,

The Only Inflatable Boat Guide That You Will Need

Inflatable Boat Guide

How to Choose an Inflatable Boat

It may interest you to know that inflatable boats are the bestselling boats aside from big yachts. In fact, they are so popular that people even use them when going for fishing trips in lakes, and in addition, they are very portable. However, the problem is, inflated boats can be a mixed blessing at most – their best aspect is their buoyancy in water, portability, their combination of the freedom of compact powerboats with the ease of marine multi-tools, and their running costs, which you can compare to those of a pet gerbil. The worst part about them is that they are lumpy, heavy, smelly, and space-occupying things that just sit all day in your garage storage. In this straightforward inflatable boat guide I will tell you what you should be looking for, for your particular needs and try to answer all of your questions.

You can easily become irritated at the space these things occupy, and you can even want to get rid of them – this is completely understandable. However, remember that they make great tools, as long as you choose them wisely. There are plenty of drawbacks, for example trying to figure out where you can stow the boat, getting somewhere to store its fuel tank (which smells bad, by the way), or finding enough space to carry the boat when it is fully puffed up with air. Another concern is the weight bulkiness – and truth be told, inflatable boats can be heavy and more difficult than you think. You also expect the elements to bully your boat once you are in the water, especially when the wind is strong.

Despite these downsides, there are plenty of valid reasons to love the inflatable. In fact, when you look at it critically, you will realize that the issues have less to do with the boat itself, and more to do with the owner’s poor buying decisions. I have put together a review article about the best inflatable boats. These boat will have everything that you want in them but I still recommend reading this article in its entirety before making a purchase.

With everything to consider, it can be a very important question of how to choose an inflatable boat. When choosing this important item, consider the following factors to help you in your choice.

Hypalon versus PVC

All the inflatable boats you will get are composed of two materials – either from Hypalon or from PVC. The main tradeoff, in this case, is the durability versus the price.

PVC boats are very popular because of their lightweight nature and easy portability. You can fold them easily after use, and the recent development in polymer manufacture have resulted in strong quality modern PVC. Some PVC boats come with intricately woven threads, and the manufacturer uses denier to measure these threads. Higher rating means the threads are stronger but do not just look at this aspect – pay attention to the nature of the weave.

Tightly woven threads, such as 6×6 per cm, as opposed to 3×3 per cm, prove to be more resilient in their structure. The drawback to PVC boats is their vulnerability to extended sunlight, humidity, and heat. Hypalon boats, in contrast, are heavy, very strong and costly fabric.

If you want a boat that is heavy-duty, Hypalon boats are a better option than a PVC boat. Therefore, your intended use should inform the choice of boat you go for, not just your budget. If you want a boat that can serve you regularly, then go for Hypalon boats. If you want boats that serve you occasionally while retaining their compact and portable nature, then a PVC boat is the better option.

Rigid stacks versus air decks

One feature you will notice on all inflatable boats is that they come with either rigid floors constructed from interlocking aluminum or plywood, or high pressure, inflatable ‘air decks’. This will ultimately influence the net weight of the boat.

If you want a more forgiving ride experience, an easily portable boat, or a simple assembly process, then a high-pressure air floor is the best. If you want higher operating speed with less flex and higher structure rigidity, and more effective use of power, then go for a hard deck boat. A cautionary measure, however: rigid deck slats tend to trap unwary fingers and injure you more frequently.

RIB choices

RIB is an acronym for Rigid Bottom Inflatables. They provide you with many advantages – they have improved performance levels, they have better sea keeping ability, and they have unlimited size and style choices. The drawback is that they are more costly than simpler inflatables.

Their portability is not so contrasting to fiberglass boats of similar sizes, so this makes them very intriguing. In fact, if you are thinking of purchasing a RIB boat, here are some pointers to help you make a good choice.

  • The deck must be able to shed water efficiently
  • The boat must have proper support and protection on its helm
  • It should have an area for dry storage
  • The grabbing points need to be well-0positioned and strong
  • The boat should have non-slip surfaces, both on its tube tops and underfoot
  • The seating space should be sufficient for its intended use
  • Decent reserves of power for watersports need to be available
  • The build quality must be high and has a standard finish
  • Payload needs to be sufficient for both equipment and passengers
  • It should equal or surpass your expectations on the water

Extra assets

You may not have all the money in the world to splash on an inflatable boat. However, even with an entry-level budget, there are accessories that every boat should have. A set of oars, pump, carry bag, seats, repair kit and lifting points are essential and must be part of your buying price. I have purchased most of my accessories on Amazon and they can be found here.

Aside from these, features you should look out for include multiple air chambers – these will serve you well in emergencies, and inflatable thwart for added strength. Inflatable keels enhance directional stability, while optional tabs and fins improve the boat handling.

When you need to move the boat up and down beaches and docks, you will require a set of wheels. If you want a small outboard, think about purchasing electric power – it is more efficient in transport and storage, not to mention, it is cleaner than using fuel. Regardless of the outboard type you choose, extended tillers help in shifting your weight forward to enable easier rides.

Our pick for the best inflatable boat brand: Intex Recreation Corp. The brand has some impressive Hypalon and PVC boats, all renowned for their durability and function. They also make other inflatable items like pools, beds, toys and many more. They have ten varieties of boat types, and regardless of the one you ultimately pick, they will all serve you well for a long time.

Inflatable Boat Versus Regular Boat (rigid boats)

On the surface, a boat is just a boat. However, these two types differ from each other in many ways, and we will explain these differences in various aspects.

Coastguard certificates: Normally, inflatable boats do not have certifications from the Coastguard. This is because they lack specific testing protocol, so their ratings are arbitrarily determined and set by the manufacturer. Regular boats, however, require extensive testing and certification from the Coastguard. They are subject to very strict standards, such as weight capacity tests to five times the rated capacity level, and then loaded and tested for weight stability.

Weight: inflatable boats are surprisingly heavy, considering their size. For example, a simple looking 10” inflatable can weigh up to 450 lbs. when you add an item like a 30hp motor, as well as a few options like seats, it can approach close to 700lbs. regular boats, however, have weight limits. A normal boat, for example, can weigh a little over 355lbs. if you add a 30hp motor and a few other options, the boat can weigh close to 600lbs.

Build: all inflatable boats excluding RIBs are deflectable for storage. Regular boats, however, use a fiberglass construction process with no wood. They can use yacht quality hardware and hull to stabilize the construction, in addition to high-quality marine sealants to further make the boat waterproof.

Stability rating:  the boat becomes slippery when it gets wet, so inflate walk-around boats fully for maximum safety.  Regular boats have non-skid floors. They also have safety stands on their gunwale to add egress and ingress.

Floating: For inflatables, their ribs often have many air chambers, but these can let you down when one of them punctures and deflates. For regular boats, they instead have standard, closed-cell chambers that the coast guard approves. These allow for floatation even when loaded with items or people.

Ride:  Inflatable boats need a larger horsepower motor, and the tubes need proper inflation to ride on the water smoothly and track adequately. Regular boats are easier to plane and have a straight track line with smoother rides.

Storage:  inflatables lack storage facilities, though they can offer you a bow locker. Regular boats come with a lot of storage, including both a bow locker and tubes. For example, the boat can have more than 12 cubic feet of storages space.

Dryness: inflatable boats get wet easily, so it is part of the experience. Regular boats do not get wet easily.

Maintenance levels: To take care of inflatable boats, keep the pump close by, and the tubes need protection from the sun. Any leaks should be quickly fixed, and watch out for sharp objects and organisms like barnacles. Regular boats are very easy to maintain, only needing some waxing and washing.

Performance:  Inflatables usually lumbers onto a plane, while they have uneven motion at high speeds. Their movements are somehow predictable because they bounce like balls in bumpy water. Regular boats are easier to navigate, even in bumpy water. They have a nimble motion and take bumps in stride.

Safety levels: For inflatables, they are very good at promoting safety – that is until the air chambers puncture and deflate then start leaking. This means that you have to wait until you get help because the boat cannot move. For regular boats, they are Coastguard certified and go through numerous stability tests before they approve. This means you do not need to worry about your safety, and as long as the motor is functional, you can head home.

Comfort: the seating in inflatable boats is adequate, and the ride is comfortable, though it is wet. Regular boats have comfortable, well-designed seating, and the ride is dry.

Quality of design: Many inflatable boats have a good quality of construction, and are highly good and durable quality. The major issue though, is that the product has various flaws. Their life expectancy is usually around ten years. As for regular boats, the design is of yacht quality, with no sparing of expenses – and the life expectancy lasts for about forty years.

Customized colors: a majority of manufacturers of inflatable boats only offer you one boat color, so there is not much variety in this area. They also provide you with cushions, fuel tanks and lights, though the basic structure does not allow you to do much. Regular boats, however, tend to have varieties in customization, and you can purchase them in any color you want.

Gel coating: RIB inflatables use a gel coat on their fiberglass portion of their rigid hulls, while regular boats use superior, durable and UV-resistant fiberglass finish.

Hardware:  The tubes and the hardware of inflatable boats are together. Regular boats use yacht quality stainless steel throughout the boat structure, secured further by using backing plates.

The interior: inflatable boats are somewhat narrow because of the narrow shape of their tubes. These intrude on the floor width and the floor space ends up cluttered with unnecessary gear due to lack of enough storage. Regular boats, on the contrary, have big interior storages, thanks to their flat vertical interior gunwales that increase the interior width by 4 to 6 inches.

Warranty: inflatables have warranties usually lasting between 5 to 10 years, while regular boats have warranties of up to 5 years, which are typically no-hassle.

How to Inflate an Inflatable Boat

Learning how to inflate an inflatable boat both easily and quickly can help you in emergencies, as well as save your life. There are various options for inflation, and this will largely depend on the boat size. For example, if you have a small boat, you can inflate it by using your mouth, though this will not be efficient for larger boats. Here are some other examples:

Using pumping equipment

If the thought of blowing air into the boat with your mouth were unappealing, an alternative option would be to use a compressor or an inflation device. Air compressors will need power supplies, so this option is only suitable if power is available to you. The air compressor should inflate the boat quickly without requiring you to blow it up yourself.

There are several pump options that you can use to inflate the boat, which includes:

  • Hand pumps – this is a cylindrical-shaped pump that blows air into the boat. It comes in two varieties – single action pumps and double action pumps.
  • If you go with double action pumps, these push the air in on the up and down stroke. Single action pumps on the other hand, only push air during down strokes. The pumps come with inflate and deflate function on their handles.
  • Foot pumps – these are smaller than hand pumps, making it favorable for both storage and transport purposes. It works in a similar way to single-action hand pumps, which only push air in during down strokes. They also come with inflating and deflating functions. They are good for people with back issues because they do not require you to bend over while using them.
  • 12-Volt electric pumps – these are mostly used when the power point of your car provides the power. They are the easiest and quickest solution because there is no effort required on your part. The only thing to them is that you need to put in a small amount of effort, as they cannot fully inflate the boat on their own. Use them in conjunction with hand or foot pumps to inflate the boat to recommended levels. I use this electric pump from Amazon because I got sick of the hand pump that my boat came with.

Note that it is very easy to overinflate and damage your boat when using an electric pump. If you are using it for inflation, you must stop before the boat gets full inflation, then use your mouth or the hand or foot pump to finish the job.

Use airbags

Unless you own a pack raft, you will not see an airbag. Packrats usually have it because it is light and compact. It is essentially a large bag, open at one end and has a connector at the other end. What you do is take the bag and pull it through the air until full.

Once the bag is full, close the open end by gathering it together, and then you attach the connector to the inflation valve of the boat so that it allows air into the vessel. Once the airbag and valve area connected, squeeze the air into the chamber. Repeat the process until you inflate the boat completely.

This method is very good because the bag is very light, so it is good in cases of backcountry use. It is also convenient for trips where a pump or air compressors are prohibitive in weight.

Before you start on the boating adventure, make sure the boat is in top shape. You do not want incidences of being stuck in your journey before you begin, just because something went wrong with the boat.

  • Open all the valves on the boat
  • In case your boat has multiple valves, choose one to start checking and inflate them to recommended pressure levels.
  • Move to the next valve and reiterate the process, until all valves are okay.
  • Once this is over, double-check the boat. Check that each chamber is full – after all, you do not want the boat to tip over – and make sure the boat can stay steady in the water.
  • Inflate the thwarts and cover each port with their individual covers.
  • Check all the sections in the boat, ensuring you do not miss any sections.
  • When this is over, your boat is now ready to sail, so you can now set up the oars. Have a spare set for safety reasons.

Tips for checking the boat

If you want to ensure that the air pressure remains stable, here are a few pointers:

  • When the boat is fully inflated, take it to water and put it for a few minutes. After you retrieve the boat, check the air pressure and add some more if required. This is because water temperatures can affect the air pressure, making it less dense. This step will, therefore, prevent dangerous situations from occurring.
  • If you are using the boat in high-temperature weather, keep in mind that the pressure of air will increase as air expands. Therefore, check the pressure after every few hours, and release some air if the pressure is above recommended levels.
  • If using the boat in cold weather, the air pressure drops because the air contracts, this will lead to loss of air in the boat, so bring a pump along with you so you can increase the pressure when required. Again, check the pressure after every few hours
  • Once everything has been checked you’re good to launch your inflatable boat

Are Inflatable Boats Safe?

This question is a frequently asked one, and this is understandable since many people are concerned about the safety of these boats mainly because they easily puncture on sharp items. The good thing is, inflatable boats are similar to traditional boats in terms of safety, and you do not have to worry too much about them. In some instances, they may be safer than traditional boats. Here are some reasons why.

They are unsinkable

Inflatable boats have separate tubes, which are actually separate air chambers. If one of them accidentally punctures and deflates, the craft is still buoyant because of the air in the other tubes. However, do not use this as a reason not to take safety precautions. Here is a great guide on picking the right life vest which is something that everybody should have.

