Walmart is a place we have all heard of and is commonly known as the “find all location.” In my search for the best float tube, I decided to check out the selection at Walmart. Below is what I found.
So what are the best float tubes available at Walmart? Walmart offers a large variety of both styles and sizes when it comes to float tubes. Below is a list of the top-recommended tubes:
- Intex River Run I Sport Lounge ($17.96)
- Intex River Run II 2-Person ($42.99)
- Classic Accessories Cumberland Fishing Float Tube ($162.00)
When choosing the best float tube for you, there are a couple of factors you should consider. Below I will describe the different float tube styles, how to pick the right one, and what to avoid while choosing your perfect float tube.
Different Styles of Float Tubes
While I was looking for the perfect float tubes I found that there are two different styles. Recreational float tubes designed more for families and fun, and fishing float tubes that are specially equipped for a long relaxing fishing trip.
Before I could choose my top three float tubes I wanted to know more about the differences between the two styles. Here is what I found.
Recreational float tubes are often circle shaped and are fairly plain. The “passenger” sits in the center of the tube mostly in the water. Some of the recreational float tubes I found had handles on each side for stability or even a headrest to make the floating trip more comfortable.
Recreational float tubes have now even been designed to carry multiple people (as you saw above I chose a two-person float). Walmart offers up to a 5 person float tube that includes backrests and even cupholders
These recreational float tubes ranged in price anywhere from 7 dollars (simple round tube) to 130 dollars (the large luxurious 5 person float).
Moving on to fishing floats, I found that they had a much different design than that of the leisurely recreational float tubes.
While the recreational tubes were mostly designed in circular shapes, the fishing float tubes either had a “U” shape to them or even a “V”. This different shape allows for the fisherman to have more stability when reeling in his catch.
Along with the different shape, I found that fishing float tubes offered different “amenities” specific for the fisherman’s needs. Many tubes have pockets lining the tube to store any small tackle or gear. There is even a fish measuring “mat” included on each float tube.
The final detail differences I saw between a recreational float tube and a fishing float tube was the color and price.
Each of the recreational tubes offered a fun pattern or color to draw in the eye; meanwhile, the fishing floats are most often a “dull” or dark color.
As for the price of a fishing float tube, they ranged from 78 dollars to upwards of 160 dollars. As we can see, with the extra amenities, stability, and durability of the fishing float tubes
How to Choose Your Float Tube
Now that you know the differences between the two types of float tubes, you can learn how to choose the perfect float tube for you.
Start first with deciding what you are going to mostly use the float tube for. If you are an avid fisher, definitely consider the fishing float tube; however, if you are just looking for a float tube to go have fun with family or friends look into the recreational float tubes Walmart offers.
The next factor to consider when purchasing your float tube is the price. No one wants to spend too little or too much on their float tube. Set a budget for yourself and use the sorting features to find\float tubes that fit in that price range.
If you are purchasing a recreational float tube, you have the unique opportunity to consider how many people you want your float tube to hold. Relax on the water by yourself, spend time with a friend, or hang out with a group of friends?
Unless you plan on spending lots of time on the water with friends, perhaps the single person (or possibly even the two-person) float tube will be suitable for you.
As for the fishing float tubes, be sure to determine how much storage you are going to need for all of your gear. Walmart’s top options include two storage pouches on each of the armrests, each with a zipper to hold all your stuff in safely.
How I Picked My Top Three Float Tubes
After I finished researching the differences between the styles of float tubes and learned what factors to consider when finding the “best” float tube, I started my search.
While I do enjoy to spend my time fishing, I do not go fishing in places where a float tube would assist me in catching “the big one.” For that reason, I chose to look mainly at the recreational tubes.
In my research, I found the most popular brands of float tubes and I looked in Walmart’s product list for those. The ones I found were the Intex River Run and the Classic Accessories float tube.
It was not simply for their brand that I chose these as my top three float tubes.
The Intex River Run I
I then came across the Intex River Run II 2-Person and thought about how much fun I could have relaxing on the water, or floating down a river with a friend right by my side. This design also offered a cooler space which was just a nice bonus.
While this float tube did come at a higher price than the single person tube, it seemed to offer the same durability and quality that the price promised. Making it my number two choice.
Finally, I started to consider if I did want a fishing float tube. Even if I was not fishing, these float tubes are designed with a more comfortable position than the normal circular tubes.
They also feature the storage which could allow even a non-fisher to pack along some important things for their trip.
However, with the extra durability, storage, and added comfort that come with the fishing float tubes, there is also a much higher cost.
This higher price bumped the Classic Accessories Cumberland Fishing Float Tube down to number three on my list.
As you can see, it is all about preference when it comes to finding the best float tube for you. Walmart offers some great options that often don’t force you to break the bank.
Besides my top three choices, Walmart also offers some other great float tubes. The Top 5 Best Sellers are:
- GoFloats Unicorn Party Tube
- GoFloats Flamingo Party Tube
- Swimline River Rough Heavy Duty Tube
- Intex Inflatable Relaxation Island Raft
- Intex Oasis Island Inflatable 5-Seater
What to Avoid When Choosing A Float Tube
Whether you are shopping online for the perfect float tube or meandering down the aisles of Walmart looking at all the many options, be aware that there are several things to watch out for when choosing a float tube.
