If you are joining a commercial outfitter for a rafting trip, you have a shorter list of water rafting essentials “to bring” than if you are on a private trip. Typically, a professional whitewater rafting outfitter will provide food and drink, all rafting safety equipment, etc., that you may need during your trip. On a commercial trip, think of the items you’ll need to bring as belonging to one of three categories – water rafting gear to wear on the river, things to wear after the trip, and rafting essentials to take in the raft.

Group of people standing together in whitewater rafting gear

Wear on the River in Warm Conditions:

  • Quick dry shorts/tights/bathing suit
  • Light, synthetic shirt for warmth and sun protection
  • Sturdy footwear – sandals with straps (Teva, Chaco, Keen, no flip-flops)
  • Hat with brim to protect face from sun
  • Sunglasses with retainer strap
  • Avoid cotton clothing – cotton can get cold even on a warm day

Wear on the River in Cool/Cold/Rainy Conditions:

  • Important! Eliminate all cotton items, as cotton gets cold when wet…
  • The outer layer of a windproof and waterproof jacket
  • The outer layer of windproof and waterproof pants
  • Thin, snug, warm hat if very chilly
  • Synthetic or wool socks
  • Sturdy footwear and wetsuit boots
  • Synthetic long sleeve shirt(s) layers (Dri-Fit)
  • Synthetic long underwear/tights for legs
  • Rent a wetsuit from the Outfitter

Do Not Bring on the River:

  • Wallet/cash $
  • Phone unless in an approved waterproof case that attaches safely to lifejacket
  • Car keys
  • Poor footwear such as flip-flops

Wear/Bring After the Trip:

  • Set of dry clothes, shoes and socks – warmer gear if cool temperatures after trip
  • Bag for wet clothes

Rafting essentials to take in the Raft:

  • Small tube of sunscreen that fits in a pocket
  • Water bottles – preferably with carabiners to attach to raft
  • Snacks, if not provided by outfitter

Optional whitewater rafting gear to take in the Raft:

  • Small tube of sunscreen that fits in zipper pocket
  • Pre-packaged snack, if not provided by outfitter (Energy bar)
  • Phone in an approved waterproof case that attaches safely to lifejacket
  • For Photos/Video – Go Pro (rent from Outfitter or bring your own)

Article by Frank Mooney, Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting ownership family

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