Best Inner Tube for River Floating

Best inner tube for river floating

When the weather is warm, floating inner river tubes are a great way to have fun outdoors – especially in summer. You can use them to relax lazily on a river, or you can cruise through a river at high speeds. The adrenaline is addictive, and you will have to try it to believe it.

All of the best Inner tubes for river floating are created with comfort and safety in mind. This is the time to enjoy yourself after hours of work, and you want the best inner tube on the market. An inner tube that tears easily can be disastrous and ruin your trip – you also may get injured. The river when raging devours those who go near it; that is why you need an inner tube that you can maneuver easily.

Selecting the correct tube can be a formidable task with all of the varieties available in the market. This is why we have taken the liberty to research and give you a list of some of the best inner tubes for river tubes.

Summary table for Best Inner Tubes for River Floating

Best Inner Tubes for River Floating
Intex River Run I Sport Lounge

Intex River Run I Sport Lounge

Intex River Run II Sport Lounge

Intex River Run II Sport Lounge

Intex River Run Connect LoungeIntex River Run Connect Lounge Tube in a BoxTube in a Box Unicorn Party Tube Inflatable FloatUnicorn Party Tube Inflatable Float

Intex River Run II

Intex River Run II

Intex Pacific Paradise Relaxation Station

Intex Pacific Paradise Relaxation Station

Rating: 4.3/5Rating: 4.2/5Rating: 3.7/5Rating: 4.0/5Rating: 4.5/5Rating: 3.5/5Rating: 4.0/5
Number of seats: 1Number of seats: 2Number of seats: 1Number of seats: 0Number of seats: 1Number of seats: 2Number of seats: 4
Size (Inches): 53 Inch CircleSize (Inches): 95.5 x 62 x 20Size (Inches): 51 x 49.5 x 15Size (Inches): Will Very on TubeSize (Inches): 45 x 45 x 36Size (Inches): 104 x 56 x 56Size (Inches): 120 x 120 x 26
Extras: Cup holders, mesh floorExtras: Cup holders, mesh floor, large coolerExtras: Cup holders, mesh floorExtras: NoneExtras: Unicorn shapedExtras: Large cooler, cup holdersExtras: Mesh netting
Cost: $Cost: $Cost: $Cost: $$Cost: $Cost: $$Cost: $$

Scroll to the right to view all items in table

Intex River Run 1 Sport Lounge, Inflatable Water Float, 53” Diameter

Intex River Run I Sport Lounge

This is an ideal floating tube to use when you plan to go cruising on the river or simply relaxing with a cold drink when the weather is warm. The floater is for singles and comes in an innovative shape.

The inter-sport lounge is created with comfort in mind, and that is why it has a comfy built-in backrest and a mesh bottom that will keep you cool and let you get a feel for the water.

The 53” diameter circle is large enough for you, and it comes with an all-round robe for that you can hold on to when you are cruising. You can also interconnect the tube with other tubes and have some group fun.

The handles are durable and comfortable to hold on to.

Saving the best for last, you get two cup holders for that chilled beverage during your adventure/relaxation time. As you can see, this one of the best inner tubes for river floating.


  • Large 53” diameter circle
  • Durable heavy duty handles
  • 2 cup holders
  • Comfy backrest
  • Mesh bottom that keeps you cool


  • May not fit two people
  • May tear in rivers with very sharp rocks

Intex River II Sport Lounge, Inflatable Water Float

Intex River Run II Sport Lounge

If you are thinking of going river cruising in twos, then this is the ideal river floating tube for you. This floater has two linked lounges with a big built cooler to store those soft drinks. It lets you have fun with a close friend or if you come as a couple.

The sport lounge is built with comfort in mind and comes with backrest for relaxed cruising and mesh bottom that keeps you cool. That’s not all – it has five air chambers that make a valiant effort to ensure you will be safe during your cruise.

With a large built-in cooler that can hold up to 24 cans – you will not run out of refreshments. Besides the sizeable built-in cooler, you get two additional cup holders for extra refreshments. You can have more fun with other friends with easy to use connectors; which you fasten to other floaters.


  • Five air chambers for added security
  • Two interconnected lounges
  • Large built-in cooler with lid
  • Two cup holders
  • Fasteners to other floaters


  • Not suitable for single persons

Intex River Run Connect Lounge Inflatable Water Float

Intex River Run Connect Lounge

This is a comfortable floating tube with a mesh bottom to keep you cool. The extra cup holders are ideal for keeping your refreshments intact as you cruise through the river. You can rest easily on the built-in backrest, or you can fasten the floater to other river runs and have some group fun.

