Getting out in a boat is only one of the many ways you can have fun on the open water. From jet skiing to water skiing to surfing there’s really no end of ways to have a good time when you hit the ocean or lake. And, hands down, one of the most fun ways to get the adrenaline pumping is being towed behind a boat on a tube. Not all towable tubes are created equally, however.
The best towable tubes need to be sturdy, reliable, and maybe even have room for a friend or two. You want to make sure you’re looking at towable tubes that are safe as much as they are fun. They should be easy to spot in the water. And you want a towable tube that is resistant to damage as well. The last thing you want is for your tube to hit a rock or branch and explode on you. Let’s take a look at some of the best towable tubes out there.
SportsStuff Big Mable Towable Tube
Arguably the best towable tube on the market, the SportsStuff Big Mable is a good mix of value and features. It’s made from a tough and resilient, heavy duty PVC material. The welded seams resist tearing and leakage. The backrest and the padded walls also add comfort and support.
Unlike many old-school towable tubes, you can enjoy the Big Mable in several ways. Although sitting is clearly an option, you can also lay down. You can kneel and even stand on the Big Mable towable tube.
The Big Mable also features a one year warranty. There’s a speed safety valve so you can inflate it quickly and deflate it just as quickly as well. There are even two tow points on it so you can decide which way you want to ride it. There are heavy gauge PVC bladders and the neoprene handles ensure a good grip.
Airhead Mach 3 Towable Tube
The Airhead Mach 3 is one of the sturdiest and best towable tubes you can buy. The cockpit design increases safety and stability. Up to three people can safely enjoy the Mach 3. You shouldn’t have to worry about being launched off the two unless you hit some serious wake. It’s safe for kids as well as adults.
The tube features six neoprene handles and a heavy-duty PVC bladder. The double stitched full nylon cover can handle some serious wear and tear. The speed safety valve makes inflating and deflating simple and efficient. If you’re looking for a sturdy and reliable tube in the Mach 3 may be what you need.
O’Brien Super Screamer
If you’re not in the market for a lot of bells and whistles, the O’Brien Super Screamer may be the best towable tube for you. It uses the classic design of a simple tube that can handle up to two riders at a time. If you’re looking for a bumpy, fun ride, this is a great choice.
There are six handles that feature EVA knuckle guards. That ensures that you have a little bit of room to change your position. There’s a single-chamber with a 26 gauge bladder. It also has a heavy duty full nylon cover to increase its strength and durability. The flat design means you can either lay down or kneel on it.
SportsStuff Poparazzi Towable Tube
SportsStuff Poparazzi towable tube can handle one to three riders. It features a speed safety valve so you can inflated and deflated quickly. It’s also heavily padded to increase safety. There are double webbing grab handles that include knuckle guards. This increases your ability to hold on even when taking serious corners and bumps.
This is one of the best towable tubes for variety and fun. You can use this tube in a variety of positions. Whether you want to sit down, kneel, lie down, or even stand there are plenty of options. it’s much bigger than some other towable tubes, so that means it can handle some more intense play as well.
Airhead G Force Towable Tube
The Airhead G-Force towable tube feature has a tough double stitched nylon cover. The PVC bladder is heavy duty and can withstand a lot of abuse. It features nylon wrapped handles and neoprene knuckle guards. There’s also a bolster fin which helps keep it level and prevents you from flying off. The tube also features a Boston valve to allow for a quick inflation and deflation.
Aside from a cool looking design, the G-Force is also versatile. You can ride it solo or with a friend. The design is simple so there’s no steep learning curve. It’s a perfect towable tube for beginners or old pros.
WOW World of Watersports Bingo Inflatable Towable Tube
The WOW World of Watersports towable tube is great for beginners. It features a solid backrest in a deep seating area. This is the best towable tube for newcomers whether kids or adults.
With front and back tow points you can either have cockpit seating or Chariot Style. There is also double webbing foam knuckle guards to keep you secure. There’s a speed valve for easy inflation and deflation. It’s also good on your boat’s fuel efficiency. That’s because of the drop seat bottom that provides less drag than many towable tubes for boating. In terms of toughness you’re looking at a heavy-duty PVC bladder. It also features a double stitched full nylon cover. It even has drain vents that are self bailing.
Some riders are nervous about getting into a towable tube and losing their balance. If that’s the case this may be the best towable tube you’re going to find.
Airhead Hot Dog
The Airhead Hot Dog towable tube is hands down one of the most unique-looking towable tubes on the market. The design is capable of handling three riders in single file. The handles are nylon wrapped with neoprene knuckle guards. That allows you to maintain a comfortable grip. The seat pads are neoprene and there is a 3 chamber bladder system made from 30 gauge vinyl. Unlike some towable tubes for boating, this one is meant for sitting up while you ride.
As you might expect, there is a speed safety valve for a quick inflation and deflation. It also has a patented one-way inflation design. That means you don’t need to worry about air escaping while you’re in the process of blowing it up. If you’re in the market for a larger-sized option, this may be the best towable tube for you. It comes in at 103 inches long when fully inflated.
