Casual Float Trip Essentials
From the coolest kayak we’ve ever seen to a super grippy water shoe, this is the gear you need for those quiet days on the river.
Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
There are few activities more peaceful than floating down a quiet stretch of river or around a calm bay. You don’t need much gear for those sun-soaked days, but what you do pack along matters. The following items will keep you cool and comfortable as you take in the views from the water—top it off with a bottle of water and maybe a snack, and you’re ready for any adventure.
Clear Blue Hawaii Molokini
On my first trip in a transparent kayak, I had very little gear—just me, the kayak and my bathing suit. That was it. And that was fine. This clear kayak is next-level sightseeing and I had no desire to leave the boat.
Made by Clear Blue Hawaii, the Molokini is a two-person kayak that not only lets you in on the spectacular views below, it’s a thing of beauty itself. Completely transparent, made of strong polycarbonate with a lightweight anodized aluminum frame, it weighs 40 pounds.
Comfortable for two, with a low deck and adjustable seats, it’s easy to maneuver alone, and perfect for flatwater rides. A wide hull keeps you steady and adds to the awesome underwater visibility. Available through Hammacher Schlemmer, the boats should ship this July.
Outlier New Way Shorts
Outlier’s New Way Shorts are really the only pair of shorts you need. They look like they’re ready for a night on the town, but they’re also quick-drying, durable, and comfortable.
The nylon shorts come with deep mesh pockets for drainage and a drawstring waist for security, making them well suited for swimming. Made for performance, but built to look good, you’ll be just as comfortable in the New Way out on water as you’ll be later at the cafe.
Smartwool Micro 150 Pattern Tee
Smartwool’s ultra-light merino T-shirt is a great weight for summer paddling. Light and breezy, it’s comfortable in a broad range of temperatures. With narrow pinstripes, it looks sharp on land and when you’re on the water.
Starting at $75, smartwool.com
Columbia Powerdrain Water Shoe
With its boat-friendly, non-marking rubber outsole, the Powerdrain gives you great traction when you’re walking on the rocky shore. Plus, it boasts a surprising amount of cushion for such a light shoe, making it a good option for short forays on land. The shoe has drainage ports in the front and back, so it dries quickly when you’re back in the boat.
Native Kodiak Sunglasses
Like everything in my boat, Native’s Kodiak glasses are extremely lightweight and ideal for the water. Interchangeable, high-quality lenses give a sharp view with remarkable contrast. The venting above helps minimize condensation and fog. And the frame, shown here in crystal, is also very comfortable. Built-in, cushioned nose grips hold the shades in place when you’re paddling.
Starting at $129, nativeyewear.com
Lifeproof frē Phone Case
For those of you who never leave the phone at home, there’s the frē case. The Lifeproof frē for an iPhone is thin and lightweight, letting you use all the phone’s features while protecting it from water, dirt, and impacts.
Otterbox Pursuit 40
While I tend to travel as light as possible, sometimes I like to have a little more security for phone, keys, and spare change. The waterproof Otterbox Pursuit 40, tough and incredibly secure, is big enough to hold all your water-phobic items and compact enough not to be a burden. Two handy carabiner loops make it easy to secure.