(Almost)First time tubing : camping

Sorry if this isn’t the right place for this post, but I’m not sure where else to ask and I figure a lot of the more general questions would have decent overlap.

I’ve gone tubing just once before, but someone else was in charge and took care of all the details. I also remember them bringing glass bottles, and I’m not sure how kosher that is/was. I’ve decided I really want to go this summer and was able to put a group together who all want to go. There are about 6 of us, and the biggest issue is we’re a bunch of nerds who rarely ever touch grass and all of us are almost entirely clueless when it comes to outdoorsy things, or at least where tubing is concerned.

We’ve decided not to use an outfitter since their prices are really high ($70 a person), and if we have a good time we’ve already decided we’ll want to go again, so we’ve decided to invest in our own equipment and thus do not have the expertise of an outfitter to ask our plethora of questions.

I’ve looked at the rules and regulations of where we’ll be going (Niobrara river, Nebraska) and alcohol is permitted (except in a certain section further down the river we will be leaving before we reach), but glass is banned*? for the river as a whole. (*The specific wording is “please do not bring” https://www.nps.gov/niob/planyourvisit/rules-and-regulations.htm and I am taking that as an order and not a suggestion)

We’re thinking we’re going to bring 2 separate vehicles (leave one at the finish area, and then drive the other to the starting point) but we’re not sure if that’s a smart choice. Is it typically safe? Expensive?

Some of the questions I am stuck on are:What do we do if we end up with a leak? We’ll obviously have a patch kit, but what if we can’t find it? What if it’s just faulty? What’s the best way to test an item before you use it, if you don’t typically have access to a large body of water? We’re kind of looking at a mix of one of those fancy floating islands as well as a few single tubes as back up.

Regarding drinks, we’re having trouble finding canned versions of things we actually like. We’re not beer drinkers and a lot of the drinks we actually really enjoy are mostly only available in glass. Some have canned options but aren’t in stock locally (or are proving difficult to reasonably track down). I can give a list if it helps. What’s the best way to navigate this? What do people typically do with their empties? How is glass more dangerous than aluminum? Is glass entirely banned or just frowned upon? Am I a terrible and awful person for even asking that question? We were thinking maybe getting a heavy-duty mesh-bag and putting our empty cans in that so that we have the option of tying it to the side but, again, we aren’t sure how smart that is.

I’m sure I/we have 10,000 more questions but these are the ones we’re kind of stuck on for the moment.

Again, I’m sorry if this isn’t an appropriate place to ask all this, but there doesn’t seem to be a specific Tubing reddit or some kind of generalized water leisure one lol