Are you going on your first river rafting excursion? You're going to have an amazing time—laughing, relaxing in the sun, and challenging yourself. But what should you pack in your bag before heading out? Here are some essentials that you should throw in your backpack and a few things to leave at home.
Do Bring These
Water Shoes. Water shoes will be a lifesaver for your feet both in and out of the water. They'll stay on so you don't lose anything in the water, and they can serve as your "go to" shoes for the whole trip.
Dry Bags. If you're not careful, your entire backpack will become a permanent flavor of "moist" as soon as you pass the first set of rapids. Do yourself a favor and pack dry bags for your gear. You can get dry bags for your camera and sunglasses as well as bags large enough to hold all your clothing together. Remember to use large Ziploc bags inside your pack.
Sunscreen and Lotion. Your skin will take a beating on the water. Between the bright sun, reflective water, and blowing wind, everything will feel chapped and burned if you don't plan ahead. Be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and reapply regularly. Pack a small bottle of good quality moisturizing lotion for after you dry off. And opt for chapstick that has built-in sunscreen as well.
Don't Bring These
Flip-flops. Everyone thinks that flip-flops are perfect for a wet and wild trip with minimal belongings. But, in fact, they're terrible on the river bottom, and they'll get sand everywhere when you're on the riverbanks. Leave them at home and stick with water shoes or strappy sandals.
Jewelry. The last thing you want is to lose your Grandma's heirloom necklace in the roaring river or find your wedding ring has slipped off in the water. So take off your jewelry before leaving home. It will be safer, and nothing will get in your way when you're helping in the boat.
Big Luggage. You're going down a river and maybe camping for a night or two, so don't feel like you have to pack every outfit you own. Skip unnecessary toiletries, makeup, game consoles, backup clothing choices, books, and fluffy towels. The less you have to carry around and fuss with, the more you can simply enjoy being in the backwoods.
Now you're ready to start planning for your first river rafting trip. Take the essentials and leave out what won't add to your wilderness experience. You'll never regret it!