Home Gear Accessories 6 Pieces Of Gear These Multiday Guides Won’t Launch Without

6 Pieces Of Gear These Multiday Guides Won’t Launch Without

Professional women of the water share their learned river trip necessities to add to your packing list

Raft full of trip gear on the Owyhee River
Add these items to your packing list before loading up for an Owyhee river trip. | Feature photo: K.M. Collins

Forgetting a critical piece of gear from your packing list runs the risk of ruining an entire river trip. On the other hand, learning about a new piece of gear you didn’t know existed can completely change your perspective on a weekend or weeks-long float.

We polled a whitewater jury far and wide to see what powerhouse female guides considered their most important piece of gear—the one item they would simply not leave the launch without.

6 pieces of gear these river guides always have on their packing lists

1 Wear a sun protection layer that doesn’t stink

Ibex Indie Hoodie

$170 | ibex.com

“I get sunburned and cold easily, so for fall whitewater rafting on the Rogue River, my favorite piece of multiday river gear is the Ibex Indie Hoodie. It’s lightweight enough to wear for sun protection but it’s warm enough to keep the chill off on the water and in camp. Plus, because it’s wool, it’s still warm when it’s wet and doesn’t smell even when I wear it multiple days in a row. It’s not cheap but I’ve had mine for about seven years and despite a few holes, it’s still going strong.”

—Ashley Drake, Co-owner and guide for Arrowhead River Adventures on the Rogue River, Oregon

2 Never skimp on a good camp mattress

Jack’s Plastic Welding Paco Pad

$190–$493 | jpwinc.com

“My Paco Pad is my favorite piece of gear because I love sleeping. My sleep setup is actually the only thing I never ‘downsize’ on. I have a cute Mexican blanket I put down first, then sleeping bag, then pillow, and finally a puffy blanket to top it off. Sometimes I have little fairy lights depending on the trip. I also love my Paco because it floats and when it’s really hot outside I’ll attach it to my boat and lay on it in the water. It’s the definition of luxury.”

—Sarah Magley, professional raft guide for Momentum River Expeditions on the Rogue, Owyhee and Illinois rivers, Oregon

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3 Go beyond the basics for a good night’s rest

Nemo Equipment Tempo Synthetic Sleeping Bag

$159 | nemoequipment.com

“My Nemo sleeping bag has a flap you can tuck into the neck if it’s cold, or basically flop it on your face to keep the moon or sunlight off your face. The Nemo is also nice because it’s spacious for side sleepers.”

—Katie Blanchard, 11 combined seasons guiding on the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Section 4 of the Chattooga River with Northwest Rafting Company and Wildwater

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4 A pair of votes to protect the hands

NRS Axiom Gloves

$29 | nrs.com

“I could not live without a pair of NRS Axiom gloves and I always have a back up. My hands look like working hands. They are calloused, dry and peeling though they are still sensitive to blisters. Even one hour of rowing without gloves will develop blisters and then the rest of my trip will be more difficult than it needs to be.

“I like the Axioms because they have padding on the palms, open fingers for dexterity to tighten PFDs and use zippers, plus, the velcro strap helps fit to your wrist perfectly.”

—Alaina Foster, seven seasons on West Water & Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River and Desolation & Grey on the Green River. Current Operations Manager with OARS.

[Editors note: NRS no long produces the Axiom gloves and currently offers the Boater’s gloves.]

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“Gardening gloves are perfect for rigging. They are the number-one least obvious piece of gear that I can’t do without for multidays. Saves the fingers from cuts, strap burns and getting dried out. Cheap and grippy.”

—Rylin Dale, professional raft guide for Oregon River Experiences on the Rogue River, Oregon

5 Get a game-changer for nature’s call

pStyle P.U.D.

$11 | thepstyle.com

“My fave gear piece is the pStyle brand pee funnel. It makes peeing outside convenient and accessible for female bodies and, though I was skeptical at first, it’s been a real game-changer. So cheap and so worth it. It’s also made of recycled ocean plastic.”

—Rachael Healow, professional raft guide for Oregon River Experiences on the Clackamas River

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6 Bring an ever versatile utility bag

Jack’s Plastic Welding Collapsible Bucket

$40 | jpwinc.com

“The JP bucket is the perfect place to store my Dewalt blower/inflator plus extra batteries en route to the put-in, stray canned drinks rolling around the cooler, boat or car, a post-trip dry pair of clothes, the TL binder, snacks and virtually everything else. It’s essentially a large purse with an open mouth. More malleable and lighter than a bucket, the welding and plastic is waterproof, although the top doesn’t actually close. I own two and use them constantly. On the Owyhee River this spring, it was the perfect sack for my head lamp, towel and warm clothes on a trip to the hot springs. The JP bucket is my hottest item of the season.”

—The author, freelance raft guide on the Rogue, Owyhee in Oregon and Salmon River, Idaho

Add these items to your packing list before loading up for an Owyhee river trip. | Feature photo: K.M. Collins

Add these items to your packing list before loading up for an Owyhee river trip. | Feature photo: K.M. Collins



  1. Great article, to thank you so much for the tips!!! I’m going to look into that Ibex hoodie – 7 seasons and still going strong sounds good to me!


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