The Worst Gear for Rafting Trips

Mar 17, 2014

The Worst Gear for Rafting Trips

A River Guide’s Primer on the Cheap and Unnecessaries for Rafting Trips

It’s been said before – don’t bring your cell phone on the river. There are plenty of other things we see that don’t make for good choices either. Here’s some advice on the worst gear for rafting trips. (Don’t be that guy with the poncho…)

Plastic Poncho

Don’t bring an over-the-head plastic poncho for a week-long whitewater rafting trip. It won’t keep you dry when it’s been raining for 2 days, and we can’t get you a replacement. You can’t hike well in it and it doesn’t fit snug under a PFD. It will get snagged on brush as you walk and it won’t keep out the wind.

What you need is Velcro wrists, a zipper, and a hood. You need quality to be comfortable.  Because that’s the thing about being outside in the backcountry…sometimes it rains.

Spend some time and money on a decent rain jacket. Ensure that it fits well with a few layers of wool or synthetic underneath. Plus, you get the added benefit of more color choices to compliment your eyes – periwinkle anyone?

Croakies eyewear for river rafting

Naked Sunglasses

Croakie-free eyewear will only make you sad, and a little blind, should you get that extra-big splash in the face while rocking the inflatable kayak, sending your glasses to the bottom of the river. I’ve seen a few on-river duct tape jury-rigs, but it’s far better if you just come to the river with Croakies or Chums. They only cost a few dollars and are easy to attach.

They are better than squinting into the sun and frowning  for three days because your glasses are swimming with the fish.

Cotton socks

Ok, you can have one pair for around camp. But even then we would prefer you have wool or synthetic. You need to have comfortable feet. And cotton won’t keep you dry and warm in the wet and wind.

Lipstick and Liner

We lady river guides won’t be wearing any mascara or concealer.  Yes, even if we get a zit. We deal.  There will be no job interviews riverside, there aren’t any blind dates or formal occasions.  (Though I have seen a few guides sporting sparkly 80’s sequin dresses with shoulder pads and ruffles. But I digress.)

That being said, nail polish is encouraged – the more obnoxious the color, the better. If you forget your favorite fuchsia, don’t worry, a lot of guides carry their own. Why? Well, why not?

Painting toes on a whitewater rafting trip

Glass Bottles

Often times we guides have places on our boats to stash glass bottles at the start of a trip. We prefer, though, if we don’t have to worry about them endangering our rigs.

Put your top-shelf liquor or bottom-shelf wine in a plastic or steel bottle.

We don’t want broken glass in our inflatable rafts or on the beaches and you stand a better chance of having some scotch or pinot noir available for the last night’s delicious steak dinner.

 

Related Articles:

Early Season River Rafting: Layering 101

Top 5 Gear Essentials for a Rafting Trip

What Not to Bring on a Rafting Trip (Ever)

 

Codye Reynolds
Codye is a river guide of 13 years and freelance writer. She revels in starry skies, wild rivers, water ouzel watching, and working in canyon country. She hails from Durango, Colorado, rows Idaho rivers in the summer, and spends the winter months in Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, her old car has a lot of miles on its speedometer.