One way to ensure a great time with your entire family is to get the best towable tube and let the fun begin!
Don’t know what towable tubes are, let alone what makes them so fun? Well, basically, they are inflatable tubes that are connected to a boat using a rope. What you need to do is hold on to the tube, trying your best not to fall in the water, while someone drives the vessel at high speed. It sounds simple, but you will see how many times you fall in the water! Not to worry, you will also laugh your heart out! If this sounds interesting, take a look at our towable tube reviews to see what models are currently popular.
What Are Towable Tubes and Should You Have One?
Tubing is one of the most popular water sports. Since no skills nor coordination are required, anyone can try it without feeling that they might make fools of themselves. All you have to do is lie or sit on the tube while it’s being thrown in all directions. You try to hold on to it, but when that is too much, you get thrown in the water.
This water activity involves a tube that is typically made of polyester as it allows it to float easily. There is a wide variety of shapes you can choose from such as galleys, donuts, hot dogs, and many more. If you have two tubes available, you can perform twin tubing, by connecting the two with a tow-bar and a chain or a rope.
Towing tubes are meant to be pulled behind a boat. Basically, the only person who needs to know what he or she is doing is the driver of the boat. If the driver goes slow, tubing can be very recreational as the tube will be floating nicely on the water’s surface. However, for a more adventurous ride, the driver can speed up a bit.
All of this seems like fun, but it is extremely important that the participants know how to swim. When you suddenly find yourself thrown in the water, it is advisable for you to know what to do. However, no matter the age, or the swimming ability, all participants should wear personal flotation devices. Kids, especially, should never go in the water without the best toddler swim vests.
Best Towable Tubes Comparison Chart
SPORTSSTUFF Towable Booster Tube
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Airhead Hot Dog | 1-5 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
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Sportsstuff Super Mable | 1-3 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
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Airhead Mach 2 | 1-2 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
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Sportsstuff Big Mable | 1-2 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
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Airhead G-Force | 1-4 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
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O’Brien Super Screamer
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Best Towable Tubes Reviews
1. SPORTSSTUFF Towable Booster Tube
This towable tube is built for up to four riders and comes at a great price. The SPORTSSTUFF Towable Booster Tube is basically a heavy-gauge PVC bladder and is covered with heavy-duty nylon making it extremely durable.
The unit is equipped with a reinforced tow system that is meant to provide a safe and extremely reliable tube with superior performance. When it comes to inflating and deflating the tube, there is a speed safety valve that makes these processes very easy.
What is more, this model features a hybrid system that is designed to reduce drag. As a result, you will enjoy more speed and your boat’s fuel economy will be increased. At the same time, this system absorbs the shock generated by the ride. This tube also comes with a self-bailing drain vent that makes the water escape from it so that your weight does not increase.
- The tube comes with an inflatable buoy that increases the rope’s height eliminating the drag
- This model is made with double stitching and reinforced stress points
- It also comes with a reliable rope
- This model does not work so well with kids under 100 pounds.
2. Airhead Hot Dog | 1-5 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
The hot dog design is one of the most popular shapes of towable tubes. This particular model is designed to support up to three riders, and each person has his or her own grab handles to hold and seat while traveling on the water.
The Airhead Hot Dog | 1-5 Rider Towable Tube for Boating is made with an 840 denier nylon cover. It is a heavy-gauge PVC bladder with welded seams. The EVA foam pads are meant to protect the elbows and knees of the riders. This product uses a Kwik-Connect to securely and easily connect to the boat.
The great thing about this tube is that it is a great way to have fun for kids and adults alike. The intuitive design, as well as the high-quality materials used for this tube, can ensure hours and hours of fun. What more would you need?
- The non-slip cushioned handles offer stability as well as comfort
- This model comes with a one-year limited warranty to give you peace of mind
- It is very easy to inflate as well as to deflate
- It is possible for the tube to let air out after some time of use.
