Impeccable Gear

Rafts, Vans, Mountain Bikes, and Camping Gear

From custom-built rafts with handmade frames right down to each item that we pack into them, Holiday has spent more than 50 years focusing on the details. We know that gear matters. Clean, comfortable, safe, and stylish, every piece of gear is checked and double-checked before we take it out on the river or trail. Our packing system is thoughtful, efficient, and honed over years of trial and error: we even have custom-made square coffee pots because they fit better than round ones!

Perhaps the most important piece of gear that we don’t bring on river trips is a motor. Holiday is proud to say that we do not use motorized craft on any of the rivers we run. We believe that the best way to experience a river is to go at its own speed. It’s part of why our motto is “Go With The Flow”. A motor-less trip is just a better trip.

Oar Rafts

 

Holiday’s signature red-and-white, 18-foot, Maravia oar rafts carry an impressive amount of gear—everything we need to put the “cush” into camping. We design and build the frames and rigging ourselves for maximum efficiency and comfort. With over 50 years of experience, we have a pretty good idea of what works. Our design is the perfect combination of utility, security, and comfort. It’s exclusive to Holiday and without equal in the industry.

As a passenger, you travel comfortably with plenty of room to sit or stretch out while your guide rows you down the river. Our oar rafts can carry up to five guests, as well as all the food, camping, and safety equipment that make our trips a true vacation.

Inflatable Kayaks

 

Inflatable kayaks—or “duckies”, as we affectionately call them—are one-person crafts that allow you to explore the river and do a little playing and paddling on your own. They are a blast to paddle through rapids, adding excitement to even small- or moderate-sized rapids. On most trips we can bring a few along for guests to share on appropriate sections of the rivers.

Paddle Rafts

 

Our 15-foot paddle boats give guests a more “hands on” experience: the option of taking an active role in propelling a raft down the river and through rapids. Paddle boat participants must be in good physical condition, adventurous, and willing to get WET!

Paddle boats are offered on certain trips subject to water conditions and group interest. You need six to eight motivated paddlers to make a paddle boat fun! The nature of multi-day trips on Western rivers is that there are often sections of flat water, that is, water with slow current and no whitewater, which can be challenging in a paddle boat. Some of our trips (especially Lodore, Yampa, and Salmon River trips) are better suited to paddle boating than others. Speak to our reservation staff to see if a paddle boat is right for your trip.

Stand-up Paddleboards (SUPs)

 

Ideal for sections of calm water, SUPs offer a chance to get a little exercise and personal time. If the paddling doesn’t take your breath away, standing on water surrounded by surreal canyon landscapes will! We can take paddleboards on certain trips (Cataract and Westwater canyons are especially fun) depending on the interest of the group.

Mountain Bikes

 

Our mountain bikes are full-suspension Stumpjumpers by Specialized, a leader in the mountain bike industry. Our in-house bike mechanics keep our bikes in prime working order ready for you to jump on and go. Routine maintenance and frequent fleet turnover make for quality bikes, and quality bikes make for a great riding experience!

Passenger Vans

 

Although in this instance we might argue that the destination really IS more important than the journey, the trip from our warehouse to the start of your river trip matters too! We’ll get you there in comfort with our fleet of well-maintained, air-conditioned Ford and Chevy passenger vans. At the end of the trip, the same vans and our friendly drivers will be waiting to return you and your gear to our headquarters.

4×4 Vans

 

 

On our mountain biking trips, our specially outfitted four-wheel-drive Ford vans haul camping gear, food, water, kitchen supplies, cold drinks, and all the camping accoutrements you could ask for. This support van follows along behind the riders, leave you free to enjoy your ride unencumbered. Our custom-designed van water tank ensures that there is plenty of water for drinking as well as for solar showers.

