By: Jenny Willden

Taking a guided river trip with Holiday River Expeditions means skipping the hassle of planning meals, renting rafts, and more. But that doesn’t mean you can simply show up empty-handed. You’ll still need to pack clothing and a few other essentials to ensure a stress-free trip. Here’s our list of suggestions for the gear you might need for your guided river expedition.

1.Bug Resistant Clothing-

Mozzie Style Mesh Mosquito Jacket– Some rivers are notorious for bugs in the summer months (we’re looking at you Gates of Lodore). Protect yourself without overheating in this mesh jacket that keeps flying insects out. Works without chemicals and is breathable enough to prevent overheating.

Olive NRS Sunshirt Justin2. UV Protective Clothing-

NRS – Shield yourself from the sun with a shirt from the NRS UPF 50+ Sun Protection line. There are plenty of Men’s and Women’s options (even a dress!). This high-rated material protects sensitive skin, is quick-drying, and cools you off during the hot summer days if you get it wet.

3. Water Shoes-

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Astral Loyak– Sandals may seem like the ideal river shoe, but we love these water sneakers to protect your toes and keep bugs from biting. The grippy outsole is perfect on slippery raft surfaces and the self-draining Flex-Grip™ dries fast when the day is done. Made with burly canvas uppers and ventilated mesh that protect your feet against anything.

4. Hiking Shoes –

Vasque Satoru– Once the paddling is done, explore around camp with lightweight hikers designed to grip on sandy surfaces. As Vasque’s lightest-ever shoe, it offers support without taking up too much space in your bag.

5. Camp Slippers –

Glerups Rubber Sole– Cool river nights call for cozy slippers designed to slip on without socks. Rock them on the beach thanks to a supportive outsole, and keep your feet warm and comfortable inside the wool bootie all night long.

6. Face Wipes-

Ursa Major Travel Wipes– Don’t let river camping ruin your skincare routine. Instead, pack these all-natural wipes that cleanse, hydrate, and refresh skin without a sink. The wipes remove dirt and sunscreen accumulated during the day so you’ll feel less dirty, even when you’re skipping showering.

7. Camping Mug-

Enjoy your morning coffee with our signature coffee cup! Purchase one of these at our store before your trip, or find your complimentary one when you rent a sleeping kit.

8. Sunscreen-

Sun Patch– You likely know to bring sunscreen, but there’s a new way to protect your skin this summer. Try sunscreen patches that offer the only peel-and-stick UPF+ silicone sunblock on the market. It’s a stylish option that also keeps burns at bay.

9. Bug Spray-

Broken Top Lemon Citronella Repellent Stick– Repel insects naturally with this stick made with fresh lemon and citronella. apply to pulse points like the neck, wrists, inside of elbows, and back of knees to ward off insects without harmful chemical repellent.

10. Camp Lantern –

Biolite AlpenGlow 500– Turn your riverside camp into a zen space or party place with this rechargeable lantern that changes from hot pink to cool blue at the press of a button. Use it to charge your smartphone for photo opportunities, or dim it for use as a cozy nightlight in your tent.

11. Towel-

Nomadix Ultralight Towel– Sometimes Class V splashing is too intense and you need to towel off and get dry. Pack this ultralight towel in your dry bag for easy access on the water. It’s small enough to take up little space but is absorbent enough to actually get you dry.

12. Sun Hat-

Arcteryx Sinsola Hat– Bucket hats are back in a big way, and you can rock the look on the river while shading your face with this UPF 50 hat. It’s lightweight and breathable with a sturdy brim but can also be crushed completely to fit in a bag and pop back to its original shape.

13. Water Bottle –

Purist Founder Water Bottle– Insulated bottles are a must for hot river days, and we love Purist because its glass-lined bottles can be used for everything from hot coffee to cold beer without affecting taste. Each bottle is made of surgical-grade stainless steel, and the glass interior prevents any aftertaste, making it a versatile option when you only have room to bring one bottle along. It can also keep cold beverages cold for up to 12 hours, ideal when the summer sun is scorching.

Although these specific links come from personal suggestions, there are many variations of them all, to fit your needs!


Jenny Willden walking in the sand


Jenny Willden is a Salt Lake City native and the longtime managing editor of Utah’s Outdoor Sports Guide magazine. When she’s not exploring the world, you’ll find her snowboarding or summiting peaks in the Wasatch Mountains. Jenny’s adventure travel writing also appears in TripSavvy, Matador, Women’s Running, Park City, Sensi, and Trivago magazines. Read her stories at or follow her on Instagram @jenny.willden.