Floating in a tube is remarkably relaxing whether it’s in your pool at home, out on the river, or fishing at the lake. We’ll highlight some nifty little inflatables today so you can easily find the best float tube for your needs.
What Is a River Float Tube?
Moving out of the swimming pool and into the river, float tubes became a remarkably popular way to travel lazily down meandering rivers at water parks. A simple inflatable device looking like an oversized inner tube, float tubes have become a global attraction.
In Vang Vieng, a tiny town in Laos in southeast Asia, an entire industry was founded on tubing. In that part of the world, people often use tubes pulled from discarded tractor tires. However, if you have the ability to buy a tube designed to keep you afloat, that’s the better option.
Why Use A Dedicated Tube Over A Tractor Inner Tube?
If you’re tempted to rely on the discarded inner tube from a tractor tire, it might be worth reconsidering. It goes without saying these inner tubes were not designed for the purpose of supporting you in the water. An old inner tube might give up the ghost and let you down at any moment, perhaps even throwing into a dangerous situation.
An impromptu float tube will also let you down when it comes to comfort. Many tubes designed for use in a pool offer a range of features like cup holders or space to extend your feet fully. If you make a modest investment in a specialized river float tube, you’ll get something that should last for years.
Even if you want only the occasional dip in the pool, it’s worth buying a proper tube. If you intend to use your float on a regular basis, you’ll be delighted you took the time and trouble to track down the exact type of river float tube for your needs.
Types of River Float Tube
While functionality is the same on all river float tubes, you’ve got the choice of buying them individually or in multi-packs. You can also get these devices in a number of configurations beyond a ring shape.
Individual River Float Tubes
Since pretty much everyone has different tastes when it comes to inflatable devices, it often makes sense for the whole family to get their own river float tubes.
Whether you want a fishing float tube or something for the pool or river, most of these individual floats come in a regular ring shape. Extra features vary, as you’ll see you when we break down the best river float tubes.
Multiple River Float Tubes
Many of the major brands offer worthwhile discounts if you buy your tubes in multipacks. For large families, this often makes the most economic sense, so think about saving by buying in bulk.
Lounge-Style River Float Tubes
If you want more of a laid-back approach to floating with comfort as your highest priority, there are plenty of chaise lounge style floats so you can relax even more fully. From the pool at home to fishing trips, recliners and lounge-style river float tubes let you really kick back in fine style.
Now we’ve broken down the basics, we’ll highlight the advantages and drawbacks of three of the best tubes to simplify your buying decision further.
1) Intex River Run 1 River Float Tube
The classic River Run series of float tubes from Intex is a perennial favorite with just cause. Act quickly to invest in this six-pack and you’ll reap significant savings while benefiting from buying in bulk. These tubes are agile and nimble if you’re floating in more challenging conditions on the river. If you’re relaxing in the pool, you’ll appreciate the drink holders and netting as well as the backrest to ratchet up the comfort.
These tubes are sturdy enough, but the way they’re marketed as almost indestructible is somewhat misleading. The vinyl is durable but be careful of any sharp objects (as with all tubes).
For a no-nonsense river float tube solution offering unbeatable value considering the performance, check out this Intex multipack today and enhance your experience in the water tomorrow.
- Integrated backrest for added comfort
- Quick-release valve so deflates in less than 1 minute
- Netting to keep your drinks close at hand
- Mesh bottom keeps you cool and comfy
- Hard work to paddle against the wind
- Some reported issues with puncturing
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
2) Intex River Run II Inflatable Lounge
Another entry for the highly reputable Intex, this inflatable lounge gives you and your partner an ideal love nest on the water. If you like loafing in the sun with a few beers, you’ll love the inbuilt cooler which will hold 24 cans of your favorite tipple. This feature alone makes the price of this lounge seem almost too good to be true.
Given the intended purpose of relaxation rather than paddling, the River Run II is not very maneuverable. Overall, it’s a pretty sizeable tube, so think about this and make sure you’re not expecting a nimble float suitable for challenging waters.
For anyone hunting for comfort with plenty of provision for iced drinks, this inflatable lounge is a must.
- Pair of connected loungers perfect for couples
- Onboard cooler for up to 24 cans of beer and soda
- Five air chambers enhance safety
- Ideal if you’re lounging in the pool rather than paddling on the river
- Central panel with room for plenty of drinks
- Not the easiest inflatable to manoeuvre
- A large and bulky unit
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
3) SportsStuff Trek N Tube with Travel Backpack
We’ve tried to cover something for all needs with these three river float tube reviews. To round them out, here’s a colorful and affordable multipurpose tube by SportsStuff.
Covered in a robust nylon, the seating area is mesh, so you’ll stay nice and cool. You can inflate or deflate this tube in a matter of 60 seconds, and the backpack means you can carry it from the river to your car without needing another pair of hands.
You get a couple of coolers, each good for a six-pack, and two cup holders. An extra couple of pockets let you keep all that you need just where you need it. For a winning combination of comfort and convenience, this red and yellow beauty from SportsStuff deserves a place on any shortlist of the best river float tubes.
- Striking and fun design to brighten up the pool
- Elevated backrest is a lovely touch
- Plenty of space for onboard storage
- Tube folds up into the backpack provided for easy transportation
- Store to drinks within easy reach
- Pretty heavy when filled up and ready for action
- Not built for frequent, ongoing use
- Back support could be designed better
Our rating: 3.8 / 5
If you take the time to think first about exactly what you want from a floating aid, you can figure out exactly what you want in a tube, whether you’re in the pool, at the beach, or out on the river.