 

Camping Gear

 

Once we float or ride into camp, it’s nice to know you’ll have a comfortable bed waiting for you. You’re welcome to bring your own camping gear or rent it from us. Our camping equipment is tried and true on river and trail, and is cleaned and inspected after every trip. Our Alps tents are roomy and we have both heavy and lightweight sleeping bags to offer depending on the time of year. Our sleeping pads are waterproof “Paco Pads” made by Jack’s Plastic: inch-and-a-half thick foam-filled mats that double as seat cushions on the rafts.

On river trips, we provide two personal Jack’s Plastic dry bags for each guest: one large bag for clothes, sleeping bags, and other camp gear, and one small bag for things you’ll want access to during the day on the rafts. And here’s a tip: we also provide a communal tent bag, so no need to cram your tent in with the rest of your camping gear! Check out this video for pro packing tips from our guides.

 

Kitchen

 

The Food Network has nothing on our riverside cooking show! Our expert guides double as a crack team of chefs and sous, preparing unbelievably good food in the most beautiful open-air kitchen you’ve ever seen.

Nearly everything you see in our kitchen is custom made in our own warehouse by our talented guides and staff: hand-welded stove-stands, tables that double as part of the boat frame; even our dutch ovens are custom built to our particular specifications. Every tool we use has been chosen for specific reasons, over a 50-year period, all in an effort to make our meals come out perfect for you!

Camp Circle

 

You’ll come for the wilderness, scenery, and adventure. You’ll leave with new memories and epic stories, and also new friends!

The nightly camp circle is your chance to get to know the people you’re on this adventure with. It’s where we talk about life and tell tales about the excitement of the day. It’s where you’ll get to enjoy gourmet meals, listen to live music, warm your feet in the sand, learn about the stars, or feel the heat from the campfire on your face. Not a social butterfly? There’s still plenty of beach and shoreline for you to wander your way into absolute and stunning solitude.

The Library Can

 

If your idea of a perfect vacation involves sinking into a good read, you’ve come with the right company! Our mobile library cans come with us on every trip and contain a number of excellent and enlightening literature choices. Guides who intimately know the river are a great resource, but an old-school library lets you delve even deeper into your canyon questions. Our selection of books was carefully curated by Dee Holladay, and more recently re-invigorated by our Interpretive Director, Susan Munroe. Each library contains specific resources for each river canyon or bike trip, and includes maps and books such as plant and animal guides, nuanced non-fiction, poetry, and other creative river writing.

El Baño

 

We always set up our “baño” (or toilet) in just the right spot: easy walking distance from camp, privacy, and a view unmatched by any restroom you’ve experienced before. Although you may have some trepidation about answering nature’s call on a camping trip, our system really isn’t too different from the original.

The baño consists of two portable toilets placed side by side, with seats much like yours at home. One toilet is for urine and the other for solid waste and toilet paper. For the majority of the trip, you can simply pee into the river (it’s the most effective way to prevent our liquid waste from contaminating the beaches and campsites), but for convenience at camp and at night we offer a dedicated urinal. This restroom setup is regularly checked by our guides, who keep it clean, sanitized, and stocked with toilet paper.

Hand Washing

 

When you reach the beach for lunch on the first day of your trip, one of your guides will give you a quick presentation on the hand wash system. Our guides follow strict food-handling protocols, and this includes everyone keeping their hands well-scrubbed.

We use biodegradable Camp Suds soap, and a two bucket system with a simple foot pump. One bucket holds sanitized river water, and the other waits to catch the run-off from your wash. With two separate hand washing stations (one at the baño, the other in the kitchen) there are plenty of opportunities to keep your hands clean and everyone on the trip healthy.

Camp Toys

 

We like to make sure our guests enjoy every minute of their trip, whether it’s on the boat or at camp. Of course, you can spend your time on land hiking, reading, or contemplating the surrounding landscape, but if you’ve got a competitive streak, we’ll provide plenty of game and toy options.

Every played ammo can tug-of-war? How about the flip flop game? Our guides can teach you their favorite games, or you can dig in to our bag of toys to find things like bocce balls, footballs, Frisbees, horseshoe sets, or washers. With the help of their oars and a little bit of rope, our guides have even mastered the art of building volleyball “nets” on the beach!