Inflatable Kayaks: Pros and Cons

Thinking about picking up a new inflatable kayak for the spring season? The idea of being able to store your kayak in your car trunk and carry it up your stairs in a bag sounds enticing, but is it right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of owning an inflatable kayak. For the sake of this post, we’ll assume cost isn’t a factor and all brands are equal.

inflatable kayak
Image by Andy Dolman on Flickr

Pros:
Lightweight
Portable
Stable
Easy Entrence/Exit

Cons:
Set up takes some time
Holds water
Slower
Tracking
Storage

Like I said above, the pros and cons listed are generalities and can differ based on the brands, size, type, etc of inflatable kayak you buy. It’s safe to say that an inflatable kayak is great for people who live in apartments because they are compact, lightweight and portable. They are perfect for beginners because of their ease of use and low learning curve. If you’re looking to kayak calm, flat water for a few hours then this is a good buy. It’s a great product if you’re going on a camping trip by the lake.

For those of you looking for a kayak that can handle rapids (even Class I and II) then you might want to consider something else. Inflatable kayaks don’t do rapids well – they fill up with water quickly (not all inflatables have skirts) and the hold water. Dumping water can be a pain because the kayak can fold and bend when trying to remove the water. They generally don’t have a lot of storage and can take longer to inflate than just grabbing a hardshell off your roof rack.

Do you use an inflatable kayak? If so, what are your thoughts and what conditions do you use it in? Post a comment and let us know.

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