“I want a kayak, not a toy”, you are probably thinking to yourself. But inflatable kayaks are not toys, they are reliable, durable boats that come with the extra advantage of being very portable. Inflatable kayaks have evolved over the years. They have produced innovative designs, top-class engineering methods, been borrowed from the military and used to craft the most stable, safe floating boats.
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First, inflatable kayaks are affordable compared to hardshell boats. They offer competitive value for their price. Fiberglass and wood cost more than synthetic rubber, and the price of repairs is higher in the former. Your inflatable boat has a longer life span and will rarely require maintenance.
When shopping for an inflatable boat, you will be paralyzed with a plethora of choices. There are a lot of models and brands of Inflatable Kayaks to choose from. How do you go about picking the best boat for you? I will tell you exactly what to look for when shopping for an inflatable.
The best kayak inflatables come with a lightweight aluminum frame. This makes the boat more rigid while also improving speed and tracking.
Your choice of the kayak will depend largely on the primary use of your boat.
If you like to go fishing on your kayak, then you should find a boat with a rigid drop stitch floor. This will keep you supported when you stand and cast your line.
Further, you’ll need a floor that has a self-bailing drain in the floor. The drain will be handy in rough weather, quickly getting rid of any water that splashes in. They will also keep the water dripping from your fish when you haul them in at a bare minimum.
You may find it useful to get a boat with multiple mounting points for your paddle, carry bag, spray shield, etc. It is important for a full day of fishing, that your boat gives you a lot of room for your feet to move. You must look for a boat with adjustable seats and cup holders for your favorite beer.
When kayaking through fast-moving rapids, you will need a kayak that can punch against the grain. You must choose a boat with a sufficient rocker to climb over high waves. Be careful not to compromise speed for maneuverability.
If you are a beginner at kayaking, please choose a boat with 9.5” tubes that will make a wide, stable platform. Also, find a boat that has thigh straps and adjustable footpegs for a comfortable and secure ride.
Why You should buy an inflatable kayak
Inflatable boats are so easy to pack. When you get to your destination, inflating will take about 7 minutes using a hand pump. Inflation is even faster with an electric pump hooked to your cigarette lighter.
When you are done with your watersports and want to head home, deflating is so fast it will only take two minutes. Be careful not to fold your boat while it’s still wet, as this will encourage the growth of mildew and will shorten the boat’s lifespan.
My favorite thing about Inflatable kayaks is that they are so friendly to beginners. You do not need a lot of boating experience to get started with your first inflatable adventure. You just jump in, grab a paddle, and let the water guide you.
Inflatables have a wider base than hard shells. Wider bases will give you stability and will require less balance when paddling.
When deflated, inflatable kayaks are super small. And they weigh so it requires little that only one person to carry. And in modern designs, they can fit almost anywhere, they can fit in your boot. Inflatables take up so little space and you won’t need any complicated roof racks.
People ask me this a lot. Are inflatable boats even durable? The answer is yes, inflatables are so durable, they can easily live up to 10 years.
I will give you a few pointers to keep your kayak in excellent condition for a long time:
First of all, always rinse your boat after an enjoyable day's paddle before drying them.
The trick is to always store them dry. Don’t fold any boat that has not completely dried off.
Make sure you clean your kayak once in a while. Cleaning your boat will not only make it look good, but it will also increase its lifespan.
Follow the pressure guideline in your manual. Make sure not to overfill or under fill the boat with air. Both are bad for the boat.
An important tip about pressure is that the boat expands when it is out in the sun but not in the water. So if your boat is fully inflated enjoying the sun somewhere in the sand or the dock, you might want to let a little air out. Letting some air out will give it room to expand and will protect the seams.
Another way to protect your boat against sun rays is to use Protectant spray. The UV protection spray reduces the effects of direct sunlight on your kayak.
While I will not tell you the exact model of the inflatable kayak to buy, I can recommend the best brands. I will tell you about my two top picks of inflatable kayak brands.
Sevylor is one of the largest inflatable kayak manufacturers in the world. They make the most incredible inflatable boats. They have outlets in over 20 countries. Sevylor has been making boats ever since 1948, and you know if a company’s been around that long, it must be trustworthy.
Although this company has only been around since 2017, it is still one of the few brands I trust. Their kayak designs are innovative and dependable. They build a wide range of kayaks for different activities, including; whitewater, expedition, touring, and angling inflatable kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks are simple boats while at the same time they are agile and dynamic. Remember to buy your kayak from a trusted brand and take proper care of it once you use it.
As the name suggests, this kayak is ideal for people who are fond of fishing so if you are one of them this one is for you!
This Wilderness Systems kayak is a combination of comfort with top quality. Its open design is customized to suit the needs of every fisherman. This kayak can survive against the toughest of conditions.
This advanced tactical angling kayak (A. T. A. K. ) offers strength, acceleration, responsiveness, and is compatible with the Helix MD motor drive.
