This is not the first blog I have written about personal lap bags and it will not be the last. The more time I spend on the river, the more my bag evolves. It also changes with the seasons and rivers that I’m working on. I don’t guide on any multi-day trips so this is what I carry for day trips on the local rivers.
I love my personal bag. The go to size is the Watershed Ocoee. You can fit a lot items inside the bag and it’s the most waterproof bag on the market.
Below is a list of the larger items:
- Patagonia R1 fleece
- Fleece hats
- Extra straps
- 8-1 Screwdriver
- ½ Socket
- Zip ties
- Multi tool
- Watershed Ocoee dry bag
- Snack bars
- Sunglass holders
- Energy shots
- Prussix/extra rope
- Sewing kit
- Bug juice
- Extra sunglasses
- Small first aid kit
- Stuff sack to hold items
Pen and paper, matches, cash, batteries, headlamp, lighter, earplugs, gloves, chapstick, and toilet paper (with doggie bag), hydration tablets.
We would love to hear what you carry in your bag! SYOTR!
1. Kokatat Dry Suit: Essential for working on the river and swimming in cold water.
2. Capilene base layer.
3. Kokatat Dry Top: Great option if you can’t afford drysuit and more versatile if you combine with bibs (#8). Can use all year long.
4. Kokatat Habanero Unisuit: Love this warm layer. Less bulk with uni-suit around the waist.!
5. NRS Helmet Liner: This keeps your head warm, you can also use a swim cap if you can’t afford one of these.
6. HydroFlask water bottle: Don’t forget to stay hydrated and also make sure to secure inside of boat.
7. Sweet Helmet.
8. Kokatat Bibs: Combine with dry top and stay dry. Super versatile piece of gear. I wear these more than my drysuit, especially when I’m guiding. More comfy for prepping lunch, rigging boats, and around camp if its rainy.
9. Rescue PFD: This is an industry standard for guiding. River knife, whistle (on elastic band), and watch are always attached.
10. Neoprene socks: Wear these on the outside of your drysuit/bib socks to prevent pin-holes and wear and tear from gravel/dirt that gets inside your shoes.
11. Neoprene mitts: Only ones that keep my hands warm
12. River booties/shoes: This is a whole separate topic. Just make sure you have good shoes that won’t fall off your feet if you take a swim
13. Salamander Guide Throw Bag: always on you when needed.
14. Ridgerest sleeping pad to change on: Why not spoil yourself?
15. Sprayskirt: To keep the water out and me inside my boat!
16. Personal lap bag: This contains extra layer, snacks, sunscreen, and about 30 other items. We will write another blog on what to pack inside your lap bag. I highly recommend Watershed Ocoee
17.Gear bag: Gotta put all this stuff in something. Keep some carabiners handy for strapping down, etc..The only time I forget a piece of gear is when I seperate it (usually for wash). Don’t separate your gear!
Okay. So you are heading to the legendary Lochsa River. It’s time to get fired up.
The Lochsa is a designated Wild and Scenic river in north central Idaho. It’s a free-flowing (undammed) river, and in the early spring offers some of the best whitewater in the world. The river is cold, and a typical spring day on the Lochsa presents a mixture of rain, sleet, snow, and maybe a spot of sun if you’re lucky. With these thoughts swirling through your head like foam in an eddy, it’s essential that you be prepared for the adventure. We are here to help.
Before the Trip
Gas. The Lochsa is located in the middle of nowhere. There is no gas between the Lochsa Lodge and Kooskia, ID. Fill up your gas tank in Lolo, MT or Kooskia, ID.
Food. If you plan on camping or running the river, you have to do your grocery shopping before you arrive in Lowell, ID. It’s a great idea to bring some pre- and post-trip snacks. There is also a great café in Lowell called Ryan’s Wilderness Inn.
Beer. If you think you have brought enough, double it. You can always bring surplus back home. Don’t short -change yourself here.
Yourself. You need to be a proactive self-rescuer and a willing paddler on the Lochsa River.
Camping comforts. If you’re spending the night in the Lochsa corridor (and we strongly suggest you do!), don’t forget the creature comforts you need to deck out your campsite: firewood, coffee, French press, camp chairs, pop-up tent/tarp, yard games (like corn hole or horseshoes), rain gear, and warm, dry layers.
During the Trip
Gear. Bring Capilene, merino wool, or polypro to wear underneath your wetsuit. Make sure your layers aren’t too bulky, as thick, bunched-up material will not be comfortable or keep you as warm under your wetsuit.
