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What to Wear and Bring White Water Rafting

What to Bring


One of the most common questions we receive at New Mexico River Adventures is, “What should I wear?”. The answer depends on when you are coming.  Some people prefer to take their rafting adventure during the shoulder seasons when it’s less busy, and others prefer the heart of summer when the temperatures are warmer.  No matter when you come, we’ve got tips to make sure you are dressed for safety and comfort!

If you are joining us in the spring, we recommend that stick to as many synthetic items as possible.  Cotton takes forever to dry and works as an evaporative cooler when it gets wet, and that’s exactly what we don’t want when it’s a but chilly out! As always, we will provide wetsuits and splash jackets at no extra charge, but what you wear under those items will set you up for success.  If you do opt for a wetsuit, the best bet is a bathing suit or synthetic underwear as a base layer.  The wetsuits are ‘Farmer John’ style (think overalls), so it also best to wear a long sleeve top (no cotton!!) under the top.  If you are prone to getting very cold, add a fleece layer into the mix. Don’t forget about the outer extremities! Wool or neoprene socks are the way to go under a pair of tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. In terms of the hands, you can go the neoprene glove route or the stylish throwback options, dish gloves! While these don’t insulate, they do keep the hands dry in frigid temperatures.

In the glorious summer months, the rafting attire is your oyster! Want to get a suntan? Wear a tank top and shorts! Want to protect yourself from those pesky UV rays? Wear a long-sleeved shirt and capris! Many of NMRA’s guests opt for the long sleeve sun hoodies. They are a great option for sun protection as well as keeping you nice and cool. Footwear choices are also wide open, they just must be secure and stay on your feet if you were to go into the drink, expectedly or unexpectedly (no flip flops). We have very reasonably priced water shoes for sale in our shop. The helmets we wear on our whitewater trips work well with baseball hats or visors underneath or stave off that pesky sunburnt nose.  Lastly, surveys have been taken across the rafting industry regarding what item makes you look the coolest while rafting and the answers were unanimous…sunscreen! It really is the most important thing you could wear!

  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Sturdy shoes such as sandals with a heel strap, tennis shoes or aqua socks/water shoes
  • Hat-We do wear helmets on most of our trips, but a baseball style works under the helmet
  • Most people wear a t-shirt and shorts
  • Change of clothes for after the trip
  • If you get cold easily or your trip is in the spring, it is a good idea to bring long underwear and/or a fleece
  • Any medication you may need
  • A gratuity for your guide if you see fit

The meeting location is at our shop in Embudo. We do offer hats, shirts, water, sunscreen and water shoes for sale if you have left any of these items at home. We look forward to seeing you!

Most of our guests love to bring a waterproof camera along on the trip. Many brands come equipped with an elastic strap that can hook onto the top latch on your lifejacket, making it easy to access throughout the trip. We do not recommend bring non-waterproof cameras or phones on the river with you. New Mexico River Adventures has a private photographer that will snap your hilarious expressions as you come through the last rapid and are available for purchase once you are back at our headquarters.

Another frequently asked question is, “What is a good tip for my guide?” Industry standard is anywhere from 10%-20% of the total trip cost factored in with the level of service you feel you received on your adventure. We know we have the best guides on the river, so every experience is top notch!