What are the skill prerequisites?

Selecting an appropriate trip for your skill level is critical to both the safety and enjoyment of your river holiday.
Our raft expeditions are designed for people of any skill level including novices. Some raft trips offer canoeing as an option. In this case, the canoeing prerequisites apply and must be met.
Tandem canoe trips are much more skill specific and careful thought must be applied to assessing your canoe skill level. Following are the considerations for each trip:

A Word About River Ratings:

Physical requirements for river trips are generally modest, but can vary depending on the nature of the rapids (on some rivers, portages are necessary at times). Rivers are ranked according to the difficulty of their most severe rapids, and we’ve indicated the class of rapids for each river trip throughout the site.

Class 1

Easy flat water and mild waves. Some maneuvering may be required to navigate around log jams or sweepers.

Class 2

Standing waves up to 3′.

Class 3

Moderate waves and narrower channels due to obstructions such as rocks or gravel bars. Quick and accurate river reading is required with instinctive maneuvers orchestrated with a paddling partner.

Class 4

Expert whitewater canoeist (4 is considered to be the top extreme of canoe capability). Difficult, with narrow channels obstructed by rocks, steep and narrow drops.

Class 5

Possibility of overturning a raft. We always use caution and judicious safety measures and portage around anything that looks doubtful.
Our river guides are the best in the business and you can feel confident in their hands. Click here to read some detailed notes about trip prerequisites.

Nahanni 2 week and Canoeing on an 8 or 12 Day Nahanni Trip:

You posses the skills above and have completed a whitewater canoe course. You are able to read Grade III water and quickly formulate strategies while working with a partner to navigate.

At least once a year for the two previous seasons or more, you paddle Grade II/III whitewater with friends or a canoe club. You are committed to at least one “warm up” trip or course prior to the planned trip this season. We can modify these requirements by the use of “canyon rigs” for the rapids but this must be discussed with us before booking.

Moose Ponds and Burnside Canoe:

You posses the abilities and judgment level above and have a more extensive “whitewater play” background. For the last 3 years or more you have paddled Grade III whitewater at least 3 times per year and enjoy practicing technical moves. You are committed to at least one “warm up” trip or course prior to the planned trip this season.

What if I am a whitewater kayaker and have not canoed previously? If this is the case, please contact us directly and we can discuss your background in relation to the trip you are considering.

Canoes and “swimming”:

Only on a rare occasion will a participant fall out of a raft. On the other hand, tipping a canoe and “going for a swim” is considered an integral part of “canoe sport”. One or more canoes flipped at any time is a normal event and is not considered an “emergency” or “incident”. The group simply recovers the swimmers and boats. When all is secure, the group continues down the river.

On the Mooseponds a neoprene wet suit or fabric dry suit is mandatory. On the other rivers many will opt for the neoprene wet suit although some paddlers (with strong internal “furnaces”) will opt for rain gear worn over polypropylene and fleece on the whitewater days. Feel free to consult with us for more information specific to the river you have selected. Due to the use of spray covers, helmets are mandatory on the Moose Ponds, and recommended on the Burnside canoe trips.