Gear and Clothing

Personal Gear and Clothing To Print, Download This PDF

Wondering what to bring? CFI’s programs mostly occur in remote areas where proper gear and clothing is an essential safety item. Be sure to bring all gear required for your program. We ask that you do not bring extra amounts of gear on camping programs, as space is limited in tents, packstock panniers and duffels, vans and boats. You will notice that this gear list is separated into general items for all participants and program-specific items. Please bring all items that apply to your trip, all seasons.

General Items

  • Water bottle (at least 1-qt in size, 2 for multi-day hiking trips) VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Rain gear (rain pants and rain jacket; no ponchos) 1 set
  • Clothing (quick-drying items are best for all seasons; in summer, lightweight cotton clothing can help keep you cool, see below on “warmth” layer)
    • Shirts: 1 long sleeve and 1 short sleeve (sun protection needs)
    • Pants (lightweight and quick drying; not jeans) 1 pair
    • Swimsuit or for ladies, athletic top/bra
    • Shorts (quick drying best, ladies may also wish to add a skirt) 2 pairs
    • Warm wool or polypropylene socks 1-2 pair (2 for hiking trips)
    • Light socks 2 or more pairs
  • Walking shoes or light hiking boots 1 pair (for multi-day hiking programs be sure they are broken-in and all weather protective; light walking or tennis shoes are fine for river trips)
  • Tennis shoes or hiking sandals (optional for land-based programs, good in camp for multi-day hiking trips; required for river trips; sandals must have a heel strap to stay on in swift water) 1 pair
  • Warm Jacket (warmth level according to season & activity) 1
  • Warm top 1 (wool or fleece are best; we recommend NOT using cotton such as a sweatshirt for your warm layer; if it gets wet it will not keep you warm.)
  • Hat with a brim (for sun protection) 1
  • Stocking-type cap (wool or polypropylene, even in summer) 1
  • Gloves both for sun and for warmth, 1-2 pair
  • Sunglasses (w/ retaining strap)
  • Day pack or waist pack (to carry lunch, water bottle, raingear and optional items, river or motel-based trips require minimum capacity, hiking-with-packstock trips require larger capacity approximately 1400-2300 with hip & chest stability straps)
  • Toiletries: sunscreen, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, insect repellant, moisturizing lotion, feminine hygiene products, and protective lip balm
  • Personal first aid and medications (in waterproof containers, also carry duplicate/extra dose and give to trip leader to carry separately.)
  • Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries (be sure batteries are fresh)
  • Notebook and pen/pencil (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Camera and film (optional)
  • Thermos (optional)
  • Walking stick (optional)
  • Adult Trips – happy hour beverages (optional) – CFI cannot provide soda pop, beer, wine (or other alcoholic drinks). You are welcome to bring your own. Please drink alcohol responsibly, in accordance with local laws. CFI requests most alcohol consumption “wait til camp” though the beer/soda cooler will be available during the day. CFI staff are not allowed to consume alcohol during day or operating vehicles, boats or machinery.  For camping, we prefer beverages be in plastic or metal but a small amount of glass can be accommodated.
  • Musical instruments are a welcome addition to most programs. However, before bringing one please contact CFI to ensure that it is appropriate.
  • Many programs will ask you to bring something special from home (example: a reading, something of personal significance). Please check your trip outline for details.

Camping (This list applies to all river and land overnight programs except for motel-based.)

  • Small tent with ground cloth (larger if sharing with several people; please practice setting up your tent before your trip to familiarize yourself with it and ensure all necessary parts are present)
  • Sleeping bag (light for summer, heavy for spring or fall; please bring easily compressible bags)
  • Sleeping pad (easily compressible)
  • Wool or polypropylene long underwear: 1 pair, no cotton (to provide low-volume, warm-when-wet insulation for all seasons, temperatures drop very quickly year round during storms and at night)
  • Crazy Creek chair (optional; CFI will provide camp chairs on river or truck support trips)

River Trips

For multiday trips, please be sure to bring all of the essential gear listed on the first page, especially the warm layers and rain suit no matter the time of year. For all river trips,  light weight close-toed shoes are required for some hikes on river trips such as tennis shoes or lightweight hiking shoes. Your river shoes need to be firmly attached to your feet (no “thongs”.) All necessary boating gear will be provided by CFI, including Type V life-jackets (as required by UT State law). We provide participants with a large river bag for storing their personal items (clothes, sleeping gear, tent etc.). Participants will receive smaller river bags for storing items that need to be accessed during the day. Please note that these bags are not guaranteed to be completely waterproof: you may wish to bring your own waterproof camera bag. We suggest that you check with your insurance agent about coverage for your camera or video equipment, as CFI is not responsible for damage to or loss of personal items.

  • Water bottle (1-qt in size) with loop or clip for carrying and securing to a boat VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Bathing suit or athletic top and short/pants for ladies; swim shorts for men
  • Sun shirt and hat
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Rain jacket

Hiking With Packstock

Your gear will be packed in soft-sided duffel bags (horse pack) or panniers (llamas) which we will provide. The volume available is about the size of a standard pillow case, excluding your tent and what you carry in your day pack. The weight should be not more than 25 lbs. Tents will go in separate duffel or on top of panniers depending if horse or llama support. Please note that pack animals sometimes roll or rub against rocks; avoid packing breakable items. Your day pack should be the “3/4” type (between full back pack and small day pack), with hip strap support and large enough to carry 2 bottles of water, your rain gear, camera and share of group lunch. You will travel separately from the pack train most of the day and will not access your main gear until camp. Staff will have water filters but you can bring your own, too.


Participants who spend each night of their program in a motel/lodge do not need sleeping bag, tent or pad or ground cloth. All other items are recommended. For flight or van tours we request you still limit your belongings to 25 lbs each and use soft sided duffel bags. Use your judgment with regard to seasonal conditions, remembering desert weather changes quickly and especially in the mountains.

Please Do Not Bring These Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Fireworks & Firearms
  • Suitcases or large backpacks (overnight trips can store your travel suitcase at motel.
  • Electronic devices such as CD players, Ipods, cell phones (cameras, video equipment are fine but protect and insure.)
  • CFI is a smoke-free environment. If you smoke, we request you do so out of main camp areas and not in boats or vehicles.

Rental Equipment available from CFI for those registered on our trips

  • Tent (dome style) with ground cloth (2 adults or 3 youth) = $30/trip
  • Sleeping Bag: $20/trip (in spring/fall CFI includes fleece liner with sleeping bags and in summer, a sheet) (tarps for sleeping under the stars will be packed in group gear, available if you choose.)
  • Sleeping Pad:  for youth $7/trip for insolite pad;  or for adults $15/trip for either deluxe “Paco” pad for river/truck support trips or for hiking with packstock trip,  “Thermarest” pad.
  • Wetsuit (required on Westwater trips during April-July and September-October. Fees do not apply to youths):
    • River Booties = $6/trip
    • Jacket = $10/trip
    • Farmer John Only = $15/trip