SportsStuff Chariot Warbird
When you’re in the market for a serious towable tube, The Chariot Warbird may be the best towable tube for you. With high back seats and plenty of padding, this is as comfortable as sitting on patio furniture. It features one of the toughest double stitched nylon covers available. There are also some seriously heavy gauge PVC bladders.
The extra wide sides of the Chariot Warbird will let you handle some serious waves. No matter what kind of wake your boat produces, you should be enjoying your ride without being shot out. High back rest as well as the comfortable neoprene handles will help ensure you stay in place.
Rave Razor Towable Tube
The Rave Razor towable tube features a polyester cover and a heavy gauge PVC bladder. The knuckle guards are made of neoprene while the handles are nylon covered foam. With a weight limit just above 300 lbs, you should be able to get two people on here fairly comfortably. It’s not nearly as big as some other towable tubes, but that may be just the sort of thing you’re looking for. The design is sturdy and it’s very easy to use. Best of all it’s quite a bit cheaper than some other towable tubes on the market. If you just need a simple, easy to use design then this may be the best towable tube for you.
Things to Remember
There are a lot of cheap towable tubes for boating on the market. You don’t want to be investing your money and one that could potentially be unsafe or unreliable. Many low-cost tubes, like lower quality inflatable boats, are prone to breaking and unstable rides. The best inflatable tubes are going to balance fun and safety with quality and value.
Pay attention to how you have to inflate your towable tube. Old school towable tubes have a simple rubber valve. You can either blow this up manually or connect it to an air pump. These can take time to inflate, and over inflation could be devastating.
You want to look for a tube for boating that has a one-way speed safety valve. That means if you stop inflating the air won’t automatically blowback. As well, many high-quality inflatable tubes have speed Safety valves. These allow you to inflate and deflate remarkably quickly. That’s going to save you time and frustration. No one wants to spend an hour getting there tubes inflated on the beach.
Number of People
The best inflatable tubes offer some diversity And versatility. You can find tubes for boats that are suitable for one passenger, two passenger, or three passengers. There are even a few rare versions that could see more. If you’re looking for a fun day on the water, you want to make sure everyone gets a chance to enjoy the inflatable tube. The best part of towable tubes designed for three Riders is that they are adaptable. You don’t need to have three people to keep it balanced. There are ways to use them with just two riders, or even want. They cost a little more, but they have more value.
Remember that a towable tube is going to experience a lot of abuse on the water. These tubes get beat around quite a bit in the wake of a boat. And you never know when you may accidentally hit a branch or a rock. For that reason, the best inflatable tubes are made of strong coverings. You want to watch high quality nylon material to keep the inside protected. Heavy duty double stitched nylon, like 420 denier nylon, is top-notch. This will keep the internal heavy gauge PVC bladder safe. For ultimate protection you can move up to something like an 840 denier nylon. This is ultra heavy duty. it may feel a little more rough on your skin however. You should get a feel for your inflatable tube before buying it to see if it seems tough but workable.
A double stitched nylon cover will protect the towable tube but you need to protect yourself. This is where padding on the handles and knuckle guards come into play. You need soft but durable knuckle guards so that you can hold on for the whole ride. Your handles can’t be too rough or you won’t feel comfortable trying to maintain your grip. You need to have well-padded knuckle guards. If you don’t then every bump you go over on the water could scrape your knuckles on the water or the nylon cover. Good handles will be comfortable and ergonomic. You don’t want handles giving your blisters.
Likewise, you want good padding in your towable tube. Most towable tubes have what is called EVA padding. This means you can sit, stand, kneel, or lie down to ride your tube comfortably. Remember, this will be an exceptionally bumpy ride and that’s the way you want it. So you want good padding to stay comfortable. Water can be harder than it seems at high speeds.
The best towable tubes have the ability to quickly attach and detach your tow cable. You don’t want to be spending 10 or 15 minutes trying to tide appropriate not. A reinforced tow system will maintain strength. It will also allow you to easily and simply attach or remove your tow cable.
You could also consider picking up something like a booster ball. A booster ball looks something like a large football or basketball. It works very much like a fishing bobber out on the water. It goes between your towable tube and the boat. It increases the safety and durability of your tube. When you attach the booster ball, it keeps your tow rope out of the water. That reduces drag and stops spray back from hitting you in the face when you’re on the tube itself. It also allows it to stay more stable in the water.
Always remember to give your towable tube an inspection before and after use. Look for any damages or teas in the material. Keep your tube clean and dry when it’s not in use so it won’t grow mildew and start to stink. Water can get into ripped seams easily. Make sure your store the tube someplace safe during the offseason, and it should last you for years to come.
The Bottom Line
You can have a lot of fun with a towable tube out on the water. The best towable tube for boating is going to be versatile and reliable to meet your specific needs. Keep in mind the speed of your boat. Also the body of water that you’re going to be towing it on. Never forget your boat safety lessons even when you’re having a good time. Make sure you’re being safe and have fun.