Tips for Filling a Portable Basketball Hoop

Your basketball hoop needs a solid foundation. Find out what you need to fill your hoop’s base.

March 30, 2020
Father and daughter playing basketball in the driveway with a portable basketball hoop.

Looking to bring the excitement of the basketball court to your home? Portable basketball hoops can be a great option for playing a pickup game with friends or a round of HORSE with your family.


But once you find the right portable hoop and get it home, don't forget the most important step: filling the base. It’s crucial to properly fill the base to help increase the hoop’s stability during play, as well as in windy weather.


There are two common ways to fill a basketball hoop: with water and with sand. The owner's manual you receive with your hoop will let you know how much to use of either. You can also use a base gel that mixes with water to become solid.


Filling A Basketball Hoop With Water


Adding water to the base is as simple as hooking a hose to the base hole. This is a cheaper and easier option than sand. If you plan on moving the hoop around a lot, water is a good choice since you can easily empty it from the base.


There are a few things you can do to help with stability and keep the base strong over time when using water:

  • Adding a small amount of bleach to the water can help avoid the growth of algae in the base.
  • If you live in an area with cold winters, the water in the base could freeze and expand. This can cause the base to crack. To avoid this, add a small amount of nontoxic antifreeze. You can also empty the base and store it indoors during colder months.
  • Water can evaporate and leave the hoop less stable, so checking the water level regularly is key.
  • Examine the base for any leaks over time. This can help to keep it upright for your next pickup game.


Filling A Basketball Hoop With Sand


Sand is denser than water, and it weighs more per gallon, so it can help increase stability. But while it may make for a more stable hoop, sand can also make hoops difficult to move.


Another drawback to sand is that it can be hard to add — especially if wet — and even harder to get out of the base of your hoop.


Many hoop owners choose "play sand," like the kind used to fill kids’ sandboxes, to fill the base since it can be smoother and more even. Using a funnel while filling the base can help decrease the chances of spilling sand.


Filling A Basketball Hoop With Base Gel


A third option for your hoop is a special gel designed to stabilize bases. Made of absorbent polymer, you will mix the gel with water. This mixture can become the equivalent weight of several bags of sand. Designed to be both mold-resistant and freeze-thaw durable, base gel can last several years. Once firm, it can also resist small holes or cracks that can cause leaks.


No matter what you use to fill your base, it’s always a good idea to have two adults move the portable hoop if needed. Also, it’s advised not to use weights, bags of cement or bricks to hold the hoop down.


Now that you know what to do to keep your portable hoop firmly on the ground, it’s time for tip-off. With a solid base for your hoop, you’ll be able to focus on hitting a long-range three or guarding against uncle Joe’s legendary jump shot during your next family pickup game.