inflatable canoe / kayak recommendation

Hi, I am looking for a recommendation of a decent inflatable canoe / kayak. Ideally I need something that is:

  • very portable (hence the inflatable part)
  • able to pack a load for multi-day trips (and multiple people)
  • rugged enough for boney river outings.
  • able to handle 3+ rivers.

    It will probably only get used a few times a year but it must be reliable for multi-day remote family floats. I’ll be using it as both a primary boat on 1 day outings auxiliary boat with a raft on multi-day trips.

    My initial searches brought everything from the lightweight sevylor canyon to the burly looking soar16. The soar seems ideal but quite pricey and I am unsure how long the material will hold up being stored (any ideas? 5yrs? 20yrs?)

    Is something like the sevylor too lightweight for a boney river? (we do an annual run on one of these every year).

    This site also brought to my attention the pakcanoe, how involved is the setup/teardown of these and do they handle rocks well?

    Sorry for all the questions but I’d appreciate any suggestions.


Sevlyor are junk.

The SOAR will probably last a life time.

Pakcanoes are fairly tough, but will require

much more skill to paddle in class 3+ rapids

(compared to SOAR). Very boney river with

a big load will cause problems with the Pakcanoe.

I wouldn’t be worried about wrapping a SOAR, I

would be worried about wrapping a Pakboat.

SOARs are very wet to paddle, compared to Pak.

Non whitewater a SOAR is very slow, and is

terrible to portage.

I own a Pakboat canoe and really like it. We use it or familly camping trips and it has worked out very well. I would recomend thier 17 foot boat but the 16 footer will do. It can get a bit cramped in a 16 foot boat with kids and all your stuff.

The set up is not to hard after you have done it once, about 1/2 an hour. Its a real canoe that handles well and will keep you dry unlike some inflatables. It is very rugged, way tougher than you think it would be. I still get nervouse about submerged beaver sticks but a repair is supposed to be easy. Get the portage yoke if you intend to carry it very far.

The customer service is excellent They walked me through my first set up over the phone when I had some problems.

I would recomend try ing anything you intend to buy even if you have to drive a bit to do so.

other comments
Some other comments I wanted to make.

The SOAR would proably be a bit awkward for

passengers unless you rigged up some extra

seats (which might not be bad). But the space

between the tubes is rather small compared to

the space between the sides of a pakcanoe.

For a pakcanoe you would also need to rig some

kind of seating thing because it would be very

awkward to move around with aluminum rods all


Neither would be particularly good. You should

really see them set up, because they are so

different than a standard canoe. There might

be something in each that you would find unacceptable.

Also for shallow whitewater, you would

need to figure out a way to have a proper way

to kneel so that you don’t bash up your knees

on a rock. Maybe wear (hard) knee pads. I don’t

consider a bit of foam sufficient. Kneeling in

either is awkward.

I’m partial to hard shells. They handle much

better than both, better for carrying passengers. More difficult to paddling on C3,

and pain to store if that is a problem.

Thanks for the feedback.

Regarding the pakboat I still lean towards the inflatable solution. I have a couple 17 foot regular canoes that fit my need for more flat-water related trips.

I am more looking for a durable satellite vessel that I can throw anybody into on long trips, but still be able to throw it in the van for 1500 mile runs up to Canada (price of gas make me think twice about a canoe pushing that much air for that long). Besides with the little ones I like the stability potential. One of my biggest concerns would be that it is maneuverable enough to negotiate technical water (IE, will it backpaddle/ferry decently).

The other boat that seems to be in the “Soar” category is the “Hyside Padillac”. Has anybody compared these? (or even selling low use ones)?

thanks again.

Will just one inflatable do it?

Upper Middle
I think you are skipping looking at the middle range of inflatable boats–most likely an Aire or an Innova inflatable kayak is going to be the best choice.

No, they are not a canoe, they can be a little wet and most of them are poor in flat water. But they are half the cost of a Pakcanoe, the most reasonable alternative, they can handle up to Class III rapids–or even better with an experienced paddler, the better ones will last for many years, and they can be fun.

A Soar will be expensive and will not be fun, although tough as nails. A Pakcanoe is fine if the paddler has the skill to handle it (which is easier than a hardshell).

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