(208) 806-1218

What to Bring on Your Salmon River Rafting & Fly Fishing Vacation

Our Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting and Fly Fishing trips are full-service and all-inclusive. We provide deluxe four person tents that make spacious double occupancy river side homes. Our comfortable combination of raised cot, plush sleeping pad, full sized pillow, and freshly laundered sheet and sleeping bag will ensure you are able to recharge between days of rafting, fishing and exploration. Our gear boats go ahead to camp each day to set up your dining tables, bar, fireplace, shower, and bathroom. You will also enjoy three wilderness gourmet meals each day of the trip. All you really need to bring is a toothbrush and a smile, but having a few of your own personal comforts will help make your experience even better. Here is a breakdown of what to wear on a rafting or fly fishing trip with Solitude River Trips. 

the duffel bag, water bottle and coffee mug solitude river trips provides to each of their guests.

How to Pack for a Middle Fork Trip

At the orientation meeting before your trip you will be provided with a 55L Solitude River Trips duffel bag. This bag will hold all of your clothes and personal items that you wont need on the river during the day. Think of this as your “checked luggage”. Each morning this duffel will be packed inside of a dry bag, taken down to camp on our sweep boat, and will await your arrival in the afternoon.

We will also provide you with a small dry bag, known as a “day bag”, which you may use to carry essential items you may need while on the river each day. Think of this as your “carry on”. In your day bag we recommend sunscreen, a camera, any medication you may need, and rain gear. (A note about cameras: some guests prefer to use their phones, others bring proper cameras. Either works great, but if you bring your phone we recommend a waterproof case).

We will also provide a Solitude River Trips water bottle and coffee mug, that is yours to keep after the trip. We reccomened keeping the water bottle with you during the day and packing your coffee mug away in your duffel each morning.

What to Wear on the River

Staying comfortable on a river trip is really about the art of layering. On the river you will want comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting wet. At the basic level, men often enjoy board shorts or a bathing suit and a shirt, and ladies enjoy a bathing suit under a pair of shorts and a top. Those layers should all be quick-dry and synthetic material. It is not recommended to wear cotton layers on the river because cotton losses any isulating properties once it becomes wet.

If you are worried about sun protection, you can wear a pair of thin leggings to cover up. These will also help keep you cool when they are damp and warmer when you are dry. For sun protection on top, make sure that activewear shirt is a long sleeve — bonus if it has UPF protection built in. Otherwise, quick-dry tanks and tees are great as well. Shorts should be nylon, polyester, or synthetic and can be worn over a swim suit for ladies or over leggings for anyone.

You will need a comfortable and sturdy pair of water shoes. This is the most important piece of gear on any river trip. A good pair of river shoes can not only greatly increase your enjoyment of the trip but also your safety. You can use your preference of either open toe (i.e. Tevas, Chacos, etc.) or closed-toe (i.e. Astrals, Keen, etc.) shoes. During the day we will also be spending time out of the boats exploring hot springs, pictographs, old homesteads and other side hikes so you should plan to wear shoes that you will enjoy using for short walks or hikes.

We also recommend a comfortable wide brim hat or ball cap and sunglasses with a retaining strap like Chums. Anytime you choose to ride one of our paddle boats you will be wearing a helmet, so ideally your hat or any other clothing accessories should be able to get stowed in your day bag.

Sun hoodie for the river
leggings for the river
shorts for the river
Women wearing river gear on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.

What to Pack in Your Daytime Dry Bag 


You should keep several key extra layers in your daytime dry bag in case you happen to get cold on the river. This includes a mid-weight fleece that can be a layer under your rain jacket if weather rolls in unexpectedly. A packable puffy jacket is another option. But, make sure you still have an extra warm layer to keep dry for camp. On our June and September trips, leggings, long underwear, or even fleece pants (if you get especially cold) should be kept on hand for your bottom layer. Those should also fit under a pair of rain pants. Throw a pair of wool socks and a small warm hat into the bottom of that daytime dry bag and you should be ready for whatever weather the Middle Fork throws at us during those early and late season trips.

