The fastest growing trend in the kayaking industry is clearly the use of inflatable kayaks. Today’s technology makes these inflatable crafts more rugged and maneuverable, while remaining lightweight and portable. Even seasoned kayakers are gradually making the switch to inflatable kayaks.
Inflatable Kayaks are Extremely Portable
If you have ever owned a hard-shell kayak, you realize how difficult it can be to transport your kayak. You have little alternative to strapping your kayak to the roof of your vehicle. Then you have to drive to a road accessible ocean, lake or river. Next you have to awkwardly carry your hard-shell kayak to the water. Hopefully the water isn’t too far from where you had to park your vehicle.
With an inflatable kayak, you simply fold the deflated kayak into a backpack and you can go anywhere. Most inflatable kayaks are less than forty pounds in weight and some are even less than thirty pounds. They also fold up very compact once deflated. Transporting them in the back of your car is no problem at all. Then think of all the mountain trails you can take your inflatable kayak to. You could easily paddle on remote lakes or rivers. Or how about taking your kayak on vacation with you? Bring it in your luggage on the plane and you could be kayaking almost anywhere in the world. That would be pretty difficult to do with a hard-shell kayak. You could take an inflatable kayak on a city bus or bicycle to the water. During off season, the kayak would take up minimal storage space.
Inflatable Kayaks are Tough and Durable
When most people think of an inflatable kayak, they picture a cheaply made plastic boat for kids. They picture a kayak that would burst from hitting the smallest rock or branch. If you’ve owned one of the older, cheaper style inflatable boats, you know you also have to invest in repair patches or a roll of duct tape.
New high quality inflatable kayaks are changing people’s impressions of inflatable boats. New inflatable crafts are made from puncture and abrasion resistant rubber, often reinforced with polyester fabric. This is much stronger than the PVC material used for most cheap inflatable boats. Under normal circumstances it is quite unlikely that you would puncture these new rubber materials. Even if you did, most inflatable kayaks have at least three separate air chambers.
Inflatable Kayaks are Easy to Use
What is easier than carrying your kayak right to the water’s edge and inflating it with a foot pump within five to ten minutes? Most people have pumped up an air mattress at least once as a child. Then after it is filled to the appropriate air pressure, set your inflatable kayak in the water and get in like any other kayak. You can straddle the kayak and then sit down. Or you can place your paddle across the kayak to brace yourself as you get in.
Kayaks are very stable, but with inflatable kayaks it can be much easier to get back in if you fall out. You simply grab the cockpit of the kayak and pull yourself up like you’re getting out of a swimming pool. This makes an inflatable kayak very convenient for snorkeling or swimming. Before getting back in, it is easy to dump out any water that gets aboard. Some inflatable boats are even self bailing.
Another misconception about inflatable kayaks is that they have very poor maneuverability. People think you would have very little control in an inflatable kayak. This isn’t the case with newer inflatable kayaks though. Many of these inflatable boats have optional foot controlled rudders to make for easy turning without missing a stroke. Some of these optional rudders just help the kayak track straight. A lot of inflatable kayaks have maneuverability comparable to hard-shell boats.
Where Can I Use an Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are made in a variety of styles to accommodate almost any conditions. For the casual kayaker, there are lower priced models best suited for flat-water lakes and rivers. There are more expensive models designed for moderate or advanced whitewater. Many models are even suitable for surfing. Many people like to use their inflatable kayak for fishing or hunting. You can get to more remote locations or fish directly from your kayak. Inflatable boats are also great for shallow water that would be too difficult for a hard-shell boat to manage.
For either a beginner or an advanced kayaker, inflatable kayaks are becoming a popular choice. They are extremely versatile and much cheaper than a hard-shell kayak. For less than half the price, you would be able to take your kayak to a variety of places that you never thought possible. While you probably wouldn’t be able to perform any barrel rolls, you can still have a lot of fun with an inflatable kayak. Once you try an inflatable kayak, you’ll wonder why you ever used a hard-shell.