What Essentials to Pack for an Overnight Rafting Trip
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What Essentials to Pack for an Overnight Rafting Trip

Two tents next to the river with the morning sun shining over the mountain in the background


The number one item to bring on a rafting trip besides your rafting gear is sunscreen. The sun’s intensity multiplies the higher in elevation and when it is reflecting off of the water. Because there are no showers on the river, we recommend bringing bathing wipes for the body and facial cleansing wipes for the face. Even though there will be a body of water for you to take a dip in, it is not a bathtub, and you cannot use soap in the river. Do not forget lip balm! Like I mentioned earlier, the sun is powerful, and your lips are not. Try to pack a lip balm with SPF. Finally, pack a hydrating moisturizer. The combination of sun and water on your skin can be harsh. You want to avoid dry, cracked skin at all costs.

Riverside campsite with tents, chairs, a table and rafts


A tent is a great addition to any camping trip and overnight rafting trips are no exception. During the summer, mosquitos and rain are no stranger. A tent is a perfect escape. If you are rafting in higher elevations, it will get cold even if it is the middle of summer. Packing a sleeping bag is a sure-fire way to ensure you will be comfortable and warm while sleeping. To make your camping setup even more comfortable, I recommend packing a sleeping pad. It is the worst waking up with a crick in your back from sleeping on a rock.

white, yellow, and blue dome tent near green hammock


The first piece of clothing that is essential on any rafting trip is quick-dry shorts. Quick-dry clothing will guarantee dry clothes when you need them. My favorite pair of shorts is the Freeflex Short by Kuhl. The polyester fabric makes these the perfect rafting shorts. While on the boat, you want to avoid anything that is cotton because of how well it holds moisture. The Freeflex shorts hold their shape when wet and have sun protection up to 50+. While doing an overnight rafting trip, you will be in the sun for long periods. The water that splashes up can remove the sunscreen you put on. That is why the second piece of clothing you need is a UPF shirt. If you are looking for an awesome UPF shirt, the Juniper tank by Kuhl clothing is the perfect piece. The polyester and spandex fabric makes it quick-drying and it offers sun protection up to 40+. The Juniper also comes in a long-sleeve style. The last essential clothing item you need to pack is wool socks. Wool socks keep your feet warm while wet and dry faster than cotton socks.

Black Freeflex shorts by KUHL with a red shirt


While on the river, you want shoes that will stay on your feet. I would highly advise you to not raft in flip-flops or crocs. The best shoes to wear are an old pair of tennis shoes or river sandals. The riverbed is full of rocks that are slippery and harsh on our feet. Wearing the correct footwear will protect your feet and give you more stability. It is always a good idea to bring an extra pair of shoes to wear at camp since your others will most likely be wet. Camp shoes can be whatever you feel the most comfortable in.

A pair of blue keens with a watering hole in the background

Image Courtesy of Swim Outlet