More bounce

The valve tubes are oversize, so the boat becomes quite buoyant on water and floats very easily. It is therefore difficult to capsize it, thanks to its low center of gravity. Some modern boats do not have the buoyancy that inflatable boats have, and tend to sink when they hit obstacles such as rocks.

Inflatable boats are easier to enter the water

The problem with some traditional boats is that they capsize easily when you try to board from the water. Inflatable boats do not have the same problem, so swimmers can board them from the side.

The US Coastguard uses inflatable boats

The US Coast Guard is the ultimate organization that knows inflatable boat safety. The military and emergency personnel also use them to move around, as do rescue craft operators.

All kinds of water activities are fun because they allow you to experience nature and the outdoor form a new perspective. The element has a refreshing effect to our senses, and thanks to more affordable boats, water sports such as white water rafting and canoeing.

Nevertheless, remember that water is still a powerful force of nature, and you cannot control it easily. You should, therefore, take certain precautions when dealing with inflatable boats. Some of these are:

  • Make sure that you have all the necessary equipment before you leave the port. These items include floatation jackets (I use this one from Amazon), flashlights, handheld radios, paddles, and maps.
  • Inform someone of your planned schedule, the names of people with you and the planned time.
  • Have confidence in your boating skills – if you are not knowledgeable on your inflatable’s operations, do not attempt to go on your own.
  • Take a boat safety course to increase your knowledge about navigation
  • Make sure you are familiar with water regulations in your area or get in touch with local authorities who can brief you.
  • If you have passengers on the boat, explain the safety regulations to them and have someone to assist you. Part of this involves wearing life jackets and sitting down while the boat is moving.
  • You should not operate a boat when you are unwell or under the influence of alcohol.
  • Ensure that the switch lanyard of the boat is functioning properly.
  • Ensure you know the amounts of fuel you need – you do not want an embarrassing situation of being stuck in the middle of the sea without fuel.

How to Attach a Motor to Your Inflatable Boat

Ah, boat motors. The simplest boat motors will only require you to set them on the boat transom and then tighten the clamps.

If only it was that easy!

You end up with many questions – what if it is too low, how do you tell when it is too low, or what if you long shaft motors but you want or need short shafts? Here is a comprehensive guide on inflatable boat motors (trolling motors) that I have written.

If you are making use of a standard inflatable boat motor system, you need to consider some factors.

Get the height of the motor right

You may think that short shaft motors go with boats that have short shaft motor designs, right? The truth is it does not work out this way. This is because it is vital that you adjust a motor to the ideal height.

If your motor is too high for the shaft, ventilation occurs and there is decreased thrust power. If the motor is too low, there is decreased momentum, more splash, and more difficult steering.

A general rule is that the ideal position of the anti-cavitation plate on your motor should be 2.5 centimeters or one inch below the bottom of the boat’s hull. You may find that it is better to raise or lower your motor because you may find your propeller works easier in that position.

Motor tilt angles

You need to adjust the tilt of your motor according to the sea conditions and the motor’s weight. When heading out to a head on the sea, you should tilt your motor inwards or place it a negative trim position, that is, at the first or second hole of the tilt pin. This will push the bow down. You can also want to move the weight in your boat towards the bow.

In a following sea, you want to push the motor outwards, or on a positive trim, that is the third or fourth hole on the tilt pin. This will push the bow upwards. You can also move some weight towards the stem of the boat for added stability.

How fast can you go?

An important point to note: just because your motor produces high amounts of thrust power, it does not mean it will move faster. In fact, more thrust motors of seemingly high power can end up being less efficient than a less powerful motor.

A rule of thumb – 12V trolling motors are for bigger boats that gave larger load amounts. The maximum speeds trolling motors can achieve is 5mph, regardless of how much thrust power they have.

The trolling motor is going to steer your boat, and it is very easy to install. For my inflatable boat, I use this motor which can be found on Amazon. This motor has been great to me so far and it can handle lakes with no problem. Additionally, it is a pretty quiet motor and comes with a great warranty. I have also written some reviews of the best trolling motors here.

Here is a breakdown of the installation procedure:

Tools: wrench kit with needles and pins, screwdriver, drill machine

Steps

  • The boat has two sides – the starboard side and the port. You can actually mount the motor at any side, depending on where the steering is. If you are steering from the port side, the starboard side is your mount base. If you are steering from the starboard side, the port is where you place the motor.
  • Remove the screws that secure the panels and detach the plates. Within that area are the mount holes.
  • Assemble the motor parts. You need to fix the motor to the shaft, and the head assembly to the mount. This and the motor are together, and place the motor in a stand position and keep the bow parallel to the side.
  • Fix the shaft to the boat center. When the trolling motor is in use, you can find out drifting and steering problems from this point.
  • Position the mount’s front accordingly, after clearing the bow tip. This can differ among motors, but all of them require a flush position, and you should not alter it more than one inch in any case.
  • The trolling motor head and its positions will undergo checks later, and it must nit overhand on the side of the boat. If it does, you then check the position twice. If it is still in a hanging position, you will need to break the motor head. The final mark point should be the boat size, and the motor must perfectly fit the boundaries of your boat.
  • The next step is to drill some holes; at least two pilot sized ones. If you can find someone to help you hold the mount, it is even better. This ensures the mount is steady and does not shift to another position. The screws at the drilled holes can fix the motor, and you can drill the other holes easily without the tension of motor shifts. Once you get to this point, you can remove the shaft or the motor head to make drilling easier.
  • Fix the bottom part of the bow with the screws, which steadies the position of the mount. You can now fix the side plates of the boat.

How to Attach an Anchor to an Inflatable Boat

You may not realize it, but it is essential to set up your inflatable boat anchoring system early so that you can use it in case of emergencies. In cases of adverse weather conditions or maintaining fixed positions, you need two anchors. Inflatable boats are easier to anchor than traditional boats because of weight differences.

The first thing to find out is the type of anchor you want, and you can know this by the following criteria:

  • The type of inflatable boat you have
  • The water conditions you will experience
  • Where you want to use the boat
  • The bottom type

When you choose your anchor, also keep in mind the correct anchor weights you need. A general guideline is that for every 3 meters of your boat length, an anchor that is at least 1% of your boat weight should support it. Bigger boats require less support than smaller boats. For my inflatable boat, I use this anchor from Amazon, which has always worked very well for me.

You should also get some shackles with your anchor since proper chains increase the effectiveness of the anchor by 1.5 to 2 times. Look for stainless steel or galvanized chains – you do not want it rusting and transferring rust to the boat.

Here are some steps to follow when anchoring.

  • Select the best anchor for the conditions you want to fish in.
  • Attach the chain. It should be strong enough to withstand friction from the substrate
  • Ensure that the length of the rope you are using is long enough to cope with strain and protects you from the impact of waves and wind.
  • Work out the type of bottom you are over as well as the water depth.
  • Using this information, choose the best anchor and chain length you need, and secure the chain on the anchor.
  • Adjust the bow of your boat to the direction of wind or currents
  • Once you are satisfied, put the engine into neutral and slowly lower the anchor in the water. You can set the anchor by slightly reversing the boat.
  • Choose some points as landmarks – these will alert you if you are drifting.
  • Here is a more in depth guide on how to anchor your inflatable boat

How to Fish from Inflatable Boats

Inflatable boats can seem like delicate things – you are afraid that when you place extra weight on them, they will capsize or sink. If you are wondering whether you can fish from such a boat, the answer is yes, you can.

They are actually more advantageous because they have lower operating costs as opposed to hull types, which leads to lower fish costs in the end. The difference here is the convenience an inflatable offers.

The first noticeable thing when you fish in an inflatable is you are above the water, instead of in it. This makes it slightly more challenging to pull fish on board, but it gets easier when making strikes. Inflatables are usually silent and lightweight, which is good for you, as you do not need to announce your presence to potential catches. The process is not different from fishing in a traditional boat, however. If you are going on your adventure solo I would recommend one of these inflatable fishing floats.

How to Clean an Inflatable Boat

Cleaning your boats for storage is very easy, as long as you know what you are doing. Hypalon and PVC boats need similar cleaners and methods to have effective results. Sometimes using the wrong inflatable boat cleaner can destroy the boat because they are more delicate than aluminum or fiberglass boats.

Stay away from products like MEK, solvents, toluene, highly alkaline cleaners (any cleaner with pH levels higher than 11.5), ammonia, acetone, bleaches, abrasive scrub pads and steel wool. These will all damage or discolor the boat fabric and attack the adhesive quality. Detergents and soaps have sticky residues, also known as scum, which attracts dirt and acts as a conductive base for mildew.

There are specialized products on the market that are good for cleaning inflatables, though you can use a very mild dish soap. You should also rinse the boat after each use thoroughly, or else debris can enter the boat and cause friction or mold may begin developing. Typically, when I clean my inflatable boat I use this product which can be found on amazon for a pretty good price.

How to Repair an Inflatable Boat

If you are losing air in your boat due to punctures or similar circumstances, you want to repair the boat as soon as possible.

  • The working conditions

Ideal repair conditions are a dry, shaded and well-ventilated area with no naked flames, relative humidity should be less than 60% and temperatures of between 18-25oC.

  • Fabric type

Identify the fabric type of your boat. This will help you select the best adhesive for your boat.

Process

  • Repairs can be either large tears (over 20mm long) or punctures. A patch to the outside of the affected tube can repair punctures, while larger ones need patches both on the inside and outside.
  • Locate the tear on the tube. If unsure of the puncture’s location, apply soapy water to the inflated tube, observe any bubbles forming at the puncture, and dry the area after marking it out.
  • Prepare the patch. Cut a fabric patch with rounded corners that allow a five cm overlap around the hole, put the patch over the hole and mark around it with a marker.
  • For Hypalon patches, abrade the patch rear and the marked repair area on the tube with abrasive paper to get a key for the adhesive. Do not over-abrade – this can damage the material.
  • Clean the patch rear and the repair zone using a lint-free cloth that has either acetone or MEK solvent. Wait until the solvent evaporates, then clean the area.
  • Mask the repair zone on the tube using removable masking tape to prevent overspills when applying the adhesive.
  • Mix the rib store adhesive according to the instructions. Apply at least two coats, leaving each coat for 20 minutes to dry. Once it dries, you can carefully place the patch to the area and leave until it dries and becomes tacky. This repair kid on Amazon has helped me in the past.
  • Before launching the boat, leave the repairs for at least 24 hours to set.

Wrap up

Inflatable boats can seem like a lot of work – which they can be – but as long as you take care of them, they will be reliable for many years to come, and will not let you down. With everything to consider, Here are my best inflatable boat picks! Let me know in the comments section what you think!

,

All Inclusive Inflatable Paddle Boarding Guide

All Inclusive Inflatable Paddle Boarding Guide: If you are about to go for a weekend trip and like to be discreet about your activities, a paddle board is the last thing you want nosy people to see. An inflatable paddle board is fantastic because it allows you the freedom to do things that you love without having to worry about others finding out where you’re going.

If you’re having a weekend getaway by a lake, river, ocean or any body of water,  inflatable SUP is excellent if you don’t have a roof rack or it’s already full with kayaks, paddles, surfboards or other gear. The reason we love them is that they deflate to resemble a rolled-up sleeping bag. It does so in about 5 minutes, and the size allows you to store your luggage, life jackets, back up paddle- the works. The convenience of it means that carpooling is possible instead of you and your companions taking different cars to your destination.

The reason why many people love paddle boarding is because each time you do it, you always get to learn something new. It could either be a technic, a characteristic of the water mass, or even the types of insects that fly around. With a paddleboard, you get to explore water better than you could in a boat or kayak. If you’re new to this sport, this article hopes to give your more insight into what it’s about and how to go about it.

How Do Inflatable Paddle Boards Work?

An inflatable surfboard is made using ‘drop stitch technology.’ The inside of the board is woven with small fibers that once the board fills with air, they interlock to form a hard surface. Most boards hold between 14-18 psi and some hold as much as 25 psi. The outside of the board consists of an extremely hardened rubber material designed to last and withstand wear and tear. The top and bottom form into a single unit with a rail wrapped around for reinforcement. This design is not applicable to all brands; there’s a wide variety in the market. When the paddleboard is rolled up, it weighs 30-40 lb.

Inflatable Paddle Board vs. Traditional

There are two types of boards: epoxy and fiberglass.

In this comparison, it’s not to say one is better than the other. An epoxy paddleboard and an inflatable paddle board are made of two different materials, and both excel differently. It all narrows down to what you want to do. So don’t let the salesperson misguide you – do your research and know the facts.

When deciding what type of paddling board to settle on, three factors will affect your decision: performance, budget and storage space.

Your average traditional paddleboard has a foam core, and depending on the brand, have some layers of fiberglass, carbon fiber, wood, Kevlar or bamboo. Their weight tends to make them more suitable for heavier people.

Epoxy and fiberglass boards do beat inflatables on a performance level. Pros and serious paddlers settle for epoxy boards because they board maneuvers quickly and move at an increased speed. The people who’d benefit more from inflatables are first-time riders. The overall performance is again also a significant difference in these two SUP. The responsiveness and rigidity of the fiberglass board still trump that of an inflatable despite the technological advancements. The stiffness of an inflatable is mostly dependent on air pressure, so maneuvering with speed isn’t easy. If you’re using the board for leisure activities, this is not necessarily a disadvantage.

When it comes to what’s more comfortable, the inflatable SUP is better if you’re standing for long periods of time. You also get a smoother ride than you would a fiberglass or epoxy board. If you prefer a rougher feel to your experience, then an inflatable won’t be quite to your liking. It’s also slower meaning it’s better for leisure than for anything else.

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Safe?

Like with any sport, safety starts with you. Being out in the water does pose some risks, but there are guidelines you can follow to ensure your safety.

The first thing you should do is wear a life jacket. It is especially so if you are a child, a beginner or not a confident swimmer. This point cannot be overemphasized. Thankfully these days you can get life jackets that won’t restrict your movement.

