Your regular hardshell kayak may look like a sporty statement when transporting around on the roof of your car — but for some, this could be reminiscent of a horrific Final Destination scene. With inflatable kayaks, you avoid causing road accidents, and also enjoy the convenience of easy-storage!
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start searching for the right kayak. This article includes our favourite finds so you can get straight into planning your next summer trip.
Best & Reliable Inflatable Kayaks of 2021
No matter your skill level, buying a kayak means a ton of research and criteria to be met. Before purchasing, you should make sure your selection meets the following:
Determine Purpose of Inflatable Kayak
Don’t make the mistake of assuming every inflatable kayak is designed to perform like the regular hardshell. Most of the time, customers get disappointed when the kayak they’ve purchased isn’t suitable for their activities and they leave bad reviews about it. If you are clear about your purpose, you’ll avoid this disappointment!
Some kayaks are made just for relaxed paddling around, while some are made to withstand rougher waters for extreme water sports enthusiasts. For example, if you’re interested in tackling whitewater rapids, perhaps getting a more durable inflatable like the Sea Eagle 370 Pro would be suitable. If you are in search for a fishing kayak, then comfort would be your priority since you will need a longer time out in the water.
Additionally, it’s good to consider if the seating is comfortable for your planned purpose. Usually, fishing may entail a lot of idle time — so if you’re not comfortable in your seat, it’ll be an unpleasant experience. An inflatable seat or padded seats with backrests are some of the features to ensure comfort when in use. Ideally, we recommend you find an inflatable that permits adjustable seating for versatility too. That way, you can always choose to bring a friend along or go solo whenever you feel like it!
When it comes to inflatable kayaks, there are many concerns about safety as it could often mean the risk of being easily punctured. This is a valid concern, especially if you plan to go whitewater rafting or tour around places with rocky or sandy bottoms. To avoid fears of damage and leakage, it’s always safer to invest in a boat with premium-grade durability. To get peace of mind, here is a quick table that includes reliable materials you should look out for to ensure durability.
|Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)||Common material used in inflatable kayaks. It can be easily merged with other materias to resist scratches, punctures, choppy waters and more. However, this material can be damaged by UV rays, so look out for kayaks manufactured with additional UV protection.|
|Nitrylon||A more durable version of PVC — it is a combination of synthetic rubber, natural rubber and polyester. This will ensure a scratch-resistant and puncture-resistant kayak. Plus, it’s a more eco-friendly alternative.|
|Hypalon||This is a heavy-duty material usually used in military-grade crafts. More on the pricier side, but it’s an investment to consider if you want maximum durability against harsh elements.|
You could also keep a lookout for the amount of denier used in the fabric covers of the kayak. The higher the amount, the better the durability. Additional coatings are useful as well.
On the plus side, an inflatable kayak usually comes with multiple air chambers too, which help you stay afloat and buy you sometime to get ashore should you actually puncture your craft.
Weight Capacity and Size of Kayak
This is a criterion that many users overlook — they pack on too close to the stated weight capacity. Although it is designed to carry that much weight, it’s highly recommended to have enough leeway. After all, it is an inflatable craft. You still have to consider if the activity you’re using the kayak for can withstand both the weight and the elements you’re in.
Additionally, many users forget to estimate if they can fit comfortably in the selected craft. If possible, it’s always great to contact the manufacturer for more information. For example, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is marketed to fit two people — and yet two customers feedbacked that it was too small for their height. Getting estimates of the space available can help you avoid this mishap.
As you can see from our list of inflatable kayaks, some packages include its own specific air pump, a carry bag, and sometimes paddles. Again, it really depends on what you plan to use the kayak for. If you’re more into a fishing kayak, extra accessories like fishing rod holders would come in handy.
Having storage on board would be a plus for you too. D-rings help to keep your essentials in place and prevent them from shifting around when in use. It is important to note that sometimes, these additional accessories may not be of equal quality as your kayak. Bear this in mind when you are deciding on which craft to purchase, as you don’t want to end up having to buy separate accessories.
When it comes down to safety, keep a lookout for the inclusion of grab lines. These are essential in helping you get back on your kayak should you fall overboard or capsize. Additionally, a repair kit can come in handy in times of emergencies too. Take for example, the Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak comes with its own specific repair kit.
When you have a reliable kayak, you can concentrate on having fun and enjoying your water activities. That being said, we hope this article has cleared up some doubts and helped you in your search for the best inflatable kayak for your next adventure!
As long as you don’t exceed your kayak’s weight capacity or hit extremely sharp and rocky surfaces, inflatable kayaks in the market are safer than ever. If you purchase the right one, you can be assured it won’t puncture easily. Most of the time, durable inflatables bounce off rocks instead of crashing and deflating on them. In fact, if the kayak is listed with a National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) cert, that’s added assurance that it can handle most harsh elements. Should you experience a puncture, the air chambers in inflatable kayaks help buy you time to reach the shore or call for help. So don’t worry about it sinking in seconds!It also goes without saying that you should also have the proper attire on when out kayaking. This means having a reliable safety vest and helmet in tow! These definitely do not come with your kayak, so do note of these safety essentials, no matter the water activity you partake in.
Good maintenance of your kayak ensures better longevity. This means regular cleaning and proper storage. It’s also important to dry it off after using to avoid mould formation and wearing down of protective exterior coatings. Follow your instruction manual closely, and never dispose of the carry bag that comes with your kayak.
One of the benefits of inflatable kayaks is that you don’t have to deal with heavy and bulky hardshells that take up a lot of space in storage. While it means extra time dedicated to setting it up each time, it actually also enables you to do routine checks on the status of your craft. Plus, this saves you money from installing car roof racks.The best way to keep your inflatable kayak is to dry it, and fold it up carefully into its carry bag. Avoid stuffing your deflated kayak into the bag, as the zip closure can snag onto the material and damage it. Depending on what type of kayak you get, there are different ways to store your inflatable. Generally, you don’t have to buy extra equipment to keep your kayak. If you feel the need for extra protection in storage, bounding it in rope or an extra bag should do the trick.