If you follow us on instagram you know that we’ve been spending almost every free minute of this hot Summer on the water. If you’re a Texan you know that floating the river is a way of life. It’s a past time of every college student in Central Texas, I’ve even spent a bachelorette weekend floating. There are a few things you need to have when you are headed to float the river and a few keys things you really need to keep in mind.
Everything You Need to Float the River: Pick a River
There a ton of great rivers to float in central Texas but here are a few of our favorites. The Guadalupe, for this one it’s common to float a portion that is called the horseshoe. It’s about an hour float that you can put in and take out without needing a shuttle company to help you. You can walk about 10 minutes from where it ends and do it all over again. Now if you are looking for a long stretch the full length of this float will take 4-6 hours and it’s best to use a local company forn tube rental and shuttle services.
Another favorite is the Comal River. Located in New Braunfels and runs a portion along the side of the Schlitterbahn water park. Hands down this is my preference for floating. Lasting about 2.5 hours of float time the river can be accessed from several entry points and there are 2 exits locations. There are plenty of rental/shuttle companies along the river to use. Some allow you to pay for just the use of the shuttle sevice if you are bringing your own tube rather than renting one. This stretch of the river is none for the city run tube chute that is essentially a giant water slide for your tube. There are several other small rapids along the river and a few places that you can stop and grab a snack. The Comal River has several regulations that you are going to want to know about before your float including when you need to pay the river access fee ($2 on weekends and holidays) and where you can get those braclets. PLUS it’s important to know the regulations regarding disposable cans and food packaging. You can find all of the up to date regulations on the city website.
Last and by far not least is the San Marcos River. Located in San Marcos, the river can be accessed as far up stream as Sewell Park, though the most common spot is at City Park. This 45 minute to 1 hour float ends at Rio Vista Park and finished with 3 rapids, one after another. This is our go to for a quick evening or early morning float without going too far from home. Something to note is that while the water is clear there are larger areas of protected Texas Wild Rice Grass that you will want to navigate around (it’s clearly marked and easy to avoid).
Once you have picked your river there are a few essentials that you are going to want to make sure you have.
Everything You Need to Float the River: Essentials
Pelican Box This is awesome for keeping your phone and key fobs from getting wet and ruined. You should plan for everything you have with you to get wet, so protecting these items is key. This style holds 2 iphones in cases and a set of car keys with room to spare. Attached is a carabinar that I hook directly to the handle of my tube. Another option if you just plan to take a phone is a protective pouch with lanyard.
Tube You are going to see tons of rental tubes on the river but since we spend a lot of time on the river we have our own tubes. This is my prefered brand and they work great. They come with a latch system and rope that will allow you to hook multiple tubes together. I’ve seen the double tubes a few times before but I haven’t tried one yet. They look really fun and they have a built in cooler for SNACKS! Lots of people are going to bring coolers, although we stick with a cooler bag. If you are going the route of a cooler they have cooler tubes are will make it easy that have everything without crowding your space.
Handheld pump if you are going to use your own tubes you are going to need something to fill them. Lots of places offer air for $2 but that means waiting in line with crowds. Since we are airing up 3 tubes I’m all about time saving, I have an electic pump that is fast and plugs into my car!
Paracord because you are going to want to tie everything in. There are a few fun rapids on each river and a good chance that you will flip and dump everything.
Water Shoes There are tons of water shoes out there but I recommend that you get something that secures on your feet. First because you don’t want them to float away and if your need to stand up in a area with strong current you want to know they are secure on your feet.
Sunscreen It’s Texas, it’s summer and it’s hot. You are without a doubt not going to to want to forget the sunscreen. Pack it with you, if you are doing a long float it’s a good idea to reapply after awhile.
Sunglass strap I can not tell you how many pairs of sunglasses are probably sitting at the bottom of these rivers. I wear prescription glasses so it’s ideal to secure them some how to avoid a costly replacement later.
Floatation, if you are renting a tube the company will have floatation that you can use, because we have small kids and the chutes are a great spot to flip a tube, the kids and I both wear USCG approved floatation. Make sure that if you are wearing the appropriate size for your body weight and you should always have your life jacket zipped and secured when wearing it.
Really want to get in the float mood. Check out these fun River extras!
Large drink containers to avoid cans!