What to Wear & How To Pack for a Multi-Day Rafting Trip

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All booked and ready to embark on your white water rafting trip with OARS? Well, all except two important things: what to wear and how to pack for this river expedition?

Whether you are rafting on the Colorado River through the majestic walls of the Grand Canyon, watching wildlife in between the rapids on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, feeling the rush of whitewater on the Tuolumne River just outside of Yosemite National Park, or enjoying any of our other adventures at OARS, you need to know what to bring and how to pack that gear.

Bringing the right gear and packing it appropriately can make or break your white water rafting vacation. There is nothing better than relaxing next to the river in comfort after a day of rafting and hiking.

Rivers and their canyons are not made the same; being prepared for your whitewater rafting trip with OARS on one river might mean being prepared to deal with hot weather, while another river might have brisk evenings. Make sure to follow the specific packing list for your trip, which is available in the Before You Go section of our website, or give us a call at 800-346-6277.


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  • Stuart Smith // trip Apr 28th

    Hi …have rv’d your info video – nice presentation. However, I am packing everything into a duffel bag per your dimensions. I was assuming that my bag should fit inside your water tight packing …yet, the video suggest otherwise? And will the “day” bag you provide accommodate a small back pack?

    • Cari_Morgan

      Hi Stuart,

      Your belongings should fit inside one of our large dry bags that we’ll provide you with at your pre-trip meeting the evening before. Most people opt to pack their belongings directly into that bag (opposed to putting a bag into a bag). Hope that helps. Same goes for the “day bag.” Here’s an article about how to pack the ultimate day bag that has photos and suggestions: http://oars.829-production.com/blog/packing-the-ultimate-day-dry-bag/.

      Don’t hesitate to call or email our office with any additional questions. Have a great trip!

  • Robert Han Bishop

    Very well presented by a lovely lady. Thank you
    Robert Han Bishop
    Bayfield, CO

  • keet

    Hi what do I do with my duffle bag if I am packing all my stuff in a dry bag?

    • Cari_Morgan

      Hi there – Clients usually leave their luggage and/or duffles in their vehicle, or in some cases, can probably be left behind at a hotel or lodge you might be staying at if they’re willing to store personal items. Hope that helps!

  • bob granese

    Can someone tell us the dimensions of the bags provided?

    • Cari_Morgan

      Hi Bob – The larger bag (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall) is your “checked “ luggage and will be accessible only at camp. A smaller waterproof bag (approximate sealed size: 9” diameter x 17” tall) is for camera and other small items you’ll want during the day. Hope this helps!

  • bob granese

    Great Cari, thanks!

  • Anne Arjani

    Fantastic presentation of information!

  • Micha Tower

    Hello! The video is great and very helpful! I am going on a bachelor trip at the end of May at the San Juan River, my questions are… A few of us have our own dry bags, do we have to use yours? What’s the weather like the last week of May? Also I saw that mug in the video, is that for us to keep or just to use during the trip? They look pretty nice! Again thank you for the helpful video and thank you in advance for the answers!

    • Cari_Morgan

      Hey Micha,

      So glad the video was helpful. Here’s a link to everything you need to know about our San Juan trips: https://www.oars.com/before-you-go/san-juan-river-rafting/

      But to answer your specific questions – Yes, everyone on our trips gets their own Klean Kanteen mug to use for the duration of the trip and to take home as a souvenir. As far as as dry bags. We prefer that you use ours, but as long as they’re not massive, it should be fine to use your own. Ours pack down to around 13”x25”, so if yours are in that range, it should be fine, but always good to notify your adventure consultant about your plans to use your own gear. And finally, daytime temps in May average in the low 80’s with nighttime lows in the mid-40’s. Hope that helps and don’t hesitate to call us with any other questions. Cheers!

  • Lori

    Thank you for posting this video. I will be going on the full 16-day Grand Canyon trip in September and am struggling with two things:

    1) The nature of the waterproof jacket I need. Should I bring a splash jacket (like that used in kayaking)?

    2) What are the average low temperatures that I can expect in September? I am unsure the level of cold weather clothing I will need.

    Thank you.

    • Cari_Morgan

      Hi Lori – Here’s a post we put together on packing for Grand Canyon rafting trips specifically: https://www.oars.com/blog/how-to-pack-for-a-grand-canyon-rafting-trip/.

      It goes into detail about rain gear/waterproof jacket. You don’t want a splash jacket but a waterproof jacket & pants. “A waterproof jacket and pants protect you from rain, splash from the rapids and wind and they can be that one last bit of insulation you need to stay warm. Note the key word is waterproof, not just water-resistant.”

      As for weather in September, expect warm days and cool nights. Average temps range from high 90s to low 70s, but be sure to check the local forecasts before you go (there’s also a direct link for current weather conditions at Grand Canyon within that post).

      Hope you have an amazing trip!