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Best Float Tubes and Belly Boats for Remote Fishing: 2022 Reviews and Buying Guide

Written by: John B
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Float tubes, sometimes called belly boats, are specialized fishing platforms that remind me a lot of an inflatable La-Z-Boy. 

Ideal for quiet ponds and lakes far from the beaten path, float tubes enable anglers to work the water - not just the shore - no matter how remote their chosen fishing destination.

Lightweight and portable, good float tubes are also tough as nails. They should also provide a high seating position, plenty of comfort, and ample storage.

If you’re at a loss for where to start in your search for a float tube, we’re here to help.

Below you’ll find reviews of some of the best fishing float tubes on the market, as well as a complete buying guide to get you started:

Related: Best Inflatable Fishing Boats, Best Inflatable Kayaks For Fishing

Best Fishing Float Tubes Reviewed

Classic Accessories Cumberland - Best Overall Float Tube

Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube Green, Standard

Amazon 

Weight: 14 lbs.

Capacity: 350 lbs.

Material: polyester and PVC

The Cumberland is a top-flight belly boat that’s been tested in the real world by countless fly fishermen and backwoods anglers. They’ve put it to the test, and it’s sailed through with high marks.

Weighing in at 14 pounds, this is a portable option that won’t break your back or blow out your knees on a long hike, though its many features and comfortable seating come at a weight premium.

It comes with adjustable shoulder straps for easy carrying, and even with your tackle and the pump to inflate this float tube, fit anglers with a long walk through the backcountry won’t find this boat a burden. For folks who might not be as ready for a long hike, a lighter belly boat might be the way to go but recognize that you will be sacrificing capacity and comfort.

Made from tough polyester fabric with a PVC bottom for extra protection, you won’t need to worry about sharp sticks and jagged rocks. As anglers have discovered, it can take some serious abuse and just shrug impacts off.

With a maximum capacity of 350 pounds, larger fishermen will find that this belly boat is a good fit for them.

Expect plenty of padding in the seat and backrest, and provided you maintain proper air pressure, you’ll have a high and dry seating position. If you do overload the capacity or use this float tube with less than the recommended 2.5 PSI, you may find your bottom in the water, and the comfy cushions will quickly absorb water.

The Cumberland’s buoyancy is just right, and you won’t find yourself tipping forward or back.

And for added comfort, the backrest is adjustable - a feature we really appreciate.

Behind that nice backrest, you’ll find a mesh storage area that can fit a small, 12-can cooler. On each pontoon, you’ll also find ample storage in zippered armrests, as well as a built-in cup holder. D-rings also give you plenty of tool-attachment points, keeping items like hemostats or pliers ready to hand.

We’re pretty impressed by the Cumberland, and as long as you’re strong enough to tote it, we can’t think of a better float tube.

Pros:

  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Very durable
  • Inflates easily
  • High capacity
  • Excellent seating comfort
  • Plenty of storage

Cons:

  • Heavy

Classic Accessories Teton - Best Ultra-Light Float Tube

Classic Accessories Teton Inflatable Fishing Float Tube

Amazon 

Weight: 8.5 lbs.

Capacity: 250 lbs.

Material: polyester

Classic Accessories' Teton is on the opposite end of the weight and capacity spectrum from the Cumberland, and if you’re looking for an ultra-light belly boat, this is the model to consider.

The Teton weighs just 8.5 pounds, but note that it lacks shoulder straps, replacing these with carrying handles. Frankly, we’d love shoulder straps, but that’s just not an option.

Made from the same tough polyester as the Cumberland, just without the heavy PVC coating under the water line, this is another tried-and-true product from Classic Accessories that’s been put to the test by real-world anglers.

Rather than padded seating, the lightweight Teton relies on air-filled bladders to provide both buoyancy and comfort. The results are pretty good, and as long as you inflate this belly boat properly and don’t exceed the weight capacity, you should be riding high and dry.

Storage is limited to the armrests, accessed by a single central zipper on each side. The revealed space is ample enough for tackle boxes, a beverage or two, and extra line. D-rings on each side give you places to attach essential equipment like hemostats and pliers.

You’ll also find a convenient horizontal rod holder just ahead of the armrests.

