WOR Tips

The following collection of tips was submitted by our membership for those who are new to Week of Rivers. Many of these tips will help you be better prepared for any camping/paddling trip. Even old-timers should review this list (we are prone to become forgetful).

Paddling Tips

  1. Paddling everyday for several days may be something your body isn't accustomed to. Start stretching now if you don't already. There are videos for stretches for paddlers.
  2. Your gear is going to reach a new level of STINK! Bring extra if you can. Air dry it when possible.
  3. Label all your gear with permanent ink (Sharpies). Silver sharpies work on dark gear.
  4. Remember, we're all there to have fun. If someone has to pull you and your gear to shore every rapid, THEY'RE not having fun. If you step up to something harder than you've ran before, do so within reason.
  5. Be on time to meet your group de jour.
  6. Pay your way. If you ride with someone else help out with gas costs. GAS is expensive!
  7. Gas up your car the night before on the way back to camp (while you're getting ice.)
  8. The groups you will be paddling with may be large. Large groups travel slow. When you finally get on the road, don't drive fast to make up for lost time. It stays light until 9 pm so you don't need to hurry. Driving fast makes people nervous, it scares the locals and it could cause an accident. If you are driving a shuttle vehicle, the passengers and their loved ones are counting on you to get them safely, to and from, the river. Please take this responsibility seriously. I know I'm preaching to the choir but driving is the most dangerous part of this sport.
  9. Remember the "Big Five" MUST have items when you paddle (open boaters only have to remember 4). Make sure you have at least that when you get ready to leave the campground and when you leave for the putin (if you go to the takeout first).
    • boat
    • paddle
    • skirt
    • helmet
    • PFD
  10. While the “Big Five” will get you paddling, "The Fine Nine" should always be in your gear bag and boat.
    • Clothing Appropriate for the weather and possible weather change for the worst and fire starter
    • Shoes - (if you can not wear shoes in your boat you need a bigger boat). Don't stuff them in the back of your boat. They won't do you any good if they are stuffed in your boat when you go for a swim and get separated from your boat.
    • Floatation (Air bags) - If your boat is not worth $40 airbags, why should I try to capture a boat with 400+ lbs of water in it?
    • Food and Water - this should be obvious - and extra food and water
    • The Knows - (Yourself, Your Group, River, Weather, Evacuation Routes)
    • Shuttle Keys - A great way to influence paddlers it to lock their dry clothes and your keys in your car
    • Throw rope, Knife, carabineers, Prussic Loops, Webbing - (Swiftwater Rescue Training)
    • First Aid Kit, CPR Mask - (Wilderness First Aid Training)
    • Breakdown Paddle - (or be able and willing to hand paddle out)
  11. Use sunscreen
  12. Drink plenty of water ... especially if you drank plenty of beer the night before! :-)
  13. Don't forget vitamin K! AKA - kayaker candy, AKA –ibuprofen
  14. Paddling for several days in a row means your learning curve is going to shoot straight up!
  15. The Ocoee and Nanty will be PACKED with rafts. Do your rain dance….

Camping Tips

  1. Stake down your tent!! Stake down your canopy! Stake down your portable garage! Expect them to blow over anyway!
  2. Tarps don't hold up well in high winds. Yes, there will be high winds at Smoky Mountain Meadows (our WOR campground).
  3. If it can't get wet, either leave it at home or KNOW you have a waterproof container for it. A tent is NOT a waterproof container! A car might be.
  4. Clean up behind yourself at the water faucets!
  5. Don't leave trash behind when you leave your campsite! Your Mother DOES NOT work there!
  6. If you are tenting in the main field at Smoky Mountain Meadows, remember that it used to be plowed, and those furrows take years and years to truly disappear, which can make sleeping uncomfortable. Go buy a bale of straw at the hardware store on the way to Bryson City and spread it on the ground several inches thick under your tent. You can level out the low spots.
  7. Seam seal your tent ... and spray it with a water repellent.
  8. If your voice carries, and you're up laughing and carrying on beyond 10:00 PM, please carry your bag chair, adult beverages and your voice far away from your fellow campers.
  9. Bring/use earplugs - they reduce the sound of tent zippers in the middle of the night along with slamming port-a-john doors, dogs barking, the roosters down the street crowing before sunrise, errant 4th of July fireworks, diesel trucks heading out for a 6:00 a.m. breakfast, and the above-referenced folks who didn't move far enough away.
  10. Morning in the mountains means dew covers everything. Translation - everything that isn't inside your vehicle or your tent is going to be wet. And things inside your tent will probably be damp. Your feet will definitely get wet walking across the field in the a.m. They may rot after a few days.
  11. Ants can get inside your tent if you're not careful. And they bite.
  12. Do not use the bathroom stall as a changing room unless you are, um, "multi-tasking."