Using towable tubes to pull behind boats is great fun for all the family and requires no athletic ability apart from hanging on. They are available in a range of styles from a hot dog tube to a 3 person tube with various seating positions.
The best towable tube is the SPORTSSTUFF Super Mable, which is suitable for 3 riders and features heavy duty EVA foam pads and multiple grab handles.
Due to the heavy-duty use in the water, inflatable towable tubes are made from high-quality nylon covers with heavy gauge PVC bladders. This means they are durable enough for you to enjoy hours of high-speed water sports fun.
Table of Contents
- Best Tubes for Boating
- #1 SPORTSSTUFF 53-2223 Super Mable Towable
- #2 AIRHEAD HD-3 Hot Dog Tube For Boat
- #3 Island Hopper 6 Person Banana Boat Towable Tube
- #4 AIRHEAD AHM2-2 Mach 2 Person Tube
- #5 O’Brien Super Screamer Inflatable Tow Tube
- #6 AIRHEAD AHGF-3 G-Force Inflatable Towable
- Towable Tubes Buyers Guide
Best Tubes for Boating
|Towable Tubes||Riders||Riding Position|
|SportsStuff SUPER MABLE||3 Person||Tube with Backrest|
|Airhead HOT DOG||3 Person||Inline Sitting|
|Island Hopper Banana Tube||6 Person||Inline Sitting|
|Airhead MACH 2||2 Person||Recessed Seats|
|O'Brien Super Screamer||2 Person||Lying Down Tube|
|AIRHEAD G-Force||3 Person||Lying Down Tube|
The shape of the majority of tubes targets speeds upon the water when inflated correctly. Tubes that are not correctly inflated will not ride the waves properly and will cause drag thus slowing you down.
Even worse, the tube can become damaged from becoming distorted by the crashes of the waves.
Overinflation is also bad for the tube as it causes stress on the PVC bladders and cover seams. In hot weather, the air will expand causing the PVC to stretch. Cheaper inflatable towables will not be able to handle this sort of damage.
The enjoyment from being towed behind boats on an inflatable is great and totally worth the money. Below is a list of the best towable tubes where both adults and children can enjoy the water.
The SportsStuff Super Mable is for those who want the thrill of high speed upon the water. It is a 3 person towable tube that is suitable for both adults and kids to enjoy and it allows you to position yourself in a number of ways.
Features of the SportsStuff Super Mable 3 person tube includes:
- Can be towed from the front or back of the tube
- Bright orange design for great visibility in the sea
- Multiple grabs handle with knuckle guards
- Backrest to avoid being flung into the water
- Heavy-duty K80 PVC bladder
- Double-stitched full nylon cover with bailing drain vents
- EVA foam seating pads
The unique backrest construction really makes this a great towable for staying on at high speeds. It also provides another method of holding on and adds an element of comfort to the tube. In terms of inflation, SportsStuff includes a clever speed safety valve for fast inflation and deflation.
Overall, it is the best towable tube for adults as there are multiple grab handles and a backrest, which is good for adults that are not as fit as their kids. It is also more spacious than many other towable tubes, which makes a big difference.
One of the most popular forms of towable tubes is, of course, the hot dog tube for boating. It is designed for up to three riders, which each rider having their own seat and grab handle to hold onto whilst traveling at speed on the water.
Features of AIRHEAD HD-3 Hot Dog Tube for boating include:
- 840 denier nylon cover
- Heavy-gauge PVC bladder with welded seams
- EVA foam pads to protect knees and elbows
- Uses a “Kwik-Connect” to easily and securely connect to the boat
- 103 inches long and 44 inches wide when deflated
There is a two-seat version of the Hot Dog towable but if you are planning on having two big adults, you may find it a bit too small. The Hot Dog Inflatable comes with a 1-year limited warranty to give you peace of mind if anything were to happen.
Overall, this towable tube provides excellent fun for both kids and adults. The high-quality material and intuitive design layout of the 18-foot hot dog can provide hours of enjoyment.
It is the best 3 person towable tube with handles and offers great value for money unlike many other 3 person towable tubes.
You cannot mention the hot dog towable tube without providing a banana boat alternative. This Island Hopper is a huge tube that can hold up to 6 people comfortably. The dimensions are 19 x 4.5 feet with a max load of 1,200 LBS.
Other features of the Island Hopper Banana Boat Tube include:
- Commercial grade tube that is built to last
- Heavy-duty UV and puncture resistant 1100 denier PVC
- Welded seams and a stainless steel pull ring for durability
- Includes nylon storage bag, foot pump, and repair kit
- Double boxed for secure and safe delivery
The Island Hopper is a towable tube that you find at many camps, resorts and water sports activity destinations. However, you can now have this huge 6 person tube for just your family and friends to use.
The durable build quality means that it will last many years to come but it does require a fairly large upfront cost.
Another inflatable by AIRHEAD is the AHM2-2 Mach Tube that provides seating for two people and they are recessed for less movement. This may be an issue however for larger adults because comfort may become an issue with less movement.
Features of the AIRHEAD AHM2-2 Mach inflatable towable tube includes:
- Inflatable floors for comfort
- Four grab handles with knuckle guards
- Heavy-gauge PVC bladder
- Double-stitched nylon cover
- Patented speed safety valve
- 69 x 69 inches in size
Overall, it is the best towable tube for kids due to the compact cockpit design that provides a more secure ride for kids. You could get small adults inside this tube too but you are best choosing one of the other recommendations.
