A towable tube is a sturdy tool used in popular forms of water sports. It gives a floating ride in which the riders are towed from the back of a speedboat. Towable tubes are easy to use and can be effortlessly inflated and deflated, just like the inflatable objects used in the pool. But since the tubes are constantly dragged on the water surface, more durable materials are used while designing towable tubes. It is made in such a way that the tube is able to rip through the water, regardless of whether you use it on the river, lake, or an ocean.
How many types of towable tubes can you find?
There are several types of towable tubes. While towing, always make sure that the area used for towing is wide and safe enough. Ensure that the water is at least 3,000 ft deep in the direction which you face in order to avoid making turns all the time. There should be at least 100 feet of water for the boat to move from side to side. Also, ensure that the water is at least 6 ft deep in boating fast zones and clear off any underwater hazards. Regardless of what boats you choose, the tow only in allocated areas and at least 50 yards away from other boaters.
They can be classified according to their design as:
- Round Donut Tow Tubes
It is the original and the oldest shape of tow tubes which is designed to accommodate a single rider. You will also find this kind of tube in larger units that can accommodate more than one rider. The hole in the center of the tube makes it hard for a comfortable ride, especially for children.
- Deck Tow Tubes
This type of tube features a flat design and comes most commonly in a round, a D shape, or a Delta shape. It proves a thrilling ride when you lie flat on the top of the tube while speeding close enough to the water.
- Ride-in Tow Tubes
The most popular shape of this type of tube is likened to a mini boat with seats though it comes in variant shapes and sizes. At the most, Ride-in tow tubes can accommodate four riders. The seats provide protection and keep the riders drier. You can use this tube if you are planning a family adventure with your kids. Never over speed tow boats to ensure safety. Limit it to a maximum of 20 mph when all riders are adults. If the riders include children, 15 mph is the maximum limit.
- Ride-on Tow Tubes
This torpedo-shaped tow tube allows room for riders to sit on the top and straddle the tube. Ride-on tow tubes do not experience much whipping owing to its shape as compared to donut or deck tow tubes. Towable tubes lack steering or brake systems. The driver should always be alert and attentive to the boat’s position.
Towable tubes can also be classified according to the number of riders it can carry:
- Two-person Towable Tubes
This type of towable tubes can carry one or two riders. Riders have to make sure that the tubes provide enough space for them to lie back comfortably. The shape should be designed to suit the rider’s level of comfort and convenience.
- Three-or-more Person Towable Tubes
This type of towable tubes is designed in such a way as to accommodate three or more riders. While using this type of tube, you should ensure that area is large enough to accommodate all the riders. Also, make sure to choose a shape that will make you feel comfortable and check whether there is a high back constructed with it to ensure safety.
Which materials are used for designing towable tubes?
Here are some of the most common and durable materials used in designing towable tubes:
It is the most common material used for designing towable tube covers. The nylon used in tow tubes comes in varied weights or thickness but they are commonly known as a denier. If the nylon contains a greater number of denier, the material is judged stronger.
Polyester is found widely in towable tubes. You will often find this material coated with PVC for strength and to provide an alternative to nylon containing high denier.
- PVC (Vinyl)
The material is popularly used to design bladders or inner tubes in towable tubes. The varied thickness of PVC is measured by gauge. All the vinyl present in towable tubes ranges between 24 gauges to 30 gauges, which is considered heavy-duty.
This material is often used in wetsuits. In tow tubes, it is used as covers over polyester or nylon. The material ensures comfort and prevents skin chaffing and is found in more expensive towable tubes.
What is the ideal length of a towable rope?
Keep in mind that the end of the boat should be 20 ft away from the towable tube to avoid exposing the riders to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The length of the rope should be at least 50 ft minimum so as to avoid spraying the players in their faces. The maximum length of the rope is 60 ft which should not be exceeded. Different ropes are designed for varied sizes of tubes. Using the wrong rope will cause the rope to break. It is advisable not to use ropes which are frayed, have knots, and are damaged by the sun.
Which are the top towable tube brands?
