Summer is right around the corner! One of our favorite warm-weather pastimes is being out on the water. Float tubes are a great summer recreation activity for many different types of people and age groups. Some people like to float lazily in a pool or down a river in groups. Others seek adventure while fishing out on the lake or in rougher water.
This article will take a look at many different types of float tubes available to help you pick one that suits your style and needs. Check out our five best river float tubes reviews and our six other product recommendations! At the end of this article, you will also find a short river float tubes’ buying guide, highlighting the aspects you need to consider in your purchase decision!
What Should You Know About River Float Tubes
No one knows for sure who the first person to use a float tube was. There is a good chance it was someone from a farm who used an old tractor intertube. As their popularity grew, manufacturers began making specialty float tubes for many different activities. Since its humble beginnings, float tubing has developed into a very popular outdoor activity for many people. Their most popular uses are for lounging in the pool and floating down “lazy rivers” at water parks. After all, summer is coming and water sports – together with some of the best water games out there – are the highlight of hot days, group summertime activities, and overall good summer fun!
People get together in groups and even take guided tours down rivers over long distances. They are also very popular with outdoorsmen and fishermen. They allow access to the best fishing spots and places that would otherwise not be available.
Why is a Specialized Float Tube Better Than a Tractor Tube?
There are many reasons to choose a specialized float tube over an old tractor tube. Safety is the most important thing to consider when being out on the water. Old tractor tubes were not designed with safety in mind. This is very important if you want to use your tube to float down rivers. They also have no features for comfort and relaxation. The different companies that make specialized float tubes put a lot of time and effort into designing a product with important features for both safety and comfort. The construction and materials used to make them is also much higher quality. Don’t trust your safety to an old tractor tube.
Why Choosing the Right Float Tube is Important
There are a wide variety of float tubes available for different types of activities. Choosing the correct style of tube is very important for safety out on the water. For example, you would not want to use a simple tube without safety features while fishing out on an open lake. Rugged construction is important when dealing with the possibility of hitting snags. Likewise, you would not want to purchase a heavy-duty and bulky fishing tube for use in your backyard pool. The information at the end of the article on how to pick the right river float tubes will run down some of the best features of such items that you should factor in your purchase decision.
Now, let’s check out the five best river float tubes reviews we prepared for you!
Top 5 Best River Float Tubes in 2020
Next, we invite you to check out the best five river float tubes we reviewed for you to help you make the best choice when it comes to safe and fun water sports and water games this summer. At the end of this guide, you will also find ten more tubes we consider you should check out this year as well. If you want us to review in-depth the other 10 contenders, let us know in the comments section at the end of this guide!
1. Intex River Run I Sport Lounge
- ✔ THE ORIGINAL RIVER RUN – This sport tube is designed for adults with performance in mind and is...
- ✔ DURABILITY – The River Run 1 is constructed with a Sport Gauge material that is extra thick along...
- ✔ ULTIMATE COMFORT – Enjoy cruising and kicking back with the comfortable backrest and 2 built-in cup...
This is a great all-around float tube. It is extremely durable and made from quality materials. The size and design are simple enough for use in the pool with multiple cup holders and a mesh bottom to keep cool. Its added features like heavy-duty handles, backrest, large 53″ diameter, and grab rope allow you to float comfortably out on the open lake or in a slow river too.
2. Intex River Run II Sport Lounge
- ✔ THE ORIGINAL RIVER RUN – This sport tube is designed for adults with performance in mind and is...
- ✔ DURABILITY – The River Run 2 is constructed with a Sport Gauge material that is extra thick along...
- ✔ ULTIMATE COMFORT – Enjoy cruising and kicking back with the comfortable backrests and 2 built-in...
This durable tube is designed with two connected lounges and is the perfect tube for couples, friends, and large groups. It has all the same great features as the Intex River Run I and added features like a cooler to keep refreshments on hand, extra air chambers for safety, and the ability to connect it to other River Run float tubes if you are in a large group. It handles rough and calm water with ease. Many people like float tubing in groups and this is a great choice for keeping everyone together.
3. Sevylor Covered River Tube
- 63% more room than our 2014 model
- Heavy-duty PVC construction is rugged for lake use, it seats 6 people or 990 lbs.
- Multiple air chambers allow the other chambers to stay inflated if one is punctured
This is another great all-around tube that will last for many seasons. It is designed for heavy-duty lake and river use with PVC construction, multiple air chambers, and nylon covering to prevent leaks and damage. This would work well on the longer trips down the river. It is also simple enough to work just as well in the backyard pool with its 47″ inch inflated diameter. Like the Intex River Run tubes, this has the ability to be connected to other Sevylor tubes and a cup holder to keep your drink close by. When the weather changes to cold some people even use this as a sled!
4. Classic Accessories Teton Float Tube
- Teton assembled size: 42.5"L x 40"W x 18.5"H, Weight: 8.5 lbs. 250 pound capacity
- Hydrodynamic hull shape improves tracking and steering
- One-year limited warranty
This particular tube is a bit different than the first three tubes described. It is suited especially for fishing and other more intense outdoor activities with a rod holder, stripping apron and fish ruler, multiple zipping storage pockets, and D-rings for attaching other gear. The hydrodynamic hull shape allows for great steering and tracking. The heavy-duty construction allows you to safely get to where boats cannot easily go. This provides a huge advantage for the serious fisherman.
5. Caddis Sports Nevada Float Tube
- HEAVY DUTY AND VERSATILE: With a classic U-shaped design and versatile size, the Caddis Sports Nevada...
- DOUBLE-STITCHED: Heavy-duty rip-stop material with double-stitched critical seams reinforces the Float...
