Are Inflatable Kayaks Worth It? Pro Guide About Kayaks

Do you enjoy paddling in water? Are you curious about inflatable kayaks? I am betting you are. That’s why you have opened this page. However, as a beginner, you are puzzled, and there are so many questions!

Hey! Don’t worry. As you have come here, today you will have almost all types of details about kayaks.

Here, I will compare inflatables with other hard shells or traditional kayaks. The guide will also cover necessary related details about the kayak’s size, weight, types, and others.

Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions about inflated kayaks. If you go through the article, you will be clarified. So, for creating a better experience with these kayaks, let’s hop into it.

Why Are Inflated Kayaks Worth It? Explained

Are Inflatable Kayaks Worth it

Now people are choosing affordable, portable, and comfy kayaks for paddling. Inflatable kayaks are safe, reliable, comfortable, and easy to paddle.

Day by day technology is advancing, so do inflatable kayaks. For beginners, inflatable kayaks are one of the best for paddling. These kayaks are for recreational purposes.

Here are some reasons why inflated kayaks are worth-

Durable Enough

Inflated kayaks are not simple pool toys. They are not just a kayak with a thin layer of cheap material. Their layers consist of high-quality materials. The materials are the reason for their durability. Such as –

  • PVC
  • Pennel Orca Material
  • Nitrylon
  • Hypalon
  • Polyethene and
  • Textiles

Sometimes, they have multiple layers. Some manufacturers use aluminum to increase structure durability.

Most inflatable kayaks have the same configuration. Like- The fabric core provides the kayak shape, synthetic rubber layer gives airtightness, bruise protection, chemical and UV resistance.

For example, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a durable polymer that can be made softer and stronger with the addition of plasticizers. PVC makes kayaks more durable and long-lasting.

But with one disadvantage. PVC is irresistible with temperatures, and chemical reactions. But other materials are not!

Finally, remember all kayaks do not have the same durability. Because all kayaks are not created equally. Again, old inflated kayaks will not have the same durability as the new ones.

More Than Stable

Suppose you are inflating your kayak and a question pops up in your mind. “Is it stable or not?” I can guarantee you if you’re reading this, all of your confusion are going to be cleared.

Most of the kayaks consist of three air chambers. One on the floor and the others in the side position. As a result of the side chambers, the framework of the kayak becomes broader.

Though this wider hall makes the kayak slower, it is another reason for the stability of the kayak. Recently, drop-stitch technology has been widely used in inflatable kayaks.

Drop-Stitch stimulates the production of high-pressure air compartments so that they can be increased (relying on the manufacturer) up to an air pressure sufficiently over 0.3 bar.

Thus drop-stitch kayaks obtain very good stability and stiffness. So, the key point, inflate your kayak properly for enjoying the proper stability.

Light In Weight And Packing Benefit

Are you an apartment dweller? If you are, then I can understand the problems you face while storing your kayaks. For this, I have come up with a piece of good news.

As you know, hard-shell kayaks are made of wood, plastic, fiberglass, and kevlar. As most of them are heavy materials, its weight is approximately 55 pounds.

On the other hand, inflatable kayaks have fabric cores, synthetic runner layers. They float on the water because of air chambers.

You can easily say which one is lighter in weight. Yes, for this reason, inflated kayaks are easy to carry. The approximate weight of kayaks is 30 pounds.

Again, you can easily stock inflatable kayaks by deflating. You can store it in your closet, in a bag or any place! Just the storing place must be dry. That’s it.

Safe And Easy To Use

No doubt! Inflatable kayaks are safer than traditional kayaks in some cases.

Along With strong equipment, rigid structure, and affluent seating, inflatable kayaks are simply as safe and easy to use as any other kayak. Inflatable kayaks are best for beginners.

But you must be careful while paddling, especially one among these boats.

You can apply common sense to maintain your safety-

  • Take the right kayak for a particular type of trip. Such as don’t take your kayak on whitewater unless it is not appropriate for that.
  • Keep your kayak away from sharp materials.
  • Be careful about the weather.
  • Don’t stand up while paddling. It is dangerous, though kayaks are stable enough.
  • Take PFD and repair kits always with you.

