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What is the Difference Between Kayaking and Rafting?

As far as water sports go, kayaking and rafting are both exciting options that encourage you to get out on the water and experience the thrill of being outside, making them easy to confuse for each other. Though both sports involve small and personalized boats, these two sports are actually quite different. Let’s learn more about what separates these two sports from one another.

a man with a small boat in a body of water

Kayaking and Rafting: A Breakdown

To understand what makes these two sports so different, we will need to discuss what each one is. Both sports involve water and can be done in a variety of natural areas, including lakes and rivers–but there are still quite a few differences between them.

What is Kayaking?

A kayak is generally a single-person craft that allows you to spend time out in different natural areas. Kayaks are more commonly used across more spaces, including lakes and oceans, due to its versatility. These crafts are smaller than rafts and involve the use of a double-bladed oar 

Inside the kayak, there is limited mobility, and there is a top cover that can be applied to protect from water and any splashes. Kayaks are known to sit lower in the water, and they can be used in calm water, as well as more dangerous water as long as you choose the right model. People applaud kayaks for their versatility and mobility.

What is Rafting?

At its core, a raft is simply a floating craft that is inflatable. Rafts can be seen and used in different areas, but it is most commonly known for “whitewater river rafting” which focuses on exploring rivers of different speeds and intensities.

Unlike kayaks, rafts are able to offer support for larger amounts of people. In fact, some rafts can hold up to 10 people on one single journey. These crafts are open to the air and do not have a cover. Depending on the size of the craft and the intensity of the water, groups of different sizes can take on different challenges using a raft.

While rafting, you will be given a single-sided oar and asked to paddle specifically on one side. The raft itself is generally split with a balance across boat sides with one person seated near the front to help guide the raft through the water. Many people choose to approach a rafting experience with a group of trusted friends or relatives, but it can also be used for team-building events with coworkers or enjoyed with strangers. Most commonly, rafting is something that people partner with a company to experience. 

The Takeaway

Both kayaking and rafting offer a fun way to get outside and explore local waters, but each provides a unique experience. To give rafting a try, Calgary raft rental companies like ours can provide a wonderful natural area to explore. Feel free to contact us directly to learn more about how we can help you to head out on the Bow River.

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