inflatable v/s hard body

Hi, I live Manatee County, FL in a high rise apt. and have no where to store a hard body kayak. I have been looking at Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks and was wondering if that is practical in this area? Thank you for your time!

Depends on what type of paddling you want to do. Inflatables, on the whole, are slower and much harder to make paddle straight, than a hard shell. And they are more impacted by winds. And there is somewhat significant set up and take down time (more so for take down, assuming you don’t want to bring a wet kayak into your home). If this is Ok, and you are just doing poking around stuff on flat water (no white water, no expeditions, no surf, etc.), they could be fine.

California Kayaker Magazine had an article on kayaking and small living spaces in Issue #9, Summer 2012 (can be read online fort free at Might be worth a read for other options.

just dont get this
There is a women that bought one of those sea eagles I think it was this one,

Utter piece of junk. More like a pool toy. Some companies do make decent inflatables as I saw another one that had a frame and separate chambers and was more sleek like a regular kayak.I asked and I think it cost about a grand. There are also hard shell kayaks that come in pieces and they somehow bolt? together.I think Valley kayaks offer this option on most of there kayaks.

Look at very bottom of web page

For an inflatable kayak
For an inflatable that will actually behave like a kayak, I’d suggest looking at both the Advanced Element Airfusion Elite and the Pakboat Puffin Saco.

The Sea Eagle type boats are really not kayaks, in my opinion. More than a pool toy, perhaps, but not much more.

I agree
You don’t mention the waters you seek to paddle. The cheap inflatables are only safe for ponds and sheltered lagoons. They are not suitable for moving water, coastal paddling or anywhere with current, tides, waves or wind. Sea Eagle and Sevylor are glorified pool toys and not really kayaks.

There are good quality inflatables like the Innova Sunny and some of the Advanced Elements. Personally I think folding kayaks are more practical for apartment dwellers because they are quicker to dry and therefore easier to store than inflatables. The Pakboats (Puffin Saco and the XT series, 135, 155 and 16) are a great bang for the buck in a design that combines folding frame and skin with inflatable sponsons. There are also the Folbot Citibot and Aleut. There was recently a Pakboat Puffin on Ebay for $500.


– Last Updated: Aug-10-13 9:11 AM EST –

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. I would appreciate it if you looked at the Sea Eagle Fast Track 385. It is different from the one that is mentioned. I just want to explore the coasts and rivers, flat water no rapids. Thanks everyone again for your time.


pool toy
I’ll admit, I’ve never used a Sea Eagle. But I look at it and automatically think pool toy.

Pool toy or not, it would still float very high, so have the trouble with winds, tracking, etc. that are common with inflatables. Those fins and ridges they add are to get around some of that, but they add their own problems (such as hanging up on things under the water).

I do have a pair of cheap Advanced Elements ones, and they have the same troubles. If I was to go for an inflatable for storage issues, I’d go for one with a frame. But in reality, I wouldn’t use an inflatable for storage, but would use a folder or sectional kayak instead.

Well the Fast Track 385 does look better than the other one:

It certainly is better thought-out than most inflatables. It sort of looks like an inflatable SUP board with seats, because it’s so wide with a shallow draft. I note that it uses a forward keel and a large skeg to help it track, as the hull has no inherent directional stability.

Seems like it would be fine on flat, protected waters. I imagine on true coastal waters subject to swell, wakes and chop it might feel pretty bouncy, as it will tend to follow the surface of the water very closely.

are a number of good inflatables to consider: and yes, Sea Eagle DOES make some very good kayaks, just avoid the cheapie 330. Move up to their 385 @12’6" length and it paddles very well. They use high end Halky air valves and a generous 6 months return for full refund. I paddled on on a demo day and it’s every bit as well made as NRS or Aire kayaks.

My favorite: Aire Sawtooth: absolutely the best inflatable I have ever paddled. It’s 13’3" and 32" wide and it paddles as well as most hard shell sit on top kayaks. It takes all of 6-7 minutes to ingflate with a big pump or electric pump which I plug into my cigarette lighter port in car. It’s my all time favorite.

