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Inflatable vs Rigid kayaks

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  • Inflatable vs Rigid kayaks

    i'm in the market for a decent ocean kayak and am having difficulty deciding if i should get the inflatable or rigid style kayak.

  • #2
    think about

    The amount of room you want for storage.. if you want to do overnighters etc.
    the inflatables are great for fly in, or for short day trips..
    I like hard kayaks for longer trips,, and I like a good solid line in my kayaks keel. along with a rudder.. for ocean going,, it seems like you have lots more miles of paddling..
    Think also about a take down Kayak.
    they are great because you can put them in a suitcase sized case and carry them on a plane and set them up in about a half hour or so,, store room aplenty and they have a rudder..
    If you are planning on using a kayak alot, and don't plan on needing to make it small for transport, I prefer a hard shell..
    I have a smaller kayak in inflatable that I carry on a backpack and haul it into remote places on my back and then blow it up and away I go,, it weighs 45 lbs and will carry two people in a pinch,,
    oh well,,
    looks like you are going to need both

    but is that such a bad thing???
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


    • #3
      I'm not really an avid kayaker, but I've used rigids and collapsibles. Rigid kayaks will perform better; they cut through the water quicker. An inflatable or collapsible is practical if storage or transport are a big issue, and it's a nice option if you only plan on going on a few trips a year; just stow it and forget it until you need it. If I kayaked regularly I'd want a rigid one.
      Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.


      • #4
        As stated, the advantage of an inflatable is it can be easily transported and stored. But, the compromise you make for that is the hull isn't as efficient when paddling nor does it have the stiffness for running through waves.

        I see inflatables as specialized craft, not general purpose use.
        Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

        If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


        • #5
          i can transport my ik along with all my gear in my civic! carry it on a pack frame, and it's good for 2 people. on the other hand it doesn't track well especially in the wind.


          • #6

            Personally I own all three described above: Rigid, Inflatable, and Skin on frame (takedown)

            I live where the the saltwater is accessable and do kayak moderatly. I prefer my rigid Kevlar boat for its performance, durablity, and convinience. For a quick and dirty local paddle I'll grab that. For anything remote or accessed via float plane I grab my inflatable or takedown. I own a Feathcraft brand skin on frame and honestly enjoy the performance and feel of the boat. I must be kinda lazy because I'm prone to drag a boat and I just can't do that safely with a skin on frame boat. The Feathercraft also doesn't allow for mega storage and a companion. When I've got a loat of gear to transport and a partner I go to my inflatable which is considered a two person larger capacity boat. It also breaks down for storage. I've used all three and each has a welcomed place in the garage.

            Anybody can make things work but when it comes to small boats for adventure travel there is not a one size fits all craft. If I had to pick one I'd choose a good inflatable. It will travel slow, track poorly but will get you and your gear safely across the water and thats what really matters.


            • #7
              There are many inflatable kayak options to choose from and I have found one of the best is the Sevylor Ranger.
              This inflatable kayak is a great all rounder. It is tough easy to pump up and looks very good in the water.
              I was so impressed with this particular inflatable I now own three of them. The ranger was the first inflatable kayak I ever purchased and at first I was sceptical about the durability of an inflatable kayak. How wrong I was! Three years on and the ranger is still going strong despite some very arduous adventures it has never picked up a single puncture.
              I have paddled many times in sea water and due to time restrictions and a bit of laziness have not always got round to washing the corrosive salt out straight away after my journey and have simply packed the kayak still wet back in its bag.



              • #8
                The advantages of owning an inflatable kayak is portability and storage, this summer we took inflatables to both Italy and Spain, we flew both times, being able to get of the beaten track and explore made it well worth the trouble of taking and extra rucksack.


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