Inflatable Kayaks

-- Last Updated: Dec-20-06 9:00 PM EST --

I have been looking around on the net at various inflatable kayaks. I am looking for something that would be suitable for easy to slightly challenging river running.

I live in central Illinois, and have canoed the Middle Fork And Salt Fork rivers mainly. I want this IK to be able to handle these rivers when they are up in the spring, and the riffles are more like mild class I rapids, maybe when conditions are just so, they might even approach class II in one or two spots. I might also occasionally do a small lake, but I mostly paddle the river.

The models I am intrigued by are the Advanced Elements AE1006 Straightedge and the AE1012 Airframe, and the Stearns Spree and Spree2 models. The Spree2 looks like it could fit my beagle in the back seat, or maybe a small cooler and other gear. I can get a Spree2 for $299, or the Straightedge for $399. Do these prices sound about right?

Anyone have any experience with any of these boats? Thanks!!!



– Last Updated: Dec-21-06 6:52 AM EST –

I think there is a site specifically devoted to inflatable kayaks.

Speaking totally off the top of head, probably lacking any true validity, Advanced Element is known as producer of quality of inflatables. I think "Stearns" make more affordable but lower end stuff.

Are you going to declaw your beagle? It would kinda suck if s/he decides "dig in" when you down one of those riffles...

Unless, there are storage reasons, I suspect a good canoe would work better.


Oops... see that you already have canoes... Why not add a more rockered one for those white water runs?

I specifically want an inflatable for transport reasons. The van I have been using to move the canoes around is going to be sold, and my car is just a little subcompact. Having a couple of inflatables would be great.

Charlie (Beagle) gets his nails trimmed regularly, and he pretty much sits still in a boat.

For what it’s worth, my OT Pack solo is not all that rockered, but is really quite manueverable and handles small rapids pretty well. It might be transportable with my little car and some foam blocks, but bringing a second boat is out of the question unless it is inflatable. I don’t paddle alone much, so I need a second boat to bring along with the Pack.

I have an el cheapo Coleman inflatable that was only 50 bucks, and we had alot of fun with it on the river this summer, but it tracks horribly and it is just a matter of time before it gets blown out on a snag or sharp rock. So I like the concept, but want to upgrade to something that will track better.

We also went on a trip with some other folks and one guy had a real nice inflatable SOT that I wish I’d taken note of it’s brand and model. The thing was alot faster than I initially expected it to be, and he was clearly having a blast with it.

How Much HP?
If you put a rack with stackers on your subcompact, you can still load 2-3 boats, provided sufficient horsepower to overcome drag. It only becomes an issue when trying to merge with traffic on the highway.

I drive a suzuki hatchback (150 hp), I’ve driven on 200 mile trips with with two long boats and two ww kayaks on top on top with no problem.


That’d work…
Or I could get a small trailer. But that’s down the road a bit before I do either of those things. Maybe I’ve just become infatuated with inflatables. The reviews on these seem to be pretty positive for the most part.

There’s A Place For ‘em
if you really need to for logistic reasons. Personally, I dont’ care for them. They are not the most crisp handling in the water. The rounded inflated sides appear to slide out more when trying to make manuevers. At least, that’s what I see with folks running class II’s in them.



this looks ok

so does this.

Those Innovas do look nice…
I also see a place to get an Airhead TK1 for under 200 bucks! Hmmm…might be worth a try, and it’s a big box store, so I could return it if it was truly awful.

I probably overemphasized the “whitewater” aspect of this—those conditions are pretty rare on this river, and when they occur, it is usually a short stretch before it turns back into a lazy river.

A.E.s are good

Check out Lots of info on their web site.


2nd vote:
They post their own opinions of the boats, not just the manufacturers’ marketing blurbs. They reply quickly and completely to questions. They have a few boats on sale ($550 for the one I was interested in, so maybe outside the range you’re looking at).

– Mark


– Last Updated: Dec-24-06 2:23 PM EST –

Thanks for all the replies! I still can't decide what to try. I wish there was a review or two of the AE1006 Straitedge. That is the one I am leaning towards, it looks comfortable and sturdy.

Another IK resource
Another valuable source of information here :