Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best river floats 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best river floats of 2018
There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 3 of the very best options. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best river floats for the money? Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. Here are my top picks with detailed reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you purchase the perfect item for your needs.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this river floats win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
№2 – Pegasus Pool Float with Travel Bag – Gold Giant Swan Pool Float – Beach Swim Pool Floats for Adults and Kids. Tube Rafts for Lake
Why did this river floats come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
Why did this river floats take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
river floats Buyer’s Guide
The Internet’s Most Comprehensive Resource
Tubing is by far the most popular way of enjoying any of Austin’s rivers. It really doesn’t require a lot of thinking or planning. There aren’t any major directional maneuvers you will need to make when going down any of Texas’ rivers besides avoiding branches, boulders, etc. There also aren’t any oars or other objects you would need to use to float the river. There are actually a number of different types of tubes to choose from though. Most outfitters have the standard donut shaped tube but there are many other varieties. Some tubes have bottoms to them, some don’t. There are arguments for and against each type so be sure to check out both options. Millions of people have rented tubes and floated down a river and you can do it too! Check out the scene and if you want to drink some brews, make sure the river you choose allows alcohol. Tubing is the most relaxing option for you to enjoy the river. It’s the least strenuous and cheapest option as well.
Rafting generally involves more than one person in an inflatable raft. The general idea is that you pack the raft full and just about everyone grabs an oar to help steer and propel the craft forward as well as around river obstacles. These rafting trips can be a ton of fun. Imagine getting together with five of your friends, sipping on beers, and floating down any of Austin’s rivers. This is virtually guaranteed to be a great time and isn’t as difficult as kayaking or even canoeing would be. Not all outfitters allow you to rent rafts though and be sure to check river conditions before you rent a raft as they are more fun with more rapids.
Canoes can be a lot of fun to go down the river in. This type of watercraft is for multiple people to enjoy and thus caters to couples or small families. Not all outfitters allow canoe rentals though, so be sure to ask if you are debating on using one on your next river adventure. Canoes don’t just float down the river like rafts or tubes do though. You will need at least one oar to steer and propel you forward as well as around obstacles. Be sure to realize this before renting one. It requires a little more brain work than the typical rafting or tubing trip does.
Stand Up Paddles
Stand up paddles or SUP’s are a lot of fun but can also be challenging. With these SUP’s, you stand on what can only be described as a large surfboard. The way you maneuver and propel yourself forward is with a long oar or paddle. SUP’s can take some time to get used to and should only be rented by the properly initiated. These floating devices are also great for getting a ton of exercise. After all, you will be standing the entire time and using a lot of arm strength. With that being said, SUP’s are an absolute blast when you get the hang of things. On your first time down a river, make sure to make it a short trip just in case you don’t enjoy the experience. If you do fall in love with this form of river fun, then gradually increase your river floats accordingly.
Barton Creek Outfitters
Because of the hit or miss water levels of Barton Creek, it doesn’t make sense for outfitters to locate and service this river. Bring your own tubes or water crafts and be sure to check river levels before you go. The upper half of Barton Creek is usually best during the rainy spring season and the lower half will provide you with water access year round.
Tennis shoes or river sandals are highly recommended when floating down any of the rivers mentioned in this guide. Please note that flip flops might sound like a great idea but can actually have disastrous consequences. This type of footwear provides little protection from the river and its inevitable obstacles such as boulders, sharp rocks, broken glass, and things you can’t even imagine yet. Also, flip flops slip off your feet very easily while tubing and can float down the river never to be seen again. If for some reason you forget your river shoes, check with your chosen outfitter to see if they allow you to rent a suitable pair. Better to be safe than sorry on the river. We always hear horror stories of people who actually need to go see a doctor or hospital as a result of improper footwear while in the river. You are probably going to want to explore the banks of the rivers as well so be sure to come prepared with appropriate shoes or sandals.
Sun screen is necessary pretty much anytime you spend time on the rivers in this guide. In Central Texas, the sun is hot and intense and you should bring something to protect your skin with. You know your body and what SPF sun screen you might need, so don’t forget this item. If you do, the next day’s sunburn will be a nightmare especially if it’s bad enough to cause sun poisoning. You should apply sunscreen before and during your water adventures in any river in Texas. This is a given and should be a no brainer.
