Advice for first overnight trip

I’ve done a number of backpacking trips and am looking to expand into some overnight river trips around the Colorado/Utah areas. Any advice for a first-timer or any recommendations would be appreciated.

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Bring your own drinking /cooking water. Filtered water from side streams are usually OK (if they are running) but with high use of the rivers, you need to treat the water, and it tastes awful. Be very careful to make camp high above flood areas. It’s tempting to camp on a sand bar or in a dry wash, but flashfloods happen and can be fatal. In the summer be ready for intense sun and blowing sand. In summer months a cotton shirt you can dip and wear and an old hat that soaks up water, works great to cool off. This year near my place in Utah mosquitos are really really bad. I use the magnum strength Cutters repellent.


I like to precook our meals and freeze them in silicone bags. Things like chili or spaghetti sauce or chowder or lobster bisque with plenty of liquid to freeze well. Then I stack them in the small Yeti soft cooler. As they thaw we can heat on the Jet Boil. It gets you 3-4 meals with no prep or cleanup.

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Once it starts raining hard in the desert the rattlesnakes come out of nowhere sometimes by the hundreds. My husband has almost been bit a couple of times because he insists on wearing flip-flops at camp. When you are surrounded by them it is a bad nightmare. :smiling_face_with_tear:


Backpacking equipment is the right idea. Don’t overload your boat. Filter drinking water to save weight. Start with flat water. Lakes and easy rivers. Go in a group. Wear PFDs. Practice rescues. Dress for immersion.

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Good call on the mosquitos, are water levels pretty high at the moment from all the snowmelt?

unless you are boating at elevation, avoid June, July and Aug. It can be downright hot. Better times to go. I’m allergic to cottonwood blooms and tamarisk so I carry benedryl now. Learned both those lessons the hard way, “suffering needlessly” .