Best Cooler Tubes for River Floats

If you love hitting the river for a lazy afternoon of tubing, you know the challenges of bringing a cooler. Carrying one with you is just a pain, and staying hydrated and enjoying yourself is a must. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best cooler tubes for river floats. These ingenious coolers float right alongside you. That means you will always have access to food and drink while you are out on the water. 

In addition to these river float cooler tubes, we’ve also put together some tips to know about using them safely.

The Best Cooler Tubes For River Floats Reviews (Editor’s Picks)

These are the best cooler tubes we’ve found for river floats. These are presented in no order of importance, even though they are in a numbered list. 

1. Intex River Run II Sport Lounge

The Intex River Run II Sport Lounge is the best in river floats AND cooler tubes. Two people can sit together in this oversized float with the cooler in the middle. The seats have supported backs and mesh undersides so you can keep cool as you float down the river. 

In addition to the built-in cooler, the Intex River Run Sport Lounge also has two cup holders so you can keep your drink right at hand. The cooler has a 24-can capacity, so you will be sure to have a never-ending supply of refreshments for your day on the water. 

The Sport Lounge also has heavy-duty handles to make it easy to carry it in and out of the water. The seat is 24 inches in diameter with an overall weight capacity of 440 lbs., so anyone can enjoy it. 

Pros 

  • Large cooler capacity
  • Can hold two people
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Heavy-duty handles

Cons

  • Not suited for rapids or fast currents
  • It may be too bulky for a single person
  • Pricier than some options

2. SwimWays Kelsyus Floating Cooler

The SwimWays Kelsyus Floating Cooler is a smaller cooler made to float alongside your inner tube on the water. In addition to an insulated cooler, the Kelsyus Floating Cooler also has six cup holders. You and all your friends can keep your drinks within easy reach. 

The cooler can hold 18 cans or bottles, making it perfect for a party. It can be tethered to a large inner tube to keep it within easy reach. It also has other features like a side compartment that opens with a zipper, making it perfect for snacks or storing trash until you get back to land. 

The SwimWays Kelsyus Floating Cooler also comes with a removable inside lining so that you can wash it with ease. When it’s empty, just deflate and store it in the accompanying bag for easy transportation. 

Pros 

  • Lightweight and durable 
  • 18-drink capacity
  • Six cup holders
  • Perfect for larger parties

Cons 

  • You may need to tether it to keep it close
  • Smaller than some models
  • It may be tricky to blow up

3. Wow Sports Float Fridge

The Wow Sports Float Fridge is one of the most heavy-duty cooler tubes you will find. Reinforced with PVC pipe, this inflatable cooler has everything you need to keep your drinks cool all day long. 

The Float Fridge has a specially reinforced bottom that makes it extra tough and provides an extra layer of insulation for your beverages. With a 30-can holding capacity, it is outfitted with four cup holders to keep your drinks within easy reach. 

If you have a Wow Sound Speaker, you can even attach it to the Float Fridge to listen to some tunes. If you don’t, the speaker holder doubles as an extra cup holder. 

Another excellent part of the Float Fridge is that it has a speed valve. This makes it easy to inflate and deflate in just a few short minutes. The top of the cooler zips open and shut to keep your drinks safe, even in rough water. 

Pros 

  • Speed valve helps inflate and deflate quickly
  • Reinforced with PVC
  • Large capacity
  • Cooler zips close

Cons 

  • Lid is not inflatable
  • May need more ice to insulate adequately
  • May not be as durable on river as some comparable models

4. Body Glove Music Station

The only thing better than a floating cooler is a floating cooler that doubles as a music station. The Body Glove Music Station has everything you need to get the party going on the river. In addition to its large-capacity cooler, it also has a waterproof speaker so you can listen to music wherever you are. 

The Body Glove also has a waterproof MP3 compartment, so you never have to worry about your electronics getting wet. In addition to all the speaker accouterments, the main cooler is outfitted with heavy-duty PVC pipe to make it extra durable. You will never have to worry about rips, tears, or punctures in the water.

This cooler comes with five cup holders and a zippered lid to keep your beverages safe. There are also heavy-duty PVC handles to make it extra easy to get in and out of the water. 

