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Physical & Dietary Requirements
For Multi-Day Rafting Expeditions

Physical & Dietary Requirements

Watch this video to get a quick understanding about the physical requirements and dietary restrictions of a multi-day rafting expedition.

Grand Canyon Upper Jrig Lady Reflecting

Why it's Important to Consider Carefully »

Please consider carefully any medical or health condition that would endanger yourself, or others on the trip, or diminish the enjoyment of an adventure vacation such as this. Factors of age, weight, lack of conditioning, heart or other disease can become exacerbated by the environment, remote distances from a hospital, and physical challenges of a rafting adventure. It is critical that you are in reasonable good health and physical fitness at the time of departure so that our staff can focus their attention equally on all trip participants. If you are taking any medications, we should be made aware of these and what these medications are treating. If you have any questions or concerns please talk with us and we can help you consider your options.

Grand Canyon Upper Scenic Weather

Factors of Weather »

The nature of an outdoor adventure includes exposure to weather conditions such as heat, sun, wind or rain - sometimes in the extreme. With proper preparation procedures such as applying sunscreen, wearing the right clothing, etc., many of these factors of weather (even in the extreme) can be mitigated, and do not have to be a negative factor. Factors of age, weight, lack of conditioning, heart or other disease can become exacerbated by the environment, remoteness, and physical requirements of a rafting adventure.

Desolation Canyon Utah Rafting Nefertiti Flotilla

Remote Locations »

Our trips are operated in the “backcountry.” At any given time, you will be a minimum of several hours away from medical help. Our guides are all trained in wilderness first aid and some have even higher levels of emergency response training (e.g., EMT), however, sometimes injuries or the aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions are severe enough to require evacuation from the trip. We carry satellite phones but they are not 100 percent reliable in all locations. Most evacuations require transportation via helicopter which presents many challenges such as appropriate landing zones, inclement weather, darkness, or delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

Each expedition provides its own QUESTIONS section for specific information regarding the particular trip for which you are inquiring.

What dietary restrictions will keep me from doing a trip?

For answers about meals and dietary substitutions specific to your trip, please click on the QUESTIONS section specific to your trip.

If you or any of the participants in your party have special dietary requirements, severe or life-threatening allergies of any kind, a multi-day rafting trip may not be a suitable trip for you. Due to space limitations and the nature of our buffet-style meal service, we are unable to accommodate dietary requests such as Kosher and Vegan. If you are unable to find options on our standard meal service (see below) that meet your dietary needs, you may supplement the existing meals where necessary with some of your own food, as long as it does not require cooking on our limited stove and cookware surfaces.
    Substitutions for guests with SEVERE ALLERGIES
    We take allergies very seriously at Western River Expeditions. It is important that you describe to us the exact details of any allergies you may have, including symptoms and severity. If you have an allergy which may cause difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis or other severe and life-threatening reactions; please read the following points carefully. We want to make sure you are familiar with what we can and can't do for you in a wilderness setting. If you have a severe allergy you will be required to bring at least two Epi-pens on your trip. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 1-866-904-1160.
    • All reasonable efforts will be made to avoid cross contamination. We cannot guarantee that any of our products are free from allergens (including dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and other allergens) as we use shared equipment to store, prepare and serve them. For this reason, allergies to commonly used products such as onions, bell peppers, black pepper, garlic, or corn may not be possible to accommodate as most of these are present in the pre-made products we purchase. Please inform us as to the exact severity of these allergies, and whether it is anaphylactic or gastrointestinal.
    • Peanut butter will be served on a separate table with disposable utensils. Guests with severe allergies may go through the line first, before cross contamination may occur. When preparing something like a salad with nuts, part of the salad will be set aside and covered for you before the nuts are added.
    • It is our policy not to remove an ingredient from a trip when a guest has an allergy to the ingredient.
    • You are welcome in the kitchen during meal preparation to read food labels and check if you are allergic to any meal items.

    Substitutions for VEGETARIAN GUESTS
    Western River Expeditions can provide vegetarian alternatives for many items. Please see the list below and compare it with the standard meals for your trip. If you feel that this will not be sufficient, you are welcome to bring additional options. Your guides will store any food that you bring but will not be able to prepare it for you due to limitations of the kitchen facilities such as number of pots and burners.
    • Black bean veggie burger patties- Replace dinner protein such as steak, chicken and trout
    • Tofu or Portobello mushroom - Replaces steak, chicken or trout. Available by pre-trip request.
    • Vegetarian pasta sauce- Replaces the meat sauce
    • Grilled portabella mushroom- Replaces the hamburger patty
    Dishes such as green beans almondine, curry chicken salad and tuna salad can be prepared without meat. Peanut butter is always available at lunch and hummus is also provided for vegetarian guests. Whenever possible meat will be served separately from other items to maximize options for vegetarian guest. For example, the chicken for the chicken fajitas will not be mixed with the peppers and onions. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 1-866-904-1160.

