Kayaking has become more popular than ever before, with an increase in kayak varieties available to suit any kind of activity. Inflatable kayaks are the newest addition to this range of equipment, offering convenient and easy transportability while still providing great performance on the water.
The question many people ask, however, is “Are inflatable kayaks good?” To answer this question, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of inflatable kayaks and many other factors that make a kayak good. So, read on to find out if an inflatable kayak is right for you.
What Is An Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are multi-layered PVC boats, with air chambers carefully designed to provide buoyancy and keep the boat afloat on water. Even though they have been around for a while now, their designs are just as good, same as those of hard shell kayaks, from the bow and stern to the seat and paddle.
The main advantage of inflatable kayaks is that they can be deflated and folded into a small size, making them easy to store and transport.
What Are The Benefits of An Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks come with several benefits, making them a great choice for those who want to experience the thrill of kayaking without having to invest heavily in traditional hard-shell. Below are some of the benefits of an inflatable kayak:
- Easy to Transport: Inflatable kayaks are portable and foldable, making them extremely easy to transport. They inflate in very little time and deflation is also very fast, so transport is no longer a problem. These boats can simply fit in the boot of your car without taking up too much space.
- Lightweight: Inflatable kayaks are much lighter than most plastic kayaks, and no longer be difficult work to get to the launch point. It has low weight because kayaks are made of thick and very hard-wearing canvas material.
- Comfortable Navigation: Inflatable kayaks are stable boats, with two side chambers that provide support and buoyancy. They can be used in shallow waters without much fear of tipping over because of the increased maneuverability. The boat will also tend to drift more easily due to its low weight on windy days.
- Ease of Storing: Inflatable kayaks can be placed in the closet or stored in the basement. The volume of a folded inflatable kayak depends on its length and quality of construction. Generally, most inflatable kayaks take up the space of a suitcase. It deflates and can be stored in a small space, taking up much less room than traditional kayaks.
- Not so Expensive: Inflatable kayaks will cost you less than solid kayaks, as they are made of PVC or vinyl, which is a more affordable material. This makes them perfect for beginners who do not want to invest in a high-end plastic model. It also allows them to try out their first kayak with a lower financial risk.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Good?
The answer is yes! Inflatable kayaks are getting better with improvements in technology and remain a favorite among paddlers of all kinds. They are strong, portable, lightweight, and very easy to store away when not in use.
Kayaks are very heavy and large, making them difficult to store and transport. With inflatable kayaks, these issues are easily solved as they can be deflated and stored in a small space.
Inflatable kayaks are also more affordable and provide great performance on the water. There are some factors to help you decide that inflatable kayaks are really the perfect choice for you. We will discuss these factors below.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Durable?
It is the most important concern when it comes to inflatable kayaks. Some of the cheaper models are prone to puncture and damage, but there are many good brands that make durable inflatable boats.
The durability of a kayak also depends on how you take care of it. If you do not clean and dry your kayak after use, it can be quickly damaged. The maintenance of a kayak is essential to keeping it in good shape and making sure that it is safe on the water.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Good For Fishing?
Yes, inflatable kayaks are great for fishing. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them perfect for navigating rivers and shallow lakes. The stability offered by these boats makes it easier to cast your line with precision.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Good For Rivers?
Inflatable kayaks are great for rivers, as they are lightweight and easy to maneuver. They track well in the water and can handle mildly choppy conditions with ease. The increased buoyancy of inflatable kayaks also makes them perfect for navigating shallow waters and small rapids.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Good For The Ocean?
When it comes to the ocean, inflatable kayaks can be a great choice. Inflatable kayaks are designed to handle rougher waters, and they provide better stability than traditional hardshell kayaks. The extra buoyancy also helps in keeping you afloat if you capsize. However, it’s important to remember that even though inflatable kayaks can handle ocean waves, they are not designed for long-distance or open-water paddling. They should only be used in sheltered waters.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Easy to Clean?
Inflatable kayaks are designed to be folded up when not in use. However, if you don’t clean and dry your kayak well after use then it can lead to mold growth.
It can also be difficult to remove sand and other debris from the boat due to its foldable design so you may need to use a vacuum, so no area will be left uncleaned. After cleaning you have to leave the kayak to dry before folding it again.
Do not hang the kayak on a single hanging point as it can cause stretching and punctures. Resulting in air leaks and the kayak being unusable. So, it can be said that inflatable kayaks are easy to clean but you must take proper care of them.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Capable of Handling Heavy Paddlers?
