Inflatable Kayaks | All Questions Answered on !

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: July 2, 2020
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Technological innovations have made kayaking easier and affordable with the introduction of inflatable kayaks. Worry not about investing in one as it is worth every coin spent. You get to wrap it up, place in your car and get to the shore with ease without the need of a kayak trailer or cart.

Of course, the experience of the hard shell kayak is on another level, but the convenience of inflatable types remains unmatched. Here we seek to answer questions on inflatable kayaks to help you make wise decisions.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Worth it?

You might be reluctant to buy an inflatable kayak due to safety and durability concerns. Worry not as the inflatable kayaks are worth investing in as they will give you value for your money.  Do not get confused thinking they are like the swimming floaters as the inflatable kayaks use improved technology.

Recreational companies have harnessed the inflatable innovation to manufacture high-quality, professional and durable yaks.  These types are lightweight, making it easier to carry around compared to traditional hard-shell kayaks. Light does not mean weaker, as the inflatable kayak can hold much than their traditional counterparts. Besides, they are foldable and thus making transport and storage stress-free.

Regarding stability and durability, the inflatables can withstand bumps and knocks. In case of a collision, they bounce off hard surfaces and rocks, making it easy to avoid severe accidents. Most are made using drop-stitch technology to create a sturdy surface with long-lasting rubber and PVC outer layer that make inflatable kayaks more robust than the hard-shell types.

However, you should know that the inflatables are not always cheaper, as there are most advanced options that cost as much as the hard-shell kayaks. More affordable options are best for calm water and thus suitable for beginners who are seeking to learn the basics rather than exploring more in the water.

Additionally, you need to get ready to spend at a time to inflate and deflate the kayak before and after use. This can take up much time- approximately 10 minutes when using a pump and longer without one. You might also get challenge pumping in the correct air level that can affect the performance of the vessel in the water. Controlling the kayak in rough seas can also be a challenge.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Good for Fishing?

Yes, inflatable kayaks work well in fishing. Their versatility in that they can be used in large lakes, small ponds, sheltered ocean bays and any river makes it a good platform for angling. You need to choose one wisely as all the inflatable kayaks ae not the same when it comes to fishing. Basically, they are four types explained below:

  • Recreational inflatable kayaks: These are types that are designed for daily use in the river or lake. You can take the vessel for fishing, snorkeling and diving.
  • Whitewater inflatable kayaks: These types perform well in powerful whitewater rated as class IV & V. Few anglers visit the kind of water and when they do they can use the vessel for fishing though not really recommended.
  • Lake paddling kayaks: If you intend to paddle for long in large flat water bodies then the lake paddling kayaks are the best.They are faster and easier to paddle.
  • Expedition inflatable kayaks: These are vessels that perform well in nearly all water bodies. Their versatility is what makes every angler fall in love with the kayak as they can fish wherever and whenever.

The inflatable fishing kayaks come from recreational, Lake Paddling and expedition types. If you choose the basic yaks, then you will have to redesign by attaching the necessary fishing accessories to make angling experience better.

However, some are already designed with fishing-friendly features that make them top picks. They make angling fun, more comfortable and productive. You get to choose one depending on your fishing needs. Here are some features to look out for when buying an inflatable kayak for fishing.

  • Comfortable swivel seats
  • Elevated seat height
  • Motor mounts
  • Rowing frame
  • Lure and rod holder
  • Compatible with trolling /low powered gas motors
  • Fish rulers
  • Tie-down straps and accessory pouches
  • Ability to withstand large waves
  • Use keels or skegs
  • Green color
  • Stability while standing to allow for casting and reeling in the catch

Are Inflatable Kayaks Hard to Paddle?

Paddling inflatable kayaks per se is not hard but may not be comfortable. Your physical fitness, paddling grip and strokes techniques used and body positioning play a part in determining whether you will paddle with ease or not.  When going out for shorter trips in calm waters, then the experience will be best as without paddling the vessel can still stay afloat and even moved by wind.

However, when paddling upwind or in rough waters, you are likely to get tired with palm soreness and tightness around your body. Note that in an inflatable kayak, you do not have a natural position of paddling and cannot move anyhow; thus propelling the yak can be challenging. Luckily, with some kayaking experience, paddling inflatables become easier and better.

Can One Person Use a 2 Person Inflatable Kayak?

Yes, but paddling and controlling two-person inflatable kayak alone can be tedious. If you are planning to use it solo, then go for standard tandem kayaks that allow for the loosening of the back seat for easier paddling. By moving the chair, the weight is transferred forward for efficient paddling.

However, if the back seat cannot be loosened, it becomes almost impossible to paddle alone. In windy conditions, it is hard to control a two-person kayak since the yak is bulky you will be pushed from the back if you are sitting in front or from the front if seated at the end. Nevertheless, if you find yourself alone in a tandem kayaks, then it is recommended to sit at the back and add some wait in the front seat to make it more easy and manageable to control singlehandedly.

