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Beautiful view of Chattooga river

What Should You Wear For a Whitewater Rafting Trip

It’s always exciting to plan and pack for an outdoor adventure, but your attire can make or break your outdoor experience. When it comes to rafting or similar water sports, your clothes can make even more of a difference. Imagine having uncomfortable shoes leading to shoe bites or catching a cold during this thrilling time. These are not situations you want to be in, and packing the right clothing can help you avoid any such unpleasant encounters. 

If you are new to the amazing sport of white water rafting, you might be wondering: what to wear while white water rafting?  Well, we have got you covered. In this blog, we will walk you through all that you need to know about what to pack/your attire before embarking on a white water rafting adventure. 

Further, we will list essential tips about what items to avoid while packing so your trip is as smooth as possible. Let’s get started! 

What To Consider Before You Pack

If you are confused about how to prepare for a multi-day rafting trip, here are some things to remember before you get to the actual packing. These include: 

  • Weather Conditions: 

Checking the local weather conditions is a good idea before planning your rafting adventure. Wear light, breathable clothing in the summer to stay cool and comfortable. Also, layering is necessary in the winter to keep warm and dry in possibly frigid waters. 

  • Rafting Type: 

Another important factor is the kind of rafting experience you plan to undertake. Your equipment needs will vary depending on whether you’re going on a leisurely trip for beginners or an adventurous one with faster rapids.

Generally, wear loose-fitting, flowy, and comfy clothing for leisurely excursions. On the other hand, wear clothing that can resist weather and potential harm, such as clothing that dries fast, for vigorous tours. 

What Should I Wear On A Rafting Trip In Summer?

People ready for white water rafting

When you plan what to wear for rafting in summer, keep some things in mind. Make sure you wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that will feel good against your skin while you maneuver the rapids in the scorching heat. 

For upper-body clothing, it is best to choose quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials, such as lightweight shirts that offer breathability. You can also go for shorts, T-shirts, or swimsuits, but ensure the material is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Also, a waterproof jacket is essential to shield you from unexpected downpours, especially during rainy months. 

For your lower body, select swim trunks or quick-drying shorts for optimal comfort during the journey. Water-resistant pants add a huge advantage since your lower body is most likely to get wet. 

For footwear, you can go for well-fitted, closed-toe sandals or water shoes with straps. These offer you a good grip even on slippery surfaces. Flip-flops are a huge no-no. 

Let us look at the clothing you need for a rafting trip during the colder months. 

What Should I Wear On A Rafting Trip In Cooler Months? 

Group of people going for river rafting

 First, it is essential to dress adequately to protect against chilly weather. Layering becomes the go-to solution for retaining body heat while maintaining flexibility and moisture management. 

Start with a thermal base layer to insulate your body against the cold. After that, get long-sleeved shirts for added warmth and protection. A sealed, moisture-resistant jacket acts as an outer layer of defense in case you need it. 

To protect your legs from the weather, choose neoprene or quick-drying leggings. Pair them with water-resistant pants for added protection since your legs are more prone to getting wet while rafting. Also, note that thick socks or neoprene booties keep your feet warm and provide traction near areas with water. 

Wool clothing, including sweaters, pants, and socks, retains insulation even when wet, so try to incorporate it as much as possible. Synthetic materials like fleece and polypropylene are also suitable. A wool stocking cap prevents heat loss from the head, so that is also a good idea. 

Other Things To Pack With Your Clothes

Group of people with camera near Chattooga River

In addition to clothes, a few other items can contribute to the fun and enjoyment of your rafting excursion. ⁤⁤While they don’t take up extra room, they can make a big difference in your rafting experience.

For example, strap-on sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes from the sun’s brightness and water’s reflection. ⁤⁤Wearing a hat or cap with a brim to protect your head and face will also help you from being sunburned. ⁤⁤Additionally, waterproof sunscreen is essential for protecting exposed skin from UV rays, particularly when spending a lot of time in the water. ⁤ ⁤

Also, you may want to consider purchasing a waterproof camera to preserve these exhilarating memories for a long time. ⁤⁤⁤They come in a variety of features, so you can choose one that best suits your needs. Lastly, you can use gloves for a better grip, as they also protect against any possible injury. 

Things To Avoid Wearing

Now that we have reviewed all the must-haves for white-water rafting, there are also certain items that are a straight NO. Bringing them on the trip is not only unnecessary but potentially dangerous. 

For starters, cotton clothing is best avoided in summer since it retains water and makes the clothes heavy and unmanageable. Also, clear sunglasses without straps are best avoided since they could be easily lost. Opting out of short-sleeved clothes is also advisable since they make you more susceptible to sunburn. 

For winter months, try to stay away from cotton clothes and socks since they do not provide enough protection from the cold. Open-toed sandals are also a safety hazard, as they could slip off anytime, leaving your feet exposed to the cold. 

Lastly, for rainy seasons, do not wear absorbent clothes since they will become heavy if drenched. Remember to avoid flip-flops at all costs. 


Proper attire is essential to staying safe and comfortable while rafting turbulent whitewater. By wearing layers, quick-dry fabrics, sturdy shoes, and bringing extra dry clothes, you’ll be prepared to handle unexpected spills or weather changes. So there you have it—a comprehensive guide on what to wear for white-water rafting.

Now that you know what to pack, it’s time to book your trip. At Southeastern Expeditions, we want your vacation experience to be as entertaining and memorable as possible. We’ve got extra wet suits, paddling pants, and jackets on hand for all our rafting trips. So, pack your essentials and leave the rest to us. See you on the water!

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Whitewater rafting is more fun when you tackle with your friends and family. Book a group river rafting trip Atlanta today.
river rafting at chattooga river
White water rafting at chattooga river

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