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While some anglers have the luxury of owning a boat to get out on the water, others need to find more cost-effective options like fishing float tubes.
If you fall into the second category, a float tube for fishing is an ideal choice because it allows you to quickly and comfortably get out on the water, safely stow your gear and bait, and conveniently measure and transport your catches — all without taking a big hit to your wallet.
With so many float tubes on the market, though, how do you decide which is best for your angling adventures? No worries. We’ve rounded up our favorites and provided expert reviews that highlight top features, pros, cons, pricing and more. Let’s dive in!
1 – Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube
The gold standard, many anglers consider the Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube the best fishing float tube on the market. That’s because it’s extremely durable and comfortable with an extra high seat. That’s important because it keeps you drier and warmer and also allows for improved visibility in the water.
Other features that set this tube apart from other models is the extra padding in the seat, the rugged PVC bottom and two cupholders! The Cumberland offers two Velcro strap rod holders, as well as a mesh strip apron with fish ruler so you can easily measure your catch(es). It weighs 14 pounds, which makes it fairly easy to transport with the backpacking shoulder straps. The weight capacity is 350 pounds.
Highly regarded as a great value for float fishing chairs, the Cumblerland should definitely be toward the top of your consideration list.
2 – Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube With Backpack Straps
Also highly rated among fishing float tubes is the Togiak from Classic Accessories. Slightly smaller and more lightweight than the Cumberland, this float tube is stable and buoyant with a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
It’s easy to set up and the backpack-style adjustable shoulder straps make it a cinch to carry it from your vehicle to the water and back.
The Togiak has TONS of storage, including a horizontal rod holder, lash tabs, D-rings and a rear mesh storage platform. The spacious arm rests include reel pockets, gear pockets, flat zip pockets and small mesh pockets. Some owners report that high seatback isn’t as comfortable as other models, but there are straps that can be adjusted to improve support. All in all, a great value among fishing float tubes on the market.
3 – Goplus Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
If you’re looking for the best fishing float tubes for anglers on the larger size, you should consider the Goplus Inflatable fishing float tube, which offers a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds.
Available in four color choices, including a cool camo print, this float tube is definitely more affordable than the Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube, which offers the same weight limit.
Easy to inflate and deflate, it comes with a pump to get you out on the water quickly. Plus, there are adjustable straps to carry the float tube (which weighs in at 14 pounds) to and from your favorite fishing spot. Store your gear, bait, water bottle or any other necessities in either of the two side armrest pockets and measure your catches on the safe seat strap.
Owners appreciate the stability, handling and buoyancy of the Goplus. A few complain that it doesn’t hold air as well as some competitors, but many rave about the many pros of this budget-friendly float tube model.
4 – Classic Accessories Teton Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
At only 9 pounds, the Classic Accessories Teton float tube is lightweight, portable and easy to inflate. It’s affordable price makes it popular as a fishing float tube for beginners just looking to dip their toe into the concept of float fishing.
The Teton’s lower profile offers excellent mobility in the water, especially in the wind, while still providing outstanding back support. While you’ll find multiple storage compartments in the armrest, a stripping apron with fish ruler, horizontal rod holder and back storage pocket, the Teton does not come with shoulder straps and the weight capacity is limited to 250 lbs.
Quality construction from a trusted brand and a low entry price point makes this an excellent choice when it comes to fishing tube floats.
5 – Classic Accessories Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
Classic Accessories also brings us the Bighorn, a roomy fishing float tube that weights just 11 pounds and features an extra large and cushy backrest. For those who spend long days floating on the water, the Bighorn could be the best fishing float tube choice.
Owners rave about how comfortable and spacious it is, even for those who are on the larger size (the weight capacity is 300 pounds). They also appreciate that this float tube is sturdy, a snap to inflate and easy to maneuver.
The armrests offer ample storage with numerous pockets for gear and, of course, there’s the practical apron with fish ruler. You’ll also welcome the convenience of the storage pocket and exterior mesh pocket in the rear of the float tube.
The seat does not have additional padding, which is a negative for some owners. And, like the Teton, there are no backpack straps. However, if you’re ready to take to the lake in comfort, you should definitely consider the Bighorn.
6 – LAZZO Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
Another reasonably priced option for the angler looking to get off the shore or out of a kayak and into a portable float tube is this model from LAZZO. Features include a padded, adjustable backrest, a storage bag on either side, Velcro straps for rods and paddles, a fish ruler and two foam panels to protect the float tube.
Owners appreciate the superior buoyancy, hydrodynamic design of the hull and seat buckle strap that secures you in the watercraft. The LAZZO comes with a hand pump, fish ruler, net in the back to store your fish, and adjustable shoulder straps to make it convenient to backpack in and out.
The weight capacity is 286 pounds but this 15-pound model deflates to fit into a compact storage bag.
While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive models, for the money, many owners consider this fishing float tube a worthwhile investment.
7 – Wistar Inflatable Fishing Pontoon Float Tube
A sturdy, rugged fishing inner tube with an abrasion-resistant PVC bottom, this mid-priced model from Wistar has a weight capacity of up to 350 pounds.
It comes equipped with a foam backrest that sits high and is adjustable, two aluminum oars that can be secured on the sides, detachable storage bags, a mesh bag to hold your fish, backpack straps and a hand pump that will get the air bladder inflated in a matter of minutes.
Owners report its hydrodynamic shape makes for easy paddling, which places it among the market’s most maneuverable float tubes. Fishing at your favorite lake will be even more enjoyable with the rugged and comfortable Wistar float tube.
