The Best Inner Tubes for River Floating for the Day
It’s a beautiful Sunny Day as you walk by a river or beach and you desperately want to feel the refreshing water against your skin, but you are not dressed for it nor do you feel like committing to getting your whole body wet. This is where Inner Tubes come in handy! Inflatable Floating Islands are pretty great too actually!
Floating tubes in rivers is one of my favorite activities to do during the summer! It is a great way to get outside relax and simply enjoy the water and the great outdoors. Rivers and Floating go hand in hand and were meant to be enjoyed together! Here in B.C. there are several rivers that people including myself flock to to go river floating such as Shuswap river, Okanagan Lake and the Capilano River Near North Vancouver. These are not to be confused with towable tubes that are pulled behind a boat.
Some places will want to charge you to use their floats but there are plenty out there that are cheap enough to use for multiple uses! Here I will show you what I believe are the best Inner Tubes for River Floating! I personally tried a few of these and have looked for inner tubes with consistently high customer satisfaction ratings.
Reasons to Buy an Inner Tube
- The Sun is out and all of your friends are hitting the lake or river with their Inner Tubes
- They are pretty cheap, especially when bought in bulk
- It is one of the best ways to to relax in the sun
- Some can hold beverages
- The gentle rocking of the waves is meditative and soothing
Click The Sections Below to Jump to Compare Prices.
Best Value Pack Inner Tubes
#1 Intex 4 Pack River Run
- Can Attach to Other River Runs
- Great Customer Rating
#2 Rapid Rider 4 Pack
- Made of Durable Material
- Heat resistant
- Great Customer Rating
#3 Intex River Rat 6 Pack
- Very Durable
- Highly Maneuverable
- Comes in a Pack of Six
Below I will review some inner tubes that come in Multiples or value packs so that you can have backups for yourself or spares for friends if you decide to be so generous. Here are some of the best inner tubes for river floating value packs
Linking Intex River Run I Tube -4 Pack
This is one of my favorite floatie devices because it is designed so simply but allows for a lot of flexibility. The River Run brings the perfect combination of my 3 criteria of blending good durability with plenty of room to bring things like water and beer onboard. It also is very maneuverable allowing you to navigate your way through the river and all of its obstacles.
I have owned several of these floaties and they hold up relatively well. I have had one experience where one of them has had a slow puncture but that was because I had it tied up in the water just off of the shallow water where there were pointy rocks (Oops!).
I ended up choosing this pack because they have tube covers to insure durability and they can link up in any formation you choose! The Covers come in a wide range of colors such as Red, Blue, Forest Green, Neon Green, Yellow, Pink, Purple and Black
Pros: Great all around floatie that features cup holders, bottom netting and come with covers.
Cons: Durability is good but could be better if the cover is left off so I would advise keeping the cover on.
4-Pack Bestway Rapid Rider 53″ Raft Tubes With Handles/Cup
Very Similar to the Intex River Run tubes both in design and philosophy so what’s the difference? The main difference you may notice off the bat is that it almost half the Price of the River Runs and it includes 4 Floaties.
The price difference mainly is because the River Runs come with covers and are from a very popular brand. Still Bestway is no slouch and neither are these floaties. It is still made with 18 guage vinyl and customers seem to be pretty happy with it’s performance in rivers.
Pros: Durable and can take a beating, plenty of room to bring the essentials, has the same features as the river run. You essentially get one more floaties at the better price then the 3 pack river runs.
Cons: Does not come with protective cover for insurance.
6-Pack Intex River Rat 48-Inch Inflatable Tubes
The River Rat tubes give ample durability and comfort of a simple tube. Although it does not have a lot of features it does have a cool design and is made of heavy duty vinyl construction (12 gauge on the top and 16 on the bottom).
These floaties comes in 2, 4, 6 and 12 packs. These tubes are built tough and can take all kinds of abuse including having people jump on to them and having pointy sticks and rocks bumped into it. Similar to the River Run it also comes with a repair patch kit.
Pros: Very Durable and maneuverable in the water
Cons: The black material gets too hot in the summer and can burn you, also not a lot of options in terms of bringing stuff with you on river excursions.
Best Individual Inner Tubes
#1 Intex River Run
- Can attach to Other River Runs
- Great Customer Rating
#2 Kelsusys Chaise Chair Lounger
- Made of Durable Material
- Great Customer Rating
TIED #2 Intex River Run 2
- Lots of Room
- Built in Cooler
- Mesh Bottom
Individual Inner Tubes
If you are just looking to get an inner tube for yourself take a look at these best inner tubes for river floating
Intex River Run Minus the Cover
This is the Inner Tube that I always come back to and so far anything I have tried has not come close. I reallyy dig the mesh seat as it insures that you can stow a good amount of stuff such as ahem.. Drinks!