Advanced Elements: I had their 13’ Yukon, Very good kayak, decent paddler, lots of stability, and very well made. Dealers love this brand as AE is highly rated for customer service. Also check West Marine as AE has them under the West Marine label.

Pakboat: I had the 12’ Puffin. Paddles well, took it to Mexico twice (easy to carry in duffel bag), but set up time is close to 20-30 minutes. Plus is it’s light at 24lbs with cover. Paddle one if possible.

Maintenance: any of these inflatables need to dry for a few hours before storage. When home, I lay out the kayak, wipe down with a towel, let it dry in the sun for a few hours (or dry indoors), and that’s it. I’ve never had any of my inflatables leak air and that’s after some fast river rides and scraping bottom on rocks and bouncing off logs.

Check out this Saturn (very good quality)on eBay

Good luck

do you like advanced elements?
you do you think advanced elements kayaks are pretty good? Like this advancedframe?

Choose wisely
Oh man the inflatables I see out and about sometimes border on ludicrous!

Dude “paddled” by me yesterday at Weedon Island (FL) in a boat that was only 3/4 inflated. Looked like something you’d see in an above ground pool…

However, it you have the cash, there are some KILLER inflatables out there. None will be “as good” as a hardshell obviously - but I know how it is to deal with the space limitations.

Aire makes top quality inflatables

I can only vouch for their whitewater inflatables, but here are some others – great company!

why not consider a folding kayak?

inflatable v/s hard body

– Last Updated: Aug-12-13 8:47 PM EST –

When we first started paddling (quiet water) we went thru a series of 3-4 inflatables purchased locally that inevitably developed inflation leaks - one or two almost immediately. These were some of the more prevalent consumer model tandems priced in the $400 - $500 range, all of which we were luckily able to return to the retailer; the last one we went to a $100 more expensive model supposedly rated for whitewater but it leaked too :( We patched it but in the end went to hardbody kayaks and now each have our own rec (both bought new) and touring kayaks (both bought used).

Based on our experiences unless you want to buy a tour guide level raft ($$$) Altho my gf has a little bitty inflateable fishing kayak she bought many years ago that has never leaked (she never used it much) I would reccommend to most ppl to go to a hard yak especially if you want to do more than splash around a pool.

I live in a 2nd fl studio apartment with private indoor stairways leading up to it and though I would have never imagined it initially, at a point after purchase we needed to store 2 of the boats and they fit on the stairways n/p. The touring yaks are each 16 ft and they fit as well. Right now doing some rigging work on one I actually have 3 in there - two on bottom and the 3rd stacked on top. They rest diagonally on their sides with the weight(s) distributed on multiple points on the sides so I dont worry too much about hull deformation even in hot weather. Not sure what a fire martial might think but I could squeeze 4 in if I HAD to.

Get resourceful and post on CraigsList and see if there is someone or maybe a storage space place has some space they will rent you - there are some interesting size spaces available and if you live in an area popular for paddling like FL maybe the storage space place has or will create a space that will fit a kayak? If they will subdivide a larger space they could offer "kayak spaces" to several people?

Good luck

Inflatable Kayaks Were Our Only Option

– Last Updated: Aug-17-13 12:33 AM EST –

We have an RV with limited storage space. Putting hard body kayaks on the roof was not an option and we could not buy a trailer since we were already towing a car. So we bought two Sea Eagle 385ft Fast Tracks from . The boats are high quality and the price was excellent. (They discount). What surprised us most is that they are really tough. We thought they would tear easily. They don't. Not even our dogs claws proved to be a concern. The boats handle very well. We feel safe in them. They inflate fast with our electric pump.I cannot make a comparison with hard body kayaks since we never owned any but we can certainly say that these have proven to be excellent kayaks. Since they are out of sight and stores in our cars truck or in the RV we never have to worry about them being stolen. Another plus.