Information About Rafting
WHAT TO BRING
Personal Equipment: The less luggage you have
to carry around the more you will enjoy yourself.
Clothing should ideally be lightweight, dry
quickly, and provide insulation even when wet.
Synthetic fibres are preferable to cotton on
the river for this reason. Here is a fairly
extensive to serve as a guide
For Camping and Travelling
- A sleeping bags and pad. Your
sleeping bag should be a two to three season
bag, either down or synthetic filled. A foam
pad or Thermarest sleeping mattress is mandatory
for a good night's sleep. For those who do
not have a sleeping bag and pad, they can
be rented easily in Kathmandu or Pokhara for
about fifty cents a day.
- Lightweight pants.
- Cotton underwear.
- Light weight long sleeved shirt
or T-shirt. We use these as sunscreen in camp....
Don't worry about getting enough sun, you
- A fleece style jacket. Polypropylene
or wool is preferable.
- Toiletries: keep it to a minimum,
and forget the cosmetics... you won't have
a chance to use them. Bring plenty of moisturizing
- Spare glasses or contact lenses
if you wear them.
- Flashlight or headlamp with
- River sandals like Teas or
Alps are the preferred footwear on the river.
It is essential that all rafters have footwear
that they can wear in the raft, which will
not come off in the event of a swim, as this
is considered standard safety equipment. Old
running shoes will also do.
- Shorts or swimming costume.
- A sarong for women (a long
piece of cloth wrapped around your waist)
is another good option, and can be purchased
cheaply in Nepal. This is invaluable for visiting
villages and respecting local custom for dress.
- A baseball style cap and good
sunglass is absolutely essential. Sunglasses
should be equipped with a retaining device
to keep them on your face where they belong.
- Sunscreen (spf 15 or greater
and waterproof) is essential DON'T FORGET
LIP BALM, SPF 15 MINIMUM!
FOR TREKKING ( Karnali, Marsyangdi
and Tamur Expeditions )
- A day pack for the trek to
- Long sleeved thermals top and
bottom (long underwear).
- Light and medium weight weaves
are the handiest.
- Walking shoes or lightweight
hiking boots are a must. People who are used
to walking long distances over uneven terrain
will do fine with light hiking shoes or even
running shoes. Some of the guides will do
the trip in Teas, but if you saw their feet,
you'd opt for better footwear. Heavy mountaineering
boots are more of a burden than a blessing.
- Toilet paper and a lighter-
nice to have a spare.
- Optional Items
- Small binocularsfor wildlife
viewing in the national parks.
- Camera and film. Also bring
a good cleaning kit, as field conditions are
harsher than in towns. Spare batteries are
- Fishing equipment.
- Walk/Discman and tunes.
- Reading and writing material.
- Personal first aid kit.
Perhaps the most important thing
you can bring is a good mental attitude...
There is not a lot you can buy on a river in
Nepal, bearing that in mind you will not need
to take much in the way of money, say 500-1000
rupees (US$15). We'll fill you in on the beer
kitty when you get here. Chocolate, sweets and
cigarettes are seldom available anywhere on
the rivers; so bring a few treats for yourself,
they can be great bargaining chips for that
massage you may need on the layover day...
A DAY ON THE Rafting
There are no rules to running rivers other than
those dictated by common sense. To enjoy and
learn, the participants need to be flexible
and adaptive in changing situations. With this
in mind here's what we normally plan on any
We rise at dawn with the sun and
wander to the campfire where a huge pot of coffee
is waiting. After a hearty breakfast and loading
the rafts, we start Rafting. We try to get on
the water by around 9am. On the river you'll
paddle hard through the rapids and cruise in
between. On any of the larger volume rivers
you could safely say about 30 percent of the
time is spent running rapids and 70 percent
The day's Rafting is punctuated
with a leisurely lunch break around midday,
as well as stops to scout the more challenging
rapids, explore temples and villages, waterfalls
and other interesting sights. The length of
time spent Rafting is directly related to our
choice of spectacular campsites. Typically we
are on the water 4-6 hours each day.
We get into camp around 3-4pm
in the afternoon and there is plenty of time
to explore and relax. On longer trips there
is always a layover day built into the itinerary,
a chance to do as little or as much as you wish.
These areas are also difficult to get to...
it would be a shame to end up rushing.
Evenings are spent around the
campfire, drinking hot spiced rum and getting
to know the people on the trip. Food is communally
prepared, every day a different raft crew helps
with the simple preparation of vegetables. The
kitchen becomes one of the main social points
on the trip, and without a doubt the best place
to catch up on the latest gossip or get to know
someone better..."Gut that chicken for
After a few days on the river, time has little
meaning, river times takes over. Having played
hard all day, it's often a surprise to look
at your watch before going to bed to find it's
only 8pm, whereas you were sure it was closer
to 10. The next day we begin all over.
Longer expeditions have the advantages
of offering some real heart thumping whitewater
with the incredible journeying aspect of a long
river trip. With more time on the river, things
are more relaxed, relationship progress at a
more natural pace, and memories become firmly
entrenched for a lifetime. Long after the whitewater
has blurred into one long white-knuckled thrilled
ride, the memories of a moonrise over the river
and the friends you inevitably make will remain.
Rafting AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Nepal, for its entire massive mountain peaks
and impressive geography, is actually an incredibly
fragile environment. At Ultimate Descents our
lives have revolved around the free flowing
river. We feel an increased responsibility to
protect and preserve these wild places. Not
only do we leave every campsite cleaner than
when we've arrived; we've taken steps to protect
Nepal's rivers and the people who live along
If you would like membership information
on the Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT)
or like to join our yearly trip in September
to support Eco-conscious tourism along Nepal's
rivers, simply contact us here.
At Ultimate Descents, we take safety very seriously.
It is our first and never forgotten priority,
and it shows. We employ some of the best Rafting
guides in the world. These men and women are
whitewater professionals, trained in CPR, emergency
wilderness first aid and swift-water rescue.
Safety kayakers accompany each expedition and
can get a person out of trouble faster than
Equipment is another element of being prepared
for anything. Rafting, like flying, scuba diving
or safe sex, is intrinsically dependent on using
the most advanced and reliable equipment. We
use the best rafts, flotation devices, helmets
and paddles available.
You can help
us by doing your part as well. Listen to your
guides and take safety seriously.
- Grade I : Flat water,
no rapids, a splash or two with few or no
- Grade II : Bubbling
current. Some maneuvering required but easy
- Grade III : Exciting-thrilling
rapids; with irregular waves/hazards.
- Grade IV : Roller coaster
rapids that require technical skill and careful
maneuvering large irregular waves (difficult)
- Grade V : The hair-raising
limit! Extended violent rapids with severe
- GRADE VI : Nearly Unable
to run. Extreme attention and caution required.
Inadvisable some things to keep in mind when
planning a river Rafting trip in Nepal are
that most of the white water is at an altitude
of 650 - 1100 meters and there is a tremendous
seasonal variation in water volume. During
the rainy monsoon season, water levels rise
to more than 10 times that of their low points.
From mid-June to early September, the rivers
are at full volume and operations are limited
to the most adventurous Rafting trips. Overnight
programs are offered only on the Seti and