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Are Snow Tubes the Same as Water Tubes? (Answered)

Tubing is a great recreational activity for both kids and adults. With the help of specially designed tubes, you can comfortably sit in and slide in ice or water. For sliding on snow you would require a frictionless, durable tube, these are commonly known as snow tubes.

For swimming or sliding in the water you would need lightweight, floatable tubes, these are commonly known as water tubes and specifically designed to let the water pass through effectively.

Now the question may emerge in your mind that both snow tubes and water tubes are similar looking, inflatable donate shaped rubber tubes, what are the differences? Why can’t I use one tube for multiple purposes? Let’s find out more about snow tubes and water tubes.

 Are snow tubes the same as water tubes?

Snow tubes are not the same as water tubes. Snow Tube has a heavy-duty build. Its bottom portion is generally made with vinyl to reduce friction on snow, and the outer appearance has a glossy look. On the other hand, the river tubes are made with synthetic polymer or PVC reinforced rubber.

Can you use a snow tube in the water?

Snow Tube has a bottom made with smooth vinyl or urethane. The snow tubes are designed to be frictionless and help you move fast on ice.

However, when it comes to using a snow tube on the water you might face difficulties. The smooth surface of the snow tube will make it hard to move around in the water, you might have to bail out the water.

So, using a snow tube on water won’t be an easy or preferable task for anyone. Water tubes are designed with a mesh bottom which helps the water pass through pretty effectively and it’s the best choice to use on the water.

Will a water tube work on snow?

Water tubes are mostly made of synthetic polymer or urethane. It has a mean pattern on the outer layer which helps the water to pass through. However, when it comes to using a water tube on snow then you are up for a great deal of trouble.

The mesh build of the water tube will create excessive friction on ice and it surely won’t be a smooth ride. The building materials of the water tube aren’t that durable and definitely not suitable for snow.

You can rely on snow tubes to use on snow as they are designed with heavy-duty material and reduce any chance of friction on ice. 

What are snow tubes?

Snow tubes are specially designed inflatable tubes used for sliding in ice.  Snow Tubes are specifically designed to have a smooth & frictionless surface. The vinyl bottom and heavy-duty build make this tube durable and quite effective while sliding in the snow.

You can sit on a snow tube and slide down from any inclined snowy hills. The flat bottom and heavy-duty build will give you a smooth and effortless ride in the snow. 

Snow tube vs water tube 

Build quality:

snow tubes have a heavy-duty build to withstand the rough ice. Sliding through snow, hitting on bumps, and carrying the weight of the rider, all these tasks need durable build quality and frictionless smoothly sliding design.

 When it comes to water tubes the durability is somewhat compromised. The main purpose of the water tube is to float on water so the majority of the design is dedicated to make it waterproof and ensure smooth sailing on the water. 

Temperature resistance:

snow tubes need to have high resistance to any kind of deformation in very cold temperatures.  The sliding may also generate quite a bit of heat, snow tubes need to deal with that too. Snow tubes are durable and reliable when it comes to resisting very cold or hot temperatures.

The water tubes are mostly used on the water so the chance of dealing with too much cold or hot conditions is not desired out of these kinds of tubes. Water-tube will surely deal with sunlight heat or cold temperatures of the water, but when it comes to resisting very cold temperatures it won’t be able to do so.  

Unique surface pattern:

when it comes to a unique surface pattern you can mention the water tube for its unique mesh pattern. The mesh pattern of the water tube helps the water to pass through effortlessly. However, if you use a water tube on snow the mesh pattern surface will try to grab onto the ice and create a lot of friction. 

Snow tubes are designed to be smooth and frictionless. It can slide through ice pretty effortlessly but if you are thinking about using snow tubes on the water then the smooth surface of the tube won’t be able to let the water pass through. 

Do snow tubes float?

