We live in a time where information is easily accessible and
comparison shopping is simply a way of life. So when consumers get online to do
their research, what they buy better be what they get. But not properly
inflating your tubes as recommended can cause your new tube to come up short,
which isn’t good for anyone, including the manufacturer that has worked
overtime to create some of the best tubes on the planet.
“Towables are meant to be very firm when fully inflated with
little to no wrinkles visible in the cover,” says Airhead and Sportsstuff rep
Mike Pleiss. “The nylon cover should fit like a second skin on the item and an
adult should be able to stand on it without sinking in more than an inch.”
Pleiss also recommended “topping tubes off” at any time so
they are firmly inflated, which will keep riders high above the water. “Many
folks aren’t aware that under-inflation causes the towable to sit lower in the
water. Then additional stress is applied to the tube, cover, rope and boat by
being dragged through the water instead of pulled across it.”
This stress can cause the air in tubes to be displaced and
the tube could rupture. And this same stress can cause nylon covers to tear and
ropes to stretch. So keeping your tube inflated isn’t just a good idea, it’s a
necessity if you want to get the most out of it. With that said, here is a look
at inflators to protect your towable investment and to keep you riding high
This is a great-performing
120-volt air pump that inflates and deflates at unprecedented speeds. Peak
pressure is nearly 3.0 psi, which is plenty of pressure to get your towables
nice and firm. Four universal adapters are provided to fit all valves commonly
used and the adapters lock onto the 36-inch long heavy-duty reinforced hose.
A Pressure Release Valve is
included to limit pressure to 1.4 psi for preventing over-inflating towables
and the accordion-style hose locks onto the pump, eliminating annoying
You’ll love the convenience of
the screw-on Boston Valve adapter, an AIRHEAD exclusive. For added convenience,
there’s a carry handle and a 10-foot long power cord.
12-Volt Compact Inflator
HO Sports’ 12-Volt Compact Inflator is a great choice for
when you have a bigger tube and a 12-volt outlet, or you can directly hook up
to the battery. Blowing out a healthy 2.5 psi, this pump will do whatever you
ask it to and more.
Dual Action Hand Inflator
For use off and off the water, Solstice’s Dual Action Hand
Inflator is a great choice for not only topping off tubes, but filling up
everything from bike tires to basketballs. The pump comes with adapters to
handle a variety of filling needs.
LP1 Double Action Hand Pump
This lightweight plastic pump is designed to inflate and
deflate inflatables with less effort due to its continuous stream of output on
both the up and down strokes. It easily doubles as a handy bilge too! This pump
can be used to top off tubes and it’s the perfect size to keep on your boat.
EcoBlast Mini Hand Pump
If you’re really in a pinch for space, or just want some
backup to keep handy just in case, Taylor Made offers its EcoBlast Mini Hand
Pump. The pump comes with two adapters to fit your needs and can pump up to
100psi of pressure.
High-Volume 120V AC Inflator
West Marine’s 120V pump inflates up to 3 psi and works great for handling
those giant tubes. With a simple plug into a regular electrical outlet, you are
ready to go. The kit also includes adapters to fit most all valves.
Bravo 7 Foot Pump
The West Marine Bravo 7 Foot Pump is a great pump if you
need to top off your tube or have no electrical hookup. With the Bravo’s
reinforced fabric billows and all stainless steel parts, this little pump will
stand up to the test.