Pros 

  • Made of extra-durable material
  • Lots of extra features including speakers and cup holders 
  • Quick-release valve makes it easy to deflate
  • Heavy-duty handles

Cons 

  • Cooler is smaller than some comparable models 
  • Batteries are purchased separately
  • Pricing not readily available online 

5. Intex Mega Chill II

The Intex Mega Chill II is everything you need in a cooler, made to take out on the water. This ultimate cooler has a huge capacity, a removable interior, and six separate cup holders. In other words, it is ideal for a party. 

You can either fit another cooler directly inside it or use the device itself as a base. The Intex Mega Chill II fits a 48-quart chest in its main compartment. That means that it has enough room for a full bag of ice and 72 cans. It also has an easily-removable lid to keep your beverages sheltered from the sun. 

The Intex Mega Chill II inflates through three air chambers for balanced flotation. When you are ready to get it in the water, just grab one of the four ultra-durable handles. And in case of emergency, the cooler tube also comes with a repair patch so the party can keep going. 

Pros 

  • 72-can capacity
  • Durable handles
  • Repair kit included 
  • Easy to remove the lid

Cons 

  • You will need to secure it to another float
  • Lid attaches with Velcro tabs, which may be less secure than ties
  • It may be tricky to inflate

6. Bestway CoolerZ Rapid Rider Inflatable Raft

If you want the ultimate experience in river floats, the Bestway CoolerZ Rapid Rider Inflatable Raft is a perfect choice. With four seats, four cup holders, two separate coolers, and two storage spaces, this is a cooler tube like no other. 

The wide backrests make it easy and comfortable to lounge with three friends while you enjoy a cold beverage. With two coolers and two storage areas, this raft has everything you need in terms of food, drinks, and supplies. 

The material is ultra-durable Fortech designed to fight tears and punctures while staying flexible. That means it can take all the conditions out on the water, no matter what the river throws at you. 

The Bestway CoolerZ also comes with four ropes so you can secure it to other crafts and get it in and out of the water. 

Pros 

  • Super durable material designed to stop punctures
  • Huge storing capacity
  • Flexible material

Cons 

  • Large craft may be heavy 
  • More expensive than some cooler tubes
  • It may be tricky to blow up

7. AIRHEAD AHAO-1 Aqua Oasis Insulated Nylon Cooler

The AIRHEAD AHAO-1 Aqua Oasis Insulated Nylon Cooler keeps your drinks cool for hours at a time. The interior has extra lining for excellent insulation. Meanwhile, the six exterior cup holders have numbers so that everyone knows which cup belongs to them. It takes all the guesswork out of keeping your drink within reach. 

In addition to the main compartment, the AIRHEAD has an extra storage compartment for whatever else you want to carry — snacks, sunblock, sunglasses, or even your phone. These compartments are leak-proof, so you don’t have to worry about water getting in. 

The AIRHEAD also comes with an adjustable strap. That means it is super easy to carry — all you have to do is put it over your shoulder like a bag and adjust it to the right length. 

Pros 

  • Super portable
  • Leak-proof compartments for drinks and other items
  • Six numbered cupholders 
  • Adjustable strap included

Cons

  • 24-pack capacity, which might be too low for large parties
  • It may take effort to inflate
  • Soft-sided, which might make it less durable than some comparable models

8. Sevylor Inflated Cooler Float

The Sevylor Inflated Cooler Float is made with reinforced PVC pipe to keep it extra durable on the water. It supports a 28-quart cooler in its main compartment. In addition to the support, it also has four cup holders so you can store your open containers. 

Even though this model might seem like the no-frills option beside some others, it comes with some great extra features. It has two cords that make it easy to secure to other floats. Additionally, it has a double lock fast valve so that it’s even easier to inflate and deflate. 

The Sevylor Float also has added leak protection to make sure it doesn’t leak or pop. This float is a great low-maintenance way to keep your drinks at hand in the water. 

Pros 

  • Reinforced with PVC for durability
  • Large holding capacity
  • Extra features like ties and double lock valve

Cons

  • No lid
  • It only works with a separate cooler
  • The bottom of the cooler is not waterproof

9. CreekKooler Floating Cooler

Who said a floating cooler had to be made out of soft material? With its hard plastic exterior and unique design, the CreekKooler Floating Cooler looks more like a small kayak than a holder for drinks. And that’s exactly how it’s designed to operate. All you have to do is hook is to your tube or kayak and you’ll have no problem accessing cold drinks all day long. 

