Mild to Wild’s Boat Options: Why You’re In the Raft You’re In

By Kim Cassels   •   October 16, 2019

Mild to Wild’s Boat Options: Why You’re In the Raft You’re In

Colorado River-Moab Utah-Mild to Wild Rafting

Wondering about the vessel of your voyage? Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours has a slew of boat options fit for each trip we provide, from big motor rigs to putt through Cataract Canyon to stand up paddle-boards for cruising the Lower Animas.

While not all boats are created equal, there is something unique and downright dandy about all of Mild to Wild’s rafts. They all come with our beloved, custom-made foot cups. What the heck is a foot cup and why does this rock? They give newbs and masters alike some extra help abiding by the number one rule: Stay in the boat. 

Colorado River-Moab Utah-Mild to Wild Rafting

Another consideration — bow up or bow down? Our rafts have either an E or a D construction, e.i. an E bow has a higher angle and D has a lower angle. E’s are going to get less splash while D’s bring waves right into your lap. 

Also, the smaller the boat, the bigger splash! So, 13-foot boats with a D bow are essentially self-bailing bathtubs. Self-bailing, while this may seem juxtaposed, means there is always water in the floor of the raft, so be prepared to get your feet wet. 

With these basics in mind, check out the reasons why we take each of our crafts.  

Paddle Raft

San Miguel White Water Rafting – Mild to Wild Rafting

Paddle rafts are usually 15 feet long and can hold up to 10 guests. These boat options require guests to paddle along with their guide. Shallow and narrow rivers are great for paddle rafts, and often aren’t suitable for lengthy oars. Streams like the San Miguel and Salt have a constant current that helps power the raft downstream. 

It’s a team building and bonding experience amidst the splashes. Part of the fun is powering and steering the raft with your guide who will give commands like “FORWARD TWO!” and “RIGHT SIDE BACK ONE!” Conquering rapids with your group is as exhilarating as it is rewarding.  

Premium Raft – Durango

Durango White Water Raft Trip – Mild to Wild Rafting

Premium rafts mean you’re guaranteed a smaller guest to guide ratio. This boat option ensures for a more personalized experience and will feel more like a private trip for your group. Premium rafts cost a little extra and are for groups of six people or less. They’re roomier and great if you’re looking to just hang with your crew.  

Paddle Raft with Oar Assist

Colorado River-Moab Utah-Mild to Wild Rafting

A paddle raft with oar assist is exactly what it sounds like. This boat option has a stern frame, meaning the guide is setup on the back of the boat with large oars. Guests on these boats are welcome to paddle along with the guide, although paddling is not required. 

Oar assist is common (often essential) on rivers with long stretches of flat water or huge rapids that require extra control for navigating. The immense help from oars are welcomed as they ensure you won’t become a sitting duck once your arms fall off from exhaustion.   

Multi-day Oar Rig

Yampa River Rafting Rapids - Dinosaur National Monument - Mild to Wild Rafting

The bigger the water, the bigger the rig! A narrow river like the Salt will have a 16-foot raft while the southwest’s butterball known as the Colorado in Cataract Canyon would have up to a 33-foot raft. This boat option always comes in a center frame because it allows for some weight distribution when lugging luggage and camping equipment.

Big Water Motor Rig

Cataract Canyon Rafting Trip - Moab, UT - Mild to Wild Rafting

Motor rigs are for multi-day trips on long stretches of flat water. Different agencies manage the rivers  which Mild to Wild has permits for and establish certain regulations for using engine power. The only canyons that Mild to Wild runs a motor rig through are Desolation and Cataract. 

The reasons why agencies limit motors in certain areas are for sound and water pollution. Canyons are professional sound projectors, so limiting an engine’s yap is a courtesy to others boaters. Rivers like the Yampa are in a delicate ecological balance, so engines are not allowed there. However,  the Colorado River flows through multiple states, allowing for more dispersal of oil and other pollutants. The Yampa River is shorter and more remote, so it’s more crucial to prevent oil from sneaking into its waterway, while the Colorado travels much longer with consistent exposure to oil. 

Inflatable Kayak 

Lower Animas Kayaking-Durango Colorado-Mild to Wild Rafting

Inflatable kayaks are the super soakers for riding whitewater. Duckies, as we like to call them, put you in the waves rather than above them. You (and your partner if you choose the double) are in control of choosing your lines to navigate the current, which allows for a more than satisfying experience when launching yourself into a wave train.

Yampa River Rafting - Dinosaur National Monument - Mild to Wild Rafting

If you’re just getting started, it’s great to feel things out on flat water with some class I-II rapids. Be prepared to be dunked, drenched, and refreshed! We’re serious about safety though, so Mild to Wild puts you back in the raft for anything above a class III rapid, regardless of your experience.  

Standup Paddleboard Option

Things to do in Moab UT- Stand Up Paddleboard-Mild to Wild

The skateboard of river running, a.k.a the SUP. These balance-testers are great for flat water and smaller rapids. Dedicated SUPers can run class III rapids, which is totally impressive and a great show for raft-loungers. If you’re interested in trying out a paddleboard, keep in mind that it can be a serious workout and you’re definitely going to fall off at least once (which is totally part of the fun!) 

WhiteWater Paddling Telluride CO – Mild to Wild Rafting

No matter what boat you end up on, our guides are here to give you a great time on the river. Try out an inflatable kayak if you’re looking for a complete hands on experience, or maybe think about hopping into an oar boat if you’re more interested in sitting back to take it all in. Whatever your vessel of choice, we’ll see you downstream! 


More Reading: 

So You’ve Rafted the Lower Animas, Now What?

So You’ve Rafted Moab, Now What?

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