Whitewater Rafting Trip Checklist



  • LARGE WATERPROOF CAMP BAG: 16 inch diameter × 2 feet high (approx. 75 liters)
  • SMALL WATERPROOF DAY BAG: 8 inch diameter × 20 inches high (approx. 12 liters)
  • FULL COURSE MEALS: lunch the first day through lunch the last day
  • DRINKS: ice water, lemonade, juices, 1 soda/person/day (popular mixes of regular & diet)

Please remember to keep your gear light and compact. The less you bring, the happier you will be. Please limit gear to no more than 15–20 pounds.

* = last-minute items you can buy at our stores at our Green River and Vernal headquarters.

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

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, and plastic mug for $40.00; or, the same basic sleeping kit plus a two-person tent for $65.00.

Rentals must be reserved in advance, especially for San Juan trips, where we meet away from our headquarters.

Water bottles and 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)
  • *SHOES: one pair to get wet while rafting (i.e., closed-toes water shoes, or sandals/sneakers that will stay on your feet if you are swimming)
  • *HAT: for sun protection, with chin strap
  • *SUNGLASSES: with retaining strap
  • SOCKS: several pairs, 1 cotton, 2 synthetic or wool
  • *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.)
  • WARM JACKET: fleece- or pile-lined with wind/rain resistant shell
  • *CHAPSTICK with sunscreen
  • HAND LOTION non-fragrant 
  • *BIODEGRADABLE SOAP: available at outdoor specialty stores, or ivory soap
  • *INSECT REPELLENT: DEET concentrate in small bottles 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.)
  • TAMPONS/ZIPLOCK BAGS: 1 bag per day
  • *TRAVEL TOWEL: quick drying
  • MEDICATIONS: aspirin/ibuprofen/Tylenol and/or personal prescriptions
  • *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.)
  • TISSUES: small travel pack
  • STUFF SACK: to keep wet/dry clothes separated (i.e., pillow case or plastic bags)


    • (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
  • EXTRA BEVERAGES (NO GLASS PLEASE): liquor, boxed wine, canned beer, specialty pop, juice, etc.
    • (Pro tip: Plan to buy your beer, liquor, or wine BEFORE arriving in Green River or Vernal. The liquor stores in these towns have limited selection and irregular hours. Some beer can usually be purchased at convenience stores and grocery stores in those towns, but again, selection is limited. Special note for San Juan trips: Blanding is a dry town, meaning they do not sell alcohol at all.)
  • EXTRA SNACKS: for small children and people with dietary concerns or health issues such as diabetes
  • BINOCULARS (at your own risk)
  • GROUND CLOTH: for sleeping under the stars.
  • *RIVER MAP: to see where you’re going


Things not to bring on your trip: 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/floating case.

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 these 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 SEASON SUPPLEMENTS (May, June, and September on all trips)

  • *WARM STOCKING CAP: wool or synthetic
  • WETSUIT BOOTIES (optional, replaces water shoes) or NEOPRENE SOCKS
  • WARM GLOVES: lightweight, wool,  or synthetic, or PADDLING GLOVES
  • PILE OUTERWEAR: in addition to a quality jacket, synthetic pile pants
  • LONG UNDERWEAR: tops and bottoms, medium weight, wool or synthetic (fleece)


Although there is a greater chance of inclement weather on early and late season trips, a well-prepared river traveler will be able to appreciate the many advantages of these trips. Having the right clothing is essential. Wool, fleece, pile, 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 synthetic under- and outer-wear and quality rain gear. We recommend Gear.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 our online store: HOLIDAY RIVER STORE or at GEAR.COM.