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Best River Tube Reviewed
When the sun is in the sky and the temperature is through the roof, nothing is more enjoyable than heading out on the water.
No doubt there are plenty of rivers nearby that are perfect for some fun water activities.
Other boat-related activities like fishing and kayaking are popular, but few are as accessible as getting in a floating river tube and letting the current take you on its course.
Acquiring not of the best river tubes is something anyone can do without needing to invest in an expensive boat – or learn how to maneuver it! Of course, you can also use a river tube on a lake, in your own private pool, or anywhere else where there’s water.
The only problem is that most float tubes are incredibly flimsy. They’re poorly made, meaning a whole host of problems are at your disposal. For one, they can puncture so easily and leave you swimming in a river with some deflated tubing. That’s hardly a recipe for a good time, not to mention the fact it could be dangerous!
Then, you also have river floating tubes that simply are not comfortable at all. You can’t fit in them, there’s no way to get comfy, and it’s hard to properly relax and enjoy yourself. Also, some simply do not float at all when you get in them, completely defeating the purpose.
When you have a flimsy float tube, it’s hard to have a good time. However, when you’ve got a top-quality river float tube, your enjoyment levels go through the roof. Everything is more comfortable, you feel safer, and you know that you’re in full control of everything.
Thus, it’s crucial to find the best river float tubes for your budget. As it happens, we’ve done all of the hard research for you, delivering the top four river float tubes up for sale right now.
Check Out Our Favorite River Tube
Top River Tube Comparison Chart
Best River Tubes
A USA-made option that’s available in three striking color schemes. The Bradley River Float Tube is 43″ in diameter when inflated, making it a more than decent size for the average adult.
It also has a canvas-coated top, which is excellent at providing another layer of safety for the inner tubing. It basically makes it much harder to puncture the tube as objects need to pass through another protective layer before hitting the rubber tube itself.
The bottom of a river tube is critical, and this one comes with a very useful micro mess bottom. Having a mesh bottom allows water to pass through while still getting the rider in place.
It keeps the tube cooler as well, meaning you feel more comfortable when sat there in the beating sun for hours. While the tube itself is rugged enough to handle more extreme sporting activities, many people use this in a pool or lazy river because the mesh bottom adds so much comfort.
It boasts a very simplistic and classic rubber tube design, but there are some handles on the sides for you to hold onto. Overall, this is a fantastic option if you want a nice river tube that keeps you safe and is suitable in most scenarios. The only place this isn’t suitable is behind a motorized vehicle.
This float tube from Classic Accessories offers a high degree of luxury comfort. It features a unique chair-like design with a high back and thick armrests on either side. at 50 inches wide and 54 inches long, there’s ample room for you to stretch out and enjoy yourself on this float tube.
The more you look at it, the more you realize this is designed for lazing around in a pool or sitting out in the middle of a lake. In fact, it even features a fish ruler on the base of the tube, so you can see how large your catch is while you’re fishing.
If that’s not practical enough for you, there are multiple zips and pockets over the armrests and in other areas of the tube. It makes this such a highly functional option if you need to keep lots of things with you while out on the water.
The Bighorn Inflatable River Float Tube comes with a hydrodynamic hull shape, which makes it very easy to control this thing when you’re on it. a few handles are located on the insides of the armrests for both safety and steering.
If you want something a bit luxurious to really relax in on the water, this is an option for you. Is it right for rapid rivers or waves? Probably not, so keep that in mind.
Another option from Bradley, and this is about as classic as you can get in the river float tube world.
It is literally one giant rubber ring, without a base to it at all. As such, this tube can be used in a whole range of different scenarios – river rapids, swimming pools, lakes, slip n slides, or even as a snow ring in the winter! You can purchase this tube in 6 different sizes; 32, 38, 44, 48, 60, or 71 inches in diameter. Effectively, you can choose a size that suits anyone, with the smallest one being ideal for young children.
There’s absolutely nothing fancy about the design, but you might enjoy that. It keeps everything very simple, which also keeps the price down low. If you have a small budget and don’t require a river tube with any fancy extras or features, this could certainly be a product to consider.
One key feature it does have is a short valve stem. It boasts a Schrader valve that’s short and stubby, as opposed to most rubber tubes that have a long L-shaped valve.
By having a valve like this, there’s added safety for the user as it’s much less likely that the valve will hurt you. All in all, while it may lack the spice and zing of other products, the Bradley Heavy Durty Rubber River Float Tube is still excellent for a range of watersport activities.
