View Full Version : float tubes
09-06-99, 12:50 AM
I am interested in buying a float tube and am just wondering if you guys could recommend any good models and what I want to look for in one- i.e. round vs. u-shape, backpack straps, etc. Saw a round one in a Cabela's catalog for $90 with the fins.
09-06-99, 02:27 PM
Float tubes, eh? My suggestion for one of the rivers--I like round ones, using an inner tubes rather than bladders.
Backstraps definitely (especially if they can be used also like suspenders when you hit shallow water). I like plenty of D-rings, rod straps, etc.
For lake use only, a U-shape is more acceptabe, but those mean bladders. I would suggest if you go with a bladder, spend the money to get a quality brand, not a low end tube.
In rivers, you don't want to use fins, you do in lakes.
09-06-99, 06:58 PM
Use the "Search" function at the upper left of this page and type in "float tube." There's a pretty comprehensive thread started by Bill Findlay.
09-06-99, 09:30 PM
I got the Apex from Stillwater at Ba$$ Pro Shops for $129 (search back for Netboy’s comments on this tube). I also got some straps there in the camping department, they are functional, but a little short. I got a little portable air pump and a tire patch kit at K-Mart. My wife picked me up some dustpans at Wal-Mart to use for paddles. I went on a pretty long float on the Ocmulgee today and without those dustpans the long pools would have been pretty tedious and shooting the shoals would have been a lot more difficult.
DeBacker -- Use caution here. Read the thread referred to by Drifter and try to get some comments from those on the board who have tubed a lot.
We've had several discussions here and they take you in all kinds of different directions. One thread was really strong on the safety of U-shaped tubes because they were easier to get in and out of without busting your hiney.
I had a round tube and experienced firsthand the difficulty of getting in and out with fins, gear, etc. So when Sportsman's Guide had a large U-shaped tube on sale for $69.95, I got one for my daughter and was so impressed with hers that I got one for myself and a fishing buddy. I also talked Loren and someone else into getting one.
Right after mine arrived, there was a new thread that basically said that U-shaped tubes were great for still water but were unsafe for rivers and current.
In the meantime, Loren got his and it immediately started pulling apart at the seams. It is supposed to be rated for 300 pounds and he doesn't weigh quite that much so obviously the 300-pound rating was exagerated. Then Cabela's had a big summer sale (ended Aug. 31) and had their high quality tubes on sale including a Caddis U for $69.95. Sportsman's Guide is still advertising their tube so I guess it's still available.
My daughter was using her U in a fast moving river this weekend so I'll get a report from her and post it. I've not yet used mine yet because the only tubing I've done is in a river and I used the round one. It's a Caddis which I got for $100 at Cabela's and I've been very happy with it.
I guess, if I had it to do over again, I'd just stick to the round tube which will work in both still and fast water and use the $69.95 for something else. It's really a luxury to have one of each and if I could only afford one, it would be a very good quality round one.
I've got a u shaped tube that I use on the Hiawassee in Tenn. Mind works just fine but my fishing buddy has a round tube and his does seem more manuverable. Float tube suspenders are a must.
09-08-99, 08:28 AM
Mr T & The Professor gave a great recap of many earlier posts regarding float tubes, but one fact doesn't get included often. Round tubes come in at least three sizes - 16", 20" & 22". For anyone else who is … uh.. metabolically challenged, the larger sizes are much safer and more comfortable. Sometimes it's hard to find the sizes in catalogs, so be careful.
Also, the rap against u-boats was they were too easy to tip forward (and out). Advertising for the newer models show and tout a safety bar that Velcro's in place in front of the seat.
As for maneuverability, I regularly see a guy in a u-boat on the Hooch raise his feet near the surface and propel himself with a tiny canoe paddle. He seems rather comfortable - there has been no "snatchin' & grabbin'" that I could see. Of course, he could be drinking. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
It's only my $.02; YMMV.
FYI - If you don't want the fins, that $89 Creek Company 20" round tube in Cabela's goes for $69 at B@ss Pro Shop.
I bought the Cabela's round tube after the warnings about moving water but then went ahead and bought the U-tube from Sportsman's Guide because of the price and the fact that they have an unconditional guarantee. Besides, I prefer U-tubes and I wanted two tubes in case I could talk my wife into floating. I'll take the U-tube risk. So far this summer I have only used the U-tube (in quiet water) and I have had no problems at all (see the experiences of poor Loren).
It seems I never have enough time because I haven't even had the chance to get the round tube out of the box. Anybody up for letting me bob along on a float down the Hooch?
One question though. Folks have said that rubber tire tubes are more durable than the vinyl bladders for round tubes. Is there some reason I can't interchange my vinyl bladder for a 20" tire tube?
09-10-99, 07:52 PM
If the tire tube fits. There are no float tube police to my knowledge (if you are wearing a life preserver).
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