It’s also a great idea for both women and men to wear some sort of headwear and sunglasses. Its miserable having to squint throughout your entire rafting trip because you forgot your sun glasses and favorite hat. The Texas sun is intense and you will thank us for this tip. Sun screen is often not enough to allow for comfort on the water. It only protects the skin, not the eyes.
Securing Sunglasses and Prescription Eyewear
This is perhaps the most commonly made mistake for any new tuber or water adventurer in Texas. If you hit any rapids or turbulence during your trip, it is possible that your eyewear, prescription or non-prescription, will get knocked right off your face. This type of occurrence happens a lot. You will need to purchase something called float bobbers that attach to your glasses so they float on the water opposed to sinking immediately. Many of these float bobbers also attach to you as well so that they can be easily retrieved from the water. There really isn’t another way around this unless you leave your glasses at home and brave the sun without them. Perhaps you could get away without float bobbers and other attachments on the slower rivers but this is never recommended.
Do not wear clothing that will tangle or restrict your ability to swim which could cause you to drown if you fall out of your tube. Do not wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, scarves, coats, jackets, long dresses, etc. Basically avoid loose or baggy clothing of any type. Make sure your arms and legs have free movement at all times while you are tubing or when you are in the water. You would be surprised but when clothing gets wet, it doubles and even triples in weight. People that aren’t strong swimmers might find it difficult to reach the surface of the water if they fall overboard while wearing loose and heavy clothing. Just be aware of this and have a safe and enjoyable time in the water.
Be responsible with alcohol on the river. Avoid glass bottles since those have all but been completely banned in any of Texas’ rivers. Also, be smart about drinking and floating. Be of legal age and just like any other drinking establishment, be responsible with it. You don’t want to turn a perfectly awesome rafting trip into a disaster by getting too drunk, too rowdy, or get too tired. Alcohol on the river can be a lot of fun but if it gets out of control, it can be a nightmare. Be sure to check the river laws with your local outfitter and find out their particular laws and restrictions before making a reservation. As mentioned earlier, do not bring glass or even styrofoam coolers. There are laws on most of the rivers in Texas that state you are not allowed to bring glass or styrofoam containers into the water. Glass is not allowed for obvious reasons and styrofoam is banned because it breaks up so easily in the water and pollutes the river. To get past this, bring a cooler or rent one from your outfitter. You can usually buy or rent a plastic one that holds just as many beverages as a styrofoam one would. Instead of bringing glass bottles, bring aluminum cans and put your hard liquor in a non-glass container just to be safe.
Make a Reservation
Reserve ahead of time with an outfitter if you can. This will speed up the process as well as guarantee you the tubes you and your friends need for floating. You never want to drive out to the river and find out that all their tubes are rented out. What a bummer that would be! Make a reservation just to be safe.
You might be thinking that this is going to be easy no matter what river you choose to raft or tube down. This is hardly the case. Obviously it depends on what river you choose but you never know what you are going to encounter while going down a Texas river. Children should generally be 5-years of age or older in most cases. Check with the outfitter you plan on using for recommendations regarding little ones. The elderly, sick, and children under five should probably stay out of the water. There are no life guards along these rivers for obvious reasons. People do drown and get injured every year. Be absolutely sure that you and your guests are in good health and just to be even more secure, make sure you and your guests can swim. It’s also risky to float down any river in Texas alone. It is usually not a requirement from the outfitters but the buddy system works. With two or more people, if one gets hurt then at least they have a friend to help get them the assistance they need in time. There is no law saying you can’t go by yourself but common sense and years of experience have shown us that you should at least bring a friend to watch your back. Also, be sure to tell at least one friend or family member that you plan on going tubing that day and which river you have chosen. It’s always a good idea to let people know where you will be just in case something happens and you don’t return on time. A friend or trusted family member will be able to vouch for your whereabouts. Medical releases for the elderly and those with chronic issues are highly recommended for a river trip.
Mesmerising – that’s the only word that can describe the vast array of different shaped, coloured and sized pole floats lining fishing tackle shop shelves.
With so many different designs to choose from it is no surprise that lots of pole anglers – inexperienced and experienced alike – choose the wrong float for the venue and weather conditions they are faced by.
