Middle Fork American Equipment List

What to wear on the river:

During the summer, it is usually warm and sunny on the Middle 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. 


  • Sandals with heel strap (Chaco, Teva, Astral, etc.) or tennis shoes & fleece or wool socks.
  • Swimsuit or shorts. Nylon quick-drying shorts are best.
  • Lightweight polypropylene layer (long underwear top, under-armor, etc) next to skin.
  • Hat for under helmet, (baseball style or visor works best, fleece beanie if you get cold easily).
  • Sunglasses with strap, (maybe not your best pair).
  • Water bottle, (an empty Gatorade bottle is fine).
  • Waterproof camera, (if you want to bring your cell phone to use as a camera, we strongly recommend getting a sturdy case such as an Otter Box or EscapeCapsule)

PLEASE DO NOT BRING: Valuable jewelry or irreplaceable items.


Proper footwear will make your day much more enjoyable. You should wear shoes or sandals that won’t come off if you go swimming. Old running shoes are fine; outdoor sandals with a heel strap (Chacos, Tevas, Keens, etc) also work well; wearing wool, fleece or neoprene socks (not cotton) under them will help keep your feet warm. Wetsuit booties keep your feet the warmest, but can get a bit clammy after a full day on the river. Aqua shoes are great for the water park, not so good for walking on rocks.

How to Dress:

When we meet you in Auburn, you should be in your river shoes, shorts and lightweight layer. You can wear warmer, cotton clothes over these if you want and then take them off and leave them in the van when we get to the launch site. An effective way to dress for the river is to have a tight-fitting, quick-drying layer next to your skin (polypropylene long underwear) with a thick, warm fleece layer to put on over it. Cotton does not work for insulation; make sure your thick top is a synthetic like Polarfleece.


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.


Our guides all wear sunglasses
(and they keep them all summer by using a Chums strap).


You will be wearing a helmet that doesn’t have a visor, so a baseball cap (without the button on top) or a visor is nice (and will work better than a big floppy sunhat).


If you still have questions, please feel free to call us (209-962-7873) or e-mail us (arta@arta.org). We have been on many trips, have tested a lot of gear, and enjoy talking about what has and hasn't worked.