River floating, also known as river tubing is a great way to beat the heat off and relax during the summer and spring. If you especially live near a river, you can make a couple of these floating trips during the hot times of the year. They can be so much fun, that is if you know what you are doing.
If you have no clue, however, river floating could turn out to be a not-so-good experience. Not to mention the possible dangers you could expose yourself to.
I came up with a few river floating tips. Try these out when you are next heading out to the river for the ultimate tubing experience.
Of course, every floating trip will be unique. What you carry and what tips to use most will vary depending on what river you are floating and what time you decide to do that. However, these are the essential items and tasks for a good floating trip.
15 Tips for River Floating
- Ensure the weather is ideal
Before you go on a floating trip, be sure to check that the weather conditions are favorable. You certainly want to have a good time floating, therefore, pick a day that is bright and shiny.
You should also make sure that you are not floating when it has been raining heavily. Of course, if it has been raining, the water levels are high enough for some great floating. However, heavy rains will cause the levels to rise extremely. The currents could become stronger and this could turn out dangerous for you.
- Get a good inner tube
You may be tempted to use the regular pool inner tube in a bid to save a couple of dollars. This should not be the case. Invest in a good inner tube that is meant for rivers.
Regular pool tubes may not withstand the rocks and the currents in the rivers. They may pop at the least amount of impact. Look around for the best floaties that you can go for. Of course this will depend on the kind of river you will be navigating.
Whatever the case, you should make sure that you have checked the maximum capacity of the tube you will be using, and that you are below it. You will definitely be bringing some drinks with you, so, a floatie with some cup holders would be a great option.
- Bring a pair of water shoes with you
There’s no telling what lies at the bottom of the river. Floating trips will generally involve walking on slippery and sharp rocks. Carrying just your normal shoes could be a huge mistake.
Water shoes will protect your feet much better as compared to sandals or flip flops.
If you do not have water shoes, you can use old tennis or running shoes. As much as possible, do not bring shoes that leave your toes exposed (sandals and flip flops). You need to protect them from hitting rocks as you float or as you walk down the river once you are done.
- Staying hydrated is important.
Whenever you are floating, remember to bring plenty of water with you. A good floating trip will take you a couple of hours, so you are bound to get dehydrated under all that sun.
Get a good cooler in which you can store your drinks. There’s nothing as worse as needing a drink only to find that it has become warm under the sun. Bring as much water as you can and keep sipping on it once in a while.
- Pack a lunch and some snacks
If you are going to be there for a couple of hours you will certainly need to eat. Pack a light lunch and plenty of snacks. Halfway through your floating trip, you can decide to take a break to replenish your energy.
Although some rivers have people selling sandwiches along the banks, do not rely on this. They could or couldn’t be selling on that day. Carry some from home and make sure it is enough for everyone.
However, be mindful of what you are packing. Things are bound to get wet, and that includes your food. Fruits and nuts are a great option.
- Drink Responsibly
In most rivers, drinking while tubing is allowed. However, you need to do it responsibly. Alcohol impairs your judgment. Therefore, it may be hazardous if you drink too much and end up being rowdy and causing unrest.
Take a break every once in a while to keep hydrated. You can also have some food while at it. The food and water will certainly help in ‘restoring’ your sobriety.
Rather than bringing glass bottles with you, bring some beer cans. It goes without saying, bringing glass on a floating trip is downright dumb. It would be much better if you can get plastic beer bottles instead.
- Dress for the occasion
Naturally, you will dress as if you are going to the beach, and that’s okay. However, remember that floating will certainly involve so much more as compared to being at the beach.
A two-piece swimsuit for the ladies may not be a good option. The flimsy bows could come undone at any moment, thanks to the vigorous activities. What’s more, you want to protect your skin from as much unwanted sun as you can. Do yourself a favor and wear a one-piece suit. You can even decide to be extra and throw in a pair of shorts as well.
- Wear sunscreen, and be generous while applying
Buy some good waterproof sunscreen before your floating trip. Be sure to apply it before you start floating and bring it with you so that you can reapply. Apply as much as you can. You may not feel the sun as you are surrounded by refreshing water, but you will be getting sunburns, and very painful ones at that.
In addition, you can bring some sunglasses and caps to protect your face, eyes, and head from the sun.
- Life jackets are a must have
This is actually a requirement for floating in most rivers. No matter how many times you have been floating that route, always carry a life jacket with you.
Accidents happen, even to the best of swimmers. Hopefully, you will not have to use your life jacket but it is better to top have it on with you, rather than be another statistic.
- Do not carry any valuables with you
If you have something that you really value, you are better off leaving it at home or in the car. While floating, items you have carried may fall into the river. Things such as keys do not float and that is how you will end up having your belongings at the bottom of the river.
If something is not necessary for your floating trip, do not bring it with you. If you absolutely must carry some valuables, keep them in an airtight dry bag. Be sure to have tested the dry bag and that it works efficiently.
- Respect the river
By respecting the river, I mean, do not throw trash in it. Carry a trash bag with you for all your trash. Ranging from your beer cans to any wrappings you may have, throwing trash into the river is just not acceptable.
In the event you forget to bring one, you can improvise. Put back all the empty cans in your cooler and dispose of them once you are done with your floating trip.
- Bring a change of clothes
This sounds like something obvious, but some people forget to bring dry clothes with them. And no, I do not mean that you go floating with them. Leave them in a car and have it stationed at your exit point. You will be grateful for that dry towel, especially if you finish tubing at sunset.
- Carry a paddle with you
It doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual paddle. You could bring a stick or just about anything that can help you steer the tube in a certain direction.
This will be helpful especially when trying to avoid rocks and other debris in the river. A member of the group could also volunteer to jump out of the tube and help steer it in the right direction.
- Go with a couple of friends
Where’s the fun in going for a floating trip all by yourself? Have a couple of friends join you. The more the merrier, right? Having friends with you on a floating trip will certainly ensure that you have a good time.
Apart from that, it is much safer when you are in a group. You will remind each other of basic necessities and tasks to do before and while on the trip. What’s more, should anything happen, you will be in the company of people you trust. I don’t know about you, but I would personally prefer being stranded in the river with a couple of my friends to being alone.
- Carry some rope and carabiners with you
Depending on the place you are going for your floating trip, you may get some rope or not. However, to be on the safe side, carry some rope with you.
Having the rope can be useful. You can hang off some of your items off of your float by adding the carabiner. You can use the rope to attach your cooler float as well.
For some added fun, you can decide to tie your tubes together. In some places, there are restrictions against tying your tubes together. However, there is no safety issue against tying your tubes together. Do not tie tubes together if there are more than five people. Getting through small river openings can be tricky.
The overall secret to having a great time during your floating trip is great planning. It is important to plan ahead of time. Cover all the necessary tasks and be prepared for any emergency. When well planned, a floating trip can be so much fun. Be mindful of the weather and all the other tips listed in the article. You are sure to have a memorable time as well. You may also want to carry a camera and some music with you. Just like any other valuable, be careful how you handle them while floating.