Whitewater and River Rafting Checklist

Know What to Pack for Your Next Whitewater or River Rafting Trip

Cheat Canyon Whitewater Rafting
Cheat Canyon Whitewater Rafting. Photo © by George E. Sayour

If you’ve never been whitewater rafting or even river rafting for that matter, it may be a bit perplexing what to expect on a whitewater rafting trip or what you should bring on the trip with you. Even if you are a whitewater rafting veteran, it is still easy to forget what to pack for the river. This whitewater and river rafting checklist will help guide you through your trip preparation. Of course, check with your rafting outfitter for more specific details on what you should bring as this rafting checklist contain mere suggestions for your whitewater or river rafting trip.

Whitewater Rafting Checklist

  • Bathing Suit (if it is warm out)
  • T-shirt (if it is warm out)
  • Sun block and lip balm
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Eye Glass Straps (if needed)
  • Old Sneakers, neoprene booties, or river shoes
  • Waterproof Camera
  • Energy Bar for the river (the outfitter may provide this)
  • Water or Gatorade (the outfitter may provide this)
  • Small Dry Bag (if they let you take it on the raft)
  • Zip Lock Baggies (to keep small things dry]
  • Towel or towels
  • Plastic Bag(s) (for wet things such as sneakers)
  • Change of Clothes (for the drive back)
  • Snack and drink (for the drive back)
  • Driver’s license (if renting wetsuits and other gear)

Cold Weather Whitewater Rafting Checklist (in addition to the list above)

  • Warm clothing such as:
    • Wool Sweater
    • Wool Socks
    • Polypropylene Long underwear
  • Outwear Such as:
    • Paddle jacket (no hood)
    • Paddling pants
    • Wetsuit
    • Drysuit
  • For the Extremities
    • Neoprene Gloves
    • Neoprene Booties


  1. Cotton is good for hot summer days but not good for cool or cold water or weather conditions.
  2. You usually can rent wetsuits and booties from your rafting outfitter.
  3. This checklist doesn't mean to imply that you will be able to bring everything on the raft with you.
  4. Visit your whitewater rafting outfitter’s website and call them for a complete list of things you will need to bring, for weather-related considerations, and for their rules.
  5. If you are going on an overnight rafting trip or will include camping as a part of your rafting trip, take a look at this overnight paddling trip checklist for details on what else to bring.