A short float that’s ideal when presenting a bait in shallow water tight to the near or far bank of a commercial lake or canal. Do not use in a river. The fat tip makes the dibber highly visible so they are popular with anglers struggling to see a fine-tipped float. Best fished slightly overdepth with a split shot touching the bottom to anchor the float. Not great in windy conditions as the short stem doesn’t stabilise the float.
A popular and versatile float. In the smaller sizes (up to 1gram) it is best used in stillwaters, especially if there is a wind blowing.
The wide, buoyant body and the long stem helps keep the float stable in the water in rough conditions. In the larger sizes (1.gram and above) this float can also be used in slow flowing rivers.
An elongated pear-shaped body gives this float some stability in canals and commercial fisheries. The slender shape helps make this a responsive float that efficiently registers bites from shy-biting species like roach, skimmer bream and crucians.
Good for use with maggots, casters and pinkie hookbaits especially at this time of year when bites become more subtle.
A short, small bodied float with a fat cane tip for buoyancy and visibility. Made for presenting hookbaits in the mid-to-upper layers of commercial lakes.
From left to right: Dibber, body-up, round, pear, body-down and shallow.
Buoyant, and strong. They are ideal for using with heavier baits, such as meat and corn, as the buoyancy helps to hold up the bait.
The strength is useful when fishing tight to lilies, weed or rushes for big carp, if the float is dragged through the vegetation the tip won’t get broken. Thicker tip allows for greater visibility.
Get the right flotation device.
Skimping on a tube and getting a will technically do the trick. It’s a good choice especially if you’re not planning on doing lots of floats. But the black plastic gets pretty hot and they are difficult to blow up. They’re an even bigger pain to deflate. Those who want to become river float regulars can splurge on a complete with large intake valve, handles and cupholders. There are also small inflatable boat s for snacks, drinks and personal items.
Wear sun protection.
A river float could take a up to few hours in direct sunlight. Jumping in the water will keep you cool, but that doesn’t stop a sunburn. A high SPF sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat is always a great idea.
Other floaters will be on your expedition, it’s important to have a water canon in hand or Super Soaker loaded in case you have to defend yourself and your crew from a water attack.
Ok, you don’t really climbing shoes, but the point is you pass a lot of rock. Those grubby cliffs stained with waterlines and bird splats have undiscovered routes. Screw deep water soloing in Mallorca. The shallow water solos of your local river are up to snuff. Bring your shoes. Test the rock. You might just find the next new spot.
CONS – Doesn’t shoot like a shooting head/mono running line combo. Won’t indicator fish at long distance like the RIO Switch Line.
SINK TIPS – RIO InTouch Mow Tips, or RIO InTouch iMOW polyleaders, or with nothing at all. Fish it naked.
RIO Switch Line
The RIO Switch Line is the best all around indicator line in the family. It is very nymphing specific, but will do a spey cast with a polyleader if you have to. Don’t expect to look like Simon Gawesworth however.
PROS – Best all around indicator line, but it can certainly be used without it as well. It can fish dry flies as well.
SINK TIPS – Polyleaders if you use them, good to have a couple just in case you need to throw a change up.
Airflo Switch Float
TYPE OF LINE: Integrated line (head and running line are one piece). Best without any polyleader, and it comes with a clear floating polyleader.
OPST Lazar Line Running Line
Nylon is the most commonly used material for towable covers. It typically comes in different weights or thicknesses, commonly referred to as denier. The greater the denier number, the stronger the nylon is going to be. Note here that higher denier numbers will typically be found on more expensive towables or tubes that are designed for multiple riders.
As a guideline, a 420 denier is typically used on less expensive and single rider towable. This denier is lighter, thinner, and should only be considered when purchasing a single-rider towable.
An 840 denier is the heaviest nylon you will find in towables. Deniers at this wei ght are not simply heavier, but they are also stronger and used typically in more expensive, larger towables.
Polyester is also found in a “solution-dyed” form, most typically on boat lift canopies or awnings, due to its color retention and non-fading properties. Treated polyesters have good durability and resistance to fading from the sun. Note: 600 Denier Treated Polyester is found in place of nylon on and 2-rider towables.
Adults will typically use it as a lay-on-top towable and find it easy to get the tube outside of the wake. Due to its small size and high center of gravity, this shape towable tends to roll over quite easily.
In comparison, children will find this shape somewhat uncomfortable because of the size of the center hole. It is often too small to sit in and too large to lay on for younger children.
