River tubing is an outdoor sport in which people ride innertubes or inflated disks down a river. Depending on the conditions at the river, tubing can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, or it can be an invigorating adventure. Many companies offer river tubing services to visitors who are interested, and it is also possible to purchase the necessary supplies for private tubing expeditions. On a gentle river, this sport is suitable for people of a wide range of ages and physical abilities, and it can be a great vacation activity for people traveling with children.
In a typical tubing trip, people wear swimsuits or other gear that can be comfortably worn in the water, and some people also don life jackets for additional safety. The tubes are launched in the water, and then people mount up and start floating. Single and double tubes are available, with single tubes generally being easier to control. Once launched, the tubes will freely float down the river, with the tubers eventually choosing a spot to land.
In addition to free floating river tubing, in which people drift with the current, it is also possible to find companies which offer towed tubing. In both cases, the tubes may take the form of donut-shaped innertubes, or tubing rafts, disks with raised edges which are designed for comfort. For safety reasons, glass, metal, and sharp objects should not be worn in and around tubes, as a puncture could result in an accident. Many tubing companies also discourage the use of alcohol and drugs prior to tubing trips, since being alert is critical for safety.
For tubers who enjoy more control over their tubing experiences, it is possible to find tubing parks, with controlled flows of water. Tubing parks can be a better choice for small children, elderly adults, or people with physical disabilities, because they are much safer than rivers. Some water parks also allow tubing in some of their pools and slides, along with tube rental, for people who do not want to bring their own tubes.
Like other water activities, river tubing does carry some risks. Tubes occasionally flip, and people sometimes fall out of their tubes as they travel over rapids and through rough patches. Wearing a life jacket is recommended, as is knowing how to swim, and tubing with a partner is always a good idea, in case there is an accident. Tubers should also make sure to arrange transportation from their landing stage, as river tubing is usually a one way trip.