Below is a summary of the international classification system of rafting river difficulty.
Class 1 Easy. Moving water with occasional small rapids. Few or no obstacles.
Class 2 Moderate. Small rapids with regular waves. Some manoeuvring required, but easy to navigate.
Class 3 Difficult. Rapids with irregular waves and hazards that need avoiding. More difficult manoeuvring required but routes are normally obvious. Scouting from the shore is occasionally necessary.
Class 4 Very difficult. Large rapids that require careful manoeuvring. Dangerous hazards. Scouting from the shore is often necessary and rescue is usually difficult. Kayakers should be able to roll. Turbulent water and large irregular waves may flip rafts. In the event of a mishap, there is significant risk of loss, damage and/or injury.
Class 5 Extremely difficult. Long and very violent rapids with severe hazards. Continuous, powerful, confused water makes route-finding difficult, and scouting from the shore is essential. Precise manoeuvring is critical and for kayakers rolling ability needs to be 100 percent. Rescue is very difficult or impossible, and in the event of a mishap there is a significant hazard to life.
Class 6 Nearly impossible. Might possibly (but not probably) be run by a team of experts at the right water level, in the right conditions, with all possible safety precautions, but still with considerable hazard to life.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Nepal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Nepal, two years on: why the time to go is now

Nepal, two years on: why the time to go is now

In April 2015, Nepal hit global headlines when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country, killing almost 9000 people. Two years on, Nepal continues to…

03 Jul 2017 • Daniel Stables insert_drive_file Article
Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country's sites

Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country's sites

"The only thing you could focus on was the fact that the earth was moving from side to side by about eight to ten metres." These are the words of Kathmandu resi…

07 Jun 2016 • Lottie Gross videocam Video
Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Every year, Hindus around the world celebrate Holi Festival: the festival of colours. The event attracts many non-Hindus to take part, too, with hundreds of p…

24 Mar 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook