Summer is here, and a popular summer activity is going out to the lake or river. As an avid river goer, I have learned over the years what to bring along and what to leave out home. With all this useful knowledge I have made a list of the essential items you must have when trekking out to the river or lake. If you are hiking anywhere over a half a mile to the spot, you need a whole new list, so we’ll start with that.

Hiking

- Backpack: If you’re hiking out to the river, you’re going to want a backpack, this way you can put all your small things in there like your sunscreen, snacks, camera and what not. Now your hands are free and can be used to maneuver over big rocks and all that.

- Water: This seems obvious. Hiking makes you thirsty, but everyone forgets to bring water because the hike isn’t the main activity of the day. So, bring a good water bottle, and bring another one for your buddy because he’s going to forget one.

- Shoes: Sometimes to get to the cool swimming hole, you need to walk on weird rocks, or go up a steep hill, so bring some shoes you can hike in. Don’t bring flip flops.

- Troopers: Hiking on sharp river rocks for a mile to get to the “cool spot” is not for the lazies. Is your buddy’s girlfriend really up for the hike? Or, is she going to be afraid of poison oak and wear flip flops? Be careful of who you bring, and make sure they are troopers.

- Waterproof Thing: Water ruins electronics. I myself have lost three phones to the water over the years, so this year I bought one of these waterproof things. If you don’t want to buy something like that, you could also waterproof electronics with a couple condoms.

 

Not Hiking

Now if you’re not hiking far to the location, but just going to a spot where you park and you are there, then you probably do not need that stuff. This also opens up the opportunity to bring heavier larger things.

- Chair: Since you only have to lug the stuff around for about a minute, why not bring a chair and keep your butt from getting sandy.

- Cooler: Another heavy thing to bring. Keep your stuff cool.

However, when you are not hiking out to a spot you are probably just going to park by a bridge and walk thirty feet to the river. This means that anyone else could do the same thing and the river is going to be full of people, and nobody likes a crowded river.

- People: So, if you want the cool spot, you are going to need power in numbers. To do this, simply bring everybody and their mother.  You’re probably going to be competing with some high school bros, and having more people with you will help you get your own spot apart from everyone else at the river.

- Music: Music will also help drive people away a bit. So, bring a big boom box, or your buddy who plays guitar.

So, next time you head out to the water this summer keep this list in mind, have fun, and be safe and stuff.

Note: There are also some obvious things you should bring like food, sunscreen, bathing suit, a good attitude, and a towel if you need it.