Two air chambers are added for your safety. The floater is made from durable material that does not tear easily. The handy handles are good when cruising down a river.

It has a diameter of 51” which is large enough for any single person.


  • Built-in cup holders
  • Comfortable backrest
  • Cool mesh bottom
  • Can be fastened to other river runs


  • Not suitable for a river with sharp rocks

Tube in a box, Original and Best Swim and Snow Inner Tube

Tube in a Box

Before fancy floaters came – there was “the” tube. In the old days when folks wanted to have some fun during summer in the river, they would get a tire tube. It was the most basic form of invention. Now, you can have one that takes you back in time and performs just as good as these fancy new tubes.

The tube in a box is a 100 percent commercial grade tube that is ideal for swimming, floating and sledding; you can use it in snow, river or a lake. The best part is you get to feel the water while cruising with the open bottom.

This durable tube is UV resistant and does not deflate under intense heat. The tube is also hardy and does not tear easily which makes it ideal for snow fun. The tube in a box is one of the best inner tubes for river floating with its heavy duty material. It will not get punctured that easily.

This is the tube for those thrill-seekers who want to go old school. This dark tube is made just for fun and doesn’t come with extra comfortable features – like cup holders or armrest; just be an adrenaline junkie.


  • Durable rubber tube
  • UV- resistant
  • Comes in different sizes
  • Can handle a lot of pressure


  • Lacks the comforts of newer models
  • The black rubber can become hot at times

GoFloats Unicorn party Tube Inflatable Float

Unicorn Party Tube Inflatable Float

Looking for something fun to show around? If yes, this unicorn shaped floating tube is very ideal for that summer party. The tube is large and can accommodate swimmers of up to 500 pounds. Measuring 45 inches wide and 3 feet tall this unicorn floater ensures that you fully enjoy summer time.

The unicorn is not only beautifully designed, it is durable as well; with premium, UV treated vinyl material that is 25 times thicker than competitors. Additionally, a rapid valve inflation which inflates at ten times competition – 2 minutes versus 20 minutes. You should be having fun in minutes; no delays.

Outdoor activities are times to share memories with family and friends.  The unicorn float tube is not only an excellent floater, but you can snap some really fun photos with it.


  • UV treated raft grade
  • Rapid valve inflation
  • It is huge and rated at over 500 pounds
  • Beautiful design for summer fun


  • Not ideal for fast cruising

Intex River Run II

Intex River Run II

This floater comes with two lounges and is ideal for couples or a pair of friends. You can share the laughter while you cruise on the backrest seats. The mesh bottom ensures you are cool during the ride.

The two-seater is also ideal if you have children.

The river run II comes with a built-in lid for storing your beverages and with extra cup holders for extra storage. The river II is very comfortable with five air chambers which puts your safety first.

In the case you have a group party, you can interconnect your floater with others and share the fun. This is the best inner tube for river floating for those who plan to take a leisurely cruise on the river.


  • Mesh’s bottom keeps you cool
  • Can be interconnected to other runs
  • Comfortable backrest
  • Extra lid for beverages


  • Not suitable for singles

Intex Pacific Paradise Relaxation Station Water Lounge 4-Person River Tube Raft

Intex Pacific Paradise Relaxation Station

If you have a large party and you are seeking something to chill in, then this floater can handle four people in comfort. It comes with four backrests and all grab robe that you can hold on to as you relax in a lake or river.

There are four cup holders to hold your refreshments and you can cool your feet in the mesh netting. This is the ideal floater for summer camps. You can share the joy with all your friends in this floater.

The floater will withstand waves that come its way; it’s made from durable material. The mesh handles well and can withstand the weight of up to six people. Quite attractive for families or a bunch of friends.


  • Can carry four people
  • Have cup holders for refreshments
  • Mesh to cool your feet
  • Easy to inflate


  • The material can get deflated by sharp objects

Factors to Look for When Buying an Inner Tube River Floater

Inner tubes for river floating are a great way to spend your summer with family and friends. They allow you to cruise through the river or just relax and enjoy the sunshine. They come in different designs – some come single while others can carry up to six people.

Whether you are buying new one or you plan on getting one for hire; you need to check out the following factors before getting the best inner tube for river floating.


The last thing anyone wants on a hot sunny day (or any day) is for their floating tube to be compromised. Before you purchase an inner tube, you need to consider the material that it is made from.  Any tiny sharp object in the river can quickly deflate a standard tube.

Most river tubes nowadays come with a canvas poly-bottom. The canvas bottom will protect the tube from sharp objects on the river bed.

You should look for river tubes made of heavier materials. The risk of the tube getting deflated, especially when you are cruising at high speed is very high.