Always use the leash. In case you fall off, you won’t have to spend a considerable amount of energy going after it. It also prevents you from putting yourself at unnecessary risk in case it goes off to a rock or dangerous section of the water. Having the leash on also prevents it from dislodging those around you from their paddle boards as well. If you don’t have a leash for your paddle board here is a great one on Amazon.

Research the spot you are going to. If you’re in a new place, ask the locals about the terrain. Are there rocks or a waterfall? At the ocean, take time to learn about the tides and rips. In such a case, you are advised to wear a life jacket.

SUP is a fantastic solitary activity. In this case, let someone know where you are off to. In case something happens to you, there is someone who can raise the alarm and have you rescued. Most people think that nothing wrong can ever happen to them, especially if they’ve been paddle boarding for a long time. Nature can be quite unpredictable, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

With that said, keep an eye on the sky. Ocean fronts tend to have unpredictable weather, and you wouldn’t want to be caught in a rainstorm far from shore. Watch for clouds and wind changes. When you notice a significant weather change, make your way to shore immediately.

Be mindful of others. Do well to be respectful of the people around you. Be watchful when maneuvering to avoid any accidents. If there’s an area designated for SUP, stick to those and opt out of overcrowded breaks. Take good care of yourself as well. Wear sunscreen always, and if you are out in the water for a long time, wear a rash vest or wetsuit and a hat for increased protection from the friction and the sun.

Pros

The reason we like inflatable boards is because of the sheer benefits of them.

Compact: You could easily backpack with it or have it as your carryon luggage for a flight or train ride. In your car, it takes up little space in the trunk. They are much easier to store in your house or garage as they take up the same space your camping gear would.

Cost friendly:  You don’t have to rent a board when you travel or pay premium fees to transport it as you would a fiber or epoxy board.

Convenience: You don’t have to worry about security or damage as you would if you have a $1200 board on your car rack. It does not limit your favorite activities when you’re on holiday.

An inflatable board also lets you explore part of a waterway that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to on foot especially in the case of a river. As compared to other alternatives, these work best for rocky shores and river paddling.

Sturdy:  The surface is softer so when you fall, especially when you’re a beginner or child, it’s not as painful as it would be on hardboard.  They are more comfortable to lean or lie on because the material is softer as compared to its counterparts. The board is rigid and therefore works just as well as a traditional board. Inflatable boards also tend to be more stable than the hardboard meaning you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy paddling on a water surface.

Your weight or height mostly doesn’t matter when it comes to these boards.

Durable: When it comes to rocky terrain, an inflatable board just bounces off the rocks, a luxury that you do not have with other boards. Unless you throw it over a sharp object or a stray sharp object pierces the rubber, you don’t have to worry much about repairs.

Child-friendly: This sport is not just limited to children. With a few lessons and a life jacket, they can have just as much fun as the adults.

Animal-friendly: You and your beloved pet dog can enjoy the water and remain dry. The surface won’t have your furry friends sliding off the board as they would if they were on a fiberglass board.

Cons

Pricing: Contrary to what you might think, inflatable boards, are not that much cheaper than regular fiberglass boards. The pricing does, however, reflect the material used and the quality of it.

Maneuvering:  You won’t make corners as fast as you’d like. It also takes time to get used to paddling with it for a comfortable ride.

Sturdiness: Though this is one of its benefits, losing a bit of air can be problematic. You won’t be able to enjoy the rigidity of it.

A problem also found with this inflatable paddle board is that it sinks in the middle. The sinking can take away from the experience especially when you’re first starting out. A simple solution for this is to pump in more air.

Note: Your weight determines how much air you pump into the board

Why own an Inflatable Paddle Board

There are a lot of reasons why paddle boarding is a fantastic activity to engage in especially if you love being outdoors. With a board specifically for what pursuits you prefer, you’re well on your way to a good time.

One of the notable benefits is that it keeps you moving. When paddling, you’ll find that you’re engaging your upper body, core muscles, and your legs as you work to balance as well. Though not as physically intensive as what your gym trainer dishes out, it’s one that’ll burn calories and get you toned all at the same time. It also requires focus, and once you’re back on land, both your body and mind will feel rejuvenated. If you like a good competition, you can sign up for one. You can select what annual events to attend. You can also take the initiative and plan your race and invite people to participate. For this, you’ll need a slimmer board.

If you don’t see paddle boarding as a workout, it’s still a fun way to explore the outdoors. The places you can explore are not limited to your locality. You can enjoy the ocean down under or rivers in Iceland. It can easily be a hobby where you check off water bodies you went paddle boarding. A bigger board works best because it can carry additional weight and is more comfortable for longer distances. You don’t have to paddle alone. You can take your child or dog with you. For team building activities with family, friends or colleagues, you can get a multi-person inflatable SUP. These days you can get one that supports 5-7 people.

Your skills at paddle boarding can also be improved to get the most out of the sport. What most people enjoy about it is that no two paddling experiences are the same even though you’ve been to the location before. There’s always something about the water and surrounding that changes, just like with your capabilities. Surfers are not left out. For thrill chasers, a SUP on small waves is still just as fun. It serves as good training option if you’re starting out as a surfer.

If you want to push your body’s limits, you should try SUP Yoga. It remarkably challenges your balance and strength. The benefits apply on land- you become toned and more graceful. Nature’s soundtrack will get you into an intense state of Zen. An inflatable paddle board is best because it has a deep and wider deck pad. Also, you will want to be in very calm water or have a paddle board anchor like this one from Amazon. 

There are also other things you can try. Fishing is a timeless sport to participate in on an inflatable paddle board. These days SUP is the trend to follow. If you’re extra romantic, you can take your partner out with you for an outdoors date. You can find an island or rock to have a picnic.

With an anchor, you can leave your paddle in place as you snorkel or scuba dive. With a SUP you have the luxury of paddle off to explore uncharted waters. The coolest thing about SUP is that they can act as hammock holders. After paddling for long, you and your friends can add support for your hammocks. You can set up as many as five beds between two paddle boards.

How to Choose an Inflatable Paddle Board

There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing a paddle board. Here is my personal pick for the best inflatable paddle board.

Brand: Companies spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising, and while it’s useful in creating brand awareness, choose to look beyond the messaging. It’s easy to go with a company that uses flashy ads to get your attention. Look at the price of the board and see if you are getting value for money. Customer service and a guarantee are also crucial things you should look into before committing to purchase. It’s even better if you can get free shipping.

Size: This is mainly dependent on your weight and experience. A beginner should get a board with more volume because they are more stable than slimmer ones. You should therefore look for a longer, wider, thicker board. You can check out this guide to determine which inflatable to get. When you’re more confident or a pro, you can get a smaller volume board and sell or hand down your previous board.

Use: What you want to do will also determine the type of paddle board you purchase. Do you want it for travel? Is it for fishing or yoga? For leisure, you can get an all-round SUP that you can use for any occasion. There are many guides for what boards work best. Yoga and multi-person (or pet) inflatables tend to be larger in volume than the rest.

Price: This is perhaps the most critical factor when choosing an inflatable paddle board. You can check out sites that compare brands and prices and see if you can get the same features for cheaper. Other factors that affect the pricing are they type of bag the inflatable comes in.

How to Paddle Board for Beginners

The rigidity of a SUP board means you can carry things with you. For those who don’t have a place to store their items, a small dry bag will be suitable to place your belonging. Keep it light, so this means water, sunscreen, your wallet, phone and other lightweight odds and ends like a chap stick.

Before you set off, make sure that you have a life jacket. Even though you’re an excellent swimmer, beginners are strongly advised to wear one for safety.

Once you’re on the paddle board- we will discuss later how you get on- how you stand matters. Your feet should be waist length apart, knees slightly bent and back straight. Bending your knees acts as  shock absorbers in waves and helps maintain your balance. A straight back is not only good posture, but it helps you engage your core muscles and avoid back injury.

When starting out, it’s typical to use your arms to paddle. That, you will soon find out, tires you out. To get more power in your paddling, while keeping your back straight, engage your core muscles and your legs as well. Using your whole body will get you toned faster and proportionally, something we all wish to be.

The right way to hold your paddle is to grip the top of the paddle with one hand and have the other placed near the middle. To paddle, you either take long powerful strokes on each side, switching the hand placement on the paddle accordingly or 4-5 short strokes on each side before making the shift. If you want to turn right, paddle continuously to the left until you achieved your turn. To do it quicker, paddle backward on your left side until you reach the desired trajectory. Do the opposite to turn to the left. For robust paddling, plant the blade fully into the water before pulling. The aforementioned applies to each stroke. It also acts to stabilize you. The curve of the paddle should also be away from you.

Your location on the board also matters. The common rookie mistake is to stand too close to the nose of the board or further back towards the tail. Doing so makes it harder to control the board; you also exert a lot more energy when paddling. The carry handles at the center of the deck pad act as a maker of where you should stand on the board. Another mistake people do is look down while paddling. From a yoga perspective, this arches your back, and after an extended period, your back will start aching. Looking down will also likely cause you to lose your balance and fall into the water. Focus on something far off and make your way toward it.

Lastly, bring water and snacks with you. Your body is working out, and it needs to replenish the energy used. Water will keep you hydrated and a light meal, preferably something healthy, will keep you going for longer. An adventure doesn’t need to come to an end because of an empty stomach.

How to get on a Paddle Board (from a dock, sand or after falling)

Most people frown at the prospect of being able to stand, and comfortable so, on an inflatable SUP board. When inflated, they are between 80 to 90% as stable as the traditional board, depending on the brand and make. With that in mind, especially if it’s your first time, be more confident. Within a short time, you’ll be getting onto your board like a pro, at least on flat water.

Sand: To get onto your board, move it to knee deep calm water. Make sure the fin is not touching the sand as it may break or cause you to fall off. Place your essentials on the board. Take the paddle and plant it in the ground on the other side of the board. Using it as support, place one knee a little past the halfway point of the board followed by the other.

The other alternative is to place the paddle horizontally near the front of the board. Place your hands on the paddle on either end of the board. Place one knee past the halfway point of the board and quickly place the second next to it. Sit on your knees and paddle away from the shore.

Dock: Getting on board from the dock is quite easy. Place the board on the water and use your paddle to keep it from drifting off. There are two ways you can get one. If you’re super cautious, you can first sit on the dock and place your feet on the board. Use the dock for support as you find your balance. The other way is to bend and step down on the board, using the dock for assistance.

After falling: If you have the right equipment or using the proper techniques, falling off is quite unlikely. To reduce the anxiety, you are however advised to jump off to mimic falling and learn how to get on again. To do so, use the carry handle to pull yourself back horizontally on the board. Now move your body parallel onto the board and get to the kneeling position. From there slowly get back up.

You can also get on from the tail. Pull it down into the water with both hands and slide on using your chest. Proceed to the kneeling position to stand up.

Should you fall, do your best to land away from the board feet first as you never know what could be in the water. Use your leash to pull back the board, get on and use your hands to make your way to the paddle. If you don’t have a strap, always go for your board first.

How to Stand up on a Paddle Board

Once on your knees, tuck your toes in and look to the horizon. This last part gives you more balance when you start getting up. One by one, bring your knees to your chest and plant your feet on the board as you would in a squat position. With the paddle in your hands, slowly push yourself up as you would when getting up from a squat. You may wobble a bit for the first time but use the paddle and your body weight to your advantage. Once balanced, start paddling as it helps with balance.

Once you’re standing, keep your feet facing forward and hip distance apart with knees bent slightly. Your core should be engaged to help with balance.

Hold the top of the paddle with one hand, and the other should hold about halfway down the paddle. Adjust according to your comfort. The curved part of the paddle ought to face away from you. Your arms should be a comfortable length apart. To paddle, extend your arms forward with each stroke. Ensure that the blade goes all the way into the water. Paddle perpendicularly and not at an angle.

To find a board’s sweet spot, plant your paddle onto the board and a small step at a time move up or down the board. Stop when the nose and the tail are balanced. This action is known as trimming.

If paddling while standing gets uncomfortable, get down to your knees and paddle from that position until you feel rested enough to get back up. Sitting on the board makes standing up a lot harder.

How to Paddle Board with your Dog

What most people like is the fact that you can paddle, and comfortably so, with your dog on board an inflatable. What you will need is a life jacket for you and your furry friend. To keep them well behaved, have some treats and leash with you. Before you set off, allow your dog to explore and sniff out the area. Get their paw wet as well.

Put a life jacket on them and allow them to familiarize themselves with the paddle board. Take however time you need. While they are onboard, push the paddle board to the shore and into the shallow water. Make sure that they are on the front end of the paddleboard. For larger dogs, you may have to get the board into the water first and have a friend hold it steady so that you can help your dog up.

When it’s your turn to get on, the best spot to sit is just behind the carry handle. This way your weight balances theirs, and you’ll be able to stand comfortably. Depending on the circumstance, you can either launch yourself or have someone push away from the shore. At this point, your canine friend might begin to panic. You know your dog best so use whatever tricks that work to keep them calm or reassured. Make sure that they do not jump off initially. Once you’re far from the shore and they still want to hop out, allow them to swim around, of which after a while they’ll realize their only other option is to stay on the paddle board. At this point, call them back and pull them aboard. At this point, they’ll be pretty heavy because of the wet fur so pull them up by the lifejacket and not the collar.

After some time, your dog will want to explore the inflatable SUP and create an imbalance. You can tag at the leash or use the paddle to restrict them. If they get too close to the edge, you can block them using the paddle to let them know they can only go so far. With every order obeyed, give them treats to keep them motivated to stay on.

Tip: Do not make the mistake of tying the dog’s leash to the paddle or yourself. If the canine decides to jump into the water, they will most certainly take you with them.

How to Store an Inflatable Paddle Board

Storing an inflatable paddle board is super easy. Before doing so, make sure that it is dry. That way it doesn’t get the damp smell that we all dislike. Let the air out, roll it up, place it in its bag, and put it away. When deflated it’s about the size of a large suitcase. It can go pretty much anywhere you’d keep your camping gear when traveling or when at home. To increase its lifespan, do not expose it to elements when not in use. Ideally, store it in a cool, dry, dark place.

