5 Things Everyone Should Bring on a Rafting Trip

5 Things Everyone Should Bring on a Rafting Trip

Thinking about what to bring on a rafting trip can be a little overwhelming. River guide Codye Reynolds reveals the items you’ll wish you had on the river…

A journal.

I’m a fervent journaler. I write in my journal at least twice a day. And when guests see me writing they oftentimes get a far-off look and say something like, “I used to journal… I always liked it… I wish I’d brought one…” And I usually tear out a few pages for them and lend them a pen. Sure enough a few days later they corner me on my boat, sheepishly asking for a few more pages. There’s something about wilderness that gets people to a creative, processing, or intuitive place. And they want to record that. Revelations are found by riverside. Allow yourself to record them, bring a journal.

A bigger water bottle, or two.

As of late I’ve seen a lot of tiny water bottles (16 oz. or so) on the river. Maybe you think they fit better in your bag than a 32 oz. bottle. Maybe in the city you aren’t much of a water drinker. Well that will change when you get here. It’s hot. And you’re being active, paddling IK’s, helping us unload boats, and hiking. One of the primary first aid treatments I have to administer is dehydration control. It’s easier to stay hydrated than to come back to hydrated. Help yourself from getting a headache. Help your spouse from having to deal with your potential surly dehydrated grumbling. Bring a BIG water bottle. Or two. And USE them.

Broken-in shoes.

It pains me to see people in pain. Somebody at REI told you these shoes are THE shoes for any rafting trip. So you got a pair for everyone in the family. But you didn’t put them on until the day of put-in. And now you’ve got blisters from the first side hike, even before lunch, on day one! Break those new shoes in before you get to the river. Wear them for a few days around the house before you get on the plane. Walk the dog in them. Wear them to Grandma’s and explain you are training your feet for the coming adventure. Save yourself the on-river foot pain.


That treat.

You know. It’s a bar of incredible 80% cocoa chocolate that you usually believe to be just too many calories. The bottle of Glenlivet 18 you usually deny yourself on the base of over-opulence. It’s that Cuban that’s been sitting in a cedar box in your office for months. Or that Inkblot Cabernet Franc. Now is the time to indulge. Bring them, it’s your adventure vacation. And as the concerned and helpful guide I am, I will make sure there’s a safe place for them to ride on my boat. (Really! I won’t even charge a holding tax or finder’s fee!)

Your favorite cotton piece.

SHHHhhhh! I know, I know. I’ve heard it too. “Cotton kills.” Generally I agree that synthetics and wool dry quicker, wick better, and keep you warmer. This is true for socks, long underwear, summer sun shirts, beanies, and fleece jackets. BUT. I have heard from multiple guests, upon seeing the guides in hoodies and skirts while making dinner say they wish they had brought a little cotton for camp. So go ahead, bring that super comfy summer dress, those perfect cotton shorts, or those yummy cotton pajama pants. Be comfortable. But also bring that practical wool sweater.


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