Raft Trip Planning

Raft Trip Planning Resources

If you found this page, I’ll assume you’re planning a private raft trip down Idaho’s Salmon River. May this be the Middle Fork, Main, or Lower I’m sure you are about to have a great time. The material below is intended to aid those who are planning a self guided trip. The intent is to create a centralized hub of information which will point you towards all the other planning resources people have made over the years.

If you are joining a guided trip I would encourage you to trust your outfitter. They are all professional and know what will work best on the their trips. 

Do you have a company, website, or resources that should be added to this page?

Contact me!

   Quick Links

   🌲  Murder Mystery Game

   🌲  General Resources

   🌲  General Considerations

   🌲  Books

   🌲   Car Shuttles Options

   🌲   Raft Trip Packing List

General Rafting Resources

Permit/Reservation: www.recreation.gov || (a Reservation is not a permit)

River Campsite Photos: newdescents.com 

Older Campsites:  raftingthewest.com 

General Raft Trip Planner:  https://rrfw.org

River information:

Forum: www.mountainbuzz.com

Articles: RiverBent.com 

General Raft Trip Planning Considerations

While there is much to plan, remember:

– Less is more –

– Go with the flow – 

– Communicate with your group –

– Adapt, relax, and smile –

General Considerations:

  • Who is the group leader?
  • Permit winner must be present
  • Review current regulations
  • Vehicle person capacity factoring in gear
  • Shuttle Service (see below)
  • Campsites 
  • Estimated group shared cost (no surprises)

Safety Considerations:

  • Is your group experienced enough to safely raft this river?
  • Who is the lead safety person?
  • Who knows river safety?
  • Who knows raft rescue?
  • Does your group have enough experienced oars people?
  • List of emergency numbers for the area
  • What is your group’s sickness policy
  • Satellite phone or 2-way radio

Food Considerations:

  • How is your group breaking out meals?
  • Who is in charge of raft snacks?
  • How are going to keep food cold?
    • Don’t forget the hot drive to put-in
  • Weight distribution: Water jugs + Groover + Adult beverages?

Raft Trip Gear Considerations:

  • Gear rental and associated costs and transportation
  • Size of rafts vs number of people per boat
  • Gear breakdown per boat
  • Refer to Packing List Section (below)

Salmon River Guide Books:

  • Middle Fork of the Salmon River Guide Book by Matt Leidecker
  • Idaho’s Salmon River Guide Book by Eric J. Newell 
  • RiverMaps Middle Fork & Main Salmon River by Duwain Whitis & Barbara Vinson
  • The Lower Salmon River Boating Guide Book by Bureau of Land Management

Salmon River Idaho Books:

  • River of No Return by Johnny Carrey and Cort Conley
    • Highly Recommended with Murder Mystery!
  • 7003 Days: 21 Years in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness by Jim Akenson, Holly Akenson
  • Fishing Idaho: An Angler’s Guide by Joe Evancho

Salmon River Car Shuttle Options

All River Shuttles: allriversshuttle.com 

Blackadar Boating:  www.blackadarboating.com  

Frank Church River Shuttles: www.fcrshuttles.com 

River Rat Shuttles: https://www.rivershuttles.com 

Rubicon Outfitters: https://www.rubiconraft.com 

Central Idaho River Shuttles: centralidahorivershuttles.com 

Salmon River Jet Boat Shuttle Options

Arctic Creek Lodge: www.arcticcreeklodge.com 

China Bar Lodge: chinabarlodge.com 

Hells Canyon Adventures: hellscanyon.biz 

Jet Boat Idaho:  jetboatidaho.org 

White Water Expeditions: whitewaterexpeditions.com 

Raft Trip Packing


  • PFD
  • Throw bag(s)
  • Rescue Kit
  • Permit
  • Government-issued photo Identification of the Permit Holder
  • Aquatic Invasive Species sticker for each boat
  • Toilet Containers (not bags)
  • Metal Firepan – minimum of 144 sq in with 3-in sides
  • Ash Container (prefer metal)
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Sand stakes for securing rafts
  • Mesh Strainer (fine enough to filter coffee grounds)
  • Whistle


  • Air pump
  • Boat repair kit
  • Fire Blanket (may be required in the future)
  • Spare paddle and Bow Line
  • Bailing device
  • River map
  • Toilet paper, Groover key, Groover wash station
  • Soap and Hand sanitizer
  • Food
  • Water (~1 gallon per person per day)
  • Kitchen Tarp
  • Cooking gear
  • Coolers
  • Dry Box
  • Trash Ammo can or buckets with lids
  • Trash bags
  • Lighter
  • Personal clothes
  • Personal Toiletries & Hygiene
  • Water bottle with carabiner
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp chair
  • Sunglasses, Hat, Sunscreen
  • Med Kit →   NRS Kits 
    • Topicals for Bee stings, rashes, bug bites,
    • Benadryl, Aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-spetic wipes
    • Spare matches and some paper, thermal blanket
    • Tweezers, fingernail clippers
    • Moleskin, wraps, cotton ball, q-tips, band-aids

Nice to Have:

  • Dry Bags
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Games!
  • Wood or charcoal for a fire
  • Pillow
  • Chamois cloth
  • Headlamp
  • Drag bag
  • Camp shoes
  • Rubber mallet: for sand stakes & crushing cans
  • Pocket knife
  • Campsite options


  • Spare carabiners
  • Bee Trapping strategy
  • Suction cup Koozies 
  • Shewee
  • Fishing gear and license
  • Emergency Satellite communication method
  • Contact lens wearers: Ask for a prescription for daily contacts
  • Baby wipes
  • Cold water gear
  • Helmet
  • Binoculars
  • Books

Rafting Kitchen list:

  • Kitchen Table
  • Kitchen floor tarp
  • Coffee Percolator
  • Insulated travel mugs
  • Ideally 2 burner stove
  • Propane tanks
  • Lighter
  • Cooking pots and pans
    • Dutch oven
  • Griddle or grill pan
  • Cooking utensils: spatula, ladle, tongs
  • Pot gripper
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Low profile, lightweight, plastic Plates and Bowls
  • Cups or mugs
  • Eating utensils (forks, knives, spoons)
  • Peeler, Can opener
  • Lightweight (Or Collapsible) dishwashing basins (Qty 3 if a large group)
  • Dish-drying mesh bag
  • Sponge
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking oil or spray
  • Various spices and herbs in small plastic bags
  • Time of year dependent: Kitchen lantern