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What You Need for A Summer Rafting Adventure

On hot, summer days, not much beats the intermittent splashing and stunning scenery of a raft trip. Here’s our his and hers guide for what to wear on your watery expedition and where and with whom to book your trip.

NRS Long Sleeve Sun Shirts

His and Hers: H2Core Silkweight Long-Sleeve Shirt

Wear apparel from NRS on your next river trip and you’ll immediately earn serious street cred from your guide—in fact, you might even be wearing the same outfit. We love that the H2Core Silkweight series features UPF 50+ sun protection, while also offering quick-dry capabilities and regular-fit comfort. $45;

Prana Hooded Sun Shirts

Prana might be better known in the yoga studio than out on the water, but their high-UPF, hooded long-sleeves make for great sunburn-preventing tops.

His: Watchtower Long Sleeve Hoodie

The Watchtower’s soft hand-feel packs a sun-shielding (UPF 50+) and sustainability punch (it’s a blend of recycled polyester and Tencel Lyocell fibers). $79

Hers: Sol Protect Hoodie

Lightweight, UPF 30, and offering full coverage over your bum, this top makes for a great layering piece over your swimsuit. The front kangaroo pocket adds subtle flair and handy storage to the unassuming silhouette. $79

Orvis Button-Down Shirts

His and Hers: PRO Stretch Long-Sleeved Shirts

The Orvis PRO Stretch Long-Sleeve Shirt brings button-down sophistication to the river bank, but don’t be fooled: It’s still UPF 30+ and slightly stretchy for go-anywhere, move anyhow functionality. You’ll love the integrated Polygiene odor control (and so will your raftmates) and hidden sunglasses cleaner built into the hem. $109;

Body Glove Swimsuits

Though Body Glove’s 68-year history started with wetsuits that were more functional than fashionable, they’ve since expanded to a wide range of style-focused, aquatic-oriented pieces, including apparel that’s graced the covers of fashion magazines like Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Harper’s Bazar. When it comes to swimwear, they’re an obvious choice.

His: Pin-Striped Boardwalk Short

Swim trunks that double as go-anywhere board shorts? Yes please. The chambray color-blocking and 21-inch inseam on Body Glove’s Pin-Striped Boardwalk Short mean these bottoms are ready for the beach and the bar. $70

Hers: Smoothies Orla Bikini Top with the Smoothies Nuevo Contempo Swim Bottom

One-piece or two-piece; underwire, racer back, or tube top; low-rise or high-rise: Body Glove has hundreds of women’s swimsuits to choose from. If you’re looking for something with a bit more coverage, we recommend the Orla Bikini top with its cross-over front twist and the higher-rise Nuevo Contempo bottom, both from the Smoothies collection. Top: $80, Bottom: $52

Patagonia Tank and Short Sleeve Tops

With their commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible supply chains, buying from Patagonia makes us feel good. These ready-for-the-river tops make us look good too.

His: Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt

Weighing just 2.6 ounces, this barely-there technical top also has moisture-wicking and fast-drying benefits—and it’s made with 52 to 100 percent recycled polyester. The set-in sleeves ensure enhanced movement and fit. $45

Hers: Mibra Tank Top

The Mibra was a collaboration between climbers and Patagonia’s design team, but we love this tank for rafting adventures—and not just because it shows off the shoulders we earned at the oar. The built-in shelf-bra provides low-impact support, while the low, contoured armholes offer sufficient coverage without limiting movement. $65

Eddie Bauer Board Shorts

His and Hers: Tidal Shorts

Board shorts are a river trip must-have. The women’s version is rated UPF 50+ and finished with their proprietary, moisture-shedding StormRepel WR. A zippered back pocket will keep keys secure. The men’s version is just as stylish, but slightly more bare bones. It offers quick-dry functionality, a hook-and-loop closed back pocket, and two mesh front pockets. Men’s $35 (on sale!), women’s $38.50 (on sale!);

Stio Board Pants

His and Hers: ​​ CFS Board Pants

Hot days on the water can turn into chilly nights at camp, so be sure to bring along a pair of easy-wearing, fast-drying pants. We recommend Stio’s CFS Board Pant, which are made with a UPF 50+, proprietary poplin fabric dubbed Sphero HO stretch. Men will dig the ability to cinch the adjustable hem, while ladies will appreciate the tapered leg and flattering fit. $79.20 (on sale!);

Teva x Cotopaxi Sandals

His and Hers: Original Universal Sandals

Any river trip you embark on will require shoes that stay put. Enter Teva’s classic style, which dates back to a Grand Canyon river trip in 1984. Now they’ve been updated with the funky, match-anything colorways that are a signature of Utah’s own Cotopaxi. The sandals feature an uber-comfortable EVA foam footbed with multiple points of adjustability to help you dial in the perfect fit. $70;,

Costa Del Mar Sunglasses

Costa Del Mar sunglasses have earned high praise from boaters and anglers—and for good reason. Their best-in-the-business lens clarity and scratch- and impact-resistant properties are perfect for life on the water. Most styles are available in multiple different lens colors to ensure you have the perfect view no matter the light conditions. 

