Choosing A River Float Craft for You and Your Fellow Floaters

Whether you’re a novice river rafter or an expert river kayaker, knowing which river float craft is suitable can be a big decision for yourself and your fellow floaters. That’s where this helpful tool can help you make the best selection when booking your next Elk River or Big Sugar float trip.

You’ll discover the specific differences between three float vessel options commonly available to choose from when you book your stay at a Noel, MO, campground on Elk River.

  • River raft
  • Individual kayak
  • Tandem kayak
  • Multi-person canoe

Elk River and Big Sugar Creek

There are some distinct differences between Elk River and Big Sugar Creek.

The Elk River is an ideal family-friendly river with few rapids and fewer river obstacles. Presently running at a depth of 4.28 feet, making its flow rate suitable and manageable for river floaters seeking to cool off. On the other hand, the Big Sugar River categorizes below a class I rapid, and at certain times of the year, it ranks as a class II.

The Big Sugar is running at a depth between 3.90 and 5.88 feet. Although considered low in some areas, the chances of a watercraft dragging the river bottom or having to portage are low.

River Raft

There are two standard river rafts for any Elk River float trip. There is a 12-13 foot raft that seats six people comfortably. You can also select a 14-15 foot raft for 8-people. Both crafts are well suited for a gentle float down Elk River with little paddling and negotiating required. 

Individual Kayak

If you are one for individual sports, a personal kayak is ideal for you or anyone paddling alongside you down the Elk River or the Big Sugar Creek. Bound to deliver a unique kayaking experience to test your reflexes and challenge you with a good cardio workout.

Tandem Kayak

Two-person kayaks, also known as tandem kayaks, are an excellent choice for those who play well on a team. You’ll work together to paddle to increase or slow your speed as a team. The perfect watercraft for any couples weekend in a Noel, Missouri, campground.

Tandem kayaks perform well on Elk River and Big Sugar Creek this time of year.

Multi-Person Canoe

Most canoes can be paddled down river easily by one or two people. But most canoes can hold up to three people comfortably. These river vessels are superior in lightweight aluminum construction that shine in paddle control down Elk River or the Big Sugar Creek.

Book Your Elk Rivier RV’ing Campsite

If you’re ready for a relaxing weekend stay, Lazy Days Resort and Campground is a one-minute drive southwest of Interstate 49. Take exit 5 at mile marker 62. The resort is conveniently nestled between the towns of Noel and Pineville, Missouri.

Lazy Days in Noel, MO, is the premier rental for river float trips. Call Lazy Days to book your Elk River RVing site now! 

Discover what other guests had to say about Lazy Days Resort.

River Float Essentials for Your Elk River Float Trip

If you live in the four states region of southwest Missouri, you are probably familiar with the leading summer activity of river float trips. It’s a tradition and right of passage for many families and young people across the four states.

Of all the summer activities, river float trips rank high on the list of priorities for staying cool during summer. But before launching off in your favorite float vessel, consider all the river float essentials you need to pack into the craft as you head downriver.

Float Trip Essentials

While you might not think you would need to pack a lot for a float trip downriver. What more is there to ask for on a hot summer day in July than the cool easy flowing currents of an Ozark river.

Honestly, there is a lot to consider, especially if your float trip lasts four hours. Of course, there are lots of things to consider in a self-guided float trip, but at the same time, you don’t have to take the kitchen sink with you either.

Here is a short list of “must haves” in your river float device. 

  1. Watercraft patch kit
  2. Sunblock and Sunscreen
  3. Quick dry clothing
  4. Sunglasses and straps
  5. Food and water
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Dry Sack
  8. Ziploc bags
  9. Disposable waterproof camera

River Float Craft 

Depending on the type of float vessel, you may need to ask the rental company if they supply an air pump and raft patch kit, just in case anything goes wrong. Many float trips in southwest Missouri are self-guided nontechnical rafting trips. That means gentle flowing rivers are calm enough that the class rating is below a class-I river.

Sunblock and Sunscreen

Here’s an important one, protecting your skin from the sun. That also includes protecting your eyes, ears, nose, lips, and head. You want to keep everything well covered while having fun in the sun. Even a river seemingly shrouded in tree cover can reflect 25% or more UV light off the water’s surface. Of course, you can always try an article of UPF-rated clothing too.

River Clothing Gear

UPF clothing is ideal for any outdoor activity for skin pigmentations–light or dark. The clothing works to filter out ultraviolet rays, A and B. Otherwise known as UVA and UVB light.

Quick drying layers of clothes are an absolute must when river rafting. From swimming suits to river footwear, it’s best to dry quickly after a day on the river. That way, you don’t need to carry a towel, and you don’t have to try and keep dry while on the river.

If possible, steer clear of cotton clothing, opting for layers with a wicking material that will pull moisture away from your core and dry faster. Ideal river clothing will also include zippered pockets to carry the all-important state identification, keeping it from getting lost in the drink.

Don’t forget your sunglasses and straps; you don’t want those expensive UV polarizing shades to be lost to the river forever. But, it can help to keep your eyes protected from all those ultraviolet rays. 

