This summer many people will float on Missouri’s rivers in canoes or rafts. But a select few will enjoy a long, leisurely float on inner tubes, enjoying the scenery while staying cool in the water. With advanced planning, a successful float trip on inner tubes is even more enjoyable. Here are some tips for your float trip with inner tubes.
If you plan to take a float trip with a church or youth group, canoes and rafts are ideal because they are capable of accommodating several people who want to stay together as they float down the river. Inner tubes work best with smaller groups of 2-4 people. When you have too many people trying to stay together on a float trip you’ll need to allow extra time.
Throughout Missouri many outfitters rent inner tubes, arrange transportation to a launch point and pick you up at a designated area at the end of the float. For folks who aren’t as familiar with the river and surrounding area, this is a major convenience that’s worth the investment. For locals and more experienced rafters, picking out a river to float and scoping the territory before the outing isn’t difficult. Drop points and landing places are familiar for locals. But if you’re not as familiar with an area you should know that many states stipulate areas next to bridges as public access points. Be cautious along the banks of the river as some parts are private property. You may face trespassing charges if you get out of the stream onto private land.
You’ll want to bring a cooler for drinks and food you’ll need throughout the day and bags for your sunscreen and other essential items. This is why it’s a good idea to rent or have an extra tube to carry your gear. Be sure to buy drinks that are in cans or plastic bottles rather than glass and make sure your cooler is made out of hard plastic and not foam. Foam coolers will absorb the water from the river and ultimately sink. Bring along some bungee cords so you can strap your cooler and other gear to the extra tube. Before you get into the water, connect all of your party’s inner tubes together, with the cooler tube in the center, so everyone has easy access to food and drinks while you float down the river. Bring plenty of water to drink throughout the day so you don’t get dehydrated.
Part of a successful float trip means wearing the appropriate clothing. While you may want to show off your new body now that you’ve lost weight, make sure that bikini fits so the river currents don’t take it away. Water shoes like thongs or Crocks are good protection from sharp rocks or sediment on river beds. And of course life jackets are required equipment because you can’t tell when the water is going to be over your head and river currents are unpredictable. It’s important that you avoid bringing expensive sunglasses or an expensive hat since these items could easily float away. Better to bring a cheap pair of sunglasses and a hat you can easily replace with instead.
Unless you can tie your car keys to your swimsuit, leave them behind. If you drop them into the river, they’ll only sink to the bottom and will be impossible to find. Keep your identification and a small amount of money in a sealed waterproof bag in your cooler. Be sure to keep all trash that you generate during your float trip in a mesh bag like the ones onions come in at the grocery store.
One of the best ways to enjoy Missouri’s rivers is by leisurely floating down them on inner tubes. Whether renting them from Missouri outfitters or bringing your own, a little preparation will make your next float trip a success.