Inflatable Canoes

I was toying with the idea of an inflatable canoe. I like the single-blade thing better, even though there seem to be fewer options.

I would like it to do everything an Esquif Pocket Canyon would - so basically moving water daytrips. I would also like it to fold up and be stored more easily.

I’ve paddled a ducky on one occasion only, and don’t really remember much other than thinking it was a bit strange.

Can anyone share experiences with any inflatable canoe. Also do you know the big differences between the Innova Orinoco and the Innova Vagabond (other than price)? Can anyone compare the Innovas to the SOAR models?

I know the old adage of try before you buy but I doubt that is a possibility for me, with no local dealers of any of these.


hybrid inflatable/folder
Unless your heart is set on a full-on inflatable, you might want to look at the Pakboat canoes also – they are a hybrid, with inflatable sponson tubes backed up by a collapsible aluminum frame. We have one of their kayaks and have been really impressed with the quality and performance. The outfitter we got it from has used their canoes for extensive trips in Alaska and in Patagonia, even in rocky class II conditions. They have the lightness and trasportability of the inflatables, can be set up in about 20 minutes and some even have a removable spray deck. They offer more interior volume for packing than most inflatables. Nice boats that not a lot of people know about.

I’m familiar with the pak boats, and have paddled one on a couple of river trips. I recognize they are tougher than they look, and will go through some big waves. They are also likely drier than an inflatable, and probably better on the flats. However, they are not as responsive as a hard boat, and not nearly as whitewater-friendly as a ducky. Thanks for the suggestion, but a pak-canoe doesn’t sound like a good choice for a fun daytripping canoe.

I ordered one and sent it back
It floated ok but needed a piece of plywood in the bottom to make it rigid. Try buying one online and adding your own floor. They are tough plastic. Maybe you send it back.

A unique take on it all
Inflatable boats from a Dubside point of view

I can’t share any actual experience
of me paddling an inflatable canoe, but I did see one on an Everglades lake a couple of days ago.

It seemed risky. The lake was full of creatures with sharp teeth. And the mangrove tunnels were waiting with pointed branches.

The occupants did not go far. When they realized they would have to get past the gators and the mangroves, they paddled back to the carside and deflated the thing

We in hard shell boats almost fell out of our boats, we were laughing so hard.

I’ve paddled…
inflatable kayak/canoes on a couple of long, class 2-3 river trips, and as long as the wind doesn’t blow I really like them. They take some getting used to as far as paddling because they handle considerably differently from a hard shell boat, but they are durable, maneuverable, and stable.

I owned a Pakboat folding canoe. Bought it to be able to take it on an airplane for long trips. Wouldn’t want to use it for ordinary trips. It takes a good 30 minutes to put it together unless you use it a lot, which can be a real pain. You also have to be very careful about how you load it, because the bottom flexes enough that unless it is loaded very symmetrically there will be problems. Mine could be configured either solo or tandem (two seats on the ends or one seat in the middle). With two people and not extra weight in the middle, it got a bit of a bow in the middle and was pretty unstable. With one person in the center seat it was much more stable but that gave it enough rocker that it turned on a dime. It actually worked best tandem with a good load.

If I was in the market for a highly portable craft that could be folded up into a relatively small package, I would opt for an inflatable kayak at this point.

Look at this site.

Lots of info here: