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.
    • Each group must also carry an extra (Type I, III, or V) PFD.
  • 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.
  • Fire PanEach overnight boat group must carry a fire pan with a 2 inch minimum rim.
  • NOTE: Local outfitters have all the required gear (and much more) available for rent.

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.
  • Flashlight.

What do the rangers bring on river trips?

List of required, recommended and optional equipment

Last updated: January 3, 2020

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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