How to Budget for a Weekend Float Trip

Set these Goals for all you need for a sunny weekend spent floating on a river with friends.
What to Bring on a Weekend Float Trip

If you’ve never let the current sweep you and your inflatable explorer down a lazy river, you’ve been denying yourself one of life’s great pleasures!

One could argue that a sunny weekend spent floating on a river with your buddies is better than a day at the spa, a night out in Vegas, or a tropical beach vacation. In a way, a float trip is a little of all three: peaceful and relaxing, wild and fun, and full of swimsuits and suntans.

The next time the sun is out, the water is warm and its levels are safe, and your friends are free, pick up the following items and enjoy an easy, breezy day floating your worries away.

A floatie

You definitely can’t float without a floatie! Your craft of choice will depend on the type of water you’ll be navigating.

A mellow river calls for a donut-shaped inner tube, perfect for plopping onto and maximizing sun exposure while also allowing you to dive through it to wear it like a Hula-Hoop® for a slightly less passive experience.

A river that has a few more twists and turns calls for something a little more raft-like—preferably with a paddle or oars that will allow you to navigate without bumping into too many rocks or low-hanging trees.

Two good pieces of advice when it comes to picking out an inflatable floatie: Always check the maximum weight capacity (and ensure you’re under it), and spring for the fancier model. Cheap versions are tempting, but if they’re going to leak air or are made out of a flimsy material that will tear easily, you’ll be doing more swimming than floating.

Floatie
$30

Duct tape

Never leave for a float trip without a roll of good old-fashioned duct tape. This silver spool is a must-have for proactive and reactive repairs.

Proactive: Before you hit the agua, reinforce the seams of your inflatable with a layer of duct tape. This will act as a little extra insurance against surprise rocks and sharp sticks.

Reactive: If the aforementioned surprise rocks and sharp sticks manage to get you, you may be able to prevent an SOS by pulling your floatie out of the water, drying it off a bit, and patching up the leak with some duct tape. Voila, a second life for your floatie, and more float time for you.

Duct tape can also be used for other innovations, such as taping your paddle to your floatie during quieter sections of the river so that you don’t lose it when the current picks up.

Duct tape
$7

Cold drinks and rope

It’s going to get hot out there, and nothing will help you stay cooler than an ice-cold drink of…something. How can you keep your drink ice cold without ice cubes? That’s where the rope comes in.

MacGyver yourself a leash of sorts, attaching your can to your floatie in a way that allows it to float behind you, following you and your watercraft. The water will keep your beverage cold until the moment you decide to crack it open. Ah, perfection.

This goes without saying, but if you will be imbibing alcoholic beverages, be responsible—alcohol and water activities are a recipe for danger. And, of course, always take your trash and recycling with you. Leaving empties behind is a major no-no; besides, it’s bad karma.

Cold drinks and rope
$20

A stellar swimsuit

You’re not going to float in your clothes and we definitely advise against floating in the buff (they can issue tickets for that!), so you’re going to need to get yourself a bathing suit to see you through your floating adventures. If your float route tends to get a little busy, we recommend a unique pattern or bright color (neon should do the trick) so that your friends can spot you in a crowd. Better yet, go for matching team swimsuits; it’s always good for a laugh, and it’s a great way to make new friends on the river.

A stellar swimsuit
$50

Sunscreen

Before you hop into your floatie and suntan on the open water for an entire day, it’s a good idea to slather yourself in waterproof sunscreen to avoid exiting the water a vibrant shade of red. Remember, water is reflective, and sunburns hurt! Don’t forget to bring a bottle of sunscreen along with you to reapply regularly, especially if your trip goes more than a couple of hours. Be generous; this is definitely not the time to be stingy.

Sunscreen
$10

Water shoes

If you’re going to be floating down a river where the bottom is covered with soft, white sand, then consider yourself lucky! For most of us, a float down the river involves contending with sharp, slippery rocks and all kinds of mysterious slimy stuff lurking at the bottom. Show your feet some love and pick up a pair of water shoes. They’ll save you from having to do that “I’m walking on lava!” hop.

Water shoes
$25

Towel

Whether you stash it in a tree stump at your exit point or have a friend waiting for you with it at the end, a dry towel will be a welcome sight at the finish of your long float, particularly if you’re hopping out of the river around sunset. A soaking-wet swimsuit combined with a cool evening is a recipe for chattering teeth. We recommend an extra-large, extra-fluffy towel to combat goosebumps.

Towel
$15

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