What to Bring, What to Wear
What O.R.E. provides
We provide our guests with waterproof drybags and boxes for your personal gear, lifejackets, and camp chairs. All meals are provided, as are cups, plates and dining utensils.
What to wear on the river and in camp
The weather in the Owyhee River canyon is often warm and wonderfully pleasant. But the weather here is also quite variable: we may experience both warm sun and a cold storm in the space of several hours. Cool or even cold weather as well as wet weather can occur on any trip. So please pay close attention to the proper selection of clothes and gear for your river vacation. Hopefully you’ll never need most of the cool-weather gear that we strongly recommend you bring. But it is vital that you do bring these items just in case!
For cool weather (or when the rapids are chilly)
Appropriate clothing for these conditions is clothing that dries quickly, and keeps you warm even when the garment is wet. Modern high-tech synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene and polyester fleece do both. (Wool provides warmth when wet, but does not dry quickly and is less comfortable. Wool is often less expensive, however, especially when purchased from Thrift or Military Surplus stores.)
Think in terms of layers of clothing for changeable and cool weather. As conditions change, you can add or subtract layers as needed. The first layer in cool weather should be long underwear made of synthetic materials such as polypropylene which provide warmth and wick moisture away from your skin. The middle layer(s) should consist of polyester fleece (or wool), and will provide further warmth. The outer layer consists of a rain jacket and rain pants (ponchos are not recommended). Rain gear made of modern waterproof, breathable fabrics such as Goretex are best. But for a less expensive option, coated nylon will work, too.
A surprisingly large percentage of heat loss occurs from our heads. For this reason, a wool or synthetic hat will go a long way towards keeping you warm.
If you have enough of the other sorts of clothing we recommend then a wetsuit is generally not needed. However, wetsuits do make inflatable kayaking more comfortable in cool weather, and for this reason O.R.E. provides wetsuits on a shared basis for kayakers. If you'd like to bring your own suit, look for an 1/8" thick "farmer john" style (which can be worn in conjunction with a sweater and raincoat). Thicker, full-body scuba style suits are warm, but they're less comfortable and their bulk makes rowing and paddling more difficult.
For hot weather
Synthetic fabric shorts and bathing suits are worn, as well as a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. Long-sleeved cotton shirts and slacks may be worn to keep cool and to ward off sunburn.
Cotton clothing is recommended for hot weather only! Wet cotton will lower your body temperature. This is great for keeping cool during a heat wave. But cotton provides no warmth when wet.
On your feet
For footwear while on the river we recommend nylon or canvas tennis shoes, hard soled wetsuit boots, or sports sandals such as Tevas. For extra comfort you may want to wear nylon or polypropylene socks as a first layer. For cool weather and cold water, wetsuit boots work well. Sport sandals and shoes also work well for cool conditions, when combined with thick wool socks or neoprene wetsuit socks. Sport sandals are comfortable for rafting, and are preferred by many of our guides. But they're often more expensive to purchase, and do not protect your feet as well as do shoes.
You may want a change of shoes, and comfortable clothing for lounging or hiking. While cotton clothing may be worn on shore in dry weather, you may want to bring a second set of polypropylene and fleece for rainy weather.
Where to find items you will need
Check with local sporting goods stores. If they cater to outdoor sports (hiking, backpacking, etc.) rather than team sports, they should have most of the items you need. Gear is also available through mail order and on-line, for instance by contacting REI (800-426-4840, or www.rei.com), L.L. Bean (800-341-4341, or www.llbean.com), or Northwest River Supply (800-635-5202, or www.nrsweb.com).
How to pack
Pack your gear in a manner appropriate for your journey to Jordan Valley. When we meet we will supply you with a watertight river bag into which you will pack your clothing. This bag is roughly 14" in diameter and 24" tall. We’ll also provide you with a second, larger river bag (roughly 16" in diameter and 33" tall), which you will share with one other person. Into this second bag will go your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and other bulky items. These bags will be transported from camp to camp by raft but generally will not be accessible during the day. For items that you want to keep handy during the day bring a small daypack or dry-bag. Items that you want to keep handy during the day but which absolutely must stay dry (camera, binoculars, a book, etc.) go best in a 50 caliber military surplus ammo box. O.R.E. provides these boxes on a shared basis. If you would like your own, they are available at most surplus and some outdoor stores. (Note: boxes cannot be carried in paddle rafts or inflatable kayaks.)
Because of the Owyhee’s variable weather we want to be sure you are able to bring everything you need to stay dry and warm. The bags we provide permit you to bring quite a bit of gear (more than you might suspect based on the dimensions stated). But we will have extra bags along for use as needed.
The river bags and boxes we provide are watertight under most conditions, even when submerged. But for extra security we recommend that you wrap your sleeping bag and clothing in heavy-duty plastic garbage bags for extra protection. We also recommend that you pack your camera, binoculars, reading material and similar items in large zip-lock bags.
- ___ swimsuit or shorts and T-shirt (avoid cotton)
- ___ tennis shoes or sport sandals, or hard-soled wetsuit boots
- ___ wool or synthetic "ski" hat — for cold/rainy days
- ___ wide-brimmed hat (preferably with chin-strap), or baseball cap — for sunny days (wide-brimmed hats do a better job of keeping the sun off, but baseball caps can be worn beneath the helmets used by inflatable kayakers)
- ___ 2 pair warm socks (wool or synthetic)
- ___ waterproof rain jacket and rain pants
- ___ Polypropylene (or etc.) long underwear tops and bottoms ("expedition weight" is preferred)
- ___ warm sweater or jacket, polyester fleece or wool
- ___ water bottle or canteen
- ___ waterproof sunscreen and lip balm
- ___ sunglasses, with strap
Extra river clothing, camp clothing
- ___ camp and hiking shoes (or lightweight hiking boots)
- ___ 1 pair long pants
- ___ 1-2 pair shorts
- ___ 1-2 long-sleeved shirts
- ___ 1-2 short-sleeved shirts
- ___ socks and underwear
- ___ compact, lightweight tent (freestanding is preferred)
- ___ compact, medium-weight sleeping bag
- ___ compact foam sleeping pad or air mattress
- ___ small tarp (to place beneath your tent, or as a ground-cloth for sleeping under the stars)
- ___ personal toiletries, including small towel, biodegradable soap, dry-skin lotion, prescription medicines
- ___ small flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
- ___ a second warm sweater or jacket, polyester fleece or wool, and fleece or wool pants (highly recommended)
- ___ gloves (especially if you’ll be rowing or kayaking) — bicycling, weight lifting, or gardening gloves work well
- ___ binoculars
- ___ camera
- ___ reading material
- ___ pen and journal or notebook
- ___ compact fishing gear
- ___ insect repellent
- ___ spare glasses, sunglasses
- ___ small daypack, ammo box, or small dry-bag
- ___ beer or soft drinks (up to 2 six-packs per person), wine or liquor —in unbreakable containers. (We provide coffee, tea, and juice; also wine with some dinners). By the way, consumption of alcohol is prohibited during the day but okay once we arrive in camp.
Please do not bring pets, guns, or valuable jewelry