FAQs

Since 1978, Sun Country Tours has been providing fun seekers like you with unforgettable whitewater rafting adventures on the beautiful rivers of Oregon. Answers to some of our most frequently asked questions are below. If you don’t see the information you’re looking for, please send us an email. See you on the river!

Is rafting dangerous?
Sun Country Tours has been operating on the beautiful rivers of Oregon since 1978, and we pride ourselves on the level of training we provide our team of professional guides. All Sun Country Tours guides have CPR and First Aid training, and many hold Advanced First Aid Certifications. Additionally, our guides go through our rigorous in-house Guide School to ensure they have the skill necessary to meet the demands of our rivers. Although we’ve never had a life-threatening injury occur on a Sun Country Tours trip, all outdoor activities possess inherent risks due to our natural environment. Although we do everything we can to minimize risk for our guests, they must accept some risk to participate in a guided raft trip.

Will I need to sign a waiver?
Yes. All Sun Country Tours guests who are 18 and older are required to sign a liability release waiver for themselves. Whitewater rafting guests under 18 are required to sign the liability release themselves, and also need a parent or guardian’s signature. We now have an electronic waiver to help streamline check-in procedures and save paper. Look for a link to the online waivers for everyone in your party on your confirmation email. Youth and school groups are encouraged to print the releases ahead so parents have the opportunity to read and sign the waiver for their child prior to the trip.

What should I wear?
We encourage you to dress for the weather. In warmer weather, shorts, a bathing suit, T-shirt and footwear that will stay on your feet work well. In cooler weather, clothes made of technical fabrics–not cotton–are a good idea. Synthetic fleece, lycra, capilene and wool are fabrics that will help wick moisture and keep you warmer. Regardless of the weather, bringing a pair of synthetic or wool socks and hat is a good idea. They can always be left in the van once you arrive at the put-in if the weather is warm enough. Also, we have splash gear available that provides a wind barrier, and helps keep you warmer and dryer. Splash pants and jackets are complimentary for both the McKenzie Magic and North Umpqua Premier trips. For other trips, splash gear is available for rental.

I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?
Sun Country Tours outfits all guests with Coast Guard-approved, Type V Personal Flotation Devices (also called life jackets), which provide buoyancy for floating through whitewater. Not having a fear of the water is more important than having the ability to swim. 

Who can go rafting?
Kids of all ages, from six years old to 106 years young. If you are looking for a splashing good time, come rafting with Sun Country Tours. We are all about family fun!

What can a child under 6 do while the rest of the group goes rafting?
Central Oregon is a haven for families with young children, and activities for them abound. If you will be staying in Bend, or coming to Bend from another nearby town, you can check out Kiddoz, Inc. and Bouncing Off the Walls for activity schedules. If you are staying in Sunriver, check with the Sunriver Resort about Fort Funnigan, and the programs they have available for small children. For other options, you can check this directory from a local parenting magazine, or contact this local nanny service.

Do I need any experience?
No. All Sun Country Tours trips are professionally guided. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know to ensure a fun and safe trip.

What do the “Classes” mean?
Whitewater rapids are classified on a scale of one to six using Roman numerals. Class I and II rapids are very mild, and we sometimes refer to them as riffles. Class III are intermediate rapids, and Class IV, V and VI are rapids requiring advanced skills.

How fit should I be to go rafting? Is it Strenuous?
We offer a range of whitewater rafting trips, from our Big Eddy Thriller and All Day Adventure on the Lower Deschutes, both of which require less active paddling, to our McKenzie Half Day and North Umpqua Premier trips, which require consistent paddling throughout the trip.

Can I still go rafting if I have a medical condition such as allergies, joint or back problems?
If you have a medical condition you think may impact the enjoyment of your trip, our advice is to ask your doctor if participating in a rafting trip makes sense for you.

What are my chances of falling out of the raft?
While there is a chance of falling out of the raft into the river, Sun Country Tours guides do everything they can to prevent it. However, many times, those who do fall out recount the experience as the highlight of their rafting adventure. The best way to prevent falling out, though, is to listen to your guide, both when they explain how to brace yourself while traveling rapids, and also what to do if you fall out.

Can I go rafting if I am pregnant?
Sun Country Tours has no policy prohibiting pregnant women from rafting, however we highly discourage it. Doctors usually recommend that you continue engaging in activities that are familiar to you, and since rafting is not a regular activity for most people, we advise against it. While guests falling from our rafts into the river is uncommon, it does occasionally happen, and there are rocks in the river that swimmers might come into contact with.

Can I bring my camera?
Unless you own a waterproof camera, you should probably leave it in the car. We recommend waterproof disposable cameras, which are available in the Sun Country Tours shop, as they survive the trip as well as take decent pictures. Additionally, we provide photographers for the Big Eddy Thriller, McKenzie Half Day and North Umpqua Premier rafting trips, so you’ll be able to purchase photos of your group navigating the rapids. There are several photo services available for the Lower Deschutes All Day trip as well.

Should I tip our guide?
Tips are always appreciated, but never expected by our guides. Sun Country Tours guides are paid a highly competitive rate to guide you safely down our rivers, and entertain you as our guest along the way. We are known for our experienced guides and excellent customer service, and if you feel your guide exceeded even those expectations, your tip will be greatly appreciated.

Does Sun Country discriminate against anyone who wants a guided trip?
We value all guests, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. “In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”