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River Tubing for All Levels: From Beginner to Expert

River Tubing for All Levels: From Beginner to Expert

August 01, 2018

River tubing is unlike any other experience. If this is your first time floating or you are a seasoned expert, it's imperative that you be well prepared for your next river tubing trip.

You may be used to playing in lakes, but rivers are a unique environment and should be treated as such if you want to have a safe and fun experience. Here are our most essential precautions, things to expect, what to wear river tubing, accessories to consider, and what types of tubes for river floating are available to you.

What To Expect

The basic concept of river tubing is you get into flowing water with a float device like an inner tube or inflatable raft and let the current float you down the river. River floating is popular around the world. It is common to see more than one group of people river tubing at the same time.

You will arrive at an entry point, inflate your float device or if it is already inflated, wait for the rest of your party to inflate their devices. Then you will apply your sunscreen, wade into the water, and board your river tube for a fun float downstream.

General Precautions

If you talk to more than one person about river tubing, someone will tell you about some potential dangers that come with the experience. Here are a few general precautions you should take if you want to enjoy your next float.

A life jacket for river tubing is essential. You may think you are a capable enough swimmer to swim to shore in case of emergency, but why risk it? Be at ease knowing you will stay afloat no matter what may happen. It is infinitely better to wear a life jacket and later decide to take it off than to later regret not wearing one.

You will need sunscreen, drinking water, and snacks. The snacks aren't a necessity, but you will probably work up an appetite. You will have no shade the majority of the time you are on the river. Even though you are in the water, you are quicker to dehydrate.

River tubing is safest in larger groups. It is much easier to drown in a river than you may think. Undercurrents are powerful and unpredictable, and even seasoned swimmers drown while floating in a river. You are much safer in a larger group because if something happens to your float or you are submerged for any reason, someone can help you.

Accessories To Consider

The only thing you need for river floating is something to float on and a flowing river, but there are several things you can bring along to make your float more enjoyable. Here are some accessories we recommend.

- Waterproof bag for valuables like your cell phone, wallet, or camera.
- Type 3 life jacket for river tubing. Type 3 life jackets keep you upright, which is very helpful in a flowing river.
- A Paddle helps you navigate unpredictable currents and can be used with any floating tube.
- Use rope or ties to link your raft or river tube with the rest of the rafts in your group. Then you won't float away from one another.
- An inflatable floating cooler: If you are taking beverages along with you, why not have them float alongside you in a floating cooler?
- A hat. You are mostly without shade on the river, so a hat and sunglasses are great accessories to bring along with you.
- Water shoes. Flip flops are challenging to wield on a river bottom. Water shoes will keep your feet safe and allow you to wade without worry of sharp objects.

Types of River Tubes

There are several types of river tubes to choose from, and each has its unique advantage. Inner tubes for river floating are different from inflatable pool donuts because they are often commercial grade. Durable tubes are vital in case you bump into debris on the sides or bottom of the river. The classic donut style inner tube is a fun time on the river. Inline raft style floats are great because you can carry things onboard with you and they are easier to command direction using a paddle oar.

Prepare well for your next river tubing trip if you want to have an unforgettable and fun experience. Consider the precautions, what to wear river tubing, take the right accessories, bring plenty of friends, and don't forget the sunscreen.