A Dry Bag, Life Jacket And 4 Other Things You Should Bring Whitewater Rafting

Springtime means blooming flowers, melting snow and so much water in the rivers. It's the perfect time for whitewater rafting, but without the right gear you could be in big trouble. If you go with an outfitter, chances are they'll take care of the major equipment, but there are some things you just shouldn't go without. We put together a list of essentials that the guide may or may not provide, make sure you check before you get on the water without these essentials.

A Dry Bag
Dry bags ensure your gear stays intact on the water. The Amphibian Weather Defense pack is a solid choice that keeps out water even when submerged. It's also a good idea to bring smaller protective bags for things like your phone, in case you choose to bring that along.

Life Jacket
Very likely the single most important piece of gear besides the raft and paddle, your life vest should accompany you on every trip. A quality PFD (personal flotation device) that fits correctly is key to safety on any body of water, but especially in the rapids.

Bathing Suit
A bathing suit is recommended for underneath some quick drying clothes. Chances are you will geat wet, but the right clothing can keep you from staying wet and cold for too long—skip the cotton.

Sturdy Shoes
No flip flops or slip on shoes unless you plan on losing them overboard. Most outfitters recommend wearing old sneakers or water shoes that fit well. These study shoes will be a big help getting in and out of the raft and when you get caught stepping on some rocks.

Sun Protection
Though many people think of sunglasses as a fashion statement, they are a key piece of outdoor gear. Helpful for blocking the sun's rays and the glare off the water, a solid pair of sunglasses is key. Sunscreen and a hat are also highly recommended.

Drinking Water
Though rafting may just seem like fun, it's actually a rigorous activity and a killer workout, make sure you bring enough water to stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle along to keep from getting dehydrated (you might want to get one with a carabiner, so you can attach it to the raft). You may also want to stash a snack or energy bar in your bag to keep you going throughout the day.

Towels and a change of clothing is a good idea for afterward, but you should keep those on dry land.