- COMFORTABLE BACKREST: A comfortable backrest bladder and oversized seat add supportive comfort to hold...
This is another tube geared towards fishing and adventurous use. It has almost all of the same features as The Teton Float tube in a simple and sleek design. The outer shell of the tube is made with double-stitched ripstop nylon for added durability. It is lightweight and features carry handles for easy transportation. The U-shape design provides safety and stability in the open water and rivers. Fluorescent safety accents and a stabilizer bar round out this simple and well-designed item.
6 Best River Float Tubes Contenders for 2020
Now that you saw the five best river float tubes reviews of the year, it’s time to list the other 6 products we consider that are worth your while. While they differ in tech specs, features, and prices, they are all coming with great benefits, excellent safety built-in measures, and excellent customer reviews. So, without further ado, let’s see the six best river float tubes you can buy this year! Remember, in case you want us to review one or more particular items on this list, all you have to do is ask!
- Tube In a Box the Original Swim and Snow Tube, 45″ XL;
- REALTREE MAX-5 Lake Runner X Inflatable Tube;
- Tube Pro Orange 48″ Premium River Tube with Handles;
- Trans American Swim and Snow Adventure Tube, 40″ Large;
- Solstice Super Chill River Tube Double Duo with Cooler;
- BigMouth Inc. Beautiful Butterfly River Tube.
These were our eleven river float tubes reviews and recommendations! Now, as we promised, let’s see the short buying guide we were talking about at the beginning of this article.
What to Look For When You Buy A Floating River Tube
As you have seen from the reviews above, we insisted on picking the best floating river tubes capable of offering you a perfect blend of safety, comfort, reliability, and convenience. So let’s see the most important features you should look for when you buy such an item for your future river adventure!
The Durability of the Tubes
An outer tube’s guaranteed durability is what you should look for in such a product, as it makes the difference between staying afloat and not. You should look for tubes featuring high-gauge PVC rubber, double-stitched ripstop nylon, and good thickness to protect the inner tubes. When it comes to the inner tube, it is vulnerable to all the debris commonly found in water that can lead to tears, hole punctures, and scraps. You should look for a floating river tube with a canvas-covered polyester bottom, although a sturdy mesh denier bottom will do its job just fine.
A Canvas Bottom
Floating river tubes with canvas bottoms ensure your safety. They ensure no one slides out of the tube. A triple-stitch design is what you should be looking for in a river tube to ensure heavyweight support and safety.
A Mesh Bottom
Mesh bottoms allow comfort and keep you stay cool for a long day on the river. Look for a strong knit structure with adherent properties to withstand a river picnic (while on the tube), plenty of comforts, and a cooling sensation you most certainly need during a summer day on the water.
Safety Valve Stem and Cap Made of Rubber
Make sure you get a floating tube with rubber safety valve stem and cap while avoiding metals at the same time. Rubber valve stems are there to protect you from scratches, cuts, bruising, and other similar accidents and injuries. As you can easily figure out, a modern rubber cap cover is capable of smoothly reinforcing the air to stay in the tube with no leaks, thus contributing to the inflatability of the tube.
Handles are a safety feature you should not ignore, especially if you are into water sports on wild rivers. Rapid rivers can knock you out of the tube in the blink of an eye, so having handles is for both protection and comfort.
Speaking of having a relaxed day on the water and in the sun, here are some comfort features that are not mandatory for a safe ride on flowing water, but it is always great when they are around:
- Cup holders;
- Mesh bottom for cooling and better sitting;
- Back support for rest, relaxation, and a more natural position for your spine, especially if you plan to spend the entire day on the river;
- Tube covers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How dangerous is river tubing?
Tubing is a lot of fun but we also advise you take caution when engaging in this activity. Avoid tubing on rivers that have falls or on big rivers where reaching the shore takes too much time in case of an emergency. Back in 2014, a girl named Emily Fedorko was killed by the propeller of a boat when her friend tried to circle back to her after she fell off the tube. Practice safety first and always pay attention to what your instructor has to say depending on your weight, height, and body type.
What do you wear to a river tubing?
Before thinking about clothes or gear, first thing’s first: use sunscreen. good waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will protect you from frying. Secondly, wear a hat with a brim and sunglasses to cover your face and keep the sun out of your eyes. Next, you’ll want clothing that is water-safe and dries easily for when you get out or walk back. Avoid baggy clothing or jackets. Your best bet are swimsuits and a white shirt over them to further protect from the heat. However, even in the hottest summer days, the water might still be cold. In this case, bring a wetsuit and water shoes or socks. If you don’t want to invest in a pair of water socks, an old pair of sneakers or hiking sandals will work just fine
How far should a tube be behind a boat?
The bare minimum safe distance between a tube and a boat should be no less than 100 feet. Anything less than that and you can land face-first in the propeller in case of an accident.
What kind of boat is good for tubing?
There is no specific type of boat that’s great for tubing. Almost any motorized boat will do a great job as long as you follow the other safety guidelines.
Floating river tubes or inflatable kayaks should clearly be on your mind this summer if you want to spend a few days far from the maddening crowd. Either you take a fishing vacation with the family or embark on an adventure trip with your group of wild friends, water sports and activities are the best way to have fun, test your strengths and skills, relax, and make memorable memories.
We hope that you really enjoy water sports and activities and that these best river floating tubes reviews and recommendations helped you make the best choice. On the other hand, if you are not the watery adventurous type, you can always check out some of our fun lawn games as well!
Hopefully, the information provided in this guide will help you make the right decision and keep you having fun out on the water all summer long!
Featured Image via Pixabay