If that is not enough there are also two cup holders that can hold whatever beverage you choose. Out of all the floaties that everyone brings to our cabin these ones usually last the longest.
Pros: Does not need to be refilled with air constantly. Lots of room for Drinks. Mesh Bottom allows for a lot of storage. Solid Manoeuvrability
Cons:Can Pop against sharp rocks
Kelsyus Chaise Floating Chair Lounger
Ok so this is not so much an inner tube but it still deserves to be mentioned. The Kelsyus Chaise Lounger features a mesh backing on the seat as well as on the bottom of the floatie similar to the river runs. It also has one cup holders and backrest, handle as well as a carry bag included.
So what’s the main differences between the Kelsyus Chaise Lounger and the Intex River Run you may ask? The main difference is the size. The Chaise Lounger is much smaller and more compact compared to the river run.
If you are going on a hike for a float this may be the ideal product for you because it is less than 5 Lbs and it really does not take up much room when inflated. It can also hold 250 lbs or even more according to some customer reviews. Overall there are a lot more good things said about this floatie than bad.
Pros: Very Compact, Durable and lightweight. Also high customer satisfaction rating
Cons: Less room to bring things and only has one cup holder
Kelsyus Chaise Floating Lounger
A modified version of the Chaise Floating chair this float has a leg rest attached for more comfort! There is really not much more to be said about this then what hasnt been said on the Kelsyus Chaise Floating Chair Lounger
Pros: See Above
Cons: See above
Intex River Run II Sport Lounge, Inflatable Water Float
This Inner tube is a two person float and features more room to bring the accessories that you want on the journey. If you are bringing a lot of liquids with you this is an ideal floatie because it has a built in cooler that holds 24 cans.It also has space in the middle for a Six pack or more!
Maneuverability of this floatie is slightly compromised because of its bulky size. To move you will have to paddle in unison otherwise you will be paddling in circles! It is recommended to get “half paddles with it so that you can move easier. Overall Customers seem very happy with this model and recommend it for river cruises
Pros: So much room for stuff! Has a built in cooler that can hold 24 cans, ,esh bottom so that you don’t loose anything.
Cons: difficult to maneuver and steer. This problem can be solved with half paddles though.
Intex River Run Connect Lounge
Intex wanted a more comfortable version of their river run series so the brought in the Intex River Run Connect Lounge. This float has two air chambers so that incase one of them breaks you are not stranded swimming in the middle of the water.
Unfortunately one of the problems with this floatie is that because of it’s oddly shaped design it is not ideal for rivers because sometimes the crevices snag onto rocks instead of rolling off of them. The Buckles also are not made of the highest quality as some customers have pointed out.
Pros: 2 Air Bladders
Cons: shape is not the best for river floating because sharp objects can snag, Buckles sometimes break
Swimways Spring Float Recliner with Canopy
Like the shade but don’t want to stick to the shore? The Swimways Spring Float Recliner has a canopy attached so that you can stay cool in the shade while enjoying your time out in the water. It also comes in a carry tote and features a leg rest and a cup holder.
I would use this in calmer water ways as the canopy has been reported as a bit flimsy. Perhaps not the most ideal thing for rivers that are a bit faster moving. The canopy can be fixed with pull ties however.
Pros: Good customer rating, durable, easy to inflate
Cons: Canopy is a bit flimsy
SPORTSSTUFF 52-1501 Trek N Tube with Travel Backpack
If you have a lot of stuff to bring for your river journey and you want lots of room to store stuff look no further than the Trek N Tube. It features a heavy duty nylon cover to ensure durability along with a high backrest for different seating positions and mesh seating.
Perhaps the best feature about this tube is the fact that it has two built in six pack gear coolers(I wonder who they are targeting with that feature?!)on the sides and two gear pockets on the headrest as well as your two standard cup holders. This float also comes with a back pack! This floatie seems to good to be true until you read some customer reviews that rips its quality. Some common complaints include the tube submerging too much and that it is hard to repair this float.
Pros: Has a lot of good storage compartments and a higher back as well as a back pack
Cons: Mostly the customer complaints about how a lot of the tub is submerged once you get in it as well as it being difficult to repair.
Accessories You Need
Intex Mega Chill II Float Cooler
Bring this cooler around with you if you have limited room for beverages or use it as a floating storage center.
This cooler can hold up to 72 cans, be tied up with any other Intex product and has two heavy duty handles and six cup holders. The Perfect river companion!
Intex Mega Chill Cooler
If you are not looking to overdo it on the beverages there is this handy little cooler that is 35” in diameter.
