Bestway Hydro Force Marine Pro Review

Bestway Hydro Force Marine Pro Review

Here Goes my Bestway HydroForce Marine Pro Review!

Most people that we speak to are skeptical about buying inflatable kayaks because they aren’t sure whether it would be worth the investment.

Nobody wants to spend close to $300 and end up with a glorified pool toy that punctures at first contact with a rock or topples over, even in mildly choppy waters.

The fact though, is that inflatable kayaks can do a lot more than that, provided you are not looking to buy the $100 ones that you see on the shelves at Walmart.

A good quality inflatable is perfect for recreational use for a small family. It saves space, is cheap, can be folded and thrown into the car, inflates in minutes and can be carried anywhere.

Today, we will talk about the Bestway HydroFrorce Marine Pro, a mid-level inflatable with a very attractive price tag.

We first saw this beaut in action in Baja a couple of years ago and right then, we knew that we had to get our hands on one of these.

Two years and countless beach, lake and river trips later, we couldn’t be more satisfied with our choice.

Here’s our review of the Hydroforce Marine Pro.

A sturdy inflatable with lots of room

The HydroForce Marine Pro is a three-person inflatable kayak manufactured by Bestway. (That’s the manufacturer recommended limit. We have stretched it to four people on many occasions)

We’d never heard about Bestway before. And if we hadn’t seen the Kayak personally, we would probably have been swayed to buy a more expensive one, like Advanced Elements or Feathercraft.

But we did some background check on the manufacturer.

About Bestway

They are a globally reputed brand that has been in business for the past twenty-five years or so. They have an impressive product range that includes inflatable kayaks, air beds, furniture, rafting tubes, ring pools and snow tubes.

The manufacturinf units are in Shanghai, Nantong, and Yancheng city and they have research centers in the United States and Europe. So, their kayaks are manufactured in China. (What isn’t these days?)

Coming back to the Hydroforce Marine Pro, it is beautifully designed with a two-tone (blue and white) nylon exterior.

When inflated, it is 115 inches long and 50 inches wide, with a maximum weight capacity of 594 pounds.

So, there’s ample room for two adults, a trolling motor if you intend to use one and your sundry details (fishing gear). Without too much gear, two adults and a child can easily fit in.

What you get in the package

We ordered the Hydroforce Marine Pro on a Wednesday and had it delivered Friday morning, neatly packaged.

We had read some reviews about the kayak getting damaged in transit and even one about receiving a used one (Yikes!).

But when we unboxed it, it was new and shiny, much to our satisfaction.

The package includes a pair of oars, one 14.5″ Air Hammer inflation foot pump, a pressure gauge, a storage bag, inflatable seats and a repair patch kit.

You can give the storage bag a miss. But all the other contents are pretty good for the price.

Newbie-friendly design

The Hydroforce Marine pro has a round tail design with a grab rope all around. Makes it easier for the kids to get in and out of the boat.

If it’s only you and your partner on a fishing trip, then you can inflate the seats. They have high back rest and make your ride more comfortable.

There’s ample room in the boat and even on a long day paddling in the waters, your legs don’t feel cramped.

The nylon outer layer is thick and there were times when we inflated it in the car and dragged it to the beach in rocky terrain. Zero ruptures or tears so far.

In the two years that we’ve owned it, we have stored it in the sun on numerous occasions and it has held up just fine. So, if you have reservations about the UV resistance, just toss it aside.

Some people that we spoke to, recommended making a DIY plywood floor for the Marine Pro.

But we didn’t feel the need for it. The inflatable floor works just fine.

Like most inflatables, the Marine Pro has three chambers. So, even if one of them ruptures accidentally, it’d still be stable enough to get you ashore. (Although we are yet to encounter that situation)

The oars are designed in such a way that they tend to touch the middle at times. So, if you are new to kayaking, take some time to get used to it and be careful to not pinch a finger.

