Kayak and raft ubaye

What are the differences between Kayaking and Rafting?

The difference between kayaking and rafting in Barcelonnette

How to differentiate Kayaking from Rafting? 

Your next sporting escapade is on the horizon, but one question persists: how to differentiate Kayaking from Rafting? Yes, when you are a novice, it is not easy to understand what distinguishes these 2 water sports. To help you choose between these activities, we have listed no less than 5 differences between Kayaking and Rafting. 

Equipment and boat

Inflatable kayak Marseille


First difference and not the least: equipment and boat in herself. THEkayak is presented in the form of a narrow and streamlined boat. It can be designed for 1 to 2 kayakers, or even more in competition. This boat is generally made of plastic, fiberglass or composite materials to provide both lightness and durability. It is propelled using a double or single paddle, depending on the paddler's preferences, the type of river and the morphology of the boat. There is something for every taste !



Rafting, for its part, is a inflatable raft, much larger than the kayak and generally made from PVC, a robust material resistant to the obstacles of the river. These boats can accommodate up to 8 or 10 people and are propelled using single paddles. They are equipped with handles and ropes for stability and maneuverability in rough waters like those of Ubaye. Also on board is a experienced guide who directs the raft and ensures everyone's safety. Speaking of experienced professionals, have you met our Crazy Water team

The browsing experience 

Second notable difference between kayaking and rafting: the browsing experience. The feeling of sailing in a kayak is often described as an intimate experience with water. These boats being small size and handy, paddlers can skillfully navigate through rapids and obstacles and feel every movement of the water until they become perfectly one with this element. Tempting isn't it? They allow a direct interaction with currents, waves and rapids. Each paddle stroke influences the direction and speed of the kayak, providing an immersive and challenging experience. 

The raft, a larger and more stable boat, offers collective experience. Opting for this activity is the promise of enjoying a unique social dynamic, ideal for groups and families. The paddlers, perched on their inflatable tubes, are in less direct contact with the water and can have an adventure more detached from the elements, without losing sensations. 

👉 Read also : Rafting Ubaye or Durance? 

The technical level required

The technical level required for kayaking is not the same as that required for rafting. In view of the differences already mentioned, you will undoubtedly have understood that the kayaking generally requires a higher technical level than rafting. This activity requires a good coordination as well as a paddle mastery. To this is sometimes added the need to know how to read the river to anticipate currents and obstacles. The most experienced kayakers should definitely master skimming in other words, being able to turn the boat over after capsizing, and all this, without leaving their seat.

Rafting is considered a more accessible sport. On board this boat, even beginners can tackle the turbulent waves of the Ubaye river. The raft is led by an experienced guide. Participants therefore do not need to master advanced navigation techniques. The reading of the river, the direction and coordination of the team rest largely on the guide. Rafting is ideal for anyone looking for a white water sports and fun activity without having to invest a lot of time in learning specific skills. 

The intensity of the adventure

These two activities also differ in terms of intensity. The kayak can provide an experience more intense and personal. These boats are often used on a wider variety of waterways. You can navigate both a calm river and turbulent class IV and V rapids. Whatever your skill level, you are directly confronted with the forces of nature and refuel adventure and thrills.

Less individual and less technical, rafting can also offer moments of intense adrenaline. By opting for this type of boat, you will have access to class IV and V rapids that you certainly couldn't have kayaked down. You will be accompanied by a river expert and will only have to exert yourself in enjoying the sensations offered by the rough waters and the beauty of the landscapes.

👉 Read also : Rafting in the Hautes-Alpes: the best spots to considerr

The cost

In general, kayaking is often more accessible in terms of cost. Individual kayaks are generally less expensive to purchase or rent than rafts, and many rivers are accessible experienced kayakers who wish to travel independently.  

Rafting will be more suitable for those looking for a guided and safe experience. Many companies offer rafting trips at reasonable rates, making it a attractive option for beginners and groups.

Although different, kayaking and rafting have at least one thing in common, that of offering you a unforgettable and sensational experience surrounded by nature. You are now familiar with each of these activities, which of them will appeal to you? 
If despite this information you remain undecided, know that Crazy Water offers you the opportunity to discover the Kayak-Raft (Hot Dog) and the PackRaft, the perfect compromise between these 2 activities.

Caroline Aalbers
Caroline Aalbers
Wat een geweldige ervaring, raften over de Ubaye! Prachtige natuur, mooie afwisselende tocht (inclusief zwemmen en in het water springen!) en geschikt voor elk niveau. Onze kinderen (6 en 9 jaar) hebben een super eerste raft ervaring gehad, mede dankzij onze leuke en goede gids. Ze willen zeker nog een keer :-)
Ziga Budja
Ziga Budja
Wonderfull family rafting experience. Just a little bit too much for my sensitive eight year old, but great overall. The river is beautiful with nice surroundings. The guide was excellent (forgot his name 🙄) and the whole team was very nice. The trip down the river took about one and a half hour with some stops. If you visit this place, your're not gonna be sorry! 👍🏻
Un lieu calme et agréable, accueillit par une équipe sympathique. Mise à disposition du barbecue pour le repas du midi avant le rafting. Tout est là pour votre bonheur.
Jerome Henry
Jerome Henry
Merci @CrazyWaterRafting pour les moments géniaux en famille. Nous avons fait rafting, rando aquatique et kayak avec 2 adultes et 2 ados : génial !! Guides super sympa, très pro, Contrairement à ce que l'on entend a la télé, le niveau d'eau dans cette rivière et plus que suffisant pour s'éclater ! Nb: la rando aquatique n'est pas très connue mais super aussi, descente de la rivière en nageant, dans un secteur plus calme que celui pour le rafting. Explication sur la nature, superbe paysages, surprise à la fin... Encore merci. Jérôme, Caroline, Charlotte et Manon.
Shameer Habibi
Shameer Habibi
Really fun, and a really good guide! Overall amazing
Melanie Macias
Melanie Macias
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Lorenzo Van Loon
Lorenzo Van Loon
We did two descents, one by raft and one by kayak, both with Julien as a guide. He seems totally crazy when you first meet him, but he was a great guide and made our day. Really spectacular river, with a lot of rapids and great views. We got out of the boats to swim a bit in one of the rapids and they took us to a rock where we could jump in to the water. Julien and the crew of Crazy Water are real professionals, but in for a laugh and a joke. A pity we could'n do the 'sport' descent, because of bad weather. But we sure come back. One remark; their 'bar' is quite empty, so make sure to bring your own drinks and food if you're planning to stay for a day.
verriez virginie
verriez virginie