Updated May 06, 2021
Fishing in a float tube allows an angler to access water in a very efficient way. They are a great addition to any angler’s gear arsenal. They offer several advantages over typical wade or boat fishing. We have gathered our top picks for float tubes based on quality, affordability, and customer reviews.
In this guide we’ll cover:
- Best float tubes (overall)
- Best float tubes for the money
- Best backpacking float tubes
- Float tube accessories
- Best float tube fins
- Why use a float tube?
- Things to look for when buying a float tube
- How to inflate a float tube
Best Fishing Float Tubes (Overall)
The Cumberland Inflatable float tube by Classic Accessories is our top choice for float tubes. This durable float tube is made from waterproof nylon composite with a PVC enforced bottom.
The convenient U shape of the tube allows for easy maneuvering and steering. The Cumberland is also great for dry fly anglers as the extra high seat allows for increased visibility.
The mesh stripping apron keeps your fly line organized and at the same time features a ruler for quick measuring of your fish. The float tube has tons of storage space behind the seat and compartments on the side of the tube.
The tube packs down nice with backpack straps to carry your tube into secluded waters.
Durable material w/ abrasion resistant bottom
Extra high seat
Padded and adjustable seat
Stripping apron with ruler
2 cargo pockets
2 cup holders
1 year warranty
56″L x 44″W x 19″H
14 lbs. (inflated)
Max capacity 350 lbs.
Our other featured float tube in the best overall category goes to the Togiak by Classic Accessories. This is a step-down from the Cumberland, but still an excellent float tube at a slightly more reasonable price.
The Togiak is made from waterproof and durable nylon composite. This tube can be inflated in several minutes with a hand pump. Several pockets and extra room for additional gear ensures you’ll have all your equipment ready to go.
The float tube packs down and is carriable through the use of attached backpack straps.
There is also a fishing apron with a fish ruler to keep your fly line organized and track your fish sizes. The seat has an extra high back rest for added support and cushioned for comfort. Be prepared to up your stillwater fishing game with this float tube.
Best Fishing Float Tubes For the Money
We have found two great float tubes that include some really great features but at a modest price.
This is a great float tube at an introductory price, perfect for those wanting to experiment using a float tube or those on a budget.
The Wistar float tube has backpack straps on the bottom of the tube so you can easily carry it when it’s inflated.
The design of the tube is optimal for steering and maneuvering throughout the lake. It’s easy to stay comfortable in the Wistar float tube with the slightly wider seat and cushioned backrest. There are two zippered armrest compartments with a large storage space behind the seat.
Caddis float tubes have been a staple among anglers over the years. The Nevada model is a perfect entry level float tube with some sophisticated features.
The tube itself is made from thick vinyl covered in a nylon composite. In addition, the exterior has fluorescent accents to help ensure you’re seen on the water in low light scenarios.
There are two large armrest compartments with a fly drying patch. The float tube also has a front rod holder, mesh stripping apron with fish ruler, and multiple D-rings scattered throughout for attaching additional gear.
The Caddis float tube also has a padded stabilizer bar in the front to minimize unwanted movement while fishing.
Vinyl and nylon material
2 large armrest compartments
Fly drying patch
Stripping apron with fish ruler
46” x 20” x 42”
Max capacity 225 lbs.
Best Backpacking Float Tube For Rishing
Float tubes can be excellent options for those small secluded lakes that don’t support boats or are too far to carry a canoe or kayak. We wanted to highlight a couple of float tubes that are durable but lightweight to take on your next backwoods adventure.
Outcast has been a big name in float tubes and pontoon style rafts for a while. We wanted to present a great option for those wanting an affordable float tube that’s great for backpacking into secluded waterways.
The tube itself only weighs 8 lbs. and can easily fit into a backpack or simply carried.
The Outcast Fish Cat Rise features easy to maneuver design, two armrests with storage compartments and drink holders. The mesh seat makes getting in and out easy, while the padded backrest adds comfort. It also comes equipped with a stripping apron and fish ruler.
Premier control and steering
Two armrest compartments
Stripping apron and fish ruler
43” x 43” x 12”
Max capacity 250 lbs.
If you’re looking for a high quality float tube to get you around the lake but won’t cost a fortune, the Teton is a great buy. Made by Classic Accessories, this durable little float tube is lightweight and perfect for those backcountry trips.
Like all the classic Accessories float tubes, the Teton comes with a fishing apron and fish ruler. The air bladders are made from strong vinyl with a nylon covering.
There are several armrest pockets and a backrest storage compartment to hold all your equipment. The seat is built into the design of the tube but is sculpted and cushioned for comfort.
Durable nylon composite material
Stripping apron with fish ruler
Armrest pockets and backrest compartment
1 year warranty
42.5″L x 40″W x 18.5″H
Max capacity 250 lbs.
