I go with tubes because they are easier to remove and are thicker which can offer more protection. Plus it’s a great way to reuse something that cannot serve its original purpose and would otherwise become trash.
I used old tubes for a while, securing them with zip ties. I’m sure I did something wrong because I kept finding dirt collected between the tube and the chainstay, maybe from muddy stream crossings? I haven’t tried electrical tape, but I imagine once you peel it off, your frame will be totally clean. Like Nick said, tubes do offer more protection than a single layer of electrical tape… so I would apply a couple layers of tape at least.
I use 3M 2228 Scotch Moisture Sealing Electrical Tape if anything that’s stock isn’t present or not doing the job. I read about it once in some forum so I gave it a try. I think 2-3 people started using it as well after seeing it on my bike. But in a pinch, just use whatever you have around, it’s better than nothing.
I appreciate everyone’s input. In my experience the neoprene chainstay covers tend to not stay in place for me. Innertubes seem okay, but maybe not wrapped but filled opened. How do people feel about gorilla tape for the chainstay? Realize it’s a similar stupid question….