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Inflatable Kayak Pros and Cons and our top picks
Kayaking offers a terrific way to get some fitness while also enjoying the scenery. Nothing matches a day on the water, whether it’s fishing, rafting, or simply spending time with loved ones.
Inflatable kayaks are increasingly popular among those who want to get out and paddle. Aside from the reduced price, these kayaks are more lightweight than hard shell ones.
The best inflatable kayaks are lightweight and durable, making them easy to pack and travel. Also, they save you money by not having to rent a kayak or car on each trip. Depending on a kayaker’s demands and budget, each has its own set of characteristics.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best kayaks and some pros and cons of inflatable kayaks. Let’s get started!
What are Inflatable Kayaks pros and cons?
You might hear them called air kayaks, too. And indeed, Inflatable kayaks fill with air to create a sturdy kayak that can be deflated for easy transport and storage. When folded, the inflatable kayak takes up very little space, making kayaking more available to a broader range of individuals.
Of course, as with anything, inflatable kayaks have their pros and cons.
Inflatable Kayaks: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages?
Both inflatable and a hardshell kayaks have advantages and disadvantages. Which one is ideal for you is a personal preference. However, let’s get the facts right and go over the inflatable kayak pros and cons. Then we’ll show you our top picks.
Advantages of Inflatable Kayaks
Inflatable kayaks vary in weight depending on size and construction. Still, they are generally lighter than hardshell kayaks. They come in a few variations, but the average weight of a single inflatable kayak is between 10 and 50 pounds. A single inflatable kayak is significantly more straightforward to carry than a hardshell kayak. This makes it easier to get it into the water, although it does need inflating first.
Another essential feature of an inflatable kayak is its stability. Inflatable kayaks have similar strength to hardshell kayaks. In fact, in some instances, paddlers believe that an inflatable kayak is more stable. The reason for this is simple. Inflatable kayaks have a broader and shallower base than hardshell kayaks.
3. Easy Storage
If you don’t have a garage or basement, consider an inflatable kayak. Indeed, they easily store in compact, inside places since it can deflate. Also, carrying is simplified. When deflated, they travel inside your car, eliminating the need for a roof rack or trailer.
You may also buy storage bags with backpack straps to make them easier to transport from your apartment to your car. In fact, these are handy when trying to access remote locations. They transport more easily through rugged terrain that is tough to cross.
The performance of your inflatable kayak will vary based on its quality. However, the majority will deliver a respectable performance, handle well, and even reach high speeds. Every year, the efficiency of these kayaks improves, and some of them can compete with hardshell boats.
5. Solid Construction
Despite common assumptions, several inflatable kayak manufacturers now produce high-quality, durable kayaks that can withstand much abuse and last a lot longer. They’re no more the pool toys of the past; they’ve evolved into actual canoes that can endure much stress, even dog paws.
6. Fun to use
Inflatable kayaks are available for all sorts of water, and, most all, they are a lot more fun. An inflatable kayak may paddle by anyone, regardless of age. They’re solid and safe, and they’re ideal for fishing, as well as for families and pets. Everyone who has experienced an inflatable kayak has had a fantastic time.
Inflatable kayaks are less expensive in total than hardshell kayaks. The cost of an inflatable kayak, especially for those who merely wish to use it for leisure purposes, can be excellent. Today, you can get a fantastic inflatable kayak for less than half the price of a hard shell kayak. Please keep in mind that the pricing has a significant impact on the quality of the kayak.
Cons of Inflatable Kayak
The premise that inflatable kayaks can seldom match the speed of a solid hardshell kayak is the first criticism most people have. It might be somewhat correct. In some situations, inflatable kayaks cannot equal the speed of a hard shell kayak. It is due in part to the significantly broader base of these kayaks. They are more stable because of the more general foundation; however, speed is the primary concern.
2. Vulnerable to bad weather
Inflatable kayaks, which are often lighter-weight than hardshell kayaks, are more affected by bad weather on the water. Compared to hardshell kayaks, the structure of inflatable kayaks is more vulnerable to wind and waves. To lessen the chances of this happening, stay mindful of your intended route and always avoid hidden barriers.
3. Launch Time
While inflatable kayaks are easier to bring to a launch site, they need more setup to get on the river than hardshell kayaks. It is because they must inflate. A tandem kayak takes roughly seven to ten minutes to inflate using a foot pump, depending on the kayak size. You’ll also want to set out a few minutes to check the air pressure in each air chamber to make sure the kayak correctly inflates. If you blow too much air into your kayak, it will become stiff and difficult to manage.
Just as launching an inflatable kayak takes a little more preparation, putting one away needs some more time. While a hardshell kayak will dry on the way home, an inflatable kayak must dry before folding and packing thoroughly.
Handling an inflatable kayak might be challenging at times. Because they are so light, it might be tough to manage them. However, beginners often find the inflatable kayaks easier to control.
Consider These Factors before Purchasing an Inflatable Kayak
The size of the kayak is just as important as the style you choose. A large kayak will make you feel unsafe and unsteady if you are a smaller person. However, the opposite circumstance would do the same. You must select a kayak that is neither too little nor too large for your height and weight.
