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Packing Essentials for your Rafting Getaway

So you’ve picked a weekend, called your friends, and made your reservations for a weekend full of whitewater adventure. If you’re an experienced rafter, you probably know what to expect and what to bring, but if you’re new to the whitewater, you might be a little bit worried about what you should pack. The company you will be rafting with will obviously provide all necessary equipment to ensure a safe and fun trip down the water (such as the raft – duh, helmets, paddles, life vests, and of course, your transportation to and from the river to the basecamp).

If you plan on going down the New River Gorge this spring or summer, and plan to spend the weekend on the Gorge, below is a handy checklist of things you’ll need to bring! Do keep in mind that some of the items below cannot (and should not) be brought on the water, but can remain safely in your vehicle or at the basecamp.

  • Bathing Suit – it can be worn under your clothes on a warm day, and of course to the pool for the rest of your weekend at the adventure resort
  • T-shirt (if it is warm out, or something with longer sleeves)
  • A hat – but don’t forget it will be going under your helmet!
  • Sunblock and lip balm – no one likes sunburn!
  • Sunglasses – make sure they aren’t valuable if you plan to bring them on the water
  • Old Sneakers, neoprene booties, or river shoes (no sandals, flip flops or bare feet!)
  • Small “dry bag” for any essential medications that you may need on the water.
  • Towels and toiletries for basecamp
  • Plastic Bags for the trip home with anything that might get wet that you want to separate
  • A variety of different clothing options for basecamp and trips home. Sometimes campsites can get cool overnight!
  • Bug spray (for camping)
  • Driver’s license or other form of ID
  • Trash Bags for camping
  • Fire starting materials (lighters and things) – these can often also be purchased onsite at many different adventure resorts
  • Tents, poles and all camping essentials if you aren’t lodging in a cabin
  • Sleeping essentials – a pillow, bag, and mat for comfort
  • Flashlight
  • Chairs for around the campsite
  • BBQ and grilling essentials (don’t bring food that you want to leave onsite – it may go bad and/or attract animals)
  • Windbreaker
  • Light rain jacket

Things you should probably leave:

  • Valuable electronics
  • Really, anything valuable
  • Delicates
  • Things that you don’t want to get dirty or wet

Obviously there may be occasions when you need things beyond what are on the list above – so make sure to use a healthy dose of common sense when packing! Also, just because you bring something to the campsite, is not a guarantee that you can bring it on the water. Be sure to check with your rafting outfitters for any specifics that they recommend and for any questions about what you can leave at basecamp. Many companies may have different policies about what they are comfortable with having left onsite, so do be sure to ask rather than assume!

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