Whether you are particularly fair-skinned or not, when spending time outdoors connecting with nature sun protection is an absolute must for all complexions! And the same goes for a day out on the river. While you’re focused on all the fun you’re having out in nature, and all that water splashing around, the sun continues to shine. This means you have to consider proper sun protection in order to prevent sunburn. So check out the following tips so you can head downstream and focus on having fun without the red aftermath!
Choosing The Right Sunscreen
In order to stay protected look for water-resistant, broad-spectrum options to give you the best coverage possible. The combination of sweat and splashing water means you’ll need to keep reapplication in mind too. While not a hard-set no, spray sunscreens, although intended to be more convenient, have their own set of downfalls. Without actually applying the sunscreen directly to your arm you risk accidentally uneven coverage or potentially missing parts. And you’ll have to ensure an appropriate amount of distance between you and anyone else so you don’t accidentally send some spray their way should a breeze pass through. Also because you’ll be in an outdoor environment, it’s not only important to choose non-toxic sunscreen, but also an eco-friendly one that does not contain any chemicals which can be detrimental to the environment.
Deciding what to wear rafting plays a big role in sun protection. While the life vest will keep your torso covered, consider rafting clothes that will provide additional coverage. A loose long-sleeve shirt, or arm sun protectors which have built-in UV protection are good options for up top. And there are many athletic shirts or sun shirts that are also made with UV protective fabric. On your lower half, leggings or UV protective pants are a great option for keeping your legs covered. Just remember to bring a change of clothes for afterwards, and to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Other types of rafting clothes you can use are hats (if possible under the helmet if not when back on dry land), neck gaiters, and some people even choose to wear a lightweight pair of gloves.
When it comes to protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays we often think: arms, legs, face, done! But not quite! There are regularly overlooked areas worth protection as well. First, your lips. Look for any sort of lip balm offering SPF protection, there are a ton of options available, which will keep them both hydrated and protected. Secondly, while you may have strategically planned your perfect rafting footwear, unless they offer full coverage, remember to apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll likely find yourself with a very strange burn pattern on your feet as this delicate skin rarely gets the same level of direct sun exposure. Two other often forgotten parts are your ears and the tops of your hands. With particularly delicate skin, a burn on these parts can be exceptionally unpleasant so be sure to lather up! Lastly, when it comes to limiting total exposure to the sun, that also applies to your eyes. If you can wear sunglasses downriver or if you wear photochromic lenses be sure to properly secure them with a strap so they don’t end up overboard.
Water On The Inside And Outside
Another element of taking care of yourself while outdoors is proper hydration. With all that water around you, make sure you’re also drinking plenty of it. With the high level of exertion, all the excitement not only increases the risk of you forgetting to reapply sunscreen, but also the risk of forgetting to stay hydrated. As you use up energy and sweat, it’s essential to be taking in fluids throughout the day. If you know you won’t have the opportunity to regularly hydrate during your trip, or if you’re taking a shorter ride downstream consider pre-hydrating. Although not a replacement for regular hydration, this is a common strategy that consists of drinking an appropriate amount of water before you engage in physical activity to account for the fact that you won’t be able to drink any during your activity.
Don’t let the consequences of a bad sunburn take away from your great rafting experience. With a bit of planning and precautions, you can happily head downriver without having to worry. And remember, if you begin to feel unwell such as being dizzy or getting a headache, whether it be from dehydration or sunstroke, listen to what your body is telling you and notify your guide right away. While not possible while you’re actually in the boat, as the river dictates the course, take initiative when back on dry land. As much as possible seek out shady areas for rest, changing clothes, or chatting with a fellow rafter or guide. Your body will appreciate the break from all that time directly in the sun’s rays and it will also give you a chance to cool off. So get your sun protection sorted and join us on either our half-day or full-day rafting trips!