Planning for river trips is always a task, and each trip requires planning and creativity. We asked some of our partners about their must-have river items and here's the list we came up with! We hope this helps make your life on the river and more fun! Comment and let us know what we missed!
1. Coffee - Jetboil
Waking up to a warm cup of coffee is something I look forward to, no matter where I am. Plus, I’m pretty dysfunctional in the morning until I’ve had my first sip. We bought a Jetboil last summer and that thing is a game-changer. It makes it easy to get a cup of coffee going quick, so you have time to enjoy it before you pack up and head out on the river.
- Sarah Nelson, Executive Director of Protect Our Rivers
2. Watershed Chattooga
"Whether I'm rowing or paddling, this bag is always with me. It's easy to rig anywhere, and it's great for keeping stuff handy on both day and multi-day trips. It's a good size to carry rain gear and extra layers and if you end up having extra room in it, you can roll it down to a smaller size. Worry-free, durable, submersible dry storage. A+"
- Thomas, Customer Liason at Down River Equipment
3. Binoculars and a Dictionary
Binoculars to see what’s going on or spot wildlife. And the influence a dictionary can have on deep conversations while floating down the river and talking or around a fire at night is as wild as the night sky.
- Sam Carter, Host of the River Radius Podcast
4. RMR Inner Tube
For me, it has to be the RMR River Tube! The RMR River Tubes are easy to bring along any rafting trip or are good on their own for float trips. They are a huge hit for kids and adults, easy to tow behind a raft, make super comfy camp loungers, and you can even flip them over to use as camp tables.
- Molly, Creative Director at Rocky Mountain Rafts
5. Burts Bee's Hand Salve & A Sarong
"Your hands take a beating between packing, unpacking, rigging, tying stuff down, and rowing. Burts Bee's Hand Salve is my go-to for keeping my hands from cracking. I also love a good Sarong - you've got to keep those legs covered!"
- Natalie Zollinger, Host of Eddy Out Podcast
6. Yakoda Gear Transport
"My first must-have item for the river is my Yakoda Gear Transport. This bag is a black hole and is perfect for a day of fishing or rafting. It is great for wet waders, drysuits, PFDs, and boots, plus it comes with a changing pad to help protect those investments."
- Drew, Brand Manager at Yakoda Supply
7. Overalls and Muck Boots
"Muck boots and my bibbs, aka overalls. I bring my bibs on every river trip because they work for all kinds of weather. And muck boots are a must, they keep my feet dry and have a good grip so I can unload boats without getting soaked or slipping."
- JT, Shop Manager at Down River Equipment
8. Holy Grail Nymph Fly for Trout
"I fish this fly in a size 14 and have found success in nearly every river I've fished. The Holy Grail is one of the most versatile nymphs for trout - it works in still water and in the stream and hasn't let me down yet! Some other items I never go to the river without are my Orvis Helios™ 3 Blackout Fly-Fishing Rod and my Waterproof Nylon Backpack to keep things dry."
- Davis James, Denver Marketing Community Leader at Orvis
9. Rocky Talky Radios
"A set of Rocky Talkie radios are essential, from asking your buddy downstream what flies they are using, setting up safety and picking campsites on a multi-day river trip, or just cracking a joke to a friend who is out of earshot, the ability to communicate is crucial."
- Drew, Brand Manager at Yakoda Supply
10. LavaBox Portable Campfire
"The campfire is the end-of-day hang-out where awesome times are shared. I love that we can take our LavaBox anywhere to use in any setting, even if there's a fire ban. It's easy to transport, easy to control the flame, and it cools off quickly. Plus, it makes for a quicker cleanup than a wood-burning fire and is better for the environment."
- Chase, Leader in Protection, Protect Our Rivers
11. A Good Sun Shirt
"My favorite item to bring on a river trip is a good sun shirt and reef-safe sunscreen and waterproof playing cards for fun. I opt for rub-in sunscreen as it penetrates the skin better. The sun can be detrimental to your health and happiness on the water. My personal favorite is Patagonia's Capilene Cool Daily Hoodie. It's a good lightweight shirt that breaths easy so you don't get too hot, and it dries quickly."
- Katherine, Community Manager at Kokopelli
12. Paco Pad
"We cannot live without our Paco pads. It’s true. We use them as waterslides, rafts, seats, shade, and for sleeping. We don't do a trip without them!"
- Joshua Duplechian, Senior Producer at Trout Unlimited
A good rain jacket AND chapstick are other great items to bring on the river. Keep in mind what you pack is going to be dependent on what class of water, the environment, length, and temperature of your trip.