Kayaking is what we are all about here, just take a look at all the inflatable kayak reviews we have here for you! However, it dawned on us that there are plenty of people for whom selecting one might be difficult, or simply, that they are new to buying one.
So, we compiled a list of factors for you to consider before putting your $$ down on any and created this inflatable kayak guide! If you are looking for overall best kayaks in 2017, check out that link!
Following are some important factors to consider when buying an inflatable kayak:
1. Types of Inflatable Kayaks
For starters, consumers should understand the different types of inflatable kayaks that are available in the market. Choosing a particular kayak model depends on the intended usage. Typically, each kayak is designed for a definite cause.
a. Touring Kayaks
Inflatable Touring kayaks are characterized by a long and thin shape. This design eases the act of traveling through flat water. Touring kayaks offer versatility as they can be used in both fresh and ocean waters. Also, most touring kayaks are rudder-compatible to boost steering.
b. White Water Kayaks
Unlike the touring kayaks, the whitewater inflatable kayaks come with a short and wide design. With this structure, minimal effort is required in steering as the moving water tends to propel the vessel. Moreover, the large design ensures that the kayak is stable, while the reduced length enhances navigation around obstacles like rocks. A key selling point for white water kayaks is the presence of scupper holes, which drain water from the cockpit and d-rings.
c. Sea Kayaks
Inflatable sea kayaks resemble touring kayaks as they are long and thin. However, they are specially designed for use in sea waters. They also have added features such as scupper holes.
d. Fishing Kayaks
Inflatable fishing kayaks come in different lengths, ranging from short to long. The distinct characteristic of this vessel is its round shape at the front and back, which gives them stability. They also come equipped with unique features geared towards fishing activities such as rod holders, anchor cleat, and bait bucket.
e. Sit-On-Top Kayaks
An inflatable sit-on-top kayak comes with an elevated seat, which positions the kayaker on top of the vessel. This design makes the kayak more stable compared to the conventional design, where one has to sit in the cockpit. Sit on top kayaks also feature scupper holes that make them efficiently self-draining.
2. Storage and Portability
The two main advantages that inflatable kayaks offer over the hard-shell types are easy portability and little storage space. In fact, a deflated kayak can be fit into a large backpack. Nonetheless, buyers should keep in mind that some inflatable kayaks are constructed using heavy duty material, which makes them less compact. As such, a kayak buyer has to strike a balance between the ease of storage and the quality of construction material.
3. Material of the Kayak
Inflatable kayaks are made using one of three materials namely; Hypalon, Nitrylon, and PVC.
Hypalon is a type of synthetic rubber, which is mainly used in constructing the high-end kayaks. The benefit of hypalon is that it is durable and, thus, offers resistance against extreme weather, chemicals, the intense UV rays of the sun and impact.
This material originates from vinyl polymer plastic. As such, it is not as durable compared to its Hypalon counterpart. However, it is cheap, and the mode of construction makes it a cost-effective option for kayakers with a limited budget.
Nitrylon inflatable kayaks are relatively new in the market. They came about after the controversy associated with PVC. Nitrylon is considered an eco-friendly material for kayak construction. Moreover, it is resistant to punctures and abrasion and performs well in cold environments.
The weight of an inflatable kayak is also an important specification, especially for hikers who have to carry the vessel around. Heavy duty kayaks are made using a thick material, and, are thus more resistant to punctures. However, taking a heavy inflatable kayak might be wearisome; hence, the need to purchase a lightweight kayak.
5. Seating in the Kayak
When it comes to structure, an inflatable kayak may have single, double, or triple seating. Usually, the seats run along the length of the kayak. Most white water kayaks come with room for just one kayaker. Conversely, touring kayaks can accommodate up to three passengers. Therefore, if you intend to go kayaking with a friend, you should opt for kayaks that offer double or triple seating.
6. Inflatable Kayak Accessories
Some accessories are essential for kayaking activity, and they include paddles, air pumps, repair kits, and PFD’s. Depending on the model of kayak that you purchase, these extras may or may not be included in the package. Preferably, you should opt for high-quality paddles and dual action air pumps.
That’s A Wrap, Folks!
And, well, there you have it, Folks! Considering the aforementioned factors will help you save money in the long run.