We guarantee that when you get on the river you'll see something that your guide has brought along on the trip and you will think to yourself, "Dang, I wish I'd thought of that!" This section is a pre-emptive primer on those cool extras that guides use to add to the comfort of their workplace -- river canyons. Our goal here is to help you look and feel like a river veteran.
BAGS & SUCH: When you get to the river, your outfitter will give you a waterproof bag in which to pack your things. But wouldn't it be nice to pack your stuff at home and not have to re-pack? If you have your own tent, how about a tent bag for it, leaving more room for your clothes in your personal dry bag. It is often difficult or impossible to get to your big, overnight bag during the day. A smaller, waterproof bag for the items you might need during the day is a good option. If you are bringing a camera that is not waterproof you might consider a small waterproof box. Check with your outfitter to find out what sort of packing options they offer. If you really want to look like a veteran -- and really make your guides roll their eyes, buy your own ammo can for stashing your camera.
ACCESSORIES: Here are a few hot tips: Buy a few disposable waterproof cameras and a clip to attach them to your lifejacket. We have seen folks who have had pretty good luck with the panoramic disposable camera as well. If you will be wearing glasses of any sort, make sure that you have leash to attach them to your shirt or lifejacket. On the off chance that you go for an unintentional swim you will still be able to see when they pull you back into the boat! The head guide will probably tell you that dehydration is a common problem on the river. Yes, it's true -- water everywhere and people go thirsty. Bring your own water bottle and drink, drink, drink.
TOILETRIES:If you peek into your guides' private little toiletries kit you would find:
- Sunscreen -- lots of waterproof sunscreen that has the max SPF rating.
- Lip balm containing sunscreen.
- Bug Repellant
- Sting eze quick bite relief.
- A small mirror.
- A small roll of athletic tape.
- The rest of the usual stuff.
- Some items that are probably none of your business!
WHAT THE? Those funky metal ovals that your guide is carrying are called carabiners-- and they are great for attaching stuff to the boat for quick and easy access. Guides are reluctant to lend you carabiners because they cost anywhere upwards of $5 and have a knack for getting lost. Some guides have even been seen wearing a type of weightlifting belt to protect their backs. (You can find nylon versions of these belts at most sporting goods stores.) If you are prone to back problems but still want to be as active as possible on your trips, these belts offer some protection -- they fit snug around your middle and under your lifejacket.