The rain gear is useful to wear in a rainstorm, obviously, but also to be used as splash gear. It is a nice insulating layer to trap in the heat from your other layers. If you ever get warm on the river, feel free to let your guide know and they can tell you a good spot to take off your PFD and remove a layer. Remember — it is almost always easier to cool down on the river than it is to warm up!

On our June trips we provide wetsuits and splash gear for everyone. In June, those recommended extra warm base layers should definitely be included in your pack. These should be items that you don’t mind getting wet, and a pair of neoprene socks or wool socks for under your river shoes. Similarly to June, September on the Middle Fork can be chillier, but also less splashy. So you’ll want some extra warm layers to include in your pack. For information about what kind of weather to expect, check out our Middle Fork Salmon River Weather blog post.

Backcountry Comfort

Although you will be in the middle of 2.3 million acres of wilderness, our goal is to make your experience as comfortable as possible. We recommend 1-3 pairs of your most comfortable outdoor clothes for camp. This is an excellent time to sport your most fun party shirt or sundress, and you will want a pair of shorts and a pair of pants.  In June and September it can be chilly in the mornings, so we recommend bringing a pair of long underwear and a warm hat, just in case.  A headlamp is the only piece of camping gear that we recommend you bring. Everything else will be included.

salmon river idaho fly fishing

Our Complete Middle Fork Salmon River Packing List

For on the River

  • Rain gear — rain jacket and rain pants for weather and to use as splash gear in rapids
  • 2 swim suits
  • 2 Quick dry athletic shorts
  • 2 Quick dry t-shirts or tank top
  • 1 Light pants or thin leggings for sun protection
  • 2 Synthetic long sleeve shirts for sun protection
  • Mid weight fleece layer
  • Long underwear top and bottom that can be worn on the river if temperature drops
  • River shoes or sandals that have a secure ankle strap — Teva, Chacos and Astral brands are popular choices
  • Full brim hat or ball cap
  • Sunglasses with retaining strap — chums or croakies

For camp

  • 2 cotton t-shirts or long sleeves for clean comfort at camp
  • Comfortable pants or leggings — can be cotton, fleece or whatever is preferred
  • Comfortable shorts or skirt
  • Warm outer layer such as a puffy jacket or other warm coat
  • Warm hat
  • Wool socks
  • Dry underwear
  • Party shirt
  • Sundress
  • Comfortable shoes for walking or hiking around camp — can bring a pair of flip flops and something more sturdy for excursions away from camp

June Trips (optional/suggested)

  • Neoprene paddling gloves
  • Neoprene socks or extra wool socks to wear on the river
  • Extra pair of long underwear for the river
  • Extra fleece to be worn and get wet on the river
  • Vest layer — puffy or fleece
  • Buff or neck gaiter

Other gear

  • Headlamp with enough batteries or charge to last 5 nights
  • Portable charger and cable for phone or camera
  • Waterproof camera or GoPro — will need to be able to secure it confidently
  • Quick dry towel
  • Carabiners to clip in day bags and water bottles to the boat
  • Baby wipes or cleansing wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products of choice
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, body cleanser (preferably biodegradable), and whatever else you use in your travel toiletry kit
  • It is especially important to have lotion and lip balm — Idaho climate can be very drying for the skin
  • Sunscreen! For your face, body, and lips

September Trips (optional/suggested)

  • Muck boots or extra tuff boots to keep feet dry while on the river
  • Scarf or buff for chilly mornings or evenings
  • Warm fleece or thicker pants and a solid puffy jacket as top layers at camp
  • Extra layers to remain warm on the river
    • You likely won’t be getting splashed as often, but mornings and afternoons can be chilly on the river
    • Consider bringing an extra fleece layer and a vest layer (fleece or puffy)
    • Long underwear that can be layered under quick dry gear and rain gear
    • Warm gloves

Do you still have questions?

Solitude River Trips offer the most comfortable, convenient, and unforgettable wilderness Idaho fly fishing and Salmon River rafting experiences in North America. We are ready to get you out on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River!

Contact us to learn more.