If you don’t like the bag it comes in; you can always purchase your own. A bag with wheels, for example, would be convenient to have.

How to Repair an Inflatable Paddle Board

The great thing about inflatables is that each one comes with a repair kit. What’s even better is that, with good care, you’ll never have to use it. The rubber material means that paddle, dock or rock bumps don’t cause damage as it would on a traditional SUP. In case you do get a small hole, you don’t have to get a professional to fix it. The manual that comes with the kit will show you how to repair the hole.

In case you notice holes in the seam, check if the issue falls under warranty and return it to the manufacturer for a replacement.

How to Clean an Inflatable Paddle Board

To maintain your board, purchase a board cleaner designed explicitly for inflatables. The regular all-purpose detergent can also be used to clean your paddle board. It works on both dirt and scuff marks caused by your paddle or other materials. Rinse off the soap with fresh water and leave it a shade to dry out completely. If you don’t have the time, carry a towel with you to wipe down excess moisture before rolling it up and packing it for storage.

A 303 aerospace protectant spray like this one on Amazon acts as water, dirt and stain repellent. Spraying a coat on your board will have your inflatable looking new for longer and will require less cleaning in the long run. The good thing about this protectant spray is that it’s not oily or greasy. It also acts a sunscreen- the UV light will not cause the paint to fade.

Warning: Do not use 303 protectant sprays every time you clean. Doing so can damage the board. Once or twice a year is sufficient.

Sometimes moisture will get on the board. When this happens, use a pump or vacuum to blow air into the board. Dirt gathered on the valve is easy to remove. Once you’ve pumped air into the board, open it. A blast of air will be released and it’ll blow away the dirt or debris. If anything remains, you can lock the valve in the open position and use a cotton swab to clean out what remains.

To make your cleaning easier, do not drag your inflatable board. Gravel, rocks or sharp debris will leave stain marks that you’ll end up having to scrub off. Though the rubber is though, it is best to apply extra caution.

How to Maximize your Inflatable Paddle Board

Don’t keep your inflatable paddle board in direct sunlight for a prolonged period when on land. It will cause the air in the boat to expand and damage the seals. The color of the board will fade as well giving it a beat-up look. Placing under canvas is not enough. Place it under a shade near your paddle boarding site.

To get the desired performance and rigidity, inflate your paddle board to the recommended 12 PSI. Any less and your experience will be unpleasant; your board will flex, and you’re more likely to be thrown off on rough water.

Tip: After a few hours of paddling in the hot sun, release some air pressure when you get back to shore. Doing so frees the warm air and doesn’t strain the material. In cold weather, the inflatable might begin sinking a bit after several hours. Its normal- air contracts in cold weather. When this happens, just add air pressure to return to the desired rigidity.

Conclusion

There is no reason why you should not get an paddle board, especially an inflatable one. If you love being around water and outdoors in general, this activity is perfect for you. The thing that makes this sport the ideal hobby for you is that it engages both your body and mind. Like taking a drive or doing an activity that requires repetition, paddle boarding allows you to clear your mind, leaving your thoughts to roam freely. Pair with the water’s calming effects and its ability to facilitate inner stillness and meditation, you are guaranteed to return to the shore rejuvenated.

Using this guide, and many others like it, if it’s your first time, you don’t need to be intimidated. Even the pros you see in the water had to start out somewhere. With an inflatable paddle board with you, there are almost no limits of the things you can do in water. You get to enjoy leisure activities for most of the year, only taking a break to enjoy what winter has to offer.

The price and convenience of inflatables have revolutionized paddle boarding. It has expanded the age and weight bracket of who can take part. It comes with relatively fewer hustles as well when it comes to storage and travel. Do you see paddle boarding being your thing? Head on over to an inflatable paddle board vendor today and explore the hidden wonders of water. If you prefer to buy online I have also created a buying guide with the top inflatable paddle boards here.

,

A Complete Inflatable Kayak Guide

Inflatable Kayak Guide

All inclusive inflatable kayak guide: Tired of having to rent hard-shell kayaks every time you travel for water sport vacations? Inflatable kayaks are the way to go. They offer light compact backpack storage and work as well as hard-shells with guaranteed better safety chances.

Famously known as duckies or IKs these inflatable kayaks have their appeal in their portability. Mostly common among kayakers who don’t have enough storage space for hard-shells, their durability and efficiency also serve as a bonus. With the right care, inflatable kayaks can be one of the best investments that you make.

People who are not familiar with water sports tend to confuse a kayak and a canoe. Though they might look similar in some aspects, a canoe has an open deck (which basically means the inside of the canoe is exposed to the sun) whereas a kayak has a closed deck (the top and inside the boat are covered). That is the most obvious difference. Of course if you want more detail then look it up. Be sure to understand the difference before a purchase to be able to get the right product.

How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak

Now that you’ve decided that an inflatable kayak sounds like a grand idea, what next? Similar in workings as a hard-shell, the same rules of purchase apply to inflatables. Therefore you consider a number of factors before you get one.

  1. Consider the type of kayaking you’re into

Available in a range of designs, inflatable kayaks are oriented to do better in one particular type of water. They are also geared according to the level of skill one has, ranging from beginner to advanced paddlers. Having a general idea of the type of kayaking you’ll be determines the type of experience you’ll have. Choosing the right one (this might require some consultation if you’re a beginner) will enable you to have a better experience.  Quality of the inflatable kayak also rides on where you’ll be kayaking. We have found that paddling in flat waters like a local lake works with any type of inflatable kayak. However, if what you have in mind is a bit on the windy side, best get a performance oriented sit-in kayak.

  1. Passenger Capacity

Inflatable kayaks come in single passenger or double passenger. You might decide to make it a one person activity or think it’s a good idea to have someone come along. A single passenger kayak has more maneuvering ability than a double where coordination might be required. A double effort however, makes the paddling easier and faster. Ask yourself whether you’d rather go alone or have someone come along. If its family you might want to take the double passenger, it’s more fun. I’d suggest you get a convertible kayak though (yes, there is that option…at a slight extra cost) it converts to a solo when you want to be alone and can be made into a double when you invite someone along.

  1. Consider the weight and portability of the kayak

The main reason people choose inflatable kayaks over hard-shells is their portability and easy storage. As much as inflatables are intended to be lighter than hard-shells, that is not always the case. Inflatables can differ considerably in weight and size. You might want to consider how much you’re actually willing to carry around. Sometimes taking your flight baggage allowance is also important if you’re planning to fly around. Lugging it in and out of your car might also be an issue if it’s too heavy for your weight. I’d recommend you take into account what other equipment you’ll be lugging around in addition to that of your kayak backpack.

  1. Cost

With the varied designs and sizes of inflatable kayaks, their costs also vary greatly. Just like the weight, you might find yourself looking at inflatable kayaks that are more expensive than hard-shells. So working with a budget might be a good idea. You have the option of starting with a less expensive IK if the one you want is on the pricey side. Just make sure you stick to calmer waters till you get the high quality you need.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Inflatable Kayaks

Out of all the advantages that come with using an inflatable kayak, storage capacity and transportation has to be the largest advantage. These reasons alone make the inflatable boat worth your hard-earned money. In most cases, kayak owners will attempt to tie their vessel to the roof of their car and hope that it does not fall off as you travel down the road.

For many, it is a very hard job to accomplish alone, and you need to be careful on it unless you want to see the costly kayak falling off the roof. If you own a regular kayak, taking fishing trips is a planned effort.

Easy portability: For a majority of inflatable kayaks, you can fit them easily to your backpack, into the back of your car, during your hiking journeys, and even in airplanes. You can even bring them along during mass movements.

Their size allows you to store and carry them, even in places and situations that you cannot carry a regular kayak. With inflatable ones, it is so easy to obtain flexibility and freedom as you go and enjoy the water.

Durability: If you look at it critically, inflatable kayaks may not impress you much, as they do not have a “durable look”. They seem to be fragile, as if the first brush with a rock will leave you with a deflated rubber pile. However, dedicated users will tell you that is not the case.

The truth is that inflatable kayaks have the capability of taking rough conditions in stride. In fact, many are made from the same material as high-end water rafts.

In the event that the kayak has a puncture, repairs are very easy to make. An advantage of purchasing inflatable kayaks presently is that they come with repair kits. Your only job? Cut out a patch of cloth, fasten the patch on the puncture using glue, and then let it rest throughout the night.

They offer you stability: Most extreme sports documentaries on kayaking show that the kayak sometimes tip over, and the participants in the boat need to correct the situation quickly. Do not be scared off however – these incidences are not very common, though they sometimes happen, and riders know the handling of the situation. We know that tipping over is a possible occurrence on any kayak, but the truth is it is less probable in inflatables.

You may wonder why this is so. The inflatable kayaks actually have wider surface areas, as opposed to regular kayaks. Due to this factor, they tend to have greater stability in water. This will reduce the speeds you can move through the water, but keep in mind that stability trumps speed every time.

Inflatable kayaks have another advantage from their surface area – they have more bounce than regular kayaks, resulting from the air pockets in the boat. V-shaped vessels have lower centers of gravity, and this makes them slide through water quickly and smoothly. However, inflatable kayaks are high and tend to resist sinking down in water.

All these factors increase their stability, regardless of the condition. In fact, when you go out in rough water, it is better to utilize inflatable kayaks compared to regular ones.

Affordability: Let us admit it – taking up fishing as a hobby is an intimidating experience, and you may not know where to start. The good news is that you can start easily through inflatable kayaks. They tend to be more affordable compared to regular kayaks. This means that you have no regrets purchasing something that was so expensive and did not work out for you.

Keep in mind that you can spend more on high-end kayaks compared to low-end regular vessels. However, purchasing beginner-level kayaks is the best way you can start out on your hobby. Here is a great buying guide that you can follow for purchasing an inflatable kayak. 

What are the Drawbacks of Inflatable Kayaks?

Despite all their advantages, they do have some disadvantages. Some of these are:

Loss in speed: When you decide on an inflatable boat, you will definitely sacrifice your speed. This is due to their design, which sits on top of the water, and does not move through the water as quickly.

However, keep in mind that when you lose speed, you increase stability. This is important especially for beginners, who will want a vessel that makes them feel comfortable.

Width changes: The kayaks that are inflatable tend to have issues with squeezing into tight spaces when fully inflated, thanks to their wide surface area. However, when you lose sleek movements, you make up for that in stability rating. You only need to remember the size of your vessel, and make sure you know the spaces you are attempting to slip into.

Issues in shelf life: Like all things inflatable, you may encounter risky situations that can damage the kayak. However, do not assume the kayak will suddenly deflate and leave you in the water. If leaks occur, they will occur at slow rates, and this allows you to exit the water safely. When damage occurs, it is easy to fix – just makes sure you examine the boat after every use, repair any leaks, and you will be fine.

For regular kayaks, it is possible for them to undergo some damage, though they are more difficult to repair in addition to expensive costs.

Inflatable Kayaks Vs Hard-Shell Kayaks

Old school kayakers might feel affronted at the thought of tucking away their hard-shells in favor of an inflatable kayak. However we can’t deny the obvious benefits an inflatable kayak provides. But how do they measure up against each other?

  • Performance

When it comes to performance both inflatable kayaks and hard-shell have areas where they perform better than the other. Since inflatable kayaks weigh much less than rigid kayaks, they can be difficult to control in inclement weather, hard-shell kayaks are more stable because they sit heavier in the water. However, inflatable kayaks are quite stable and harder to capsize due to their buoyancy.

  • Storage

Anyone who has ever owned a hard-shell kayak knows that storing it takes up a lot of room. The ability to be stored in small compact spaces is one ace inflatable kayaks have up their sleeve. Deflated, inflatable kayaks fold down to the size of a backpack and easily transferred to the water in the back of your car or in your trunk. Unlike hard-shells that might cause damage (and get damaged) during transportation, IKs have no such problem and can even be taken on flights.

  • Comfort

Where hard-shells have a very short rigid back rest, inflatable kayaks come with a clip in seat that is very supportive to your back. These inflatable seats can also be swapped in with another inflatable seat that suits your back rest specification. Seating in an inflatable kayak means you can go for hours in the water without feeling numb. You need solid support from a backrest, not anti-butt-numbing comfort. However you are more likely to get wet in an inflatable kayak than a hard-shell kayak.

  • Maintenance

Inflatable kayaks only need to be inflated or deflated each time you need to use them. Even with the presence of IKs made out of tough material, there is always a chance of puncturing. However hard-shells don’t need much maintenance unless they’re wooden. The process of drying an inflatable kayak can also be tricky.

  • Reliable

The safety of an inflatable kayak has come into question a number of times. With most people looking at inflatable kayaks as ‘water toys’ it’s really hard to determine if they’re safe in rough waters. Inflatable kayaks have several air chambers that ensure you’re always afloat and don’t get trapped in a hydraulic lock.  If you fall out of an open inflatable kayak in deep water it’s easy to flip the boat back upright and crawl back on, all without help, paddle floats and in as little as 30 seconds. That can mean less risk of hypothermia. Doing the same in a hard shell takes several minutes and can be difficult alone in rough water; and once in, the flooded hull will require pumping out.

  • Performance

Inflatable kayaks sit higher in the water due to their several air chambers that make them buoyant, therefore are more exposed to the wind. This might cause them to be a bit harder to paddle than hard-shells. Some inflatables might be made wider for more stability, however this reduces their speed due to a large surface area compared to hard-shells. Here are some great lightweight oars from Amazon.

When deciding whether an inflatable kayak is good enough for you, mostly it’s a personal choice. Are you willing to overlook some cons in favor of pros? Both makes have pros and cons, now it’s up to you to see what suits you best.

Types of Inflatable Kayaks

Sea kayaks: These kayaks are oriented to have speed and stability. They have a flat hull to increase stability due to ocean waves that might knock you off balance. There kayaks are also long to give you more distance per stroke making you cover greater distance. These kayaks will also allow for below-deck storage of cargo with multiple hatches to maximize storage space.

