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ULTIMATE Float Trip Packing List

ULTIMATE Float Trip Packing List

In this ultimate Float trip packing list we will tell you exactly what you should pack for a float tip, what to wear for a float trip and those items that you should definitely be leaving at home.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

What is a Float Trip?

A float trip is pretty much a US summer institution. There is nothing like grabbing a tube or float and taking it the river to pass on a day on the water.

In some parts of the US you may also call this Tubin but they are the same thing so you could also call this out tubing packing list just as easily.

Float Trip Packing List?

Tube, or Float

If you are going to go on a float trip then the thing that should be absolutely be top your list is a float or tube.

A tube is perfect if you are floating individually and want to be partially submerged. This is a great option if you are going on a float trip in the middle of the summer and want to keep slightly cooler.

However if you are going as a group, going with children or are just planning more things with you on your float trip then you might consider a more raft / boat type inflatable. This can be more comfortable for groups and certainly easier to store things if you have a longer what to pack for a float trip list.

Click here to shop tubes or floats

Float Repair Kit

And while no one wants their float to get a puncture or damage it can happen. And nothing will ruin a trip quick than a burst inflatable. Therefore carrying a float repair kit with you is always a good idea.

Click here to buy a float repair kit.

Cooler Tube

And while an actual float for you is the real float trip essential, I would also put a cooler tube on your list.

A cooler tube is basically like a regular tube but with a built in cooler that can keep all your food and drink cool while you float down the river.

Click here to shop cooler floats


A cooler is needed as an addition to the cooler float. Just be sure you select a cooler that fits into the cooler float.


It is always useful to have something that can be used a paddle in case you find debris on the river that you have navigate around

Waterproof Bags

Although you will have a float and a cooler float with you I also recommend having a waterproof bag with you that can store things that you don’t want to get wet.

Click here to shop waterproof bags.

Waterproof Floating Phone Case

And while you will have a waterproof bag with you, I recommend having an additional waterproof floating phone case.

Phones are expensive so you will want to protect it from water and it is very useful to have a floating one as it is no good keeping your phone dry if it falls to the bottom of the riverbed.

Click here to shop waterproof floating phone cases

Waterproof Floating Strap

If you are going on a float trip having a floating version is helpful as it is easier to spot and retrieve if it falls into the water.

A strap is handy to tie tubes together and for keeping your keys on etc.

Click here to shop floating waterproof straps

Quick Dry Towel

You will want a quick dry towel for once you have finished tubing. We recommend brining a quick dry one so you don’t have wet towels stored in your car.

Click here to shop quick dry towels

Underwater Camera

An underwater camera is an essential if you want to capture pictures on the river. Our preferred brand of underwater camera is a Go Pro but any underwater camera will suffice.

Click here to shop underwater cameras

Insect Repellant

Rivers are notorious for their bug life. To avoid being bitten we recommend taking plenty of insect repellant and insect repellant bracelets with you.

Hand Sanitizer

Useful for when you want to grab a snack on the river.


One of the joys floating down a river is grabbing a drink and snacks as you watch the world pass by from your float.

Be sure to pack plenty of drinks, including plenty of water so no one gets dehydrated.

You will also want lots of snacks. The type of snacks we recommend include fruit and vegetables that can help with hydration, things that are unlikely to spoil and individually packaged items which are easy to eat.

Some things we recommend taking on a float trip as a snack are:

  • fruit
  • sliced vegetables
  • crisps and chips
  • cookies
  • jerky
  • croissants and breadsticks
  • fruit pouches

Trash Bag

You should leave the river as you left it so be sure to have trash bags with you that won’t fall and litter the river.

Sun Screen

It is easy to burn on a float trip so bring plenty go water proof sun screen with you.

Lip balm

A lip balm with sun protection is another sun safety essential for a float trip.

Travel First Aid kit

No matter the destination we always recommend you taking a travel first aid kit. However on any adventure trip a travel first aid kit is really an essential.


A whistle is useful to alert others if you need assistance or get separated on the river.

What to Wear on a Float Trip

So now you know what essentials to add to your float trip packing list, we will turn our attention to what to wear on a float trip.


You will get wet on any float trip so swimwear is an absolute must.

Beach Cover

And if you don’t want to just wear swimwear a beach cover is helpful and can help protect against the sun.

Rash Vest

It is important to protect yourself from the sun on a float trip so pack a long sleeve rash vest to help prevent sunburn.

Click here to shop rash vests

Water Shoes

We prefer water shoes to flip flops on float trips. These are less likely to fall off and protect your feet more.

Click here to shop water shoes


An essential for a float trip to protect your eyes.

Sun Hat

Another must to help you protect yourself from the sun

Life Jacket

These are a great safety addition to your packing list. I would advise anyone to wear them on a float trip but they are even more important if you are traveling with children and family.

Change of clothes

When you get out of the water you will want a change of clothes so you aren’t driving home in wet clothes.

Float trip checklist

  • Float
  • Float Repair kit
  • paddles
  • Cooler float
  • cooler
  • snacks
  • towel
  • water proof bag
  • waterproof floating phone cover
  • waterproof floating strap
  • insect repellant
  • quick dry towel
  • whistle
  • first aid kit
  • sun screen
  • lip balm
  • sunglasses
  • sun hat
  • life jacket
  • swimwear
  • rash vest
  • water shoes
  • beach cover
  • change of clothes

Is there anything else you would add to this float trip packing list?