Overall, for its weight, the Teton is a serious fishing float tube, and it’s a great option for anglers looking for an ultra-light option.

Pros:

  • Ultra-light
  • Durable
  • Inflates easily
  • Ok capacity
  • Good seating comfort
  • Plenty of storage

Cons:

  • Not as comfy as heavier models
  • Not as much storage as heavier models

Classic Accessories Togiak

Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube With Backpack Straps , Gold/Gray , 54.25 x 47.00 x 19.00 Inches

Amazon 

Weight: 12.75 lbs.

Capacity: 300 lbs.

Material: polyester

The Togiak is Classic Accessories’ belly boat with the most impressive storage options, and it’s a very hard float to beat, even within this company’s own line-up.

Weighing in at 12.75 pounds, I doubt you’ll notice a real difference between it and the Cumberland on your back, but some anglers might during long hikes. And unlike the ultra-light Teton, this belly boat comes with shoulder straps.

Made from the same durable polyester fabric of the Cumberland - minus the heavy PVC and foam seating - the Togiak uses styrofoam seating inserts that provide a surprisingly comfortable and high position. The backrest is a stadium-style affair that leaves some anglers cold, but when adjusted properly, it provides more than ample back support and plenty of all-day comfort for most fishermen.

That said, if maximizing seating comfort is essential for you, the Cumberland is the better choice.

With a 300-pound capacity, the Togiak isn’t going to be too little belly boat for most anglers, and the ride height is very good with proper inflation.

But where this float tube excels is storage. First, you’ll find D-rings everywhere, making tool attachment options easily customizable. A large mesh storage area is located behind the backrest, and like the Cumberland, it’s sized to fit a 12-can cooler, no sweat.

You’ll also find zippered storage everywhere on the armrests, providing pockets for all your gear and lots of organizing options.

Real-world experience with this belly boat is excellent, and anglers all over the US swear by it.

Pros:

  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Durable
  • Inflates easily
  • High capacity
  • Very good seating comfort
  • Exceptional storage

Cons:

  • Heavy

Classic Accessories Bighorn

Classic Accessories Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube

Amazon 

Weight: 11 lbs.

Capacity: 300 lbs.

Material: polyester

The Bighorn is what would happen if the Teton and Togiak had a love child. If the Teton just doesn’t provide enough storage for you, or if its capacity isn’t quite enough for you and your gear, the Bighorn fills the gap between the Teton and Togiak admirably.

Weighing 11 pounds, the Bighorn is pretty light for a belly boat, but like the Teton, it comes with carrying handles rather than shoulder straps. That makes it harder to tote than it needs to be, and good straps would make this perhaps the best light float tube on the market, bar none.

As you’d expect, it’s made from the same durable polyester used to manufacture all of Classic Accessories’ belly boats, just minus the Cumberland’s PVC bottom. And like the Teton, it relies on light-weight design features like inflatable seating to keep weight down while still providing a comfortable, dry ride.

Overall, that’s a good compromise for weight reduction, but for comfort, neither the Teton nor the Bighorn can match the heavier Togiak or Cumberland.

Obviously, there’s no mesh storage behind the inflatable backrest, but the Bighorn features all the D-rings and storage pockets of the awesome Togiak. For anglers who like their tools ready to go and prefer highly customizable storage options, the Bighorn is ideal.

Pros:

  • Light
  • Durable
  • Inflates easily
  • Very good capacity
  • OK seating comfort
  • Excellent storage

Cons:

  • Not as comfy as heavier models
  • Not as much storage as heavier models

Lazzo Float Tube - Best Budget Float Tube

LAZZO Inflatable Fishing Float Tube with Hand Air Pump, Flotation Boat with Orange Storage Pockets, Inflatable Seat and backrest, Fish Ruler, Adjustable Straps, Bearing 286lbs, Gray

Amazon 

Weight: 15 lbs.

Capacity: 286 lbs.

Material: 600D polyester

Lazzo’s float tube is a budget option to consider, as even with the pump, it’s about 30% less expensive than the cheapest Classic Accessories’ belly boat.

Now, it’s usually true that you get what you pay for, and this isn’t an exception, but the Lazzo float tube works pretty well.

