The Difference Between Rafting and Kayaking

The Difference Between Rafting and Kayaking

Rafting and kayaking are both ways you can use to paddle down a river and go through river rapids. There are some differences though between these two modes of river boating. For one thing, kayaking allows you to move at a greater speed than rafting does, and it lets you go out alone should you want to. A kayak is a boat that has the shape of a canoe in which you use double bladed paddles to move the water, in a forward to backward motion so as to propel yourself through the water. In comparison to a kayak, a raft is an inflatable boat that does not have a canoe shape; a raft is also much bigger in size than a kayak.


In a kayak you can easily reach both sides of your boat since it is essentially a canoe. A raft has a group of people that sit and paddle their way down a river, while a kayak has only one or two people in the boat. A raft can have from two to 10 people in it and has the advantage of there always being somebody else present if something goes wrong. If the person is a solo kayaker, then they face more danger if no other kayakers are around, however there is always someone else present in a raft who can seek help in an emergency. Rafting is safer for this reason and it is safer because the boat does not move as fast as the streamlined kayak does. Kayaking is thus considered a more extreme sport.

People also sit differently in a raft versus a kayak. In a raft people often sit on benches with their knees bent while in a kayak people sit on the bottom of the boat and usually have their legs stretched out in front of them. There is important safety gear that one must wear regardless of if you are traveling down a river by kayak or by raft.


Both rafting and kayaking can be used for whitewater boating where people travel down rivers and try to safely pass through rapids, which can be fast flowing, rough water. Rafting is a safer way to introduce children to river boating since the boat moves slower. If there are a group of people in a raft, then they do have to be careful to position themselves so as to evenly distribute the weight, else the raft will very quickly tip over. If you want the experience of traveling down river with a group of friends, then rafting is probably going to be your choice. Kayaking is more for the person who wants to travel on their own or just with one other person.

Both types of boats have their advantages and disadvantages and it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and make sure you have the required knowledge and information before embarking on one of these adventures. You also need to have good knowledge about the river you are traveling down so that you can keep yourself safe.