Fishing Float Tube Accessories
Float tubes come with plenty of features to keep you on the water and catching fish. However, there are a few other accessories we wanted to mention to increase convenience and efficiency—helping you catch more fish!
Float Tube Pumps
Some of our featured float tubes come with a small hand or foot pump, but it’s not a bad idea to have a backup just in case.
When purchasing a pump, it’s worth noting to make sure the nozzle of the pump will fit the different size holes of the tube.
Best Float Tube Fins
Fins are definitely one of the most important accessories when fishing from a float tube. Fins allow you to move around the water with ease, but also helps stabilize you in windy or wavy conditions.
Float tube fins are designed slightly differently from snorkel or scuba fins, and usually consist of straps as opposed to an opening to slip you foot into. This is ideal in that you can adjust the tightness for added comfort.
Here’s two pairs of float tube fins we feel are great options.
A rod holder is definitely not necessary, but it can make things a little easier while on the water. There are several different rod holder options that include straps to wrap around the side of the tube.
Float Tube Bag
Here’s another item that will help add convenience to your fishing trips. Having a bag to carry your float tube can be helpful, but also having a place to contain your wet float tube on the way home ensures the rest of your gear and vehicle stays dry.
Float Tube Anchor
Having an anchor especially on windy days can be a huge help. It gives your legs a break, and makes sure you stay in one place.
If you’re planning on using an anchor make sure it is small enough to fit into your tube and the possibility of puncture is low. We recommend a folding anchor to save space.
Float tubes generally require the use of chest waders to help stay dry and warm. It is possible to, “wet float” with shorts or a swimsuit in warmer waters although, having waders will increase your comfort.
If interested, check out our article on Best Fly Fishing Waders.
Why a Float Tube For Fishing?
In all fishing experiences one needs to be able to find fish or at least be in a location where fish will be. Having a float tube lets you get close to the fish especially in places that are not accessible by wading or shore fishing.
Float tubes are also more convenient in a number of ways compared to a fishing kayak, boat or other watercraft. The small profile and minimal height off of the water helps anglers sneak up on fish and minimizes the chances of spooking them from a high profile watercraft.
Float tubes are also very portable and when deflated will pack down small enough to fit inside a large backpack. Furthermore, their small size allows for fun adventures in smaller alpine lakes where a raft or drift boat are impossible to reach.
What To Look For In a Float Tube
We’ve outlined a few of the most important features when deciding on what float tube is best for you.
Comfort is everything. You’ll be sitting in a float tube suspended halfway in the water for several hours, making sure you’re comfortable is key. A few different features that will add to comfort is the seat and backrest. Having a cushioned backrest and seat could make or break your day on the water.
Size is another component that will add to comfort. It’s important to have a float tube large enough hold you but also spacious so you’re able to maneuver and cast easily. Having a float tube that feels cramped may impact your ability to steer, cast, and essentially catch fish.
I feel like this one goes without saying but thought we’d still mention it. Safety is key in whatever fishing modality you’re using, but especially in a float tube. Make sure you feel comfortable and secure in your seat.
If the tube has a waist or groin strap make sure to use it. If it doesn’t have a strap it’s not a bad idea to create your own, falling into a lake or river fully clothed with waders on is a lot harder to swim and float than it seems (speaking from personal experience).
Staying organized when you’re in a stationary position is very important. In a float tube you’ll have limited access and movability to be scrounging around looking for a particular item.
Most float tubes have armrest pockets with some additional storage behind the seat or in the backrest itself. You may also want to attach an anchor or secure other gear to your float tube and having numerous D rings and other hooks will make this much easier.
In addition, having a stripping apron is imperative for fly anglers. All of our products we’ve reviewed have this feature and for good reason. The stripping apron keeps your fly line in one place and not tangled up in your lap, waders or around the float tube.
Float tubes come in a variety of sizes. The lightest ones are around 8 lbs. with 15-16 lbs. on the heavier end. Depending on your needs, finding the right size float tube will make a difference.
If you’re looking for something to access backcountry lakes or ponds, a lighter tube is essential. You may also want a float tube that is easy to carry with backstraps or handles. As mentioned above, float tube bags are an option to help carry your float tube further distances.
How To Inflate a Fishing Float Tube
There are a number of ways to inflate your float tube. Foot and air pumps are the best option as they take a little more muscle but are the most convenient way of inflating. Another option is to use an electronic pump.
I will sometimes use a portable electric tire pump that connects to my car’s power source. This is a quick and easy way to fill up your float tube.
Lastly, If you have the lung power, manually inflating the tube is an option. However this may take a long time, and depending on the nozzles of the tube, it may not be feasible.
We hope this article has helped in your search for the best float tube for your fishing adventures. As always please leave a comment with what you liked or thought we could improve on.
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