Suggested Gear List
For most of our trips you basically need two pairs of shoes…one to wear in the boat (they will be getting wet!) and a dry pair to wear in camp. If you are joining us on one of our combination hike/river trips, or if you really enjoy hiking off the trail, a good, comfortable pair of hiking boots is essential. It is imperative that these boots are already well broken in! Nothing is worse than blisters from a new pair of boots!
While on the river you will get wet going through rapids (what fun would it be if you didn’t?!). Synthetic materials are lightweight, warm, and dry much quicker than cotton. They also keep you warmer when wet than cotton. Comfort is essential to having fun!
Vinyl and plastic rain gear do not hold up well in the wilderness and there is no place to purchase emergency rain gear once we’re out on the river. Better to be prepared than wet and cold if caught in an afternoon rain shower. Gore-tex, waterproof PVC and coated nylon are excellent material choices for a rain coat and rain pants.
We run river trips in climates with unpredictable summer temperatures that can fluctuate dramatically in a 24-hour period, from freezing at night to 70-80’s the next afternoon. Therefore, we must be prepared for anything. Long underwear, wool caps, gloves, socks, and a warm jacket are necessary in case of unexpected weather.
Each trip is tailored to the desires of the guests. Generally, about a total of 5 hours each day (give or take a couple of hours), broken by a lunch stop, along with any other exploring adventures.
Yes, we do normally change campsites every day. This allows us to cover new scenery, rapids, and side adventures each day at a fun, comfortable pace. We occasionally spend a layover day at the same camp on our Middle Fork of the Flathead and Tatshenshini River trips to allow time for some awesome, more extensive side hikes.
The Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Main Salmon both have swimming and hot springs to soak in. However we need to keep soap out of the rivers, so if you want to use soap and bathe on the trip, you need to do so above the high water mark. The guides can help carry water or heat up some warm water if needed.
It is not required to be a strong swimmer. However it may increase your fun if you wish to take a refreshing swim or float along with the boats on a hot summer day. It’s required that you wear a life vest while on the river in the boats and we provide these on all our trips. If the sound of swimming in the river makes you nervous, the oar boat is likely the be the best option for you. There is certainly a higher risk of falling out of an inflatable kayak compared to an oar boat.
No, we generally have enough boats that the guests can rotate and have the option to paddle when they wish. One exception is our all paddle boat adventure trip on the South Fork of the Flathead or all kayak trips on the Upper Owyhee.
Yes, we can store your extra bags and make arrangements for them to be transported to meet you at the end of the trip. However, we do recommend that you leave any unnecessary valuables at home. Your wallet, airline tickets, & other valuables should be placed in a zip lock bag and taken with you on your trip.
You should arrive in the town of departure the day before your trip is scheduled to begin. There will be an evening meeting with WRO guides and guests, where we will hand out waterproof gear and answer last-minute questions. You will head to the river the next morning (the official starting date of your trip).
If you want to fish, a license purchased in the state your river trip is located in is mandatory. In most cases, our guests purchase them from a nearby sporting goods store upon their arrival evening before our launch date. Most states also have an options to purchase online before you arrive. Idaho and Montana have the option to purchase a fishing license just for the time you are on the river.
Yes, usually there are some sort of outdoor stores located fairly close to all the hotels we recommend or on the way to the river.
Gear Provided by WRO
Everyone is issued a waterproof “day bag” to carry items you will need access to during the afternoon while on the river (sunscreen, camera, jacket, etc.). Your “day bag” is 9in. diameter x 20in. tall. Everyone is also issued either: two larger bags. One will carry your sleeping bag, ground cloth, pad and pillow. The other can hold additional gear and clothing you want to bring on the trip. It is good to limit your personal gear to 35 pounds. On trips in Canada and Alaska you get one larger bag to carry your sleeping bag, ground cloth, pad, pillow, and your personal clothing.
No, we provide toilet facilities and paper. WRO provides pretty much everything except your personal clothing, personal items and toiletries. We also provide you with a list of suggested items for your trip.
We provide you deluxe, self-inflating basecamp “Therm-a-rest” pads. These are very comfortable pads and fit very nicely in our gear bags. If you have any concerns, let us know so we can answer questions and do everything we can to accommodate you.
Most of our tents are high quality three-person tents, but we only put two people in each tent. If there is an odd number in your group we will not make you share a tent with a stranger. We offer brands like Mountain Hardware, North Face and Sierra Design.
Wonderful, marvelous, gourmet cooking! Boy can our guides cook! Breakfasts and suppers consist of culinary delights whipped up in dutch ovens and over open campfires. Lunches are a combination of tasty salads, sandwiches, fruits, and assorted snacks. Nutritious and healthy options are always available. Please let us know ahead of time if you have dietary restrictions so we can accommodate them.
WRO provides ample snacks as well as plenty of drinking water, fruit juices, and coffee, tea, and cream in the morning. If you feel you would like to have soda or other canned beverages on the trip, please bring what you wish. Please do not bring anything in glass containers.
WRO will happily provide vegetarian meals and accommodate any dietary restrictions at no additional cost! Please notify us of any dietary restrictions or allergies as early as possible so that we can adjust the menu accordingly.
Breakfast: Fruit, juice, coffee, and hot water for tea or hot chocolate served daily. Pancakes, bacon and eggs, or Omelets, ham and hash browns or Grits and Biscuits, sausage and gravy.
Lunch: Fruit and juice served daily. Turkey sandwiches, pasta salad, pita and assorted veggies with hummus, roasted nuts, apples and caramel dip, dark chocolate.
Dinner: Tasty apps, grilled salmon, wild rice and spinach salad / fajitas, meat and veggies, rice with a side of homemade guacamole / steak and mashed potatoes, toasted bread and green salad / lasagna, grilled veggies, and garlic bread.
Desserts: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Spice Cake, Banana Fosters, Brownies, Cobbler or River Sundays!
All of our river trips have guides with Wilderness First Responder certifications (an intense, 8-day training course), or Wilderness EMTs (First Responder training along with an EMT certification). We also have satellite phone communication and evacuation plans in place for all of our trips in case of an emergency.
Wilderness experience and computerized gadgets are not the best mix. We want to promote relaxation, enjoyment and enhancement of the natural senses and awareness of nature’s beauty by escaping the everyday stresses associated with our modern computerized world. It’s wonderful to watch your child collecting rocks, trying to catch minnows, building creations in the sand and exploring the forests rather than sitting with a video game. You can bring you phone if it’s your camera, but we always recommend disconnecting from electronics and enjoy river time on our trips!
Each trip is different. We generally recommend a minimum age of 8 years for the Main Salmon River and Lower Owyhee River, a minimum age of 10 years for the Middle Fork of the Salmon, a minimum age of 12 years for the South and Middle Fork of the Flathead, Upper and Middle Owyhee, and Tatshenshini, and a minimum of 14 years for the Jarbidge/Bruneau. However, we also realize that each child is an individual and we are certainly open to discussing your child’s readiness, as you know your child’s responsibility level better than anyone.
Guides are generally tipped 10-15% of the trip cost, and they equally split the total tip amount from guests. The guides are most appreciative to receive this directly from the guests, either at the end of your trip or when a farewell dinner is possible, so you might want to plan to have some cash on hand. We recommend your wallet and other valuables be stored at the bottom of your duffel.