Personal Gear Ideas and Checklists


Plan for 55 Degrees and drizzling with occasional heavy rain but be ready for 70 and sunny and 45 with heavy wind and rain.


Vary between slight bother evening and morning to heavy nuisance. Outer layers can be treated with Permethrin or other bug repellant for best comfort. Keep you bug spray handy. Bring a face mask, but don’t expect to use it.


There are many ways to approach the clothing. I prefer to layer fleece thermal clothing that will wick moisture away and will dry quickly. We don’t use the heavy winter steel-heading products but more spring/fall selections. Keep your packing light but don’t skimp. Communicate with your group to bring a couple “spares” for the group instead a couple spares for each person. This will help the group stay light while being prepared.

Bring items that can be rinsed dried and re-used. Cotton is not one of these items (socks, underwear, shirts, gloves etc.) A wet cotton item day 1 may not dry until you get home.

Below are our recommendations. I have tried to provide budget alternatives where an expensive option may work better. In the end, find a good alternative you have used successfully in the past. If you can use these in other situations –go ahead and treat yourself. Tell your wife or hubby I give you full authority to buy new gear and test it frequently before your trip.

Red is a minimalist approach and black is optional/recommended.

1-3 wicking underwear
1 medium fleece thermal wading pants
1 light fleece thermal wading pant (med. for aggressive waders)
1 light fleece pant (doubles as extra wading underlayer)
1 “camp” pant (permethrin/water resistant or light rain pant)

If it is raining every day it is nice to have camp rain pants which allow your waders additional dry time
If it is not raining every day zip off pants are nice for wet wading/hiking on warm days

1 light long sleeve fishing shirt (permethrin)
1-2 light short or long sleeved wicking shirts
1-2 medium wool or fleece shirt (permethrin)

The fishing shirt doubles as a cool layer on hot days and keeping bugs from getting through under layers. The sun can be intense as well.

1 medium-heavy wind-stopping top layer (hoods can be nice)
1 vest (wind-stopping fleece or water resistant synthetic down)
1 Rain Jacket (with hood)

A top quality rain jacket is a MUST. It can be the difference between a great or a miserable trip! Also a hood on your rain coat or a rain hat is also a MUST. Think about driving rain and wind.

2-4 pair of good medium to heavy wading specific socks
1 pair of camp socks
1 pair of waterproof “sealskin” socks

Waterproof socks such as the “Seal Skin brand” work great to put on over regular socks in case the feet in your waders develop a leak. They also work great for wearing inside the tent. Socks can make or break a trip. If you don’t want to spend the money 5-8 pair of regular socks will work (preferably not cotton)

1-2 pair of “dry hands” rowing gloves or 3-5 pair “work gloves”
1 pair of warmer water resistant gloves (for cold-wet weather)
2-3 pair of fingerless or fingered fishing gloves

Gloves are critical to protect your hands from rowing rubs, knife cuts and fish teeth. You can afford a few days of wet hands but not every day. 3-5 pair of leather or Home depot work gloves are inexpensive and work well while 2-3 fishing or rowing specific gloves can keep you dry and more comfortable. 8 days of wet soft abused hands can make the trip very uncomfortable. 1 pair of dedicated dry gloves is a must (bring crazy glue 4 cuts).

  • Gloves get wet/ fall into the boat and into the water
  • Neoprene is good for fishing but may not be great for rowing if you sweat
  • Warm gloves may be too warm for rowing on warm days
  • Light gloves are good when it is buggy
  • It may rain every day or it might be sunny and dry every day

1 or 2 ball/golf type hats and 1 warmer hat (yazoo or stocking type) will meet the needs. Remember the rain hat or raincoat hood!

1 pair of lightweight or hiking type boots to wear in camp. Water resistant is nice.


All recommended as minimum.

