How to Dress for Water Tubing

Explore America's Campgrounds

Tubing is a popular recreational activity. While it's possible to go tubing on the land by descending snowy hills on an inflatable inner tube, many tubers enjoy floating down a river or being pulled behind a boat in a lake. Before you're able to enjoy a day of tubing, you'll need to learn how to dress properly.

Items you will need

  • Sunscreen

  • Hat with brim

  • Sunglasses

  • Life preserver

  • Water shoes

  • T-shirt

Dress in clothing you wouldn't mind getting wet. Most people wear bathing suits, as they are made from materials that will dry quickly. While it might not matter as you float down the river, you'll probably be grateful for dry clothing as you make the long ride back to your launch site.

Pack plenty of waterproof sunscreen and wear it. You'll be exposed to hours and hours of direct sunlight, so select a sunscreen with a high SPF rating.

Wear a shirt to further protect against sunburns. First apply the sunscreen, especially to your face arms and other exposed areas. Wear a white shirt to keep cool while you're protected from the sun's rays.

Bring a hat with a wide brim to keep the sun out of your eyes. Use an old ball cap or invest in a visor.

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet sunlight. With all the sunlight that's reflected from the water's surface, you may have trouble seeing without sunglasses. Look for sunglasses with a safety strap to keep them secured to your head while you play in the water.

Bring a wetsuit if you're planning to go tubing in cold water. Depending on the river's origination, the water can be freezing even if the climate is warm. A wetsuit will insulate your body and only leave your head, hands and feet exposed to the environment.

Wear shoes to keep from scratching your feet on a river's rocky bed. Bring along a pair of old sneakers or hiking sandals, something you won't mind getting soaked, and water socks.

Bring along a helmet to protect your head if you're tubing down an especially rocky or turbulent stretch of river.

Use life preservers. Even in shallow portions of a river, rapid currents can make it difficult to stay afloat. A life preserver will keep you safe and make it easier for others in the tubing party to locate and rescue you should you fall off your tube.

If you're planning to use a motorboat to pull tubers at high speeds, you should avoid wearing baggy clothes. A billowy shirt can get twisted and tangled as you speed through the water. Dress in a snug bathing suit instead.


  • Bring along a plastic bag to store wet clothing before you drive back to your starting point.
Gone Outdoors