Cold Weather Paddling

Chilly CanoeMarch is very special to us here at Buffalo River Outfitters as it marks the beginning of our 2019 floating season! The water levels are marvelous for day or overnight floats already, making us so optimistic for amazing conditions to come all year! If you are looking for a great Spring Break excursion, look no further. You’ve found an amazing adventure just waiting to be experienced here at the Buffalo National River. And the best time of year is now if you are looking for faster water and wanting to avoid too many fellow floaters.

Sometimes the weather stays chilly well into April, so it’s best to come prepared. If you are coming early in the year to experience what the Buffalo has to offer, be advised that the river will stay icy cold (below 50 degrees) until late April or early May. Be ready with towels, a change of clothes, and make sure your phone is in a waterproof container and fully charged in case any emergency calls need to be made.

What to wear?

So what should you wear on your early-season excursion? You will want to select light, comfortable, moisture-wicking clothes. Not cotton. Cotton collects and holds moisture against your skin, and is a bulky, useless layer otherwise. Don’t over-layer and make sure none of your clothing is tight or restricting circulation, specifically socks. Neoprene, wool, and synthetic fabrics are best when layering for a chilly day on the Buffalo.

What to bring?

Bringing along snacks and a thermos of something warm is always a good idea. Granola bars, bananas, cheese, peanut butter, or anything filling and nutrient-rich is a great way to stay warm and energized on your journey. While coffee is a common and easy choice for thermos fillings, consider maybe bringing something a little more hydrating, such as tea, warm water, or even bone broth.

When packing for your cold weather trip, even if you are going for just a few hours, think about bringing an emergency fire kit. Spring in the Ozarks comes with plenty of soggy weather, so bringing along dry kindling that will catch fire quickly could be a life-saver. Weather-proof matches, fire starting devices, or flares are always handy if you are needing to create warmth quickly.

What to know?

Stay informed. Even if the weather seems mild, the water may still be dangerously cold, so check the conditions and dress/pack accordingly. Preparedness could be the difference between the best adventure ever and a rescue mission. Know the river level and it’s meaning, and check the weather forecast before you go. Additionally, it may be difficult for Buffalo River Outfitters or the National Park Service to get down to remote parts of the river. Knowing where you are and what landmarks are nearby can make all the difference if someone needs help.

Click here to check the Buffalo River levels at the Highway 65 Bridge in St. Joe, Arkansas.

Spring is a beautiful time of the year to experience the Buffalo River, but Mother Nature demands respect. We can help you plan your trip, inform you on upcoming weather, and update you on river conditions – just give us a call at 870-439-2200 any day between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm CT.

We are here to help you find your next adventure!!