In the Wild with Greg Wagner

The Other Float Trip: Tanking by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
July 31, 2009, 9:14 am
Filed under: Canoeing, Rivers | Tags: , , , , ,

 An outdoor activity that you may want to try this summer or fall is floating a river in a livestock watering tank, no fooling!

Photo Courtesy: Joel Sartore @ via Calamus Outfitters

Photo Courtesy: Joel Sartore @ via Calamus Outfitters

 Unique to Nebraska and originating in the Sandhills, it is referred to as tanking. The activity has become wildly popular with folks of varying ages on rivers such as the Middle Loup, Cedar, Calamus and Elkhorn. Normally accommodating up to four people, chairs, benches or small picnic tables have either been installed or are provided in the 8 or 9-foot in-diameter tanks by the outfitters.      

 The selling points of a livestock tank river float trip are:

 – The tanks are usually pretty roomy and easy to get in and out of (you don’t even have to get your feet wet entering or leaving one!).  

– It’s almost impossible to tip a tank over, and with a little assistance that tank’ll spin off snags and sandbars.

– You don’t have to paddle or pole too much (unless you want to) going down river.

– A person gets the whole panoramic perspective of a river in a stock tank and is not facing downstream most of the time as they would be in a canoe or kayak. 

– The tanks also travel much more slowly  than canoes, so quickly setting up to shoot photos of wildlife and scenery is made simpler.    

 The stock tank outfitters on rivers in Nebraska generally offer 2-5 hour trips to include shuttle service, paddles or poles, life jackets and other required equipment. Check the Game and Parks website for outfitter contact information and further details on rivers.  

 Have a terrific time tanking!


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Haha! Just heard about this, and thought it was a kooky, fluke kind of thing – looks like it’s really “a thing!”

Listen, tankers, you better arrive at the take out with the same number of bottles and cans as you started with.

Comment by Teeg Stouffer

Hi Teeg,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, tanking has become a real popular thing in Nebraska’s great outdoors! Good point in reminding all tankers to “pack out” all of their trash and leave these river environments cleaner than they found them! Hopefully, there’s some recycling happening, as well. Also, you’ll be glad to hear that the outfitters I know provide a garbage bag for each tank before going down river. Take care.

“Wags” — Greg Wagner

Comment by Daryl Bauer

Hi everyone
quick note to let all tankers know we have been blessed with some great late season rain and the river is great. Wildlife is doing very well this year. I take my family down the river on Sundays and have been seeing deer, eagals,many ducks and geese, beaver, muskrat,even a river otter plus many more species. There are some great photo ops. Ho yeah we try very hard to keep all trash cleaned up. People who litter really bug me and I will let them know if I catch them. Hope some will come visit and check out the Calamus River. We are prowd of this great resouce.

Comment by adam

Hi Adam,

Thanks for the comment and the update on the beautiful Calamus River! I think it’s awesome that “Sundays are for family tanking” on the Calamus.

By the way, you folks can get a hold of Adam Switzer and his family to check out the various float trips in livestock tanks on that “cool” river through their website, at:

Thanks again, Adam! Have a great fall! Tell everyone “hello” for me.

“Wags” — Greg Wagner

Comment by Daryl Bauer

[…] “Tanking” as it is referred to has turned into a very popular water-based outdoor recreational activity here in Nebraska for all ages to enjoy! Outfitters on five rivers here in the state (Elkhorn, Middle Loup, Calamus, Niobrara and Cedar) offer tank trips. Go here for river outfitter info:  I blogged about tanking this past summer: […]

Pingback by LET’S GO “TANKING!” « In the Wild with Greg Wagner

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