Do I really need rain gear?
The question is a valid one? Do you really need rain tops and bottoms in the Grand Canyon? The weather in the summer can easily hit 100ºF. Short answer: Yes. Here’s why…
Though it is true that the heat is an enduring friend during the summer months, the river water itself is mighty cold (around 50 degrees F). The relationship between cold water and hot air temp is actually a pretty nice one most of the time. The cold water drenches you and the hot sun dries you off immediately. The problem arises when a.) the sun is hidden behind the canyon walls, b.) monsoons come and soak the whole canyon or c.) your friends have decided that you would be the best person to ride up front all day.
In the morning of even the hottest days, the canyon is shaded for quite some time. Depending on the stretch of river, you may not see the sun until 11:00 a.m.. Quality rain gear can make all the difference in the world. Imagine a trough of cold, cold water being dumped on you without a towel or sun to dry you off. You’re here to have a great time, and you don’t want to dread the next rapid because you’re wet and cold.
This is why we recommend a two piece rain suit with a hood and the capability to cinch at the ankle, wrists and waist regardless of the time of year.
The more obvious reasons for needing rain gear are those associated with weather.
If you are rafting with us in April, early May, September or October, the air temperatures during this time are likely to be a bit cooler than the summer with highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s. Furthermore, you’ll experience less sunlight to quickly dry you off after each rapid. Getting stuck in a rain storm without proper rain gear is not fun.
Now that you know why you need a good rain suit, you may ask yourself, “Self… What qualifies as a good rain suit?”
Great Question! The key phrase to look for is “water proof.” You’ll want something that keeps you dry, but is also breathable – which means you don’t want a plastic rain poncho (too many ways for water to get in) and you don’t want a splash jacket (not very breathable). Remember that the rain suit (and possibly your river sandals) should be your highest consideration when purchasing items from the packing list.
For those of you who love an excuse to shop for gear, you can research the differences in types of jackets at outdoorgearlab.com. This should give you a good sense of what to look for when choosing quality rain gear.
In a hurry and don’t have time to shop for deals? Our sister company sells rain gear that we’ve tested on our river trips. And for less than $100 you can get a jacket and pants. Shop rain gear for your Grand Canyon rafting adventure.