Inflatables are the all-purpose towable, with relatively no learning curve and the ability to handle a wide variety of riders, from young to old, in shape or out. Not all towables, however, are created equally. Here’s what to look for.
Inflatables used to be little more than large tire tubes, able to bounce a single rider atop the water. Today’s styles, however, vary widely in capacity. Decide how many people you want to share in the fun at once and buy accordingly.
Grab Handles, Comfort Pads, Durable Cover
Inflatables come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes but the best choices all have several things in common — a durable nylon cover to protect the more fragile PVC bladder within, numerous padded grab handles to keep riders secure, and neoprene or EVA foam pads to both provide comfort for rider’s knuckles, elbows, and knees as well as limit wear.
Rapid Inflation/Deflation Valves, Quick-Connect Tow Hook
Inflatables are endless fun on the water, but lesser candidates can be a hassle to inflate and deflate before and after. Look for valves that inflate rapidly via electric inflater or shop vac (and trap that air within once you stop the flow of air), and open wide to rapidly empty that air at day’s end.
Tow hooks should be made of durable nylon or metal and attached to webbed straps sewn into the nylon cover with reinforced stitching.