The first and foremost thing to look out for is the price of the product, and what that means.
If a product is the cheapest on the shelf, it often means that it is also the cheapest made. I mentioned above that Walmart had a $7 float tube option. While this float tube is cheap and therefore may appear more desirable to you, it is probably a smaller tube with a thinner, less durable lining.
On the other hand, just because a product has the highest price tag does not mean it will be the perfect match for you. So be sure to find a middle ground that truly suits your needs.
The next tip for choosing your float tube is to not go by the picture. Sometimes a picture may not show the whole story, or may even be photo shopped.
A funny example of this I found at a phone store. There was a waterproof speaker being sold and on the side of the box, there was a woman who was enjoying listening to her music in some form of water.
Upon closer inspection, I found that she was wearing sunglasses and a towel, and was in the shower.
I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but it didn’t make sense to me. After seeing all these things I realized, she wasn’t even holding the speaker, it had been photoshopped into her hand probably along with the rest of the situation.
While this is an entertaining story, let it be a warning that just because it looks good on the box, or the person using it seems happy with the product does NOT mean it will look good in your hands or that you will be happy with it.
What appeared to me as a swan float tube, was actually only a few inches tall and is meant to hold drinks while in the water.
Another item that confused me was seeing a single personal float tube with a LARGE price tag on it (we are talking upwards of a
That single $300 float tube was actually a 24 pack. Once again, do not accidentally buy in bulk!
Float Tube Storage and Maintenance
After you find and buy the perfect float tube, you then should know how to store and care for your float tube so as to keep it in the best possible condition.
Before you store your float tube, you should always make sure it is completely dry and does not have any plants or small creatures (like barnacles) attached to it. Drying the rubber completely before storing it will help to protect it against rot that can form when not in use.
Checking your float tubes for plants and animals will help protect other waters from being introduced to an invasive species (it’s the responsible thing to do).
When it comes to storing your float tube, almost everyone has a different style or method of what works best. This can make trying to find the BEST way to store it very confusing.
So I am including how my family has always stored their float tubes and any other method that was effective.
My Family’s Storage Method
Growing up my family used inner tubes all the time. We stored our tubes in a space in our basement completely inflated. When it came to transporting our inner tubes, we still kept them inflated, unless there was a need for more space.
We kept our tubes inflated to avoid damage that comes from folding and unfolding the tubes. When rubber rubs on rubber, it starts to wear out faster than normal and can even rip the lining.
For this reason, if you choose to deflate your tubes when storing them, be sure to fold them neatly and check for any cracks forming in the creases.
Other Storage Tips
Just as I mentioned above, it is important to be sure your float tubes are clean prior to putting them in storage. As well as the potential threat of invasive species, there is also the possibility that not cleaning your float tubes can lead to the rubber breaking down faster.
Be sure to store each of your float tubes with the air caps on. Removing the cap is not going to damage your float tubes, however, as we all know keeping tracking of small objects such as this can be quite difficult. Losing the cap is not the end of the world but can lead to your float tubes deflating faster than normal.
Find a proper space to store your float tubes. This should be a cool, dry environment that neither exposes the rubber to extreme heat or cold. (This is why storing ours in the basement was optimal: temperate & dry).
If you choose not to fold or roll your float tubes for storage, as space saving trick may be to hang them up.
If you have space in your garage you can mount a pole (somewhat like a shower curtain or closet rod) on the wall. The best part of this storage trick is that you can either deflate the tubes or leave them inflated, and the pole can be mounted above any valuable wall space.
Even with proper storage and maintenance, before and after you set out on the water, you should check your float tube for any holes, cracks, or rips that may have occurred.
There is a simple trick that requires everyday items to check for and find any holes, rips, or cracks.
You simply need- drum roll please- water! You can use a hose on a low setting or even just a water bottle. (Mixing a small amount of dish soap with the water can help to find smaller leaks or cracks, but is not needed for this hack).
Take your source of water and pour it slowly on the float tube while gently squeezing the tube. If you see bubbles forming, focus the water specifically on that spot.
If bubbles continue to form, you most likely have a hole and should take precautions to repair the float tube.
Make sure you take the steps needed to check and repair the float tube before trying to enter the water. Applying a patch often takes around an hour and no one wants to be in the water when their tube deflates.
Purchase a patch kit that is made for the specific material of your float tube and follow the instructions they give you (as each patch kit is a little different).
Be sure to allow for plenty of time for the patch to dry before you attempt to use your float tube again.
Is Walmart the best place to purchase a float tube? While Walmart does offer both sturdy and reliable products, you also have to be careful not to choose something simply because of the price. If you are concerned about making the wrong choice, check out my section above on what to avoid.
What is the difference between Walmart’s Inner Tubes and Float Tubes? The name! A float tube is simply the “modern” name for what most of us know as inner tubes. Along with this new name comes the new designs, colors, shapes, and patterns. However, all in all, there is no difference between the two.
Does Walmart do returns for float tubes? Just like any other product sold at Walmart, float tubes should follow the returns policy. The policy states that if you return the item in the original packaging, with a receipt, within 90 days of purchase it can be returned (often for store credit only) or exchanged for a similar item.