There are a lot of moving parts that need to come together to make a perfect overnight river trip. Forgetting one important piece of gear can have severe consequences. We’ve put together a list of 5 essential things you need to have the best trip possible.
Sun Protection / First Aid Kit
For most overnight river trips you will be far removed from civilization and you need to be prepared for the elements. During the day, the sun will be on you at all times. Good sunscreen is required to protect yourself from harmful rays and bad sunburns. A wide brimmed hat is also a good idea for sections of river where helmets are not necessary, and sunglasses will help protect the reflection of light off the river. First aid kits are also necessary with help for emergency situations possibly being a few hours away.
Food, Snacks, & Water
You can’t raft on an empty stomach, and while paddling you are constantly burning calories. Snacks and food to keep energy levels up are required to feel good on any overnight trip. Water is also a necessity. Carrying water is not a bad idea, but many prefer having a water filter to cut down on weight of heavy water containers.
Lighter and Matches
Fire is key to the campsite. To cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner you will need a good fire. Lighters are easier to start fire, but many will become useless if they get wet, so having some waterproof matches as backup is a great idea. A good fire is necessary and will be the central gathering spot when not on the boat.
A good headlamp is always needed. When camping out there will be no light outside of the campfire. Many tasks will need to be taken care of during non-daylight hours such as setting up/taking down camp, unpacking/repacking up gear, and finding wood for the fire. Without a good headlamp these easy tasks can become quite difficult.
The Right Clothing
It is key to wear proper clothes while rafting. The first rule while paddling is do not wear cotton, it loses all insulated properties when it gets wet. Synthetic athletic materials like under armor work best while on the river. What you wear while rafting should not be what you wear at camp. A good fleece jacket paired up with some comfortable pants and shirts make hanging out at camp much more enjoyable. You must get out of your wet clothes to feel good and possible not freeze once you are done rafting for the day. Along with another set of clothes for the campsite another pair of shoes is always a good idea too. Whether sandals or closed toe shoes you need to get something dry on your feet as well.
When you book that overnight trip, be sure to double check your gear and make sure you have the essentials for a fun and safe trip that everyone will enjoy. If you still have some questions on what to pack, maybe our “What NOT to Bring on a Rafting Trip” blog will help.