Surf kayaks: Though they are also used at sea, the have a few additional features that are uniquely made. They typically have flat bottoms, and hard edges, similar to surf boards. They come in two main varieties High performance and International class. High Performance sets are designed for high speed dynamic movement, to allow easy cutting in on waves, and come equipped with a cluster of four fins. International class are long and have a slightly convex or concave hull with no fins. Their surfs tend to be smoother and more flowing.

Sit-on-top kayaks: They come in one to four paddler configuration. They are very stable and easy to paddle even for beginners. Ordinarily the seats will sit on top of a sit-on-top is slightly above water level, so the center of gravity for the paddler is higher than in a traditional kayak. To compensate for the higher center of gravity, sit-on-tops are often wider and slower than a traditional kayak of the same length. They’re popular for fishing and other activities that need easy exit and access to the water.

Whitewater kayaks: In white waters maneuverability is key. They are carefully crafted to ensure that they hold up well in rough waters. They have round hulls and minimal chines that makes rolling easier in the water by reducing surface area contact. This also makes it easier to maneuver and adjust to the fast flowing and rough white waters.

Recreational kayaks: Designed for casual paddlers who are interested in peaceful paddles in lakes or flat water streams. Compared to other kayaks these are the most sought after type. They have a large cockpit for easy entrance and exit and a wider beam for more stability. With a limited cargo capacity they do not do well at sea or rough waters.

How to get Into an Inflatable Kayak

Getting in and out of an inflatable kayak can be quite a task, especially for beginners. It might sound easy, but knowing what to do will save you a lot of trouble that is likely to come up. Whether it’s a sand or gravel beach or a shoreline there are easy ways to safely get in and out of your kayak.

Getting into your inflatable kayak from the shore.

You need some kind of support to hold on to for an easier entrance into the kayak. Having it well into the water will prevent the kayak from sticking to the bed of the waterfront. From there straddle the kayak while still in the water with its seat right underneath you. You can use the paddle to steady you, but don’t use too much force or it might break. Sit carefully into your kayak shifting from one foot to the other while still using the paddle for support and balance. Getting into the inflatable one leg first, find a balanced footing then go in with the other and sit in carefully. Having someone around will help a great deal in them holding steady the kayak while you get in.

Getting out is basically the reverse of the same process. Find something solid to hold on to or still use your paddle for steadying you while you lift yourself out of the kayak.

Getting into your inflatable from the pier.

Place the paddle on the pier where you can easily reach it once you are in your kayak. Then lift yourself into your kayak seat while keeping the majority of your weight on your hands. The trick is to keep your weight even over the center line to avoid tipping the kayak. Move slowly into the kayak seat and paddle away.

Getting out is in the reverse order, though you still start with placing your paddle on the pier. Lift yourself out of the kayak by using the pier as support and keep majority of your weight on your hands.

Inflatable Kayaking Tips for Beginners

For beginners, these are a few basics you can start with:

  • It’s always smart to start off with getting yourself a kayaking lesson. Sure it might look easy to paddle, but without proper guidance you might find yourself paddling in circles for over an hour. So to save time and effort on your part, invest in a kayaking lesson (which don’t tend to be expensive).
  • Dress for the appropriate water not weather. You might go out dressed for a sunny day but find that the water is icy. It’s usually recommended that you know the ins and outs of the water you’ll be on beforehand. Dealing with a water activity requires you to wear some sort of wetsuit to ensure you’re comfortable even when wet.
  • We’ve looked at the various types of kayaks available. Make sure you pick the right type of kayak for your expedition. This is dependent on what type of water you’re dealing with and the activities involved. To be on the safe side, pick a sit-on-top or a recreational kayak for any activity done in still waters.
  • Always wear safety gear. In the water buoyancy aid is essential for any kayaker. These are like the life jackets of kayaking but allow more movement in the arms and neck. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, they are always required. A helmet is absolutely crucial if you will be kayaking rocky waters. Here is a great life jacket that I would recommend from Amazon.
  • To keeping your things and yourself dry you might consider using spray skirts, which is used to cover the opening of the cockpit. It protect your lower body and belongings from getting wet. However you need to know how to detach yourself from a spray skirt quickly while underwater. You can also store your things in dry bags.
  • Learning to sit properly in a kayak is also an important factor. Most kayaks come with a comfortable back rest, use it. However the best position you can be is with your back straight and at a 90° angle with your buttocks. Use the foot pegs to rest your feet with your toes pointing outwards.
  • Holding the paddle might also seem easy, but is better done with a technique. Hold the paddle with both hands, just over the shoulders. Making sure the concave part of the blade is facing you. Grip onto the paddle with hands over and thumbs under. In general, you should have a relaxed grip on the paddle. The torso is your source of power, so you should be winding it to help you stroke, preventing strain of your arms, back, and shoulders.
  • Your strokes on either side should be even – this will help to keep you in a straight line. At the start you will find it tricky to go in a straight line. Focus on a point on the land and practice paddling straight towards it. Making a turn will require more of a sweep stroke on one end of the paddle. An instructor can give you more directions on how to do it.
  • Do not push yourself too hard. Beginning kayaking is just like any other skill, you need to be honest with yourself. As a first timer you’re bound to have a bit of snags getting along. Go easy on yourself and focus on learning the techniques. After that everything else will come easily enough. Try to stick to still waters for a while before you get your footing.
  • Know how to rescue yourself and others. Being a beginner you’ll likely stick to calmer waters therefore will hardly run into any emergency. However it’s important to always know how to save yourself and other people. Make sure you go through a capsize drill with your instructor. They’ll teach you how to right the boat and get back in.
  • This might be obvious, but people usually tend to forget it. Always carry an extra set of clothes. In a water activity you’re bound to get wet at one point or another. Ensure you always have a bag with extra clothes to avoid the uncomfortable situation of walking around in wet clothes.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?

This is among the common questions people are still unsure about on inflatable kayaks. Especially in rough water activities where you’re bound to run into rocks and other obstacles. However, the question of safety is highly dependent on what you spend on the kayak. Cheap inflatables aren’t made for any prolonged used. In fact the cheaper variety works best in local shallow waters once in a while.

If you’re thinking of a long term use on the far shores, with the assured safety, then expensive inflatables are for you. They offer a combination of double and triple layer fabric, separate inflation chambers, and airtight valves among other things. The 2 or 3 layers of fabric provide extra protection against a tear or puncture. Even if one layer is punctured the kayak will still go on functioning with no problems as other layers will hold it up. Because the whole kayak is filled with air, it is not very likely to sink unless you have punctured all or most of the air chambers. The air tight valves ensure that once the air goes in, it doesn’t come out.

The material used to make proper inflatable kayaks are nylon or polyester woven fabric base onto which PVC, PU or a type of rubber is bonded to coat both sides with a waterproof and durable layer. Basically inflatable kayaks are made using the same materials and construction processes as those used to make military equipment. Therefore are durable and rather safe.

The fact that they float during a capsize and don’t get caught in a hydraulic lock is also a plus. You will be able to flip and get back on with little struggle…hoping this never happens.

When it comes to children and water sport, a lot of caution is placed because of the imminent possibility of drowning. When it comes to children and inflatable kayaks, you can provide the best quality kayaks and paddle boards so that they can enjoy the water. Inflatable Kayaks provide a special selection to cover a child’s needs. Before you get one for you child, make sure it’s suited for children as not all inflatables work for them. Inflatable Kayaks come with thigh strap on them that will ensure your child stays in the kayak even in windy conditions. Both you and your child can enjoy paddling in your respective inflatables with no problems.

Can you Take an Inflatable Kayak White Water Rafting?

There is a specially designed kayak used for white water rafting (see the section on types of kayaks). It’s very possible to go white water rafting on an inflatable kayak. The kayak is specially designed to smoothly transition and maneuver in the rough water. Adjusting and safe movement during white water rafting is also taken care of in the construction of the inflatable kayak.

Can you Fish from an Inflatable Kayak?

If you are passionate about boats that allow you to store your fishing equipment as well as your trip catches, while retaining comfort and reliability, then inflatable kayaks are your best friend.

Kayak fishing is becoming increasingly popular as a recreational activity. They are characterized by their wide beams that are over a meter in length. These beams increase lateral stability and decreased the chance of capsizing. In a bid to add yet more stability, a lot of fishing kayaks give you the option of adding outriggers. These outriggers that increase their stability, and others feature twin hulls enabling stand up paddling and fishing. Compared with motorboats, fishing kayaks are inexpensive and have few maintenance costs. Some people even use the outriggers to hold up more fishing poles.

So yes, fishing from an inflatable kayak is very possible. Here is a great buyers guide that I have written on inflatable fishing kayaks.

How to Repair an Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable Kayaks come with a user’s manual and a repair kit. Ensure you always carry your repair kit with you whenever you go out on your kayak. It makes you be prepared for any eventuality.

  • For small leak, deflate your boat, clean and dry the area to be repaired thoroughly. Apply a small drop of glue. Let dry 12 hours. If you need to get on the water sooner, let it dry 30 minutes then inflate the boat, inflating the area with the repair only ¾ full. Then make a permanent repair later.

If you are having a hard time locating the leak – apply soapy water, as it will bubble out from the source of the leak. From there, follow the instructions above. You can also listen with your ear very close to the kayak with the sensitive part of your face feeling for air movements. Most leaks are usually at the bottom where it’s likely to scrape something.

  • For a leak larger than a pin whole, you’ll require a patch.

-Deflate the kayak and remove the punctured section to locate the leak;

– Clean the area around the hole;

– Apply the patch, pressing strongly for 1 minute;

– Wait 4 hours before inflating your kayak again, and getting back on the water.

This bit is more about building your kayak knowledge than something you’ll have to put into practice often. Knowing how to handle one though will help you to be prepared for the worst. I would recommend that everyone keeps this repair kit from Amazon with their inflatable so you are always prepared.

How to Maintain and Store an Inflatable Kayak

With good maintenance and storage you can reduce the chances of wearing out your kayak.

  • Store it in a cool, dry spot – make sure the kayak is clean and dry before you pack it up so that no mold can accumulate. Keep it in a clean and dry place that is not affected from major variations in temperature and other damaging environmental factors.
  • If there is a little moisture left over (possibly in the tubes) after you have dried it, leave it partially inflated for a few days in a dry area to completely dry it out before packing away. Some airflow circulation is nice as your kayak will likely still be a bit “moist” after cleaning and drying.
  • Rodents can ruin a kayak completely by chewing on it. If you have a rodent problem find a rodent proof place to place the kayak.
  • Use a protectant to help with UV damage protection. A 303 Protectant spray will greatly prolong the strength and the life of your inflatable kayak material by protecting it from the harmful UV rays. It is really cheap to buy and easy to use. This is your inflatable boat “sunscreen” and should be applied every 1 – 2 months for ultimate protection.
  • Clean it every month: (if used extensively) but recommended seasonally before storing for the winter. However never use high pressure cleaning equipment that may damage the kayak. Open the self-bailer and wash the kayak with a hose to remove sand and other particles.
  • Use an inflatable boat cleaner to remove dirt, oil and tough stains on the kayak. If you don’t have a specific inflatable cleaning agent then you can also use an all-natural cleaner as well… just don’t use any harsh chemical cleaners that could do harm to the material. I would recommend this cleaner from Amazon.
  • If you leave your inflatable kayak outside, raise it off the ground and cover with a tarp. Don’t allow it to be exposed to direct sunlight, leaves, berries or rain.
  • When deflating your inflatable kayak check that the valves and gaskets are clean and not damaged. Inflate the buoyancy tube.
  • Remove the floor or floorboards where applicable.
  • If you have been on salt water you will want to rinse the kayak with fresh water. Clean off any scum, sunscreen, algae and such with a rag and maybe some mild dish soap if needed. Look into the crevices along the side tubes and the floor for sand and muck.
  • You may store the kayak deflated and rolled up or lightly inflated. If you own an inflatable with a removable tube set, take it off for easier, more thorough cleaning. You may store the tube set on or off the kayak. Dry thoroughly. Sun dry if possible.
  • When at the take out after a long days paddle you can feel free to roll up your boat and stow it in its case. Storing your kayak wet and dirty will not necessarily kill it, but it will shorten its life.
  • You should probably fold and roll up your kayak differently each time to ensure you do not develop a crease or a wear spot.

Wrap Up.

Ultimately, even with its pros and cons (which aren’t that many) an inflatable kayak is definitely worth the price. It’s fun and efficient requiring very minimal care and storage space. Now you can go backpacking with your kayak with no problem. They perform as well as hard-shells, so why not?

,

Are Inflatable Kayaks Durable?

Are Inflatable Kayaks Durable

It was during a tour of Alaska that we decided to explore the Kenai Fjords on Kayak. It was an impromptu decision and one that we will never regret for the rest of our lives.

The fact that we struggled throughout the two-hour paddle in the icy waters didn’t deter us from embracing Kayaking as a getaway hobby.

It’s been four years and we have kayaked in some of the best destinations around the world. Many a time, we meet newbie Kayakers on the waters and most of them are renting equipment to try out, which is exactly the way we started off.

A lot of them have one common question in their minds before investing in a kayak.

Are Inflatable kayaks as good as hard shell ones? Are they durable? Do they rip open the moment they brush against a rock?

That’s a very valid question.

But the answer to it, depends on multiple factors to be fair.

We have used inflatables for more than two years and still own a few that we use occasionally. None of them have ever torn or ripped in the water.

So, here are our two cents on the evergreen inflatable vs. hard shell debate.

The Perks of an Inflatable Kayak

There are many reasons why an inflatable kayak is more appealing than a rigid one.

You can inflate it when needed, deflate it after use and tuck it into a duffel bag before stowing it away.

It is light weight. Not as expensive as a hard shell one. It is easier to store, to carry.

But if it’s going to tear the moment you encounter some rapids, then it’s clearly not worth the $300 or whatever the average price is.

