Top Ten Boating Tubes for Kids
When boaters think “summer”, they think boating. But when boaters’ kids think “summer”, they think “bouncing around on the wake of their family boat on a tube!” See the difference? So why not add some excitement to your kids’ summer with one of the top ten boating tubes for kids?
We’re not talking a couple of bucks for little innertube. Quality boating tubes will run from $150 to $350 and up. But keep in mind that boating tubes are an investment in not only your kid’s recreation, but in their safety as well - that will last for years to come. That’s why it’s important that you choose the right boating tube for your, and your kids, unique style of tubing fun.
For younger tubers, and less adventurous kids, stay away from tubes that require the rider to lie down on their stomachs. It tends to be a scarier ride – or thrilling, depending on how you look at it. Basically, lying down provides a wild ride with more air.
Tips for choosing the best boating tubes for kids
There are countless boating tubes out there. But, before we share our top ten, here are a few tips to help you choose just the right one for you and your kids.
If your kids are young, or just uneasy about tubing, go for a tube they can sit down on rather than lay down on.
Tentative tubers will also do better on a two- or more-person tube so they can ride with a sibling or friend.
If you think you’d like to go fast and whip the boat around for your more adventurous tubers, always consider the dangers of multi-rider tubes - the risk of heads smacking together is greatly increased when there is more than one rider.
Purchase a high-quality and high-capacity pump, a regular air mattress pump won’t do it! You'll end up spending far more on your tubes over the years – under inflated tubes wear out much faster. The pumps are not expensive (especially compared to the tubes) and usually only run around $20. AIRHEAD makes a very good one.
Eventually your own kids will get confident on the tube you choose, but keep in mind that their friends might not be - don't buy a more adventurous tube and think it will work for all hopeful riders.
For that matter, you most likely won’t be able to buy one boating tube that will work for every situation. You’ll find that you and the kids enjoy them so much you won’t mind investing in 2 0r 3 over the years – change it up to keep things fresh.
If you have a slower boat, like a pontoon, but want to use it for towing tubes, try a booster ball. The booster ball gets the tow rope out of the water, and the rider outside the wake and going much faster.
Top Ten Boating Tubes for Little, Intermediate and Adventurous Kids
The best towable tubes are not only fun, but sturdy, reliable and safe. They should be easy to spot in the water and built to resist damage. You will, inevitably, run into a rock or a branch. You don’t want your tube to burst. Let’s take a look at some of the best towable tubes out there for little, intermediate, and more adventurous kids.
This boating tube is ideal for younger or timid kids. It’s a cockpit, or sit-up, style tube that gives the rider a more secure feeling. It’s also extremely stable with the wide wings. The high back means riders have very little chance of flying off. This tube can be towed forward or backward and there are also plenty of convenient grips. This is an excellent choice of you’ll be pulling little or intermediate riders. It isn’t cheap, but it’s an excellent design and likely to last for many years.
This boating tube is very similar to the Sportsstuff Chariot Warbird 2 – person above. The difference is that this model does not have the wide wings on either side – which makes it a little less stable if you take tight corners. It’s $100 less, yet still a well-made durable tube that will last for years.
The Airhead Hot Dog boating tube is hands down one of the most unique-looking boating tubes on the market. It’s also a favorite of all levels of tubers. The draw is that is allows 1 - 3 riders to enjoy the tow (There are models that hold up to 5 riders). It’s also good for slower boats, like pontoons, because its streamlined design makes it easy to get up to speed even with several riders on the tube. However, you will need to be extra cautious since there is nothing keeping the riders in place, heads can easily collide and cause injuries. Another benefit of this style tube is that it’s fairly inexpensive compared to some of the other tubes on the market.
This tube is great for kids of all ages. It features a solid backrest in a deep seating area. And since it can be towed in either direction, riders can have cockpit style seating or ride chariot style. It also has double webbing foam knuckle guards to keep riders secure. This tube is good on your boat’s fuel efficiency with a drop seat bottom that provides less drag than many boating tubes. It’s also rugged, with a heavy-duty PVC bladder and double stitched full nylon cover. It even has drain vents that are self-bailing. For riders nervous about getting into a towable tube and losing their balance, this is a great tube.
If you’ve been watching tubers, you know that this is probably the most common tube out there right now (including the 2-seater model). Probably because it’s one of the sturdiest and best boating tubes you can buy. It’s good for kids and adults, but is by no means an adventure tube. The cockpit design increases safety and stability so riders don’t have to worry about being launched off - unless you hit some crazy wake. It can handle serious wear and tear, and the speed safety valve makes inflating and deflating easy and quick. If you want a sturdy and reliable tube for all ages, this may be what you need.
If you’re not interested in lots of bells and whistles, this is a great option for more adventurous tubers. It has a simple, classic design and can handle up to two riders at a time. What you’ll get is a bumpy, fun ride. It has six handles with EVA knuckle guards. There’s a single-chamber with a 26-gauge bladder with a durable, heavy duty full nylon cover. The flat design gives you the option of either laying down or kneeling.
This boating tube is very similar to the O’Brien Super Screamer above. It’s also a traditional tube style option for more adventurous tubers. It can handle two to three riders and is durable. The Sportsstuff brand always gets very high reviews from actual users. It also features an aluminum quick connect while most tubes have a heavy-duty plastic one.
This tube has a more traditional round tube style, but has a slightly longer shape on the edges to give it a little more stability for holding multiple riders without dipping down in the front. This style is for an older or more experienced rider. It does feature bolster fins that help keep riders on the tube, even during the wildest rides. It also has a speed safety valve for quick and easy inflating and deflating.
The longer footprint on this model makes is much more hydrodynamic than traditional donut-shaped tubes (again, great for slower boats like Pontoons). It’s also a tube that can give a smooth ride as well as a white-knuckle adrenalin rush. So, it’s good for all ages.
If you want a smaller and sleeker boating tube, this may be just the one you’re looking for. Even with its more modest size, it has a weight limit just above 300 lbs., so you should be able to get two people on it fairly comfortably. Its "Skim Fast" PVC coated bottom, means it cuts through the water and is best suited for more experienced tubers. It also features four foam filled webbing handles in reinforced neoprene knuckle guards to prevent chafing. It’s sturdy and easy to use. Best of all it’s significantly cheaper than some other Boating tubes on the market.