Because of its tough exterior, it’s also easy to transport. There’s no need to haul it down to the river — you can drag it or tow it on the ground just like a boat. With a 30-quart capacity, the CreekKooler can also hold 20 lbs of ice. It has an interior double wall of insulation that will keep your drinks ice-cold for up to 48 hours. 

Pros 

  • Hard plastic makes it highly durable
  • Portable
  • Large capacity
  • Includes double wall of insulation

Cons

  • Pricier than many other options
  • May be heavier than inflatable options
  • Takes up more storage space

10. Icee Floating Inflatable Cooler

If you want a super-affordable option, the Icee Floating Inflatable Cooler is a perfect choice. This low-key, no-frills cooler is just what you expect: a small cooler that keeps your drinks cold and can hold up to 10 beverages. 

The Icee Floating Inflatable Cooler isn’t as durable or reinforced as many other coolers, so it is best to keep this on relatively calm water. But despite its small size, the cooler is reinforced with thick exterior material and PVC pipes to keep it afloat. It contains a zippered compartment on the top to hold ice. It also has six drink holders on the outside. This cooler’s compact size makes it incredibly easy to carry and keep nearby in the water. It is an excellent option for a small, affordable floating cooler. 

Pros 

  • Extremely affordable 
  • Reinforced with PVC
  • Easy to carry
  • Has a zippered compartment

Cons

  • It may not be suitable for rough conditions
  • Small capacity
  • Not as durable as some others on this list

11. Byers 1700 Big Bobber Floating Cooler

The Byers 1700 Big Bobber Floating Cooler is perfect for the fishing enthusiast in your life, but it works for just about anyone. With its small, compact shape, it’s easily portable and ideal for a small river party. Its hard plastic exterior can stand up to the water conditions while keeping your drinks cool. 

You don’t need to inflate it, which means that you save time — all you have to do is fill it with ice and beverages. The interior insulation keeps your drinks cold all day. The Byers 1700 Big Bobber holds 12 drinks, making it perfect for a medium-size river party. It’s an excellent choice for a smaller, more affordable cooler that is durable and easy to transport.

Pros 

  • Durable 
  • Affordable
  • Handle makes it easy to carry
  • You don’t need to inflate it

Cons

  • Smaller capacity 
  • It may not be as waterproof as other models
  • Less product information available online

12. TRC Recreation Floating Folding Cooler 

The TRC Recreation Floating Folding Cooler is a top-rated cooler for more reasons than one. Made of durable foam, this cooler is incredibly light and portable, while staying strong enough to take on the river conditions. 

This closed-cell foam construction also means that the TRC Cooler is amazingly well-insulated. It will keep your drinks cool all day, no matter how warm it is outside. It stays afloat even with a fully-loaded interior. It also has an excellent capacity, holding up to 18 individual cans as well as ice. 

It also has a built-in grommet so you can easily tie it to your tube or boat. The TRC Cooler can handle whatever the river can throw at it. 

Pros 

  • Large capacity
  • Extremely durable 
  • Strong flotation 
  • Easy to tie to your tube or boat

Cons

  • It may need to be replaced eventually because of chips or gashes
  • More expensive than some models
  • Takes up more storage space

13. Cool Float Plastic Floating Cooler

Floating coolers don’t have to be inflatable, as this hard plastic Cool Float Floating Cooler shows. Made to be super durable and take whatever conditions you encounter on the water, this cooler has an internal capacity of 18 cans. It also has six cup holders so that you can keep your beverage steady at all times. 

To ensure that everything stays insulated and dry, the Cool Float Cooler top screws on with a quarter turn. That ensures that your drinks stay safe while you’re out on the water. It also has a secure grommet so that you can tie the cooler to your tube or boat. The Cool Float ensures that your cooler will never get punctured or underinflated while you are enjoying the river.

Pros 

  • Ultra-durable 
  • Waterproof 
  • No need to inflate

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than many models
  • Less insulated than some models
  • May sink lower in water as ice melts

14. Mountainsmith Cooler Tube

Who said that there was only one kind of cooler tube? The Mountainsmith Cooler Tube isn’t a tube that floats in the water. Instead, it’s a one-of-a-kind insulated “tube” that you wear on your body. 

The Mountainsmith slings across your chest. It is a long sleeve that lets you fit a full six-pack on your back for super-easy portability. And of course, its premiere insulation keeps your drinks cold all day long. It also has an adjustable strap to ensure that you stay comfortable. 