The fact is that just like a rigid kayak or any other boat, there are both, good and bad quality inflatables.

It all boils down to what you are willing to spend and what your kayaking goals are.

Most beginners are looking to get a hang of things. Maybe gain some core strength as they learn to track and control the boat in different conditions.

Others just want to head out to the lake, staying close to the shore and fish. Both these scenarios are common with beginners.

A mid-level inflatable kayak that is wider and has sides that resemble a pontoon, is just perfect for beginners. It is extremely stable, rarely tips and will not rip while beaching.

The materials used in the construction and the multiple air pockets that are created due to the design allow the kayak to bounce off any rocks or other sharp obje

How to Pick a Durable Inflatable Kayak

To be able to pick a durable inflatable, you need to know a little about its construction.

Typically, there is an inner layer of woven fabric (Nylon or Polyester) that is coated with either PVC or DuPont’s Hypalon or a newer type of rigid material called Nitrylon.

The inner fabric tube may either have an inflated outer layer surrounding it, somewhat like the tube in a tire or, it can be multiple layers of the fabrics closely glued together, like a tubeless tyre.

Each material used for the final outer layer has its own pros and cons.

PVC

Inflatables with PVC coated Nylon are typically entry level models. These are cheap, excellent for recreational use and can last for years with basic aftercare. If you are a beginner, this is most likely the combination of materials that you are looking at.

Pros

  • Cheap, tried and tested material
  • Has been around for decades
  • Lightweight, easy to patch
  • Available in a wide range of colors

Cons

  • Not UV resistant. If you wish to extend the lifespan of your PVC inflatable, you treating it with a UV resistant spray (303) before heading out into the sun.
  • Also, PVC is not chemical resistant.

 

Hypalon

Hypalon is the slightly expensive PVC alternative. It is a type of rubber manufactured by DuPont and has been used widely in the construction of inflatable boats, roofing solutions and the likes. A Hypalon inflatable kayak is more flexible in the water and usually carries a 10 to 15-year manufacturer warranty due to the durability of the material. Brands like AIRE and Tributary have a range of Hypalon kayaks on offer.

Pros

  • Excellent UV, chemical and mold resistance
  • Expands and contracts when exposed to varying temperatures
  • Is softer and lighter than PVC
  • Easy to patch
  • Used by the US coastguard

Cons

  • Almost 100% more expensive than PVC
  • Not as rigid as some types of PVC and hence, may not be the best option in a whitewater scenario

 

Nitrylon

Nitrylon is the newest kid on the block. It was first introduced by Innova Kayaks as part of their endeavor to phase out the use of PVC which has been getting some battering off late due to its less-than-desirable environmental credentials.

It is touted as being more abrasion, puncture and chemical resistant than PVC.

Pros

  • Hard, puncture resistant material
  • Tougher than PVC
  • Easier to patch
  • Better performance in extreme weather conditions

Cons

  • Heavier
  • More expensive
  • Very recent entrant into the market and only a few manufacturers offering it

To sum it up, PVC is the ideal inflatable kayak material for beginners and recreational kayakers. Some manufacturers even offer high end semi-rigid PVC models that can also be used for whitewater and rapids. So, you have a whole range of products in a variety of price points (and colors) to choose from in PVC.

If you are looking at professional use or for competitive sporting events, we would recommend Hypalon. It is more expensive but completely worth every dime you spend on it.

Other Factors to Consider

The durability of course is just one of the factors that you must consider before deciding on a model or a brand. Your height, weight, the room that you need for yourself and your gear, tandem vs. solo, the type of waters you will be paddling in, your budget, the weight of the kayak and the type of kayak (all enclosed, canoe, sit on top, sit-in, stand-up or self-bailing) are some of the other variables that come into play during the selection.

,

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Any Good?

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Any Good?

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Any Good?

Whether you are interested in buying your first paddle board or want an upgrade for your existing one, one thing that may be on your mind is whether to get an inflatable board or the traditional hard board.

You are probably wondering if inflatable paddle boards are any good as compared to the more common hard  paddle boards. And the answer is simple; yes!

Inflatable boards, also known as iSUP’s, come with quite a number of advantages over the fiberglass or epoxy paddle boards.

Using Inflatable Paddle boards

The greatest argument against using iSUP’s is that they are not stable enough to allow one to float. However, high-quality inflatable paddle boards are made using a technique known as the ‘drop stitch technology’. Simply put, the bottom and the top part of the board are connected by small fibers that are woven into the inside known as drop stitches. Whenever air is pumped into the board, the small fibers stand up and almost interlock as the board begins to take shape. The fibers also make the board more rigid and stiffer as more air is pumped. This is the reason you will feel as though you are standing on a hard surface. Depending on the quality of materials used, an iSUP can become just as rigid as hard paddle boards.

Although, they were initially used for white water paddling only, iSUP’s can now be used for just about any form of SUP. Whether it is flat water cruising, surfing, or racing, you can use your inflatable paddle board without any inhibitions.

Of course, it goes without saying that you will have to inflate your iSUP before you can use it. If you bought a good quality inflatable paddle board, then it came with a hand pump which will make inflating an easy job for you. Cheaper boards will usually come with a foot pump or no pump at all. To make inflation easier, I suggest getting a quality pump, in case your paddle board did not come with one, or it came with a crappy one.

The amount of air pressure your board can take will affect its performance. Inflatable paddle boards that have a lower inflation capacity will feel soft, and will not perform as well. To get the best out of an inflatable paddle board, be on the lookout for those that can handle more air pressure. The capacity of iSUP’s is usually measured in units known as psi. The best-performing ones have a psi of at least 15.

The Advantages of Inflatable Paddle Boards

With a high-quality iSUP that has a psi of around 17, you can achieve about the same performance as with a rigid hard paddle board. However, there are several factors that could make you choose the inflatable over the traditional hard board.

  1. Easy transportation

Inflatable paddle boards are quite easy to transport. When deflated, they can fold to about the size of a sleeping bag which you can then easily fit in a large backpack.

When it comes to the rigid hardboards, you will need to have an SUV or a truck so as to transport it.

The best part about having an iSUP is that you can easily take it with you on the plane without paying surfboard fees as would be the case with rigid paddle boards.

You can even take your inflatable paddle board with you on a cruise ship! There really is no limit when it comes to traveling with your iSUP.

For paddlers with smaller frames, you may be happy to know that inflatable boards are much easier to maneuver in the water. Getting the board into and out of the water is not as hectic as when you have a hard paddle board instead.

  1. Convenient storage

If you have had a rigid paddle board, then you know how hectic storing it can be, especially during the off season. They take up so much space and require you to have sufficient storage area such as a spacious garage.

Inflatable paddle boards, on the other hand, are quite convenient when it comes to storing them. When deflated and rolled up, you can store your iSUP under your bed or tuck it into your closet. You can even leave it in your car trunk! Most of them come with their own carrier bags, so that should not be a problem.

The only thing to be mindful of is if the iSUP is dry whenever you are rolling it up for storage. Rolling up an iSUP when it is still wet could generate unpleasant smells that could make it uncomfortable to use the board the next time you unroll it.

  1. Durability

What most people find hard to believe is that inflatable paddle boards are just as durable as rigid ones. In fact, you may be surprised to find out that they can actually be more durable.

High-quality iSUP’s are better than rigid boards, especially for white water paddling and paddling in rock rivers. This is because whenever you inflatable board hots the rocks, it will simply bounce back. Hard boards may not handle the impact and may end up cracking or even breaking entirely. The same applies to when you drop the board on a hard surface.

It is important, however, to note that when purchasing inflatable iSUP’s, you should look for high-quality ones. Be on the lookout for the inflation capacity of the inflatable paddle board you intend to buy. Lower quality inflatable boards will not be as durable and may end up damaged within a couple of uses.

Unless you intentionally jab your inflatable paddle board using sharp objects, you are likely not going to need repairs.

  1. Softer surface to land on

Let’s face it, no matter how good you are at paddling, there are times when you fall when doing stand-up paddling.

Although inflatable paddle boards can be just as rigid and stiff as hard paddle boards, landing on an iSUP when you fall will have much less impact. For children or even paddling beginners, this is a great advantage as they will fall a couple of times. Several falls on a fiberglass paddle board will leave your body sore which is not the case for inflatable paddle boards.

  1. Cost

If you are working on a tight budget, then inflatable paddle boards are the best option for you. They are much cheaper than hard paddle board even for boards that are of the same size. Even if you get a high-quality iSUP, it will still be at a cheaper price as compared to the hard rigid paddle boards. They are an especially great option for first-time paddlers.

  1. Easy to repair

I have already pointed out that inflatable boards are less likely to require any repairs. However, in the event you need to do some repairs, it will be quite easy for you to do so.

Every inflatable board comes with its own repair kit. Should you get a small hole on your iSUP, you can easily repair it yourself. Most kits usually come with patches as well that allow you patch up tears. However, and damages to the seam should be brought to the manufacturer’s attention as they may be covered by the warranty.

With inflatable paddle boards, it is also easy to assess damage to it. A damaged board will deflate and you will immediately notice. The same cannot be said for hard paddle boards. The rigid boards can take in water when they are dented and you may not realize unless they take in too much water. You may even have to air out the paddle in the sun for a couple of hours before you are able to repair it.

Inflatable Paddle Boards; Are They Worth It?

The answer is yes. Inflatable paddle boards are totally worth every penny. The convenience they bring is just too much to ignore. The fact that they offer just as much rigidity as hard boards while at the same time offering a couple of more advantage is what makes them a great option. I personally think they are better than the hard paddle boards, especially for cruising in lakes, rivers and even for calm surfs. Check out this complete iSUP guide for more information about inflatable paddle boards!

,

What is the Best Inflatable Boat Brand?

What is the Best Inflatable Boat Brand?

Best Inflatable Boat Brand of 2018

Yearning to take your family for a fishing expedition by the lake? Choosing an inflatable boat would be a great idea. If you do some research, you will find out that the market offers all kinds of inflatable boats for different reasons. Some are used for pleasure while others are used for business. You can also use a small inflatable boat in case there is an emergency by the lake.

There are different models from different brands that you can choose from. Such brands include:

  • Intex
  • Flex boat
  • Zodiac
  • Walker Bay
  • AB inflatables
  • Advanced Elements
  • The Creek Company

Despite the fact that there are so many varieties to choose from, Intex brand is among one of the best inflatable boat brands that you will definitely like. Reasons why you should choose this brand are discussed below. First, we will look at a brief history of Intex brand so that you can understand how far they have come and if they have a future.

Intex Inflatable Boat Brand

Intex Company is a global leader in making inflated boats catering for all your sailing needs. With over 40 years of service, they keep on receiving praises and high ratings for quality inflated boats.  Over the years, this company has gradually grown from manufacturing water sports products that include inflatable boats, pool boats, marine boats, lake boats and kayaks.

Having started by the name Wet Set, this company rebranded its name at later stages to Intex. Beach ball was the first inflatable item that they ever produced. They continued progressing by incorporating specific technology in manufacturing their inflatable boats which makes them produce unique boats with high performance.

Their creativity in borrowing ideas from previous produces is what has led them to be a world recognized company providing you with the best inflatable boats. If you were worried about their credibility, with this background, you can now purchase a model from intex confidently knowing that you are buying from the best.

Further reasons why you should choose Intex brand

Strong material in manufacturing

Models from these brand are made from laminated Vinyl, high molecular PVC which is super tough to prevent your inflatable boat from abrasion, strong sunrays and high impacts. You also do not need to worry about sailing on salty water since the material protect the metallic parts of your inflatable boat from rusting.  Your boat is therefore durable to let you experience years of nothing but fun.

Affordability

Compared to other brands, Intex brand provides models putting into consideration your budget. It is easy to purchase a pocket friendly model from intex brand. Even the big size intex models are cheaper than other brands.

Compact and foldable models

Intex brand models inflate and deflate easily without giving you a hard time when you are worn out from your trip and ready to pack. Once you are done for the day, easily fold back your inflatable boat and put it at the back of your track without much effort.

Spacious inflatable boats

Models from Intex provide you with enough space for you and other family members to fit depending on the intex model. For instance an intex mariner 4 would accommodate you and three other friends perfectly for you to spend you weekend relaxing on an island. You can also carry around everything that you need to have fun on a boating trip.

Safety

Intex brand pays keen attention in producing inflatable boats that have passed the best safety standards. Therefore, you can be sure that by buying such models, you are not at any serious risk that can be caused by an important part malfunctioning. Further product testing done by intex employees should assure you that buying inflated boats here is the best decision you ought to make.

Other sets of accessories

Unlike other brands, intex provides you with a set of accessories such as paddles and pumps making it convenient so you don’t have to go looking for extra accessories to be able to paddle your inflatable boat.

Unique features and specifications

Features such as I beam floor in the models improves rigidity while at the same time making you more comfortable. Models from intex brand are equipped with air chambers and valves to make your bought buoyant while at the same it enhancing safety for your inflatable boat to stay afloat. You can attach the adjustable seats to make you more comfortable. Rod holders and gear pouches are also featured in intex inflatable boats. If you are planning to have fish for lunch on your adventure, fishing rods provided by this brand will come in handy. The rods let you fish easily from the comfort of your seat without straining.

Categories of Intex Inflatable Boats

Depending on what kind of a sailor you are, intex inflatable boats are categorized into two. You could be a professional sailor or one that uses boats for recreational purposes. These categories are referred to as:

Professional series boat

Models in this category are designed for high performance since this type involves serious sailing. The models are constructed to last longer compared to sports series boats since they cover longer distances every day. If you are a pro at sailing, go for a professional series boat that you can use for years.

Sports series boat

For those who use inflatable boats once in a while going fishing or just to relax by another beach, an intex sports series boat would be the most ideal. Such boats are fitted with unique accessories for your recreation.

