Happy Rafters on Alaska RiverAfter months of planning, you’re finally onto the last stage of preparing for your trip – packing! We’ve all been there, staring at our clothing options for way too long, worried that we’ll make the wrong choice or be unprepared. Truth be told, even if you’re a pro at packing for a river trip, if this your first trip in Alaska, you’ll probably need to make some adjustments to your packing list. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

First things first, Alaska rivers are often glacially fed and wind their way through mountainous areas with unpredictable weather. That means for your Alaska river trip you’ll want to be prepared for everything! The first step for being prepared is…NO COTTON CLOTHING! When cotton gets wet it stays wet, and while that might be ok on warmer rivers, that won’t work out on our glacial rivers.

Starting from your head and working all the way down to your feet, we’ll cover all the layers we recommend for your Alaska Rafting Trip


  • Baseball or Sunhat – Rain or shine, a brimmed hat is a must! It will shield you from the glaring sun and help keep the rain out.
  • Wool or Fleece Hat – Cover those ears and keep warm on cold windy days.
  • Sunglasses – When the sun is out you’ll need a pair of sunglasses to cut the glare that reflects off the river.


  • Long Underwear Set – Remember, no cotton! Wool or polypro is an excellent choice. You might even consider bringing two sets – one for cold river days and another to sleep in.
  • Mid Layer – A popular mid-layer amongst our guides is a light breathable fleece, but other fabrics such as wool or Capilene work great too! 
  • Insulating Layer – Yup, one more warm layer! Think about something warmer for camp, like a thick fleece, wool sweater, or puffy jacket. 
  • Hiking Pants – Light-weight nylon hiking pants work like a charm and are great while on the river or out for a day hike.
  • Hiking/Running Shorts – Although not a necessity, they can be nice for a warm day or if you’re looking to work on your tan!
  • Rain Gear – It has been known to rain in Alaska, and you’ll definitely want a rain jacket and pants if you find yourself floating underneath rain clouds.
  • Fleece Gloves – Gloves with WindStopper add an extra level of protection and comfort for your fingers on windy days.


  • Socks – Thick socks are nice for sleeping in and pair nicely with your rubber boots, but you’ll also want to have a thinner pair for hiking. We recommend that you pack 3-5 pairs of wool or synthetic socks. 
  • Running Shoes – Running shoes are versatile for wearing around camp or light day hiking. Also, consider bringing sandals (Teva or Chacos) for warmer days on the river.
  • Hiking Boots – Making time for a day hike or two is a must! If you’re planning on going on longer hikes, a stiffer hiking boot will provide extra stability on uneven terrain. 
  • Rubber Boots – For hopping in and out of the raft or on rainy days, you’ll need to pack a pair of rubber boots to keep your feet dry. Rubber boots are provided for those joining us on a river trip.

That might sound like a lot, but remember, one nice thing about river trips is that you don’t have to carry your gear like you do on a backpacking trip – the boat does that for you! So go ahead and pack that extra warm layer, there’s plenty of space!

For a more detailed packing list for a Multi-Day River Trip with Copper Oar Rafting, click here

Happy Adventuring!

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