A lightweight inflatable pad is recommended. Thicker is better- many good camping locations are on larger baseball sized cobble. Inexpensive twin pads from Walmart work (but add weight). 8 days of camping can be much more comfortable on the right pad. Cots are not recommended as they are bulky and heavy and will cause damage to the floors of the tents.

Sleeping Bag
A medium weight bag (with stuff sack) that compresses well is recommended. Filler material such as Hollofill or Quallofill works very well and will keep you warm even if they are damp or wet. Older down sleeping bags without modern water repellant characteristics are not recommended! Also, a small inflatable pillow can be a nice thing to have.

Dry Bags
2 large dry bags per person are recommended. 1 small dry bag or pelican case can be very useful to keep items in that may be needed during the day (camera, sunglasses, gloves, hat, raincoat).

Duffle Bags
2 nylon type duffle bags that will fit into the dry bags are recommended. Duffle types that have a full length zipper across the top work best for accessing your clothes and personal items in the duffels.

Misc Items
Personal toilet items, needed medical supplies or medications, sunscreen, insect repellent, polarized sunglasses or prescription glasses, pocket knife (remember to pack in checked luggage), insulated coffee or beverage mug, small flashlight and extra batteries (and don’t forget your “TENT” bottle (size of the bottle depends on the size of your bladder)! Crazy glue.

Don’t forget extra batteries, charger or extra memory.

extra batteries or charger (additional radios)

Used in conjunction with GPS on its own (waterproof is nice).

Filet Knife and Sharpener

We provide enough propane to boil water at night and cool it for the following day-another good method is a gravity drip filtration system-BYO

Misc Group Items

  • Medical Kit
  • Axe or hammer for tent stakes firewood and bear protection (JK)
  • Compact hand saw for cutting firewood and cutting branches blocking transport down the river
  • Rod cases-strapped to the raft and off the side gunnels
  • Rain fly or tarp to set up between tents or for cooking under or for wind protection
  • Matches/Firestarter– We provide lighters, but I recommend bringing extra matches and fire-starters packed in each raft and possibly packed on each person’s body.
  • Some groups buy lighter fluid and briquettes– They are heavy but may be useful. Most of our rivers have an ample supply of wood. See particular river notes.
  • Some groups prefer paper plates, paper towels and plastic utensils over the hard items we provide which require cleaning.
  • Aluminum foil, toilet paper, sos pads, duct tape.
  • Bug bomb for tent can help in buggy situations- I have not used one
  • Liquid Ammonia may be purchased in Bethel to create a perimeter around camp which may forewarn bears of your camp and assist in a good nights sleep.

Ask about our “Taj Mahal” extras below not listed on website or bring your own

Gazebo Cabelas Alaskan Guide Model Shelter (43lbs) – wind and/or rain as well as bugs can dramatically impact trip comfort – a fully enclosed 13 x 15 walled gazebo will provide a place to gather and eat inside and a shelter outside to cook under.

MSR Zing Ultralight Shelter  (2lbs 2 oz without poles/utilize raft oars instead) or (5lbs 10 oz with poles) – This shelter provides 200 sf of rain coverage at minimal extra weight – tricky setup particularly with a driving rain and wind.  Please use the link above and review the setup video-not bad after 1st time. Another Zing operation link.

Zodi Shower System – a hot shower on the river is a luxury without a lot of extra weight- ask about availability –a morning shower after breakfast inside the gazebo may not be club med but it’s the next best thing!

Extra rod rentals-do you need that extra 9 wt rod on the trip but will never use it after the trip-“rent” one of our new rods-fully cased and unused if you break your primary rod you can open and buy our rod.  If you don’t use it you pay the weekly “rental” fee and return it.  Reels not included.

Patagonia River Crampons (cleats) are easy to get on and off and can be useful for wading with the no felt rules in Alaska.  At this point I do not allow the cleats to be worn on the rafts. But they can be removed and put on easily.

Sport Tube Rod Holder-PVC holds 2 assembled – 9’ Fly Rods

Other available Items-pelican cases, dry bags, little buddy heater