- Toobing trips last anywhere from one hour to eight hours. For locations, check your local phone book or search engine website for "outfitters" or "river toobing" along with your nearest river name. Toobing season is predicted by the weather. Your local outfitter will be able to tell you approximately when people will start and stop taking trips for the season. If you don't have anybody to go with, don't fret it, you'll make friends on the river soon enough!
- The most common clothing worn is a bathing suit and normally some type of footwear. Depending on your area, some rivers are more rocky or have more gravel than others. Take it into consideration when deciding on footwear or not. Clothing ranges from shoes, water shoes, bathing suits, shirts, caps, and sunglasses.
- Most people enjoy having some sort of drink or food while on their toobing trip. Coolers are the standard item to carry these in. There are many types to choose from. Plastic or cans are the accepted drink packaging to put into coolers. People also put food in the cooler, such as bag of chips and sandwiches in plastic sandwich bags.
- Single compartment thermos, one half gallon, one gallon, etc is not generally used on the river. If it should happen to fall into the river while it is open, all the liquid inside would become mixed with the river water for the rest of the trip.
- Personal coolers are good for one to two people or for each to have their own. Attach them to sit on top of your toob with bungees or whatever you find useful. These include the collapsible six to twelve can coolers as well as small hard plastic lunch coolers. Ensure it will be secure enough not to turn over or that it closes securely with a zipper or a latch. Collapsible coolers with inside plastic forms are good for preventing water leakage during carrying to/from and in the car.
- Self-floating coolers are usually round, and of the colors blue and white. These are available in six and twelve pack size and have convenient can holders around the edges. They have a screw on top so you donít have to worry about losing any contents during river sections of rapids. These float along the side of the toober by itself and retained nearby with rope. These are great for one to two people who only need a thirst quencher during the day.
- 48/50 quart coolers are the general use size and fit snuggly into most outfittersí toobs. Filled to the brim generally requires two to three bags of ice and two people to carry them. Itís easy to put a good selection of drinks and food into these. Your main concern is that it will stay shut if it should happen to flip over during the rapids.
- A few coolers have lid locks. These are beneficial if the section of river you toob on has rapids. Iíve seen many a cooler flip over and lose their contents. Soda and beer cans will float to the top but other items may not be so lucky. A lid lock is also good to secure any valuables you donít want to lose on rapids such as prescription glasses. You can also help secure the lid by running a bungee cord from handle to handle or around the lid and toob.
- Save room for ice unless you prefer warm drinks and warm sandwiches. Try not to stuff the cooler to where you find out if it will close or not is when you actually try it. A little room on top and you should do fine. Ice can always find itsí way into cracks between items.
- Some coolers have cup holders on top of the lid. These are great for when you want to put your drink down for a minute to participate in the growing splash fight. Be careful not to leave it there when somebody opens the cooler though!
- Some outfitters also offer floating coolers or big coolers with toobs for your trip at a rental price. Check with your local outfitter for availability and pricing. If you go toobing at least a few times a year, investing in your own will be well worth it and allow you to customize it to your preference.
- Thereís nothing like kickiní back in the toob sipping on a cold one! Think ahead as to what youíll be thirsty for on the river. Soda pop is good for adults and kids too. Bottled water has quickly become just as common use as soda. Ensure everybody in your group has been accounted for as to what they prefer to drink. Chances are you may give away a drink or two to make some new friends on the river.
- If you will be drinking beer, check ahead with your outfitter for local city laws on drinking. Common courtesy/law to not take glass on the river. You may put other drinks into emptied water/soda bottles as a preparation for such drinks. Local authorities are in the river or along the banks from time to time searching for lawbreakers. If you normally get carded for age, then make the day easier on yourself and take your id with you on the river in case they ask.
- Please do not litter except in provided trashcans. Save your empty cans and other trash. Some people use mesh bags, which allow water to flow through instead of collecting in it and tie them onto the toob. Occasionally, there will be private trashcans along the river in people back yards encouraging you to put cans in. You get rid of your trash and they get money back for it; a win Ė win situation.
- Small bags of chips or chips in plastic containers with resealable tops are good to take. Wrapping sandwiches in plastic bags work best. People have even bar-b-qued while toobing. Take food that works for your specific laws and river.
