Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide
What is an Inflatable Kayak?
There are many different things that you should learn about the different types of inflatable kayaks and consider how the kayak will be stored, how often you will be traveling with it, how often you will be using it and where, and other considerations.
Types of Inflatable Kayaks
How you will be using your kayak will play some part in the type of inflatable kayak that you choose. Depending on the style and type, there are different types of kayaks available for you to choose from. Each of them has specific uses that we will outline below.
- Touring Kayak – Touring kayaks that are inflatable are long, thin and about to be used in both freshwater and saltwater activities. The design of the inflatable touring kayak was created to reduce the amount of effort that it takes to travel through flat water. Many of the touring kayaks have a rudder or can be rudder compatible so they can be steered.
- White Water Kayak – These inflatables are shorter and wider than the touring kayaks. The water will transport the kayak and require less effort in steering the kayak from the user. The width of this kayak provides stability and the shorter length makes it much easier to move around obstacles in the way like rocks, fallen trees and other issues. The scupper holes are present to drain water that may get into the cockpit and there are D-rings for securing your belongings.
Storage and Transportation
Two major pluses of inflatable kayaks is that they are easy to travel with and easy to store as well. When deflated, they can pack up small enough to fit into a carrying case that is the size of a larger backpack. Once the kayak has been inflated it won’t ever deflate as small as it was before it was ever inflated, but it can still be deflated and stored away easily.
Inflatable Kayak Specifications to Look For
There are several things you will want to check out about the inflatable kayaks you are interested in. Things such as seating capability, maximum weight capacity, material, length and other factors are all things you need to check out.
- Seating in the Kayak – Depending on the model of inflatable kayak, it may have single, double or triple seating. The seats typically run in a straight line down the length of the kayak. If you will be sharing paddling duties with a partner, look for an inflatable that sits double or triple. The seat backs are sometimes inflatable and sometimes they are foam.
- Materials – The primary material in an inflatable kayak can be hypalon, polyurethane, nylon, or PVC. The most durable of all of those is hypalon which also weighs more than all the others as well. The other materials listed are usually more rigid when inflated than hypalon is.
- Length – The type of kayak you purchase will determine the approximate length it will be. White water kayaks are usually about 3 meters long. Touring kayaks can be 5 meters long. How long the kayak is, IS important in deciding how the kayak is going to be used.
- Weight – If you will be hiking up to lakes and rivers, you will be carrying your kayak. They are usually designed with handles that make hiking with them much easier. The heavier, inflatable kayaks are made of thicker materials and are also resistant to puncturing and tears. If you know you will be hiking with your kayak, look for the lightest weight one you can find.
Extra Inflatable Kayak Accessories
There are several additional accessories that you may want to purchase when you get your inflatable kayak. They are always important to have when you are going to be going kayaking.
- Paddle – if you will be hiking with your kayak, look for 4 piece paddles that will break down easily and make carrying them much simpler and less cumbersome. You will need at least two paddles.
- Life vest – Every paddler and rider in the kayak should wear a life vest. They are also known as personal flotation devices. Life vests are usually made out of buoyant material or it can be created to become buoyant. In white water, life vests are critical as the paddlers end up in the water a lot more than expected. Just remember life vests are not just for those who don’t know how to swim, they are meant for accidents and safety and should be worn by everyone in the kayak.
- Air Pump – An inflatable kayak needs a specific type of air pump. They require low pressure air anywhere from 3-5 psi. They can be hand or foot operated. Foot operated air pumps are much more comfortable and easy to use without tiring too fast.
- Storage Bags – These bags can be extra large Ziplocs that will keep water and moisture out but you need to bring extra bags with you so you can utilize them if needed. There is always gear involved taking a kayak trip, even if it is not meant to be a long trip.
- Patch Kit – Even though these inflatable kayaks are not meant to be punctured or messed up somehow, sometimes accidents happen and they will need social media help and any number of other of tasks or work done. Make sure that the patch kit you get, you just go back to where things were right before the dream ended.
Kayakers that use inflatable kayaks have a much easier time paddling and that is one of the reasons they have become so popular. Buying the right inflatable kayak can be a real challenge but if you take the information that you have learned in this buyer’s guide and take a little time to figure out exactly what you want your kayak for, whether it’s white water rafting or fishing.
Once that is decided you’ll be able to sort through all of the choices that are around and make a decision on the inflatable kayak that is going to fit your preferences and needs the way it is supposed to.
Don’t forget to look at the overall weight and length of the kayak as well as what stipulations does SHE have if anything. You will also want to look at allergic and my 100 years email.