Inflatable kayak?

Sorry about the length.
Background…I used to paddle a lot, mainly on touring type Alaskan river trips such as the Noatak, Delta, Gulkana, etc. in a canoe or a Klepper (I’m old). I also did a bitof whitewater paddling Outside in an old style long whitewater kayak.
Life changed and I’ve paddled only a bit in many years. I recently did a guided trip thru Hell’s Canyon. They had Aire duckies and I got to paddle 3 of the 5 days. Such fun! I caught the bug again and want another boat.

Question: I need an inflatable I can put in a small car and check as a bag. I’ve looked at the Aire Tomcat and the NRS Outlaw. I’m leaning toward the Outlaw due to the lighter weight and longer warranty. However, I’m a bit concerned about the rocker and tracking. I don’t expect to do much big water and would like a versitile boat that could be used both on river floats or on small lakes just so I can get out on nice days and paddle. The Aire I paddled did pretty good on quiet stretches. Is there a better choice for a light weight (important) yet tough boat? If not, is the Outlaw ok for that type casual use? Is the Tomcat equal or better? Thanks.

Btw, I still have a hard shell casual kayak but am not often at the location where it’s stored.

What type of paddling will you be doing? Whitewater or flat water?

Also, getting ahead of myself here, but you may want to read an article on “Kayaking and small living places” at (issue #9). Talks about other options for packable/storable boats.

Sorry, but isn’t a 9’10" long and 38" wide inflatable going to be an absolute dog to paddle? And as much respect as I have for NRS products, it looks more - and will probably behave more - like a raft than a kayak.

If I wanted an inflatable I think I’d much rather go with something like a Sea Eagle Razorlite…

…which is 12’ 10" and 28".

I second a dropstitch kayak. A bit pricey but worth it. Dropstitch is amazingly hard when inflated.
Aire makes fantastic inflatables too.

Try an older Innova Safari. Has a tracking fin. The newer one is much wider

Posted the wrong one…

Thanks so much for the feedback! I’ll check out these boats.
After our dau was born long ago, we switched from canoeing and kayaking to a raft so we could take her along. I hated rowing it so mostly stopped paddling, but am comfortable with NRS and Aire because of their rafts.

I’ll have to investigate the Innova. I like the self bailing and it seems quite versatile.
Have Sea Eagles improved a lot? It looks intriguing, but I didn’t think their rep was that great.

Again, thanks so much for the ideas!

Peter, thanks for the article. It was interesting.

@cathym said:

Have Sea Eagles improved a lot? It looks intriguing, but I didn’t think their rep was that great.

Yes, they have.

Check out

I also went looking for an inflatable, roughly 10-12’. I wanted it to be able to easily fit in a car roof cargo box. I liked both the Innova Safari and the Aquaglide Chelan HB. My previous boat, which I recently sold, was a WS Tempest 170 composite. I got going a bit late in life to develop kayaking skills, but achieved close to intermediate status before I decided it was just a bit much for several reasons.

I decided on the Chelan HB and have been quite happy with it as a replacement. I accept I will primarily be in protected waters. I was amazed at its performance compared to the Tempest. In the past, I have considered small inflatables to be well, pigs, when it comes to glide. The rigid drop-stitch floor panel provides less resistance than I was expecting. It has a nicely designed adjustable seat and footrest system. I regret however, that I can not use my Greenland paddle, as the beam is 36", but my 215cm Werner works great.

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Pbenter, thank you for the info. I’ll check it out.