Some examples of models from Intex brand include:

Intex mariner 4 inflatable boat

Have you always planned to go for a cruise with your best friends but do not know which inflatable boat to take you there? Go for an intex mariner 5 inflatable boat and bring your 3 best friends with you. Unfolding this model is an easy process that you can handle by your own. The Boston valves will help you pump air into your boat for fast inflation. You however need is some assistance from your friends to carry it near the shore before takeoff.

Intex Company has manufactured this model with your needs in mind. A rock guard along the hull is placed to protect your inflatable boat from impacts in case you accidentally hit a rocky surface. A unique feature that you won’t find in other brands is an inflatable keel inside this model. This improves tracking while sailing along strong waves.

The mariner 4 inflatable boat also contains oar locks and oar holders to provide you with a strong grip so that your paddles do not fall in water. If you are small sized, worry not because unlike other brands, paddling with this model does not strain you or leave you feeling completely exhausted at the end of you camp. Retain your strength by choosing an intex mariner 4 inflatable boat.

 

Intex challenger 2 inflatable boat

Looking for a pocket friendly inflatable boat that does not compromise on quality? Go for this intex brand model and save some few notes to buy a unique sea creature at the other side of the island. Bring out a loved one for a romantic adventure along this two seater intex brand model. If you are not an experienced sailor, this inflatable boat will teach you all the basics you need to know without having to worry about breaking the bank.

Fitted with a 3 air chamber, you can still rely on it even when one piece accidentally breaks. Intex Company designs the inflatable boat for you to train along calm water. You can easily use the carry handle and the bow to give you better performance as you sail across a river. This model also lets you utilize some extra features such as a repair kit and an intex hand pump.

 

Intex Seahawk 4 inflatable boat

Intex Company constructs this model with durable materials that make the boat flexible so that you can fold and unfold it easily. If you are looking for a thrilling adventure across waves, fit a motor into this model and enjoy sailing in super speeds with family members.

Your young ones may feel hungry along the way. The built in gear pouch provides you with room to carry some snacks for your kids so that they don’t suffer on a long trip across the ocean.  Use the rod holders to catch some of the biggest fish from deep ends without tripping since Intex Company ensures that this inflatable boat can hold your weight since with a maximum weight capacity of 1,050Ibs. Intex Seahawk 4 inflatable boat also comes with extra aluminum oars and high output pump to make you as comfortable as possible.

Final Thoughts

Staying true to their word, such models from intex brands are a clear indication that this brand manufactures their products putting into consideration all that you may need while sailing. Their customer support is excellent providing you with instant feedback when you need it. Also, your inflatable boat from Intex comes with an elegant packaging that leaves you impressed with your purchase. You can easily order any intex brand model online and wait for a free delivery from the comfort of your home.

,

What Is The Best Anchor For An Inflatable Boat?

What Is The Best Anchor For An Inflatable Boat?

Whether you enjoy fishing on sandy, grassy or rocky bottoms, the folding grapnel fishing anchor is just what you need for your inflatable boat. Since fishing takes some time, you need to be comfortable enough to catch some lunch from the sea without interference caused by using an ineffective inflatable boat anchor. If you are embarking on a fishing competition, a good anchor will keep your inflatable boat in check so that you can concentrate on your game.

The best anchor for an inflatable boat should be a self-contained anchor that comes with all the necessary accessories to hold your inflatable boat in place even when the conditions of the sea may not be very friendly. Folding grapnel fishing anchor is a true definition of a good anchor for any inflatable boat. Wondering why? Below are some of the features of this inflatable boat anchor.

Features of Folding Grapnel Fishing Anchor

Best Anchor For An Inflatable Boat

Its compact design

This inflatable boat anchor is made from galvanized iron and 4 fluke grapple design. Choosing grapnel fishing anchor prevents you from the hustle of always looking for lubrication oils to apply on rusty surfaces of your anchor because the finishes of your anchor are well protected. The high quality material used does not rust even when you take your inflatable boat on salty water for a while. Grapnel fishing anchor does not flake off easily even after years of using it. This prevents you from constant replacements that makes you spend when using mushroom anchors.

Accessories

Buying this inflatable boat anchor gives you a wide range of accessories that come with it. You therefore end up spending less buying an all in one anchor which provides everything that your need for your inflatable boat. Some of the accessories of a folding grapnel fishing anchor include:

  • Polypropylene rope
  • A nylon bag
  • A float
  • A buoy ball
  • Stainless steel hook

Each accessory is well designed to make your sailing comfortable. For instance the rope is made from polypropylene making it strong enough for durability purposes. It is also 40ft long to handle large diameters for you to fish conveniently for further distances. This rope is long enough to sit at an angle of your inflatable boat. You do not need a short rope that does not cover a wide area because such an inflatable boat anchor would make you strain as you try catch fish faster from a good spot.

You are provided with a durable nylon bag that gives you enough room to contain your inflatable boat anchor and its line. This makes it easy for you to transport and store your accessories without wondering where to take all the things that come with it. While going on a long trip, you need lots of space to stretch and carry other useful tools. Your stowage bag also prevents it from rolling around your inflatable boat when you are not using it. The nylon material is strong enough so you never have to worry about it tearing down due to excess weight of your accessories. It is also padded to dampen noise as you store your anchor.

Stainless steel hook and a buoy ball are also featured in a folding grapnel fishing anchor in cases where you need to disconnect for instance when you have spent hours on your boat and need to take a rest.

Weight

A folding grapnel fishing anchor is neither too heavy nor too light. You will not strain moving it around during storage. It is not so much light such that you are limited to fishing only small sizes creatures. This inflatable boat anchor does not limit you due to its weight. You can conveniently fish while standing on your inflatable boat knowing that it provide you with the necessary support that you require while fishing. Its weight enables it to hold well in steady currents and strong winds of up to 15 mph.

Flexibility

The fact that the inflatable boat anchor is flexible makes it more efficient than using mushroom anchors. Folding on its own, the fishing anchor does not occupy any space on your kayak. When folded, this inflatable boat anchor is 12in × 3 in making it convenient for you to store it in your inflatable boat.

Usage

It is a 3.5lb folding anchor that gives you multi functional use due to its simplicity. So, how do you use a folding grapnel fishing anchor? You can start by raising the sliding collar. The 4 flukes should be open to enable you to slide your collar at the bottom of your anchor and twist. You finally need to lock the flukes that you open so that you set your anchor in position. Use the sliding rings with slots to help you lock the fingers in position. Attach the trap line using the extra eye lines provided to increase stability. Ensure that you utilize as much rope as you can so that as to create a good horizontal drag on the surface of a lake or an ocean. Handle the anchor line with care on oyster beds

Other benefits of using this inflatable boat anchor

  • It retrieves easily and quickly
  • Made to sink easily
  • The storage bag comes with a carrying handle increasing portability
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Contain flukes for easy storage
  • It is an affordable anchor.

Final Thoughts

Going for heavy and big anchors for an inflatable boat will interfere with your fishing activity with every blow of wind that cuts across the sea. You don’t need an anchor that keeps on drifting away in the current blowing you off a good fishing spot.

If you a going for a long distance float trip, a folding grapnel fishing anchor is a good option that you ought to consider. It is compact enough to stay in place as you desire. Embarking on an ocean without a good anchor for your inflatable boat may be risky. Protect your inflatable boat from strong waves by choosing a folding grapnel fishing anchor. Here is how you can anchor your inflatable boat while on the water.

 

,

Advanced Elements Tandem Kayak Review

Advanced Elements Tandem Kayak Review

Do you have crazy ideas of something going wrong while paddling across a lake? Overcome your fear of water by going on a tour on advanced frame convertible inflatable kayak and enjoy a safe sail on your next camping tour. For thrill lovers who enjoy adventure, you can paddle down a beautiful waterfall without the fear of falling out of your kayak.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak Features

Advanced Elements Tandem Kayak

Below are among the key features of advanced frame convertible inflatable kayak and where you can get it from. The table also shows how this kayak has been rated by the Editor based on customers’ reviews.

 

Model

 

Feature 1

(Make and Design)

 

Feature 2

(Components)

 

Feature 3

(Accessories)

 

Editor Rating

Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

 

Cutting edge deign

Open end design

Three outer layers that are puncture resistant namely:

High grade aluminum

Heavy duty PVC

Nylon -w/tarpaulin fabric

Rip stop fabric

Polyurethane –coated polyester inner cover.

 

Rigid bow and stern

High end components

Single and double decks

D –rings

Pressure release valves.

Velcro paddle holders

Bungee Deck lacing

Spring valve and twist lock valves

Welded seam

 

Duffle bag

Repair kit

User manual

Carrying case

Adjustable mesh seats

 

 

 

 

4.6 out of 5 stars

Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Whether you are going for a day trip or camping on an ocean or a camp river, an inflatable kayak will make your trip worthwhile. You should pick this model of advanced elements tandem kayak due to its durability, ease of inflation and comfortability. High ratings should clearly tell you that this kayak will give you excellent performance.

Advanced frame convertible inflatable kayak combines both a folding frame and an inflatable kayak. This model belongs to advanced elements brand which is best known for producing high quality products that suit the needs of every kayaker. You can always purchase extra accessories from advanced elements in case you need more tracking to make paddling more fun.

Features of an inflated kayak

Design

This kayak comes in improved designs such as the cutting edge and hull designs that makes it efficient to use by improving tracking. It also comes in either orange or grey designs. You may assume that these colors are just to add aesthetic value to your kayak but there is much more to this than meets the eye.

Let’s say for instance, you experience a major challenge while paddling on a deep area and you are looking for urgent help. These bright colors would make a coastguard sport you easily and come to your rescue. Other than that, when other people are enjoying their sweet time like you, the bright color designs help you avoid colliding with other kayaks that may be nearby. Therefore the colors not only appeal to your sense of beauty but also keep you safe during emergencies.

Conversion decks

Your advanced frame inflatable kayak is convertible in that it allows you either to use an open deck design to enter the boat or convert your boat to a closed deck kayak according to your preference. You can either choose a single, double or standard convertible deck. Such Interchangeable decks in this kayak increases flexibility. What does each deck contain?

  • Double deck conversion

You can bring a friend along to enjoy paddling in an option double deck conversion. This provides room for two passengers. Making a closed deck tandem is an easy process that does not waste your time. Gear stowage is enhanced by d-rings and mesh pockets that are provided in a double deck conversion.

  • Single deck conversion

Do you enjoy unwinding by cool waters just solo, enjoying God’s creation? Connect a single deck conversion to make your closed deck solo kayak. This option features d-rings that come with bungee deck lacing, a rear cargo hatch and arched deck riser aluminum stays.

  • Standard open deck

You can also go for an open deck by removing both optional deck to sail in either solo or tandem mode.

Not enough for you?

If you are a professional boat rider, looking for more options, you can always go for patented back bone accessories that make use of advanced technological systems such as the Drop stitch technology to make you explore more in the ocean.

Valves

Spring valves go hand in hand with the pumps to help you set up your kayak easily. You only need to unfold the kayak, inflate and attach the seats in place in order to get going. Some people however complain that the tubes are inaccurately designed which causes one side to be inflated more than the other. Advanced Elements manufacturers should look into this and try to fix the problem by accurately fitting such kayaks with same sized tubes.

Aluminum frame

Your kayak is fitted with three layers of different materials to make it resistant to puncture. For instance, high grade aluminum makes your kayak able to withstand any hard rocks that you may encounter while paddling along a shallow river. It also makes it more durable so you can enjoy sailing for long without worrying about it getting punctured.

You will notice that your kayak has sharp ends coated with aluminum for your boat to cut through water faster as it increases speed. It also makes your kayak more flexible to paddle. Welded seams that guarantee a long life are also featured in an inflatable kayak.

Rigid bow and stern

These two act as a skeg thus enhancing tracking performance. It enables your kayak to have the ability to take in more current allowing you to increase speed as power goes up. It challenges competing hard body kayaks making it stand out among the rest.

Adjustable seats

Set up one or two seats in this kayak according to your preference winch may be solo or tandem. This kayak comes in 3 different seating positions making it versatile. Unlike using other element tandem kayaks, these seats give you maximum support so that you don’t experience back problems even after paddling for long hours. This is because, your seat comes halfway on your back when you lean backwards so you don’t get tired easily.

You can also adjust your seats to give you maximum support so that you are comfortable as you paddle. Adjusting them in a higher position prevents you from getting wet in case water accidentally splashes into your boat.

Rubber handles and holders

Molded rubber handles makes it convenient for you to have a strong grip as you enter and exit your boat. You do not want to slip as you try to get off your boat right?

Paddle holders

Feel comfortable to fish while on this kayak as you make use of the paddle holders that allow stowage of paddles. They also make it convenient for you to take pictures if you are on an adventure tour.

Duffel bag and repair kits

Accessories such as repair kits helps you fix a problem that may occur as you paddle. You can use your duffel bag to move your kayak to a desired spot. These bag is made from strong nylon material to withstand the heavy weight of your kayak. It may not be very fancy but it provides enough room to fit your kayak when deflated so that you can conveniently carry it around. It also makes it easier for your kayak to fit at the back of your track in case you have to travel to a different destination for your vacation.

D-rings and bungee deck lacing

A single deck contains d-rings with bungee deck lacing.  Use the d-rings and a mesh pocket to boost gear stowage.

Storage space

If you are headed for a long trip that might take you days, this kayak provides you with enough storage space to bring along your favorite drinks and snacks. The mesh pockets are provided to hold your drink in place as you paddle with ease.

Cargo hatch

Cargo hatch at the rear end of this kayak makes it more rigid.

Pros and cons table

Pros

 Cons

 

 

·         Comfortable padded seats that you can easily adjust

·         Looks good and modern

·         Stability against wind and white caps is achieved on this kayak

·         It is portable and easy to carry around

·         Easy set up where you only inflate the chambers and start paddling.

·         Good tracking

·         Can be converted for both solo and tandem purposes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·         Heavy weight about 56Ibs may be difficult for one person to carry it to the shore of a lake.

·         The price is a bit exaggerated

·         Challenging to control on ocean swells. It performs better on calm water.