There’s nothing easier than carrying drinks in a hands-free sleeve that keeps them cold for hours. That is why the Mountainsmith Cooler Tube is an excellent choice for anyone who doesn’t need an entire cooler — just an easily-accessible six-pack.

Pros 

  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable strap
  • Hands-free sleeve included

Cons

  • Smaller holding capacity
  • Does not have room for ice
  • Requires you to hold it

15. Coleman C018 Soft Can Cooler Sleeve

The Coleman C018 Soft Can Cooler Sleeve is another excellent alternative to a traditional floating cooler. Like the Mountainsmith, the Coleman slings over your back, letting you carry a six-pack with ease. It has a dual-zipper design to make it extra easy to open and close from either side. 

The Coleman Cooler Sleeve has a double lining of insulation to ensure that your drinks stay cold all day. Its nylon lining is super easy to clean, so you never have to worry about it getting muddy or wet. It also has an adjustable shoulder strap so that you can always carry your drinks in comfort. 

This cooler sleeve is one of the most affordable you’ll find anywhere. It’s the perfect way to bring drinks out on the water without breaking the bank. 

Pros 

  • Affordable
  • Easy to carry
  • Comfortable adjustable strap
  • Has a double lining of insulation

Cons

  • Smaller carrying capacity
  • Does not have room for ice
  • Requires you to carry it

Cooler Tubes Buyers Guide – What to Look For in a Cooler Tube

When you decide what cooler tube to buy, there are a few features you should seek. Many of these depend on your personal preferences and where you’re planning on taking your cooler tube. 

Size and Holding Capacity 

First off, look at the size and holding capacity of the cooler tube. Some store a 24-pack of cans. Others are only suited for a few water bottles or a six-pack. If you plan to hit the river with a big party of people, you need a larger cooler. However, there are also advantages to having a smaller cooler tube — for example, they’re more portable and easy to pack.

(We also have our top pickups of Best Inflatable Serving Bars)

Durability 

Going out on the river exposes you to some unpredictable elements. Your cooler tube needs to be able to stand up to the effects of rocks, sticks, and of course, the water itself. For this reason, some people prefer coolers that aren’t inflatable. This reduces the risk of tears and punctures. However, you can also make sure that any inflatable cooler you use is tough and durable enough to handle the river. 

Portability 

Most of the day, you’ll be relaxing on the river with your cooler tube within easy reach. But don’t forget that you need to pack it in your car and carry it to the water. Some cooler tubes are outfitted with handles to make them easier to transport. Others are small enough to tuck under your arm. Others can be deflated and put into a carrying bag or slung over your back with a strap. The model you choose should depend on how far you’ll need to walk and how much you will be carrying. 

Also, consider when and where you’ll be inflating the cooler. It is usually easier to carry them to the water before inflating. Because of this, you want to make sure that the cooler is quick and easy to inflate.

Cooling Effectiveness 

The top thing you want in a cooler is, of course, its ability to cool. The best way to ensure this is usually to get an insulated container. You probably know some quick hacks to keep your drinks extra cold, like salting the ice or using polar bear tubes. But you will have less of a need for these hacks if you have an ultra-effective cooler.

(You might be interested in reading our article on Best Floating Ice Coolers)

Design 

The design of a cooler tube is another vital thing to review before you buy. Some cooler tubes are built right into your flotation device. Others need to be inflated with a mouthpiece. Some are buoyant all on their own. Choose the design of your cooler tube based on which one is best for your needs. 

Extra Features

Some cooler tubes come with extra features such as side pockets for snacks, cup holders, carrying bags, back straps, or other attachments. Some people like these extra features, while others prefer a simpler design. If you like these extras, you might just find yourself paying a bit more for the pleasure of having them. 

Types of Cooler Tubes

There are essentially three types of cooler tubes: ones that are part of your flotation device, separate coolers, and ones you wear on your body. 

The type of cooler tube you use depends mostly on your personal preference. That includes how many drinks you want to bring along with you. If you are hitting the river with a large party, you may need a larger cooler. If you want a six-pack of beer, for instance, a smaller one might suit your needs just fine. 

Benefits of Using Cooler Tubes

The benefits of using a cooler tube are pretty straightforward. You get refreshing, cold drinks out on the water without carrying a regular cooler with you. People have come up with endless hacks over the years for staying hydrated and refreshed while out on the river. 

