by Elissa Connely

The boating family fun season has arrived. Tubing is simply a blast and a towable inflatable could be just the addition your boating days are squealing for. To give you a hand, we have compiled a list of the best towable inflatables on the market this Summer.

When looking to buy an inflatable tube, there are three main factors to consider; quality, safety and size.

Inflatable tubes have come a long way, but there is a big difference in quality between the overabundance of inflatables available on the market. First check is the material. You should be looking for a heavy gauge PVC for the bladder and a heavy-duty nylon cover. The higher the denier of the material, the more durable and stronger your inflatable will be. As an example, an 840 denier will be a good quality larger inflatable, while a 420 will be of a lower quality, therefore less durable. You will also need to consider the quality of the ropes and accessories that you purchase.

Safety is key, especially if you have your precious little ones squealing with glee from behind your boat. Your family Summer Sunday on the water is where memories are made, so don’t skimp on the quality and safety of your inflatable. Common sense prevails when out on the water.

If you are towing someone behind your boat, then you always need a dedicated driver and observer. Anyone being towed must wear a life jacket and be at least 7 metres behind the vessel.  In NSW, travelling at any speed, you must keep those in the inflatable 60 metres from other people in the water. For more detailed information, check the safety rules for your State.

Most manufacturers advise that the biggest mistake owners make, is not filling the inflatable with enough air. The tube must be firm when inflated. The nylon cover should be pulled tight and fit snug. Under inflated tubes are a safety concern, with the risk of becoming entangled in the cover if it isn’t fitted properly. It will also affect your fun on the water and the life of the product.

Size is your next consideration. There are a plethora of models and sizes, from one-person to four people. Although, most States have a three-person limit on tubes in Australia. Consider your budget and what size you think your family will get the most use out of.

We will look at six different inflatable tubes, from single person to three person, and across all price ranges.

Single

JobeHotseat

Jobe Hotseat

The Jobe Hotseat is a hot seller. A stack of fun, at an affordable price, the Hotseat is fast and reasonably durable. The one-person donut shaped tube has four handles for front or seated riding. It’s slightly bigger than your average donut shape and is suitable for kids and big kids alike. With 420 denier nylon, the Hotseat is at the average end of durability but it’s a fair price vs the quality. The Jobe Hotseat is simple, speedy fun at its best. RRP $99.99

Viper1

Airhead Viper 1

The Airhead Viper 1 is part of the exceptional Airhead Viper series. The cockpit style tubes are extremely zippy and very stable due to the boat hull like design of the bottom. With NASCAR inspired graphics, the Viper 1 can’t be missed in the water and the kids will love the design. The hardy 30-gauge bladder is enclosed in double stitched nylon, meaning the Viper 1 is extremely durable. The handles have neoprene knuckle guards for added comfort. The Airhead Viper 1 is serious fun and of a very high quality. RRP 399.00

Two Person

RaptorStinger

Raptor Stinger

Raptor is a growing brand in the industry, offering great products at very reasonable prices. The Raptor Stinger is a wing-style tube for up to two riders. It’s fast, stable and loads of fun. Extremely durable, the Stinger has a 30-gauge PVC bladder with tough 840 denier nylon cover, with a zipper. The Raptor is fitted with padded knuckle guards for a comfortable grip, pull up straps and comes with a Boston valve for quick inflation and deflation. The Raptor Stinger is loads of fun at a super price. RRP $299.95

Connelly Viper TwoConnelly Viper 2

The Viper 2 from Connelly is a two-way, cockpit shape tube for up to two people. Towed from the front, you and your partner in crime are fitted snuggly and securely in the cockpit shape design. For a different thrill, towed from the back, riders are seated kneeling and can feel the waves slip under their knees. It’s a super durable design, with 840 denier nylon cover and heavy-duty bladder. The four handles are padded with knuckle guards and the Boston valve means easy inflation and deflation. With its versatility and durability, the Connelly Viper 2 is stacks of fun for the entire family. RRP $599.99

Three person

OBrien Swift Three

O’Brien Swift 3

Simply an exhilarating experience. The deck tube design means the O’Brien Swift 3 skims across the water at an exciting speed. Designed for up to three riders, the Swift 3 is a smooth, quick ride. It’s a durable construction, with 24-gauge PVC and 840 denier nylon. The eight handles have knuckle guards for a comfortable ride. If you’re looking for a fast 3-person ride, the O’BRIEN Swift 3 is a good option. RRP $499.00

Radar Galaxy Inflatable

Radar Galaxy

The Radar Galaxy is the Rolls Royce of inflatable tubes. It’s quite simply a monster with 33 square feet of riding platform. The suspended tri float technology sees riders sitting high above the water, giving you a floating sensation. It’s a super stable ride, offering a tubing experience like no other on the market. It’s super durable, with 30-gauge PVC bladder and 840 denier nylon cover. With Boston valve, neoprene knuckle guards, it has two tow attachments and can be towed in both directions. You will have to decide for yourself whether you can handle the beast! RRP $999.95

 

There are so many to choose from and these are only the ones that caught our eye over the last few weeks. This is by no means a complete list of your options, so do some research and get out there. It’ll be the best fun you’ll have this season.