Swimming is the first water activity that comes to mind when one says “summer”. However, there are many other ways of multiplying the fun you can have in water. You could either try water sports or create a fun-time activity of your own.
A water trampoline is a great way to enjoy a weekend at the lake-house, or to amp up your poolside party by a notch or two. Much like a trampoline on land, a water trampoline consists of a jumping mat attached to a frame, only the frame is connected to an inflatable tube that keeps the tramp set afloat. Kids and adults alike can enjoy water trampolines either as regular trampolines or as a diving board to launch into the water with a splash.
The following sections will take you through setting up a water trampoline, caring for the set, distinguishing between trampolines and water bouncers, precautions you should take while using a water trampoline, as well as some of our favorite picks and their reviews.
Best Water Trampolines For The Money (2017 – 2018)
|RAVE Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse 120 Water Trampoline (12 Foot)||$1,799.99 from $1,499.99||Buy on Amazon|
|RAVE Sports Northwood's Aqua Jump Eclipse 15' Water Park||$3,699.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Island Hopper 25'"Giant Jump Water Trampoline||$4,979.99||Buy on Amazon|
Last update on 2019-10-20 at 22:19 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What Are Water Trampolines Made Of?
Much like land trampolines, water trampolines are made of a jumping mat of elastic fabric attached to a metal frame using springs. These were introduced in the 90’s as the water-sport equivalent of the popular outdoor equipment. Earlier water trampolines would have a steel tubing as the frame, around which a tube would be inflated for flotation. With advancements in polymer technology and innovation in design, the springs began to be directly attached to the tube. Recent models are therefore free of metal tubing, which leads to a considerable decrease in their weight as compared to their older counterparts.
The tube in a water trampoline is made using fabric-reinforced, heavy-gauge PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The tube is joined at the seams using heat or RF (radio frequency) welding. The seams are doubled at the more load-bearing stress points. The material is UV-resistant, which is an essential feature given that a water trampoline generally remains out in the water for the entire season and UV rays from the sun can cause the color of the tube to fade or the material to deteriorate.
The springs are directly attached to the tube and are covered with a safety pad. This prevents any potential injury from open metallic springs and provides a cushion around the jumping mat.
The entire assembly is never free-floating. It is anchored in place using cables, floating docks or anchors. The anchoring arrangement should be such that the trampoline offers optimum bounce in one position, any vertical impact or wave movement being absorbed by the anchors.
Users are required to assemble a water trampoline from scratch. When you buy a water trampoline, the set may or may not contain tools such as an inflator, ladder, valve adapter, anchors, maintenance kit and other accessories. You should check what your order contains, to avoid having to run to the store for a missing piece just before you are ready to take the trampoline to the water.
Water Trampolines vs Water Bouncers
A common confusion among buyers is between water bouncers and water trampolines. While alike in appearance, the two have different characteristics.
Water bouncers are light and are not attached to the tube using springs. Typically, they offer less bounce but a greater jumping area. This makes them ideal for toddlers and young children who can safely play on it without jumping higher than would be safe. They do not take more than 15 to 20 minutes to be inflated. Bouncers are often no more than 16 feet in diameter. Due to their smaller and lighter structures, they are also comparatively inexpensive.
On the other hand, water trampolines are heavier and more expensive. They take anywhere between an hour or two to inflate, depending on the size. Trampolines are also generally bigger in diameter than bouncers – anything between 14 to 25 feet in diameter. They are designed to give a higher bounce, thanks to the springs in their construction. The effective jumping area, however, tends to vary, depending on the shape. They also last longer than water bouncers and a high-quality water trampoline can serve your family for up to 15 years.
How to Assemble a Water Trampoline
A water trampoline has to be assembled from scratch. As an inflated water trampoline is anything between 14 to 25 feet in diameter, it is rather impractical to assemble it and inflate the tube away from the area where you want to place it. The assembly, therefore, has to be as near to the waterfront as is feasible.
You should ensure that the trampoline should be placed in water such that a radius of at least thirty feet around it is completely clear. This means that it cannot be floated to close to a dock, or in an area designated for motorboats and other water sports. The location should be such that the wind and water currents are not too strong.
The trampoline cannot be placed in very shallow waters. The depth of the water where you intend to place the trampoline should be at least 8-10 feet. This is necessary to ensure solid anchoring of the trampoline set, minimizing the risk of puncturing the tube due to floating or submerged trash or objects like sharp rocks, as well as to avoid injuries while jumping from the trampoline into the water.
The water trampoline set can be transported on the bed of a pickup truck or in an SUV. Once it is brought to the shore, follow these steps:
- Choose a flat area near to the waterfront. Unfold the tube and lay out the frame components in a circular arrangement according to the instruction manual accompanying your water trampoline set.
- Place the jumping mat inside the frame. Attach the mat to the frame using the springs.
- Next, take the frame attached with the jumping mat to the tube and buckle the two together.
