During the summer, it is usually warm and sunny on the South Fork so you wont need much. You will be getting wet and the water is cold (60 degrees) so things that dry quickly work best. Proper footwear is critical and a water bottle is handy. We will have a small, communal drybag available for odds and ends. This is what you should wear:
During the spring and fall, (before June 15th and after September 15th), the South Fork is colder and you will be getting wetter. Everyone should bring something to keep them warm (synthetic fleece pullover) and something to keep them dry (sturdy waterproof rain shell). You may also want to wear a neoprene wetsuit which can be rented in advance from The River Store (530/626-3435) which is 1 mile from Camp Lotus or from Sierra Nevada Sales (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will deliver the wetsuits to Camp Lotus. In addition to the above items, you should bring:
'Fleece' is a generic term for a spun, polyester fabric developed for outdoor use. It is thick and fluffy and does not absorb water, making it ideal insulation on a river trip. It is commonly called Polartec or Polarfleece. Polypropylene is a thinner, stretchier, woven variation used predominately for long underwear. Any polypropylene long underwear will work; heavyweight is the most versatile.
If you are on a 2 day "Wilderness Trip" we will give you a waterproof bag for your overnight gear when you arrive at Camp Lotus. The bags are 17" in diameter and 22" tall - small, but ample if you pack wisely; (think appropriate gear, not more gear - one fleece jacket that will keep you warm when wet is much better than two cotton sweatshirts that will be worthless when wet). We will also have a communal "tent bag" for tents and sleeping pads that are more than 22" long.
If you are on a 2 day "Camp Lotus Trip" you will be camping near your car so you don't have to worry about space or weight restrictions.
In addition to the clothes you will be wearing on the river (above), each person should bring:
EARLY SEASON ADDITIONAL ITEMS:
WE WILL PROVIDE: a cup, plate, and eating utensils for each guest.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING: Valuable jewelry, radios, guns or irreplaceable items.
Underlined items are the choice of our professional river guides.
Our girl guides say that one of the most important things to bring on a trip is a sarong. Versatile, comfortable and colorful, sarongs get used for quick clothing changes, beach throws, sun screens and dinner celebrations. Some of our boy guides bring them too and no one laughs (at least not out loud).
ON HOT DAYS you will want clothing that dries quickly (nylon shorts and bathing suits) and something to shield you from the sun, (an old lightweight cotton dress shirt and surgeon's pants). Also, a brimmed hat and a bandana are helpful for staying cool.
ON COOL DAYS you will want a thick fleece top, (pullovers are better) and a sturdy, fully waterproof rainshell. You may also want fleece pants or polypropylene long underwear bottoms and rainpants, particularly before mid-June. Cotton is worthless when wet and should not be used for on-river insulation.
ON YOUR FEET you will want shoes that stay on if you go for a swim and are comfortable for hiking. Sport sandals with heel straps (Tevas, Chacos, Keen, etc.) work well, (buckles are better than velcro). Neoprene or fleece socks will add a bit of insulation. Wetsuit booties work but can be a bit clammy after a full day. Tennis or running shoes with fleece socks work well and are inexpensive and easy to find.
IN CAMP you will want comfortable walking/hiking shoes, (flip flops or lightweight tennis shoes), and versatile clothing, (T-shirts, warm shirts, cotton shorts, jeans or sweats, etc). Cotton is o.k. for camp stuff, but because it is worthless for keeping you warm on the river, a lot of people bring fleece for their camp layer.
Layering your clothing is an effective way to adjust to the daily weather changes that you will encounter. A light polypropylene layer under a heavy fleece top under a rainshell will get you going on the chilliest of mornings and allow you to shed layers as the day warms up.
Local outdoor or sporting goods stores should have everything you need and fleece garments are now available at most department and closeout stores. Great selections of river trip gear are also available on-line through:
Our dry-bags are great for keeping things dry but are somewhat awkward for packing and living out of, (they are tall and narrow with a small opening at the top). Compact sleeping bags are much more convenient, and small stuff sacks or zip-lock bags are helpful for dividing up your stuff inside the bag. Trying to put your entire duffel bag or luggage into the dry-bag never seems to work.
Please feel free to call our office 800/323-2782 or e-mail us if you have any questions. We have been on many trips, have tested a lot of gear, and we enjoy talking about what has and hasn't worked.