Whitewater Rafting Trip Checklist


  • FULL COURSE MEALS: lunch the first day through lunch the last day
  • DRINKS: ice water, lemonade, 1 soda/person/day-popular mixes of regular & diet

Day bag (10” diameter × 22” high) is for items you’ll need during the day. Camp bag (16” diameter × 28” high) is for sleeping gear & clothing. When properly sealed, bags are usually waterproof. If you have concerns, test your bags. We provide separate storage for tents, tent poles, hiking poles, & personal beverages. Please remember to keep your gear light & compact (no more than 15–20 lbs). The less you bring, the happier you will be.


  • *CUP (for morning hot drinks and/or evening cocktails; plastic mugs work well)
  • *WATER BOTTLE (not in rental)
  • SLEEPING BAG (compact and warm)
  • SLEEPING PAD (compact: must fit in the bag described above)
  • LIGHT, LOW-PROFILE TENT (backpacker style, not bulky, heavy, or high profile)
  • PONCHO/RAIN SUIT (high quality, especially important for Yampa, Lodore, Desolation, and all early-season trips)

You can rent most of the items listed above in our Rental Sleeping Kit. We offer two varieties: our basic sleeping kit, which consists of a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, small pillow, rain gear, & plastic mug (yours to keep!) for $50.00, or the same basic sleeping kit plus a spacious two-person tent for $75.00. Rentals must be reserved in advance, especially for San Juan trips, where we meet away from our headquarters. Water bottles & plastic mugs are available for purchase in our stores in Green River and Vernal. Water bottles are not included in the rental kits.


  • *SHIRT(S): short-sleeved, cotton, i.e. T-shirts
  • *SHIRT(S): long-sleeved, quick dry for sun protection
  • SHORTS: quick drying
  • LONG PANTS: quick-dry for sun protection, warm/comfy for night time
  • SHOES: one pair to keep dry for camp/hiking (i.e., durable sneakers or light-weight hiking boots); one pair to get wet while rafting (i.e., closed-toed water shoes or sandals/sneakers that will stay on your feet if you are swimming)
  • *HAT: for sun protection, with strap
  • *SUNGLASSES: with retaining strap
  • SOCKS: cotton and/or synthetic or wool
  • TAMPONS/ZIPLOC BAGS: 1 bag per day
  • *TRAVEL TOWEL: quick-drying
  • MEDICATIONS: aspirin/ibuprofen/acetaminophen and/or personal prescriptions
  • WARM JACKET: fleece-lined or insulated with wind/rain resistant shell
  • *SUNSCREEN: SPF 15 or higher (Pro tip! If you bring spray sunscreen, please be considerate of your fellow passengers and guides and do not spray it where others can breathe it in.)
  • *CHAPSTICK: with sunscreen
  • HAND LOTION: non-fragrant
  • *BIODEGRADABLE SOAP: available at outdoor specialty stores (Dr. Bronner’s, Campsuds, or Ivory soap)
  • TISSUES: small travel pack
  • STUFF SACK: to organize inside of large dry bag or keep wet/dry clothes separated (i.e., pillow case or plastic bags)
  • *INSECT REPELLENT: DEET works best (Pro tip! Bring lightweight, long-sleeved pants and shirts and spray the repellent on the clothing instead of your skin. Sarongs are also great for keeping bugs off your head and shoulders.)
  • *FLASHLIGHT or HEADLAMP WITH RED LIGHT SETTING: small with extra batteries (Pro tip! Our eyes are remarkably adapted to see in the dark, but white LED lights wreck that night vision and make it harder for you and everyone else to see the stars. Red lights preserve night vision and attract fewer bugs.)
  • FACE MASK: although not currently required, face masks are advised during van transportation. Due to government agencies’ ability to alter requirements at any time, we ask that you have a face mask on hand in the event that they become required.


  • *SARONG (Pro tip! Sarongs are good for EVERYTHING! Get them wet and they’ll keep you cool. They make great personal shade devices for hikes and sitting on rafts, and are good for extra bug protection. Wrap them around your waist for a discreet personal changing room. Use them as a towel. Lie on them on the sand. The list goes on!)
  • WARM LAYERS: long underwear tops and bottoms (wool or synthetic), especially for early- or late-season trips
  • FISHING GEAR: compact and well protected (i.e., rods packed in a case)
  • CAMERA (at your own risk): extra memory cards, batteries, and waterproof case
  • BINOCULARS (at your own risk)
  • GROUND CLOTH for sleeping under the stars
  • EXTRA BEVERAGES (no glass please): liquor, boxed wine, canned beer, specialty pop, juice, etc. Labeling individual cans makes it easy for us to find your drinks after we pack them in our coolers. (Pro tip! Plan to buy your beer, liquor, or wine BEFORE arriving in Green River/Vernal. Utah liquor stores have limited selections (Green River’s has no wine) and irregular hours. Some beer may usually be purchased at convenience and grocery stores. Special note for San Juan trips: Blanding is a dry town; they do not sell alcohol at all.)
  • EXTRA SNACKS: for small children and people with dietary concerns or health issues such as diabetes
  • *RIVER MAP: to see where you’re going.
  • COVID PRECAUTIONS: rapid test, personal hand sanitizer, and/or personal sanitizing wipes

THINGS NOT TO BRING ON YOUR TRIP: personal watercraft (e.g., SUPs, kayaks, pack rafts) without prior approval from our office, glass-bottled beverages, radios, speakers, firearms, pets, and large amounts of cash beyond what you’ll want for your guide’s gratuity. Do not bring expensive jewelry, watches, or electronics (i.e., cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.). If you do choose to bring a cell phone for taking pictures, we strongly suggest getting a waterproof/shockproof/floating case (and to put it in airplane mode to save battery). WARNING: In the event of a loss—regardless of fault—our insurance will not cover these expensive items. If you do decide to bring any of the above items along with you to the meeting point for your trip, the most secure location to leave them behind would be at your hotel in their safe or locked up in the trunk of your vehicle. As a last resort we have a non-secure location at our headquarters (except for San Juan trips), but we cannot assume responsibility for these items.

EARLY OR LATE SEASONS SUPPLEMENTS (May, June, and September on all trips.)

  • *WARM STOCKING CAP: wool or synthetic
  • WETSUIT BOOTIES or NEOPRENE SOCKS: optional, replaces/augments water shoes
  • WARM GLOVES or PADDLING GLOVES: lightweight, wool/synthetic, or neoprene
  • INSULATED OUTERWEAR: warm/water-resistant jacket and pants
  • LONG UNDERWEAR: tops and bottoms, medium weight, wool or synthetic (fleece)

There is a greater chance of inclement weather on early and late season trips, but a well-prepared river traveler will still be able to appreciate the many advantages of these trips. Having the right clothing is essential. Wool, fleece, Capilene, and Smartwool are natural and synthetic fabrics that retain their ability to insulate when wet (please note: cotton will not keep you warm when it is wet). Adding to these inner layers with good rain- and wind-resistant jackets and pants will keep you warm, dry, and, most importantly, happy. Your comfort on the trip starts with finding the right type of wool/synthetic under- and outerwear and quality rain gear. We recommend evo.com for your additional river trip needs. They offer a wide variety of gear to help you dress for success while on your river trip. A prepared traveler is a happy traveler. Some items can be purchased from Holiday’s online store or at evo.com.

* = last-minute items you can buy at our Green River and Vernal headquarters, the meeting points for our Cataract, Westwater, Desolation, Lodore, and Yampa trips (not San Juan trips).