Never mind slides, boogie boards, or even inflatable banana boats, the newest, coolest, most ridiculously fun water toy out there is the water trampoline!
Think of combining all the fun of a bouncy castle, a trampoline, and the ocean and you have the ultimate kids day out! Seriously, water trampolines are incredible fun for all ages – although you’ll find that the kids can keep playing for much longer than you can!
They are great for bouncing, flipping, diving and climbing on, and they can be set up on sea, lakes, rivers or even swimming pools (if you can find one big enough!).
There are loads of awesome attachments available to add to the trampoline, creating opportunities for kids to enjoy a huge variety of games and activities that will keep them entertained all day long.
Purchasing a water trampoline will provide wonderful experiences, fantastic photographs and meaningful memories. So read on to find out all you need to know about these brilliant water toys!
What Exactly Is A Water Trampoline?
A water trampoline is a lot like a regular trampoline but with huge inflatable tubes running around the base which allow the whole thing to bob on the surface of the water.
Think ‘large rubber doughnut meets trampoline’ and you will pretty much have got it.
They are great because you can jump on and off them without any risk of hurting yourself on the hard ground.
The water comes as a refreshing surprise! What’s more, they are unstable as they wobble about on the water, rocking and swaying with the current, and this adds an extra dimension to the fun!
What Are The Different Types Of Water Trampoline?
Water trampolines can vary in size, shape, price, capacity and accessories. It is important to consider what your budget is, as well as the number of people you will have playing on it, and where you intend to set it up.
All these things will affect what type of water trampoline you buy, but first… you need to decide whether you want a water trampoline or a water bouncer.
Water bouncers are very similar to water trampolines but have some crucial differences which make them generally less expensive, more lightweight and less springy. We will cover both water trampolines and water bouncers in this guide so that you can choose which is best for you.
The main difference between a water trampoline and a water bouncer is that a trampoline has individual springs all the way around it which attach the meshed trampoline surface to the inflatable tubes that make up its frame.
These inflatable tubes tend to be large and are often attached to a metal framework as well for extra support and structural integrity. The tubes are higher than those on a water bouncer, lifting the trampoline further off the surface of the water so you can perform fantastic aerial stunts.
Water trampolines are generally larger and can hold more kids than water bouncers, so are often preferred by activity clubs and sports summer schools.
The inclusion of springs means that the surface of the trampoline is extra bouncy and you will enjoy a more intense and exciting jumping experience than on a water bouncer. However, water trampolines are more expensive than water bouncers and take longer to set up and take down.
In contrast to the water trampoline’s many springs, a water bouncer has stretches of webbed nylon mesh which attach the bouncy surface to the inflatable frame. These are stitched on very securely, however they do not create as effective a bounce as the trampoline springs.
Water bouncers tend to be smaller both in diameter and height, and can hold less jumpers at one time as a result.
They are great for two or three kids at a time and are more lightweight so are easier to pack up and store than water trampolines. Because they do not have the complicated springs or metal frame components of a water trampoline, water bouncers are quicker to assemble.
This means you can spend less time setting up and more time bouncing on the water! They are more convenient for small areas of water too, because you need a fairly big and clear space to use a water trampoline.
Water bouncers are also less expensive and are often the preferred choice for families and small groups.
Key Features To Consider When Buying A Water Trampoline Or Water Bouncer
Water bouncers are the smaller of the two options and range from about 10 feet in diameter to a maximum of about 15 feet. As the inflatable tubes are smaller, these bouncers also tend to lie lower to the water than trampolines and have an average height of around 23 inches.
Their compact design means that they weigh less and so are more easily packed up and transported. The lightest water bouncers are about 37 lbs and the heaviest are about 95lbs
Water trampolines are generally bigger and range from 11 feet in diameter to as big as 25 feet across!
They can be as high as 42 inches off the water’s surface, which is great for jumping in! The only downside is that the really large ones can weigh up to 150 lbs so require lots of heavy lifting to transport and set up.
These toys can be circular, rectangular and even hexagonal in shape.
The rectangular or hexagonal water trampolines hold tension more efficiently due to their straight edges, and as a result you get a higher bounce.
Circular trampolines hold less tension because of the curved edges, however there is a really cool sweet spot in the very center of the circle where the bounce is best due to the distribution of tension (it’s a science thing!).
What is more, many people find that circular trampolines are better for kids because the shape gives the illusion of more space and kids don’t feel backed into the corners.
Surrounding Space And Depth of Water
Water trampolines and bouncers can be set up on lakes, rivers and the ocean. They can even be set up in a swimming pool if it is big enough. However they do require a lot of space around them in order to be safe.
It is recommended they are set up at least 15 feet away from boats, docks, rocks and other bathers so as to avoid collisions and obstructions. Large water trampolines will require 30 feet of clearance space.
There should be approximately 8 feet of water below a water bouncer, and 10 feet below a water trampoline. This is to ensure that kids don’t hit the bottom as they jump off so it is really important that you don’t set up somewhere too shallow.
Water bouncers can hold between 200-500 lbs of weight, which is the equivalent of two to three children bouncing, or adults lounging and sunbathing.
Water trampolines hold between 500 lbs of weight, all the way up to 2000lbs for the largest models, and are therefore able to hold multiple kids all jumping at once, and are also suitable for adult jumpers too!
