What to Wear White Water Rafting


When white water rafting, it is important to make sure you are wearing the right clothing in order to stay safe and have a good time on the river. There are certain things to look for when picking out clothing for a white water rafting trip: it should be lightweight and fast-drying, it should provide some protection from the sun, and it should be comfortable.

Let’s take a closer look at what types of clothing you should wear when white water rafting:

Wear a wetsuit or a swimsuit

When white water rafting, it is essential to wear the proper attire to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. Wetsuits offer great protection from cold rivers and protect the rider’s skin from scrapes and abrasions which can occur during rapids. A wetsuit is tight- fitting and made of special waterproof fabric that traps a layer of water between the body and suit, keeping you dry and warm.

Alternatively, some people choose to wear swimsuits when white water rafting. This can be an excellent choice if you are not expecting your rafting trip to bring you in contact with very cold water temperatures or fast currents. Some people prefer swimming suits on hot days or in warmer parts of the river because they provide ventilation that wetsuits don’t. Additionally, a one-piece swimsuit allows for greater movement than other types of clothing.

When choosing what type of clothing to wear white water rafting, it is important to factor in conditions such as river temperature, wetness, rapid speed, and any potential risks associated with hitting rocks or debris in order for you to make the best decision for a safe yet enjoyable ride.

Wear a helmet

In addition to the essential life jacket, helmet and the potentially hazardous environment in which you’re navigating your craft, a white water rafting trip will usually involve going through some often fast looping rapids and long gorges.

When it comes to what to wear for protective purposes, it is important that you ensure your head is well protected from any potential impact whether from moving rocks, or from any exits or jumps you may have taken on board. It is highly recommended by experienced rafters that you must choose a helmet that fits comfortably and securely on your head. Ensure that it has strong buckle straps and it fits securely enough to stay in place an entire ride. Although all helmets are of similar construction and design, their fitments may differ slightly between brands. Always do an appropriate fitting test prior to embarking on the rafting trip!

Wearing a helmet can also protect against sunburns on your face while also shielding you against dust and debris while moving rapidly through different terrain. Aside from being easy to use, helmets are generally lightweight and comfortable so they should not bother you during this sport as much as other protective clothing such as wetsuits or drysuits may do.

Wear a life jacket

Rafting is a thrilling but potentially hazardous activity and requires preparing properly. A life jacket is essential for all white water rafting trips, no matter your swimming ability. Your guides should provide them, but you can also bring your own if it fits more securely and comfortably.

Life jackets are designed to provide buoyancy and will keep you afloat while they protect your head against possible impact. They should fit snugly around your torso, waist, and shoulders and must always be worn to provide a secure fit in cases of sudden water turbulence or rapid drops. Make sure to check the inflation levels before you begin your journey on the river as well – an inflated jacket is much more effective than an overly-loose one!

Properly fitting protective gear such as helmets can help protect against serious injury due to rock strikes, trees or other dangers of the rapids. It is very important that all rafters wear the correct protective headgear regardless of prior experience level. This may include swim caps or other full-head protective devices provided by the outfitter for extra protection from impact with rocks or trees on rougher sections of waterway.

White water rafting is an awesome adventure that requires some special preparation in order to stay safe while enjoying it! Wear a life jacket and helmet as well as shoes that won’t slip off easily into the water – old sneakers are best – and consider investing in a pair of quick-drying shorts and shirt specially designed for water activities too! With proper preparation, white water rafting can be an incredibly fun and fulfilling experience that you’ll never forget.


For white water rafting, the most important footwear are sandals or water shoes that fit securely on your feet and provide adequate protection and grip. The most important factors to consider when looking for suitable sandals or water shoes are their fit, comfort and fast drying capabilities.

Other footwear to consider include neoprene booties, neoprene socks and wet suit boots that are not only comfortable, but provide additional insulation from the cold water.

