Buyers Guide to Inflatable Kayaks
Note : This
is the second page of our Inflatable Kayak Buyers Guide. Additional
information is located on the first
page of this section.
Features and Benefits
of Inflatable Kayaks
Now that we've explored
some of the things an inflatable kayak can do, let's move on and talk
about the features and benefits found in inflatable kayaks.
- Inflatable kayaks are probably, second only to float tubes, the
most portable fly fishing boat a person can buy. Inflatable kayaks
deflate and roll up into their own carrying case. This carrying
case, which will weigh anywhere from 20-45 lbs (depending on the
type of kayak you have), can easily be lugged around and fit in
the back of any trunk. The lighter kayaks can even be backpacked
in to remote locations.
Up - Inflatable kayaks are incredibly simple to set up. Just
take them out of the bag, lay them out flat, and inflate them to
the proper pressure. Inflation can be done either with an electric
pump or by using a standard bellows pump. Either method works just
as well as the other to inflate the kayaks, although the electric
pump does save a couple of minutes. All in all, most inflatable
kayaks can be fully inflated and ready to go in about 10 minutes
using a foot pump, 5-7 minutes using an electric pump.
- Inflatable kayaks, as they are designed for heavy duty river running,
are extremely durable. An inflatable kayak rated for Class IV whitewater
will withstand even the meanest encounters with rocks, logs and
other obstructions. Inflatable kayaks rated for Class III whitewater
are almost nearly as durable, as the softer fabric literally bounces
the kayak off of obstructions. And, should you happen to develop
a puncture or tear in the kayak, it is easily fixed. Use either
the supplied repair kit - which sets up quickly and allows the kayak
to be back on the water in less than 30 minutes. A piece of duct
tape even works for short term and emergency repairs.
Ease of Use
- Inflatable kayaks are extremely simple to use, even for beginner
paddlers. Paddling and maneuver of inflatable kayaks is so simple,
in fact, that beginner paddlers will quickly figure out all the
basics. This is much different than a traditional hard shell kayak,
which requires some skill in paddling.
Stability - Inflatable kayaks are very safe boats. Unlike canoes
and traditional hard shell kayaks, inflatable kayaks are very difficult
to tip over. While you can do it, you really have to work at it.
The reason for this is because inflatable kayaks have a flat bottom,
making them very stable.
- For inflatable boats, inflatable kayaks have an excellent capacity.
Whether you want to use it for day trips or multi-day floats, these
kayaks can take all the gear you can throw at them.
- Inflatable kayaks are extremely affordable. A good quality inflatable
kayak rated for Class III whitewater from Sea Eagle costs around
$300. A Sea Eagle Class IV inflatable kayak will run around $700-800.
Thus, in comparison to hard shell kayaks and canoes, inflatable
kayaks are very easy and light on the pocketbook.
There are many inflatable
kayaks on the market today. Many local discount stores now carry
cheap inflatable kayaks that sell for less than $100. While at first
blush this seems great, beware, as you get what you pay for. The
problem with these kayaks is that they are only rated for Class
II whitewater and are made of very inexpensive and not very durable
PVC vinyl. This vinyl punctures extremely easily, requiring constant
upkeep. Worse yet, the seams on the kayak are poorly put together.
And, once a hole develops in the seam, the kayak is essentially
lost as repairs on seams rarely last long. And finally, these inflatable
kayaks can not be used in colder weather. Using these kayaks in
conditions below 40 degrees or so will cause the fabric to become
hard and brittle, meaning the kayak can literally fall apart when
on the water.
Overall, these cheap
inflatable kayaks are find for the kids to use on your local ponds
or just off your favorite beach. However, if you plan on doing any
type of river floating, never use these kayaks - especially if you
will be floating through remote terrain.
Generally, if an angler
wants a boat of many uses (they will be wanting a boat for both
fly fishing as well as river running and general float trips), an
inflatable kayak is a tough boat to beat. In my own opinion, if
an angler can only afford one type of boat for fly fishing and wants
that boat to be very versatile, an inflatable kayak is the best
boat to get. With an inflatable kayak, you get the most bang for
your dollar, and the durability of the kayak will provide many,
many years of floating and fly fishing pleasure.
Read our Reviews of
Recommended Inflatable Kayaks
- Sea Eagle 340 Inflatable
- Sea Eagle 380 Inflatable
- Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable