1. Whistle: A whistle can be used as a way to communicate with others on the river when talking and yelling is not an option. Whistles are also an important way to alert others and get their attention quickly. Don’t just go to the local store, buy a whistle, and start blowing it left and right on the river. In my opinion, the whistle should be used as an emergency tool only. When I’m on a river and need to communicate with my team, we establish a system of signals using our paddles and hands before we put on the river. Using a whistle to alert your buddies that you need a beer is not cool or too draw attention to yourself is not recommended.
2. Snack: As the old saying goes, “it’s not a matter of if, but when”. You will get hungry and so will folks in your group. I like to pack some energy bars, candy, and a little jerky. You don’t want anybody in your group getting “Hangry”
3. Electrolytes: When you’re on the river, on a nice hot day, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. In order to stay hydrated, these electrolytes must be replaced. Combining water with electrolytes, (powdered Gatorade, Emergency) our bodies will hydrate quicker. Symptoms of Dehydration include irritability, fatigue, light headedness, headaches, muscle cramps, and reduced endurance.
4. River Knife: I keep my knife accessible on the front pocket of my PFD. It’s an essential safety tool, especially for cutting rope, but I usually just use it for making sandwiches or PBJ’s.
5. Watch: A watch can be used for many things on the river. Time on/off (for future reference), pace of the group, river rescues, and meeting bored shuttle bunnies on time, are all essential uses of the watch.
Other Items to Consider: Nose plugs, ear plugs, carabineer, prussex/webbing.