There are commercial inner tubes that are made of heavy-duty polyester covers. These are ideal for those going for cruising in jungle-like rivers; where the water is rushing very fast. They are also UV resistant and do not fade easily.


You will need to ask yourself – how many people are going for the trip? Their river tubes that are suitable for singles, doubles and some that can carry up to six people.

A good river floater should be able to hold your weight without sinking. The handles should be hard enough to hold you when you are cruising down a river; without you falling.

Check how the valves handle the floater pressure. They should reach the maximum pressure without leaking.

Most of the inner tubes come with the recommended carry weight; this can be found in the product leaflet.


There are river tubes that come with extras to increase your comfort. Modern river tubes come with comfortable backrest chairs that enable you to relax while you enjoy the sunshine.

You can get extra cooler lids for refreshments. Depending on whose coming with you, you can have large coolers that can store up to 24 beers.

Mesh floors are great and allow you to rest your feet, as the water cools you. Some have fasteners that you can attach to other river tubes; which enables you to have a group party.

If you plan on just relaxing on the river while having a beer or two, an inner tube with a mesh floor will come in handy. You will love the feeling of the cool water hitting your feet on that hot summer day.

When having a group party then you need to get a tube with fasteners that you can easily connect with other tubes. This will be great when you are relaxing and sunbathing in the warm sunshine.


You should be having fun not spending all your time inflating the river tube. A good river tube should be able to inflate in minutes – the faster, the better.

Ensure that the river tube floater is well inflated before getting into the water. Less inflated floaters are uncomfortable as they absorb less shock.

A great feature on some inner tubes is having easy to access valves to deflate when you are done having fun. It should fold easily for storage.

The purpose for floating inner tube

The type of tube that you buy will largely depend on what you intend to use it in/for. If it’s for relaxing on the lake; then comfort should be your primary consideration. Look for an inner tube that can accommodate the whole party. You can include extras like comfy seats and large coolers to fit all your refreshments. You may also need extra cup holders and pockets for storing phones.

However, if you are looking for some adrenaline action – then you need something with a durable bottom. This is because you will be cruising down a steep river with sharp rocks – a puncture will send you spiraling down the river. One made of canvas will be able to handle all the pressure.

If you are planning on tubing using a speedboat, then you will put into consideration the inner tube floating aerodynamics. I would not recommend any of the above tubes for that purpose as you might find yourself swimming more than floating. Nevertheless, I have created an article on finding a great pull behind tube for boats here.

Some of the heavy duty tubes are made from vinyl with an extra layer of polyester. This double coating makes the heavy duty tubes ideal for river floating.


When you are going river tubing, the tube should have handy handles that you can use to navigate sharp corners. The rapids can be very high, and if you do not have a firm grip on the handle, you will be thrown off the tube. Inner tubes for river floating offer the best maneuverability when navigating rivers.

The handle should also be comfortable enough not to cause blisters. You can wear gloves if you plan to do some extensive floating.

How to Protect Your Inner Tube

When it comes to inner tubes, the thing that will spoil all the fun is a puncture. You can decide to carry an air pump and mending materials but, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chance of your getting a puncture.

  • Do not over-inflate the tube. Use an air pump meter for the right readings – you can check maximum pressure from the manufacture’s leaflet.
  • Fill the tube till you do not see any wrinkles or dead spots.
  • Avoid corners with sharp tree branches
  • Do not store the inner tube floater where there is direct sunlight – this can cause polyvinyl to expand.
  • When sledding with a floating inner tube, sit inside rather than lie on top
  • When you are done with the inner tube, wipe any excess grass and debris as they can cause long-term damage

A Quick Guide to River Tubing

River tubing is thrilling and is a fun way to share memories with family and friends. But, the river can be dangerous and turn against you if you are not prepared. You will need to check the weather for any storms coming your way – otherwise, it might not be that fun in the rain.

You can rent river tubes, or you can purchase your own. How long you plan to use it will determine your decision.

The time of the year will determine how rough the rapids can be. When the river is smoother you can engage in some lazy river tubing but when rapids are high; you can engage in some adrenaline tubing.

River tubing is fun, and you should carry along a waterproof camera to take in those memories with family and friends.

We have come up with a guide to help you along the way.

