NRS Heavy-Duty River Tubes Review


Paddling / Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

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NRS has been around since the 1970s and has developed a reputation in the industry for building and selling rugged, reliable equipment built to the standards of the toughest outfitters and river guides.

These same high standards have gone into the development of the NRS Big River Float Tubes and the NRS Wild River Float Tubes.

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Design and Construction of NRS River Float Tubes

Float Tube Covers: Replacement covers are readily available from NRS for both the Wild River Float Tube and the Big River Float Tube. The covers are made with an 840-denier nylon top side and a reinforced bottom side with durable, coated polyester.

  • The Big River Float Tube has a replacement cover exactly like the original cover with the mesh floor.
  • The Wild River Float Tube covers come in two cover styles, with and without the mesh floor.

Leafield C7 Air Valve: Leafield C7 air valves are commonly installed in inflatable boats used in demanding applications.

Leafield valves are made from high-strength, ACETAL (POM) plastic parts that provide chemical and ozone resistance, and its seal is designed to wipe clean the sealing surface as it operates. This reduces the risk of leakage due to dirt contamination.

Handles: NRS river tubes have two padded handles that make lifting and carrying easy, improve re-entry after cooling off in the water, and provide stability when the water gets rough.

D-Rings: NRS river tubes have one reinforced, stainless D-ring located on the front of the tube cover for attaching miscellaneous gear or connecting tubes for a party barge.

Mesh Floor: NRS river tubes feature a raised, PVC coated, nylon mesh, floor. The mesh floor cradles the rider in comfort while shielding the rider from scrapes with rocks, limbs, and other debris.

Repairability: Everything on an NRS river float tube can be repaired or replaced. The removable cover unzips to provide access to the air chamber. The entire tube cover, handles, valve, or air chamber can all be replaced. Permanent Tear-Aid patches can be applied to a leak in the tube and holes in the cover can be stitched up and patched from the inside.

Backed by the NRS Rock Solid Guarantee

Although the NRS Heavy-Duty River Tubes aren’t covered under the NRS Inflatables Warranty, they are guaranteed. Here’s the response I received when I asked NRS about a warranty on the river tubes.

Steve, since the Float Tubes aren’t covered under the Inflatables Warranty, they are covered under the general Rock Solid Guarantee: “If we find that an NRS product is defective, we will at our option repair it, replace it, or refund the purchase price.” ~ Clyde N., NRS Staff

NRS Wild River Float Tube

The NRS Wild River Float Tube is more than capable of cradling you down a lazy river while you relax. No need to worry about tearing a hole in this highly engineered tube. It’s no pool toy.

  • Tough PVC inner bladder
  • Reliable Leafield C7 air valve
  • The tube cover’s bottom material is a super durable, urethane-coated polyester for extra protection
  • The tube cover’s top material is constructed with 840-denier nylon for comfort and durability
  • Reinforced stainless D-ring for attaching gear or connecting tubes
  • Two padded handles for easy transport, re-entry, or stability when the ride gets bumpy
  • Removable cover for repairs or replacement
  • Two available covers, with or without the raised, PVC coated, nylon mesh bottom
  • NRS Rock Solid Guarantee

Specifications for the NRS Wild River Float Tube

Best UsePools and Calm Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans
Skill LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Structure TypeInflatable
Cockpit TypeSit-on-Top / Open Cockpit
Person Capacity1
Seating ConfigurationSolo
Occupant SizeUp to Average Adult
Weight9.2 lbs
Total Diameter45″
Interior Diameter18″
Tube Diameter13.5″
Load CapacityNRS does not weight test their river tubes
Number of Air Chambers1
Inner Chambers28-Gauge PVC Air Chamber
Air Valves1 Leafield C7 Air Valve
SeamN/A
Upper Cover Material840-Denier Nylon
Bottom Cover Material34oz Urethane-Coated Polyester
FloorRaised, PVC Coated, Mesh or Without Floor Option
Inflation Pressure2.5 psi
Inflation TimeUnder 5 minutes
Number of Handles2
D-Rings1 D-Ring
WarrantyNRS Rock Solid Guarantee

NRS Big River Float Tube

The NRS Big River Float Tube is a larger version of the Wild River Float Tube.

Although NRS does not weight-test their river tubes, the Big River Float Tube has a greater buoyancy and thus load capacity due to its larger tube size. This in combination with a wider interior makes it suitable for large adults.

  • Tough PVC inner bladder
  • Reliable Leafield C7 air valve
  • The tube cover’s bottom material is a super durable, urethane-coated polyester for extra protection
  • The tube cover’s top material is constructed with 840-denier nylon for comfort and durability
  • Reinforced stainless D-ring for attaching gear or connecting tubes
  • Two padded handles for easy transport, re-entry, or stability when the ride gets bumpy
  • Removable cover for repairs or replacement
  • Raised, PVC coated, nylon mesh floor
  • NRS Rock Solid Guarantee

Specifications for the NRS Big River Float Tube

Best UsePools and Calm Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans
Skill LevelBeginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Structure TypeInflatable
Cockpit TypeSit-on-Top / Open Cockpit
Person Capacity1
Seating ConfigurationSolo
Occupant SizeUp to Large Adult
Weight10 lbs
Total Diameter48″
Interior Diameter20″
Tube Diameter14″
Load CapacityNRS does not weight test their river tubes
Number of Air Chambers1
Inner Chambers28-Gauge PVC Air Chamber
Air Valves1 Leafield C7 Air Valve
SeamN/A
Upper Cover Material840 Denier Nylon
Bottom Cover Material34oz Urethane-Coated Polyester
FloorRaised, PVC Coated, Nylon Mesh
Inflation Pressure2.5 psi
Inflation TimeUnder 5 minutes
Number of Handles2
D-Rings1 D-Ring
WarrantyNRS Rock Solid Guarantee

Conclusion

NRS makes some of the best heavy-duty river tubes on the market. The NRS River Float Tubes are heavy-duty river tubes that resist puncture and abrasion from rocks, limbs, and other debris that are commonly found in rivers. That’s the greatest safety feature of any river tube. You want to stay afloat.

Very unlikely, but should you puncture an NRS River Float Tube it’s a huge plus that the cover can be replaced and the tube patched. The NRS Wild River Float Tubes and the NRS Big River Float Tubes are designed with removable and replaceable covers that are readily available through NRS.

Unfortunately, the upper cover material of the removable cover isn’t fully reinforced with PVC like the bottom. This would provide greater protection and durability.

The padded handles on the NRS River Float Tubes are superior in comfort to AIRE and STAR River Tubes. Though the ergonomically placed handles of the STAR tubes are superior in function when riding on the tube.

Outside the features mentioned there is little difference in quality or function between the NRS river tubes and those from AIRE and STAR.

Have a blast tubing!

Note: If you find it difficult to understand the materials and specs of these or other inflatable boats, check out Understanding Heavy-Duty Inflatable Boat Air Chamber Materials And Specs.

P.S. The Boating Safety Basics For Paddle Boaters will cover many of the safety basics that you need to know when tubing on a river.

Related Content: Difference Between River Tubes And Snow Tubes