At 15 pounds, this float tube is the heaviest on our list, pushing past even the Cumberland. It comes with two adjustable shoulder straps, making carrying this float tube easier, but if totability is high on your list of priorities, there are better options out there.

Made from tough 600D polyester, it inflates easily and can take a hard impact without any issue. I’d feel comfortable using this in still water, and I wouldn’t be afraid of sharp sticks, stumps, or rocks.

Like the Teton and Bighorn, Lazzo’s belly boat sheds cushion or backrest material to save weight, relying on an inflatable seat and backrest. The results are fine, though the Classic Accessories’ models probably take the win on comfort and ride height.

That said, the Lazzo isn’t going to leave you wet or sore unless you underinflate it or exceed its capacity. And since it can accommodate as much as 286 pounds of angler and gear, that’s not a problem for most people.

You’ll find mesh storage behind the backrest, unlike the Teton and Bighorn, and like the Cumberland and Togiak, you should be able to fit a small 12-can cooler there. While Lazzo suggests that this space is a good place to store live fish, anyone who’s ever been fishing knows that lively fish will kick and fight their way free from that area. 

Stick to a cooler instead.

Storage options are plentiful, with D-rings, nylon loops, and two large armrests accessed by zippers.

Overall, this is a capable float tube for anglers on a tight budget.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Inflates easily
  • Decent capacity
  • OK seating comfort
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Plenty of storage

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Not as comfy as heavier models
  • Not as much storage as heavier models

What We Look for in an Excellent Fishing Float Tube or Belly Boat

Portability

Belly boats are intended for quiet, largely inaccessible lakes and ponds where portaging a canoe or kayak just isn’t a great option.

In that respect, they’re almost always deployed at the end of a long hike, so portability is a real selling point.

Now, if you’re someone who likes float tubes even when you can easily access the water, great! Weight may not be much of a concern for you, and it shouldn’t limit your choices as much as other concerns like capacity, storage, and comfort.

But if you’re walking with your belly boat, weight and carrying options matter a lot.

Obviously, lighter is better for toting your float, but it comes with trade-offs in comfort, so keep that in mind.

And total weight may not be the enemy you expect: in my experience, shoulder straps lighten the load considerably, and I’d rather carry 14 pounds on my back than 12 pounds in my hand.

Capacity

With proper inflation, you’ll still need to stay at or below these belly boats’ stated capacities.

Keep in mind that this number will include your tackle, beverages, and snacks.

Comfort

This is a huge issue for anything other than the shortest fishing trips, and the good news is that every float tube on our shortlist has what it takes to keep you on the water all day.

Generally, adjustable backrests and foam inserts provide the most comfort, with inflatable seating lacking easy adjustment.

Durability

Durability matters, and from sharp sticks to jagged stumps, you need to know you can have confidence in your belly boat.

Always wear an appropriate PFD! It can save your life!

All of the boats on our shortlist can take a beating, but honestly, I have more faith in the Classic Accessories’ models than the Lazzo.

Storage

Let’s face it: storage on a belly boat is going to be limited.

But with that in mind, mesh storage behind the backrest is always nice, as a cooler full of drinks and lunch is welcome on the water.

And armrest storage, plenty of D-rings for tool attachment, and more than one option for where to store gear is great.

Final Thoughts

Only you know what you need in a float tube - and what you can afford - but all the options we’ve reviewed should serve you well once you understand their strengths and weaknesses.

If comfort, capacity, storage, and durability are your chief concerns, the Cumberland is the way to go. Easily the most durable option out there, it’s buoyant enough for even the largest anglers, and its comfortable seating and backrest pretty much guarantee all-day fishing trips will leave a smile on your face rather than a pain in your lower back.

But if a long hike has you doubting whether you want to carry all that weight, the Teton might be the better choice for you. Still very durable, it provides a high, reasonably comfortable seating position and a reasonable amount of storage.

Finally, if your budget just won’t reach to the Classic Accessories options, Lazzo’s belly boat might be the best pick. Providing enough comfort, capacity, durability, and storage to impress in the real world, it’s paycheck-friendly and more than capable of supporting you during your next fishing adventure.

As always, we’d love to hear any questions, comments, or concerns you might have, so please leave a message below!

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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