Just like deck tubes, ride-in tubes come in a variety of shapes and sizes that allow for anywhere from to riders simultaneously. The term ‘ride-in’ means just that…the rider sits down inside of the towable. Most models have inflated floors or seating areas that provide comfortable, dry areas for the rider.
More expensive ride-in tubes offer neoprene head rests as well as fully nylon-covered sides and floors. Usually riders will be hard-pressed to tip ride-in tubes due to their low center of gravity.
If Ride-in tubes mean that the rider rides inside of the towable, you may be able to guess what a Ride-on tube is, but allow us to explain more about them anyway. Ride-on tubes are available in many shapes and sizes to accommodate up to riders simultaneously. As opposed to sitting down inside of the towable, Ride-on tubes require the rider to sit atop or to straddle the fuselage of torpedo Ride-on tubes, or sitting in a recumbent style tubes.
Torpedo towables are designed for multiple riders and have the least amount of whip of all tubes. They can be somewhat unstable due to their long, narrow shape and high center of gravity.
Recumbent towables come in a D-shape design and provide riders with the thrills of deck tubes while remaining seated upright with head and back areas supported.
Day trips are a great way to get out with your friends and have some fun while not breaking the bank or having to take a week or more off of work. Rafting day trips, from exciting whitewater runs to mellow flatwater floats, usually don’t require a permit and can be a great activity for your next trip. My favorite spots for river mini-vacations include: Moab to run the Daily; Buena Vista, CO to run Brown’s Canyon or Numbers; Fayetteville, WV for the Gauley or the New; and the Snake River outside of Jackson Hole.
Overnight dry bag
The most essential piece of gear to any multi-day trip is the overnight dry bag. You need to keep your sleeping bag and clothes dry while you float from camp to camp. The dry bag should be at least 60L (3660 cubic inches) to accommodate your essentials. The SealLine Boundary Dry Pack is my go-to bag for every trip; it fits your tent, sleeping bag, clothes, and any beach attire you would need. It also comes in a variety of sizes, depending on your needs. If you prefer a bag without backpack straps, the Watershed Colorado is a great option.
There is nothing worse than coming home with the dreaded sunglasses sunburn. Not only do you end up looking like a drunken raccoon, but you are also putting your health at risk. Sunscreen in the form of a stick is easy to transport, fits in a pocket, and won’t leak all over your stuff.
You can really wear any shoes on a river trip—but if you want to avoid swamp foot, a water-specific shoe is great. There are many options when it comes to water shoes and there are pros and cons to each type. You can go with the tried and true Chacos, get added toe protection from KEENs, or go with a closed shoe like those from Astral. The most important feature is that the shoe is comfortable for you. I end up wearing my Chacos on summer hikes, not just boating outings.
Beginners’ rods and basic outfits
A simple float rod (also known as a match rod) is often the coarse angler’s best starting option. Don’t go any shorter than ten feet and pick a model that will handle reel lines in the 4-6lbs class. This way you can handle all the common species, from roach and bream to the typical carp you’ll find at day ticket fisheries. The TF Gear Nantec 10ft Float Rod is one of Fishtec’s best selling starter models which will handle most of your basic float fishing needs.
Should your main local venues be rivers, however, a longer rod of at least 1feet will make more sense, allowing you better reach and control in currents. The buyer is spoiled for choice these days, but the Daiwa Harrier range has 1and 1foot options.
If you are not sure whether you want to float fish or use legering tactics, several rods offer interchangeable top sections to allow you to switch. Sometimes these are sold as “all round” or “twin tip” rods. This way you can float fish, or try casting a bomb or method feeder should the need arise. Just to give one example, TF Gear sell a very useable float rod for under £40.
Another fantastic option for the beginner is a fishing pole. With no reel to tangle, these are easy to use, trouble free and very effective. You won’t be able to cast far, but with a simple model and a few rigs, you’re in business on the local day ticket pool or canal. These days they can be very affordable too, with starter models often available for well under £100. Go for a ready elasticated model if you are unsure about setting up.
Designated: 198 Tucked in Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness, the creek served as a corridor for those seeking access to the obsidian of the Cascade Mountains. Meaning “the place we cross the water,” Whychus is still (unfortunately) listed as “Squaw Creek” in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Under the direction of heavy volcanic influence, the creek tumbles over a series of large waterfalls through steep canyons and glacial basins boasting a rare native population of redband trout.
