Recently I was contacted by Salt City Optics (who specialize in prescription sunglasses for various activities), who is putting together the "Dress for the River Project". The magic question is, what items are an absolute must for a river trip? I decided to come up with a top 5, which excludes a kayak, paddle, and fishing gear, which are no-brainers. Without further adieu...
1. Life Jacket - By far the most important item I take paddling, I never hit the water without wearing one. In/on my life jacket, I always carry a whistle and knife.
2. Sunglasses - Nothing bugs me more than having to squint all day. And a nice pair with polarized lenses can be a key to catching more fish. I rock my Smith Optics Backdrop Evolve glasses everywhere.
3. Water - Dehydration is no joke, especially on long, hot summer days. I prefer water, although Gatorade, Vitamin Water, etc. would also fit the bill. My love of the Hydro Flask has been published many times on this blog. It keeps my water cool all day with no ice, no matter how hot it gets.
4. Chapstick - I hate chapped lips and chapping can happen very fast out on the water. I always carry a chapstick with SPF 15 or higher.
5. Sun protection gear - For me, this includes a long sleeve Columbia PFG shirt, hat, sun screen, and often a buff to cover my neck and face. Cancer is no joke.
Of course, there are numerous other items I could add to the list, including food/snacks, a first aid kit, a survival kit, proper wading shoes (I prefer the Columbia Drainkmakers), and rain gear.
Stay safe and have fun this summer. Tight lines!