  1. Select the best inner tube for river floating that suits your specific needs. The tube should have a hardy bottom to resist sharp rocks and thorns. You can choose one with a canvas or polyester covering. Depending on how many people are tucking along, you can get a single or double tube.
  2. Carry a life jacket with you. The rushing water can push you over the tube, and a life jacket may as well save your life – take some swimming lessons as well. There some trendy life jackets available in the market today with extra pockets.
  3. Carry a GPS and learn your river route. It may be wise to talk to locals and find out any dangers in the river. Are there alligators or other wild animals that will interrupt your trip?
  4. Carry your phone for any emergencies. Do not forget to carry a first aid kit. It may be wise to learn same emergency procedures in case someone gets hurt. A dry bag can be very useful for this.
  5. Lift your bottom up when you are going over rapids. These ensure that you do not get stuck.
  6. Plan to get to the river before 12 am. This is when the sun is the hottest and the best time to do some sunbathing. Just don’t forget your sun screen!
  7. It is true that you are going to have fun but do not get there when you are totally drink in moderation because the river – when raging – can be very dangerous. Two, you may miss out on a lot of the fun.
  8. Carry some sunscreen and glasses for your eyes. You can carry some bug repellant if you suspect that the river banks maybe marshy.
  9. Wear light clothing like shorts and saddles.
  10. Pack some snacks and refreshments. You may not find any convenience store where you are going.
  11. Some river counties charge a fee for river tubing so carry some extra cash. You will also need to be acquainted with the rules set out.
  12. If you have younger children then consider getting a snuggle tune – has two seats.
  13. Stay clear off waterfalls, unless you have been there before.

For more, check out my article on 15 tips for river floating.

Advantages of Having a Heavy Duty River Float Tube

River floaters are great when you are having fun outdoors, especially during summer. Rubber floaters come in all sizes and they are made with different materials; selecting one is not easy.

Inner tubes have one problem – they are easily deflated. The river is a jungle with sharp rocks and pointed thorns. When any comes in contact with your tube, then your trip will come to an abrupt stop.

This is the reason heavy duty river tube floaters are preferred. But, what makes them different from the rest?

  1. They have double protection. Some are made with vinyl then a heavy-duty polyester covering is added. This gives it durability and protects the tube from sharp objects. To prevent deflation, some heavy duty tubes come with a 600 denier canvas bottom.
  2. Inner tubes get damaged when exposed to sunlight. Heavy duty floaters and made from strong material that protects the tube from UV light.
  3. Heavy duty floaters have strong handles that are easy to steer across sharp bends in the river.
  4. They do not fade easily, even after continued use and exposure to sunlight.
  5. They are large enough to hold weight, while at the same time maintaining great
  6. You can use heavy duty inner tubes cover a wide range of rugged terrain including snow and rapid rivers.
  7. Because they are made of hard materials they do not tip easily if when going rough terrain on the river. Smaller inner tube boats can cause injuries in dangerous rivers.

Inner tubes come in different shapes and the purpose that you are using the floater will determine which one you choose. While heavy-duty floaters are ideal for river floating because of their durability most of them lack the comfort features of smaller floaters that are used for relaxing.


We have examined the top inner tubes for river floating and we have a clear winner. River floating requires a tube that is made from the most durable material. This is because the tube, while on a river is exposed to very sharp objects that can cause a lot of tear. Materials that are most suitable are polyester, vinyl, and canvas. I hope this article has helped you find the best inner tube for river floating. Let me know in the comments!

The winner for this round is Tube in a box, Original and Best Swim and Snow Inner Tube. We liked it because it is heavy duty and made from 100 percent commercial grade rubber. The tune in a box is also UV resistant and it can handle almost any terrain – from snow to raging rivers. Those looking for some adrenaline-filled day then this is the right choice to go river floating. If you are looking for something great to just relax on the water with here are some great inflatable islands.

4 replies
  1. admin
    admin says:

    Hi Jodi,

    I have a nephew nearing 7 years old (boy) and he would probably like one of the following you can search on Amazon:

    40″ tube in the box
    Intex River Rat Swim Tube
    Intex Red River Run 1
    GoFloats Dragon Party Tube
    GoFloats ‘Great White Bite’ Shark Party Tube

    Hope this help!

  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I have never done a river float before. I really want to experience it but my weight has always held me back from trying it.
    What tube would you recommend for a heavier person?

    • admin
      admin says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I wouldn’t let that hold you back, river tubing a very fun and relaxing experience! I’d recommend the following tubes which you can search on Amazon for:

      Intex River Run I Inflatable Water Lounge Tube 1-Person, Pink. – Customer reviews say this tube can hold a 215lb male and his daughter.
      Tube In a Box the Original Swim and Snow Tube, 45″ XL. – Up to 280lbs per the manufacturer.
      Classic Accessories Teton Inflatable Fishing Float Tube (I know it’s not a river tube but it should do the trick…)

      Hope this help!


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