In Arizona? During the summer? Are you sure?
Short answer: Yes! Good rain gear can make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a miserable one.
We know it sounds a bit crazy, especially mid-summer when temperatures can easily hit 100ºF in the canyon, but the water itself is cold. Really cold. The water comes out of the bottom of the Glen Canyon Dam at 50ºF and doesn’t warm up much along the way. The relationship between cold water and hot air is usually a pretty nice one, cold water drenches you and the hot air dries you off quickly. However, the problem arises when:
Occasionally, especially on our shorter trips, rain gear goes unused – that means you had rare perfect weather on your trip! However, as Kafka states it is “better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” Every time the benefits of bringing rain gear outweigh the negatives.
We recommend a quality, two-piece rain suit with hood that cinches at the ankle, wrists, and waist for all trips 6 days or longer regardless of the time of year. For 3 day trips, bring a rain jacket, but pants are optional as you’ll be exposed to the elements for a shorter time. The key to a good rain suit is the word waterproof NOT water resistant. Look for something that can keep you dry, but is also breathable. Most rain jackets have pit zips you can open up if you start to get warm between rapids. Do not get a plastic poncho, there are too many ways for water to get in rendering it useless.
Rain gear can either be purchased online or at an outdoor gear retailer. Our sister company, Grand Canyon Whitewater, also sells rain gear in their online store.