    Substitutions for GLUTEN FREE GUESTS
    Western River Expeditions will provide gluten free alternatives for many items. Please see the list below and compare it with the standard meals for your trip. If you feel that this will not be sufficient, you are welcome to bring additional options. Your guides will store any food that you bring but will not be able to prepare it for you due to limitations of the kitchen facilities such as number of pots and burners. The backcountry often does not provide ideal conditions to avoid cross contamination. All reasonable efforts will be made to keep foods separate but if your sensitivity is severe, we may not be able to accommodate you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 1-866-904-1160.
    • Gluten free bread- Replaces lunch bread, garlic bread, toast and english muffins
    • Gluten free pasta- Replaces pasta dinner
    • Gluten free pancakes- Replaces blueberry pancakes
    • Corn tortillas- Replace flour tortillas used for lunch wraps and chicken fajita dinner
    • Gluten free hamburger buns- Replace hamburger buns
    • Gluten free bagels- Replace bagels
    • Corn chex- Replaces cereal
    • Gluten free snack bars- Replace snacks containing gluten


      Specific DAIRY information

      Many of our meals have alternative options for avoiding dairy. Depending on your sensitivity, make sure to consult with your guides, and to review the labels of the brands that are on your trip. Because of the remote location of our warehouse, we source products from different vendors each week. The only time we serve milk is the continental breakfast one morning. We can provide Rice Milk for this meal. We generally avoid cooking with butter, and your guides will be happy to accommodate this if you check with them the first day of the trip. Items to watch and avoid are:
      • Most of the cake and muffin mixes contain dairy or whey.
      • Some of our breads contain whey, but many do not.
      • Several desserts are cakelike products which contain dairy.
      • Some of our snacks.
      If you are highly sensitive, we strongly advise that you bring supplemental snacks, desserts, and other foods to make sure you have adequate products to eat. We always have fresh fruits and vegetables available, but with the additional energy expended during an active trip like this, it is important to have an ample supply of alternative products you are comfortable ingesting, primarily snacks and desserts. We will have ample storage, dry or refrigerated available. We hope that this will help you plan accordingly and that you have a great trip with us!
    Why is full disclosure important?

    We don’t want to be overly discouraging, but it is important for your safety and comfort that we be forthcoming about the specific challenges presented on a river trip. It is also vitally important that you disclose any and all physical, emotional, and mental conditions, limitations, or challenges you or your children may have. Likewise, it is important to be completely honest about the age and weight of children. Undisclosed medical or physical conditions might affect the safety and well-being of you and/or other participants on the trip. It is critical that you share this information with us in advance.We cannot absolutely guarantee your safety, or the suitability of a trip like this for you. For a participant who is not capable of meeting these criteria, a river trip, particularly a multi-day trip, can be unpleasant, dangerous, or even fatal. For those who meet these criteria, these trips are often the best experiences of their lives. The difference is in determining your suitability for a trip, then selecting the right trip for you, and arriving physically and mentally prepared to actively and joyfully participate in the experience.

    We encourage you to carefully evaluate your overall physical, mental, and emotional condition in relation to these environmental challenges. If you have concerns or questions about your physical condition, we recommend you also consult your physician. If you have questions about the specific parameters of a rafting trip with Western River Expeditions, please contact our office at 1-800-453-7450 or 801-942-6669. We would be happy to provide any other information you need to make this decision, or to discuss any of this information in detail.
    If I'm pregnant, can I still go rafting?

    If you are pregnant, you will not be permitted to go rafting. Our trips take place in remote wilderness settings where access to advanced medical care can be hours away (possibly overnight), and conditions such as extreme heat and vigorous activity can exacerbate discomfort and any known or unknown conditions.

    Please remember that you will not always be pregnant, but the river will always be here. We do not believe it is worth the risk, no matter how early you are in your pregnancy. We think moms are special and hope you understand.

    If you become pregnant after making your reservation, please provide a doctor's note and contact our office to discuss your options.
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