5 Absolute Must-Haves For A Gauley River Rafting Trip

Ooohh, it’s that time of the whitewater rafting year again! Gauley River Season: West Virginia’s own 23 days of Christmas!


As your trip comes closer, it’s time to get prepared for the huge rapids of the Gauley River. Here are 5 must-haves for any Gauley trip.

Sense of Adventure!!:Dude- it’s the Gauley. If big waves, huge rapids, multiple surges of adrenaline and a rockin’ good time aren’t your style, then you may want to reschedule your trip onto the Upper New River.

Synthetic clothing: NO COTTON! Wearing cotton while rafting is like wearing a giant neon sign that says “I’M A WHITEWATER DORK,” and nobody wants to be a dork. (By the way, this also includes all your underoos. Don’t make the mistake of wearing cotton underwear under the wetsuit. This will give you a cold, wet, squishy butt all day long.)

See, synthetic materials, like polyester, polypropylene, and any Under Armor/Nike DryFit type material is made from oil. We all know oil and water don’t mix, which means the synthetics are able to wick moisture away from your skin keeping you warmer, drier and happier all day long.

Patience: The Gauley is a technically challenging river, so there’s always a chance your trip will be hanging on the side of the river watching the guides from some other trip trying to un-pin a raft stuck on a spot like Anvil Rock in Insignificant (Class V rapid) or at Indecision Rock at the bottom of Upper Mash (Class IV/V rapid). Enjoy the experience! It’s kinda cool watching all those ropes thrown across the river.

Warm layers: You’ve just spent 5+ hours on a river with 55-degree water. Think a tank top and shorts will be good for after the trip? Wrong! It never hurts to pack a sweatshirt and dry pants just in case you’re a bit chilly while you’re watching the trip video after you get back.

A reservation: Just showing up day-of and trying to book a rafting trip doesn’t work, especially on a Saturday. Book your trip ahead of time to ensure your trip is on the section of river that matchesyour ability and adventure level and to have a chance of getting a specific guide (if you have a special request).

If you can check-off these five must-haves, then you’re ready for Gauley Season. Can’t wait to see you!

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