It is a great towable tube for kids, to begin with too thanks to various comfort aspects, which will not scare them as you increase the speed in the boat.
The O’Brien Super Screamer is their latest towable tube that is a large 70 x 70 inches in size with six handles with EVA knuckle guards. This is a “laying down” type of tube and not a sit-down tube which may put people off straight away.
Other features of the O’Brien Super Screamer Tube include:
- 26 gauge PVC bladder
- Boston valve for quick inflation and deflation
- Suitable for 2 riders
- 70 x 70 inches in diameter
- Fully covered 420 denier nylon
- Quick connect tow hook
- 4 grab handles with knuckle guards
- The circular design allows for air from waves
- Low profile design reduces drag and increases speed on the water
Overall, it is one of the best 2 people towable tubes for those wanting as much speed as possible. The design allows for serious speed on the water but you will have to try your best to hold on with the additional speed of course.
The competition to the O’Brien towable is the AIRHEAD AHGF-3 G-Force, which is even larger at 78 x 75 inches in size. The larger size means that it is suitable for 3 people with each rider having two handles to hold onto.
Other features of the AIRHEAD AHGF-3 G-Force includes:
- Heavy-duty nylon covers
- Boston valve for fast inflation
- Suitable for both adults and kids
- Topside stabilizer fins to help you stay onboard
- 6 durable webbing handles
The AIRHEAD 3 G Force Inflatable Towable is a popular choice and is known for being incredibly durable even when used in rough conditions. It is great for both children and adults to ride on and includes a speed safety valve for fast inflation and deflation.
Towable Tubes Buyers Guide
Towable tubes are designed to be pulled behind a boat and are available in several different forms. From a single rider all the way up to huge 6 people and over tubes.
One of the main benefits of tubing over any other watersports is that it requires no athletic ability. This means it great fun for both kids and adults of all sizes.
With the riding variety of designs and key features, it’s important that you are able to make an informed buying decision.
To help, we have created the below-buying guide that covers all the factors that you should consider before purchasing.
Number of Riders
If you are planning on taking to the waters with your friends or family, you will want to be able to accommodate as many people as possible on the tube.
The most popular towable tubes are usually 2 or 3 person tubes but there are some such as the Island Hopper that can hold 6 riders comfortably.
When on the tube, each rider must have suitable grab handles and areas to position themselves.
Of course, it is possible to load more people onto the tube but you may reach the max load rating, which will affect how it moves in the waves.
The performance or Comfortable Tubes
Performance inflatable tubes will be designed to cut the wave and require additional skills to stay aboard.
These will usually be in the shape of a wedge/curve with a harder plastic to reduce drag within the water.
Family-friendly comfortable tubes are usually more stable in the water and easier to stay aboard. The seating position is a usually deeper meaning that the rider can be more steady and have a foam/inflated seating area for comfort.
The decision you make really does depend on how you want to spend your time in the water. Not everyone enjoys a fast and rough ride but simply wants to enjoy the ride.
Of course, the opposite can be said for those that want to go as fast as possible and catch as much air as they can from the waves.
Additional Gear For Tubing
To ensure that you can enjoy tubing safely and to the best of your abilities, you will want to ensure you have all the gear.
Not every manufacturer of towable tubes will provide gear for tubing, so it’s worth checking the description beforehand. Some of the additional gear required for tubing will include.
- All riders should wear inflatable life jackets when tubing
- Working air pump for inflating the tube
- Flags to indicate to other boat users that you are towing an inflatable
- Heavy-duty rope to tow the inflatable from the boat
- Tow hook to connect the tube behind the boat
Increase the Lifetime of Your Towable
Towable tubes are not cheap to buy and you will want it to last as long as possible. Below are some of our tips to help increase the tubes life span:
- Do not leave them in the sun too long as the air inside will expand and stretch the plastic welds
- Fix air leaks from ripped plastic properly before they increase in size
- Always clean the tube and cover before deflating without using harmful products
It is always worth checking the warranties that the brand provided with the tube. Check what the warranty actually covers because some of the cheaper alternatives will only cover certain defects.
Preventing the Towable from becoming a “Submarine”
Towable tubes that start going underwater is a common problem but can be down to the incorrect technique or overloading the tube. Accelerating too fast or riders too far forward on the tube are the normal problems but if the technique is correct, you may have to check the tube itself.
but is fixed with the correct technique. With regards to the technique, always accelerate fast with the riders leaning back, which will get towable on the plane.
If the technique is perfect, you will then need to look at your equipment. For correct setup of an inflatable tube:
- Check the towable is fully inflated
- Ensure the tow rope is at least 40 feet long
- Ensure the tow rope is hooked onto the correct position (higher is better)
To further help combat this issue, some towable tube manufacturer has additional products that you can purchase. An example of one of these is the popular Sportstuff Booster Ball as shown below:
The purpose of this inflatable ball is to improve the towing system by keeping the tow rope out of the water. This has the result of reducing the drag, absorbing the shock and improving the fuel efficiency of the towing boat.
If you have the budget, we highly recommend this booster ball to enhance your tubing fun.
Tubing is great fun that pretty much anyone can enjoy with a wide variety of towable tubes available. They can be fairly expensive but with proper maintenance, they will last for many years to come.
It is always advised that you pay for the more premium examples as they will use far superior materials that will withstand far more punishment.
All of our recommended towable tubes are suited for 1 to 6 riders and various budgets. If you are yet to experience being pulled behind a boat on a tube, it will not disappoint and its great fun for all your family and friends to enjoy.