This cooler can store up to 30 Cans in the cooler and 15 extra in cup holders and storage area. .
CreekKooler floating insulated cooler
This insolated cooler keeps your beverages ice cold thanks to its dual wall blow molded construction with 1.75 inch foamed insulation. This is a particularly good cooler to have if you are in a kayak because it has a hull designed for tracking similar to a kayak!. In a way its like a mini kayak for your beer!
Outdoors Master Dry Bag Floating Water Proof Bag
You can have it sitting in your lap or in a cooler this waterproof dry bag does not leak! It can fit up to 20 L worth of stuff in it!
MPOW Waterproof Case Universal dry bag water proof phone bag pouch
If you do not have a lot of room for stuff and just need your cell phone you can simply put this around your neck to insure your cell does not get wet!
If the river is long and you are floating for a long time It can be discouraging to make the walk all the way back to the car so I will show you a little plan I use with my friends that saves time and energy!. First I go down in two or more cars depending on how many friends I have with me.
We both meet at point B (The end of our intended journey on the river) We leave one of the cars there and that friend goes into the other car and we start from point A. We have our fun floating down the river meeting other folks maybe having a beer along the way. As we arrive to shore at Point B we get into our friends car and drive back to point A where the other car is. Sorry I got a bit off topic here but I think it saves you a lot of time in the end. Here is an illustration above.
What to Look for in best Inner Tubes for River Floating
When looking for the best inner tubes for river floating it is always good to remember a few key things.
Is it Durable?
Make sure to look for durable material when looking for a inner tube as the river often likes to spring tiny sharp surprises at you even when coming to shore! Canvas covered poly bottoms are usually the way to go but there are other strong materials out there that work. If you do happen to buy a tube that is made of thinner quality materials then it is best that you stay in the deeper end of the lake and mind where you are going!
What are you Planning on Bringing?
I weigh a good amount of importance to this because I personally like bringing stuff such as water bottles or erhmm beer! If you don’t plan on bringing anything or one hand held item than a simple tube is great! However if you are more like me and you want to bring stuff with you on your floating journey then I would look for a tube with cup holders, a storage area or netting on the bottom. It becomes quite uncomfortable juggling a bunch of things when floating down the river in nothing but a tube.
Inner Tube Manoeuvrability
Inner Tubes are the more desirable to float down a river with than actual pool floats because A) They are more durable and B) It is way easier to steer and maneuver these inner tubes than if you were on a big honking Unicorn floatie! When picking the best inner tubes for river floating try to keep this in mind.
Things to Remember when River Tubing
Ones does not just bring or rent a river tube and go floating ! There are several things you have to remember before hand Below I have created a don’t forget checklist on what to bring before your river adventure.
- Sunscreen: Even on a cloudy day sunscreen is very important to bring with you so that you reduce a sunburn or possibly worse.
- Sunglasses: Remember how your parents told you to never look at the sun for an extended period of time? Well this hold true even if you are not looking directly at it
- Bug repellent: A lot of people forget this one but it is quite Important! Riverc can be breeding grounds for mosquitos and other insects such as duck mites. I Shuswap River there are Duck Mites and often time if you are floating for an extended period of time you will get a lot of red dots on your back!
- Cash or Credit Card: If you are going to an actual floating centre where they charge you this is important. Keep a waterproof bag handy for you wallet or just simply bring a credit card.
- Key floats: The last thing you want is to be enjoying your time down the river only to find out that you lost your house or car keys down the river! There are a wide variety of inexpensive key floats you can get likethis one.
- WaterProof Phone Pouch: If you are bringing your phone with you it is important to put it in a waterproof pouch so that it does not get water damaged.
- Life Jacket/Vest: This one may not sound important but if your floatie pops it is better to be safe than sorry!
- Water: Right up there with Sunscreen it is vital to stay hydrated while floating in the hot sun. Getting heat stroke is no laughing matter.
Other Things to Remember
Make sure you are in touch with the local laws and watch for warnings by signs along the river. I would recommend going to popular river destinations around your area. Do not go to uncharted rivers because you will never know what will lay ahead. Always keep of a sound mind!
If you want your group of friends to stay together I recommend getting a cord. Especially if the floaties are different weights and sizes. Some floaties like the River Run series already have them attached to the inner tube.
Finding the best Inner tube for river floating ultimately depends on your preferences of what you are looking for in a floaties so try to keep the above criteria in mind when selecting what will be right for you and your friends. The ones listed here are ones that I have personally tested and liked or inner tubes that have high customer satisfaction. For More customer reviews click the links and read what they have had to say.
Ideally take an hour or two to pack everything you need and write a checklist so that you don`t forget anything on your maiden journey. Other than that have fun be safe and get out there!