Having—or accidentally forgetting—the appropriate gear and items needed for a rafting trip can make or break the experience. So review this list, make your own, and check it twice the next time you’re headed to the water for a day of rafting fun.


A Cooler—That Floats

Space is limited on a raft, and if you’re carpooling to your destination, it’s tight in your vehicle too. So instead of a bulky container cooler someone will have to put their legs on top of in the car, or that you’ll have to keep placing upright when it tips in the raft, opt for a durable cooler bag instead. Not only will a cooler bag be easier to fit in the car when you’re short on space, but a high-quality one will also have straps so you can carry it hands-free down to the water.

For ice-cold beverages and extra room in your raft, consider finding a backpack cooler that floats when properly closed—even when it’s full of ice, food, and beverages. You might not want to tie it to your raft when you’re going down the rapids, but you’ll be glad you packed it along and can set it aside to float in the water once you’ve made your trip down the river and the car is a hike away.

Cold Beverages and Fresh, Dry Snacks

A great cooler backpack only gets better when you have your favorite drinks and snacks inside. Keep yourself and your friends hydrated and fueled by stocking your cooler bag with plenty of ice, water, and whatever else will keep you going on the rapids. A waterproof cooler bag will ensure that your snacks stay dry, regardless of what the rapids have in store. Opt for one that’s easy to wash as well to minimize clean-up time upon your return.

Plenty of Waterproof SPF

Sunscreen is a necessity you can’t afford to leave at home. Protect your skin from a nasty burn by reapplying sunscreen every two hours or as the container instructs. Be sure to use a waterproof sunscreen so your skin stays protected even if you get splashed by a rapid or fall into the water.

Life Jackets for Everyone

Be safe on the rapids and make sure that everyone in your party has—and is wearing—a life jacket. After all, a bundle of life jackets in the raft won’t do any good if you accidentally tip over or someone unexpectedly falls out. Follow safe rafting practices for a day full of fun versus accidents.

Sunglasses—Plus a Backup Pair

Protect your eyes by bringing along a durable pair of sunglasses. By wearing sunglasses, you can better focus on what’s going on around you and will be better able to hold onto the raft versus holding a hand up to try and help you see.

Absorbent Microfiber Towels

Compact and very efficient, be sure to have some microfiber towels ready to dry everyone off after and during your rafting trip.

Appropriate Attire for the Weather—And Water

Keep in mind the time of year, the weather, and the temps—not just how you’d feel basking in the sun, but how cold it is in the water as well. Dress accordingly and consider packing some additional clothing as weather (and water) are known to be temperamental.

About ICEMULE Coolers

ICEMULE Coolers sells durable, dependable cooler bags that go the distance. Comfortable to carry and with incredible ice retention, their insulated backpack cooler and other products keep your beverages and food cold so you stay nourished and refreshed whether you’re on a day-long rafting trip or a multi-day excursion.

Browse their best-selling soft coolers at Icemulecoolers.com