The Wilderness Systems equip their kayaks with comfortable seat style by allowing you to adjust the seat in high, low, and recline position which offers great visibility and stability. The footrest of this kayak is padded which adds extra comfort.
The spacious deck of this kayak is highly stable and allows standing and fishing while it still remains nimble.
The best part of this kayak is that it offers maximum storage. Its rectangular stern hatch, rear storage tank well, and covered tank well in front let you bring a lot of gear, extra clothes, first aid kit, and even your lunch.
The SlideTrax located at the front lets you easily add or remove accessories. You can keep all the necessary tools in the utility tray.
If you are into flatwater kayaking, this Air Fusion EVO kayak is suitable for you.
This Advanced Elements Air fusion EVO was awarded the 2008 outdoor industry award and rightly so. This inflatable kayak is a mix of polyurethane, aluminum, and drop stitch air chambers which makes it rigid.
This EVO is built for safety under extreme conditions and provides high stability. It has a V-shaped hull for advanced tracking and a rear access hatch so you can easily access the items under the deck.
This nimble kayak is 13 feet long, has a narrow beam and drop-stitch technology which makes it track like a solid hard shell.
This kayak is equipped with inflatable coaming which enables the usage of a sprayskirt to provide protection against harsh weather conditions.
As this kayak is portable, you can easily store it anywhere and can carry it in your car’s trunk or in a bag when flying to any destination.
It comes with a duffel bag with shoulder straps and a manual that can help you in setting it up.
The handles of this kayak are rubber molded which provide strength, durability, and a secure grasp to it.
This kayak is perfect for people looking to enjoy a safe and enjoyable kayaking adventure in the warm season on moving waters.
Weighing only 44 lb, this kayak is very lightweight and extremely easy to store and transport from one place to another.
The multi-chine flat bottom of this kayak provides stability which is needed when you are casting lines or catching fish. Moreover, the hull is built to perform with a better pace and agility that you will require when you are in an appropriate fishing spot.
Built to give you complete comfort while kayaking, this kayak has adjustable footrests and padded backrest with seat cushion.
Made with Ram-X materials, this SENTINEL 100X ANGLER is durable and will last for many years to provide you thrilling experiences.
This kayak comes with useful accessories such as a center console with compartments, rod pairs, two accessory eyelets, and two flush-mounted rod holders.
The ExoPak; a removable storage compartment lets you load your gear at home before your journey so you can start your kayaking right away when you arrive at the destination.
The unique manufacturing process of Pelican allows them to provide extra flotation inside the hull of all of their sit-on-top kayaks in order to achieve the ABYC requirements.
This kayak is ideal for beginners due to its lightweight nature which makes it easy to control.
This Sundolphin kayak is all about comfort. The adjustable foot braces and padded seats with high back support and a large cockpit make it extremely comfortable.
The hull of this kayak is just 10 feet long so its very easy to maneuver it as compared to the longer kayaks.
This Aruba kayak provides easy and straight tracking while paddling and still remains nimble to navigate through tight waters.
The kayak is manufactured with a UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polythene hull which makes it durable and wear-resistant.
It has a useful storage hatch and a built-in water bottle holder which is located in the bow, however, it is angled backward so you will need to make sure that lid of the bottle is sealed.
It has handles on both front and the back which allows you to carry or drag the kayak easily and since it is lightweight, one person can easily carry it.
Being lightweight, comfortable, stable, and durable, this kayak provides good value for money.
Sundolphin requires you to drop your number when placing an order for this kayak to schedule a delivery appointment.
If you are looking for most of the features an angler wants, then this pontoon made by Classic Accessories is your best option.
With two drink holders and removable side pockets that can be converted into a portable gear bag, this pontoon is extremely reliable, comfortable, and durable.
This pontoon can easily be transported from one place to another as it comes with a transport wheel.
This Colorado boat comes with a detachable stripping basket that can be fixed to the side or placed as a lap style attachment.
The padded seat with a backrest and the non-slip footrests are adjustable which adds extra comfort making it useful for people with taller height.
If stability and control are your preference then this one is for you! Its heavy-duty steel tube construction is coated with powder and the sturdy two-piece 7 feet aluminum oars give it strength and control.
A rod holder also comes with this pontoon boat which can be mounted in six different positions. The front of the boat consists of a retention cord and Carabineer clips.
There is also a wire storage bin at the back of the seat that can also be used as a battery platform for the motor.
The boat is built according to the ABYC standards.
If you require more information, please check these references
Inflatable innovation : developing an inflatable sea kayak : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Technology in Manufacturing and Industrial Technology at Massey University , article, "mro.massey.ac.nz", retrieved on, Fri 17-July-2020
A Database Design Case: Teton Whitewater Kayak , article, "aisel.aisnet.org", retrieved on, Fri 17-July-2020
Concept Development of an Inflatable Roof Box using Drop-Stitch Fabric , article, "www.diva-portal.org", retrieved on, Fri 17-July-2020
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