Inflatable kayak?

I am thinking about getting a friend an inflatable as a gift. He would mainly be paddling in Midwestern lakes by himself. Right now, he is mostly a canoer but is interested in kayaks.

Are inflatable a good option for a beginning kayaker to use on a lake? Or are they still mostly toys and not a good option.

If an inflatable is a good bet – are there inexpensive ones I should look at?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

I Like My Stearns
I have several hard kayaks, but I still use my Stearns when I want to get out onto the water, but do not feel like loaading boats onto the racks.

Probably best for boaters under 175#

I’m fairly new to kayaking…
but I started out using a friends inflatable Stearns kayak, mostly on a mountain lake, and I decided then and there to forget the inflatables. Slow going and non responsive, unless windy out. It was responsive to the wind…blew around. My husband tried it on the river, no current and was very unimpressed. He kept trying to “steal” mine from me…I told him to go buy his own. lol (did I mention that I left him far behind, easily?) Oh yea, he loved that!

ooops Baracuda!
We must have posted at the sametime! Too funny. I know your wife has a Venus, I love mine. Didn’t mean to put the Stearns down, but for me and my husband, it wasn’t great. But, remember, we are newbies, so it could be something we are doing.

Pretty Much Correct
You are right. An inflatable will not match the performance of a hard shell kayak.

But if you already have a hard shell it makes a good extra boat when you just do not feel like going to the trouble to rack a hard shell boat.

It also makes a good extra when you need three boats and only have room for two on the rack.

I also packed mine into some lakes in the Sierras where you could never get a hard shell.

Also good for people who do not have racks or storage room.

same question
I am in the same situation as Tomsyak - I am looking to buy a kayak for a friend, who’s a novice to say the least, and I don’t know anything about kayaks either! It only just occured to me while looking at reviews that the person’s height and weight should come in to play when buying a kayak. He’s about 5’11" and weighs about 160. He’d be using it for paddling on rivers and lakes. Do you have any suggestions and/or can you clarify which models (Stearns/Venus) you would recommend?

Maybe A Recreational Boat
He could fit into most boats. The Venus is a boat especially designed for women, and best for small women. At 200# I almost sink one.

Actually, we gave the Venus to Kathy’s daughter who only weighs about 110#. I also bought a Wilderness System Ride for my new son in law so they can bring their own kayaks on family trips. I can not get five kayaks on one truck.

I bought Kathy a 12’ Wildernes Systems Pungo to replace the Venus. Very nice little boat. The Phase3 seat is very comfortable.

The Recreational boats have very large cockpits that can take on water in rough whitewater or in the ocean, but for lakes and slow rivers, it is a great little boat. Most peopl get started with this type boat, unless they go in the ocean. People that go on the ocean usually start with sit on top kayaks. I still use only sit on tops, but that is just me.

Not all IKs are alike
Some are fairly efficient to paddle and tough, as well as easy to store and transport. On the affordable end of the spectrum, take a look at the Innova Helios and Sunny models as well as the Aire Tomcat. An average paddler can expect a criusing speed on 3 to 4 mph in these boats and they are not overly affected by wind. I just finished a 30 mile trip (9 portages)on the Swan Lake Canoe trail system in my Helios 380. At 35 lbs it was a breeze to portage solo and also carried my 230 lbs and 75 lbs of gear with ease. When properly packed and trimmed, the Helios tracks pretty well at all points of wind.

Extreme IKs
IKs were my choice for whitewater. Most runs in the Sierras do not have enough water to roll, and often require getting out of the boat in really shallow spots. Lots of first desents in the Sierra are done with IKs. Lots of times you have to pack the boats in to the putin.

And you can even buy something like the Aire Sea Tiger that is an excellent open ocean kayak.

But given the context of the original post, I don’t think the poster had anything like that in mind.

how the heck
did you get 75 lb. of gear in there? Would be intrested to learn, I’m not doubting your. I can geet about that in my 9’ sundance but that is near the max. limit. How long is you inflatable?

You talkin’ to me, northman?
The Helios 380 is 12’6" and is rated for about 385 lbs. Might be a little high, but that’s pretty close. With one person aboard in the stern, you’ve got an 18" by 36" compartment for gear in the forward seat, plus one small area in the bow and one the stern for two small dry bags.