We are excited to welcome you to the water for your exciting whitewater rafting trip! Before you leave for your adventure, it’s important to double-check and make sure you have everything you need. Our packing list covers the essentials for all adventure trips, while this blog post delves into more detail about necessary gear for your half-day or full-day rafting trip. Read more about how to pack for your overnight rafting trip and about our river camping essentials.

October Rafting in Colorado

When you adventure with AVA Rafting & Zipline,  all of your necessary equipment is provided for you. Helmets, paddles, & PFD’s (Personal Flotation Devices) will be given to you at the outpost before you set off for your trip, and we’ll fit you with a wet suit and splash jacket.


The most important aspect of your rafting footwear is that your sandals or sneakers will stay securely on your feet. We recommend closed-toed shoes since it’s nearly impossible to lose one in the water.  Some open-toed footwear like Chacos will work as they are strapped on fairly tight, but skip the flip flops, crocs, and sandals.

Whatever is on your feet needs to be able to stay on your feet just in case you do go for a swim. Old tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting wet are usually the best option for those who don’t own water-specific shoes. We also sell water shoes at our outposts for those looking to invest in a pair of shoes for rafting or other water sports!

chacos on a stand up paddleboard


If you book a trip with AVA, we’ll provide a wetsuit and splash jacket to you free of charge so you don’t need to worry about staying warm and dry. The water in Colorado is cold year-round, so these are essential to keeping a smile on your face for the duration of the trip.

Whitewater Rafting Colorado

What’s just as important as a wetsuit and splash jacket, however, is the clothing worn under it.  A bathing suit and athletic shorts work great under this gear, as well as any synthetic athletic material like Under Armor or Nike Dryfit.  The main rule is to avoid cotton! Cotton will get wet and stay cold until you can take it off to let it air dry.  If you find yourself in the water at the beginning of your trip, the rest of the day will be a bit frigid. You’ll also want to make sure you pack a towel for after your trip, so you can dry off as soon as you return to the outpost.

Extra Accessories

We always recommend sunscreen, and for some river trips you may be in direct sunlight for hours. Sunglasses are beneficial, but be sure to have some Croakies so you don’t lose them to the river. (Croakies are the strap that attach to the back of your glasses keeping them securely in place!)

raft guide wearing sunglasses and hat

You don’t need to worry about a camera or phone, as our photographers document your river adventure, with pictures available for viewing and purchase after your trip. If you do love to document your own adventures, GoPros work best with a waterproof casing and solid mounts.

Man whitewater kayaking


To make sure no one gets hangry, we suggest bringing water and snacks. The rafts are limited in space for what can be brought onboard, but usually your guide will have a dry bag to throw some things in for you. You can also carry a water bottle with you if it has attachments that will let you secure it to the boat.

woman eating a sandwich

Now that you’re prepared and ready for your trip, we can’t wait to help you have the adventure of a lifetime. View all trips and book your adventure today!