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Hey there. My husband and I have been commercial guides for quite some time, but we are buying our own rig this month and hoping for some family floats. We've done multi-day trips before, and we've camped with the kids many times (now 13 mts and 4.5 yrs), but we haven't had them on the river. Any general recommendations? gear, toys, "can't live withouts", or other? We are planning on some day trips and maybe a multi-day on Ruby. And...if anyone would be interested in boating with us, that would be cool, too.
 

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Keep it short and keep it fun. You'll stop alot more often just to play on the river banks. Lot's of snacks. Children's Blood sugar levels drop quicker than adults. These are my lessons learned.
 

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Get a bimini off ebay for $100 and make sure you have a flat spot where you can lay out a pad under it. Keeping the 13 mo old hydrated may be a challenge. Glow stick bracelets are good if your kids are up past dark and also good as a tent night lite.

Above all else, go with other families. Take turns wrangling the kids so folks can have some relax time.
 

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keep them comfortable (warm if cold or cooler if hot). plenty of snacks and drinks. being around/with other kids helps but not possible if it's just you and yours. maybe plan on shorter days. my kids like to eat earlier than normal (~5:30ish), so being in camp early enough to get setup and dinner prepared is good to keep them from getting too cranky from being hungry. learned that one the hard way once. also i always underestimate how quickly kiddos tire out from this kind of stuff, so keep that in mind.
 

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I might think of something else later but the one that was new to me was my kids getting the side of chin chafing from the life jacket. It's one thing when it is commercial clients and they get out of their boat and go home after two hours. It's another when it's yours and they have to keep going.

For my one daughter the only that helped was vaseline to soothe the chin burn. Her legs get really dry too and she won't do lotion as it 'burns' her legs. Some with aloe. We did find one very clean lotion that she will tolerate. But especially all the rubbing on the inside of the boat and in an out of the water seemed to affect her. The other one some but not as bad.
 

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My daughter would get that chin chafe something horrible, we ended up putting the car seat shoulder pad things on her vest. I think we used Aquaphor and that was good.

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Lots of beer to quiet the screaming in the night. Our lil one hated the tent. Pack n play is good to keep them off the sand and rocks plus is familiar for them to hang out in. Keeping it roadside is nice too just incase you want to call it quits. The 4.5 yo should be fine but the lil one can be difficult.
 

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multi-day with little ones

I can't agree enough with the suggestions others have made, particularly the comments about kids' blood sugar dropping more quickly. A good variety of snack options, offered more frequently than at home, and a couple of hydration options that are 'fun' to drink (juice boxes, camelpaks, etc) really makes a difference.

We took a cheap paintbrush and trowel and 'hunted for fossils' in the river banks -- great entertainment when our son needed a break from the boat.

Also - crocs worked great for boat shoes. When they get chucked out of the boat, they float. And in camp, they weren't wet and chaffing his feet.

We used lightweight rainpants over the top of a wetsuit as splash gear -- they kept the wetsuit dry so he was less likely to get cold. And (probably not officially approved but...) we always have him in a helmet, but couldn't find a river helmet small enough, so use a bike helmet. It has a little brim to shade the eyes, and then too it protects not only from river rocks but also from whacking his noggin on the drybox or pelican cases if he's hopping around in the boat and slips.

We also take a giant golf umbrella or small patio umbrella. Not sure where you are, but we get occasional downpours even in the middle of summer. Several times it has saved the day. And it's endless fun for him to hide under the umbrella with one parent and giggle like mad while the other parent rows in the rain :)

Other basics: sun hat, long sleeve rash guard/swim top to prevent sunburn, lots of headlamp batteries, and brush up on your camp songs.

Sounds like great times in store for your family!
 

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The dollar store glow sticks have saved allot of trips for us. They sell them for a buck a pack at most dollar stores, don't be cheap spend $20.

All the kids get bracelets each night so you can always see them. They also play bocce ball with them and a bunch of other games on the beach. We have even started using a bunch of them stuck in the sand in lieu of a fire so there is no possibility of one of them getting burned and mom can relax a little. This works really good for drinking around inno fire season too.

Our kids are a little older, but a large beach towel that will cover the front of the boat also makes a great fort that is also out of the sun. Just remember to take it down in the rapids,it could get interesting in a flip.
 

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Hi

Swim lessons are a must !

Water guns are always fun.

Sunshade for little ones sensitive skin is important. Both on shore and on boat.

Chin rash, use some fleece and 3m adhesive spray. Glue the fleece onto pfd, problem solved.

Invest in kids gear pfds, helments, ect...that fits now.....do not buy for them to "grow into "

Set a good example...kids playing in or next to river ...pfd on.....mom or dad playing at rivers edge...pfd on to :)

Have fun with the little ones !


Paddle on

scott
 

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For those times when nothing seems to work .
 

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Great ideas above somethings I did not see.

Put snacks where you can get to them with out having to ask someone to get up.

One of the best saves ever - Sand in an upside down ammo can lid on the raft made it through rainbow park in record time.

Poco Pad water Slides off the raft, off of rocks, down the beach. Paco pads for floating on the river.

Good life vests. The extrasport volksvest toddler has a wide neck so they do not get chin rash. The Astral Otter lasts for ever once they reach 50 lbs.

Rig the groover so that you can use it while you float.
 

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Bring an extra sleeping bag for the kids just in case... They may be potty trained at home but drinking all of the extra fluids at the end of the day makes it hard for the bladder to make it through the night.
 

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Bring an extra sleeping bag for the kids just in case... They may be potty trained at home but drinking all of the extra fluids at the end of the day makes it hard for the bladder to make it through the night.
Yes - I second that. Our boy had not had an accident for years, and then it happened on the river, probably for exactly the reason mentioned. We were surprised (and unprepared)! Great suggestion Doubledown.
 

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Take extra adults to give you a break... Really helps to have an aunt or uncle around, maybe someone already said this...And the extra age matched kids work well too. Take time to stop and play in mud and smell stuff, and watch ants. Etc. good luck!!!


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Aquaphore ought to be in the first aid kit anyway, but it is excellent for tender skin burned to a crisp by the sun and chaffed by the wind.
 

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You don't need to really bring an extra sleeping bag just get a pad that they can sleep on in the sleeping bag so if they have an accident it doesn't mess the sleeping bag an the pad can be washed out in the morning an hung to dry for the next night.

My kids love to have Pringles on the river an they don't get smashed an when they are done they like to use them in the sand.

We have done a lot of camping an a lot of rafting but never together, this summer will be our first for both together. We are starting with short over nights then in August we are finishing up the trips with Desolation Canyon.

I would welcome advise as well but my boys are 8 n 13


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I have twin three year olds and they're learning to potty train. Their potty chair by the tent was a life saver. A square bucket and lid for diapers. Nuts and fruit chews handy.
 

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A blow up pools for bathing at night or playing while you get dinner. Little kettle water and a little river water and they are ready for bed early.
 
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