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Colorado river rafting for "fluffy" people

cgpm59cgpm59 591 replies56 threads Member
Looking at river rafting in Glenwood Springs, CO this summer. I've rafted before ... decades ago when I was a youngster and much less fluffy. DH and DS have never rafted and would love it. We aren't going to do a full-day, big-time rapids trip, just a one or two-hour, some gentle rapids but nothing too crazy. I'm mostly wondering about getting into the raft and any lifejacket that might be required. Any fluffy folks rafted recently?
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Replies to: Colorado river rafting for "fluffy" people

  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated 1064 replies38 threads Senior Member
    I'm a bit "fluffy" I suppose (5'4" 160 lbs), and our family did a wild and very crazy raft trip on the New River in WV a couple of years ago. It was fine. I'm still fairly agile - I played tennis with my daughter a couple of days ago, but going up and down stairs and getting up off the floor definitely isn't as easy as it used to be. Anyway, I think if you're able to bend over and swing your leg about a foot and a half off the ground you should be able to manage getting into the raft. You could even just sit on the edge while holding someones hand, and then swing your legs around. I'd go for it.

    If you're going with an outfitter, then they'll have a variety of different sizes of lifevests. If you're not any bigger than a extra large male (I've seen plenty of those on river trips), then that shouldn't be a problem either.

    I might recommend working out to increase your upper body strength a bit before then just in case you fall out and have to climb back into the raft. The people in the raft should be able to help pull you in if that happens, but you'll still need the strength to hold on and assist with the effort.

    Have fun!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80910 replies726 threads Senior Member
    The exercise you will do in the raft will be mainly pulling exercises using your back muscles:

    * Paddling.
    * Climbing from the water into the raft.
    * From inside the raft, helping someone climb in by grabbing his/her life jacket.

    If you are concerned, you can go to the gym and work on pulling motions and your back muscles (cardio rower, weighted rows/pulls, pullups) before the trip.
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  • DiotimaDMDiotimaDM 1392 replies87 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    This will depend on how fluffy. We've rafted upwards of 10 times on Class III / IV rivers in CA. Our fellow paddlers have included both men and women who are the 250 to 300 lb range (guessing here, but we have linebackers in the family). Life jackets shouldn't be a problem. Your guide will position guests to distribute weight as evenly as possible in the boat.

    If your run requires wetsuits, contact the rafting company to make sure they have the right size for you, and if there's paperwork where you have to list height and weight, don't fudge or the wetsuit won't fit.

    Above the 300 lb mark, you may wish to call the rafting company.
    edited February 2018
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16651 replies66 threads Senior Member
    I've not heard the term fluffy, but judging from the rest o the folks, I think I get it. As long as you can fit the gear and safety equipment provided if you are going on a guided trip and have mobility they will take you. If the water gets to shallow the total raft weight could be a problem, but it can be a problem for any raft with any number of people of any size. You won't be the first or the last person who is heavier than normal. Agree they generally have gear that will fit a 300 lb. guy. Enjoy!
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1749 replies12 threads Senior Member
    @momofthreeboys - If I am not mistaken, comedian Gabriel Iglesias brought the term "fluffy" to mainstream use. Tremendous talent - more of a story teller than a joke teller. Check his stuff out - well worth it.

    OP, I too, am a large person (built like a fridge), and there were plenty of people bigger than I am who also went on the CO river raft in Page AZ. This was a two hour trip down river with a one hour bus ride back. I was more comfortable on the raft than on the bus ride back. But it was an experience worth every cent.



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  • stardustmomstardustmom 383 replies1 threads Member
    Some rafting companies will require clients to demonstrate swimming ability before the trip. I have even been on trips where I had to climb across monkey bars (Animus River, CO). Ask the company what they require before you show up. Also, water levels can suddenly change if there has been a recent storm etc. so level 2 rapids can become a 3.
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4136 replies84 threads Senior Member
    I clicked on this post just to find out what the heck "fluffy" meant. I was thinking it meant girly girl or something similar. Thanks for the education and the laugh!
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  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2408 replies58 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    Long before I'd heard of Gabriel Iglesias (who I find hillarious I might add) I saw a card with sheep and the caption "Ewes not fat ewes fluffy". My wife and and I would talk about getting fluffy as we grew more out than up.

    Unless it's extreme I believe any outfitter should be able to accommodate you.
    edited February 2018
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  • QuantMechQuantMech 7981 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Needless to say, your mileage may vary. Personally, I would be comfortable going on a trip with Level 3 rapids, but I suspect that at my current age and fluffiness, I ought to stay away from any Level 4 rapids (or higher). I've rafted through a few Level 4's and they were great fun, but 3 and below can be very enjoyable, too, especially since you will just be on a short trip.
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  • HImomHImom 35384 replies396 threads Senior Member
    I think I'm only game for level 1 or perhaps level 2. I know how to swim but cold and especially cold water gives me hives. I'm not a fan of itching!
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  • yearstogoyearstogo 707 replies30 threads Member
    If these are not motorized rafts, be aware that the guide typically needs you to paddle quite a bit through the rapids and there are often long stretches where the water does not move too quickly so it can require a lot of effort.
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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2460 replies0 threads Senior Member
    If its cold water, you may be required to wear wetsuits. We went on one in the Yellowstone River and they were required. Some of the people looked like the Michelin Man.
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  • cgpm59cgpm59 591 replies56 threads Member
    Thanks for all the replies. I messaged the rafting company and their weight limit is 375, which is based on the life jackets they use. Thinking about sending DH and DS on their own, since they've never rafted before and would have a blast. I'd be happy to just putter around town.
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  • HImomHImom 35384 replies396 threads Senior Member
    Having time to putter around town is a nice treat as well. I'm sure you and your H and S will figure out what works best for each of you. ;)
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  • KajonKajon 4349 replies130 threads Senior Member
    You will have a fabulous time "puttering" around town! Though I do like ucbalumnus' idea about exercising a bit to prepare for the trip - even if your activity is just walking around. You will be in a higher altitude and I feel it will be more enjoyable if you go for a little walk everyday for preparation.

    Have fun and pack your swimwear for the relaxing hot springs pool.
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