There are a plethora of tow tube brands in the market but not all brands live up to the expectation of the users. Airhead is one of the most popular brands. It features the top-rated products like AIRHEAD Turbo Blast that can accommodate 2 riders and comes in a size of 90’’ x 56’’. Other popular brands include Sportsstuff, O’Brien, WOW, etc.
What is the average price of towable tubes?
The price of towable tubes varies depending upon the shape and the loading capacity. You will get the cheapest towable tubes at around $60. The most expensive towable tubes with special shapes, better material, and more loading capacity can cost more than $200.
Which towable tubes are the best?
Innovative strategies are being used to design towable tubes today. You can consider the following factors while ascertaining which tubes are the best:
A bigger and spacious towable tube is better as it allows room for more people to accommodate comfortably. You will find tubes that can accommodate the whole family.
- Smooth ride
Towable tubes which are designed with nylon or canvas covers can allow you a comfortable ride. They are intended to bounce smoothly across the water, significantly enhancing your rider’s experience. For safety reasons, some tubes even offer knee pads.
The best towable tubes come with strong handles that can provide you with a firmer balance and allow you to stay upright under rough water conditions.
What accessories will you need while using a towable tube?
There are certain accessories you will need before rushing off into the water:
- Air pump
Trying to blow up tow tubes with your mouth is a bad idea unless it is an emergency and there is no way out. An electric air pump is the best.
- Tow rope
You will get good quality tow tubes easily. Always keep some ropes handy in case of accidental breakage. Airhead is among the brands that make good quality tow ropes.
- Booster ball
Though it is not a necessity to have a booster ball, it can make your towing experience better. It can keep the ropes out of the water making the accelerating task easier.
- Life jackets
Life jackets are a must when you are riding in the water. Always wear them for you never know when you will need them. Also, make sure they are of the right size.
How can you inflate and deflate towable tubes?
Check around your town to find out whether your valve is a Boston valve, stem valve, or speed valve. Tubes do not need very high pressure to inflate. The maximum pressure needed is 2 PSI. Almost all the tubes can be inflated using a high-quality electric pump or by combining 12 volt and hand pumps. Alternately, you can use power inverters. They are cheap and it is a great way to power 110-volt appliances on or near the water. For deflating the tow tube, using a 12-volt pump will work.
How can you attach/connect towable tubes?
For getting best results, attach the tow rope to a fitting or ski eyelet on the center of the stern. To achieve that, first, take the loop of the tow rope through the center of the tow attachment. Next, wrap the loop around the perimeter of the tube’s harness. Always make sure that there is no knot in your tow rope. In some tubes, you will find connect clip that can easily attach your tow rope to the tube. Other tubes have a chosen point of attachment for the tow rope.
How can you tow/pull a tube behind a boat?
Once you are done attaching the tow rope to the tube, do not pull the tube from a tower as it is not strong enough. The strong pull from the towable tube will put excessive pressure on the tower and rip it off your boat. While using a low tow point, adding a Booster Ball or Bobber can keep the tow rope out of the surface of the water. This will significantly enhance the performance of your tow tube and increase the visibility of tow ropes. Remember to pull the tube inside the wake in the start, only then turn up the speed.
Top 7 towable tubes in 2017
Here is a list of the top 7 towable tubes in 2017. They have been chosen after considering their material, size, grip, and performance which are the most important features of towable tubes. The pros and cons have been listed after going through the verified customer’s reviews on Amazon. As you know customer reviews are not to be neglected while buying products in order to get the best buy. It is best to stay away from products that have many negative customer reviews. If you are planning to buy a towable tube for your next towing season, this list of top 7 towable tubes in 2017 will tremendously benefit you. There are many factors to consider while buying a tow tube. Go through the list to find out which towable will best suit your needs and have an exciting and fun-filled towing time.