Many people are concerned about whether inflatable kayaks can handle heavier loads without collapsing. But the truth is that not all inflatable kayaks are made equal and there are plenty of designs out there that boast comparable weight capacities to traditional plastic kayaks.
This means that you should have no trouble finding an inflatable kayak that can handle two adult paddlers, a small child, or your furry companion. However, it is important to remember that loading your kayak with more than its weight capacity is dangerous as you won’t sink but will negatively affect the kayak’s performance.
An overloaded kayak will go lower in the water from the center and it will be like you are floating in a tube. So, make sure you check the weight capacity of your inflatable kayak before getting in.
Do Inflatable Kayaks Have Good Control?
Here many people question whether inflatable kayaks stay straight. Generally, they tend to turn to the opposite side of each paddle stroke and this can cause a paddler to spend a lot of extra energy just to keep their kayak straight.
But manufacturers are now implementing fin boxes and removable fins on the bottom of inflatable kayaks, providing them with better control over navigation and speed. Moreover, removable fins are better than in-built fins as they can be adjusted for different conditions and provide great tracking ability.
Designers have also been focusing on improving both the tracking ability and maneuverability of inflatable kayaks so that you don’t have to worry about wasting too much energy while paddling.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?
Inflatable kayaks, like all forms of kayak, come with some level of risk. However, manufacturers have taken certain steps to minimize that risk with rotomolded kayaks. The main safety feature of an inflatable kayaks is its multiple air chambers. This means that if one of the chambers gets damaged then the other chamber retains enough air that will help you to go back to the shore.
Kayak design with seven or eight chambers will retain more buoyancy than a kayak design with two or three chambers. So, it is very important to check how many air chambers are in your inflatable kayak before heading out. But overall inflatable kayaks are safer than most people think and provide great performance on the water.
What Are The Pros and Cons Of An Inflatable Kayak?
There are many pros and cons of inflatable kayaks, but overall they are a great option for those who want to enjoy recreational paddling. Let’s have a look at some of their Pros and Cons.
Pros of Inflatable Kayak:
- It is a lightweight kayak with many benefits.
- It is easy to pack and transport due to its foldable design.
- They are small in size, making them easy to store.
- The seats can be inflated at your choice of the perfect level of comfort.
- Inflatable kayaks are usually wider than most rotomolded kayaks
- They offer a great deal of stability and are suitable for beginners.
- They can be used in any body of water, even rough rapids and ocean waves.
Cons of Inflatable Kayak:
- It takes time to inflate and deflate the kayak.
- It can’t be transported safely when fully inflated.
- High-end top speed is not as good as some other types of kayaks.
- They are capable to mold if not cleaned properly.
- High winds can easily blow you off your course.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Worth Buying?
Inflatable kayaks have only two advantages over hard-shell kayaks i.e storability and portability. If these are not important for you then you should go for hard shell kayaks. But if you don’t have storage space or a transport facility then an inflatable kayak is worth buying.
The quality and performance of modern inflatable kayaks do not compromise much on performance, comfort, reliability, or durability as long as you are buying high-end inflatable kayaks. Low-quality inflatables are not as good and should be avoided.
So, Inflatable kayaks are worth buying for those who need portability and easy storage but if you want a kayak and have the storage space as well as the ability to transport it then it is not worth buying.
Best Brands For Inflatable Kayak
There are many brands of inflatable kayaks available in the market. Some of the best brands for inflatable kayaks are:
- Advanced Elements
- Sea Eagle
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the cons of inflatable kayaks?
The main cons of inflatable kayaks are that they take time to inflate and deflate, cannot be transported safely when fully inflated, lack top speed compared to other types of kayaks, and can mold if not stored properly.
2. Are inflatable kayaks worth buying?
Inflatable kayaks are worth buying for those who need portability and easy storage, but if you have the space to store it and the ability to transport it then a hard-shell kayak is more suitable.
3. Are inflatable kayaks durable?
Yes, modern inflatable kayaks are designed to be just as durable as hard-shell kayaks, provided you buy a high-quality model.
4. How do you inflate and deflate an inflatable kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are typically inflated and deflated with a pump connected to the air valve of the kayak, or by mouth if it is not too large.
5. Are inflatable kayaks suitable for beginners?
Yes, inflatable kayaks are generally wider and more stable than hard-shell kayaks, making them perfect for beginners. They also offer great performance on the water.
Inflatable kayaks are a great choice for those who don’t have storage space and need to transport their kayak. We hope our article “are Inflatable kayaks good?” has helped you to decide whether or not an inflatable kayak is right for you!
Good luck, and happy paddling!