His: Rincondo

The Rincondo’s sturdy-looking frame is as durable as it looks, but since it’s made with a proprietary bio-resin, it’s still both lightweight and light on the environment. From $179

Hers: Maya

With a distinctively feminine cat-eye silhouette, the Mayas are just as ready for post-water fun as they are for on-water exploration. Hydrolite nose pads and temple grips keep frames secure.  From $179

Bronwen Handcrafted Jewelry

Hers: Glasswrap Bracelet and Tail Necklace

The beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings from Bronwen make it possible to bring some bling on your next river trip. Bronwen herself recommends pairing the Glasswrap Bracelet with a subtly shiny Trail Necklace, but there’s a plethora of charms, wraps, and metals to choose from. And since most of her gorgeous pieces come with a lifetime warranty you can raft, er, rest, easy. Glasswrap Bracelet: $98, Trail Necklace: $58; 

Headsweats Adult Hats

His and Hers: Trucker

With its signature moisture-wicking terry sweatband, Headsweats has earned a reputation as the go-to hat for cyclists, runners, and triathletes. We believe they’re great for hot days on the water as well. The Eventure woven shell is softer than the material on other truckers (that makes it both comfier and easier to squish into your dry bag), and the black undervisor helps reduce glare off the water. $26;

bigtruck Toddler Hats

Pint-sized his and hers: The Original

River trips provide plenty of opportunities for littles to enjoy the outdoors, both on the raft and when it’s time to set up camp for the evening. So bring them along—just keep ‘em covered. Do just that with a kid-sized trucker from bigtruck. The diverse line-up features the same high-density foam and plush headband as the adult versions, but the 52-centimeter circumference fits little noggins perfectly. $25;

New Holland Brewing Beer

His and Hers: Lightpoint

A successful run down the river deserves a refreshing reward. Enter Lightpoint, New Holland Brewing’s new white ale that’s full of flavor but light on calories. Crisp and citrusy, Lightpoint is brewed with coconut water, raw honey, and orange peel. It packs a 3.7% ABV punch, but has just 86 calories. Six-pack: $10;

Decathalon Stand-Up Paddleboard and Inflatable Kayak

Some guided raft trips will allow you to bring your own personal watercraft along (they’ll likely need to approve it ahead of time). Just be sure to get in a little pre-trip practice—especially if you’ll be running whitewater.

His and Hers: Inflatable Recreational Sit-on Kayak, 2 Person

Ready for touring tandem or solo, this easy-to-assemble kayak inflates in just 7 minutes with the 2.6-liter Double Action Kayak Hand Pump (sold separately). Kayak: $349, Hand pump: $25

His and Hers: 10′ Inflatable Touring Stand-Up Paddle Board

At 32 inches wide and 5 inches thick, this oh-so-stable SUP is great for beginners. It inflates in just 5 minutes with the accompanying 20 psi Double-Action High-Pressure Stand-Up Paddle Hand Pump and folds easily into a backpack for simple transport. Paddleboard: $399, Hand pump: $40

Overnight Rafting Trips

His and Hers: Oars

With over 50 years of experience and more than 75 unique rafting itineraries across the globe to choose from, Oars is clearly among the premier whitewater (and flat water) boating providers in the world. Opt for one of their multi-day trips, and you’ll have access to incredible views (canyons, ancient ruins, and wildlife, oh my!), top-notch service, and spared-no-expense cuisine. And with guides well-versed in the history, flora, and fauna of the area, you’ll leave the trip with unforgettable memories, beautiful photos, and a deeper understanding of the world around you. Choose to explore Chile or Fiji by raft or remain in the West with one of their Colorado, Utah, or Idaho expeditions. Pricing varies;

Day-Long Rafting Trips and Overnight Accommodations

His and Hers: Echo Canyon River Expeditions and Royal Gorge Cabins

Looking for a shorter rafting adventure closer to home? Echo Canyon River Expeditions offers a bevy of different full- and half-day options on the Arkansas River. Their trip through Royal Gorge is perfect for thrill-seekers, while their Bighorn Sheep Canyon expedition is filled with waves, but less white-knuckling. The Family Float option is ideal for families with little kids age 4 and up. Be sure to book a night at Royal Gorge Cabins (conveniently located across the street from the rafting check-in point) for a night of rustic luxury in one of their glamping tents. Half-day river trips from $79 for adults, glamping from $209;,

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