What some might consider to be the best inflatable float tube you can buy, the Cumberland float tube is a low cost but feature packed craft. Its only purpose is to make your fishing as good as possible. For anyone looking to experience float tubing, you can’t really go wrong with the Cumberland. It’s highly affordable and has the same features as the tubes that costs twice as much. All these features enable you to bring plenty of fishing gear, rods, beverages and what not. And if you find yourself wanting more, there’s plenty of options to install additional accessory holders. If you don’t want something as large as an inflatable boat, but still want all the features a boat has, the Cumberland float tube will give just that.
The Cumberland is compact and portable. It measures about 4.5 feet long when inflated but is roughly half the size when deflated and packed. The two backpack straps makes it possible to carry the tube like a backpack when it’s inflated, making transporting it from point A to point B easier and quicker. It weighs only 17 pounds, so even people with bad backs will be able to carry it with the straps without too much effort.
The hull is shaped with hydrodynamics in mind to ensure that it tracks straight and that steering is easy. The raised back reduces the amount of drag and thus making the Cumberland both faster and more maneuverable.
The seat is thickly padded which makes it tons more comfortable compared to other cheaper float tubes. The dimensions of the seat are 17.25 inches wide and 20 inches long, plenty of room, even for the larger guys. The backrest is adjustable with straps, letting you decide if you rather want to sit straight or lie down in a more armchair like position. It’s easy to adjust, just pull one of the two straps until they’re the desired length and lock them. The extra padding makes this seat sit higher above the water than other models, which also helps with visibility towards other fishermen. If there’s a need for more visibility there’s a slot behind the seat where it’s possible to install a flag. For added security there’s a bright orange panel in the back for more visibility.
The Cumberland float tube has two oversized cargo pockets with double heavy duty zippers for storing your tackle and other small gear. There’s a pull handle for pulling open both zippers at the same time. Behind the seat there’s a mesh platform for storing additional gear or your newly caught fish.
It has two rod holders on each side of the tubes, these are not meant to be used fishing but rather to hold your rods when transporting the craft. Easily mistaken for the rod holders are the two cup holders, they’re located on top of each tackle pocket, these will not hold any rods but will hold your favorite beverage of choice.
- A thick and padded seat, with a high back support to make long days less painful
- Two oversized pockets for small gear like tackles
- Mesh storage platform for additional gear
- Straps to carry it like backpack when inflated
- Stripping apron with fish ruler
- Dimensions: 56 inches (4.5 ft) in length, 47 inches (4 ft) in width and 17.5 inches (1.5 ft) in height
- Weight: 17 pounds
- Carrying Capacity: 350 pounds
- Material: Heavy duty fabric with a rugged PVC bottom
The Cumberland float tube was the first float tube we ever tried and we can definitely see why it’s rising trend among fishermen these days. It’s not for the person that’s afraid of getting wet, as you sit with half your legs in the water. It was definitely something different than we’re used to, but in a very positive way. To propel the tube you paddle with your feet, thanks to the high seat you’re sitting in a very ergonomic position, making it easy to kick powerfully.
Shorter people will have a hard time propelling themselves
My wife who is a lot shorter than me, she’s around 5 foot tall, had a hard time to efficiently propel herself due to her short legs. The culprit for this (except for my wife’s short legs) is the thickly padded seat. If you’re on the shorter side, we recommend taking a look at the Classic Accessories Togiak, it doesn’t have a padded seat which brings you close to the water and thus making it easier for you to kick.
Get a couple of fins to make propulsion as efficient as possible
To make it as easy to propel yourself forward we recommend getting a set of Paddle Pushers, these allow you to paddle forward instead of backwards. It makes it much easier to see where you’re going and allows you to face your fishing spot even in strong winds. A set of diving fins will be more efficient of course, taking you further and making you less tired.
Seat is super comfortable and puts you high above the water
The seat is very comfortable, together me and my wife must have kicked around for almost 5 hours straight. Even though we have healthy backs it’s easy to tell when a seat is poor, and the seat that comes with the Cumberland is great, we had no back strain what so ever. The back rest is also easy to adjust and it will not move when moving around or transporting it.
Plenty of storage for its size
One would think that the storage on a small craft like this would be pretty limited when it comes to storage but it it’s quite the opposite. The mesh platform behind the seat can easily store a smaller cooler or your fish. The two pockets on top of each tube are oversized which makes it easy to store all kinds of tackles and bait. We managed to store all our of tackles inside the two pockets. Just be careful with your tackles as the insides of the pockets do not have any heavy duty PVC and can puncture easily.
There are no real rod holders, luckily you can buy them separately
Classic Accessories have written that two “rod holders” are included and in a sense that’s true. Thing is, these rod holders are just Velcro straps meant to hold your rods when transporting it. If you want a set of real holders, you can either make them yourself from PVC pipes, or buy a mount like the Scotty rod float tube mount.
Cup holders will only work if the pockets are full
As for the cup holders, they’re a nice addition but unless you fill the pockets full with tackles and other gear, they wont be giving much support for your beverage. Not really something that bothered us since we were both occupied with trying to find the best spot.
Stripping apron design could use a better design
Not really a con or a drawback, but the stripping apron is detachable, which makes it easy to lose. Everything else on the tube folds up nicely except the apron. We almost lost ours due to heavy winds, so keep that in mind when removing it and placing it somewhere else. We also find the stripping apron design to be a little weak, it’s held together with Velcro patches, we would much rather see something like bungee straps instead of the Velcro.
Bladders are very thin and prone to punctures, be careful!
Now let us talk about the biggest drawback the Cumberland float tube has, it’s the bladders. They’re very thin, they’re actually comparable to the thickness of pool toys. When I was fishing one of my catches managed to poke a small hole in the hull with its dorsal fin (managed to paddle back to shore and fix it up). We’ve read that plenty of other people have had the same problems with small holes appearing here and there, they’re annoying but luckily they can be fixed with patches or air sealers. We’d love to see them come out with a version that has extended the durable PVC, but it’s just wishful thinking from our side.
- Portable and lightweight, can be carried on your back
- The high back seat and adjustable straps makes it comfortable, even for longer periods of time
- Plenty of on board storage for tackles and fishing gear
- The top part of the tube gets punctured easily
- It’s common to receive the Cumberland with leaky valves
If you want to experience fishing in a whole different way than you’re used to, you should definitely try a float tube. The Cumberland float tube offers everything a float tube could potentially offer, at a low price point too. While it might not be as versatile, fast and maneuverable as other inflatable boats, it still has plenty of offer when it comes to fishing. There’s a reason why float tubes grow more popular each year.