Cooler tubes take some of the work out of the equation. All you need is a cooler that will float right along beside you or fit comfortably on your back. 

Drawbacks of Using Cooler Tubes

There also aren’t a lot of drawbacks to using cooler tubes. But there are a few things that can go wrong. It’s not uncommon for a cooler tube to get torn or punctured while out on the water. When this happens, you’re simply out of luck. Your only options are to figure out a quick temporary fix — like patching the leak with duct tape — and order a replacement as soon as you can. 

Using Your Cooler Tube The Right Way

When you use a cooler tube, make sure to use it according to the product’s instructions. This involves inflating all the compartments fully. That will lower your risk of tearing or puncturing the tube while you are on the water. Similarly, avoid overfilling the drink compartment. To make sure it functions properly and stays afloat, keep to the holding capacity. 

If the cooler tube is separate from your flotation device, you may want to tether the two pieces together. This will not only make it easier to access your cooler but also keep it from floating away or getting lost in the water. 

Extra Features

There are many extra features that a cooler tube may have. Some have cup holders so that you can keep your open drink safe in the water. Others have extra pockets to store snacks, sunblock, sunglasses, and even your phone and keys. You can also use these to store trash until you get back to the shore. 

Whether these features are a priority is up to you. Some people like them, while others feel that they aren’t as important. Either choice is fine. 

Maintaining Your Cooler Tube

Maintaining your cooler tube is simple and easy, so you can take care of it in just a few minutes. When you get the tube home, empty it of all trash, cans, and other objects. Wipe it clean of any mud, leaves, or sand. 

Then deflate it fully and hang it up to dry in a place that is free of mold or mildew. Never put a cooler tube in an electric dryer. When it is dry, fold it if possible and store it in a clean, dry place. 

Safety Tips 

Staying safe while using a cooler tube is all about regular water safety. 

  • First off, never go out on the river alone, especially if you will be drinking. 
  • Always have at least one other person in case of an accident. This especially applies to river floats, where rapids and currents can come up unexpectedly. 
  • If you are planning to drink alcohol, make sure to pace your intake. It may be a good idea to have a “designated drink dispenser” to ensure that everyone stays within their limit and stays safe on the water.

Best Cooler Tubes Comparison Chart

ProductPrice MaterialItem Weight (Pounds)Unique Features
Intex River Run II Sport Lounge$Nylon440Can hold two people, large cooler capacity
SwimWays Kelsyus Floating Cooler$Nylon1.6Light weight, six cup holders, perfect for large parties
Wow Sports Float Fridge$Nylon4.55Large capacity, cooler zips close
Body Glove Music Station$Neoprene0.8Made with extra durable material, have a lot of extra feature
Intex Mega Chill II$Vinyl7Repair kit included, easy to remove the lid
Bestway CoolerZ Rapid Rider Inflatable Raft$Plastic1Huge storage capacity, connect to other tubes
AIRHEAD AHAO-1 Aqua Oasis Insulated Nylon Cooler$Double-Weave4.19Portable, six numbered cup holders, adjustable strap included
Sevylor Inflated Cooler Float$PVC1.6Large holding capacity, has four cup holders
CreekKooler Floating Cooler$Synthetic17.9Hard plastic makes it highly durable, large capacity, portable
Icee Floating Inflatable Cooler$PVC2.25Not suitable for rough conditions
Byers 1700 Big Bobber Floating Cooler$Plastic4.5Durable, affordable, handles makes it easy to carry
TRC Recreation Floating Folding Cooler $Synthetic6Large capacity, can hold up to 18 individuals cans
Cool Float Plastic Floating Cooler$Plastic8Ultra-durable, waterproof, no need to inflate
Mountainsmith Cooler Tube$Ice Grey, Hemp0.56Portable, affordable, adjustable strap, hands-free sleeve included
Coleman C018 Soft Can Cooler Sleeve$Nylon0.42Affordable, easy to carry, comfortable and adjustable strap

Wrap Up

Ultimately, there is no single “right” cooler tube. The next time you are planning to get out on the river, weigh your options carefully. There are tons of options for cooler tubes. These range from simple, classic designs to detailed floats with many extra features. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t hesitate to check out any of the top picks we’ve listed for you above!

Ultimately, you decide what your priorities are and what you are willing to spend to have them. 

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