How Long Do Inflatable Kayaks Last?

Many people are always worried about the durability of the inflatable kayaks. Rest assured that these types last longer when taken care of. Most are puncture-resistance and take a lot of misuses to get a single tear.

You will be surprised that the inflatables will serve you longer, just like the traditional hard-shelled kayaks. Even the adventure companies, water rescue agencies and outfitters are already embracing the use of inflatable kayaks in undertaking their activities in the water.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?

Safety should be a top concern to every kayaker, and this is properly the reason many people are concerned if the inflatables can put them in danger. The truth is that the inflatable kayaks are made of rigid structures, tough materials and comfortable seats that make them safe and easy to use like the hard-shelled types. 

However, caution should be exercised when paddling as it can be a little challenging compared to using the traditional yaks. Even though problems such as punctures and leaks are unlikely, they sometimes happen as the kayaks are not damage–proof. Use common sense and take care of your vessel for easy and safe paddling. You should know what to do in case of a puncture to paddle to the shore safely.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Slower?

The reality is some inflatable kayaks are faster than hard-shelled kayaks. But, if you were to compare the fastest hard-shell kayak with the fastest inflatable kayak, the later will be slower.

Inflating Kayak

After the above questions have been answered and finally you have decided to invest in an inflatable kayak the worry might be on how to fill it. Yes, before you use the inflatable yaks, you have to fill in the air to the recommended pressure for safe and efficient paddling. Here are the steps that you should follow to pump up your vessel effectively:

Step 1: Unfold and lay out the kayak

When you get to the kayaking location, you will need to take out your vessel, unfold and put it flat on the surface.

Step 2: Start by inflating the floor chamber

There are three air chambers in an inflatable kayak that allows air to be pumped in. There are two on the sidewalls and one on the floor. Some with poor quality may come only with two air chambers, one on the floor and the other on the sidewall.

Regardless of the model, you should always start by inflating the air chamber at the bottom of your vessel. When the floor is pumped, the base is set that makes it easy to inflate the wall of the kayak. The valve can either be Halkey Roberts or Boston, and you should learn the type on your kayak for easy pumping. To inflate, attach the right valve adapter to the air pump and bring the floor chamber to full inflation. Detach the pump and close the air valve once done.

Step 3: Pump in the wall chamber to 60-70% each

Next, you need to inflate the wall chambers of your kayak. If the vessel is new, it is recommended to pump in only 60-70% to allow the yak to set up. Inflating one side to 100% might cause the material to warp, making the process a little hard to complete.

To inflate, open the air valve on the kayak wall, insert the pump hose and begin pumping. If you have experience of using the inflatable kayaks then go ahead and fill each to 100% and everything will be set up with ease.

Step 4: Inspect the setting of the floor chamber

You should always check whether the floor is set at the center once you partially inflate the walls of the kayak. If not, move the walls a little bit to ensure that all parts of the yaks are well aligned.

Step 5: Inflate the wall to 100%

Once you have checked that the kayak is well set, go ahead and fill up both of the wall chambers. In case you are umping with weaker electric pump, consider top it up to reach 100% inflation which is the ideal air pressure. Close the air valve once done.

N/B: Double check that all the air valves are closed tightly to avoid having to redo the process of inflation again.

Step 5: Inflate the seats

 Most of the inflatable kayaks come with seats that require positioning and inflation. Have a look at the correct positioning of the chair using the guide as they vary from one model to the other. Once okay, go ahead and inflate it fully.

Step 6: Insert the skeg

After everything has been inflated, it is the right time to insert the skeg if your yak uses one. Sometimes, it may be good to attach the skeg once your kayak is in the water to avoid damaging the boat. Laying the vessel on the skeg may accidentally cause puncture or tear.

A Beginner’s Guide To Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayaks

Final Thought

The introduction of the inflatable kayaks has revolutionized the kayaking industry in a way no one could ever have imagined. Having the flexibility of putting the vessel in the pack back and pump it once is the shore is the convenience every kayaker would appreciate. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or expert; the inflatable kayaks have been designed to provide matched experience like their traditional hard-shell counterparts.

Even though paddling the inflatables can be a little bit challenging, you are assured of their safety and durability. Besides, the inflatable kayaks are affordable with low maintenance to keep them functioning. Though some are worried of time taken to inflate, once you have the expertise, it will take you a maximum of 10 minutes to pump it fully.

The effort is worth compared to having a hard hassle getting the hard-shelled kayaks to the shore. In that case, you will need the kayak trailer and cart to transport it. It thus makes every sense to give the inflatable kayak a shot and enjoy kayaking with many conveniences!

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