12 Holiday Gifts for Rafting & Kayaking Enthusiasts

As the holiday season rolls around, you might be struggling to come up with gift ideas for the adventurers in your life. So to help you out, here are 11 gift ideas that will be a hit with whitewater rafters and kayakers, ensuring they stay warm, hydrated and safe on their next trip. 


1. Watershed Personal Dry Bag 

A dry bag is an essential part of any kayaking or whitewater rafting packing system and these dry bags by Watershed are among the best. They come in a variety of sizes, styles, and designs to appeal to all tastes, with all of their bags being durable, completely waterproof, and even fully submergable for 100 meters!


A girl standing along the Rogue River over looking a rapid with her red PFD on and chums with sunglasses around her head.


2. Chums

Chums have garnered a reputation for their industry-leading eyewear retainers, which are made from a variety of materials and available in a whole host of designs. They’re an essential accessory to ensure sunglasses don’t end up in the water. Their size and price make them the perfect Christmas stocking stuffer.  


3. Badger Balm Lip Balm with SPF 

Super moisturizing and long-lasting, Badger Balm’s lip balms offer SPF protection to avoid those inevitable burnt lips. There are lots of natural and organic options available, and the company is committed to supporting healthy agriculture and a sustainable supply chain. 


4. Exofficio Fast-Drying Underwear

When you’re on the river, things get wet, which makes quick-dry clothing a “must”. Exofficio’s line of fast-drying underwear is comfortable, lightweight and odor-resistant thanks to hydrophobic fibers in the mesh that push moisture to the surface where it quickly evaporates. Aside from men’s boxers, briefs and undershirts, there are also women’s bras and bikinis available, all of which are made from a soft fabric that stretches to fit the individual. 


Pilled merino wool brown socks up against a campfire


5. SmartWool Merino Socks

Sustainably sourced, quick-drying and boasting antimicrobial properties, Smartwool socks are designed to keep feet warm, even when wet. They come in a wide variety of designs, from plain black to animal-themed and limited-edition Christmas socks, including their “Ugly Sweater” crew style. 


6. The Emerald Mile

For book-loving outdoor adventurers, this is a great read from one of “Outside” magazine’s “Literary All-Stars”, Kevin Fedarko. It documents a thrilling ride down the Colorado River during the legendary flood of 1983. A wooden dory named “The Emerald Mile” was launched at the head of the Grand Canyon, with a mission of securing the all-time record for the fastest boat ever propelled down the waterway.


People in puffy jackets standing around a campfire on a rocky beach at sunset in British Columbia

7. Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket or Vest

Lightweight, compressible and water-resistant, this puff jacket will keep you cozy around the campfire at night. It comes in hooded, hoodless and vest styles designed for both men and women, and offers the warmth of down thanks to its innovative synthetic insulation known as PlumaFill. 


8. Luci Lights

These inflatable solar lanterns are ideal for hanging in the tent or around the campsite at night and won’t take up valuable space in gear bags. Charged by the sun or via a USB cable to a phone, they offer up to 50 hours on a single charge so your loved ones can cook, read or socialize after dark on their adventures. 


9. ROW Adventures Gift Voucher

Got hard-to-shop-for friends and family? Why not pick up a gift voucher that can be used towards a trip with ROW Adventures. They can select the kayaking or rafting adventure of their choice and experience a vacation like no other doing what they love to do. 


Insulated Yeti water bottle next to a Nalgene water bottle on a rock along the river


10. Yeti Insulated Water Bottle

Yeti makes some of the best-insulated bottles on the market, ensuring water is kept refreshingly cool under all conditions. Their original Rambler bottles are practically designed to easily clip onto a gear bag with a carabiner or you can also find 12-ounce bottles with hotshot caps for caffeine enthusiasts on-the-go. 


Someone walking through a river holding a coiled rope over his shoulder performing swift water rescue skills


11. Swiftwater Rescue Course 

What better way to support your loved one’s passion for whitewater adventure than with a training course, equipping them with the practical skills to survive and respond in rescue situations. Sierra Rescue and the Swiftwater Safety Institute both offer quality training programs led by highly experienced professionals, with options for those with little experience or paddlers wanting to hone their skills. 


ROW Adventures guide wearing a sun hoodie underneath his PFD while rowing down the Bruneau River


12. Sun Hoodie

Sun hoodies are a versatile layer that have many benefits. Sun hoodies are often made of lightweight, quick drying, and cooling technology sun protection long sleeve hoodies. Sun hoodies are designed with UPF-rated fabric to provide protection against UV rays. The long sleeves and hood offer additional coverage, helping to shield your skin from prolonged sun exposure during outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting. They provide protection not only from the sun but also from wind and cooler temperatures. This adaptability makes them suitable for various weather conditions often encountered during rafting trips.

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