Guests who are just starting their vacation planning quickly find that with Hatch they have two main trip types to choose between: Motorized Expeditions and Oar Powered Expeditions. One of our most commonly answered questions is What are the main differences between these two?

For those of you in the early planning stages, you’ll need to choose whether you’d prefer to book a motorized trip or an oar powered trip before you can choose a date or make any other arrangements.

Motorized Trips

These trips take place on 35 foot long s-rig rafts. These rafts have a capacity of 16 passengers, but most commonly, we send them down the river in pairs with 29 guests between the two boats.

The layout of these boats is such that there are a variety of places for guests to sit depending upon the type of experience they want that day. The front of the boat is packed with all your camping gear in a large central “duffel pile.” Guests can sit all the way around that pile, using it as a backrest, in seating we refer to as “butts to the boards.” The very front of the boat has a few seats for guests who are eager to get up close and personal with the river—we call this area “the bathtub.” When in flat water, guests can ride on the side pontoons, so long as they are willing to jump back into the center when we come to a rapid. Finally, there is an area in the back of the boat (just ahead of the motor well where the guides stand to drive) called “the tea room.” In the tea room, guests sit on top of gear boxes facing the center of the boat and each other, making it feel like they’re having a nice little social visit.

2-boat motorized trips have 3 crew members between them—one guide driving each boat, and a “swamper” (an assistant guide) to help out with additional trip duties. Very occasionally, we will offer a 1-boat trip with 16 guests, one guide, and one swamper.

At around 8 mph, our motorized boats can travel roughly twice as fast as our oar-powered boats. They can complete a full canyon trip (188 miles from Lees Ferry to Whitmore Wash) in 7 days with plenty of time for side canyon adventures.

Through most of our season, we launch 2-3 full canyon motorized trips each week. If you’re picky about dates, make sure to book as close to the opening of our new calendar as possible. This is commonly around 18 months in advance. If you aren’t picky about dates and don’t have a large group, you can often find a trip within the same year you intend to travel, but to be safe, we recommend booking at least 1 year in advance.

Oar Powered Trips

These trips take place on a fleet of 18 foot long rubber rafts. These rafts can handle up to 6 people, but on a Hatch trip, it is typical for only 4 passengers to be aboard each one. Most commonly these trips have 6 passenger boats with one additional boat along to carry additional baggage.

There are limited places to sit on these crafts, with passengers getting to choose only between front and back. The guide sits in the center of the boat and rows. Gear is also stored toward the center of the boat.

Oar boats travel at roughly the same speed as the current—around 4 mph. They can complete a full canyon trip (188 miles from Lees Ferry to Whitmore Wash) in 12 days, while ensuring lots of opportunities to hike and explore Grand Canyon’s side canyon stops.

We commonly offer around 4 oar powered trips throughout our season. These fill up quickly after we open each year’s calendar in roughly chronological order (meaning our earliest oar trip in May generally fills first, while our late August and September trips book last). All of our oar trips are typically completely booked within a few months of when they become available, so we recommend you book as soon as you can. In most cases this is about 18 months in advance.

* * * * *

Once you’ve chosen whether to travel on an oar powered or a motorized trip, your first obstacle to making this dream vacation into a reality, but you’ll still have some additional choices to make. We’re happy to help you understand all of your options and what to expect from each. Our website has overviews of each trip, but if you still need some help figuring out which trip is right for you, call our office. We are happy to help you choose the best fit for your Grand Canyon rafting adventure!

Back to Blog Home