- The dry kit will hold items such as small towels or handkerchiefs, cigarettes, lighters (take a few, someone will always drop one in the water plus about five minutes of sun drying), aspirin, any other items you would prefer to stay dry. There are a few good companies that produce waterproof containers. Some are named after water animals such as pelican and otter; easy to find on a search engine. Many such brands are used by scuba enthusiasts. Feel free to contact a local scuba/diving shop and ask what they find to be reliable. With this type of equipment, always test it BEFORE you use it. Put a piece of paper towel or something inside and submerge it in the bathtub or sink for a while, turn it around, turn it upside down, bang on it a little, give it the works. If it leaks, return it for another one.
- Protect your skin with sunblock. Ask your outfitter how long your toob ride will take. If your ride is longer than three hours then take some along and put another layer on halfway. This is some of the best advice anyone could give right here.
- A small towel or handkerchief is useful for handling dry items. Use it to dry your hands before handling any other dry items to ensure everything else stays dry.
The toob with the music is the party toob! Toobers on the river will congregate to whoever has the music. Notably, not all music will please everyone. Enjoy the day. If you will be the one playing the music, try to stick to popular music on the radio stations or at least their types of music.
What will you be playing music on? Everything from a personal tape player with headphone speakers to boomboxes to an entire cooler with a multi-hundred watt car radio has been on the river (please be environment friendly and use dry cell if you go this route). Iím sure there has even been a harmonica player or two. It depends on what you can afford and want to risk on the river that you normally toob.
Toobers that have rapids will need to waterproof the audio items for those parts of the river. This is your investment, protect it wisely. Can it survive a flip over or a nearby splash?
Check with the local law enforcement or outfitters for particular noise laws regarding music on the river. Yes, there are some cities creating and enforcing these laws. And no, they normally do not apply to owner's homes along the exact same rivers.
- Outfitters let you into the river from their property and usually provide a shuttle bus/truck ride to or from the entry or exit points of your ride. Different outfitters will be able to provide different entry and exit access areas of the same river. Pay attention in the pre-ride instruction they provide. Along with the different sections of river also come different lengths of toob rides.
- Outfitters charge to rent toobs and other equipment. They can also charge for parking and shuttle cost if you take your own toob. Prices vary for each outfitter. Some may only charge for parking on holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Expect the river to be packed on these weekends.
- Some outfitters also have an on location retail store to stock up on last minute ice bags or a bathing suit. Call ahead to the outfitter you will be using to find out any information and to get answers to any questions you may still have..
- Some outfitters require that at least one person in a group leave their car keys and drivers license with them. I have never had a problem with this before. It is a type of safety measure in case you donít come back, they can send someone to look for you and theyíll know who they are looking for and have a picture.
- Outfitters also have their own rules as to who they will let on the river or use their equipment. These include but not limited to no pregnancy, no children under a certain age, and nobody that does not know how to swim. You may have to sign a waiver that says you do not fit any of those or other conditions.
- If you canít afford to lose it, donít take it. If you must wear glasses, either prescription or not and want to secure them better, put sport bands with floatable foam on them so they can hang from your neck. This is more secure than inside the cooler which could tip over during rapids. If the section of river you are toobing on does not have rapids, then this wonít be as much of an issue. Put your drivers license in a recloseable sandwich bag to keep it dry and make it floatable.
- Youíre toobing on the river and it starts to rain, BONUS! Take a cap if you donít like it raining in your face.
- Rapids can be fun and dangerous. Take them with caution and observe others ahead of you. If can help somebody in trouble without risking your safety then please do. Weíre all out there to have fun. Try to go down feet first so you can view where you are heading and balance yourself easier. If you go down backwards, chances are you will lean too far back and flip over. If you go down sideways, you may not have enough control.
- If you use bungee cords to keep everybody floating together, please unhook them for any rapids. There was one incident where two people kept a bungee between them down a rapid and the second person got held up on a big rock or something and the water pushed the person in front forward. To make a long story short, the metal hook on one end of the bungee couldnít take any more pressure and straightened out. That end of the bungee came off the front toob and whipped back into the second personsí face and left a nice red whelp for the rest of the day. They were lucky that it did not hit them in the eye.
- If you use rope, going down rapids will be easier. Make sure that any toobs going down together are tight against one another to act like a raft with no slack between them. This is the method used to successfully hold onto the cooler toob during rapids. To either tie the toobs together or have a grip on it tight enough to have the same effect. If there is a lot of slack or bungees are used and the toob in back gets hung up, nobody in front will be close enough to help remedy the situation.
