Want to explore rivers on your own time, but lack storage space? An inflatable kayak, many of which fold down to the size of a suitcase, might be a viable option. Blow-up kayaks are often lighter and less expensive than hard-shell kayaks.
There are several inflatable kayaks to select from, with prices, portability, and intended usage influencing the decision.
The best inflatable kayak is simple to discover if you know what to search for.
What Are Inflatable Kayaks Made Of?
Different materials have varying degrees of quality in terms of advantages. Nonetheless, all of these materials have been tested and proven, and the kayak will not pop the instant it comes into contact with anything in the water.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely used polymers on the planet. Its flexible form, a synthetic rubber, is used to create inflatable goods such as pool toys and boats. PVC is the least expensive material available, yet it is noted for its durability and low weight.
Furthermore, inflatable kayaks constructed of PVC are resistant to wear and quick to repair if a rip occurs. PVC is also used to coat fibers to strengthen their tear resistance.
On the other hand, PVC is not resistant to high temperatures or UV radiation. To improve the lifetime of inflatable kayaks constructed of PVC, they are coated with a UV-protectant. Furthermore, PVC is harmful to the environment and contributes to plastic pollution.
The DuPont Company manufactures chlorosulfonated polyethylene rubber under the trade name Hypalon. It is the most robust, durable, and costly material to manufacture inflatable kayaks.
Hypalon’s chemical makeup includes reactive chemical groups, which contributes to its famed stability and endurance. Kayaks constructed of Hypalon are lightweight and waterproof. You may also fold them into smaller sizes.
However, Hypalon is not environmentally friendly since it emits poisonous gasses when burned. Furthermore, it has lead in its makeup, which has negative consequences. That is why DuPont ceased production of Hypalon in 2010. However, the substance is accessible on the market under many names.
Nitrilon is a natural and synthetic rubber layering on top of polyester fiber. Nitrilon’s renowned strength and abrasion resistance are due to its composition.
Nitrilon is less difficult to repair than PVC and performs better in chemical reactions and at high temperatures. Its design makes it UV-resistant, eliminating the need for extra protection.
The disadvantage of Nitrilon is its weight. Nitrilon-based inflatable kayaks could be more portable. To address this problem, Nitrilon is only utilized to construct the kayak’s outer shell rather than the whole body. It protects the areas that are constantly in touch with water. Furthermore, Nitrilon is more costly than PVC and is exclusively utilized in producing high-quality inflatable kayaks.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Dangerous?
Inflatable kayaks are safe for many kayaking activities and water conditions. Modern inflatable kayaks are constructed using long-lasting materials and time-tested procedures. Furthermore, their multi-layer material construction makes them resistant to scratches and punctures.
Even though inflatable kayaks aren’t inherently unsafe, there are a few things to bear in mind when kayaking on one.
Where Can You Use An Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks, contrary to popular belief, are highly durable. They are now designed to resist harsh conditions.
You may use them on flat water, rivers, and even the ocean without worrying about explosions or sinking. While they are only ideal for some conditions, they are well-built and excellent kayaks for beginners to intermediate paddlers.
Is There A Limit To The Use Of Inflatable Kayaks?
There are no industry regulations for determining the maximum weight capacity of a kayak. Each best inflatable kayak maker or brand has its own set of restrictions. Some take a more conservative approach, while others are more daring. Weight restriction ratings on kayaks might vary dramatically, even when the kayaks are the same size.
It’s important to note that a kayak’s weight capacity rating does not reflect the paddler’s body weight.
The total weight of you, your equipment, your paddle, and everything else you’re carrying on the kayak is the maximum capacity load.
Best Inflatable Kayaks
Here are the best inflatable kayaks you should consider:
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak is a popular choice. The aluminum-reinforced keel generates a V shape that tracks and slices through the water significantly better than most other models’ flat bottoms. It features an adjustable broad, comfy seat and can easily handle some additional gear, a small kid, or a medium dog.
Sea Eagle 370 Pro
One of the numerous all-inclusive inflatable kayak packages is the Sea Eagle 370 Pro. This boat rides higher out of the water, which reduces drag and improves paddle comfort. However, the mobility of this relatively huge boat could be better. Not all the components are our favorites, but they all work nicely.
Advanced Elements PackLite
The PackLite inflatable kayak weighs 5.25 pounds and can be carried in a backpack or luggage. It’s not the most luxurious kayak to paddle, but the short, broad design reduces tracking. The material is pretty thin to keep it lightweight, and it quickly ripped on a rocky dock — but the patch was simple to apply and held up nicely.