The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Tower Xplorer Review

Excellent stability and maneuverability make the Xplorer a standout performer.
TOWER Xplorer
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Price:  $799 List | $799.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Glides well, stable
Cons:  Humongus, not super easy to transport or pump up
Manufacturer:   Tower
By Valentine Cullen ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2016
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Stability - 30% 8
  • Glide Performance - 25% 8
  • Maneuverability - 25% 8
  • Ease of Transport - 10% 6
  • Ease of inflation - 10% 7

The Skinny

The Xplorer measures a whopping 14' x 32" x 8". It's a big, heavy awesome board. This board will make you reconsider your ultralight addiction for sure. It glides nicely and solidly cuts through rough choppy water or boat wakes with ease. The Xplorer offers great tracking and maneuverability. It was the least convenient board we've tested to transport, but once on the water, it was well worth it.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The whopping 8" thick  Xplorer stand up inflatable paddle board.
The whopping 8" thick, Xplorer stand up inflatable paddle board.

Stability


The Xplorer is stable, but it's tall on the water. It measures 8" thick which is the thickest board that we've tested. The one thing that was great about it being so thick is that it maneuvered more easily than most others tested, especially if you leaned into the turn.

Glide Performance


Most of the other boards tested seemed to take a bit more paddle action to turn. This board easily maneuvered turns with a lot less effort and was extra responsive to maneuvering via leg movements and leaning and less paddling than other boards tested. It is a delightful board to paddle on. The Xplorer glides well through the water. If you're looking for something that glides great, check out our Editors' Choice award winner, the Isle Touring.

Ease of Transport


The Xplorer didn't score very well in this metric because at 36 pounds it is the heaviest board that we've ever tested. Forget about transporting it fully inflated. It's too big.

Ease of Inflation


The Xplorer lost some points in the category because it's so huge that it takes a long time to pump up by hand. It did earn extra points for having an inflation valve and pump hose ends that are the same as most other boards tested. This is nice to have just in case you want to use an electric pump.

Best Applications


Touring flatwater lakes or possibly yoga might be the best uses for the Xplorer. This board might not be the best board for river adventuring because it is extra long. It measures 14' x 32" x 8" and is by far the largest board that we've tested. If you live near a lake that has a lot of boat traffic, keep in mind that the Xplorer cuts through boat wakes with ease.

Not the best idea for sure! This is the Xplorer after getting pumped up in the boat trailer parking lot on a day when a small boat launch ramp was very busy. Too busy to take up space pumping up a paddle board. We pumped it up up the hill and drove it down for a launch. Note that the nose is touching the front windshield. This gives you an idea of how massively huge this board is.
Not the best idea for sure! This is the Xplorer after getting pumped up in the boat trailer parking lot on a day when a small boat launch ramp was very busy. Too busy to take up space pumping up a paddle board. We pumped it up up the hill and drove it down for a launch. Note that the nose is touching the front windshield. This gives you an idea of how massively huge this board is.

Value


This board has one D ring on both the nose and the tail and doesn't come with a cargo system or extra D rings to install a cargo system on your own. The Xplorer did come with the best paddle. It has a twist to tighten adjustment/attachment system like most of the other paddles that came with boards, but this paddle has a 13.5" long foam grip pad added which was awesome and instantaneously a favorite. This board also comes with stock pump and gauge. We would've liked to see at least a small cargo system and perhaps a handle or two. It is made with the same durable material as the Tower Adventurer 2.

The awesome foam grip that comes on the paddle that came with the Xplorer.
The awesome foam grip that comes on the paddle that came with the Xplorer.

Conclusion


This massive no-frills board is great to paddle on busy lakes with lots of boat traffic because it cuts through waves easily. It's heavy and huge, but it is surprisingly easy to maneuver if you lean into the turns. It sits tall in the water with its massive eight-inch thickness. The Xplorer is rated to hold a whopping 800 lbs.

The Xplorer (8" thick) and the Wakooda (6" thick)  note the increased thickness and length of the Xplorer.
The Xplorer (8" thick) and the Wakooda (6" thick), note the increased thickness and length of the Xplorer.


Valentine Cullen