1. Drink water. More…more…no more.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You hear this all the time, but there is seriously no better way to keep smiles on faces and energy high than a group of hydrated rafters.
It pretty much boils down to this: playing outside takes a lot out of you, especially while on a Hells Canyon Rafting Trip. Being outside in the sunny wilderness for days with a drying Idaho breeze sucks a lot of moisture from anyone, not to mention getting sweaty from kayaking, hiking, or even sun bathing.
Drinking between a half gallon and a gallon of water for an adult will keep you happy, hydrated, and ready for any fun that’s coming your way. A little gatorade, sparkling water, or soda never hurt anyone either.
2. Bring plenty of clothing
A whitewater rafting trip is unpredictable. A rain storm can move in from no where. Your favorite bathing suit can start chaffing. Your shorts can split from jumping a little too hard off the boat. Bringing plenty of clothing makes sure that’ll you’ll be ready for any weather, comfortable all day, and a happy camper. At least half of this clothing will probably go unworn, but it’s there if you need it or need to lend out to someone who wasn’t such a great packer.
3. Pack that clothing in a bag within your dry bag
You know all that clothing you just packed? The last thing you’ll want to be doing is searching and searching through everything for the right item in your dry bag. Packing in smaller bags inside your dry bag solves this problem. A small duffle bag, a sleeping bag’s stuff sack/bag, or even a pillow case are perfect.
Organize your things into these smaller bags. Cold weather gear is often not used, but can be put into a small bag and stuffed into the bottom of the dry bag while the things you use more can stay on top. Then on the river you’ll be able to find things quickly without having to empty the whole dry bag into the sand.
4. Use sunscreen
A sunburn can be a vacation ruiner, especially when escaping indoors is not an option. Lather up folks.
5. Pack a set of shoes just for camp
Most people don’t wear their river shoes that often, or sometimes even at all before an overnight river trip. After having wet feet all day (and possibly irritation from the new shoes), a set of comfy camp shoes can feel luxurious. Tennis shoes, slip ons, or even flip flops work great. Just be sure that the footwear works for varied terrain: slippery rocks, sand, and grass.
6. Say yes.
Yes to hiking.
Yes to inflatable kayaking.
Yes to swimming.
Yes to playing camp games.
Make the most out of your trip. You don’t have to kayak the craziest rapids, but jump in one with your favorite person and cruise the flat water sections of the river. Saying yes to everything will absolutely produce the most memorable rafting vacation possible.
7. Take a look around.
Vacations can go fast. Take a moment to pause, take a breath, and take in your surroundings. Whether it’s seeing your kids finally getting along, staying up just a little later to stare at the stars, or scanning the shoreline for the movement of an animal, whitewater rafting trips provide the perfect non-technology filled time to unwind in the wilderness, so soak it in.