3. Sportsstuff Super Mable | 1-3 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
In case you are looking for a more stylish towable tube that can offer comfortable rides, you should take a look at this product. The Sportsstuff Super Mable | 1-3 Rider Towable Tube for Boating provides back support and foam seat pads.
You will love the fact that you can use this tube as a lounger for sunbathing or reading a book as well. This model comes with a unique design with front and back tow points, various sitting positions, as well as reliable handles with knuckle support for a wide range of experiences. The tube is certainly able to offer relaxing but also thrilling experiences.
The double-stitched full nylon cover with self-bailing vents for draining bailing vents for and the heavy-duty blades are other features meant for your protection and security. Thanks to the safety valve, it is very easy to inflate and deflate the tube by using a high-air volume inflation unit.
- This tube is lightweight so it is easy to carry from the car to the beach, for example
- It is a safer option for children and grandparents
- The unit features the Kwik-Connect towing system
- Since it is so large, it is rather difficult to store on smaller boats
4. Airhead Mach 2 | 1-2 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
The Airhead Mach 2 | 1-2 Rider Towable Tube for Boating is a two-person tube made of high-quality materials. Due to its design, it is the perfect option for beginners. The rider can sit securely in it, so it is even suitable for children. This tube was designed for riders of all shapes and sizes.
Therefore, children and adults alike can have a great time using it. Thanks to the inflated floors, the tube is extremely comfortable even during prolonged rides. There are four handles with knuckle guards secured to the body of the tube.
This way, the riders can hold on well even at high speeds. The heavy-gauge PVC bladder and a durable drop stitched nylon cover ensure the product’s durability. This tube also has a patented speed safety valve that makes it very easy to inflate as well as deflate.
- The Kwik-Connect system ensures fast and easy rope connection
- Thanks to its design, the tube offers good buoyancy
- Unlike many other products in this line, this one keeps riders in, and it is not very easy to throw them in the water
- If you are a very tall person, you might find this tube a bit too small
5. Sportsstuff Big Mable | 1-2 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
This product is a great choice if you want to have a great time. Compared to Sportsstuff’s previous models, this one has been redesigned and it now includes even more padded sidewalls and backrest. The great thing about this tube is that you have various options and you are not stuck to just sitting down.
You can also ride kneeling, in a prone position, or even backward. Since the Sportsstuff Big Mable | 1-2 Rider Towable Tube for Boating is equipped with dual hook points, you can travel in any way you feel like.
When it comes to construction, the bladder is made of heavy-duty PVC with welded seams ensuring excellent durability. EVA foam body pads are also included to protect the riders from bumps. Moreover, the handles have knuckle-guards. You will also like to know that this product is covered by the manufacturer’s one-year warranty.
- This tube is suitable for riders of all ages
- You can also use it as a lounger to relax or read a book on the beach, for example
- Since the bottom is heavier, it is harder to tip over the tube
- Since the tube is so large, it is harder to store where space is limited
6. Airhead G-Force | 1-4 Rider Towable Tube for Boating
Airhead G-Force | 1-4 Rider Towable Tube for Boating is available in three sizes from up to two riders to up to four riders. This means that you have multiple options to choose from, according to your needs. However, this is not what makes the product stand out.
First, it comes with six deluxe handles that are nylon-wrapped with neoprene knuckle guards. These provide a secure and comfortable grip for riders to stay on board. Since this is a laying-down type of tube, reliable and comfortable handles are a must.
Moreover, the bladder is made of heavy-gauge PVC and it is covered by double-stitched nylon, making the product very durable and reliable. The design of the unit is great for multiple riders. Also, the inflatable wings on the sides help you stay on. What is more, due to the low design of the tube, it is very easy to get on it when it is in the water.