If you grew up floating the river of Missouri, you know they can be pretty shallow this time of year, so proper river footwear. If your river vessel is a raft, neoprene booties are a solid choice, which cling to a wet raft better than many other shoes. 

Items to Consider

You might ask the boat rental people if the vessels come equipped with a first aid kit, just in case anyone scraps a shin.

Be sure to drink responsibly. Always remember to bring along a few Ziploc bags for trash. The more we all do our part to keep our rivers clean, the more beautiful the scenery and the float for everyone.

Smoother Sailing Tips

Utility bungee cords are an excellent form of insurance to keep your ice, water, and food contained within the ice chest. 

Lastly, who doesn’t want to record all the river memories? Most of us are always trying to catch that next big viral image or video to post on our social media sites, so grab an inexpensive disposable waterproof camera to hold onto to capture those precious moments.

Book Your Elk River or Big Sugar Float Trip

If you’re ready to cool off by booking a float trip down Elk River or the Big Sugar, contact the folks at Lazy Days Campground in Noel, MO. Lazy Days float trips are easy to get to from interstate 49. They are a short one-minute drive southwest at mile marker 62.


Lazy Days of Noel, MO, is the premier rental for day float trips too. Please read what our recent guests had to say. So give Lazy Days a call to book your campsite now!

Four Snack Ideas for Float Trips Down Missouri’s Elk River

There’s never a dull moment spent on a 7.5-mile float trip down Elk River toward Pineville, Missouri. Locals and visitors enjoy this seasonal activity of time spent with family and friends gently floating down the river.

After all, you can burn up to 350 calories an hour depending on your body weight and the river’s class rating or difficulty. Alright, so you might not burn 350 calories floating down Elk River.

That raises a good point: Elk River is rated below a class-I river, meaning it has few rapids and fewer river obstacles to negotiate. That makes it an ideal family-friendly float river.

It also helps to understand that Elk River’s average depth measures 3.3 feet, which places it into a low flow rate category that is calm and manageable for novice river-goers seeking to stay cool this summer. 

Although, no float trip is complete without a dry sack to tow along down the river. But what is so special about the dry pack? Aside from keeping everything dry, it’s an excellent way to tote along four snacks with a purpose.

  1. Sweet and Sour
  2. Protein Boosters
  3. Drinks for Hydration
  4. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable

All these snack ideas provide sustainable energy and hydration to keep your energy up, which helps you enjoy every minute on the river.

Sweet and Sour Snacks

There is no better combination for managing your electrolytes when it comes to sweet and sour snacks. The heat index in southwest Missouri can be particularly brutal in July, so keeping your electrolytes stable with a balanced blend of sugars and salts will help keep you having fun and staying calm and more relaxed while in the sun.

A fantastic sweet and sour snack that is pre-packaged and re-sealable is trail mix, a must-have on Elk River. Trail mixes are available premade or ho; here’s an easy recipe we found online

To keep it simple, you can grab some Ziploc snack bags and toss in your favorite salted nut or seed, throw in a preferred dried fruit, like raisins, a few M&M’s, and BAM; you’ve got a personalized trail mix for your float trip.

Protein Snack Boosts

Protein is an excellent choice for float trips. It can help sustain your energy levels all day long. For example, one cup of nuts has 27 grams of protein, which equals 813 calories.

If you’re watching your calorie intake, you can always reach for a Quest White Chocolate Raspberry, which contains 190 calories and only 1 gram of sugar.

Hydrating Snacks

Drinking river water is not advisable, so you should be packing plenty of hydrating snacks. It may sound strange to think of water as a snack, but water intake speeds up your metabolism, making you feel full.

It plays a significant role in staying well-hydrated while outdoors. After all, your body will sweat more than three liters of water an hour just sitting in the sun. That works out to six pounds of water weight loss in a single hour.

While you might not think of hydration as a snack, it’s essential to being out in the sun all day. A good rule of thumb is having 64 ounces of water for every person in a floating device. In addition, some manufacturers make water bladders that hold up to 100 fluid ounces of water.

Pack Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Snacks

Other excellent snack choices are fresh fruits and vegetables, like apples, pears, oranges, or carrots. All these choices can play a part in replenishing your electrolytes too.

Dehydrated fruits are also an excellent option since these snacks are less like to bruise or get mashed while on the river.

Top Snack Picks 

For us at Lazy Days Resort & Campground, our top picks for a well-packed dry sack for a float down Elk River is a snack-size bag of shelled pistachios, a Cliff bar, chili cover dried mangos, 32 ounces of bottled water, and one packet of strawberry kiwi flavored Propel.

Booking Your Elk River Float

If you’re planning a float trip down Elk River, we at Lazy Days Resort & Campground would love to have you stay with us. We offer all our guests access to set off on an Elk River float trip right from our property. 

We have some of the valley’s premier Elk River RVing sites at the Lazy Days Resort. We are only a one-minute drive southwest of Interstate 49. Take exit 5 at mile marker 62. The resort location is between Noel and Pineville, Missouri.

Book your stay today and your float trip too. Here’s what some of our recent guests had to say about their stays at Lazy Days Resort & Campground!