I’m someone who loves the great outdoors, but still lives in suburbia. I’ve always been a big fan of kayaking and being on the water, but it’s hard to transport such a large item when you’re traveling and some of the more remote places I like to visit don’t have kayak rentals. A couple of years ago I found out about inflatable kayaks and ever since I’ve been hooked. If you’re looking for an extremely portable way to transport a kayak, you might want to consider purchasing an inflatable. There are a number of inflatable boats available on the market, but we’ve taken the time to build this resource to help you figure out which will serve you best for your intended purpose.
Benefits of inflatables
Portability– An inflatable kayak can easily be transported in the truck of your car or in a backpack on a flight. This is easily the best benefit to buying an inflatable vs. a tradition kayak, because regular kayaks are really hard to travel with. Flying isn’t an option with a traditional kayak, and the only way to travel with one by car is to strap it to the roof of your vehicle. When deflated most inflatables weigh around 10 pounds, making them easy to transport in a bag if you plan on backpacking or hiking.
Cost – Inflatables are much cheaper than a traditional kayak. Inflatables offer newbie kayakers the ability to test the waters for a much smaller investment. Maybe you’re unsure whether or not you’d actually use the kayak very often and don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on an item that is just going to collect dust in your garage.
Maintenance – When your finished with your adventure down the river or fishing on the lake all you have to do is deflate the boat and let it dry. If you bring a rag towel with you, then you can quickly dry the kayak and fold it up and pack it away.
Are They Safe?
Yes, all of the major manufactures of these kayaks have gone to great lengths to ensure that these boats are extremely durable. Whenever you are using an inflatable item it is important to be aware of your surroundings. What this means when you are on the water is to be on the lookout for rocky areas or fallen tree limps that could possibly puncture the boat. With that said, I’ve personally taken my kayak down rocky river ways many times, and have never had an issue. It’s important to stick with kayaks that are reinforced and have safety valves. I’ve heard stories of people accidently opening a valve, which resulted in slowly deflating their kayak. Most of the well-known kayaks available today have addressed this concern by using safety valves, which will not accidently pop open.
My Top 3 Favorite
Sevylor HF-K79 Tahiti Fish & Hunt
Out of all of the kayak’s I’ve reviewed this is my personal favorite and the one I find myself using the most. The Sevylor can be inflated and ready to go in a less than five minutes. The kayak has two security air chambers separate from the rest of the kayak, which will keep the boat on top of the water in the event of an air leak. That alone is reason to buy this kayak. I’ve seen lots of different security measures, but none of the kayaks include separated safety compartments. This kayak can fit two passengers up to 400 lbs. My girlfriend regularly joins me on my kayaking trips and this kayak feels really secure with two people on it. Upon first glance I thought we might feel a little cramped inside this inflatable, but it turns out that the boat has plenty of leg room for both of us, and considering we’re both tall people says a lot. This kayak is extremely lightweight which is an added bonus for those looking for extreme portability. The only downside to the weight is that it can make fishing complicated if you’re trying to reel in the big one. In the event that you end up in a fighting game with Moby Dick, you’re going to move around and the fish can drag you much easier than if you were on one of the heavy kayaks. If you’re only looking to reel in small or average fish you’ll be fine, but if you’re like this guy, you might want to consider a bigger boat.
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package
This is another great kayak that many people will testify as standing the test of time. It isn’t the newest on the block, but that fact that this older model is still one of the best selling kayaks on the market says a lot. It’s easy to inflate and comes with a nifty carrying back that makes it extremely easy to transport. One of my favorite features is the bailing drain valve. This valve allows for water that happens to enter into the kayak to easily drain out. This feature is particularly useful for those who plan on taking this kayak out onto rougher waters where waves can and will crash over into the boat. Another added safety feature that I’m particularly fond of is the I-beam flooring. The beam helps to stabilize the boat as well as enable the kayak to cut through the water with less effort. This allows your paddling to be more productive so you expend less energy and while going a greater distance. At only 26 pounds this is a wonderful buy for those looking for an extremely portable inflatable.
AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak
While I don’t personally own this kayak I do have enough experience with it to recommend it to others. I belong to a kayaking club and this is one of the more popular inflatables I see amongst the group. It comes in a bright orange color which is nice for added visibility, especially if you plan on using your boat on a busy water way. Like the Sea Eagle, this too has an I-beam flooring system to allow for added safety and efficiency. This boat weighs in at 36 pounds, so it’s slightly heavier than the others I’ve mentioned, but it also supports more weight with a weight limit of 500 pounds. It’s worth mentioning that this boat is designed for moderate white rafting. If you’re looking for a boat that can take a little bit of a beating then this is probably the best you’ll find.