1. Airhead AHBL-12 Blast 1-Rider Towable
This tube is exclusively designed for a single rider and is sure to give you a real blast. You will find the 4 Deluxe sturdy handles of the tow tube has been made from nylon for providing ultimate comfort. It also comes with Neoprene knuckle guards. The cover of the tow tube features a double stitched nylon and it offers a virgin PVC bladder that can be termed heavy-duty. A Boston speed safety valve is included for inflating and deflating. You can get the item in either red or black color. When deflated, the item measures 54’’ in diameter. You are bound to fall in love with the eye-catching graphics.
- The tube is very visible while on the water.
- The handles are made of strong material and offer good and comfortable grip.
- The towable tube is perfect for young riders.
- The handles are too far back from the front making it uncomfortable for laying back sitting.
2. SPORTSSTUFF 53-2223 Super Mable Towable
This bright colored orange tow tube comes with its new and improved features and offers you a variety of riding options. There is a comfortable backseat if you want to go for a wild ride or you can ride it to the opposite course in a chariot style. You will find three sizes of tow tubes and all of them come loaded with EVA foam seating pads. The dual webbed foam handles which also offers knuckle protection can enable a rider to take varied riding positions. The towable comes with a Speed Safety Valve and Quick Connect tow point made of aluminum. The tube is designed for three riders and its dimensions measure 10.9’’ x 20.1’’ x 22.8’’. When in the deflated condition, the tube measures 79’’ x 78’’ and measures 75’’ x 73’’ when inflated. The towable tube also offers a 1-year warranty.
- The tube offers a very stable ride to riders of any age.
- It is perfect for all ages including kids and old people.
- The tube is made from durable material to endure rough use.
- After using it for about 6 to 7 times, the tube loses air within 45 minutes of use.
3. Rave Razor 2-Rider Towable
The ultra-light towable is meant for two riders. Couples, friends, or kids can get it to have the best time of their life. You can perform stunts with this tube and while in action, show off the impressive graphics at the bottom. The heavy-duty polyester material used in the covering is durable, water and dirt resistant, and does not fade. It comes with a Boston valve; quick connect tow point and heavy-duty PVC bladder. The product features 4 nylon covered handles and also knuckle guards made from Neoprene. The base graphics proves the riders with a smooth ride. In the inflated state, the tow tube measures 60’’ x 57’’ x 11’’.
- The tube can accommodate two adults and one teen without any problem.
- The tube is light and super easy to maneuver.
- The handles are positioned perfectly and the tube cover is made from the sturdiest material.
- The Boston valve that comes with the towable tube is very easy to use and gives users a hassle-free towing time.
- The tube is too small to accommodate two small adults. It is great for one adult and two kids though.
4. O’Brien Screamer Towable Tube 2014
The tow tube as the name suggests is sure to make the rider scream out of thrill and excitement. Made for one rider, the tube is designed out of 26 Gauge PVC material which is super tough. There are four handles all of which are made with protection in mind and features EVA knuckle guards. The EVA pads ensure a comfortable ride for the rider. The tube does not take time to inflate and connect and comes with a high-quality Boston valve. The size of the tube measures 60’’ and its dimensions are 18’’ x 12.25’’ x 20.5’’. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
- The towable tube is very sturdily designed to withstand the wear and tear. It can be used for many seasons if maintained with care.
- The tubes are made in such a way as to allow users to climb on easily from the water.
- The valve is not Boston made.
5. Airhead AHM2-2 Mach 2 Towable
The super durable towable is great for all ages and promises lots of fun. It comes with a cockpit tube that ensures security, especially for young riders. Since the towable has inflated floors, it offers a comfortable seat. The product features 4 Deluxe handles and the knuckles guards are made from Neoprene. You will also find its bladder is made from heavy gauge PVC and the covering is done with dual stitched nylon. It measures 21’’ x 15’’ x 7’’ and comes with a copyright speed safety valve.
- It is a stable and comfortable towable tube.
- The tube is designed to offer protection so that even kids can ride safely and have fun.
- The towable is made from super sturdy material and can be used for many seasons.
- The super stable tow tube glides smoothly on top of the water even while in large waves.
- As reported, there were instances where the plugs for filling the bottom came open and the air escaped.
- Water is allowed into the seating area by design. Some noted this feature as negative.
