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River Tubing

Updated on July 9, 2012

Every year my friends and I take a camping trip to Glennie, Michigan to tube down the Au Sable River. It is the one thing I look forward to every year. It is fun, relaxing and a very inexpensive vacation. I'm going to explain how to prepare for a tubing trip and let you know what you should bring. This kind of tubing is not at all like white water rafting or tubing off of the back of a boat. It is a very calm activity and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Do You Enjoy River Tubing?

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Figure Out Your Start and End

Most rivers have designated start and end locations. You will need to bring two cars: one to park at the start and one at the end. Depending on how many people you have, you may want to consider bringing vans or SUVs. One vehicle should drop everyone off at the start. The driver of the second vehicle should follow the driver of the first vehicle to drop it off, and then drive back to the start. Make sure to have cash, some parking lots require payment.

Buy an Inner Tube

The first thing you need before you go tubing is an inner tube. Tubes can range from all different prices, depending on what you want from it. I have a basic tube like the first one on this list. It has a mesh bottom, a backrest and cup holders. What I also love about this tube is the handles, which come in handy so you can tie yourself up to your group. You want to look for a tube that has a place to tie onto so that you can travel down the river all together, otherwise you will be floating all by yourself. You can find rope for tying up at your local hardware store.

The basic tube is good enough for most people, but if you are looking for a little more luxury, browse through the others.

Pumping Up Your Tubes

Be sure you have a reliable pump and that it fits the valves for your tube. You may want to test it out before going on your vacation. You will use the electricity from your car at the starting point to blow up your tubes.

Don't Forget the Waterproof Sunscreen!

Tubing trips usually last for a few hours and you will be exposed to the sun the entire time. Make sure to protect your skin by applying a waterproof suncreen before you get on the water.

Protect Your Feet

Even though you are in the water you still need to protect your feet. Wearing water shoes will prevent damage to your feet from rocks or anything else when you climb in and out of your tube. Any water shoe will do, I prefer a pair of Crocs.

Bring Food and Drinks

You are going to want to bring food and beverages down the river with you, and the best way to do it is to buy an inflatable boat and put a cooler inside of it. You can buy inflatable coolers, but I don't find them to be as convenient. You can fit more in a regular cooler, and the boat provides a place to put your empty bottles and cans until you get back to shore. Be sure to tie your boat up to the rafts. The inflatable boat below has handles that are perfect for this. I recommend putting it in the middle of your group of floaters.

Keep Your Belongings Dry

This pack will keep anything dry that you need to bring with you on the river. My friends use them for their cigarettes and lighters.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if I forgot to include anything important in my lens. Has this lens tempted you into trying your own tubing trip?


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    • profile image

      cornertubes 4 years ago

      Enjoy real tubing in Comal river and Guadalupe river in New Braunfels, TX. One of the shortest navigable rivers in the United States, the 72 degree spring-fed waters of the Comal River snake through New Braunfels, throwing reflected light on tree branches that crane over the banks.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 5 years ago

      @zigpop lm: Might be a little too much for me, but I'm sure it's loads of fun! :)

    • zigpop lm profile image

      zigpop lm 5 years ago

      Nantahala River in North Carolina is a great ride. Can go in a raft or a ducky. It is mostly Class II white water with a big splash at the end that's Class III.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      @mzareen: Tubing is a lot of fun, but not sure I'd enjoy whitewater rafting. :P

    • profile image

      mzareen 6 years ago

      I live near a great river... The Salmon River. We all love to go tubing. And also do wild whitewater rafting (not so great on a tube)

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I go tubing with my friends every year, for 6 years in a row now. It really is a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There are many businesses that provide the tubes and the pick-up so everyone can participate. River tubing is a fun and relaxing way to spend a day and you can make it last. Buying your own tube is of course much nicer than the black tire tubes and the footwear is pretty important to protect your feet. You've thought of everything here with the sunblock, cooler and even the pump!

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      @izni lm: It's a lot of fun! :)

    • izni lm profile image

      izni lm 6 years ago

      interesting lens! should give this a try one day..

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      @theonlineanswer: Sounds like a great time!

    • theonlineanswer profile image

      theonlineanswer 6 years ago

      The best time I have had tubing is in Phoenix Arizona on spring break - wall to wall people groovin and having a good time.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: I do it every year with my friends. It's one of my most favorite things to do. :)

    • profile image

      Jerrad28 6 years ago

      I love tubing... I actually just got back from a weekend floating the Guadalupe River in Texas, it was a blast!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I haven't been river tubing since college. We used real inner tubes and floated down river en masse for hours. What a blast!

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      @Jerrad28: I love it, too. I get to go around the first weekend of August and I can't wait! Glad you had a good time.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for stopping by and good info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for including my "Go with the Flow" t-shirt! Chico, CA is an awesome place for inner tubing on the Sacramento River. There's an annual event just for tubing, too! So much fun!


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