Again, an inflatable kayak’s weight limit is 400-650 Ibs. As you can see, it can hold more weight than hard shells.

Like everything else, the cost is essential here too. Inflatable kayaks that cost more usually are better than others. Cheap kayaks may have different types of issues. So I suggest purchasing the expensive one.

Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Kayak?

You can tell your kayak is worth only then, when you will choose the right kayak in the right place. If you are a beginner, you must emphasize the purpose of your trip.

Because it may create safety problems. If you know paddling well enough, then you will be able to get the grip quickly. So, it is better to use the right kayak.

For this, you need to consider two facts. Where to use and what type you should use.

Where To Use It?

You can use these kayaks in-

What Type Should You Use?

There are different types of kayaks depending on their usage

1.Recreational Kayak

Recreational kayaks are wide enough to give much stability. You can paddle them skillfully in a peaceful, steady environment. They are great as entry-level boats.

So, if you don’t know about the trip yet, you can try this one. Casual travelers use this short type of boat for one day or limited-time trips.

2.White Water Kayak

These particular kayaks are short in size compared to others. Its weight is also limited. Before buying, you must look at whether the boat is self-bailing or not.

White water kayaks from some brands offer 16 open and shut floor drains. These drains help to keep the interior of your boat dry.

3.Sea Kayak

These are specially designed for sea waters. Their expanded size helps to take a good grip over sea waves.

4.Fishing Kayak

Fishing inflatable kayaks have all types of recreational facilities and extra tools for storage. These boats are ultra-durable to endure sharp hooks and other fishing tools.

The sitting surface and back will give you comfort along with a fishing rod holder, bottle holder, and others.

5.Solo And Tandem Kayaks

Solo-inflated kayaks are for one paddler at a time. On the contrary, tandem offers two at a time.

Solo kayaks are short in size and weight compared to tandem kayaks. Solo’s have different varieties.

You can use it for recreation, fishing purposes. Tandem kayaks have more space and storage. Convertible kayaks are great for Paddlers who are tall and big.

6.Sit On Top And Sit Inside Kayaks :

Sit on tops are user friendly. They have stability and are easy to use. They are a great option for kids to have fun paddling!

Sit inside kayaks are great for those passers who want to stay dry during paddling. They can enjoy great speed paddling with them.

A particular type of kayak may have its features. So, before buying, consider your motto of a paddle. After that, choose a specific type of kayak to make your trip memorable.

Comparing Inflatable Kayaks With Others

As you want to buy a kayak for a short trip, you are confused about which type should you buy? Hard-shell or an inflatable one?

Well, I can say, a hard shell is better than an inflated one, and vice-versa. Let me clear it to you by showing the pros and cons of an inflatable kayak –


  • Lightweight And Easy To Store

They are comparatively weightless to headshells. For this, it is easier to carry.

Inflatable kayaks are best for apartment dwellers. Because it takes up only a little space in your house. You can pack up an inflatable kayak easily in your bag. Again, you can also store it in the closet.

  • Stability

Stability is one of the most vital things in buying kayaks. The strength of a hard shell kayak depends on the structural materials. On the other hand, in inflatable kayaks, it depends on the rate and objective.

I mentioned above about the air chambers. You must make sure all of them are filled equally.

You can fill the chamber using a foot, hand, or electric pump. Otherwise, the kayak may divert from stability. As long as you don’t go into cheap kayaks, you are guaranteed to have memorable paddling.

  • Easily Movable

The advantage that an inflatable kayak gives us that it can be easily portable. It is not heavy. It can easily fit into a big bag.

You can effortlessly transfer your io inflatable kayak inside a vehicle. Whereas, if you take a hard shell kayak, you need to place it on the rooftop of your automobile.

  • Comfortable

If you want a soft surface for sitting, inflatable kayaks are best for you. On the other hand, hardshell kayaks may feel some dissatisfaction for a long period of sitting.

Again, you only get a short backrest for hard surfaces. But inflatable kayaks support you with clips in the seat for rest. So, while paddling, you can feel comfortable leaning your back a little.