- Inflate the tube. This can be done by using either an electric pump or a manual pump. It is recommended that you select an electric pump as a water trampoline tube takes a lot of effort and time to inflate manually. A typical water trampoline needs between 1-2 psi of air pressure, so a regular electric pump with 2-3 psi output can do the job pretty well.
Note: Do not use an air compressor to fill air in the tube. The pressure delivered by an air compressor is very high and can damage the trampoline tube.
- An alternate method is to use the exhaust side of a shop vacuum to inflate the tube.
- Attach the safety pad and ladder to the trampoline set.
- The next step is to attach anchors to the water trampoline. It is recommended that the anchor weight be at least 150 pounds for stability. Larger trampolines would, of course, require heavier weights. Concrete blocks are the most commonly used anchors. Other options are floating docks and screw-type anchors. Markets also offer shock cords which absorb vertical impact and wave currents, thus stabilizing your water trampoline in rough conditions.
- The trampoline is now ready to be taken into the water. It is important to note that the water trampoline should never be dragged on the ground to avoid punctures and fabric damage. At least 2-4 people should be available to lift the set and place it in the water.
- Your water trampoline is now ready for use.
Top Editor Picks: Popular Water Trampolines
Now that you know how water trampolines are used, here are a few of the most popular water trampolines available for purchase. These selections are some of our editor’s favorites on the market right now.
RAVE Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse 15′ Water Park Review
RAVE Sports manufactures some of the most favored water trampolines in the market. The 15’ Water Park by RAVE is a water trampoline, log and launch combined into one, which lets you enjoy a number of activities using the same equipment.
- AJ150 Northwood's water trampoline: 130 lbs.; 5 -step ladder; 80 (5-1/4") springs; accomodates 2 adults or 4 children (700 lbs. max) limited lifetime warranty
- Aqua Launch Northwood's: 2 users; 138" x 54"; 31 lbs.; 22 oz. boat grade PVC with heat-welded seams; UV-treated; limited lifetime warranty
- Aqua Log large Northwood's: 2 users: 210" x 25" dia.; 23 lbs.; 22 oz. boat grade PVC with heat-welded seams; UV-treated; limited lifetime warranty
Last update on 2019-10-20 at 20:29 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- All components are made of boat-grade, UV-resistant PVC that is long-lasting and can stay in water for the entire season.
- The package contains an air pump to inflate the setup and a step-ladder for easy access.
- The trampoline is inflated in less than 20 minutes.
- The jump surface can accommodate only two adults or four children at the same time.
- Kids cannot jump off the launch by themselves, it needs an adult to utilize it fully.
If you have a small family or not many takers in your group for the trampoline, this is a reliable alternative.
Island Hopper 25′ “Giant Jump” Water Trampoline Review
The kind of trampoline that can be the showstopper at your lakeside picnic, the Giant Jump by Island Hopper is huge, accommodates many people and has a very thoughtful and innovative design.
- Island Hopper 25' "Giant Jump" commercial water trampoline complete ONLY. Attachments sold separately.
- Aqua Sports Technology designed and built the Island Hopper "Giant Jump" water trampoline using the highest quality materials and features available. This is to assure greater product longevity and user safety, the choice of hundreds of camps and resorts world wide.
- Trampoline inflation tube is designed with state of the art, 9 mm 1100 Denier mesh reinforced PVC material. This high performance material has exceptional tensile, tearing and adhesion strength. It also has advanced UV resistant coating. 5 year "NO SEAM BLOW-OUT" limited warranty. 5 year frame limited warranty.
- 3 chamber inflation tube guarantees structural strength and assures the tube is always floating. 7 anchor-tie-D-rings (3 inside and 3 under tube) for safe and secure mooring. 8 swimmer assist handles for ladder and water assistance.
- Includes: 25' water trampoline tube, 25' steel hardware frame + springs, jump surface, jump safety pad, (2) heavy duty aluminum 4 step entry ladder, carry storage bag, repair kit, and instruction manual.
Last update on 2019-10-20 at 22:19 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- The 25-feet diameter ensures a large jumping surface, and can hence accommodate more people.
- The tube is triple-chambered, meaning that the trampoline will keep floating even in case of superficial tears.
- The setup has six anchor-tie D-rings for reliable anchoring.
- It has two ladders for easier access and twelve swimmer assist handles along the periphery.
- A repair kit is included in the package for maintenance.
- The price is on the higher side as compared to other water trampolines and might be prohibitive.
If you do not mind shelling out extra bucks for a great design and a versatile recreational equipment, the Island Hopper Giant Jump is perfect for you.
RAVE Eclipse AJ-120 Trampoline Review
Another excellent product by RAVE, the Eclipse AJ-120 Trampoline is a smaller, budget option for more infrequent users.
- THE CLASSIC: RAVE Sports Aqua Jump Eclipse Water Trampolines are the classic inflatable water trampolines that sparked the entire commercial-grade inflatable water toy industry. Offered in four sizes to fit every family's size and budget.
