My partner and I are based in New Zealand and are planning a trip to New Caledonia later this year.
We are looking for an inflatable double kayak/canoe to explore the coast in. It needs to be durable, stable, relatively light and easily transportable. Does anyone have any advice on brands/models and what to look for bearing in mind it will be for a multi day trip (2+ weeks). We are also somewhat price sensitive!
Inflatables are just one option for kayaks that can be transported. There was an article in California Kayaker Magazine on kayaking and small living places. Summer 2012 issue (#9) starting on page 6. Can be read online for free at http://www.calpaddlermag.com/magazine.html.
Have a look at Incept, they’re made in NZ. They are not cheap but they are very good. I sometimes work for an Outfitter who uses the Mohaka inflatables for whitewater and I would consider them to be the best for the purpose that I have seen. They also carry some cheaper lines and have a wide variety of products.
If light on gear
I really like my Innova Helios 2. Need to remove brass if getting an older model
Longer is better when it comes to
cruising tandem inflatable kayaks...I've had five IKs(still have two in the family fleet--a thrillseeker and a Sea Eagle)and personally, I've found a 12-to-14 foot inflatable doesn't really cut it for two people on an extended trip, carrying lots of gear--Especially if on open ocean coastline(like the kind NZ is notoriously well-known for.) In short, two people in a small tandem is no fun. You can do it, but you'll work real hard to make paddling progress and probably not enjoy the trip as much as you would with a slightly longer boat. (Is there a kiwi term for "Divorce Boat"? Nevermind.) The bad news is, you will not easily find an inexpensive IK above the 12-foot mark(That's uh, I think 4 metres down there). Incept makes great but pricey products(well, they're pricey when sent here, anyway.) And their tandems are more like rafts, better suited for raging river use(something else NZ is noted for). Although these tandem sea kayak models look really good...
Also, if you can afford the bigger moola, and can order a boat like an AIRE Sea Tiger, do that...If money's a problem, then look at an Advanced Elements Convertible, their products are plenty durable and reasonably priced.
--Do not choose any IK with a beam(width)wider than 37" inches(sorry, don't have the metric conversion handy.) Good hunting!
have you considered folders?
If you are going to do coastal touring in wind and waves, a folding kayak with a collapsible frame might be a better option, especially if you are carrying a lot of kit. Inflatables have very limited cargo space due to the volume of the air. Folders handle pretty well in open sea and coastal surf.
I don’t know if you can get them in NZ, but the Pakboat folding kayaks are highly portable, seaworthy and very easy to pack a lot of gear and supplies in since you can remove the entire deck to access everything. We have two (a 12’ Puffin and a 15’ XT-15) and find them excellent boats for the sort of trip you are considering. Budget wise they are a bit more costly than the midrange inflatables. You can find YouTube videos showing how they handle and assemble (search on “Pakboat”). Since they are so light and break down you should be able to get them shipped anywhere.