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Old 05-11-2011   #1
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 85
Swiftwater class gear necessities

Hello All,

I'm taking a swiftwater course within the next couple of weeks and I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything for the class.

What gear do I need?

Since we'll be in the water a lot, what should I wear under my drysuit? How many layers?

Thanks and SYOTR!

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Old 05-11-2011   #2
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
You'll need your rescue PFD. If you don't have one, you might want to call the teacher and see what they recommend. Some of them have run into problems trying to teach people with certain rescue PFDs.

Other than that, just all your gear that you would have with you, on the river. If you wouldn't normally wear fleece under your suit, then don't. If you normally have a pet monkey on your back, when you go out to paddle, bring it. When you go out to paddle, you should gear up as if you're going to swim, anyway.

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Old 05-11-2011   #3
They call me Jon
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 65
HELMET is standard issue and solid footware. Not the lighter weight booties that we all wear when playing at the local hole. I personally enjoy having gloves for the rope work and I find that gloves keep my hands warmer > keep me warmer overall.
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Old 05-11-2011   #4
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
Go with what you wear on the river. This class should be treated as a test of your gear as well as a learning experience. Like Kendrick said, bring your pet monkey if he usually rides your shoulder down the river. It would have to be one of those Japanese snow monkeys, I think.

I wouldn't change a thing for a class. After the class you'll probably have a list of a few items you need to add and a few that you need to change.
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Old 05-11-2011   #5
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 185
I’m going to downvote the idea of wearing what you always wear.

You’re going to be swimming laps thru rapids, fording across the river, flipping rafts on purpose, and standing in waist deep water setting up ropes. It will be cold! Bring your warmest gear that still allows movement and plenty of backup.

Be a badass and volunteer for everything.

Get a head start by knowing your knots – especially the Figure Eight family.
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Old 05-11-2011   #6
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Swiftwater classes usually will give you a list of needed / recommended gear. Most require a helmet, and recommend either a wetsuit or drysuit. In a couple weeks the water will be high & cold. As Teletoes said, you'll be spending a lot of time in the water, so warm gear, warm gloves & sturdy footwear are a must.
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Old 05-11-2011   #7
Ashlandistan, Oregon
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 64
Check in with the folks running the course as they will know what you will be getting into better than anyone. I teach Rescue 3's curriculum and for a SRT 1 class the requirements of students are a full wetsuit or drysuit, whitewater helmet, Type III or V PFD (the more Type Vs worn by students the better for logistical reasons and familiarity), thick soled water shoes or tennies, and gloves. This time of year I would be pumping my students to have plenty of insulation under the drysuit and perhaps a skullcap, snacks to stoke the engine, and drinking water is always a must. I like to have all my students with whistles for easier communication and training. I personally am a lot more comfortable around all the rope, webbing, and cord with my river knife accessable. I will second the volunteer, or at least get all you can from this course as it is a rare opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge and skill in a healthy environment.
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Old 05-11-2011   #8
salida, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 283
River Rescue Book (book of your choice)
Kayak, Canoe, Raft or any other type of river water craft
Knife (one hand accessible)
Carabineers (4 or more)
Prussic Loop (3 or more)
Webbing (about 8')
Drybag to put rescue items in
Lifejacket with rescue belt
Tow Tether for Lifejackets with rescue belts
Throw Bag
Pulley (at least 2)
Warm clothing
Energy Food
First Aid Kit (contents based on paddlers training and remoteness of trip)
Duct Tape
Waterproof light

Optional Items
Saw or wood cutting device
Z-Drag Crib card
Cell Phone
Signal mirror
Pocket Knife
Multi-plyer tool
Bee Kit
Static Rope
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Old 05-11-2011   #9
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 451
Life insureance, because if you can't afford it, you can't afford to boat.
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Old 05-13-2011   #10
SYOTR, Tennessee
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 79
River Rescue 4th edition by Les Bechdel and Slim Ray will cover everything you will go over and then some. You will need it for reference as you won't retain everything.

As others have said, the sturdiest shoes you can wear. These classes are punishing on your feet.

If you don't already have one, DON'T buy a throwrope till after the class. There should be several there to try and see which one will suit your needs best.

Make sure any carabiners are locking.

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