Wear a pair of water shoes or sandals

When you are white water rafting, it is important to wear the right type of shoe to ensure safety and comfort. Water shoes provide adequate protection while rafting, as they typically have a rubber sole which prevents slipping and offers better control when playing in the water.

These shoes are designed specifically for wet environments and are lightweight, breathable, and allow your feet to stay cool in hot temperatures. Additionally, water shoes come with their own grip system that has strategically placed treads that provide solid footing on wet or dry surfaces. They also contain drainage panels between the soles and sides of the shoes which helps promote quick drying when submerged in water.

For added protection and warmth however, some people opt for sandals instead of full-on water shoes. This type of footwear is ideal if you want a more comfortable fit that does not cut off any ankles or ankles circulation. Sandals offer an array of features such as adjustable straps for personalization along with arch support that helps reduce arch pain from long hours spent rafting on white waters.

Wear a pair of neoprene socks

Adding a pair of neoprene socks as an additional layer of protection for your feet and ankles is a recommended step for anyone planning on white water rafting. Neoprene is a synthetic material that has excellent insulation and cushioning properties and has proved to be an ideal material for sporting activities like rafting.

While you may opt to wear only sandals or swim shoes without any form of protection, this can leave the skin on your feet vulnerable to the friction of wet sandals rubbing against the skin when in contact with rocking or spinning white water currents. Neoprene socks are designed to prevent this by providing padding, stability and protection against general abrasion injuries like blisters, splinters and cuts.

Neoprene socks are also designed in such a way that they provide better grip in wet water conditions than regular sandals or swim shoes. They usually have thick, textured sole with added grip features so that they will remain firmly attached to your foot during periods of rough rafting activity. The neoprene material itself also helps to reduce fatigue by providing cushioning support during longer periods of activity on the river.

Neoprene socks are available in all sizes from children’s through adults and should always be worn overtop of some type of protective footwear like sandals or swim shoes when participating in white water rafting activity.


Selecting the right accessories for white water rafting is essential to having a comfortable and safe experience. These items can range from shoes and helmets to other waterproof gear. Knowing which accessories to wear can help make sure that your white water rafting trip is a success.

Let’s take a closer look at what to wear when white water rafting:

Wear a pair of sunglasses

It is important to protect your eyes from the sun and bright light reflecting off the water when white water rafting. Wearing a pair of sunglasses that fit snugly around your face will help guard your eyes against bright UV rays, as well as provide protection from flying debris such as sticks and rocks.

When selecting a pair of sunglasses, consider the shape of your face, select lenses labeled for UVA/UVB sun protection, and look for polarized lenses to reduce glare. Additionally, look for rubber-gripped frames to stay firmly secured on your face while paddling or riding the waves.

Sunglasses are an essential accessory in ensuring you have a enjoyable white-water rafting experience.

Wear a sun hat

In addition to sunscreen and sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat is another essential accessory for any outdoor activity in warm weather—particularly activities that involve walking or other activities in the sun. Sun hats provide more than basic protection from the sun’s hot rays; they also help trap moisture and offer additional protection from wind chill.

Sun hats come in a variety of styles, fabrics and colors, so you can choose one to complement your summer wardrobe. Whether it’s a wide-brimmed floppy hat for beach days or an adjustable baseball-style cap for hikes, the right style will add the perfect finishing touch to any summer look.

Wear a waterproof bag

When white water rafting, it is essential to wear a waterproof bag that can keep your clothing, supplies and other items safely dry. There are a variety of types of waterproof bags available, each offering distinctive advantages and intended uses:

  • Dry Bags come in a variety of sizes and can accommodate larger items like towels, spare clothing and cameras. They have roll tops with clips or toggles which are very secure against the water.
  • Barrel Bags offer similar secure sealing systems but tend to be larger with more room for supplies, making them perfect for longer trips.
  • Marine Backpacks provide more of a sling-style fit against the body for those who prefer less bulk at the waist or on their shoulders when paddling or portaging around rocks.
  • Camera Cases provide extra protection from wet elements with double layer fabric construction and plastic linings designed specifically to protect sensitive electronics from bumps in water.
  • Kayak Cockpit Covers create a seal around your cockpit seat while keeping all personal items dry during transit on or between rivers.

