Ready for an exciting whitewater rafting trip on the Ocoee River? Come rafting with Quest Expeditions!
281 US Highway 64, Ocoee, Tennessee 37361

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What Exactly Makes a Raft?

What is a Raft?

A raft is a flat structure made of buoyant materials like wood, plastic, or inflatable materials. Rafts are used for various purposes such as transportation, recreation, or rescue missions. They can be simple, like a makeshift one for crossing a river, or more complex, like a professionally-built raft for whitewater rafting.

Group Of Men Paddling While Inside Inflatable Boat or Raft

History of Rafts

Rafts have been used for centuries by various cultures for transportation and fishing. The earliest were made from logs or reeds tied together. Ancient Egyptians, for example, used them on the Nile River for travel and trade. Greek, Viking, and Polynesian cultures also have a rich history of using them for exploration and commerce. These were simple but effective, laying the foundation for modern raft design.

Different Types of Rafts

There are several types of rafts available to choose from, each serving different purposes and offering varied experiences. Understanding the differences between these types can help in selecting the most suitable selection for your desired water adventures.

  1. Inflatable Rafts: These are made of flexible materials like rubber, PVC, or Hypalon and are inflated to provide buoyancy. They are often used for recreational activities like whitewater, floating on lakes, or as emergency life-saving devices.
  2. Pontoon Rafts: Pontoons consist of a flat platform supported by two or more buoyant pontoons. They are stable and commonly used for fishing, leisurely boating, or as platforms for diving and swimming.
  3. Packrafts: Packrafts are lightweight, portable rafts designed for backpacking and wilderness exploration. They can be inflated and deflated quickly and are often used for traversing rivers and lakes in remote areas.
  4. Frame : Frame rafts have a rigid frame structure that provides stability and support. They are commonly used for extended river trips, carrying heavy loads, or as commercial river guiding.
  5. Catarafts: Catarafts consist of two inflatable tubes (or “pontoons”) connected by a frame. They offer high maneuverability and are often used in challenging whitewater conditions.
  6. DIY Rafts: Do not do this!  Some adventurous souls build their own using various materials like barrels, logs, or even recycled materials. These DIY floaters can be customized to suit specific needs and are often used for fun or as part of a creative project.  However, we do not recommend this.  Only raft with safety approved equipment.

Each type has its advantages and limitations, so choosing the right one depends on factors like intended use, environment, and personal preferences.

Benefits of Using a Raft

A raft can provide a stable platform for water activities like fishing or relaxing. Rafts are often portable and easy to transport to different bodies of water, making them versatile for various outdoor adventures. Inflatable rafts, in particular, are lightweight and packable, convenient for travel or storage. Rafts are a good option for beginners or those looking for a simple and affordable way to enjoy water activities.

Essential Gear for Rafting

Rafting requires essential gear to ensure your safety and enjoyment on the water. These items include a helmet to protect your head, a personal flotation device (PFD) to keep you buoyant in case of a fall, paddles for steering, and appropriate footwear to protect your feet. Additionally, wearing quick-drying clothing and sun protection like sunscreen and a hat is crucial for extended time on the river. Remember, having the right gear can make your experience both safe and fun.

Whitewater Safety Tips

Before embarking on a rafting adventure, ensure that you wear a well-fitted life jacket at all times. Always listen carefully to your guide’s instructions and follow them closely to stay safe on the water. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear such as a helmet and river shoes to prevent injuries. Prioritize staying hydrated and apply sunscreen regularly to avoid sunburns. Know the basics of swimming and be prepared for unexpected situations by learning how to safely navigate rapids.

If you’re looking for some thrilling adventures, there are some popular rafting destinations you should definitely consider. Here are a few spots that are renowned for their exciting whitewater  experiences: the Grand Canyon in the United States, Zambezi River in Zambia, Futaleufú River in Chile, and the Kicking Horse River in Canada. These destinations offer a mix of scenic beauty and exhilarating rapids that will make your rafting trip unforgettable. None compare to the exquisite beauty and excitement of the Ocoee River in Tennessee of course.

Guided Tours vs. Self-Guided

Guided rafting tours offer an experienced guide to lead you through the adventure, ensuring you stay safe and informed throughout the journey. Self-guided rafting gives you the freedom to plan your route and pace as you navigate the waters on your own. Guided tours are beneficial if you’re new or want an expert’s assistance, while self-guided trips are great for experienced adventurers looking for more independence.

Conclusion: Why Rafting Is a Must-Try Experience With Quest

Rafting is an exhilarating outdoor activity that everyone should try at least once. It provides a thrilling experience and a chance to connect with nature in a unique way.  Every person should get to experience the beauty and fun of the rivers we have.  Quest Expeditions provides multiple options to adventure down the beautiful Ocoee River in Tennessee.

Middle Ocoee Trip

Our Middle Ocoee Trip is great for team building or group outings.  These trips run on Saturdays and Sunday during April, May, September and October.  We do not currently run Middle River Trips on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Check our booking page below for updated opportunities.

The Olympic Course and Full Day Trips

The Ocoee Olympic Course is a great challenge for whitewater enthusiasts.  The Olympic Course is featured on the Full Day Trips.  With this fantastic trek, you will experience longer rapids and bigger drops.  Nowhere else in the United States will you find a section of whitewater quite like this. The initial stretch of the course will acclimate you to the formidable rapids ahead, notably the fearsome Humongous! This segment presents the ultimate challenge with its towering waves wedged amidst massive boulders, culminating in a colossal whirlpool.


Upper Ocoee Only

Our Upper Only Ocoee River Trip features 5 miles of exhilarating Class III and IV whitewater, which includes navigating the renowned 1996 Olympic Whitewater Course. Brace yourself for classic drops and adrenaline-pumping big water rapids. The journey reaches its climax with a thrilling passage through the Upper section’s iconic rapid, Humongous. Don’t miss this fantastic chance to explore the Olympic section on a half-day adventure. This trip is exclusively available on select Saturdays during peak season.

Ready To Adventure?

Want to book your trip with Quest?  Book Your Raft Adventure.