not venture into old-moving rivers in the heart of the Alaska wilderness without proper instruction and equipment. If this is your first time, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are answers to some of the most pertinent questions about rafting in Alaska.

1. Why are there different classes of rivers?

Just like ski mountains have different levels of difficulty, so do rivers. Here are the classifications of Alaska rivers:

  • Class I: Fast-moving water and small waves
  • Class II: Rapids that require some maneuvering around rocks and waves
  • Class III: Rapids with irregular and moderate waves; requires knowledge of channel systems and complex maneuvers
  • Class IV: Powerful rapids and turbulent water; tight passages and large waves with a higher chance of injury
  • Class V: Violent, obstructed and long rapids with large drops and a higher risk of endangerment
  • Class VI: For experts only

Make sure you choose the right class river for your level of experience.

2. Do I need to know how to swim?

It is always good to know how to swim, but it is not necessarily required in every case. Make sure you choose a good travel guide who gives you enough training. The company that provides your equipment should ensure that you have the proper flotation devices and rafting gear. 

3. What should I wear?

You should always wear outer layers that are waterproof. You should also wear rubber boots. Avoid cotton for your layers underneath. Wear clothes made from breathable athletic fabric, synthetic fabric or wool. 

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