No matter what type of waterproof bag you choose, having one essential item handy in case of emergency is paramount when white water rafting – make sure you have an emergency blanket included in your pack!


Safety is the most important factor in white water rafting, and the right outfit can make a huge difference. Appropriate clothing can range from swimwear to full body dry suits, depending on the temperature of the water and the intensity of the rapids. It is also important to consider any other safety precautions, such as goggles and helmets, when choosing your outfit for white water rafting.

Wear a whistle

Wearing a whistle while white water rafting is essential for safety. It gives fellow rafters the chance to alert everyone onboard if an emergency arises, such as when someone falls over the side of the boat and other crew members need to know about it quickly. It also gives those on the boat a way to call for help if needed, even in the most remote locations.

It’s important to make sure that each person on board has their own personal whistle; this way everyone can be heard even in a noisy environment or if there are several boats in close proximity. When selecting a whistle, be sure to find one that can be worn around your neck or easily attached to clothing so it won’t get lost. A whistle should be loud enough so that it can easily be heard above other rafting noise and should have a lanyard so you don’t accidentally drop it into the water.

Additionally, consider wearing a brightly colored life vest at all times during your trip and make sure that everyone understands safety protocols before heading downriver. Following simple safety guidelines will help ensure you have an enjoyable outing while keeping you and your group safe from any potential hazards!

Wear a headlamp

It is important to wear a headlamp while white water rafting for safety reasons. A headlamp provides the ability to raise visibility, particularly in dark areas of rivers, canyons and other areas where natural light may be low. A headlamp will also give you the flexibility of having your hands free for tasks such as tying knots or helping your friends in tricky situations.

Your headlamp should have adjustable light settings to accommodate a range of brightness levels for varying conditions. A reliable power source like batteries or rechargeable LEDs is recommended for longer rafting trips so that you can keep your lamp running at full strength throughout the journey. It is also advised to carry backup batteries and lights in case the primary source fails or runs out of power while on the water.

In addition to proper lighting, wearing safety gear such as

  • life jackets
  • helmets

can give extra protection against injuries or accidents while white water rafting.

Wear a dry bag

White water rafting can be an incredibly exhilarating activity, but it’s also important to take safety precautions. One of the most important things you can do is make sure to wear a dry bag that will keep your gear and personal items safe from the elements. A dry bag also provides extra warmth for those who may not wish to brave cold morning temperatures in the water.

When selecting a dry bag, it’s important to choose one with great construction and adequate waterproofing so that your personal items stay dry and safe while participating in any water sport or adventure. It’s essential that your dry bag has fully taped seams and a roll-top closure so you don’t have to worry about leaky seams or low-quality closures when you need your equipment to remain secure.

A dry bag should also have comfortable straps for easy carrying over uneven terrain or during long journeys down winding rivers. Additionally, many experienced rafters suggest buying bright colored bags, as they will make finding your gear easier when navigating river bends or trying to locate lost items in high waters where visibility is limited.

  • Finally, be sure to know their limits— don’t take risks too far outside of your swimming ability! Wearing a life jacket is a must no matter what level of expertise you may have!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I wear while white water rafting?

A: A swimsuit and a rash guard or t-shirt are recommended for white water rafting. It is also important to wear water shoes with a good grip to protect your feet. Additionally, you should wear a helmet and a life jacket for safety.

Q: Is there anything else I should bring?

A: Yes, it is a good idea to bring a waterproof bag with extra clothes and a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat, and snacks and water. You may also want to bring a camera for photos.

Q: Is it okay to wear jewelry white water rafting?

A: It is not recommended to wear jewelry while white water rafting. Jewelry can cause a danger to yourself and your fellow rafters, as it can get caught in the raft or other equipment. It is best to leave jewelry at home.