River Floating 101
River float trips: there’s hardly a better way to experience summer and new terrain than on a raft. From camping every night in a different (likely amazing) campsite to scenery that comes to you and the epic roller coaster built into every day, there’s nothing like a float trip. Like with all things, solid preparation and knowing the inside scoop can improve your experience. We’ve collected a few helpful suggestions to minimize the input and maximize the output.
Because we are people who enjoy beverages, we will begin with some tips on how to maximize your travel bar and river beer.
- If you’re not floating each day with a drag bag to keep your river beer cold, you might not be doing it right. That being said, a couple of caveats. Number 1) obviously, staying sober on the water, particularly if you’re navigating white water, is essential to safety. Number 2) river beer is not your average beer. Well, it’s not your average beer if you enjoy microbrews. You want a low-octane domestic beer, like with a picture of mountains on it, so you keep your actual alcohol intake down. This is not the day for your favorite handcrafted IPA.
- You can save room and up your class factor by making simple syrups infused with other ingredients ahead of time. You can make a mean mojito without dragging fresh mint along if you make mint-infused simple syrup. Same with ginger.
- Bring lemonade concentrate to use as a mixer. It takes less space than juice and it can be frozen to keep the cooler, cooler. Just mix it in your drink with a 1×3 ratio of water (depending on mixing instructions).
Making cocktails? Your cup becomes your cocktail shaker if you bring a Silipint Lid along. Or, slam two Silipints together. Either way, shake, shake, shake, and drink!
- At home, freeze ice cubes in your Silipint and pop them out into a baggie. Make enough to last the trip. As you get to happy hour, pop a perfectly Silipint-shaped ice cube into the bottom of your cup and pour your beverage over it.
- Don’t bring bottles of booze with you, but instead funnel it into packable containers like flasks or plastic bottles. Less glass means more river class!
Just because you’re on the river, living out of dry boxes and maintaining coolers does not mean you can’t eat well! Here are a few ideas on how to make float trip camp chef easier and yummier:
- Cut your proteins ahead of time. This saves you time, allows them to thaw more quickly if you’ve frozen them, reduces cook time and, most importantly, prevents you from having to clean kitchen utensils and cutting boards used to prep raw meat.
- While we’re at it, prep as much food ahead of time as you can. Again, this reduces the number of dirty dishes and speeds up prep time. Making fajitas? Chop your lettuce ahead. Making stir fry? Prep your veggies and protein ahead and dump them straight into the pot, and cook your rice ahead, too. Because washing the rice pot always sucks.
- Don’t forget the coffee.
- Seriously, do not forget the coffee.
- Use Silipint not just for the hot and cold beverages… but double, triple and quadruple their duty in the kitchen. Use them as bowls to mash your guacamole, hold your salsa and catch your hot bacon grease.
- Glow-in-the-dark Silipints can be used at night so you don’t lose sight of your beer. They can also be used as a lantern on the table or for dangerous terrain markers.
- To keep the cooler cold, recycle plastic juice jugs and freeze them solid. These stay frozen longer than smaller ice cubes, doesn’t leak water all over your food as it melts and you can drink the fresh water it produces.
For your days on the river, optimize fun! While you’ve got tons of wildlife viewing, river navigating and legendary stories to repeat, some hours may get a little dull, especially if you’re entertaining kids. Here are a few tips to make sure things stay safe and fun all day long!
- Wear your PFD. No exceptions, no matter how experienced you are, how much you dislike the tan lines or how much you want to show off your pecs. Yes, your pecs are awesome. No, you shouldn’t die to make sure we see them.
- Keep squirt guns within reach even if you don’t have kids along with you.
- Pack your lunch the night before while you’re making dinner so you don’t have to disassemble the entire cooler just to get lunches ready.
- Have a waterproof or mesh bag that you can strap to the raft with the day’s essentials:
- Water bottle
- Bug spray
- First aid kit
- A quick dry towel
- Quick sugar snacks to keep kids’ spirits up, like gummies
- Longer-lasting snacks like energy bars for people on the oars
- Hand sanitizer
- Get a waterproof case for your binoculars and keep them handy while you float. Just loop the case to the handle of the cooler to make sure they stay on board.
An inflatable beach ball can be a lot of fun. Toss it between rafts, play with it while the kids are in the water and even toss it around in the tent on a rainy evening. Heck, send it through the next rapids and see if it makes it.
- Secure your sunglasses, especially if you’re someone who wears prescription lenses or just super cool shades. Those things are expensive and ensure you’re lookin’ fly.
Have a fantastic float!