Equipment Checklist for River Trips


Required Equipment
A Park Ranger may inspect your boat for required equipment while you are on the river. The following equipment is essential for a safe river trip:

  • Boat—Canoes, kayaks, or heavy duty inflatable rafts.
  • Life jackets—One U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket per person. Must be worn on class II or greater water (International Scale). Must be worn on inner tubes or air mattresses. Bring one extra per group.
  • Paddles/Oars—Each vessel (except inner tubes and air mattresses) must carry an extra paddle or oar, except for kayaks, which must carry one extra paddle per party.
  • Patch kit/pump—All inflatable vessels, except inner tubes and air mattresses, must carry a patch kit and pump. Know how to use patch kit.
  • Waste System— A personal chemical bagged waste containment system, or a RV dump station compatible waste system.

Recommended Items
The following gear is recommended to increase safety, reduce impacts to the environment, and make your trip more enjoyable:

  • First aid kit—to handle major and minor emergencies.
  • Plastic trash bags—carry out all trash.
  • Safety line—rope length 50'-100' and 3/8" diameter. Carry tie-downs to secure gear in vessel(s).
  • Bailing bucket—to remove water from inside vessel(s).
  • Water-tight containers—to keep food, clothing, gear dry.
  • Fire pan required for all fires.
  • Flashlight.

What do the rangers bring on river trips?
List of required, recommended and optional equipment [40kb PDF file]

Last updated: April 2, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River
c/o Big Bend National Park
PO Box 129

Big Bend National Park, TX 79834


(432) 477-2251

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