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The Ultimate Float Trip Essentials – What to Bring on a Float Trip

Float Trip Essentials
float trip essentials guide affiliate disclaimer

Wondering what exactly to pack for your next float trip? You’re in the right place!

Float trips are a wonderful way to get out in nature and have an adventure. We are huge fans of float trips and love to explore the best places to float in every state.

It can be quite difficult to pack for a float trip as there are so many different things you need to bring. Since we’ve been on so many float trips, we have made this river trip packing list to help you out.

This ‘What to Bring on a Float Trip Guide’ will tell you all the float trip essentials you will definitely need for any type of float trip!

But First – What Is A Float Trip?

river trip packing list floating on tubes

You might be wondering- exactly what is a float trip? Float trips can be different depending on what you are looking for but essentially, they are floating down a river in a canoe, kayak, raft, or tube!

Some people like to float down a river just for the day and others enjoy going on a longer float and camping on the banks of the river overnight.

Some people want to have a float trip party where there are lots of people drinking and having parties on the banks of the river. Others enjoy floating down a quiet river without many people just to enjoy nature. It’s really all up to what you are looking for!

🛶 Need some float trip ideas? 🛶
Learn all about the best float trips in Missouri

What to Bring to the River

Float Trip Packing List Overview

Here is a quick overview of what to bring on a float trip so you can begin packing for the ultimate float trip. We have included all of the river floating essentials and float supplies so you don’t have to think twice about what to bring!

  • Floating accessories (hat, towels, sunglasses, sunscreen)
  • A cooler
  • Float trip clothes
  • Water shoes
  • Float trip equipment

Float Trip Accessories

float trip accessories

No what to pack for floating the river list would be complete without these things. Here are a few float trip accessories to add to your floating the river essentials list.

| 1. Waterproof Phone Pouch | 2. Beach Towels | 3. Sun Hat | 4. Sunglasses
| 5. Drink Koozie| 6. Dry Bag Backpack | 7. Sunscreen |

  • Waterproof Phone Pouch – This phone pouch is one of the more important river floating necessities you will need thing if you are going on a float trip. Of course, you will want to bring your phone to take pictures but don’t risk it getting wet or dropping it in the river!
  • Packable Beach Towel– Bringing a nice beach towel that you can pack easily in your dry bag is another one of our float trip must-haves. Some beach towels can be really bulky and take up too much room in your bag and if you leave it out it will get wet and then there is no point in having a towel!
  • Sun Hat – Going on a float trip without a good sun hat would be a big mistake. Make sure you have something that will protect your face from the sun as well as keep you cool!
  • Sunglasses – Sunglasses are of course a must for any float trip! We really like polarized sunglasses and also don’t forget a sunglasses strap so you don’t lose them to the river.
  • Hands-Free Drink Holder – a hands-free drink holder is probably the best invention ever and will totally elevate your float trip experience. Whether you are kayaking or canoeing and need your hands to paddle or you are relaxing in a tube, having your drink securely around your neck is a game changer!
  • Dry Bag Backpack – This dry bag backpack is another one of our favorite river tubing accessories. Having the bag have backpack straps is another great option for being hands-free. And of course, it’s waterproof so you can keep all your gear dry!
  • Sunscreen – Don’t forget the sunscreen! High-quality sunscreen is more important than ever these days and is the number one what to bring on float trip. It’s also important to wear sunscreen that won’t be damaging to the ecosystem of the river. This is our favorite sunscreen for both of those things.

Best Coolers For Float Trips

green tow behind cooler for your river trip packing list
fun things to bring on a float trip backpack cooler

floating cooler has got to be on the top of your river trip packing list for our what to take on a float trip checklist. Whether you want to stock it full of beer or lemonade, you will definitely need a way to keep your drinks cold!

People think of everything these days and these tow-behind coolers are one of the most fun things to bring on a float trip. If you don’t want a tow-behind cooler another great option would be a waterproof, portable backpack cooler.