Camera/Go Pro. If you want Go Pro footage, bring a mount for our helmets. And you’ll want to make sure your selfie game is strong.
Snacks. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
After the Trip
Warm/Dry Clothes. There is nothing more comfortable than being warm and cozy after being on the river all day. Add a nice warm hat to your post-river kit, as well.
Extra Cash. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, cash is king. Paper bills can be used for a trade, tip, or gambling at river camp yard games.
Water/Beer. Bask in the glory of the Lochsa River: make sure you drink some water before having a beer!
All kids should go rafting. It’s not only a great way to “unplug” from the daily consumption of electronic devices that we are all so accustomed to but it’s also a great way to explore the outdoors and have fun. Here is some advice for your next adventure on the river.
Pick the right river
A river company will help you make this decision based on 2 important factors: Age/Experience. Short is sweet for many young kids. If it’s your first time rafting, it’s crucial that your first experience is a good one. This sets the foundation for the success of future trips.
The river can bring out the best in all of us. Taking kids out of their comfort zone will allow them to discover new things about themselves and will give them confidence on and off the water. Your river guide will also give you sound advice and approval before your kids decide to jump off of a rock or swim a rapid. Let them rip!
Most guides are well prepared and pack extra snacks and water in their day bags. However, don’t rely on it. When kids are playing hard, they get hungry and thirsty. Bring some snacks such as trail mix, bars, chocolate, and water to keep them from crashing.
Many young kids are all skin and bones. Bring some extra synthetic clothing for them including a windbreaker in case they get cold after swimming in the river. You would be surprised how often we offer kids a fleece sweatshirt or hat when it’s 90 degrees out..
A guide prerequisite is being a people person. Many of us have kids and are childlike. We like to have fun. We love kids. However, we are not babysitters. If your kids play hard enough, they will probably be too tired to argue with you anyways.
If you could do a snapshot of a kids attitude and behavior before and after a raft trip, it’s night and day. Post trip, kids reminisce about swimming rapids, paddling, jumping off rocks, playing games, and water fights. Get kids out on the water!
5 must-see spots you might have missed on the Lochsa River
We have guests that come to the Lochsa River year after year. Our Lochsa guests ebb and flow like the river: some folks are just starting a multi-year “Lochsa Run” and for others, the run is coming to an end. It always amazes me how this river brings so many folks together each year, congregating at all the popular spots like Wilderness Gateway, Fish Creek, Split Creek, and Lowell, ID. The Lochsa boasts cold, clear water, towering wilderness, and cedar trees that hover over the river. In short: it’s a badass place. No matter what draws you to the Lochsa River, it’s that connection to the river that brings us all together each spring.
Most folks come to enjoy the thrill of the rapids. The Lochsa’s world-class rapids overshadow so many other amazing features in the river corridor. Perhaps you’ve already floated the Lochsa and never noticed the spectacular creeks, side hikes, camping, and waterfalls in the area.
Here are a few things that you might have missed on your last trip or something new to look forward to.
Fish Creek Butte Trail
Have you ever waited for hours at Fish Creek for your raft/kayak buddies to show up? Well, next time you have some time to kill, get your legs moving and do a quick hike. You head up Fish Creek and hang your first left at the bridge (Trail #223). Once you start hiking, you will come to a junction. Keep going uphill, as the other trail goes along the river. Hike until you get to a nice overlook. From there, you can get a nice overhead view of all the action taking place down at Fish Creek and the Lochsa River.
Historic Lochsa Ranger Station
This ranger station is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The station is full of history and there are plenty of old photos and literature that illustrate what this place was like years ago. A visit to the ranger station is a great way to get connected to the area.
Stanley Hot Springs
This primitive hot spring is a 6-mile hike in from Wilderness Gateway campground. It’s not recommended to do this hike during the peak of spring runoff, as you will have to cross Boulder Creek at high water. Try to do this adventure before spring runoff or during the hot summer months. Trail #211 is located right before you get to C loop in the campground.
Horsetail Falls is one of the more technical rapids on the Lochsa River. Because river runners are so focused on the run, the falls itself is many times overlooked. At Mile 114.8, if you look river left, there is a beautiful waterfall. You can access the falls via kayak or raft by pulling out on the river left, just above the rapid.
Selway Falls is a magnificent sight at any time of year. It’s a cauldron of whitewater and siphons. Bring some cold beverages and have fun discussing “what if” scenarios if you were to one day choose to run this rapid. From Lowell, cross the Lochsa River and drive about 19 miles up the Selway River.