Riverside essentials: 5 things off the water that make being on it better

The river life is often much more than floating and paddling.

It means loading and unloading gear, planning meals and calories and the portable infrastructure of group camping.

A little planning and a few small things can make a world of difference.

1) Tables

Tables can be used as benches in the boat, with legs stored beneath. They should be set up easily and be sturdy enough to hold some weight. Don’t want to buy tables? Make your own using basic galvanized pipes for legs.

2) Menu

For river meals think fast and easy for breakfast and lunch: bagels, cereal, fruit and yogurt. Spend more time on a hearty dinner. Designate chores: who chops the veggies, who cleans up. And don’t forget dessert.

3) Hydration

The rule is simple, especially in dry, hot climates: One gallon of water per person per day. So, for eight people over three days, that means 24 gallons of water. A personal 32-ounce water bottle is the way to go.

4) Dry bags

These come in all shapes and sizes, but they need to do one thing and one thing only: keep gear dry. Keep quick hit items like snacks and sunblock handy, then stow everything else.

5) Teamwork

Don’t forget the teamwork in and out of the water. Take turns throwing ropes and shoving off. For loading and unloading gear, form the fire line: one person handing gear to the next, and so on. It’s the most efficient way to get gear on and off the boat.

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