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River Rafting Packing List

Dressing comfortably and fashionably for overnight river trips requires a little advance planning. You will want clothes to wear on the river and in camp.

On the River

2+ Shorts or Swimsuits
2+ Shirts
Lightweight Wool or Polypro Shirt
River Shoes or River Sandals
Hat for Sun Protection
Sunscreen & Lip Balm
Water Bottle
Sunglasses with Strap

The Fair Weather BoaterRiver Clothes: For your daytime river outfit, you’ll want quick-drying clothes so that you don’t feel soggy all day. Wearing shorts with a lightweight long or short-sleeved shirt are great. Long-sleeves help prevent sunburn.

Some folks also like to wear long under bottoms under river shorts or capri-length pants to help keep sun off of their legs. I suggest light weight base layers as they can help keep your warm if it is chilly, but also are great sun protection that isn’t too hot.

River Shoes: Anything that will stay strapped to your foot and provide solid support for walking around on rocks will work. Our favorite river shoes are Astral Designs, Chacos, and KEEN Sandals.

Hat: A hat with a brim makes bright, sunny days more enjoyable. A wide brimmed hat with a chin strap is best for riding on the raft, and a baseball cap that fits under a helmet are perfect for paddling an inflatable kayak.

Underwear: For your base layer, men may want to wear swimming trunks. Quick-drying long underwear is great to have if you will be paddling an inflatable kayak. Ladies should wear non-cotton underwear or a swimsuit as a base layer with a sports bra.

Camp Clothes

Any clothes that you find comfortable at home are great for camp. Shorts and a T-shirt or a casual skirt or dress for women are great for warm summer evenings.

2 Shirts
2 Pairs of Pants, Shorts, Skirts, or Dresses
Warm Jacket
Rain Jacket and Rain Pants
Camp Shoes
2 Pairs of Socks
Headlamp or Flashlight

Clothing for camping on a river rafting tripFor cooler nights and mornings you may prefer to wear light-weight pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Long-sleeved camp shirts can also double as a shirt to wear on the river to help keep the sun off of your arms.

Warm Jacket: Even in the summer, evenings and mornings can be chilly. You’ll want to have a layer to wear around camp before bed and at breakfast. It often it takes the sun longer to hit some camps due to the large canyon walls. We ask that you bring a light-weight puffy jacket or warm fleece shirt.

Rain Gear: You never know if it’s going to rain, so bring a rainshell. This is also a great layer for colder temperatures. People will often wear rain pants to help keep the sun off their legs. Tops of knees are a common place for sunburn on the first day.

Camp Shoes: These could be another pair of sandals, hiking shoes, or sneakers. Anything that is comfortable, gives your feet a break from being in a wet river shoe, and protects your feet from rocks while walking around camp. For cold weather trips, our guide’s favorite camp shoe is the Muck Boot.

Hiking Shoes (Optional): Most people end up doing short day hikes in their river shoes. If you have a camp shoe that can double as a hiking shoe, you can save room in your bag.

Socks: I like to throw a few pairs of wool socks in my bag for wearing with sandals if my feet get chilly on the river, or to protect my skin when doing rocky and sandy hikes. I also love having a dry pair of wool or cotton socks to put on when I get to camp. My favorite wool socks are the light-weight ones from KEEN or SmartWool.

Cold Weather Gear (for Spring Trips)

For the majority of summer trips on the Rogue and the Middle Fork of the Salmon the weather is generally quite nice. If you get cold easily or the weather forecast is for cold and/or rain consider bringing some or all of the items below. For any trip in the spring cold weather is likely so please bring the following extra cold-weather gear to wear in camp and on the river.

Cold Weather River Clothing/Gear
Wetsuit and Paddle Jacket
2+ Shirts — Wool or Polypro
Pants — Wool or Polypro
Gloves — Wool or Neoprene
Socks — Wool or Neoprene
Cold Weather Camp Clothing/Gear
Beanie — Wool or Polypro
Gloves — Wool or Polypro
Socks — Wool or Polypro
Long Underwear — Wool or Polypro
Warm Pants
Thick Polypro/Wool or Puffy Jacket

What to wear on a cold weather rafting trip

Personal Items

Small Camp Pillow
Toiletries and Medications
Sunscreen & Lip Balm
Insect Repellent


Fun outfit for “dare-ware*” night
Camera or waterproof case for phone

How to Pack

Rafting Dry BagWe will provide you with a large dry bag. This bag is almost the size of a large bag and will need to hold your clothing, personal items, extra shoes, sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping pad. This dry bag seals all of your belongings inside from water and sand and will be strapped into the back of the gear raft each day. All of the tents are stored in separate tent bags.

Since the large dry bags are inaccessible during the day, we will also provide you with a “Day Bag.” This can hold things you may need to use during the day: a camera, sunscreen, an extra layer, etc. The day bags will be clipped into whichever raft or inflatable kayak you are in.

You can organize toiletries in ziplock bags. Keeping your clothes separate from your toothpaste and biodegradable soap will not only prevent messes, but it will make it easier to find things in your large bag when you get to camp. A plastic trash bag can be useful in keeping your dirty clothes separate from everything else.

Originally Published: | Updated on | Categorized under: Articles

Post Author

Emily Singletary

Emily grew up in South Carolina but the Appalachian mountains called her north, where she learned to kayak and fell in love with backpacking and all things outdoors. Now she is enjoying living and playing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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