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Jonathan Stull | 07.15.2017

The season for floating is upon us, and with every passing day of full sun and summer heat, more compelling becomes the idea of wandering down to the river with a kayak, canoe, raft, inner tube, or pool noodle. The calm, cool waters and constantly changing scenery are perfect companions to a summer day, but don’t forget to prepare. Like any outdoor adventure, a relaxing and enjoyable day on the water requires that you are ready with everything you need. Enter this handy checklist! More than just where to go, you can use this to check off what you’ll need to get there and enjoy the day to the fullest.

Essentials

  • Your vessel of choice
  • Air pump (if necessary)
  • Map
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Umbrella
  • Swimsuit
  • River sandals or neoprene booties
  • Towel
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Dry bag
  • Ziplock bags
  • Bungees or utility cord
  • First aid kit
  • Plenty of water
  • Plenty of food
  • Drinks (it’s usually best to keep it light)
  • Dry clothes (for the end of the trip)

Optionals

  • Small floatation attachments (option for floating a cooler or other larger item)
  • Snorkel and mask
  • A book
  • Fishing rod
  • Binoculars
  • Disposable and/or waterproof camera

General tips: It’s a good idea to leave the wallet and cell phone at home. With most of your gear, bring the cheap stuff! It’s easy to lose gear on the water, so leave the valuables at home. Bring the essentials only, like your ID, your credit card, and maybe a $20 bill. Also, stay away from glass and styrofoam. Glass breaks, and styrofoam floats away; both are hazards in their own ways. If you need an air pump, get one that fits your car’s electrical adapter. Especially with large rafts, inflating with a hand pump can be exhausting.

Where well-known floats can be found, dealers will sometimes rent rafts and inflatables to floaters. Keep that in mind when you plan your trip.

Keep it light, drink responsibly, apply plenty of sunscreen, have fun, and take care of these places! Everyone wants to have a good time on the river, and you can do your part to make sure that happens by clearing your litter, packing out what you pack in, and cleaning up when others forget.

Now get out there! Here are a few places to go to get you started:

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