Looking for a tube on which to tow the kids? Before you spend your money, use these tips to identify a quality tube.
1. The tube should be made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) rated between 24 and 30 gauge. The higher the number, the thicker the material. If the tube has more PVC exposed to the sun, look for a higher gauge.
2. Air chambers were once thought to provide safety. With the boat on site to retrieve life-jacket-wearing tube riders, multiple chambers just make inflation more difficult. Backrests and accessories may have separate chambers.
3. The cover should be a coated nylon with either a 420- or 840-denier rating. The 840-denier grade is tougher and more UV-resistant.
4. Inflation valves should be the screw-in type, like Boston valves, that provide for quick inflation and deflation.
5. Tow points should feature quick-connect fasteners made of Delrin or machined aluminum, attached with multiple layers of sturdy reinforced webbing.
6. Grab handles should feature closed-cell foam cores inside a nylon sheath, with foam knuckle guards underneath.
7. Boarding aids, like straps or handles, make it easier for riders to climb back on the tube from the water after a spill.