Snow tubes are inflated rubber tubes so it’s obvious that they will float but there is a catch. The smooth surface of the snow tube makes it hard for the water to pass through. You might have to bail out water if you are using a snow tube. Water tubes have a mesh pattern surface which helps the water to pass through pretty effortlessly.

What are snow tubes used for?

Snow tubes are mostly used for sledding or tubing. The snow tubes have a smooth and durable structure, and the light build makes them pretty aerodynamic. Snow tubes are comfortable to sit on and comparatively faster than traditional sleds.

You can hop on a snow tube and slide from a high snowy mountain to enjoy the thrill of tubing. The tough and frictionless snow tube will be a nice addition to your Wintertime activities. 

How much are tubes for tubing?

In tubing, you will be sitting inside a tube and will be sliding or skipping through water, snow, or air. Different types of tubes use different materials and specific designs to increase their effectiveness.

Snow tubes will have to go through a lot of bumps and resist deformation in harsh cold temperatures, henceforth to achieve the required durability and frictionless quality the snow tubes use high-quality & heavy-duty material. 

To purchase a single rider option Snow tube, you will have to pay almost $15 to $45. The price may vary according to the tube size and build quality. If you are looking for a 3 or 4 ride option snow tube, you will be paying almost $190 to almost $350.

The water tubes are made with cheap yet reliable material. The mesh bottom of the water tube increases the maneuverability of water. You can get a water tube for $25 to $30.

There are several heavy-duty water tubes, commonly known as river tubes which will cost you around $40 to $50. If you are looking for two or multiple riding option tubes then it’s gonna cost you from $110 to $300.

What size inner tube do I need for snow tubing?

When it comes to picking the best snow tubes, you can say Size really matters. If you get a tube with a too narrow inner size, it will surely bring on trouble for you.

With a small tube or narrow tube, you will be compromising on compatibility as well as your safety. So to pick the right snow tube for yourself, you would need to measure your height and weight. 

On average a snow tube for an adult person or snow tube with one rider sitting option should be 40 to 50 inches in diameter & the inner size of the tube should be at least more than 20 inches.

If you pick anything smaller than that then you might not be able to fit inside or sit comfortably in the tube.

If you are looking for multiple sitting or riding option snow tubes you would need to consider their length and width. The ideal length and width for a 3 person riding option snow tube will be 80×80 inch. 

What are the best snow tubes? 

When you are looking for the best snow tube on the market always make sure that your snow tube possess these qualities

  • Should have adequate Durability
  • Should have the ability to deal with harsh cold Temperature.
  • Should be lightweight, easy to carry, and should have enough portability.
  • Should possess enough impact resistance capabilities.
  • It should be able to tolerate the weight of the rider.
  • Should have proper pull straps and handle for holding on to the tube.
  • It should be super smooth, check the bottom of the tube, the bottom should have vinyl or higher grade frictionless material.
  • The tube should be UV protected and should contain sufficient water resistance capabilities. 
  • The tube should be towable.
  • You can look for a snow tube with a foam pad for comfort 

Now here are some suggestions for you, these brands are known for their quality products.

  • Slippery Racer Grande XL Commercial Inflatable Snow Tube Sled
  •  BigMouth Inc. Snow Tube
  • ClearCreekTubes Huge Snow Tube and Cover Combo
  •  GoFloats Winter Snow Tube
  • sanyi Snow Tube Heavy Duty Inflatable Snow Sled 
  • H2OGO! Snow Speedwagon Inflatable Snow Tube

Hope you got the overall gist of the article. The motive of the article was to enhance your knowledge regarding different types of tubes, specifically snow tubes and water tubes.

Both of these are made for serving different purposes and their built quality and functionality are different from each other. Don’t forget to wear safety gear. Best of luck, hope you can choose the best tube for your desired activities. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can You Snow Tube In The Rain?

Can Toddlers Go Snow Tubing?

How Fast Is Snow Tubing?

What Do You Wear for Snow Tubing?