Packing for rafting trips in Hells Canyon, Salmon River or ANY river can seem overwhelming. What to bring? Am I bringing too much? Too little? The right stuff?


Here are the answers to some of the most asked questions about packing:


How much can I bring?

A lot! That’s the great thing about rafting trips versus say backpacking trips. The boats do most of the gear moving so there’s plenty of room for anything you may need. For our overnight rafting trips, a large dry bag is provided. This bag comes with a freshly laundered sleeping bag, small pillow, pillow case and fitted twin sheet which really makes the thick sleeping pads feel more like a cool comfy bed. There’s still room in that bag for a small to medium duffle bag of personal gear. I always recommend bringing cool weather clothes even in the middle of summer, just in case. 99% of the time that stuff will end up living in the bottom of the dry bag for the whole trip, but its great to have on the off chance of bad weather or an emergency. If you happen to bring too much, it’s not a problem! We can provide another dry bag for all the excess gear.


What shoes are best for the river?

Any sturdy sandal with a strap that goes around the heel will work. There’s also a ton of options out there for water sneakers and water shoes. Even old tennis shoes will work if you have nothing else. All of these shoes will be constantly wet throughout the day while rafting, swimming, getting to and from the boats and on mini hikes. Make sure that they’ll stay on your feet and are comfortable. After a day in wet shoes, a dry pair of camp shoes can feel great too. They can be tennis shoes, sneakers, flip flops or sandals. These usually stay dry and should reflect what kind or activity you’d like to do at camp: playing beach games, hiking around, reading books etc.


What do most people forget?

The small personal items tend to get overlooked: extra contact lenses, retainer straps for sunglasses, chapstick, etc. Sometimes bring a small mirror is nice too.


Can I bring a camera?

Yes! There is ample time in between the rapids and at camp to take beautiful pictures of the scenery, friends and family. We have hard dry cases that you can borrow for the trip. They can be securely strapped to your boat so your camera will be in reach just in case a mountain goat is spotted, kids are “riding the bull” on the front of the boats, or any picturesque moment happens.


Should I bring my phone?

Sure! Just don’t throw it directly into your dry bag. Although the name is deceiving, dry bags aren’t guaranteed to stay dry. The best place to put it is in a dry camera box.


How many changes of clothes should I bring?

This really depends on personal preference. Do you want to wear the same river clothes for the whole trip? Do you want a fresh set of clothes for every day on the river and every night? Personally, I would recommend bringing new changes of clothes for most of the days. When you’re not used to being in wet river clothing all day, it can feel great to mix it up and wear something different daily. A flowy dress or a button down fishing shirt can make you feel like a million dollars at camp too!


Should I really bring biodegradable soap?

It’s up to you! Do you mind not bathing for the whole trip or are daily baths in the clear side creeks important to you? Either way, it is good to pack just in case you accidentally touch poison ivy and need to wash it off.


For Hells Canyon rafting trips or trips on the Salmon River, here are good lists to reference while packing for an awesome river trip:

Summer Packing List

Spring Packing List

Fall Cast & Blast Hunting List


If you have any more questions about how to pack for an overnight river trip in Idaho, don’t hesitate to contact us via email or give us a call at 208-347-3862!