Frequently Asked Questions About River Tubing (As a Checklist)

Tubing is a very popular summertime activity. When the weather outside warms up, I love to go river tubing. If this is something that you want to try, you need to understand that you aren’t going to be on a lazy river like you find in the water parks. I’m only saying this because when I went river tubing for the first time, that is exactly what I expected.

I assumed that since I had been on many water park lazy rivers, I knew what to expect. It wasn’t until I was out on the river that I realized that I made a huge mistake by not doing my research first. My first time river tubing was cut short due to my lack of knowledge, which is why I did my research and asked questions before my next river tubing adventure.

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding river tubing.

Where Should I Go River Tubing?

This is a very important question because the river you choose is essential.

If you choose a river where the current is too fast, river tubing can be very dangerous. If you choose a river where the current is too slow, you will end up floating in one place or dragging your tube behind you.

If you are a first-time river tuber like I was once, it is best to work with a tour company. Tour companies only work on rivers with the right speed current, and the river access will be easy to find and reach.

What Are the Ideal Conditions for River Tubing?

Before I go river tubing, I like for the conditions to be ideal, and this doesn’t just mean the weather.

Obviously, you want to go river tubing on a clear sunny day when the wind isn’t too strong. However, you also need to consider the conditions of the water. Just because the river seemed safe one day, it doesn’t mean that it will be safe the next.

If there was recent heavy rainfall, the water could be too deep for river tubing. If there has been a drought, the water could be too shallow to float.

Because you don’t want to get to the river and find out that it isn’t safe for tubing, you need to check first. There are a few river tuber websites that I use that will let you know if the most popular rivers for tubing in your area are safe for tubing. If you plan to work with a tour company, they will know if the river is safe that day for tubing.

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Should I Go Full-Service Or DIY For River Tubing?

Before you can decide which is best for you, it is important that you know the difference between full-service and DIY.

If you choose full-service, everything will be taken care of before you arrive. The tour company will provide the tube, life preserver, and some even rent coolers. The company will also get you to the launch and plan your entire route. If you are a first-timer, this is the best way to go. The DIY option leaves everything in your hands.

You will need to bring your own tube and equipment, and you will be able to map out your own route.

If you don’t know much about river tubing and the local rivers, this option can be dangerous. I started with full-service, and then when I was confident in my skills, I tried DIY.

Should I Eat Before I Go River Tubing?

Everyone has heard the old wives tale that you need to wait an hour after eating before going into the water. This is advice that doesn’t work when river tubing. You will be on the water for at least three hours, and tubing takes a lot of fuel.

When you go river tubing, I eat a big breakfast first. This will keep you full and give you the fuel that you need for the trip. You can also bring some dry snacks and a water bottle in a waterproof bag.

The last thing you want is to be hungry or thirsty the entire time because it can ruin your river tubing adventure.

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What Should I Wear On My Feet?

Frequently Asked Questions About Water Tubing

One of the most frequently asked questions about river tubing, what should i wear on my feet? River tubing is a lot different than going for a swim in a lake. There will be sharp rocks on the river’s floor; therefore, you need to protect your feet. I went tubing once, and a friend was wearing sneakers, which was a huge mistake. His sneakers got so wet and full of water that his feet were weighing him down.

You also want to avoid wearing flip flops or slides. When the current in the river gets strong, it can pull your shoes right off your feet. The best footwear option is water shoes.

They are designed to fit snugly on your feet, and they are thick so that they will protect you against sharp rocks.

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What Should I Do With My Personal Belongings?

The river’s current goes in one direction. This means that you won’t be able to end your river tubing adventure in the same spot that you started. This means that you cannot leave your personal belongings on the riverbank because you will need to walk all the way back to retrieve them.

If you are going with a tour company, they will have a place for you to keep your keys, cell phone, and other personal belongings. If not, you will need to keep them with you.

The safest way to do this is to put all of your things in a waterproof bag and keep the bag in a backpack that will stay on your back while you are tubing.

If you are going with a group, you can designate one or two people to be responsible for carrying everyone’s personal belongings.

Should I Make a Flotilla?

One of the most Frequently Asked Questions About River Tubing – should i make a flotilla. Before I answer this question, I should let newbies know what a flotilla is. A flotilla is when everyone in your party is tied together by a nylon rope. I say nylon rope because it is the best for making a flotilla because it resists rot, and of all the rope materials available, nylon is the easiest to tie all of the tubes together.

Making a flotilla is the best way to go river tubing with a group. When everyone’s tubes are tied together, you don’t need to worry about anyone in your group getting separated. Also, the group will be close, making it an intimate adventure where everyone can talk and have fun together.

Finally, if one person has the cooler on their tube, the whole group will have easy access to the contents of the cooler.

If you are going to make a flotilla, make sure that you bring scissors. If something happens and you need to break apart, you will need the scissors to break up the group easily.

Are There Any Other Items That I Should Bring?

It took me a few river tubing adventures to figure out all of the items that I needed to bring to have fun. It is imperative that you bring the necessary safety items such as sunscreen, a life preserver, and sunscreen, but there are items that will make the adventure more fun.

These include:

  • Water-friendly toys: When the river is slow and your group is tied together, water-friendly toys are great. Foam footballs and frisbees are fun. You can also pack water guns for everyone so you can cool down without getting off your tube.
  • Waterproof speaker: One member of your group should be responsible for bringing the waterproof speaker. You can pair it with someone’s cellphone (in a waterproof bag), and you will be able to listen to music during your adventure.
  • Drinks: If your tubing party members are all over 21, you can bring a cooler with some alcoholic beverages. Don’t bring glass or styrofoam cups, because they are horrible for the environment. Also, you need to drink responsibly. The last thing you want is for an accident to occur because everyone had too much to drink. You can also bring some fruity, great-tasting non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Portable air pump: You should have at least one member of your group bring a portable air pump. If anyone in the group has a tube that is low on air, the air pump will keep them from passing out from blowing their tube up manually.

Final Thoughts

River tubing is an excellent way to spend a day. There is nothing better than getting some fresh air while tubing down the river with friends.

If you are planning your first river tubing adventure, don’t make the same mistake that I did, and go unprepared. The more prepared you are, the more fun you will have.

You can use this article Frequently Asked Questions About River Tubing as a checklist. If you checked off everything on the list and took care of everything necessary, your trip will be unforgettable. If you are well prepared, you might have so much fun that you and your group will make river tubing a weekly event during the summer.


Hi, I’m John who owns multiple different boats and i love all kinds of water activities. From boating to fishing, from scuba diving to windsurfing, from water tubing to snow tubing.

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