The top questions many people have when going white water river rafting the first time are what to bring and what to wear. There's a good reason for these questions as getting wet on the river is inevitable, so you want to be prepared no matter what the weather is.
What To Wear
Wear clothing that gets wet comfortably. Wet suits, bathing suits, shorts and the like are all good choices. Loose, woven clothing such as fleece, micro fleece, waterproof materials, wool, polypro, splash jackets and anything else that dries quickly. For your feet, you can wear old sneakers if you don't mind that they will end up wet, or outdoor sandals that have a fastening around your ankle, or waterproof booties. Sunglasses and hats or visors are also recommended.
What Not To Wear
Do not wear flip-flop style sandals, Crocs or bare feet. These are not safe footwear and provide little to no protection, along with being too loose. Do not wear any type of cotton clothing, such as t-shirts, sweat pants or jeans. Cotton clothing does not dry quickly and you will likely be very cold and uncomfortable once it becomes wet. Not wearing cotton is also a safety issue as it increases body heat release once it gets wet. In cold weather, it could pose a risk of hypothermia. Do not wear excessive amounts of jewelry, or better yet, do not wear any at all.
Other Things to Bring and Not to Bring
Bring towels, but leave them in your car as they will get wet in the raft. The towels will be handy to dry off for the trip home. Bring water bottles to stay hydrated and sunscreen to protect from the sun shining off the water. Personal flotation devices and helmets are generally included on guided trips. Space is limited on rafts, so it's important to only bring what you can wear on your clothes. Don't bring valuables, electronics, or your car keys. These items can usually be left at the front desk or in a locker at the rafting base camp. Meals are usually provided by the guide company. Drinks should be carried in containers made of metal or plastic, no glass. You should also bring a change of clothes for after the rafting trip. Do not bring your own life jacket as one is usually provided. If you bring a camera, make sure to pack it in a waterproof bag.
In the summer, it's recommended that you wear bathing suits, nylon shorts, a polyester t-shirt to avoid getting sunburn on your shoulders, sunglasses with a restraining string, ballcap, river shoes and have sunscreen that is at least SPF-15. When rafting in cooler weather, it's recommended to wear layers. You can wear many of the aforementioned items, but you will also want to add warm synthetic or wool outer layers and possibly synthetic leggings under your shorts. If you wear socks, make sure again that they are not cotton socks. Wool socks are a good choice.
This article, Colorado’s top vacation destinations this summer, was written by Ryan Thomas for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.