·         Takes time to dry up in case water finds it way inside your boat.

Final Thoughts

No matter how much experience you may have with boats, this kayak is just what you need to achieve high performance sailing across the sea. With all the great features that it comes with, you are assured of unforgettable sailing moments. Your advanced convertible inflatable kayak definitely awaits. Buy one today and get a chance to visit that dream island. If you need to learn anything about inflatable kayaks I have put together this comprehensive guide.

,

Are Inflatable Boats Good for Fishing?

Are Inflatable Boats Good for Fishing?

Are inflatable boats good for fishing? The answer is yes. In fact, you may be surprised to find out that they may actually be better than other drift boats.

Having an inflatable boat can be far more rewarding. There’s the satisfaction of knowing that you can easily carry your boat with you in the trunk of your car. Recently, there has been a trend of using inflatable boats for fishing. Manufacturers have even gone ahead and come up with inflatable boats that are specifically designed for fishing.

In this article, I will highlight some of the advantages of using an inflatable boat for fishing as well as additional useful information on the same. For a more general inflatable boat guide, check out this article.

Advantages of Using An Inflatable Boat for Fishing

  1. Carry your boat with you wherever you go

Inflatable boats are quite easy to carry around. As I have mentioned above, you can easily deflate it and carry it in the trunk of your car. This means that you will not have to worry about the safety of your boat.

What’s more, they are way cheaper than other boats. If you are a fishing enthusiast and do not have enough money to get a boat, you can simply purchase an inflatable boat designed for fishing. This way, you can go fishing as often as you wish without worrying about renting a boat.

  1. Unlimited access to fishing zones

The thing about inflatable boats is that they are extremely lightweight. This means that while using them to fish, you are able to navigate to the untouched areas of your favorite river or lake. You are also able to navigate through narrow passageways as you fish.

The inflatable boats are also very portable. You can easily carry them over logs and fences to avoid the crowded and overfished areas. Unlike other fishing rafts, inflatable boats can float even in shallow waters. This allows you to access all fishing areas in whatever water body you are fishing at.

  1. Do not worry about rowing experience

With other rafts, you will certainly have to work on those oars for you to keep floating. This is, fortunately, not the case when it comes to inflatable boats.

Inflatable boats, especially those specifically designed for fishing, are quite easy to maneuver. They are able to float eve in shallow waters all by themselves. Unless you are fishing in really difficult waters, you will not have to worry about rowing your inflatable boat. Then again, you can always attach a trolling motor for ease of use.

  1. You do not need a boat ramp

Using an inflatable boat to fish means that you are now free of launching hassles. Launching the inflatable boat for fishing is easy. You can launch it even in places that do not have boat ramps, unlike the case with other fishing rafts.

This means that having an inflatable boat as your fishing vessel does not limit you to specific areas only. You can fish just about anywhere you would want to, be it your favorite river or the small stream near your cottage in the woods.

  1. Sneaking up on fish is easier

Inflatable boats are extremely quiet, and you can use that to your advantage while fishing. The fact that the inflatable boat is extremely quiet allows you to sneak up on the fish. You will probably get a better catch with the inflatable boats as compared to other rafts.

Choosing what inflatable boat to go fishing with can be a difficult choice. There are so many types of inflatable boats out there. So what do you go for? You will need to first determine what kind of fishing you will be doing before determining what inflatable boat to use. With different kinds of fishing, you will require different kinds of fishing crafts.

For saltwater fishing, a large inflatable sportboat will be your best option. Inflatable sportboats use large motors. The size of the motor you use will depend on how many people are going to be on the boat. Of course, the more people and material you load onto the boat, the more power you will need to propel your inflatable boat.

 

Freshwater fishing allows you a variety when it comes to the type of inflatable boat to use. However, the number of people who will be on the inflatable boat is a factor to consider.

Types of Inflatable Fishing Boats

There are around six types of inflatable fishing boats which are all designed for specific uses.

  1. Float tubes

Float tubes are the most common of the inflatable fishing boats. They are lightweight and very portable. They are also inexpensive making them the go-to option for anyone working on a tight budget. They are great for fishing in remote lakes or smaller water bodies. However, they do not work well in river fishing, especially rivers that have strong currents. Another disadvantage of this type of inflatable boats is that only one angler can use it at a time.

  1. Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats consist of two large air bladders connected together by a metal frame. The angler sits between the two air bladders.

Just like the float boats, pontoon boats are very portable. They are easy to paddle and can be used on both rivers and lakes. However, very few of them are designed for more than one angler. They are also not the best for recreational fishing.

  1. Inflatable fishing kayaks

These are the most versatile of all the inflatable fishing boats. They are easy to paddle on flat water and are ideally best suited for river fishing. If you are planning on going for an overnight fishing expedition, these would work best for you.

Inflatable fishing kayaks come in a variety of designs. However, most of them come with swivel chairs and rod holders. There is also the option to mount a trolling motor onto them.

  1. Inflatable fishing rafts

Inflatable fishing rafts are the most stable of the inflatable fishing boats. You can, therefore, fish while standing in the boat and it would be completely safe. They are the best for recreational fishing and like the inflatable fishing kayaks, they are suitable for an overnight fishing trip. Most of them have a huge weight capacity and allows for two anglers or even more.

  1. Inflatable canoes

These are relatively new in the market. They are designed just like the traditional canoe, only that these are more portable and easier to store. If you love fishing from a canoe, these may be the best option for you.

  1. Inflatable fishing SUPs

These are simply stand-up paddleboards that have been converted for use in fishing. They are best used in lakes and on shallow waters such as ocean bays. They are reasonably lightweight and quite portable. With these boats, you have the option of mounting either a gas or trolling motor. They are relatively stable and can allow you to stand without the fear of capsizing the boat. They are, however, not suitable for rivers with rapids.

Features of a Good Inflatable Boat for Fishing

Although you can use any type of inflatable boat for fishing, manufacturers have come up with some that are specifically designed for fishing. These inflatable boats have certain added features that make it easier for you to fish. When choosing an inflatable boat for fishing, you will certainly have to be on the lookout for some of these features.

Raised seating position

Having the seating position raised on these inflatable boats makes it easier for you to fish while seated. You will not have to strain your back and you can have a look at the waters as you fish.

Ability to stand in the boat

At times, you may want to stand in the boat, perhaps to cast your nets. Inflatable boats that are designed for fishing will allow you to do just that without fear of the boat capsizing.

Addition of rod holders

While you can place your fishing rod anywhere on the boat, inflatable boats for fishing come with holders. You can store your rod on the holder whenever you are not using it.

Built-in storage pouches

Of course, whenever you go out fishing, you will carry with you various fishing gear. The inflatable boats designed for fishing come with a variety of pouches that allow you to put any of your fishing gear that is not in use.

Ability to mount a trolling motor or a gas motor

You may at times want to mount a motor to your boat. Normal inflatable boats may not allow you the luxury to do so. However, with inflatable boats for fishing, you can mount either a trolling or gas motor to it.

 

,

15 Tips for River Floating

River floating, also known as river tubing is a great way to beat the heat off and relax during the summer and spring. If you especially live near a river, you can make a couple of these floating trips during the hot times of the year. They can be so much fun, that is if you know what you are doing.

If you have no clue, however, river floating could turn out to be a not-so-good experience. Not to mention the possible dangers you could expose yourself to.

I came up with a few river floating tips. Try these out when you are next heading out to the river for the ultimate tubing experience.

Of course, every floating trip will be unique. What you carry and what tips to use most will vary depending on what river you are floating and what time you decide to do that. However, these are the essential items and tasks for a good floating trip.

15 Tips for River Floating

  1. Ensure the weather is ideal

Before you go on a floating trip, be sure to check that the weather conditions are favorable. You certainly want to have a good time floating, therefore, pick a day that is bright and shiny.

You should also make sure that you are not floating when it has been raining heavily. Of course, if it has been raining, the water levels are high enough for some great floating. However, heavy rains will cause the levels to rise extremely. The currents could become stronger and this could turn out dangerous for you.

  1. Get a good inner tube

You may be tempted to use the regular pool inner tube in a bid to save a couple of dollars. This should not be the case. Invest in a good inner tube that is meant for rivers.

Regular pool tubes may not withstand the rocks and the currents in the rivers. They may pop at the least amount of impact. Look around for the best floaties that you can go for. Of course this will depend on the kind of river you will be navigating.

Whatever the case, you should make sure that you have checked the maximum capacity of the tube you will be using, and that you are below it. You will definitely be bringing some drinks with you, so, a floatie with some cup holders would be a great option.

  1. Bring a pair of water shoes with you

There’s no telling what lies at the bottom of the river. Floating trips will generally involve walking on slippery and sharp rocks. Carrying just your normal shoes could be a huge mistake.

Water shoes will protect your feet much better as compared to sandals or flip flops.

If you do not have water shoes, you can use old tennis or running shoes. As much as possible, do not bring shoes that leave your toes exposed (sandals and flip flops). You need to protect them from hitting rocks as you float or as you walk down the river once you are done.

  1. Staying hydrated is important.

Whenever you are floating, remember to bring plenty of water with you. A good floating trip will take you a couple of hours, so you are bound to get dehydrated under all that sun.

Get a good cooler in which you can store your drinks. There’s nothing as worse as needing a drink only to find that it has become warm under the sun. Bring as much water as you can and keep sipping on it once in a while.

  1. Pack a lunch and some snacks

If you are going to be there for a couple of hours you will certainly need to eat. Pack a light lunch and plenty of snacks. Halfway through your floating trip, you can decide to take a break to replenish your energy.

Although some rivers have people selling sandwiches along the banks, do not rely on this. They could or couldn’t be selling on that day. Carry some from home and make sure it is enough for everyone.

However, be mindful of what you are packing. Things are bound to get wet, and that includes your food. Fruits and nuts are a great option.

  1. Drink Responsibly

In most rivers, drinking while tubing is allowed. However, you need to do it responsibly. Alcohol impairs your judgment. Therefore, it may be hazardous if you drink too much and end up being rowdy and causing unrest.

Take a break every once in a while to keep hydrated. You can also have some food while at it. The food and water will certainly help in ‘restoring’ your sobriety.

Rather than bringing glass bottles with you, bring some beer cans. It goes without saying, bringing glass on a floating trip is downright dumb. It would be much better if you can get plastic beer bottles instead.

  1. Dress for the occasion

Naturally, you will dress as if you are going to the beach, and that’s okay. However, remember that floating will certainly involve so much more as compared to being at the beach.

A two-piece swimsuit for the ladies may not be a good option. The flimsy bows could come undone at any moment, thanks to the vigorous activities. What’s more, you want to protect your skin from as much unwanted sun as you can. Do yourself a favor and wear a one-piece suit. You can even decide to be extra and throw in a pair of shorts as well.

  1. Wear sunscreen, and be generous while applying

Buy some good waterproof sunscreen before your floating trip. Be sure to apply it before you start floating and bring it with you so that you can reapply. Apply as much as you can. You may not feel the sun as you are surrounded by refreshing water, but you will be getting sunburns, and very painful ones at that.

In addition, you can bring some sunglasses and caps to protect your face, eyes, and head from the sun.

  1. Life jackets are a must have

This is actually a requirement for floating in most rivers. No matter how many times you have been floating that route, always carry a life jacket with you.

Accidents happen, even to the best of swimmers. Hopefully, you will not have to use your life jacket but it is better to top have it on with you, rather than be another statistic.

  1. Do not carry any valuables with you

If you have something that you really value, you are better off leaving it at home or in the car. While floating, items you have carried may fall into the river. Things such as keys do not float and that is how you will end up having your belongings at the bottom of the river.

If something is not necessary for your floating trip, do not bring it with you. If you absolutely must carry some valuables, keep them in an airtight dry bag. Be sure to have tested the dry bag and that it works efficiently.

  1. Respect the river

By respecting the river, I mean, do not throw trash in it. Carry a trash bag with you for all your trash. Ranging from your beer cans to any wrappings you may have, throwing trash into the river is just not acceptable.

In the event you forget to bring one, you can improvise. Put back all the empty cans in your cooler and dispose of them once you are done with your floating trip.

  1. Bring a change of clothes

This sounds like something obvious, but some people forget to bring dry clothes with them. And no, I do not mean that you go floating with them. Leave them in a car and have it stationed at your exit point. You will be grateful for that dry towel, especially if you finish tubing at sunset.

  1. Carry a paddle with you

It doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual paddle. You could bring a stick or just about anything that can help you steer the tube in a certain direction.

This will be helpful especially when trying to avoid rocks and other debris in the river. A member of the group could also volunteer to jump out of the tube and help steer it in the right direction.

  1. Go with a couple of friends

Where’s the fun in going for a floating trip all by yourself? Have a couple of friends join you. The more the merrier, right? Having friends with you on a floating trip will certainly ensure that you have a good time.

Apart from that, it is much safer when you are in a group. You will remind each other of basic necessities and tasks to do before and while on the trip. What’s more, should anything happen, you will be in the company of people you trust. I don’t know about you, but I would personally prefer being stranded in the river with a couple of my friends to being alone.

  1. Carry some rope and carabiners with you

Depending on the place you are going for your floating trip, you may get some rope or not. However, to be on the safe side, carry some rope with you.

Having the rope can be useful. You can hang off some of your items off of your float by adding the carabiner. You can use the rope to attach your cooler float as well.

For some added fun, you can decide to tie your tubes together. In some places, there are restrictions against tying your tubes together. However, there is no safety issue against tying your tubes together. Do not tie tubes together if there are more than five people. Getting through small river openings can be tricky.

The overall secret to having a great time during your floating trip is great planning. It is important to plan ahead of time. Cover all the necessary tasks and be prepared for any emergency. When well planned, a floating trip can be so much fun. Be mindful of the weather and all the other tips listed in the article. You are sure to have a memorable time as well. You may also want to carry a camera and some music with you. Just like any other valuable, be careful how you handle them while floating.