Tubing started with a rope tied onto a tire inner tube and pulled behind a boat, but they have evolved a lot since then. This famous summer activity provides fun in the sun without requiring any skills and without much equipment. While some options can be several hundred dollars, we’ve found three of the best towable tubes under $100 (or at least under $104) to use when you go boating.
What is towable tubing?
Tubing allows people to ride on an inflatable raft while being towed behind a boat on a lake or other source of calm water. There are many different options, and products vary by quality, size, shape, the ride they provide, and other factors, says Rowing Inc.
Tubes can hold between one and six people, with three-person options being trendy due to their versatility. Tubes also offer different orientations for riders. Some are designed for lying down, and others let riders sit or stand up. Cockpit-style seats are the most secure option for smaller kids when going tubing.
Tubes also vary in comfort. If the rider intends to lie down, look for ones with padding and materials that don’t chafe. When picking out a tube, also check its durability. With all the bouncing around they go through, make sure to buy one that will last at least through the boating season.
The RAVE Sports Blue Angel and Diablo II
On Amazon, the RAVE Sports Blue Angel and Diablo II towable tubes each currently cost $88.99. The tube is five feet wide and four feet long and has a D-shape for increased stability. It can carry two riders and is a good pick for kids with intermediate-level skills. Riders lie on their stomachs, and there are stabilizer wings by their hips to help keep them on the tube as it moves. Four handles are provided for riders to hold.
This option is made from high-quality materials with a heavy-duty fabric covering designed to resist dirt and fading. A rear boarding strap makes it easy for riders to get back on, even in deep water. Additionally, its Quick-Connect tow point makes it easy to attach the tube to the tow rope. The Blue Angel is blue and yellow, while the Diablo II is red and yellow.
The SportsStuff Stars & Stripes
On Amazon, the SportsStuff Stars & Stripes towable tube is currently available for $92.99. This round, flat tube is 4.75 feet in diameter and can accommodate one or two riders lying on their stomachs. It has four non-slip, padded handles to make it easier to hang on.
It’s fully covered with a heavy-duty full nylon cover over PVC bladders. It has a patented Kwik Connect feature, making it easy to connect to the tow rope. Its valve allows for quick inflating and deflating. The surface of this tube is decorated with a large American flag design. Additionally, there are two larger versions of this option for a higher price with rectangular shapes that can hold two or three riders.
The SportsStuff Rascal
On Amazon, the classic-style SportsStuff Rascal towable tube currently costs $103.99. It is donut-shaped and 5.25 feet in diameter when the hole is covered. It’s intended for one rider who can sit in the center with their legs over the side, lying down on their stomach. There are six double-webbing flat foam handles with neoprene knuckle guards, so it’s easy to find a comfortable position.
The SportsStuff Rascal has a partial nylon cover, making it more durable and comfortable, and a heavy-gauge PVC bladder. It also provides a patented Kwik Connect to make attaching the tow rope easy, as well as a holster to stow the tow rope when it isn’t being used. This red, white, blue, and yellow tube also has a valve that allows it to be inflated and deflated quickly.
What kind of boats are best for towing tubes?
Just about any boat with a motor can be used for tubing. The engine doesn’t need as much power to pull a tube as it would for a water skier.
While any boat can be used, the boat’s driver needs to be aware of the dangers of tubing to make sure not to swing the riders into other boats, docks, or people. To improve safety, Discover Boating recommends using life jackets, having a spotter in addition to the boat driver, and having hand signals so the spotter and tube riders can communicate.