Inflate your tubes properly

Published online: Feb 01, 2013 Feature
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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 summer.

AIRHEAD

Super Pump

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 disconnections.

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. 

www.airhead.com

HO SPORTS

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. 

www.hosports.com

SOLSTICE

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. 

 www.westmarine.com

SPORTSSTUFF

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. 

www.sportsstuff.com

TAYLOR MADE

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. 

www.taylormadeproducts.com

WEST MARINE

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. 

www.westmarine.com

Price: $89.99 

WEST MARINE

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.

www.westmarine.com

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