Overall, it is a well-rounded, newbie-friendly design

How the Hyrdoforce Marine Pro performs in water

The big question that everybody has is how well, a kayak at this price point performs in the water.

Here’s what we found.

  • Air pressure retention: We inflated it manually in about 10 minutes and let it rest in the garage for a week to see how well it retained air pressure, especially in fluctuating temperatures. And we were pleasantly surprised because the air pressure remained consistent. Most budget kayaks tend to lose air in three days or so and you will most likely need a refill in a week. Not the Hydroforce Marine Pro!
  • With a motor mount: Kayaking is our favorite form of exercising and we don’t usually use a trolling motor. But we borrowed one to test it out with the Hydroforce Marine Pro. It was a 2 HP Intex trolling motor and it fit perfectly.
  • In calm waters at the lake: Our first test was at the lake in calm waters with four people on board (Two adults, a child and a rambunctious collie mix). As expected, it performed flawlessly. We spent five hours or so on the water. The kayak was a breeze to maneuver and control. We even rowed directly into winds over 12-15 mph without any problems whatsoever. We only inflated one seat for the person rowing the kayak and we still had room for our fishing kit and other essentials. Roomy and comfortable!
  • In the Bay: Next up was the Choctawhatchee Bay trip. What started as a perfect day with calm waters quickly changed into a windy one with swells of 5” or so and some heavy chops. We found the Hydroforce Marine Pro a little difficult to track because of the lack of a keel. But it wasn’t half as bad as it could have been. We made it easily to Marler Park for a quick lunch and some break time for the kid. Were back on the water in an hour.
  • In Class II Rapids: We have reasonable experience kayaking in whitewater and were really tempted to take the Hydroforce Marine Pro in Class IV waters. But thankfully, good sense prevailed and we decided to test it out in a Class II river first. As made evident from the design, this isn’t a boat designed for whitewater use. But we had very few problems making it through the course. We did get splashed around quite a bit but were able to maneuver it around rocks and strains. More importantly, it didn’t pop.

How easy is the Marine Pro to inflate/deflate?

Part of the appeal of an inflatable kayak is that you don’t need a trailer to lug it around. And if you live in an apartment, your neighbors won’t walk in and find a full sized boat parked in the living room.

The Hydroforce Marine Pro inflates in about 10 minutes if you use the manual foot pump and in less than two minutes if you use an electronic pump.

Ditto with deflating it. Took us about 2 minutes to deflate it partially. That’s enough to throw it in the back of a car.

If you want to deflate it completely and fold it neatly, it would probably take you 10 minutes.

Like we mentioned earlier, you will mostly need to replace the storage bag that’s included in the package. We store it in a 30L duffel bag that we picked up for cheap. Fits in perfectly.

What is it best used for?

The Hydroforce Marine Pro is best used as a recreational kayak or a family fishing boat.

You can also use it as a dinghy to get to a trawler marooned a couple of kms. in the sea.

Having said that, it can occasionally accompany you to Class I and II rapids. Anything beyond that would be a stretch.

Why we like it

  • Budget-priced inflatable kayak
  • Perfect for recreational use
  • Spacious enough for four people (Two adults, two kids)
  • Tough nylon material
  • Easy to inflate
  • Can fit a trolling motor easily
  • Can be deflated in 5-10 minutes, folded and stowed away

Things that could be better

All said and done, we do have a few minor grumbles with the Hydroforce Marine Pro.

  • The storage bag could have been way better. It’s just pathetic, even at this price point.
  • The pressure gauge is not the most accurate one that we’ve seen either. Once again, that’s not a deal breaker.

Final thoughts

The Hydroforce Marine pro is one of the best investments that we’ve made in the recent past. It was well outlasted inflatable kayaks that cost twice what we paid for it.

And the only grumble we have is that we didn’t buy two of these back then.

If you are looking for a comfortable, roomy, durable and stable inflatable kayak or fishing boat for your family, you’ve just found it.

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