These toys are designed to withstand all kinds of weather conditions including sunshine, wind and rain.
They can be used in hot and cold water temperatures, and can handle saltwater just as well as freshwater. They are very hardy and durable because they are supposed to be jumped on, clambered up, pummeled, rolled, folded and yanked about!
Make sure that your trampoline has been UV treated so that it keeps its lustre and color even after hours of being exposed to the sun. And be sure to check that it has well yielded seams to avoid punctures and tears.
Most water trampolines are made from high grade, heavyweight PVC. The higher the denier of the PVC, the stronger the material will be, so depending on how many people and how much wear you think your trampoline will get, your trampoline should be as thick or thin as you like.
It is advisable to buy some special PVC cleaner to wash the trampoline down with every once in a while. This will protect the material and help with durability.
Most trampolines will come with their own anchorage kit. However, the type of anchorage you use will depend on the water depth, type of waterbed, wind conditions and water currents that your trampoline is exposed to. It is best to set up in as protected and calm an area as possible.
The minimum weight for a water trampoline anchor is 150 lbs for most requirements, and using the type of concrete blocks suitable for anchoring rafts and floating docks will work very well. Bell anchors are not so good because they sometimes drag along the surface of the waterbed.
It is a good idea to use a shock cord as part of your anchorage set up as this will absorb some of the vertical movements created by the trampoline.
Most water trampolines come with a ladder attachment, however if they don’t it is a good idea to buy one separately because they come in very handy when your legs and arms get tired from climbing up the outside of the inflatable frame.
Ladders can have between 3 and 6 steps, and stainless steel or aluminium ladders are recommended because they will provide you with a firmer footing than inflatable alternatives.
Your water trampoline will also have handles positioned around the edge of the inflatable frame which are great grip holds for when you are climbing on and off.
This is the really fun bit where you get to turn your water trampoline into a mini water park!
There are so many wild and wacky accessories that can be added to the trampoline for extra fun, like slides, logs and amazing blast bags which launch you up into the air!
These accessories can be a great way of encouraging creativity and play, especially for activity groups.
Some water trampolines come with accessories included but in many cases you will have to purchase them separately. Be sure to check that the accessories you buy are compatible with your trampoline model to avoid disappointment if they don’t fit.
Set Up And Take Down
Water bouncers are much easier to set up than water trampolines as they require very little assembling. It is possible to set up a water bouncer in 20-40 minutes, including inflation time. This makes them very convenient, because you can simply inflate them and get bouncing!
Water trampolines take far longer due to the metal frame assembly and the attachment of all the individual springs. In general, it takes 3 or 4 times longer to set up a water trampoline than a water bouncer.
However, most people leave their water trampolines out on the water all summer, so the complicated setup is a once-a-season task and doesn’t need to be done every day.
To assist with set up, it is incredibly important to get a high speed electric pump that can inflate and deflate your water trampoline. There is no way that a foot pump will do the job sufficiently – and you certainly don’t want to try blowing these things up yourself! These toys are not like your garden paddling pool.
A decent electric pump will work really well and will speed up inflation and deflation dramatically. Some models come with a pump, but the pump isn’t always included so be sure to check.
In the opposite extreme, an air compressor will be too powerful to inflate a water trampoline and will damage the tubes because they aren’t designed to accept pressurized air. What’s more, there is no easy way of fitting an air compressor nozzle to a water trampoline, so best to avoid trying.
The buoyancy of your water trampoline can be affected by the external temperature. If you inflate your trampoline on a lovely, hot day, it will require less effort and air to achieve the required pressure inside the inflatable tubes.
However, if the temperature drops overnight, or if you are using your trampoline on a cold lake, the air pressure inside the tubes will diminish. This can cause the tubes to go mushy and you may need to add more air to them to keep your trampoline buoyant.
Storage And Transportation
It will require at least two people to lift and transport a water trampoline. It should never be dragged along the ground, even when deflated, as the tubes may tear. It can be folded and rolled once deflated, but be sure to let the tubes dry out before you put them away.
Keeping your water trampoline in a plastic container is a great idea and will protect it from rodents.
The price of your water trampoline or bouncer will really depend on its size.
Entry level bouncers can be as little as $200, and top end water bouncers can be as pricey as $3000.
Water trampolines are more expensive than bouncers, and you will find it difficult to find even a small water trampoline for less than $1000.
Many of the accessories and attachments are sold separately so this may add to your overall expenditure.
If used correctly and set up in an appropriate place, water trampolines and water bouncers are incredibly fun and safe toys. However, it is always best for kids to wear life jackets whilst playing, even if they can swim, and kids should be supervised by an adult at all times.
What is more, children under the recommended age limit shouldn’t use a water trampoline and you shouldn’t exceed the weight limit and capacity either to avoid collisions.
Always read the instruction manual.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use My Water Trampoline On Land?
It is possible to use a water trampoline on land but it should be positioned on soft, spongy grass or sand to protect the inflatable frame.
Can I Repair My Water Trampoline?
It is possible to repair tears and punctures in a water trampoline if you use the repair kit and patches provided. Read the instructions carefully and always make your repairs when the trampoline is deflated and dry.
How High Can You Jump On A Water Trampoline?
On a top end water trampoline you can jump as high as 4 feet in the air!