- There are many types of teathers to utilize to keep your group together. For the newbies out there, simply keep everything simple and hold onto your friends' toob either with your hand or your feet.
- Rope is the most common. Often people will use too long of a rope and have a bundle to always deal with and rope is slow for people to unhook to go down rapids individually.
- Bungee cords offer a good solution if you have straps or handles on your toobs. It's easy to wedge the hooks under the straps holding on the toob bottom if you have that type of toob bottom. Be careful to not get two or more toobs caught up going down rapids only to have a bungee give out and whip back into somebody's face.
- Another quick method is to utilize carabiners. They are colorful and you can adjust the distance between toobs by adding more carabiners in the chain. Carabiners are quick and stronger than bungee cords if you get climbing grade carabiners. Most of us use the cheap ones because if they break under stress, there's no tension to propell them out of control, they'll simply break and fall, which is fine because you want anything to give before your toob does. You can generally find keychain carabienrs for $1 or so at your local hardware store or everything-mart.
- There are different types and sizes of toobs. Check with your local outfitter or drive down to your area of the river to see what others are using. Some places use normal rubber innertubes and others require vinyl/pvc toobs, like the kind you would buy at your local sporting good store or find at an amusement park. Be cautious on purchasing and ensure it will resist punctures as good as any at your local river spot.
- The general population rents a toob from an outfitter. The rest of us take our own. If you go toobing several times a year, youíll easily save money on investing in your own toob. Especially if you take a cooler that requires itsí own toob. Outfitters charge a smaller fee for shuttle service. When you rent a toob, the cost of shuttle service is generally included in this price.
- Take care of your toob. Try avoiding running into any tree branches and sharp rocks. As long as you have your own toob, you might as well carry something to repair it with for emergencies. Nobody likes to finish half of a trip hanging onto somebody elses toob or sit on the cooler toob. Look at your local "everything"-mart in the automotive section for waterproof black tape. This will be the quickest method of repairing the hole. Carry along a cheap bicycle pump to air the toob back up. Donít bother with the motorcycle co2 cartridge hand pump, it does not work well for a big toob, just not enough air in those little cartridges.
- You can rent toobs with or without bottoms. Generally, toobs with bottoms will still allow water inside the toob so your behind gets wet. If you take a cooler, it will need a toob with a bottom so it doesnít fall through. Riding on a toob with a bottom prevents you from falling through also. Toob bottoms also protect your behind from scraping against rocks on shallow parts of the river. Let the toob bottom have that chore.
- Select your innertube or toob carefully. It will be all you have to float on and usually cannot be replaced in the middle of a trip. Try to avoid the toob from running into sharp objects or tree branches for the same reason.
- Everyone goes toobing to have fun. Please don't spoil it for others if you get in a bad mood or if your toob goes bad.
- If your toob goes flat during your trip, some outfitters require you return one so take it along. You could hang onto someone elses' toob or share the cooler toob like a throne.
- You can use your vinyl/pvc inflatable swimming pool/lake toob for the river too. Use caution and ensure it can withstand the elements. Many will not hold up to the rocks and tree branches that rivers provide.
- If you want to purchase your own toob you have two choices. You can purchase a vinyl/pvc toob from your local outdoors/sporting goods shop or you can get a normal rubber vehicle innertube from a tire shop. An innertube size that is adequate for toobing is 10.00/20 (at tire shops ask for: ten hundred twenty). This ten hundred twenty size will NOT fit a 48/50 quart cooler. Those size coolers need slightly bigger innertubes with a 24 inch inside hole. Don't forget proper tools for inflation and deflation. Practice before you go once so you know your equipment works and how long it will take to inflate the toob.
- From waterguns to foam balls, toys enhance the experience. Toys that sink wonít be as much fun as those that easily float above the water. Do not include others in the splashing and ball throwing that donít wish to be. It is best to avoid hard objects in case someone has bad aim while throwing and mistakenly hits somebody else on the river. Everyone is on the river to get wet, so an occasional misguided ball that lands nearby shouldnít be an issue.
- Animals are a part of your trip. Around these parts, we get to see dragonflies of all colors, turtles along the banks and turtleheads popping up from the water. Also seen are squirrels running up and down trees, and duck families swimming along the side of us.
- Don't abuse the animals, you're toobing in their home.
Return to top of page