- The patented Kwik-Connect system allows easy and quick rope connection
- Thanks to the speed safety valve, inflating and deflating the tube is extremely easy and convenient
- It is an affordable option, compared to other similar products
- The material is a bit rough so you might get the skin rubbed off your elbows
7. O’Brien Super Screamer
This large 70 by 70 inches tube comes with six handles with EVA knuckle guards. It is a laying-down type so it is more appropriate for experienced tubers. This position makes it very easy to be thrown off of it. It is made from 26-gauge PVC and it is fully covered with 420 D nylon.
Since it has only one chamber and it is equipped with a Boston valve, inflating this tube is a piece of cake. The same goes for when it is time to deflate it. The O’Brien Super Screamer can hold a capacity of 340 pounds of weight and it is ideal for one or two riders.
This design allows for really high speeds on the water and you will have to hold on tight so that you won’t fall in the water. You should also know that this product is covered by a one-year limited warranty.
- The high-quality materials used for this tube make it extremely resistant to wear and tear
- This tube can comfortably accommodate two adults
- Compared to other similar products, this one is cost-efficient
- This model is not so reliable for higher speeds
Types Of Towable Tubes
Just like in the case of the top-rated boat covers, when it comes to towable tubes, there are multiple shapes, sizes, and designs to choose from. Depending on what your needs are, you should know what options you have.
1. Number of Riders
The first thing to consider is how many people will usually ride the tube. Once you think about that, there are a few alternatives for you.
1.1 One-rider Tubes
The single tube is a great choice if you are looking for high speeds and want to stand out. You can have a lot of fun and you do not have to worry about other people’s preferences. A one-rider tube allows free wave movement and very high speeds.
Even though this type is intended as an adrenaline generator, it can also be used by kids. Thanks to the convenient design, every member of the family can take advantage of this type of tube. Single tubes are available in a variety of shapes.
The most common are deck-style tubes that require a bit of an effort to hold onto. The flat-deck tubes are more suitable for stunts and adrenaline seekers, while cockpit-style units allow you to sit back and relax.
1.2 Two-rider Tubes
These types of tubes allow you to have fun and share it with someone else. Despite a larger plate size, these units provide great entertainment at high speeds. Adults and children alike can use them. If the tube is equipped with inflatable backrests, the journey can be extremely comfortable.
Again, there is a wide array of shapes you can choose from. If you are looking for something more challenging, you can opt for a model that requires a kneeling position. Depending on what you like, there are plenty of models to choose from.
1.3 Three-rider Tubes
Even though these units are larger, they can still offer a lot of fun. Most three-person tubes have two rope connection points as well as backrests. However, that is not necessarily a general rule!
If your tube has two points of rope attachments, you can decide how you want the boat to drag you: from the front of the back. These models are suitable for all ages, so your children, as well as grandparents can enjoy them.
1.4 Multiple-rider Tubes
If you want to share your fun with more of your friends, one option is to use a multiple-person tube. However, you should know what you are doing, because the more people aboard, the more dangerous it can be.
Since you are probably going to be at least four people on the tube, you should slow down the pace a little and avoid traveling at very high speeds.
2. The Position of the Rider
Towable tubes come in many sizes and shapes. Each type of tube has its advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you like, and the type of riders that are going to use it, you have multiple options to select from.
2.1 Hot Dog or Banana Tubes
This type of tube is designed to be used by one or more riders at a time. Your feet cover both sides of the unit. This position provides you a tighter grip which means that it is harder to fall off.
The seats are usually made of neoprene. This material allows you to sit more comfortably. This shape is a great choice for beginners.
2.2 Ride-on Tow Tubes
The torpedo shape of this type allows you to sit on top and straddle. Compared to other shapes such as donut or deck tubes, this one does not experience so much whip. Still, it is important to consider that this type is also a bit unstable given the high center of gravity.
Inexperienced users and small children should stay away from this tube. It is a great adrenaline provider if that is what you are looking for.
2.3 Ride-in Tow Tube
You can find these tubes in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Ride-in tubes are suitable for up to four people. The most popular shape of this type is that of a mini boat with seats. The seats are meant to keep you as safe and dry as possible.