Now, if you’re interested in a very large inflatable river ring, this could be what you’re looking for. Right away, the unique thing about this product from Intex is that it has two seats.
It can comfortably fit two adults, and there’s a built-in cooler between the two seating areas.
This is the perfect place to store some drinks as you enjoy lazing out in the sun together.
Speaking of lazing around, there are two backrests behind each seat, making it even more comfortable for you. Cup holders are also included, and you are treated to a lovely mesh bottom to stop you from falling through the hole in the ring.
By having mesh instead of canvas, there’s also more of a cooling sensation from the water below you, which is a lovely little bonus. Durable plastic handles are placed on either side of the tube, giving each person something to hold onto for added safety – and to help guide the tube through the water. It’s yet another element that adds to the comfort and appeal of this product.
Perhaps the best thing to say about this river tube is that it is made for relaxing, and made for people to have fun in. This is further evidenced by the Connect ‘n Float System feature.
This is something that’s exclusive to Intex products and basically lets you connect this tube to other products in the range. This can include other rubber tubes, a cooler, and so on. The idea is that you can chill in the water with multiple things connected to you, keeping everything close together.
The Airhead BIG SHOT is a float tube that’s built to last. It’s made up of a heavy-duty PVC tube with a double stitched polyester cover. You get the classic river tube design here, with a circular ring shape, only there is a bottom cover with this product.
This is always a great feature as it makes the tube so much more comfortable to sit in without feeling like you’ll slip through into the water. As mentioned, this cover is polyester, making it safer and more structurally secure than a mesh alternative.
Two large and solid handles are found on either side of the tube, meaning it’s very easy to hold onto without worrying about tipping over or falling out.
This also means you can easily use this tube in rougher waters – such as going down a fast-flowing river. However, it also boasts a cup holder, so you can sit and relax with a drink by your side in calmer waters as well.
The 42-inch diameter is perfect for the average adult, and you have two rope anchors on the sides of the ring as well. This makes it very easy for you to tether your tube to something, further improving your safety.
Top River Tube Features To Consider
The previous reviews have looked at the top five river float tubes you can buy today. They’re all slightly different from one another, though you may have noticed a few common points that keep coming up.
In this section, we’ll explain what to look for when buying a float tube and why it’s so important to buy a top-quality product.
Tube Quality & Durability
Firstly, the tube needs to be made out of highly durable materials. For the inner tubes, you’re looking for things like high-gauge PVC rubber. Ideally, they should be covered in double-stitched materials as well, offering great protection for the tube itself.
The more layers there are over the tube, the more durable it is going to be. Clearly, this is beneficial as it prevents punctures and keeps your tube inflated the whole time you’re in it.
It’s important to look at the safety valve whenever you buy a river float tube. They will all have one, and it’s there to help you quickly deflate the tube if required.
Unfortunately, safety valves can be a hazard if they stick out too far and don’t have rubber caps. The best tubes will have short safety valves that are under the tube and well away from you. Having the rubber cap also keeps them safer, preventing any nasty injuries.
Not all river float tubes have bottoms – and this isn’t an essential requirement. However, if you are looking for a tube that takes comfort to the next level, either a canvas or mesh bottom is appreciated.
Any type of bottom layer stops you from sinking through the tube and falling into the water. It makes it feel like you’re in a hammock, so there’s instantly more comfort. You also get the added safety benefit of not falling into the water and potentially drowning.
Which is better, mesh or canvas? Canvas is safer and better for heavier people, while the mesh is more lightweight and breathable, keeping you cooler.
All river tubes will benefit from having safety handles on them. These handles give you something to hold when you are on the water, reducing the chances of you falling out. It’s a good safety feature to look for in differentiating between good and great river tube options.
Certainly, if you are using a tube for river sports or out on rough water, you need the handles to maintain control over the tube and steer it while you move.
Back and Armrests
Again, not an essential requirement, but one that adds more comfort to proceedings. Having back and armrests on your tube makes it easier to relax.
You can rest your back/head against something and soak up the run. Armrests do a similar thing, only they could also come with extra features like zip pockets for convenience.
Finding the ideal tubes for river floating or lazing in a lake is a lot easier when you know what to look for. By all means, your tube doesn’t need every feature, but it’s still handy to understand what features will improve your comfort and the overall tubing experience.