Tracer testing is a well-established technique in hydrogeological site characterization. However, certain a priori knowledge of the hydraulic regime is required beforehand to avoid test failure, e.g. miss of tracer. In this study, we propose a novel tracer test concept for the hydraulic characterization of shallow unconsolidated sedimentary deposits when only scarce a priori information on the hydraulic regime is available. Therefore, we combine conventional salt tracer testing with direct push vertical high resolution electrical conductivity logging. The proposed tracer test concept was successfully tested on coarse, braided river deposits of the Tagliamento River, Italy. With limited a priori information available two tracer tests were performed in three days to reliably determine ground water flow direction and velocity allowing on-site decision-making to adaptively install observation wells for reliable breakthrough curve measurements. Furthermore, direct push vertical electrical profiling provided essential information about the plume characteristics with outstanding measurement resolution and efficiency.