It also offers more safety features compared to other types of tubes. Ride-in tow tubes are great for traveling at high speeds, so you can have a lot of fun.
2.4 Winged Tubes
In case you are looking for more comfort, this type is an excellent choice. It offers you a comfy sitting area in the middle for you and the other riders. These tubes have inflatable wings that are designed to offer increased stability, as well as comfort, next to the shoulders of every rider sitting on the edge.
This type is also a great choice for beginners as there is no previous experience nor special skills required. These items are extremely easy to maneuver, and they allow you to perform various tricks. Some tubes may have a flat deck, and others may be equipped with seats.
Towable Tube Buying Guide
In case you are looking for ways to have fun on the water, tubing is a great choice. This water sport is not only fun but it can be performed by people of all ages, children and grandparents alike. Therefore, your boating gear should not be missing a towable tube. Still, before you get yours, there are a few things you should consider.
1. Type, Size, and Shape
We are not going to go into great detail here because we have already discussed this aspect in our previous section. However, when you are looking for a towable tube, you need to know what types are available.
Moreover, you need to consider who is going to use it? Is it going to be for you and your husband/wife? Is it going to be for the entire family? Are you the only one who is going to ride it?
As you come to a conclusion in this sense, you will be able to narrow down the options in terms of type, as well as size and shape. As we have mentioned, each type comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, also depending on the number of riders who can use it at a time.
Another thing that is going to help you in your choice is the answer to this question: what do you want the tube for? Are you looking for relaxing and calm rides or are you an adrenaline junkie?
Certain types of towable tubes are more appropriate for speed while others are recommended for lower speeds. If you know how you want to use the tube, the options are going to narrow a bit more.
3. Built Quality
You are expecting the best quality from your marine stereo, aren’t you? Even if it is an item meant for fun, you should settle for no less when it comes to your towable tube. In case it is not built to a high standard, it can easily deteriorate while on the water leaving you or someone in your family injured.
A well-built tube will last you for years and offer many summers of fun. The materials you are usually going to find in the construction of towable tubes are nylon covering a high-gauge bladder.
A reliable material for the covering is 420 denier nylon. It will protect your bladder and feel comfortable for the skin. If you can find a cover with 840 denier nylon, you will get twice the protection, so it is an even better choice. The bladder is usually one chamber of 26 gauge PVC. However, bladders can be up to three chambers and 30 gauge PVC.
The latter is usually reserved for larger tubes. The single-chambered bladders generally have quick-inflate features. Since they are made from PVC, bladders usually have welded seams.
Your standard towable tube has EVA padding that allows you to stay comfortable. Strategically placed padding is great for those bumpy rides when you get thrown all over the place.
Respectable manufacturers perform tests to find out where most users’ knees and elbows usually rest on the tube. That is why there are pads in these areas so that you can experience comfortable as well as safe rides.
5. Knuckle Guards
You may not think that this is an important aspect, but if you are going to ride for hours, you will experience serious pain without this feature. Basically, it is a piece of padding placed inside the handles. Its purpose is to protect your hands from hitting the side of the tube. Without these pads, your hands would end up scraped and your knuckles bashed.
This is usually an overlooked aspect when it comes to inflatable devices. Most products do not have PSI indicators that let you know how much air you need to add. Also, hot and cold days can play a small role in how the air in the tube will hold up during the day.
Still, you should know if you have added enough air into your tube. You can actually check this. For example, if the tube is underinflated, it will not skim over the water but it will move sluggishly.
Also, it will take an effort to pull which can easily damage it. If you notice that the tube cover does not have any more wrinkles, it should be good. You should also consider that once the tube is in the water, it is easier to take some air out instead of adding it.
Even though it may not be the most important aspect, if you are short on time, you may prefer to get everything in one order. For example, you should look for a tube that comes with the air pump and a rope instead of getting each item separately. Moreover, these kits tend to be more cost-effective than the alternative.
