What to Wear Rafting

What To Wear on the River 2You’ve booked a trip of a lifetime—a white water trip on the mighty rivers of Utah, Colorado or Idaho. Now you’ve got to figure out what to wear when rafting. You’re going to want to pack light and for a mix of weather. It will be hot and it could get cold. And it might rain.

OK, so the weather in the remote Southwestern wilderness can be unpredictable. But with a little planning, packing will be no problem. Obviously, you’ll need a swimming suit because you’ll be getting wet while riding down the whitewater. Plus, you’ll definitely want to jump in the river during the calm stretches.  Bring a quick-drying travel towel, along with a quick-drying cover up like a sarong or swim shirt to protect yourself from the sun.

Speaking of sun: Bring a hat, sun glasses with a safety strap (so you won’t lose them in the river), sunscreen and a reusable water bottle.Even if you don’t plan to swim in the river, there’s a good chance you’ll get wet while rafting. Which is why you’ll want to bring 1 or 2 pairs of quick-drying shorts and t-shirts.

Cooler Temperature Considerations

Cool Temperature ConsiderationsDepending on where you are rafting, nighttime temperatures can drop to the 40s. Pack a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, along with a fleece jacket with a wind/rain resistant shell. Medium-weight synthetic long underwear for sleeping is optional.

When it comes to shoes, you’ll want dry and wet ones: Dry sneakers or light hiking boots (along with a couple pairs of synthetic socks) for camping and the optional hikes scheduled between rafting times; and shoes to get wet while rafting, like water sport shoes.

Even though the majority of river trips take place in the heat of the summer, there’s a chance you could be rafting in the cold, or during the shoulder seasons, including May, June September and October.

So what do you wear when it’s cold? Definitely avoid wearing cotton because it takes forever to dry and you will just end up wet and shivering. Instead, look for fleece or brands like Smartwool and Capilene for inner and outer wear. Consider a stocking cap and gloves made of lightweight and synthetic material.

What Holiday Provides

Holiday River provides guests with two waterproof bags to carry all your gear: A 16” x 2” bag for sleeping gear and clothes and a smaller day bag you can access on the raft during the floats. That’s where you’ll want to keep your cover-up, hat and a rain jacket if the skies spell rain, along with a water bottle and sunscreen.



Heather MayHeather May’s first white water rafting trip was the Gates of Lodore with Holiday River Expeditions and she can’t wait to return. She’s an award-winning journalist based in Salt Lake City. She covers travel, food and health for a variety of publications. You can connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/heathermayslc

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