Packing Essentials for Camping and Overnight White Water Rafting

If you are looking to have the adventure of a lifetime, Colorado camping and white water rafting is the way to go. Expect an amazing experience full of scenery, mountains, whitewater, and excitement. And like any outdoor activity, being properly equipped and prepared is key to enjoying your experience. If an overnight rafting trip is on your bucket list, Raft Masters, on the Arkansas River in Canon City, Colorado, will provide premium camping and rafting equipment to ensure your comfort and safety. Wetsuits, river boots, and splash jackets are included for your whitewater rafting, and tents, sleeping bags, and 2 inch thick sleeping pads will keep you nice and comfy while in camp. However, you will need to bring along personal items to ensure your comfort.

This post highlights the essentials needed for the ultimate multi-day white water rafting experience.

The Basics

The weather in Colorado is often unpredictable, typically with warm to hot days and cool nights, so you’ll want to be ready for a bit of everything. Keep in mind you’ll be stowing your personal gear in a “dry bag”.  These are large heavy duty bags designed to keep their contents dry, and can hold about what would fit in a large suitcase, so don’t overdo it! You’ll only be out for one or two nights. Let’s talk about what you’ll want in camp first.

Camp Clothes

The idea is to be comfy, so keep that in mind. You’ll want to have dry clothes after a day on the river, so bring some socks, a pair each of shorts and long pants, a short sleeve and a long sleeve shirt or top, and a lightweight jacket for starters. Temperatures in the low 50’s are fairly common at night in the summer. I usually toss in a stocking cap too - doesn’t take up much room and it sure can be nice on a cool evening. Bring a pair of dry shoes for in camp, and here’s a personal hint - I like to bring flip flops or a slip-on pair of shoes for night time trips to the loo.

On the River

You’ll want to be comfortable during the day while on the river.  We recommend wearing a bathing suit or lightweight shorts and a top. If you’re wearing a wetsuit you don’t want anything bulky on underneath, and these work really well.  Try to wear synthetic blends, and stay away from cotton if possible since once it gets wet it’s cold and dries slowly. If you’re concerned about the beautiful but intense Colorado sun and getting a sunburn, a light long sleeve shirt is a good idea. For your feet, you want shoes that will stay on. You can use Raft Masters free river boots or bring your own pair of water shoes or Chacos (river sandals). Just make sure it’s got a strap around the back of the foot. Flip flops and Crocs are no-no’s while rafting!

The Sun

The high altitude Colorado sun is intense, and can quickly cause a sunburn. Nothing ruins an outdoor adventure like sunburns. SPF 30 is usually a good choice. Consider bringing chapstick and a visor or hat as well. Bring a water bottle. Both on the river and in camp you’ll be glad to have a drink handy. The Colorado climate is dry and hydration is important, especially at Colorado’s high altitude. Finally, a pair of sunglasses should also be on your list. Polarizing sunglasses are especially nice to reduce glare induced eyestrain.

The Sundries

I like that word! Brings up notions of times gone by. Here’s a list of some of the items you might want to bring along.

  • Towel and washcloth
  • Ziplock bags - really handy for sorting small items
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Lotion
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Camera with a waterproof case
  • Small pillow
  • Soap - Biodegradable only.  Look like a pro and bring Dr. Bonner’s. Read the bottle!
  • Beer or wine
  • Eyeglass strap
  • Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil
  • Medications

Our Raft Masters experienced guides will ensure you are well equipped to enjoy your trip. If you have any questions about what to pack, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help.