Before you can hit the water and enjoy a thrilling tubing experience, you need to properly inflate your towable tubes. To do this, you will have to know how to use a pump and the associating notions, such as PSI.
In this article, we will provide the answer to, “What PSI for towable tubes?” Thus, by the end, you will know how much your tubes require. Keep reading for the full coverage!
What PSI For Towable Tubes?
A fully inflated towable tube has about 2.0 PSI. This is not a fixed value because it depends on other factors, such as the type and size of the tube.
To get the exact PSI value for your towable tube, review the product description and label closely. If it is not specified, reach out to the manufacturer. They would know their products best and be able to give you a precise answer.
You can also tell that your towable tube has reached the standard PSI if it is firm and wrinkle-free. When an adult stands on it, it will only depress slightly. A tube with the standard PSI is safe to use.
Adversely, a tube that has yet to attain ~2.0 PSI can suffer from additional stress which interferes with the tubing experience and shortens the tube’s lifespan, and a tube with more than ~2.0 PSI risks popping or bursting open.
To help you grasp the towable tube amount of PSI, here is a comparison: a size 6 basketball (28.5” radius) would have roughly 7.5 to 8.5 PSI, and a road tire would need 80 to 140 PSI.
You are probably surprised by the big difference, especially as the tubes are also large in size. So, why is the amount of PSI for a towable tube so low? It is because towable tubes are low pressure and high volume items.
With a low PSI like this, you will need to use an electric pump or a 12-volt pump along with a hand pump.
Now let’s explore why the PSI is so important to maintain the standard value and exactly how to do that!
Why It Is Crucial To Be Aware of the PSI for Towable Tubes
To properly and fully inflate a towable tube, you need to know the PSI that it is supposed to reach. If you have less than the needed 2.0 PSI, then your water toys will be under-inflated.
Tubes that are “under-inflated” will sit low in the water, and as a result, put more stress on the cover, rope, tube, and boat because the tubes are dragged through the water instead of pulled across the top.
This added stress interferes with the tubes’ abilities to deliver a satisfying tubing experience. In addition, it causes the air in the tubes to be displaced and leads to ruptures.
At the same time, it tears the tubes’ nylon covers and stretches the tow ropes. Ultimately, the watercraft or the boat cannot take off and more gas will be used.
When you hit the water with an under-inflated tube, you will notice that its nose digs into the water and tips forward. This means that it is ”torpedo-ing.” It is rather dangerous and difficult to be brought onto the plane. Plus, it will strain the rope, which causes it to break or recoil.
Therefore, if you want to make the most out of your towable tubes and stay safe, make sure they are not under-inflated.
You can tell that your tubes are under-inflated if:
- Their nylon covers are wrinkled
- You can easily slide your hand between their covers and bladders
- Their noses dig into the water and tip forward when towed
On the other hand, if you have more than the needed 2.0 PSI, then your toys may be over-inflated.
Over-inflated tubes contain too much air inside of them. As such, they can stress the seams on the nylon covers of the tubes and the PVC bladder valve. Too much stress can eventually prompt the tubes to pop or burst open.
The key is to achieve the right balance at 2.0 PSI. A properly inflated tube should be firm and free of wrinkles. If you (an adult) try to stand on it, it should only sink a couple of inches. Other characteristics of a correctly inflated tube are:
- If you pull the cover from the bladder, it will snap back into place
- It is difficult to slide your hand between the cover and the bladder
- It will rise quickly, easily onto the plane, and skim the surface when towed
Proper inflation will go a long way. It will ensure your tubes’ life span and tip-top condition.
How to Give Your Towable Tubes the ~2.0 PSI They Need?
The general steps are as follows:
- Grab your towable tube and shake it a few times. This ensures the bladder is aligned properly inside the nylon cover.
- Open the valve on the tube and attach the pump nozzle into it securely.
- Start inflating.
- Stop when the pressure is around 2.0 PSI or your tube is firm and wrinkle-free.
- Remove the nozzle from the valve and close the valve.
- Stand on it to test the firmness. If it just slightly depresses, you are good to go.
To give your towable tubes the ~2.0 PSI they need, you can use an electric pump or a combo of a 12-volt pump and a hand pump.
In the market, these pumps can also be referred to as inflators and compressors. Some are designed specifically for water toy tubes but not all will be able to fully inflate bigger tube models. This is why a combo (as mentioned earlier) is needed.
There are four main types of pumps:
Electric (12 Volt) Pumps
This type of pump plugs into a cigarette lighter socket in a boat or car to inflate. It usually comes with a selection of adaptors to fit into various towable valves.
As a general rule of thumb, this type of pump is suited for 1 and 2-person towables.
Some that we recommend are:
This is also named a stirrup pump. You stand on it and pull it up and down to put air into your towable tubes.
Like electric pumps, this type of pump also has a few different adaptors to fit different towable valves.
Some that we recommend are:
This is a manual tool to inflate 1 and 2-person towable tubes. Like the others, it is supplied with multiple adaptors to be attached to various towable valves.
Some that we recommend are:
This is the high volume, high speed version of a 12-volt electric pump. It has croc clip connectors that attach to the battery of a boat or car for inflation. This type of pump is ideal for large towable tube models.
An alternative to a pump is a power inverter. These can effectively inflate a tube and are not as pricey as they used to be. You can put out a large amount of air to power other appliances on or near the water with these, as well.
When looking for a pump/inflator/compressor, check for the PSI peak. This can also be tagged as the “peak pressure.” Usually, it is indicated at the bottom of the pump on a label or specified in the product name and description.
That being said, the peak pressure value is not supposed to be wishy-washy. You should be able to determine what it is before making a purchasing decision.
Other factors to consider when buying a pump are ease of use and convenience. Both can be influenced by:
- the size and weight of the pump = making it more or less portable
- the power requirement(s) of the pump = making it more or less demanding
- whether it has cords = making it more or less portable and demanding
How To Keep Your Towable Tubes At The Standard PSI?
As with any other water toys, care and maintenance are key.
Here is what you should do after every usage:
- Rinse it off and remove any stains with a sponge or soft scrub brush.
- Hang it up to air dry, but go for shades and avoid harsh sunlight. This will make sure it does not expand or discolor.
- Check its state carefully, looking for signs of damage and addressing them immediately if spotted.
- Store it properly. You can read more about where to store towable tubes.
The next time you use it, be sure to check its firmness by assessing the tight fit of the nylon cover and whether it has wrinkles. Do the standing test on it as well.
Remember: Never hit the waters with an under-inflated or over-inflated tube.
So, as you have read in this article, the answer to “What PSI for towable tubes” is 2.0.
Do not exceed this unless you want to pop or burst open your towable tubes. But do not skimp on this (2.0 PSI), or you will have under-inflated tubes that are not any better.
- What PSI For Towable Tubes?
- Why It Is Crucial To Be Aware of the PSI for Towable Tubes
- How to Give Your Towable Tubes the ~2.0 PSI They Need?
- How To Keep Your Towable Tubes At The Standard PSI?