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What Should I Bring Whitewater Rafting?

A whitewater rafting trip along the Snake River is a summer must-do in Jackson Hole. Be prepared with our list of everything you'll need to bring on your trip.
What Should I Bring Whitewater Rafting?

Unlike rock climbing or skiing, whitewater rafting requires very few pieces of gear. At the bare minimum, river-runners need a paddle, life vest, and raft. The good news: whichever outfitter you choose will provide you with these essentials, as well as seasoned river expertise.  Beyond that, it’s up to you, so we consulted with local river guides and put together the following list to prepare you for your splashtastic journey down the Snake River.

Clothing

Rule #1: Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t want to get wet!  River shoes or Chaco-style sandals are the ideal footwear, though standard flip-flops or a disposable pair of sneakers will do.  To avoid getting chilly after you’ve been soaked, sport synthetic materials that wick moisture away from your skin—swimsuits and waterproof shorts are great.  Bring a towel, dry clothes, and a sweatshirt for the bus ride back to Jackson.  There will be changing rooms at the end of the river trip, known as the takeout point.

Sunglasses are a must, but be sure they’re secured to your head in case you get splashed! A hat is also a good idea, as you’ll be in consistent sunshine.

If you’re headed out on a colder day, you can rent a wetsuit and wetsuit booties from your guide booties. Check with your chosen company ahead of time to ask about their available rentals.

Cameras & Cellphone

Don’t bring your camera, unless it’s protected by a waterproof case or is water-friendly.  Same goes for your smartphone. Most outfitters contract with professional photographers to snap pictures of you during your adventure.  Favorite photo spots are big-wave spots at the Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna rapids.  It’s also a good idea to keep any cameras secured in a zipper pocket or attached to your wrist.

Ask your outfitter if they rent waterproof cameras, which is another option.

Water Bottle

Leave this in the bus to rehydrate after you get off the water.

Sunscreen

Everyone knows a deep-fried sunburn can derail an otherwise perfect vacation.  Here in Jackson Hole, the cool air and cooler water temperatures can often mask the sensation of being sunburned. Waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen formulations are the best for this activity.

All Set!

Looks like these folks are having a good time, doesn't it? 

Traveler Tip: During your 8-mile whitewater trip down the Snake River Canyon, you'll be spending around an hour and a half on the water, with about 3.5 hours total from start to finish, including transportation to and from Jackson. Most companies recommend allocating 4 hours of your day for your whitewater trip so that you leave yourself ample time to make it to your next planned activity.

You might also like: Whitewater Rafting vs. Taking a Scenic Float Trip , I Rafted the Snake River and Survived, Everything You Need to Know About Jackson Hole Whitewater

Sands Whitewater Snake River Canyon

Jackson Hole Whitewater Companies

Whitewater Rafting Snake River
307-733-1000|Map||
The coolest thing you'll do all summer! Providing 54 years of lifetime memories, we are Jackson Hole's original rafting company. Our river adventures include wet and wild whitewater trips, beautiful scenic floats with homemade lunch at our riverside picnic, ...

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307-733-6203|Map||
Mad River Boat Trips offers daily whitewater trips on three types of rafts. You can even join us for dinner on the river when you select our famous Riverside Steak or Trout Cookout trip.

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 637 Reviews
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Sands Whitewater Rafting Snake River
307-733-4410|Map||
Half-day whitewater float trip led by Sands Whitewater’s professional guides, these trips are like nature’s roller coaster, but with much better scenery and zero motion sickness. Set against the backdrop of the lush Snake River Canyon, each one of our 8-mile...

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