Packing properly for a river trip is CRITICAL to your enjoyment while on the river. We recommend that you prepare yourself for three basic scenarios: 1. a cool day on the river; 2. a warm day on the river; or 3. time spent lounging in camp. Take care of these, and you are free to let the river and the canyon work their magic.Weather in the northwest is unpredictable. You must come prepared for cold/wet weather and hot/sunny weather—sometimes even in the same day! The following information will help you be prepared for the expected as well as the unexpected events of your trip. You may not use all of the gear listed below, but we recommend bringing it all!

River Trip Packing List:


One large waterproof bag (16” in diameter x 33” tall) per person. This will contain your sleeping bag as well as your personal clothing and items. This bag is NOT accessible during the day as it goes ahead of the group with our cargo raft. This bag will also contain additional gear provided by Idaho River Adventures: sleeping back, flannel liner, and pillow

A small daypack (9” in diameter x 20” tall) for items you want to access during the day such as rain gear, sunscreen, camera, medications, etc.


Clothing layers are the thermostat of the wilderness. As you get ready for your river trip, think about dressing in layers. By adding and subtracting layers you can keep yourself perfectly comfortable. If you were to look into the dry bags of a well-prepared river guide you would see packing for three weather scenarios—cold, wet days; hot, summer days; and cool evenings and mornings in camp. All of your on-river clothing should be made from synthetic fabrics with names like fleece, pile, polypro, polypropylene, capilene or polyester. A cotton T-shirt is used occasionally on hot, sunny days, but cotton clothing is best saved for on-shore camp use.

LAYER #1:The layer next to your skin should be close-fitting and thin. A snug-fitting underwear or mid-weight fleece layer made of synthetic fibers works best. You do not want to wear cotton on the river. The evaporation of water from a wet cotton layer will actually make you colder! Synthetic fibers maintain insulative properties when wet and “wick” moisture away from your skin.  

LAYER #2:The next layer should also be made of a synthetic fiber, but should be a bit heavier in weight. If you get too warm you can always peel this layer off.   

LAYER #3:The outer layer is what is known as the “barrier” layer. This layer should be waterproof and loose-fitting enough to give you good range of motion. The idea of this layer is to seal out water, and seal in the warmth generated by you and insulated by layers # 1 and # 2. A good rain suit can do the job, or a good paddling jacket and pants.  Not only will this protect you from rainstorms, but chilly water temperatures when running rapids as well!


Idaho River Adventures provides Farmer John style wetsuits for our cold weather trips (long legs, but no sleeves). These are often worn with your polypro long underwear underneath for extra warmth. You will still need your fleece sweater and rain jacket for warmth on your upper body. Wool or fleece socks can also be worn with the booties if your feet tend to get cold.


If you bring liquor (beer and wine in moderate quantities provided for legal age guests), please give it to your guide in its original container. No glass beer bottles please. Bottled wine is fine. All liquors in IDAHO are sold in State Liquor Stores with limited hours. If you are arriving after 7pm BE SURE TO PURCHASE your liquor at home and bring it with you.


Fishing licenses are required if you plan on fishing.  You can pre-purchase these by calling 1-800-55-HUNT5 with your driver’s license and credit card.  You can purchase these in Stanley if arriving before 6pm only and you must have a driver’s license.  Cost will vary from $11.50 -$32.50. 

Clothing Items:
  • Two or three T-shirts for on river and in camp. 
  • One light long-sleeved shirt for sun protection and cool evenings.  Popular options are rash guard or sunscreen shirts.
  • One or two pair of long pants (jeans are fine for camp, loose-fitting, light pants are best for on river)  
  • Two or three pairs of shorts (nylon quick drying always better than cotton) 
  • Swimsuit – two-piece suits or river shorts and a sports bra are easier for women 
  • On River: One pair of river sandals (must have an ankle strap, no flip-flops!) Velcro is okay if in good condition.  Popular name brands include Chaco, Teva, Keen, or Merrells. Tennis shoes with polypro socks are a good option if your feet tend to get cold. 
  • For Camp: One pair of comfortable camp shoes.  Some people prefer a pair of flip flops as an alternative to wet river shoes. A lightweight walking shoe is great for cooler weather and hiking. (We don’t recommend you bring large hiking boots as they take up too much space and aren’t necessary.) 
  • One or two synthetic mid-weight sweaters for cool evenings and layering on the river 
  • Mid-weight to light-weight long underwear tops and bottoms.  Best worn over a swimsuit and under shorts.
  • One QUALITY rain suit, jacket, and pants (expensive, but no cheap ponchos) 
  • One Cap, Hat or Visor 
  • Sunglasses with a head strap  
  • Underwear and socks 
Additional Clothes for Cool Weather: (Early and late season – June & September)
  • Two pair wool or polypro socks to wear on the river 
  • One additional synthetic pile or wool shirt 
  • One mid-weight to heavy-weight pile jacket or wool sweater 
  • Wool or poly gloves & wool or poly hat (like a skiing hat)
  • One additional set of polypropylene or capilene long underwear (tops and bottoms)
Personal Items:
  • Flashlight or headlamp with extra bulb and batteries  
  • Skin lotion, lip balm, waterproof sunscreen, etc. 
  • Toilet kit – toothbrush and paste, soap (Ivory or other biodegradable is best, no soaps can be used in the river), camp towel, washcloth, comb, handkerchief, small pack of tissues, moist towelettes, shaving stuff, feminine sanitary supplies, etc. 
  • Extra eyeglasses and/or contact lenses strongly suggested ALL glasses need a head strap!   
  • Water bottle or canteen with carabiner  
  • Bee Sting kit for those allergic to bees
Optional Items:
  • Camera – waterproof digital with extra batteries and memory card recommended. A waterproof case (Pelican) is also recommended for protection and ease of use.  
  • Paddling Gloves  
  • 2-3 Carabiners for clipping items to the boat 
  • Binoculars 
  • Plastic garbage bags (2-3 for separating dirty/wet clothes in your waterproof bag) 
  • Cards, games, books, musical instruments, journals, etc. 
  • Fishing gear and Idaho fishing license if you plan to fish – must be in a protective case & disassembled. We suggest you buy lures at McCoy’s Tackle Shop in Stanley (208-774-3377as they have daily updates of what the fish are hitting. Only catch and release fishing with single barbless hooks is allowed!

Let’s get you on the river