With summer about to arrive, and a huge snowpack out here in the Sierras, there seem to be lots of people coming over to California in the coming months. Paddling here is amazing, but the geology and geography are unlike most other places, and the rivers demand a healthy respect – beware of what locals call class 4!

Here are three things to remember when packing for your whitewater paddling holiday out west.

Good shoes

Good grip on Cali granite feels like heaven, bad grip on Cali granite feels like hell. So bring grippy shoes, and be prepared to hike a long way in said shoes.

Smooth granite and bad shoes make for hellish portaging

A boat repair kit

The granite is usually smooth, but rivers here can be tough on boats, and you’re usually a long way from the car. Whether you are going to bring your own boat or borrow/rent a boat out here, remember to bring spare foam, a boat repair kit (duct tape, zip ties and tar tape) and air bags.

You’ll be a long way from the car, so take kit to fix your boat!

An overnight set up

Multi-day trips out here are some of the very best in the world. So make sure you’ve packed a sleeping bag, mat, headlamp, dry bags, and a pot/bowl. Don’t fret though, REI and Walmart can sell you pretty much everything you might need.

Overnight trips in the Sierras are simply rad

If all else fails, make sure you’ve got your driving license, your passport, and a credit card. Everything else is a bonus.

I hope to see you on the water out west!