Below is some pretty good pointers if you ever find yourself on a river with a tube and beer in hand. Some of this information only pertains to the group I coordinate.
Arrive early on Saturday
We are schedule to float at 1:30 PM, which means the whole group needs to be ready to board the bus at that time. I recommend that you arrive at the camp by 10:30 AM so you can register, setup your tent, load the coolers, lather up, crack a beer and get in on the group picture. If you need to buy booze, food, etc. in Eldora, I recommend heading to HyVee/Casey’s before checking-in. Once you are a few drinks in, no one should drive until morning.
Bring a swimsuit
at least starting out, clothing is optional on the float.
Canned Beer/Plastic jugs of goodness
This one should go without saying. If you aren’t drinking during the float, you are probably not going to have much fun. This isn’t the peer pressure your parents warned you about, this is just the way it is. Use your own judgement in buying booze beforehand as space in cars might be tight on the way up. Be wary of anything called a “concoction.” You will end up miles downstream alone missing one shoe and have to hitch hike your way back to camp.
Bring at least one personal koozie
Besides beer, this second most important thing you need on the float. Let me clarify an earlier point, clothing is optional during the float. I am not “saving the day” again this year by bringing extras, so remember to bring your own.
Similar to a sunny September Iowa vs Iowa State football game, you are going to get burned and it won’t be evenly distributed.
It is rocky out there despite all the water, plus broken glass, etc. Straps provide extra traction compared to flip-flops. With that said, most of you won’t take this advice and bring a cheap pair of Old Navy flip flops to minimize tan lines. I respect your decision, though I will only point and laugh as your flip flop drifts away down river… I don’t recommend aqua socks, old tennis shoes or five fingers because your doggies won’t breathe, and will be shriveled raisins by the time we get out of the water. Year after year, folks don’t follow this advice, but by the end of the float they agree that it is worth the investment and that I am the wisest man this side of the Mississippi.
I am all for folks hunkering in other people’s bunkers, and it usually works out in the end, but you should probably talk to the folks you want to sleep with ahead of time. People have also been known to sleep in cars.
It might be too hot at night, but if all else these will help create a buffer between you and a tent mate’s pitched tent if you know what I mean.
Past attempts to do this have typically failed miserablly. Arrive early to HyVee and we will attempt to get some food bought evenly and not end up with three of everything. If you want to bring something to share, great! We love you!
Good luck grilling your pattie
They don’t have grills for the fire pits, so coordinate if you want to bring a camp grill. I usually bring hotdog/smore skewers.
Waterproof bag or ziplock
If you are bringing clothing, cash, or other items you don’t to get wet down to the river, I suggest not bringing them… Or if you insist, a waterproof bag with a loop or something to latch on to. One year, all this stuff was put in the cooler… Not only was it a bitch to get a beer out, but coolers get tipped and things fall out, sink, and are lost forever. We have a basic car key that I attach to my swimsuit, so everyone else’s keys can be locked in our car during the float.
A large carabiner or hook
This is a goddamn brilliant idea for hooking up sandals, waterproof bags, waterproof disposable cameras, etc. They also make sunscreen with a carabiner hooked up to it! One year, sandals ended up in the cooler, which tipped. Some sandals were lost, other orphaned sandals were found, and amazingly some how, no one in the group ended up barefoot. This doesn’t really make my point to bring a carabiner, but it is still a pretty neat story.
Besides the group photo, we have had various water resistant cameras make the float. That is fine and dandy, though I recommend not bringing your phone. Do you really trust the $2 waterproof case you picked up from Wal-Mart on the drive up? As for beats, five minutes into the float, everyone is like, oh we should have brought beats for the float like that group over there! A few hours down the float, nobody cares, we have a good time, and it is one less thing for you to worry about. Now crack open another beer and say cheers!
Believe it or not, you may need to re-hydrate at some point. Bring some/buy some, otherwise, you might need to bring some burial money.
No matter how awesome the float/camping gets, please save me at least one ice cold beer for the morning. I won’t be able to function/brush my teeth without it.
Only 40-50 qt coolers (approx. 14x24) are allowed on the float. We need a couple of these based on the number of folks we got going. Let me know if you want to volunteer one. We also need a couple coolers to hold food, water, etc. for back at camp. A side note - Don’t get separated from the cooler tube. Trust me, you will get thirsty and grumpy fast.
Noodles, twine and toes. Oh My
Noodles aren’t provided anymore by RnR (lame), and twine is forbidden except for coolers/trash tubes (super lame). I am a firm believer in the “toe in butt” solution as it is a great way to bond with each other, but let me know if you have some noodles to use that you don’t mind getting cut up and potentially lost. Worse case, Brad can save us anytime we drift more than 5ft apart. The expectations are high Brad. Don’t disappoint!
They sell firewood. Pitch in $2 and we will be good for the night/early morning.
Unfortunately, as a group, we are getting older and the young kids stay up later than we prefer. Some dicks won’t pass out or fall asleep at all… Trying to reason with these assholes in the past have proved to be pointless. There is nothing that will ever de-throne booze and koozies as the most important items to bring, but earplugs come in at a close third.