8 – YILI Inflatable Fishing Float Tube, Floation Pontoon Boat Set with Oar
This mid-priced inflatable fishing floating tube from YILI is a fan favorite for a number of reasons: It can hold up to 286 pounds, features a hydrodynamic hull for easy tracking and steering, tons of storage and a fishing rod holder that can be attached to the side arm, great for a medium/heavy rod.
There are two EVA foam panels to place fishing hooks and protect the watercraft and two adjustable straps to efficiently carry this float tube to your top lake or lakes.
Unlike the Cumberland models with foam seats, this style of portable float tube has an inflatable seat, which some anglers report was not as comfortable. However, you can adjust the amount of air in the seat to your liking.
9 – OKL Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
If you’re primarily looking at entry level fishing float tubes you’ll want to check out this OKL model from DOALBUN. With a maximum weight capacity of 286 pounds, it features an extra high, padded seat for comfort and support, as well as adjustable shoulder straps for easy transportation to the lake or your spot of choice to find the fish.
The waterproof, abrasion-resistant fabric provides safety and stability. There are plenty of storage pockets for your gear and the front of the pontoon is equipped with 2x EVA foam board for placing fish hooks.
This inexpensive model comes with a basic hand pump and would make a great first float for beginners or older kids ready to hit the lake for some fishing fun.
10 – Wistar Fishing Pontoon Raft Float Tube Boat
This model of the Wistar fishing pontoon float tube is definitely on the pricier side, but worth taking a look at because it is constructed of heavy gauge, abrasion-resistant PVC on both the top and bottom material and includes a holder for fish finders.
Also notable is that it can be equipped with an electric trolling motor from 11 to 18 pounds.
This Westar model comes with two aluminum oars that attach to the pontoons on each side, plenty of storage pockets, a fish ruler, as well as a foot pump for easy inflating and deflating. Owners report that the hydrodynamic hull shape offers great maneuverability and that the inflatable seat – which features a high, adjustable backrest – provides excellent support and comfort for lengthy days spent floating on the lake.
It’s heavier than most models at 25 pounds but can accommodate fisherman up to 350 pounds.
What other fishing tube float should I consider?
In addition to the inflatable fishing floats reviewed above, here are a few others worth looking into. They weren’t in our top 10 primarily because of issues with low inventory.
- 11 – Caddis Nevada Float Tube from Caddis
- 12 – Caddis Sports Premier Plus from Caddis
- 13 – Caddis Sports Pro 2000 Float Tube from Caddis
- 14 – Outcast Fish Cat 5 Max, Gray from Outcast
- 15 – Outcast Fish Cat Rise Inflatable Fishing Float Tube from Outcast
- 16 – Outcast Super Fat Cat LCS Float Tube from Outcast
What is needed for float tube fishing?
When you go float tube fishing, there are several other items you’ll need for comfort, safety and maneuverability, most notably life jackets, waders and swim fins.
For your safety, it’s essential to wear a life jacket when fishing in a float tube. Below are some highly rated fishing live vests to consider. They offer tons of pockets to store your extra gear, foam backs for comfort and adjustable straps to ensure a snug fit.
- Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest
- Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket
- Stohlquist Fisherman Fishing Kayak Life Jacket
- NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket
Anglers who don’t need the extra storage may prefer a less cumbersome inflatable model like this popular one from Eyson (available in 12 colors) or this one from Absolute Outdoor. They’re lightweight, adjustable and reusable. Definitely worth spending a little more for these comfortable life jackets.
In addition to a life jacket, you’ll want swimming fins to paddle around. Here are some of the more popular fins for fishing tubes (belly boats) that are all reasonably priced.
- Backpack Fins from Outcast
- Sporting Gear Fins from Outcast
- Float Tube Step in Fins from Classic Accessories
- Float Tube Turbo Thruster Fins from Classic Accessories
Do you wear waders in a float tube? Most definitely! Without waders, sitting for several hours (or all day) in the lake will be uncomfortable even if the water is warm. Here are some top-rated waders to consider that will keep your legs, bottom and torso dry all day.
- Redington CROSSWATER Waders
- Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader
- FISHINGSIR HISEA Fishing Waders
- TIDEWE Bootfoot Chest Wader
More reading: 9 lakes that are big on fun in all 4 seasons
More float tube fishing FAQs
What is a fishing float tube?
Float tubes for fishing are inflatable, one-person watercraft that resemble a small arm chair. You sit with your feet dangling in the water, leaning against a supportive, often adjustable, back rest.
Many float tubes have adjustable straps used to transport it like a backpack, roomy armrests with storage pockets for your fishing gear and a stripping apron with handy fish ruler.
Here’s a great video from FLY TV Squeeze that is a beginner’s guide to belly boat / float tube fishing.
Are float tubes good for fishing?
Absolutely! Besides cost, fishing float tubes have a number advantages over pontoons or other boats. They’re portable, lightweight and allow you access to secluded or hard-to-reach areas.
Generally used on calm bodies of water, belly boats enable you to get close to the fish without spooking them. Plus, it’s extremely relaxing!
Are float tubes safe?
Experts consider float tubes as safe when you choose a quality product and ensure it’s properly inflated and operated. Always wear a life jacket. Here’s why.
If you’re a beginner, start out on a small body of water and/or stay close to shore where you can quickly reach the bank, if needed. As you progress as a float tube fisherman, you’ll become more comfortable.
How do you store float tubes?
It’s important to take care of your float tube when it’s not in use since exposure to extreme heat or cold can degrade the rubber. Before storing your boat, be sure it’s dry and only partially deflated to avoid having creases become cracks over the winter.
Many tubes come with oversized bags that are designed to pack and carry the float tube, pump and fins. These are a good option when you don’t have ample room in a climate controlled space. For details on how to pack a fishing float tube, check out this short video from Outcast Sporting Gear.
Be sure and pin this article for later and share with your fishing buddies!