How To Use Towable Tubes Safely
We’ve said this before: tubing is an extremely fun activity, for people of all ages. However, you should never forget the safety factor. There are a few things you and other participants can do in order to stay safe during your crazy rides.
Before the fun begins, you should make sure that you’re holding on tight in a comfortable position. Also, you should decide on certain signals so that you can communicate with the other participants and the driver of the boat.
Once the boat starts, the noise will make it hard to hear the others, so hand signals are the best choice. No matter how good of a swimmer you are, you should not start the ride without your life jacket on.
Another thing you need to consider is the distance between the boat and the tube which should be at least 20 feet. However, the ideal rope length is in the range of 50 and 65 feet. Once you are set with the safety measures, let the fun begin!
FAQ About Towable Tubes
1. How Can I Ensure the Durability of My Towable Tube?
Durability is first ensured by high-quality materials that are used in the construction of the tube. However, the way you take care of your unit can certainly make a big difference between a few years and many years of usage. You need to consider that your tube comes with the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should follow them accordingly.
Besides this, there are some other things you should do. For example, each time you use the tube in salt water, you should rinse it once you are done. You can also use a mild soap to clean it. Another important thing is to always check that your unit is inflated correctly before placing it in the water.
Never store the tube in direct sunlight because the UV rays will damage the surface and the color will start to fade. When you store it, you should always deflate it completely. This way, the nylon cover will not stretch and accidentally get damaged.
Furthermore, in order to prevent mildew and mold from growing, always allow the tube to air-dry. Before you store it, make sure it is completely dry.
2. Why Does the Front of My Towable Tube Keep Going into the Water?
In case your tube seems to be acting more like a submarine, you should know that this is not an uncommon issue. It can happen due to overloading or an incorrect technique. Other factors that can lead to this problem are accelerating too fast or the riders standing too far forward on the tube.
However, if you conclude that the technique is correct, you might need to check the unit itself. First, make sure that the tube is fully and correctly inflated. Ensure the rope length to at least 40 feet long. Also, make sure that the rope is attached in the right position, and higher is better.
You can also use additional items such as an inflatable ball. The purpose of such a product is to improve the towing system by maintaining the rope out of the water. It also reduces the drag, absorbs the shock, and it also improves the fuel efficiency of the towing vessel.
3. Can I Repair a Hole in My Towable Tube?
You can repair the holes in your tube using a repair kit and following a few simple steps. First, remove the bladder from the nylon cover. Blend a solution of water and dish soap in a container. The soap quantity is enough when it creates bubbles.
Then, dip a sponge in the solution and spread it over the bladder in order to find the leak. Once you spot air bubbles coming out, you can pinpoint the hole. You can lay the bladder on a flat surface with the leak on the upper side. Using a marker, draw a circle around the hole.
You can towel off the solution and let the area dry completely. Sand the area with a sandpaper, very lightly. From the repair kit, cut a piece from the patch big enough to cover the hole. Then, cut the patch in an oval or round shape. The next step is to apply a thin layer of glue to both the area around the hole and the patch.
Wait at least a minute and then press the patch down onto the leak. Make sure you press hard. Make sure you smooth out any air bubbles. Once you are done, allow the bladder to dry for 24 hours. Then, you can add air to the tube and install it back in its nylon cover.
Just imagine a hot summer day and a lot of free time! What would be better than to take your boat out for a ride? While you are at it, why not take your family or friends and enjoy a few rides of tubing? The best towable tube ensures hours and hours of fun for everyone, from small children to grandparents. Regardless if you are looking for some relaxation or for a good dose of adrenaline, a tube can do it all!
Unlike other types of products, these devices come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for various types of riders and purposes. Therefore, before you decide on a model, you should do a little homework. Check out our towable tube reviews to see out favorite picks and maybe you will also feel inspired. Get yours and let the fun begin!