  • Lower In Cost

You can easily afford a quality inflatable kayak rather than a hard shell one. Kayaks are priced based on using categories. But go with the expensive one. A cheap one will not give you the proper service you want.



  • Activity in water

In this case, you will get two kinds of excitement in each kayak. Technology has designed speedy and creative inflatable kayaks, but they are still slow compared to hard shells. This is because of their innate configurations.

But for a traveler, it may not be a big issue. The thing to remember is, cheap inflatable kayaks will give you a horrible experience. So do hard shells.

  • Set up time

Other traditional kayaks don’t take your time setting it up. But in an inflatable kayak, it does.

After reaching the destination, if you have a hard- shell or traditional kayaks, what do you need to do? Yes, you just have to set sail in the river. But for inflatable kayaks, you need to pump it up.

The pumping time depends on the size of the kayak. Some kayaks need 4-5 minutes to blow up. On the contrary, tandem kayaks need 7-10 minutes. But using an electric pump will take less time than manually.

  • Vulnerability Of Wind And Wave

As these kayaks are light in weight, they are vulnerable to waves and wind. Nature is unpredictable. As the kayaks are lightweight, rough weather can harm them easily.

Storm and harsh tidal waves will push it away. On the other hand, the traditional ones will have a minor impact on them.

  • Temperature Issue:

Inflated kayaks have PVC in their configuration. This polymer is highly irresistible with high temperatures, chemical reactions. So, if the temperature is too high, use your kayak carefully.

  • Drying Time:

Another pain is drying our kayak. After having so much fun in the water, you must start for your house, right. Now tell me, if you are with a hard shell kayak, what would you do?

You would just tie your wet kayak with the vehicle. On the drive home, it would have dried. If not, you will hang it beside a tree or in your yard. But for an inflatable kayak, you have to wait for it to dry.

You can’t deflate it until it is completely dried. That means you have to wait until it dries. Another thing to remember, without sunny weather, that kayak will not dry properly.

There is no unmixed good in the world. You can’t get a product that is 100% flawless. For this, while choosing, give priority to your comfort zone.


Are Inflated Kayaks Unsinkable?

One of the great things about inflatable kayaks is that they’re incredibly unsinkable. Inflatable kayaks have the advantage of being crammed with air.

This makes it easier to keep them floating even if you capsize. Their lightweight nature makes it simpler to dump out any water that might fill them, too.

Can Inflatable Kayaks Be Punctured?

Because of their durable build, punctures are hardly a valid matter in inflatable kayaks. Modern technology and equipment have created extremely strong coverings for these kayaks.

Even though leaks and punctures are unusual, they can still occur because nothing in this world is damage-proof. So, use your common sense and take care of your kayak.

What Should I Wear For Kayaking?

It will depend on the weather and water. You need –

  • Cold weather clothes/ warm weather clothes( weather dependent)
  • Footwear
  • Headwear
  • Gloves

And most importantly, PFD!

How To Take Care Of Your Inflatable Kayak?

The more you take care of your kayak, the more you can enjoy your paddling. For this, you need to

  • Dry nicely after the use
  • Store it in a cool place
  • Don’t store without deflating; it will damage your kayak.
  • Use 303 protectant spray often a year
  • Beware of rocks and stones
  • Look after sharp sticks or trashes while paddling

Final Words

Kayaking is fun. It gives you joy whenever you sit and move the kayak. If the wind is mild, it refreshes your mind. But this pleasure may become horrible if you don’t choose the correct kayak.

If you go through the whole article, you may see I have tried to reply to almost all types of questions. Now, do you still have the question, “Are inflatable kayaks worth it or not?”

Lastly, I can say it depends on what you want. If you wish to enjoy a slow ride and to enjoy inflating-deflating, then it is worth buying.

Now the decision is yours. Fix your mind, choose the right kayak for you, call your friends and go on padding!

Barry Robinson

Hi. This is Barry J. Robinson. I love to fishing, kayaking and blogging. I start fishing & kayaking when I was at the age of 18. I love to write about my fishing & kayaking review and parts review. Regularly writing about fishing and kayaking for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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