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Old 03-24-2014   #11
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
"Running the big rapids is like sex: half the fun lies in the anticipation. Two thirds of the thrill with the approach. The remainder is only ecstasy-or darkness."

Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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Old 03-25-2014   #12
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
Originally Posted by swell6 View Post
So I'm curious if I should invest in some clothing.

An acquaintance who worked for this company last year has told me not to purchase anything, but I'm kind of worried that everyone will be more prepared than me in the clothing department and therefore be warm when I'm cold.

The training lasts about 6 weekends, and is kind of an interview. If you survive training, supposedly you basically have a job.

Thanks for all the good advice people.
You could consider renting a drysuit, but I wouldn't buy one. They're some serious coin, and you won't get as much use (your cold season is shorter) out there as I do up here.
Rental Dry Suits by Kokatat Shipped Nationwide | Kayak Academy
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You are going to be cold. Like FlyingDutchman said, it shows you what the customers will be feeling. Yeah, it's part of the binding experience, too.

You will be cold because you will be losing heat. The only way to regain heat is to replenish calories. Food!!! Keep moving, keep nourished, keep hydrated, and get rest.

Read up on what Navy SEAL candidates go through in BUD/s. What you will be doing is easy.

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Old 03-25-2014   #13
McHenry, Maryland
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by MT4Runner View Post

Read up on what Navy SEAL candidates go through in BUD/s. What you will be doing is easy.
Ha. I've read about 10-15 (overkill much?) books about the seals, and a couple books about their special forces brothers, because I admire the mental toughness aspect of their training.

I'm looking forward to the training, and I'm not too concerned with being "miserable" (mainly cold), but the thought that I'm the only one that will be "miserable" (mainly cold ) because of my lack of planning in the clothing department initially concerned me.

I think the general consensus is that most people will be adequately cold and tired though, so that cheers me up considerable.

Thanks guys.
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Old 03-26-2014   #14
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I would also throw in a couple of hand warmers in your pack. During the lecture/down time you can warm up quick by putting the hand warmers in your arm pits, socks and hands.

Not sure how much gear you can bring with you on the river, but I don't leave the shore without this on my waist:

Salamander Retriever Kayak Throw Bag/Tow Tether

Especially during the training and flipping boats back and forth it will come in handy.

Throw in a couple of gel packs in your life jacket pocket for quick energy boost: Results for "energy gels" at REI
-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 03-26-2014   #15
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
I wore wool socks during my training. Even when wet, they helped keep my feet warmer than they were without. other than that, like others have said, I'd hold off on buying anything until you know you have a job. And even then, start with the basic safety gear, which they will no doubt require you to have anyway. Save the expensive stuff like splash gear and dry suits for future rafting seasons.

I would be shocked if you are the only one that shows up with nothing but the clothes on your back. You certainly will not be the only one "not prepared". If you are mentally prepared, eat right, stay hydrated and stay away from the booze, you may even be more prepared than most! LOL
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Old 03-26-2014   #16
Putney, Vermont
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 9
I'm with everyone else. Training started two weekends ago for our guides in Western Mass, and generally no one owns anything fancier than Under Armor their first year guiding. Layer up with that and maybe your snowboarding stuff (assuming it's fleece) and you'll be fine. I vote base layers -> wetsuit -> fleece -> splash top, but whatever works for you. I know PFD purchasing sounds like it's a ways off for you, but consider that you'll be guiding in whatever you buy; you'll want a vest with some pocket space for safety gear (biners and prusiks usually required) plus snacks, sunscreen, and whatever else you need all day. Also pay attention to where the knife tab on the PFD is; depending on placement it can really up your chances of loosing your knife when getting back in your boat, or potentially even be in the way of your paddle strokes (depending if you guide left or right handed). As far as the cold-weather paddling gear, you might figure out that 99.9% of the trips you work are when it's warm enough to not need all of it, so don't buy anything yet.
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Old 03-27-2014   #17
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
Mental preparation? Navy Seal Training? This is raft guiding we are talking about.

The drunkest, least employable people I know are raft guides.

Show up, don't be a dick, know your right from your left and you'll be fine.

Also cheap fleece and any synthetic base layer will get you through. If you've got money for more stuff get it. Dry gear lives up to the hype.
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Old 03-27-2014   #18
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
So your worried about being cold? Other than for light rain as a shell I have no snowboard clothing that should be worn on the river. Too loose, too billowy, fills with water. Not sure the class or how tough your river is maybe you won't be swimming. I trained in the mountains of Idaho at 6,000 feet in early May and froze my ass off. 25 years ago but some of the coldest I have ever been.
Didn't do a lot of swimming but the loose spray jacket that was provided with thick fleece I brought under is not your friend when you are in the river. We did have to use spray pants instead of wetsuits at first too. Swimming was a challenge.

Get the best fitting wetsuit you can that you can still paddle. You don't want a ton of extra room in there. Several thinner tighter layers will keep you warmer than one thick layer. I have been know to put on three synthetic underwear layers.

Get some good booties. Wool or synthetic socks for sure and lastly …..bread sacks. I have used dry socks for first layer, bread sack, then yesterday's wet wool socks on top and then the bootie. That will help.

So will a beanie cap fleece and then a regular winter hat if it will fit under the helmet if you are (likely) wearing helmets.

And good neoprene gloves. Fleece will be useless in very short order when paddling. Gore tex lined winter gloves will only last a bit longer before soaked. If you can't afford neoprene gloves get thick dishwashing gloves and use some fleece liners. It looks funny but it works. And will help you to stand out amongst the crowd of newbies.
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Old 03-27-2014   #19
BV, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 56
if the rivers you'll be training/working are cold, and you're on a budget that prevents you from purchasing a drysuit. I would go for a wetsuit, i.e. a full (arms & legs) 100% stretch 5/4mm. Many surf oriented sites have "winter suits" on sale now for less than $200.00.

I have a nice drysuit and a nice wetsuit - and I often prefer my nice wetsuit.
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Old 03-27-2014   #20
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Originally Posted by BrianK View Post
Mental preparation? Navy Seal Training? This is raft guiding we are talking about.

The drunkest, least employable people I know are raft guides.

Show up, don't be a dick, know your right from your left and you'll be fine.

Also cheap fleece and any synthetic base layer will get you through. If you've got money for more stuff get it. Dry gear lives up to the hype.
By George, someone finally got it right! The best guides I worked with were all pretty much not the kind you'd take home to momma.

The ones you'd take home to momma were generally passengers or summer wonders (tolerable until it snowed or rained or the truck broke down)

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