Technically not really a pontoon boat, but we decided to include them in the buyer’s guide because of their similarities. Inflatable float tubes are for the fishermen that want to get up close and stalk their fish. Instead of standing at the bank hoping the fish will come to you, you come to fish instead. It’s basically a inflatable seat with a couple of pockets and to power the boat you paddle with your feet.
Inflatable pontoons without any frame look a lot like dinghies, they behave pretty much the same way. The only real difference is the motor mount and the few added accessories that most frameless pontoons come with, swivel seats and rod holders are one of the most common accessories. These are easier and faster to set up compared to pontoons with frames, they also take up less space. They are versatile as you can both row them or use a motor.
If you want to get the most out of your lake fishing, a frameless inflatable pontoon is highly recommended, you’ll be able to go further, fish in more water conditions, store more gear and if you want to, you can stand up and fish.
Pontoons With Frames
Pontoons with frames are another hit among fishermen. Instead of a hard wood floor, they have pockets and bags to store all your fishing gear. They get you closer to the water than a frameless pontoon, not as much as a float tube but just enough so you can reach down and grab a fish from the water. Just like the floating tubes, framed pontoons give a more ‘personal’ feeling to your fishing. It’s hard to explain but it’s almost as you’re one with the lake, it’s definitely a different side to fishing. If a float tube had an upgrade, it would be this.
A bathing suit will ensure you get a tan, but if you’re sensitive to the sun, bring light-colored clothing and a hat. Sunglasses and sunscreen are essential because most of the river is fully exposed, particularly if you go midday. The water maintains 5to 6degrees year-round, so the optimal time to go is when the air temperature is at least 80 degrees.
Choose to take extra clothes or towels with you, especially if you want to stop for a cool drink once you’re off the river. If you park a car at the end of your float it’s best to leave dry items in the car. The banks are muddy and can sometimes be a little slippery, so you’ll want to dry yourself and clean up once you get off the river. Store cell phones in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet.
If you aren’t opting for a tubing company, park one car at your put-in point and one at the take-out point. Another option if you don’t take two cars, or decide to get out early, is using Uber. Just be wary if you are wet, you’ll want to have that dry bag with clothes and a towel. Let your driver know that you are coming off the river too, to make sure they are okay with it.
Family Pool Floats
A great family activity during the summertime is to hit the pool, river or beach! But when you have a large family, it’s hard to keep track of all the little ones when they each want to go separate ways in their own float. For situations like this, a float that can fit multiple people will make the day fun and safe at the same time.
Two great options here would be the Shock Rocker Pool Float or the Sofa Island Pool Float. Both of these family floats have room for at least four people, and even more if you have little ones! Or, if you are looking for something a little less traditional, the Labyrinth Island Pool Float will keep all the kiddies in place while providing them with a float that they can play some fun games with.
Come experience natural and cultural resources significant enough to designate Ozark National Scenic Riverways as a National Park in 196If a float trip down the clear, clean waters sounds inviting follow the sections below to start planning your visit. Authorized businesses provide canoe, raft, kayak and tube rentals and shuttle services on both the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers. Most have convenience stores to purchase last minute supplies.
The rivers are much less crowded on weekdays during the summer and during the off season, such as April / May and September / October which are both beautiful times to float. You may want to consider a visit during those times.
As with all trips, planning and safety are necessary in order to have a rewarding experience. Please check river levels, park alerts and be aware of the dangers of fast rising streams. Get outdoors, find your park, experience your park, and make Ozark National Scenic Riverways your top destination this summer.
The Ozark National Scenic Riverways wants everyone to enjoy their park, but we are dedicated to ensuring safety, protection of the resources and protection of the family friendly atmosphere that make this park unique. Please make yourself knowledgeable on the regulations and abide by them.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your river floats wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of river floats
- №1 — SS Goodtimes River Lake Pool and Ocean Float – Inflatable water Raft with 6 Pack Cooler
- №2 — Pegasus Pool Float with Travel Bag – Gold Giant Swan Pool Float – Beach Swim Pool Floats for Adults and Kids. Tube Rafts for Lake
- №3 — Intex River Run I Sport Lounge