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What Should You Pack For a White Water Rafting Trip?

This is exactly what I asked my husband as we started to pack for my first ever white water rafting trip in West Virginia. He has been white water rafting several times, so he was the first thing on my list of things to bring!

If you have a wet suit, as he does, that is obviously a key element of your wardrobe. You WILL get wet! Skin-tight black neoprene is actually an interesting look…However if you don’t own such an item of apparel, River Expeditions in the New River Gorge, which is where we were headed, has an extensive supply and will be happy to outfit you.

Things to bring regardless of the time of year include:

  1. Tennis shoes, or neoprene shoes, or sandals, that you don’t mind getting wet.
  2. A bathing suit, to wear under your wetsuit.
  3. Polarized sunglasses will cut the glare from the water, but remember to bring a thing, whatever it’s called, to attach them to your head. If you wear regular glasses, you’ll need one of those things too.
  4. An old beach towel to dry off after rafting.
  5. A waterproof camera with something to attach it securely to your life jacket, if you want to take photos while rafting.

Other things to bring depend on the time of year.

When it’s colder, in the Spring and Fall, these are good things to bring.

  1. Wool or polypropylene socks, not cotton, for going on the river if it’s cold. Wool or polypropylene will wick the moisture away from your skin in a way that cotton won’t.
  2. Fleece pullover or vest and waterproof jacket.
  3. A cap to keep your head warm.

In the summer bring:

  1. Shorts
  2. T-shirt and a hat
  3. Sunglasses and sun screen.

If you are camping, bring all of the things you would normally take to a regular campsite, although most good whitewater rafting outfitters will have a camp store where you can buy all the necessities. If you are staying in a cabin or lodge, as we were, basics such as towels and toilet rolls will be supplied. Breakfast in the basecamp restaurant will generally be included in your rafting package, but you might want to consider bringing:

  1. Coffee, tea, milk and sugar.
  2. Snacks to keep your sugar level up.
  3. Shampoo and soap – some outfitters provide soap, but you probably won’t get mini-shampoos like you would at a hotel.
  4. Ibuprofen – or some other anti-inflammatory – for the next day!

River Expeditions never encourages guests to take bags with money or other valuables on the river with them. They suggest that rafters lock all money/valuables in their vehicle and River Expeditions can hold on to car keys only during the trip, as they did with ours. Towels and changes of clothes should remain back at the River Expeditions Adventure Resort and collected back after the trip on the river.

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