You can buy old fashion black inner tubes online, such as the 40” Swim & Snow Adventure Tube. I love the look of the old fashion black inner tubes, but because they don’t have handles or a seat they are inferior in the water. There is DIY hack to secure a Frisbee as a seat in these old fashion tubes using bicycle tubes but this could present some dangers of children’s legs getting stuck in the cracks.
This summer the tube that children seem to enjoy the most is the Intex River Run ($16.26). This is a 53” diameter tube with a seat, handles, backrest, and rope. It’s large enough that multiple children can easily ride at the same time and manager balance easily (versus the old fashion tubes where smaller children can’t “sit” in the hole because they’ll fall right through!).
Having grown up boating, I’m a bit fearful of strainers and so our family wears life jackets even on mellow rivers. You’ll want to do adequate research for your needs but here are two life jackets we’ve been using:
Locally, in Boulder: you can rent tubes and life jackets at White Water Tubing and pick gear up the night before. You can buy old fashion black inner tubes at Barnsley Tire ($16 each when I purchased them) and they’ll blow them up for you, which is nice. The ones Barnsley sells come with a valve cover and the value fits traditional bicycle pumps. McGuckin Hardware sells the River Run style tubes.
Safety first: read up on tubing hazards and tips.
Where to go: Tubing the St. Vrain River in Lyons.
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