  • Tow-Behind Floating Cooler – Having a tow-behind floating cooler is a game-changer for people who have a small kayak or tubes and don’t have room for a huge cooler!
  • Backpack Cooler – Another great option for keeping your drinks cold. A backpack cooler is great for being hands-free when you have to carry your other stuff down to the river.

What To Wear On A Float Trip

A great question for anyone going on a float trip is – what do you wear to float the river? 

Rashguards are great river trip essentials for anyone looking to avoid continuously applying sunscreen.

These rashguards are great for swimming and they are cool and breathable! They are one of the most essential things to bring on a float trip to protect yourself from the sun.

Here are our picks for the best float trip shirts:

The Best Float Trip Shoes

When looking for things to bring on a river trip, waterproof shoes are a must-have. We absolutely love our Chacos and wear them for all types of adventurous activities.

They are especially great for hiking through streams and rivers, as they dry off quickly. They are super comfortable and also have a great grip which helps with getting in and out of the river or walking around in the river. 

The Best Float Trip Speakers

a waterproof speaker is the number one what to bring float trip

Of all the river floating supplies, you can’t forget to pack a waterproof speaker! Speakers are definitely the ultimate floating the river accessories out there and one of the best float trip must-haves.

We are big fans of our JBL speakers– and a waterproof one with a clip to attach to a backpack or secure on your canoe/kayak/raft is a game-changer. 

Best River Floating Equipment

a man in a kayak is what to bring tubing on the river

Best Kayak For River Floating

an inflatable kayak is what to bring floating the river

A kayak is most definitely the ultimate river floating equipment out there and the #1 thing we recommend when thinking about what to take on a river float trip.

Kayaking gives you the most control so that you can navigate easily around rapids and go pretty much anywhere you want in the river.

A kayak is a great addition to your float trip supplies and can be used to float rivers all over the country. A lot of people don’t want to splurge on an expensive kayak as it can be quite expensive.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide to buying the best beginner kayak on a budget.

If you plan to do a lot of float trips in the future, we would highly recommend investing in your own floating equipment.

Outfitters usually charge $100 per day for a kayak or canoe, which can get expensive if you plan to float a lot! With lots of great budget options out there, it’s definitely worth it to buy your own in the long run!

Best Float Trip Raft

Of all the float trip necessities, having a reliable float trip raft has got to be number one on any river floating gear list.

You can most likely rent a raft at any outfitter located along the river, although their prices are normally pretty expensive! Having your own raft to bring floating whenever you want can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Here are our picks for the best rafts for river floating:

The Best Canoe Accessories

If you like to float rivers in a canoe, you can’t forget canoe accessories! Having a chair with back support and detachable cupholders makes a whole new float trip experience and are 100% canoeing must haves.

Check out our best picks for canoe chairs and cup holders:

Best Inner Tube For River Floating

The ultimate old-school way to float a river and one of the only river tubing essentials, an inner tube! Using an inner tube for river floating is a great option when the water levels are high and the water is moving fairly fast.

Inner tubes can be a lot of fun when you have a group of people and you can tie them all together and have your inflatable/floating cooler following right behind you. They are the ultimate what to bring to the river gear.

Here is our pick for the best inner tube for a float trip:

Two-Person Inner Tube:
2 Person w/ Cup Holders & Cooler

a two person tube is a must haves for floating the river

Float Trip Food Ideas

Don’t forget to add float trip snacks to your float trip list! Here are some snacks for floating the river:

  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Homemade sandwiches
  • Pringles (since they are in a hard container and can’t get squished)
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, bananas)
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Nuts

River Float Trip Checklist

In this section, we have our “Checklist for Float Trip” laid out so you can have a quick overview of all the floating the river necessities so you don’t forget anything.

Float trip checklist

We hope in this ultimate packing for a float trip guide we helped you figure out different things like what to wear to float the river, river floating tips, and what to bring on a river float trip.

There are a lot of river trip gear essentials to remember, so make sure you reference this packing list whenever you’re going on a float trip!

🛶 Need some float trip ideas? 🛶
Learn all about the best float trips in Arkansas

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