Layover days provide the ultimate group camping experience on the river. Perfect for bonding and merriment, these days are set aside for doing everything, absolutely nothing, or something in between. To make the most of your “days off” bring along these easily packable items guaranteed to enhance your layover day experience.
Hopefully you’ve scored a great big sandy beach with the perfect eddy forming swimming hole in front. Whether it’s a noodle, inner tube, or blow up dolphin, floaties are key for those hot days on the “beach” when being in the water is the only cool option. Stand up paddle boards are perfect for cruising the local eddy, riding the neighboring rapid, or as an improptu diving board. A Slip n Slide or even a sheet of plastic will send you screaming off the beach into the river. Always have a well stocked first aid kit just in case. Pat yourself on the back after you bust out the shovels and pails and watch your kids keeping busy for hours building leg traps, and tripping mounds. Beach games are a must. Horse shoes and bocci will challenge the competitive ones in the group while throwing a frisbee, flying a kite, or chilling out in a hammock may suit the less motivated.
If you happen to find a grove of cottonwoods growing behind your camp, count yourself lucky. Besides providing an incredible source of shade and shelter, they’re also perfect for setting up a zipline which can be made from the pin kit that you always bring. Trees, or boulders if there are no trees, also work well for securing the always fun slackline. Never under estimate the usefulness of a tarp. When the sun feels relentless, you’ll be happy to have the shade while you play dice games or dive into your coloring book. If its pouring rain, you’ll appreciate the shelter while you slowly inch yourself away from the drip line. Having a solar charger will enable endless hours of music from your device turning the beach into a virtual dance party. Games like “ammo can tug-a-war” and “throw bag jump rope” can be improvised from common accouterments on the boat.
As the sun sets and darkness approaches its time to fire up the tiki torches and string the solar charged LED lights to create a festive atmosphere around camp. Costumes add that extra flare while making frozen drinks from the hand powered blender. Kids and adults love anything that glows. Glow sticks not only make pretty lights, they are useful for keeping tabs on your children at night. Musical instruments are always appreciated and are great sources of camaraderie. As the fire dies down, get out the star map and see if anyone can spot a constellation. From the secrecy of your sleeping bag, shine your laser pointer down on the beach to confuse the last one standing.
Of course you can have a great trip without bringing all of the extra items, but it sure can make the trip a memorable and unique one if you do. You’ll have fun no matter what!