Learn about the environments you intend to travel through and don’t just focus on the river. Look at a wide variety of maps and resources for the area and ideally seek local advice to get an update on the latest conditions and hazards
Knowing the nature of the type of river that you intend to paddle is critical. Is it a steep creek or large volume river, is it drop-pool in nature or continuous? Research not just the overall gradient of the river but also the peak gradient and historical river flow data.
Always think about the ‘what if?’ factors, particularly in regards to the potential weather conditions and always ask the question “Is walking out feasible and if so, how far and how hard is it likely to be?”
Consider all the access and exit options that exist and structure your trip so that you can adapt from Plan A to Plan B to Plan Z if needed