6. SPORTSSTUFF 53-1651 Stunt Flyer Towable
This tube is for the adventurous couple. The iconic towable tube comes loaded with large body pads made of EVA foam to offer protection of your elbows and knees. It also features handles made with dual webbed foam and knuckle guards that allow a rider to ride in different positions. It is easy to connect and detach the tow rope and also comes equipped with a Speed Safety Valve. The tube can accommodate two riders at a maximum and measures 70’’ when deflated and 64’’ when inflated. The nylon covering in the tube features custom graphics on both the top and bottom. The tube also has self-bailing drain escape that ensures a speedy and smooth ride.
- The tube is made out of very durable material and has well built in features.
- The valve is super easy to release and convenient for use.
- The towable tube is safe even for kids as it comes equipped with safety body pads that ensure protection.
- The filled tube went soft the next day probably because it had a small leak.
7. Airhead HD-3 Hot Dog Towable
The Airhead tube is just perfect for family fun. The tow tube allows space for 1 to 3 riders and comes equipped with triple 30-gauge PVC air chambers. The durable covering is done with dual stitched 840 denier nylons and also offers knuckle guards for safety. The handles are made with deluxe nylon to ensure a smooth ride and it also comes with three seat pads made of Neoprene that offers comfort and allows you to stay on top. In its deflated condition, the tube measures 103’’ long x 44’’ wide.
- It provides a safe ride for all and that includes even kids.
- The tow tube is one of the most stable tubes available.
- It has very easy to tow features and offers a smooth ride.
- The materials used to construct the tube ensure the durability of the tube. It will last for many seasons if stored properly when not in use.
- The tube inside has to be adjusted before inflating it as it was crooked.
How can you patch towable tube?
Knowing how to patch a towable tube will save your money. Though the tubes are made of durable material, it can deteriorate over time. Try these tips to patch your tube effectively:
- Clean the towable tube repair site
Make sure that the tube is squeaky clean so that the materials that you will use for repair will work. You can clean it with the help of warm w]ater and mild dish cleaning soap. After thoroughly cleaning the repair area, allow the tube to air dry for about 6 to 8 hours.
- Buy the patching kit if necessary
If you notice tears outside the seam area, you will have to buy a patching kit for covering. Buy a kit that will allow you to cut the patches to your desired size and be self-adhesive.
- Apply the adhesive
If you already have a self-adhesive patch, you can skip this step. If not, apply your vinyl adhesive on the deteriorated area of the tube. If it is in the seam, apply it directly or around the tear in the towable tube. Instead of using your fingers while applying the adhesive, use a flat stick. Compress the seams together to let the repair to work overnight.
- Apply the patch
If you have the self-adhesive paste, cut it to your desired size and apply to the affected region. If not, put the adhesive on the entire outer edge of the cutout patch. The drying time will be given in the instructions, but if not, allow 24-hour time to dry out completely. It is best to wait up to 72 hours before taking the tube into the water after the repair work.
- Inspect the patch for results
Some repair work will not work the first time. Repeat the entire process again and fill in the holes with more adhesive. For getting the most out of your adhesive, clean the threads created by the adhesive and freeze the remaining portion.
How can you store towable tubes?
Follow the steps religiously while storing your towable tube in order to elongate its lifespan:
- Make sure to clean the towable tube thoroughly inside out before deflating it after each use in the water.
- Deflate the towable tube with the help of the air pump which usually comes with the tube when you buy it.
- Do not expose the towable tube to the heat of the sunlight. Instead, store it in a cool and dry place.
Following these steps will elongate the life span of your towable tube and you can use your tubes for many seasons.
If you are looking for fun and adventure, towable tubes promise you a lot of that. Just make sure that you pick the right tube for your sporting adventure. Watch out for the size, smooth ride, and grip lest you end up having a bad experience. It is not wise to risk your life for the sake of thrill and excitement. Also, be careful about underwater hazards and make sure the area where you are going to ride is wide enough. There are plenty of tubes available but choose from the best brands for a memorable and comfortable experience. Happy riding!