7 Kayaking or Rafting Essentials

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Floating Mule Creek Canyon into The Narrows. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

When you leave for a kayaking vacation in Baja California Sur you typically receive a packing list if you are joining an organized tour. More often than not, the suggested packing list is very detailed. But there’s usually one or two key items that are not on the list; sometimes we forget to pack a flashlight or something as simple as healthy travel snacks. I recently returned from a white water rafting trip on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon with Row Adventures. This adventurous outdoor company has dialed down their packing list to a science, but they left a few of my favorite travel items off the list. Below are a few travel essentials that make my packing list for any active water-related adventures.

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Swimming with my Tilley hat

Travel gear on the water

Let’s start at the top and work our way down. If you are kayaking white water rapids, you’ll be wearing a helmet. Whether this is a leisurely-paced trip or active adventure travel, you’ll want to protect your head. As I have been diagnosed with skin cancer, I always wear a Tilley hat. The company makes numerous styles made from natural fibers to a raffia fedora.

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Nancy Brown wearing Girltrunks on the Rogue River

I recently received a cute set of Girltrunks. This woman-owned company makes fashionable swimwear for the active adventure traveler and is ideal for baby boomers who no longer (or never did) feel comfortable wearing revealing swimsuits. The black swim shorts and tankini tops, as well as the matching shrug, are all quick drying and comfortable for swimming, rafting or kayaking.

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The author with her LifeJacket

If you are like the majority of travelers, you like to document your holidays. River rafting or kayaking vacations are no exception, however, water-related activities require special travel gear for smart phones. I prefer Otterbox cases to protect my iPhone, but when it comes to waterproof phone cases, I look to Lifeproof. The company also makes a “must have” accessory called the LifeJacket, a floating case for your tablet or smartphone.

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Hydro Flask stainless steel water bottle photo © Nancy D. Brown

Eating and drinking on the water

A key ingredient to a successful vacation on or around the water is to stay properly hydrated. On a summer trip to Bend, Oregon I was introduced to Hydro Flask. This Central Oregon-based company is well respected by the outdoor world and for good reason, Hydro Flask makes a fantastic vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle. This water bottle keeps cold liquids cold and hot chocolate (I’m not a coffee drinker) hot! They make an awesome product and I need to remember to add some affiliate links into this travel gear post.

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Simply Snackin’ protein on the go. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

I’ve often written about healthy travel snacks and am always on the hunt for protein-based snacks. While some jerky brands are dry and flavorless, Simply Snackin’ makes tasty, protein-packed, gluten free snacks that are ideal for travel. I carry them in my purse, backpack and carry on suitcase for all of my travel needs. My personal favorite is the dried venison with cranberries and cherries.

My seventh kayaking and rafting essential item is Row Adventures. As I mentioned above, I had the opportunity to join a kayaking holiday with Row in Baja California Sur. I had so much fun with them that they invited me to experience their four-day, lodge to lodge rafting trip on the wild and scenic Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Both of these trips are bucket list worthy from a nature perspective. The Idaho-based company offers both international and US based active adventure trips; ideal for baby boomers or the younger generation. While I was a guest of Row Adventures, I wouldn’t recommend any company if I didn’t respect their product.

Insider Tip:
If you find yourself in Bend, Oregon, stop at the Deschutes Brewery and re-hydrate yourself.