Spring is in full swing! It’s the best time of year for hiking, boating, camping, and the one thing you can do while enjoying all those other activities: floating. Whether you’re floating on a river, on a lake, or in the surf, spring brings the hot air and cool water to kick your feet up and bob around with some friends.
All you really need for a float trip is a nice tube or raft (or air mattress, if that’s your thing). However, if you prefer to float in style, gear up with these luxury items to take your float adventure to the next level.
When it comes to selecting a float, the more ridiculous the better. You have your choice of everything from the standard inner tube (bonus points if it resembles food) to a float shaped like a magical unicorn or flamingo. It’s not uncommon to simply bring an air mattress for the ultimate in comfort and relaxation.
If you really like your travel buddy, get a two-person float for a true bonding experience. You’ll end up goofing off on a big float and paddling in opposite directions as you decide what turn your trip will take. And if you have a big group, there’s nothing more fun than sharing a floating island with five of your closest friends.
Find out ahead of time if your campground or launch point offers an air pump. If not, it’s a good idea to bring an air pump with you. You’d hate to get stuck manually inflating all your floats and cutting into precious time on the water.
Don’t be that person who literally gets stuck “up a creek without a paddle.” It’s nice to have a cheap, lightweight, collapsible paddle just in case you miss your tube exit, want to explore different areas, or need to move a large float with a lot of gear.
While not essential in all places, water shoes are nice to have if you’re floating somewhere with a rocky or uneven bottom. Water shoes are especially helpful if you have to climb slippery steps when getting in and out of the water.
Floating Cell Phone Case or Lanyard
You may already have a waterproof phone case, or even a waterproof phone. However, those are useless if you drop your phone in deep or murky water. Make sure to secure your phone with a floating case or lanyard to ensure that you can recover it in any scenario.
A dry bag is essential for a long day on the water. Store your sunblock, snacks, car keys, cash, and ID in a small waterproof bag that you can tie to your float for quick and easy access.
There’s an unspoken rule that one simply cannot float without some good tunes. Invest in a high-quality waterproof Bluetooth speaker, preferably one that floats, or has somewhere that you can tie it off to your float. Make sure the speaker is waterproof, not just water resistant.
Floating Sunglasses Cord
Many a pair of sunglasses have been claimed by the country’s rivers, lakes, and oceans. That’s why it’s a no-brainer to be equipped with a floating sunglasses cord like Floateyes to protect your expensive shades.
What’s a float trip without some cold beverages? Bring a floating cooler along to keep your drinks cold and accessible. You can get a cheap inflatable cooler or a high-end cooler made from kayak material that’ll float right alongside you. A cooler also doubles as a trash can for your empty containers.
Snorkel and Mask
If you’re going somewhere clear water, bring a snorkel and mask to check out any reefs, springs, caves, and fish you might float by. A snorkel and mask are also good to have in case you lose and need to recover any of the aforementioned items.
Make sure to pack plenty of rope, twine, paracord, or bungees for your float trip. You’ll need more than you think, especially if tying multiple floats together. Or just use it to secure your shoes, speaker, cooler, or dry bag.
Don’t forget the essentials for your float trip! Bring towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of food and water to keep you hydrated and energized as you float on.