What To Pack

Whitewater Rafting

The packing list below is a general overview of appropriate clothing for your whitewater rafting adventures with First Descents. Outfitters will provide all gear and safety equipment including life jacket, raft, paddle, waterproof splash jackets and booties to take you from flat water to class 3 rapids and making sure you are prepared for every adventure! Be sure to look at your personal page for packing details specific to your program. Please contact First Descents if you have any questions regarding this packing list. For MS participants, you’re encouraged to bring your own cooling vests or other clothing items/gear frequently used to regulate your body temperatures at home.

Must haves:

  • Water bottle – 32 oz preferably – no glass
  • Daypack/Backpack – normal school backpack works just fine

Personal clothing for Rafting:

(The list below is based on a layering system for warmth)

  • Secure Bathing Suit – one piece or two piece is fine. Whatever you’re comfortable in.
  • Wool or Synthetic (e.g. nylon, polyester etc.) Base Layer T-Shirt (optional)
  • Wool or Synthetic Base Layer Long Sleeve Shirt (optional)
  • Synthetic or wool socks (optional)
  • NO COTTON on the river

Why no cotton?

Cotton is a poor choice for outdoors activities due to its high thermal conductivity (rate of energy loss). When it gets wet, cotton allows the moisture to sit on your skin, in turn cooling you instead of keeping you warm. In other words, you don’t stay very warm or dry with cotton!

Personal clothing not for rafting:

  • Warm, comfortable clothes (sweatpants, jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, etc.) nights at the lodge may be chilly. Cotton is acceptable.
  • Rain Jacket
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Headlamp/Flashlight

Also to consider:

  • Camera
  • Book/Journal
  • Stocking Hat/Beanie
  • Water shoe that has a heel strap (e.g. water sandals like Chacos, Tevas etc.)
  • Personal hygiene items, sunscreen, instant hand sanitizer, insect repellent
  • Spending money (there may be opportunities to purchase souvenirs, if you wish)

Gear for rafting:

The outfitters will provide all the necessary rafting gear, which will include

  • Raft
  • Helmet
  • Life jacket
  • Waterproof splash jackets


  • Prescription and over-the-counter-medications will be self-administered. If you anticipate using any over-the-counter meds such as Motrin, Tylenol, or Benadryl, please bring them with you!

Other info:

All linens – sheets, pillow, blankets, and towels are provided – you do not need to pack these!

All food will be provided – breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks, snacks, snacks and more snacks!


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