Rafting with Kids; Little Water & Big Adventure - Montana River Guides

Rafting with Kids; Little Water & Big Adventure

Missoula Family Raft Trips

Here is a formula for happiness….do the things you love to do with the people you love –as much as humanly possible.  The great thing about being outside with little kids, besides watching them have a blast and learn how to suffer,  is that they can remind us how to discover big adventure in the little things we take for granted.  As a long-time river guide with kids (5-whoops!), I have spent a lot of time on the river with little ones and here are a few suggestions….
Keep them Safe
First of all,  keep them safe right? This means if you’re not an expert–go with one..we must absolutely know the stretch of river and know it’s appropriate for the age of the kids floating with us. Little kids do not need whitewater to have fun.  Use good equipment, that means a raft with plenty of space and high enough tubes to keep the little ones in and good life jackets that fit properly. The tendency is to put toddlers in pfds that are too bulky and push up on their chin…they won’t enjoy the float if they’re being choked by a bulky life jacket. It needs to fit well and be worn at all times.

Keep them Comfortable
Little kids get cold easy…and in the mountains, weather changes quickly so always have backup extra warmth for the kiddos. We bring a hat, fleece, splash jacket and kids 3mm wetsuit in the dry bag on just about every trip. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks for them. Remember sun protection too. Finally, for the first few outings–keep it short. Leave them wanting more and disappointed it’s over –as opposed to whining for the suffering to end.  Build up to longer outings gradually.

Keep It Simple
It doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun. We have taken our 5-year-old out most summer evenings after work on a section just upstream from our house. It is along a road and not as scenic as some other sections that are further away, but there are fewer logistics and we always have fun. When possible have someone help with the shuttle so you don’t have to keep the kids waiting around. Since it’s flat water we’ll just take a small paddle raft instead of an oar rig which is heavier and requires more gear and people to carry sometimes.

Relax –Be Patient
What is the number one rule for rafting–that’s right. NO WHINING! Despite this, even the most “gifted” and amazing children–even your kids–will probably whine despite your best efforts. We are teaching them that doing fun stuff means that sometimes they might miss a nap and have to push through the pain, or that headwinds can be pure hell with three hypothermic wailing, three-year-olds in the boat.  Every time they get worked up is an opportunity to show them that we handle discomfort and stress with a relaxed, capable, attitude. Someday they will pick up on that…

Finally, once you’re on the river with kids who are safe, comfortable and not hungry…they will reward you for your hard work in getting them out there by reminding you how easy it is to have fun with simple things like rocks, and sand, and bones, and water. Have a great trip–Missoula rafting gives you plenty of options to choose from. Hope to see you and the kids on the river.

Montana River Guides

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  1. bethJ Reply

    We took our kids on a rafting trip with Endless River Adventures and I have to say they had a BLAST! This is something every family should put on their bucket list. 🙂

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138 Big Bend Ln, Alberton
We have taken many rafting trips over the years and hands down this was one of the best ones yet!!! We took a private full day rafting tour with river side picnic and couldn’t have had a better time!! Our guide set up the best lunch spread at the waterside including fresh fruit and veggie trays, salad, sandwiches, chips/salsa, and the best homemade cookies!!! We had many stops, chances to swim, small cliff jumping, and the most beautiful scenery!!! Shout out to Amy as being the most fun guide to our crazy “Billy Goat Cyrus” group from Texas!!! Request her and you won’t be disappointed!!!
Our Montana River Guide trip down the Clark Fork was the highlight to our Montana vacation. Our guide let us paddle some while we were going thru the rapids which was an awesome experience. Weather and sun on the morning trip made for some great pictures.
We did a scenic float with our young kids. This was the absolute best thing we did our whole trip! So beautiful, so much fun. Amy was our guide and she was incredibly fun, knowledgable and kind. Cannot wait to float with them again!
There were three of us over 60 year old gals on our trip. Our guide, Jack, was outstanding. We felt safe and secure under his care the whole time while having the time of our lives. The beautiful scenery and wildlife were a bonus to the incredible river with its rapids along with calm areas to relax & enjoy the ride. Top on my list of the other incredible things we did this summer.
One of the best experience in the US was spending our Sunday with Montana River Guides! The crew was able to accommodate to over 60 of us on the YSEALI alumni tour and all of us thoroughly enjoyed our time on the river - Whitewater Rafting or Scenic Tour. Guides are 100% professionals who have fun with safety in mind. Highly recommend and must visit when you're in Montana. Thanks for the memories!