- MAXIMUM JUMP: The black nylon webbing jump surface is attached to the inflatable tube with metal springs for the maximum jumping experience. Kids and adults will have hours of water fun jumping and splashing!
- READY IN FOUR STEPS: Inflate the tube, attach the springs and the jump surface, move to 10' of water, and anchor. Now you're ready for a summer of family fun!
- DURABLE & PERFECT SIZE FOR 4 KIDS: Constructed of commercial-grade highly durable materials, the Aqua Jump Eclipse 120 is the ideal size for 2 adults or 4 children. Fully inflated, the AJ120 Water Trampoline is 12. 2' in diameter and 26' tall.
- LADDER INCLUDED: A durable 3-step ladder is included for easy climbing from the water onto the Water Trampoline.
Last update on 2019-10-20 at 20:18 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- With a diameter of 26 feet, this water trampoline is large enough for a number of people to play on.
- The package includes a high-speed inflator/deflator, which reduces the hassle of having to purchase one separately for this specific purpose.
- A ladder is included in the setup along with an anchor harness.
- There is a provision to attach an aqua log and an aqua slide (both to be purchased separately).
- It does not offer a very high bounce, which might be a limiting factor if users are older.
This offering by RAVE is quite inexpensive as far as water trampolines are concerned. While quality is not an issue, you might miss the accessories that come with other models, albeit at a higher price.
How to Care for Your Water Trampoline
A water trampoline is a major investment and should ideally last you for at least 8-10 years. However, it also demands regular maintenance and careful usage to preserve its durability. While your water trampoline is generally built to be long-lasting, some simple steps from time to time can prolong its life further.
As a water trampoline usually comes out on bright summer days, it is a common concern that the sunlight could cause the color of the tube to fade away. This is highly unlikely as the PVC that makes up the tube is UV-protected, which means it is resistant to dullness from overexposure to sunlight.
However, if you still want to go the extra mile and keep your water tramp set shiny, you can purchase a UV protectant that basically acts as a sunscreen for the tube. It has to be applied to the fabric and it reinforces the UV blocking, keeping your tramp set looking brand new.
Another curiosity people generally have with regards to water trampolines is about their resistance to weather. As these are typically a summertime recreational equipment, they are designed to withstand being left in the water for the entire season. As long as the trampoline is anchored properly and guarded against strong wind, it can be left out. It is only during cold weather that it needs to be disassembled and stored away.
One regular maintenance activity that should be done while the water trampoline is in constant use is to check for the air pressure. As a rule of thumb, the trampoline tube should be as firm as a basketball. Regular use and changing temperatures can cause the air pressure to diminish somewhat and therefore the tube should be inflated to the optimum pressure level at regular intervals. Keeping the tube well-inflated also prevents rodents like muskrats from chewing on your water trampoline. A fully inflated tube surface means that they cannot find enough loose material to grab on to with their teeth, thus protecting your tramp set.
Water trampolines can also be used in saltwater. The tube material as well as the metallic frame maintain their structural integrity even in saline conditions. However, the springs might need replacing from time to time.
When the water trampoline has served you for the season, it is time to store it in safely. It should be taken out of the water by lifting, not dragging, just as it is done while floating it in. It should be cleaned with soft water and a mild cleanser. This cleans away any grime it might have accumulated in the water. Ensure that the cleanser is not petroleum or vegetable-based as it can react with the PVC and damage it.
The tube can now be detached from the frame and mat. The latter can be either dismantled into components or stored as it is by propping up against a wall. The tube should be deflated using the air pump or a specialized deflator.
This is also a good time to check for any tears or punctures on the tube. It can be done by pouring soapy water over the tube and checking for small bubbles anywhere. If there are bubbles, it is indicative of a puncture. It can be repaired easily using tools from the maintenance kit that is often sold with the trampolines.
The puncture can be covered using a sufficiently large patch and glue from this kit. The area where the puncture is identified should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Glue applied to this point as well as the patch. Wait for a few minutes to let the glue thicken a little, at which point it gets greater adhesive strength. The patch is then placed over the puncture and rubbed with a hard, smooth, non-abrasive object to make it stick. The patchwork should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before either inflating the tube again or storing it away.
After the cleaning is done, the tube can be flattened and rolled like a sleeping bag. It should then be placed in a plastic container to protect it from dust and pests such as rats.
Water trampolines are one of the best ways to enjoy water-based activities during the summer. They combine the joy of jumping on trampolines with the added thrill of splashing into the water.
Regular maintenance is essential to preserve the durability of a water trampoline. While they are built to last, routine activities like cleaning, proper storage and handling can maintain the trampoline in its brand new condition for a longer period of time.
While there are many options available in the market, your selection has to strike the optimum in price and quality. Being too tight-fisted with your money is not advisable when it comes to water trampolines as these are a long-term investment. Finding the right water tramp set for your requirement can offer you years of summertime enjoyment with just a little upkeep every now and then.
top image credit: By Kyle Flood from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (Elk Lake – Baby Toss (not on the trampoline)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons