Inflatable kayaks

Kayaking is one of the many pleasures we enjoy while traveling the USA however, our kayaks seem to get heavier every time we load and off load from the rack on the top of our truck. We pull a small RV trailer (Casida) so pulling kayak trailer isn’t an option so we are exploring inflatables. The prices vary as do the structural integrity. After hours of research we have decided that we can’t afford the best, won’t settle for the lowest price and not sure which mid range is the best. Some users rave over a $200 unit (I wouldn’t consider) and others like the higher price units which we can’t afford. (Retired, fixed income) Weight is a factor, single or double is a ? mark but then weight comes into play and we have always had our own kayak. So, my question to all of you experienced inflatable users PLEASE HELP US OUT! Thanks you for, I’m sure, the many responses.

Frank and Judy

You’ll likely get a few responses to your question, but the archives may be a better place to start.

Your request for information is posted with regularity. As a result; there is well over 100 responses available in the archives.


what’s your budget?

– Last Updated: Aug-15-16 12:27 PM EST –

It would be helpful to know your budget as well as what types of paddling you are planning to do. Those two factors will determine the range of boats to consider.

You may want to also consider folding kayaks as well if you can afford them. Pakboat is probably the most economical of the folders -- their Puffin Saco runs about $1000, can be set up in half and hour or less, weighs 20 lbs and can be paddled as an open boat or with an optional deck.

As with any kayak, used boats can be an excellent option. There is someone selling a Feathercraft Java folding/inflatable hybrid sit on top for $1300. This is a sit on top kayak that can be used as a solo or tandem. You would be hard pressed to buy two decent solo inflatables for that price:

If you are fairly handy with basic tools you can also build your own folding or inflatable kayaks for a few hundred dollars with the free instructions and patterns by Tom Yost:

Innova Safari
I have a couple of these well-regarded boats I can sell you on the cheap. Don’t look to me for a recommendation, because I am obviously biased.

One feature I like about these boats is they can be set up with or without skegs. Without, I’ve run CII whitewater and it was a lot of fun. With? I dunno, if I want to go straight I take my sea kayak. But according to the press, they’ll go tolerably straight with the skeg installed.

If interested, ignore the price in the add and let’s talk.


Modular kayak or pack canoe
One of the folding, or modular kayaks can be an option. Or perhaps it’s time to get yourself a pack canoe. Some weigh under 20 lbs. If your weight profile fits, then perhaps one of those super light pack canoes will fit the bill. The Hornbeck 10 is only 14 lbs. Sit on the bottom as with a kayak and use a double paddle.

My Swift Keewaydin 15 with the pack seat is only 30 lbs and handles my 240 lbs well and is so much easier to handle out of the water than most kayaks. They aren’t cheap new, but perhaps they are affordable if you can find a used one.

good deal
Depending on what kind of waters you expect to explore during your travels, that’s a good deal Chip is offering. The Safaris are around $900 new and quite versatile.

3 inflatable kayaks
Innova Safari and Helios 2 and Feathercraft Java. The Innovas are light, easy to pack and versatile. The Java is light but slow. I also paddle hardshells.

Sea Eagle
Sea Eagle makes good, middle of the road, inflatable kayaks. They tend to get pretty solid reviews for durability and performance but won’t break the bank. Might be worth checking into.