When you have an inflatable stand up paddle board (SUP) or indeed an inflatable kayak, it makes it much easier to travel with it and go on trips to the local lake or river to use it.
However, it also makes it necessary to bring along everything you need to use it. This includes a hand pump that can provide enough pressure per square inch (PSI) to inflate your inflatable SUP. A low-pressure SUP pump won’t cut it either, so you need something that’s reputable from a good brand.
With electric pumps, they’re either a single stage or have a two-stage model.
The single stage versions just blow air through the tubing into the inflatable watercraft. This is continued until the necessary PSI pressure is achieved to fully inflate the watercraft ready for use. The speed of the inflation will depend on the amount of PSI that a given pump can generate.
With the two-stage versions, they focus on inflating with air quickly to get the inflatable to full size quickly to look like the real thing. Once this is achieved, the second stage involves a focused effort on getting the pressure right to maintain the necessary amount. Using a two-stage system reduces the total inflation time compared to using a single-stage system.
The most powerful pumps tend to need a power outlet to boost their capabilities. Some pumps also come with a reverse flow feature to suck air out of a watercraft faster than it would naturally deflate on its own.
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Focus on the adapters and valves to make a pump work with your inflatable. Perhaps the best one to look for is the Halkey-Roberts valve, which has several other names including H-valve or HR/H3. They’re replaceable without difficulty and hold a good PSI.
Usually, either a military valve or an HR is what to look for when using higher pressure levels.
Check the adapters that come with a pump to ensure it is compatible with your watercraft.
Inflatables usually go with a vehicle, so the connection for power typically hooks up to either a car’s battery or a cigarette lighter. Some pumps can connect to a 12-volt battery, a separate battery or even a regular power outlet. Every pump is different. Don’t assume. Check what you need and what power options a product has before purchase.
If supplying power through your car battery, run the engine to avoid draining the battery preventing the car starting up when you need to drive home. This also increases the pump’s efficiency too.
- Auto Shutting Off
Some pumps have an auto shut-off feature that prevents adding too much air or pressure and potentially bursting the inflatable. There will be a manual gauge or a digital readout confirming the air pressure level which should be monitored.
- Pressure Levels
Verify with your inflatable documentation what PSI is recommended. Don’t over inflate the watercraft or add too much pressure. Only apply appropriate air and pressure levels to avoid destroying your inflatable through carelessness.