Yesterday’s “rubber duckies” used to be the butt of a lot of jokes among serious kayakers. The first generation of inflatable kayaks handled more like rubber rafts and were prone to springing leaks that even a full roll of duct tape couldn’t fix. That’s not the case anymore! When choosing an inflatable kayak consider its portability and packability, the durability of materials used, and its style and handling characteristics.
Portability and Packability
This craft weighs 35 pounds and stores easily in the trunk of a small car. Intex
The single biggest advantage for an inflatable kayak is the ease with which it can be stored and carried to and from the water. Deflated weight, size of the deflated kayak and packability are critical variables when space and transportation are factors.
Materials and Durability
This kayak is made with a tough 38mm PVC material designed to withstand abrasions and hard use. Sea Eagle
Most inflatable kayaks are made with super-tough PVC, making them highly durable. The last thing you need is a race to get to shore before the boat deflates. Using care with sharp objects like knives, fishhooks, dog claws, etc. is always a good idea, and most inflatables come with repair kits.
Style and Handling
This boat sets up in five minutes and is designed for use in quiet water. Sevylor
Many inflatable kayaks are “sit on” rather than closed deck “sit-in” boats. Some are equipped with spray skirts or removable decks, which help in navigating rough water. Look for self-bailing features, as well as skegs which help track the kayak, making it easier to paddle in a straight line. Additional choices include how many people you want in your boat, and how easy it is to set up and take down.