You don't want to be the one showing up at the launch site with lawn chair, snorkel and fins, styrofoam cooler, a cool drink with a cute little umbrella, and Fido in tow. Yes, this is quite the exaggeration. However, you will be toting a whole lot of stuff and, hopefully, it's the right stuff– because once launched, there is no going back to gather/purchase what you need. "The right stuff" is what this book is about.
A couple arrived for a River trip once without rain gear of any kind. They said, "We watched the weather reports for Phoenix on TV for the past month and it hasn't rained even once." This is the type of situation I am trying to help you avoid. It is easy to make this kind of mistake when you haven't been on a River trip before, and most people are hesitant to "pester" the Outfitter every time a question comes up on how best to prepare.
This book is not meant as a replacement for the excellent River guide's advice, but rather, as a supplement. View this as a starting place and not an end in itself. If in doubt, follow the recommendations in the materials sent to you by your Outfitter. There are many differences among the various River Outfitters and each has a style developed as a result of long experience on the River.
As you begin reading about what to expect, and how to prepare, you may feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do before your expedition. There seem to be an unending array of details to attend to. You might be asking yourself, "Is it really worth all the effort?" The first time you experience the fern covered oases of Vasey's Paradise, hike up to the ancient Puebloan granaries of Nankoweap with epic vistas below, navigate some of the biggest whitewater in the Canyon, encounter lush grottoes with shimmering crystal pools, glide through geologic time, and come away with a special bonding experience with your raft mates, your self, and your Maker, you'll know.
People who come on the River always bring an interesting and divergent mix of backgrounds, experiences, and personalities. Some are experienced outdoor enthusiasts while others have never slept out-of-doors or never have gone to the toilet except in the company of porcelain. This book is a collection of tips and suggestions intended mainly for the person of limited outdoor experience. If you feel this trip will challenge your level of knowledge or comfort, learning as much as possible beforehand will assure peace of mind and the confidence to enjoy your "trip of a lifetime." That being said, even proficient outdoor folks may find this useful in the preparation phase of their River adventure.