Adventure Blog

What to Bring White Water Rafting

family multi day rafting

What to Bring White Water Rafting

Your trip is booked and now it’s time to pack your bags. You may be wondering, what do I need to bring whitewater rafting? Or what white water rafting gear do I need? Or what do I wear for my rafting trip? Relax and read on, we’re here to help you dress for success on your white whitewater rafting trip! 

At Adventures on the Gorge, we’ll provide you with the essential white water rafting gear that you need for your trip. Each rafter will be outfitted with a paddle, helmet, and PFD (personal floatation device) prior to boarding the bus for their trip. Your guides will help you tighten your PFDs and make sure that you put your helmet on the right way (but they may laugh just a little if you put it on backwards). 

While we have you covered on the  essentials, you’re thinking about what you can and should  bring to your white water rafting adventure. Here is the definitive list of tips and must haves.

What to Wear for White Water Rafting

What you wear whitewater rafting really depends on the season. During cold weather, we recommend you wear a wetsuit (which you can rent from us). This will help you to be as cozy as possible while you’re on the river. But, if you’re rafting during the summer, that’s a very different set of rafting clothes!

No matter the season, we highly recommend that you wear synthetic clothing. This means workout clothes or swim clothes. Do you need a bathing suit for white water rafting? Not necessarily! But, some rafters find that wearing swim trunks or board shorts to be the most comfortable option. For ladies, we do recommend wearing board shorts or athletic shorts over your bathing suit, as it makes it more comfortable for you while sitting on the side of the raft. 

If you’re wondering if an you wear jeans white water rafting you’re not alone. We’ve been there, done that and we don’t recommend it. Cotton and similar materials take a while to dry after getting wet, which will make them heavy and uncomfortable. Plus, if temperatures are cooler, you’ll also be cold! Synthetic materials are always recommended for rafting, so leave the jeans and cotton t-shirts at home. 

When it comes to footwear selection, you may be asking  “Should I wear shoes when rafting?” Yes! Shoes are a requirement, not a recommendation when you are rafting. Old tennis shoes make a great choice, or sandals that have straps to secure them to your feet (Chacos or Tevas are some of our guide’s favorite choices. If you have neoprene booties, these are also a great option! Please, no flip-flops or Crocs, although we’d love to see you sport them to our restaurants or bars after your trip-with your jeans and cotton t-shirt that you didn’t wear rafting!

If you have any medical conditions, please let your guide know and bring any necessary medications with you on your trip. This includes epi-pens and inhalers. Your guide will store them a dry box to keep safe from the elements. 

Optional Items for White Water Rafting 

Even if it’s not a super sunny day out, you still may want to wear sunglasses while on the river, even a slight glare on the river can be hard on your eyes over time. While not required, it is highly recommended that you also wear a strap on your sunglasses. These are available in our stores on property or you can bring one from home. If you forget your sunglasses at home or don’t want to use your go-to pair – you probably don’t want to bring your most prized, designer sunnies! -, there are also sunglasses available in our stores. 

Sunscreen! Make sure that you apply waterproof sunscreen before you leave for your trip. And, if you get sunburnt easily, bring some with you as well, you may want to reapply your sunscreen part way through the trip. Please, only one bottle of sunscreen per group-you can share with your friends or family! 

If you’re going to spend a full day on the river, you may also want to bring a bottle of water. Talk with your trip leader or guide prior to your trip to make sure they will have enough space for your water bottle. We sell both bottled water and reusable water bottles in our on property stores.

What are the 5 Most Important Items You Need for a Rafting Tip?

TL; DR? We get it – here’s our list of five most important pieces of gear for your rafting trip: 

  1. Synthetic clothing – way more comfortable than cotton when wet! Swimsuits, board shorts, and workout clothes are great options! 
  2. Shoes that stay on your feet-old; tennis shoes, neoprene booties, or sandals with straps! 
  3. Sunglasses with a strap. Sunglasses and straps can be purchased in our stores on property. 
  4. Sunscreen and make sure to avoid the above the knee sunburn! Make sure you apply sunscreen prior to your trip and bring extra for your group. 
  5. Water for consistent hydration. Talk to your guide before your trip about bringing water-and have a bottle just in case! 

What Not to Bring White Water Rafting 

  1. Wedding rings. There are many wedding and engagement rings resting in the bottom of the New and Gauley Rivers. Unless you’d like to join the ranks of people who have lost rings on their river trip (there are a lot of people in this club!) leave them in your cabin  or your vehicle for your adventure. 
  2. Phones. Similar to the plight of the wedding rings, there are plenty of cell phones that never made it back from river trips. Photos of your trip will be available for purchase following your trip! 
  3. Alcohol. Just don’t do it. You can grab a beer after your trip at one of our restaurants or pubs! 
  4. Your dog. We really wish you could bring your dog rafting, but you must leave your fluffy friend at home to go white water rafting. 

We recommend that you lock up important items in your car. Your trip leader will collect keys before your trip to leave in a secure location while you’re on the river. 

Whitewater rafting becomes an even more amazing experience when you dress for your trip and the season! This rafting season, make sure you know what to bring white water rafting and what to wear for white water rafting!

If you want to experience everything we have to offer, please call one of our adventure specialists.

family multi day rafting
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