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The Boathouse Blog

What to Pack in Your Day Bag

We love taking folks down the river for their first whitewater adventure, or their fiftieth. We understand if you are new to rafting you may have some questions, especially about what to packdry bags

When you arrive for our pre-trip planning meeting you will be given two bags — one large bag and one small bag. The smaller bag will become your day bag or what we like to call your “river purse”. Your day bag will hold all the items you will want access to throughout the day. Your larger bag will be buried by other bags on the gear boat and inaccessible when not at camp. 

The following is a list of items you may want to include in your day bag:



And lots of it. You will want to regularly reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or jumping in and out of the water. Alternatively, you can wear layers of sun protection (see above) if you do not want to bother with lotions. If you are fair-skinned, don’t be shy and combine the two. 

Sun Protection

Sun protection differs from sunscreen. It includes long-sleeved t-shirts, pants, hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, sarongs, and handkerchiefs. When rafting you are exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Even with copious amounts of sunscreen, you can still become sunburnt. It is best to be prepared with items to protect you from the sun. We recommend bringing a backup hat and pair of sunglasses in the event of loss in an out-of-raft experience. 

Rain Gear

The weather can be unpredictable and we like to be prepared for whatever comes our way. Packing rain gear in your day bag will ensure you stay warm in the event of rain. It won’t do you any good to pack it in your larger bag that is buried on the gear boat. Even if rain is not in the forecast it is wise to pack along. Both rain jackets and rain pants are useful, or we have wetsuits we can provide if you would like an additional warm layer. 

Medications and Toiletries

You can still go rafting, even if you have a medical condition. All of our boats are equipped with first-aid kits to treat minor injuries. If you require the use of an inhaler, EpiPen, insulin or other medications please be sure to carry those with you in your day bag. It would be useful to let your boat captain or fellow passenger know where they are located prior to launch in the event you need help accessing them.

Additionally, we do provide feminine hygiene products in our groover setup at camp but they will likely be unavailable while on the water. Be prepared with any personal toiletry items you need while traveling down the river. 

Camera/Cell Phone

If you decide to bring along your camera or cell phone, we recommend investing in a waterproof, hard shell carrying case (such as a Pelican case). You can choose to keep it in your day bag but keep in mind that it does absorb impact and has the risk of becoming a floating item or submerged in water. If you have any concerns about potential damage, we suggest keeping your expensive technology packed away until you reach camp or leaving it behind in a lockbox at the boathouse. 

Backup Itemsrafting trip packing

You assume the risk of losing any number of items to the powers of the river. Being prepared with back up items in your day bag is always a welcomed idea.

If you have any further questions about what or how to pack you will have a chance to ask plenty of questions at the pre-trip meeting the night before you launch. Be sure to visit the boathouse store for any items you may have forgotten to bring. For specific questions, always feel free to call us. We look forward to seeing you soon.