Some kayaks are too heavy to carry on your back while trekking. However, others contain high-tech gadgets that may convert into backpacks. If you frequently drive by a car, weight is less of an issue. Nevertheless, it would help if you still packed a storage bag for your inflatable kayak to protect it from dirt, holes, and UV radiation.
It is a crucial consideration for individuals who need to bring a lot of stuff when kayaking. If you want to go fishing with your inflatable kayak, make sure you choose one that can accommodate all your gear.
Be careful to verify the kayak’s upper weight limit before placing an order. This function describes to as maximum load-carrying capacity” in the user handbook. The passenger capacity refers to the most number of passengers it can transport on a journey. The paddler’s body weight and any other things in the kayak are including in the capacity.
5. Length and Width
The kayak will travel quicker and straighter if it is longer and thinner. If you make a kayak broader and shorter, it will be more stable and straightforward to turn, but you will lose speed. A wider kayak might be a suitable beginner’s choice.
Top 7 Best Inflatable Kayaks, pros and cons
The Advanced Elements Advanced Frame is our top pick for the finest inflatable leisure kayak that is genuinely inflatable. This kayak offers excellent performance at an affordable price. It has an internal foldable aluminum frame that allows the rigidity to glide through the water with fantastic tracking and speed. The water-resistant exterior fabric contributes to the ships overall longevity and performance.
It feels almost as quick as a hard shell kayak on the water and is relatively comfortable for even prolonged trips. For maximum puncture resistance, there are three layers of material. The seat is simple to unroll, inflate, and connect. Padded seat with high support and adjustability gives peace of mind for long of kayaking. It has a mass capability of 300 pounds.
- Air chambers 7
- Capacity 300 pounds
- Color Red
- Length 10’5″
- Advanced Elements Spring Valve
- Storage compartment
The Sea Eagle 330 is the best widespread whitewater kayak. This twin inflatable kayak is ideal for trips that last longer than a day. The kayak has a large cargo area that may utilize to transport additional camping items. It has a power capacity of up to 500 pounds. It’s constructed of a rigid, tear-and-wear-resistant material that’s also puncture-resistant. Beginners may use it securely because of its sturdy bottom.
- Open and close drain valve
- Great package for two kayakers
- 500 pounds capacity
- Pressure gauge and repair kit
The Intex two-person kayak use on lakes and rivers with a moderate flow. The kayak comes with two aluminum oars, an air pump to inflate it, and adjustable seats for maximum comfort on the water. There is a 400-pound weight limit.
A backrest-adjustable inflatable chair, including with the kayak. The bright yellow hue aids visibility in an emergency. The accompanying high-output air pump can use to fill the air chambers. Only one air chamber will deflate if the kayak is punctured, while the other two will stay inflated.
- Material: PVC
- 400-pound weight limit.
- · Pretty thin material
- Bright yellow provides maximum visibility.
When you’re just kayaking on vacations, an inflatable kayak like this one from Rave Sports sounds like a wise option. With a weight ability of 200 pounds, it can use in any sort of water, independent of currents.
Please don’t allow the boat’s tiny size to deter you from utilizing it; instead, make the most of it. Because of its lesser size, you can easily pack a deflated version in your car or on your back and carry it on your journey. It also means you’ll spend less time putting your kayak together and more time paddling.
- Weight Capacity: 200 pounds
- Included high-pressure hand pump
- Carry bag with handles
- Elastic stretch cords
Sevylor Big Basin is ideal for slow-moving rivers and lake trips. The base of this kayak composes of heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin. It is unaffected by wear and tears as well as puncture, thanks to the high-quality material. Several air chambers include in the inflatable kayak for further support. These air chambers keep the kayak from tipping over in the water and keep it steady even if one of them fails. There is a 492-pound weight limit.
- Heavy-duty PVC construction
- Hold up to 490 pounds
- Multiple air chambers
The Driftsun kayak is an excellent choice for adventurous outings. It is, in fact, one of the most popular kayaks among adventurers! Moreover, it’s ideal for two people and works well as whitewater rafting. A high-pressure stitch foundation secures the body of this kayak, compose of wear-resistant PVC. All these properties make it impervious to punctures. There is a 450-pound weight limit.
- Material: PVC
- Weight Capacity: 450 pounds
- Use: Recreational
The inflatable kayak from Airhead Montana will be a terrific alternative for you whether you’re going camping, exploring new locations, or preparing for races. It can store in the trunk of your car or a suitcase. The Nylon fabric protects the air chambers and ensures their long-term endurance. For those lengthy paddling adventures, the elbow guards contribute to the comfort.
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
- UV water-resistant layer
- Material: Nylon, Stainless Steel
In Summary, consider these inflatable kayak pros and cons
Lightweight and robust, the best inflatable kayaks offer a simple kayak to pack and transport. It also helps in saving cash by eliminating the need to rent a kayak or a car for each trip. Each has its unique set of qualities, depending on the demands and budget of the kayaker. Our above offer kayak choices ideal for anyone, whether beginner or expert, in kayaking. Pick one of them and enjoy kayaking throughout Florida!