STAR Heavy-Duty River Tubes Review


Paddling / Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

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STAR Inflatables was founded in 1993 by an innovative paddler named Wayne Dull. After many years of success and firmly establishing the STAR brand, NRS bought STAR Inflatables to augment its inflatable boat lineup. The Star line enables NRS to offer inflatable boats at a better price-point giving a broader range of customers access to high-quality inflatable boats at reasonable prices.

The STAR Makara River Tube and STAR Karma River Tube are comfortable, impeccably designed, and durable tubes built with high-quality materials and components. These tubes are built to last and STAR Inflatables backs that up with a 3-year manufacturer warranty. That’s longer than any of their competitors including their parent company NRS, Inc.!

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Design and Construction of STAR River Tubes

Welded Seams: Welding seams is a process of using pressure and heat to permanently bond the seams of inflatable boats. Eliminating glue when constructing seams protects manufacturers and the environment from toxins and also creates a stronger more durable seam.

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 the sealing surface clean as it operates. This reduces the risk of leakage due to dirt contamination.

Handles: STAR river tubes have two sturdy, ergonomically, placed handles that make lifting and carrying easy, improve re-entry, and provide stability on bumpy rides.

Designated Back Rest: Due to the placement of the ergonomically, placed handles there is a specified back when riding in one of these heavy-duty river tubes.

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

Mesh Floor: STAR river tubes feature a raised, reinforced PVC mesh floor. The mesh floor provides comfort for the rider while shielding the rider from scrapes with rocks, limbs, and other debris.

Repairability: Leaks in a STAR river tube can be repaired with permanent Tear-Aid patches.

STAR Karma River Tube

The STAR Karma River Tube combines a traditional tube with premium materials, quality construction methods, and a superior design.

The STAR Karma river tube is asymmetrical. It has a wider back and a narrower front, seven-sided heptagon shape, and the larger 13.5″ tube at the back diminishes to 11″ on the front. These design features enhance the stability of the tube keeping it upright when waves get bumpy.

  • Constructed with durable 44 oz. 1000-denier PVC with a reinforced, PVC mesh floor.
  • Welded seams
  • Reliable Leafied C7 air valve
  • Ergonomic handles for comfort and security
  • An asymmetrical shape features a wider back and a narrower front
  • 3-year retail warranty, 1-year commercial warranty

Specifications for the STAR Karma River 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
Weight6.45 lbs
Total Diameter44″ Heptagon (seven sides)
Interior Diameter20″ Heptagon (seven sides)
Tube Diameter13.5″ Max Tube Diameter, Diminishing to 11″ on the Front
Load CapacityN/A
Number of Air Chambers1
Air Chamber Material44 oz 1000-Denier PVC
Air Valves1 Leafield C7 Air Valve
SeamWelded Seams
FloorReinforced PVC Raised Mesh Floor
Inflation PressureN/A
Inflation TimeUnder 5 minutes
Number of Handles2 Ergonomically Placed Handles
D-Rings1 D-Ring
WarrantyManufacturer Warranty: 3-Year Retail, 1-year Commercial

STAR Makara River Tube

The STAR Makara River Tube improves on the traditional tube design with premium materials and quality construction methods.

  • Constructed with durable 44 oz. 1000-denier PVC with a reinforced, PVC mesh floor.
  • Welded seams
  • Reliable Leafied C7 air valve
  • Ergonomic handles for comfort and security
  • 3-year retail warranty, 1-year commercial warranty

Specifications for the STAR Makara River 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
Weight6.5 lbs
Total Diameter44″ Heptagon (seven sides)
Interior Diameter20″ Heptagon (seven sides)
Tube Diameter12″
Load CapacityN/A
Number of Air Chambers1
Air Chamber Material44oz 1000-Denier PVC
Air Valves1 Leafield C7 Air Valve
SeamWelded Seams
FloorReinforced PVC Raised Mesh Floor
Inflation PressureN/A
Inflation TimeUnder 5 minutes
Number of Handles2 Ergonomically Placed Handles
D-Rings1 D-Ring
WarrantyManufacturer Warranty: 3-Year Retail, 1-year Commercial

Conclusion

The big design difference between competing NRS and AIRE heavy-duty river tubes and these two STAR river tubes is that STAR tubes have no outer cover. The tube itself is constructed with durable 44 oz. 1000-denier PVC instead of a reinforced cover over a tube.

If you’re going river tubing in a location that has rocks, risk of downed limbs, or other debris that could puncture a tube, a heavy-duty river tube is the smart way to go. Whether you opt for a tube with or without a cover is a matter of preference. The 44oz 1000-Denier PVC material of the STAR river tubes is heavier than the outer shells of the NRS and AIRE tubes.

The taller back of the STAR Karma River Tubes offers greater back support, comfort, and the raked design offered greater stability in white water.

The ergonomically placed handles of the STAR river tubes are a plus when holding on in rocky water.

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

Stay safe on the river!

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.

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