Cooler weather is excellent for hiking and hanging out at camp, but combined with the 55-65 degree river water can make for a challenging combination if you are not dressed appropriately.
If you are on one of our trips in April/May, September/October, or if the forecast looks rainy, packing some additional layers to help keep you warm on the river is recommended. Please review the “Early/Late Season Clothes” section listed in your Trip Info Packet.
Here are some tips to help you prepare!
- Most importantly – no cotton! Cotton takes too long to dry and loses its ability to insulate once wet. You will be cold and stay cold. Instead choose layers such as wool, fleece, polypropylene, and Capilene that have the ability to retain heat when wet.
- Pack several lightweight/midweight items that can be layered. Layering allows you to add or remove clothing for changing conditions. In addition to your river clothes, we recommend bringing long underwear, mid-weight fleece pants, and a fleece/warm jacket. Your outer layer should be your waterproof rain gear. It is a good idea to bring two sets of base layers: one to wear while rafting and a dry set to change into at camp.
- Most of the time your gear can be laid in the sun to dry out but if the weather doesn’t allow for hours of sunshine, you’ll want to plan ahead. Be cautious of your warm layers getting wet. Your dry bags should be tightly rolled and secured to the boats. Tighten your rain gear wrist cuffs and use your hood when running rapids.
- Bring a warm winter hat/beanie to keep your head warm. Again, wool or fleece is a good choice.
- Cover your extremities. Wool or neoprene gloves and socks/booties are recommended. These items do not take up much room in your bag and can make a huge difference.
- Stay hydrated. This is important year-round, but being dehydrated in cooler weather can cause your core temperature to drop. Luckily, warm water for tea and cocoa will be available at camp in the mornings.
- Rotate seats on the raft. The front seats are thrilling but they are also the wettest. If you start to get cold, ask to move to the back for a little while.
- Use a tent. This will keep you warm as the dry desert temps drop quickly at night.
We will provide sleeping bags rated for cooler weather and a fleece liner in your sleep kit.
The weather can change quickly and it’s better to be prepared and not need the additional items, than cold and not have them.
Have a great trip, stay warm, and enjoy the Grand Canyon!