During your whitewater rafting adventure one of the most important things is having the right equipment. Going with the outfitter that is fully prepared is a must when rafting in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is home to some of the top river guides on the planet (because they can raft technical rivers year round) but without safe equipment your rafting adventure might not be nearly as fun or as safe. Our company philosophy is safety first at all times. This comes with the training of our guides and the quality of our equipment. There is a list of what you need to bring for your rafting trip but there is a long list of equipment that all outfitters must supply aswell. If you are interested in some of the equipment that will be used during your whitewater rafting adventure take a look at the list below. You will also get an understanding for when and why some of the equipment might be used:

Life Vest (PFD) - withouth question the piece of equipment you will not want to forget is your life vest. There are many rafters that say they can swim very well but when it comes to strong river currents even Michael Phelps would have a hard time getting to where he wants to go. The life vest is commonly known as a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). The idea behind the life vest is to keep you afloat at all times. If you fall out of the raft in a big rapid there is a chance you will submerge for a second or two but with our 25lbs flotation life vest you will surface quickly out of the water and into your river floating position. These life vest are universally sized and are made to fit chest sizes from 30 inches - 58 inches. If you are joining us for kid rafting then we have smaller life vest that will fit the children.

There is also a pillow on each life vest of our clients where in the case that you fall out in the river you just simply lay on your back and the pillow keeps your head afloat. Life vest should be worn whenever playing in a river that has whitewater. Before your rafting trip your guide will go over what you need to know about the lifevest during the safety instruction talk. There are a few clips on the life vest that you will need to know how to operate to keep it snug for the duration of your trip.

The life vest first came on to the seen in 1928 and as many rescue and adventure gear was first used by the military in navy rescue operations. In 1928 the name given to life vest was Mae West which was given by the inventor Peter Markus. During this time the Mae West was very simple and made out of cork and chunks of wood. Not very comfortable imagining yourself flowing down a Costa Rica river with chunks of wood strapped to your chest.

There is an irony of rafting in Costa Rica with a piece of equipment that has been referred to as a "Mae West" only because the word "Mae" in Costa Rica is often used among locals as a slang word for "dude".


Paddles - The best part about rafting is that everyone must do their part. Your main tool for making sure you get to contribute to getting everyone down safely is your paddle. A paddle is a pre-historic tool. Paddles date back thousands of years B.C. It is a piece of technology that is so simple yet so important in the most eventful adventure of your visit to Costa Rica. A paddle is defined as an object used to push against liquid. That is exactly what you use it for and with all the commands coming from your guide it is a full 3 hours on the Pacuare Riverof pushing your paddle against river water.

The paddles you will be using during your adventure are light weight made of 1 inch aluminum shafts. This makes it light but more importantly very durable. Most paddles will measure about 60 inches in length and weigh around 38 oz.

Everyone during your visit to the river on a rafting trip will have a paddle and be required to do their part in listening to the guides and "pushing some liquid".

CRR Paddles

Throw-Bag - A throw bag is used for when somebody falls out of the raft and the guide or safety kayaker feels it is necessary to throw a rope in order to rescue the person in the river. A throw bag is only used when necessary as having a rope dangling in the river with a strong current can bring about new dangers also. It is necessary that an experienced trained expert is using the throw bag to make the rescue.

The throw bags we use are around 70ft long and when one is thrown a throw bag the person in the river will grab on to the rope and we pull you close to the raft for a rescue. These are strong ropes that can hold up to 950lbs. A throw bag is a must have for any outfitter who is operating whitewater rafting tours.

CRR Rescue Throw-Bag

Helmets - A helmet is a standard piece of equipment for most all adventure sports. The helmet in rafting is very important because although you might just be falling out in water you still want to have your helmet. The rivers of Costa Rica are very technical and have many rocks. Head injuries seem to never happen in rafting in Costa Rica and one reason is that everyone now wheres a helmet even when rafting just your simple class II rapids. Helmets are also good to keep on when you go about hiking on the side of the river. The rocks are often very slippery and falling from a standing position can be harder fall against a rock than floating down the river.

During the safety instructions before your rafting trip you will know all you need to know about the helmet. It is a simple piece of equipment that is easy to adjust.

CRR Helmet (Sponsor of Costa Rica Extreme National Team)

Z-Drag Kit - Your Z-Drag kit is one of the most important kits when rafting in Costa Rica. The rivers of Costa Rica are very technical and even the best of rivers guides have their rafts "wrapped" around rocks. There is no human or group of humans on the planet that can get a raft off a rock if it is a nice solid wrap with the current of the river pushing it around the rock.

The pulley system with a trained guide sets up and with a "Z" drag or a few different other options more times than not the river guide is able to get the raft off the rock. This is a process that is part of the sport. The Z-Drag Kit is for those that are trained in how to operate this equipment. This is not something you will learn how to do in the safety instruction talk before the rafting trip. It might mean you have to relax on the side of the river as a client and sit back and be a spectator. The best part is if this happens in Costa Rica you are being a spectator in one of the most beautiful places on Earth which is not a bad gig for a few hours.

CRR Z-Drag Kit

First-Aid Kit - A first aid kit should be with you at all times during an eco-adventure and not just on the rafting trip. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have. It is very important that you know what is in the rafting first aid kit. If you require any medicines that you might need to take in the next 24 hours it is important that you have them in the first-aid kit. Now with 3G service all along many rivers of Costa Rica most outfitters can afford to have a cell phone with them at all times.

Some of the medical care items you will find in the first aid kit is a Sam's Splint. This will get you through any type of sprain or fracture that might need to be stabalized. Along with fracture and sprain gear you will find a section for cuts and lesions. Also your CPR section with breathing mask. Our first aid kits are packed to the max and making safety first in our company has come with a backround of EMT training and dedication to raising the standards of all river guides. It is not always the kit that makes the difference it is the training behind the kit that makes your trip safe.

CRR First-Aid Kit