need advice : inflatable kayak


I’d like to get started with kayaking. Since I spend most summer weekends camping and I’d like to haul it along. The 4 bikes on my truck leave no space of a regular rigid kayak, so I’m thinking of getting an inflatable. I plan on using it mostly on lakes but it would also be nice to use it on the ocean surf if possible.

From searching the web I’ve come across recommendations for Innova products and I thought the Safari model might suit the bill (although having to pay less for an IK would be nice). I don’t mind the thing being relatively slow but I don’t want to zigzag all over the place. How well can these types of inflatable Kayaks track? Would I be better off with a plastic (rigid) 9 or 10 footer (I could strap this on top of my popup trailer)?

Advice would be appreciated! Thanks

Don’t go cheap!
My experience is that IKs are the same as hardshells in that going for the bargain basement means getting what you pay for in both performance and quality (I’m sure someone on this forum will point out an exception.)

As far as tracking, I can only speak for the Innovas - with the standard tracking fin, they will do much better than the typical 10’ rec boat. For the kind of paddling you want to do, they should work out well.

Aire also makes several IKs at the same price point as Innova, but I can’t say anything about their performance. If you find a place that will let you test-paddle inflatables, let me know.

You can also get a folding kayak

– Last Updated: Feb-20-06 11:08 PM EST –

But I like the Innova Helios too.Check out

see this site has all sorts of useful comments about quality inflatables they sell , a few reasonably priced quality boats are around.

some of the ww inflatables may fit your needs, and most of them will fit in a big bag.

It depends on your body size , I would get a larger boat for me. But you may not need as much flotation to feel in control.

Good feedback above
but if you are willing to try something different, you may want to look at a paddleski by Sea Eagle. I have been very pleased with the stiffness of this boat, but it is not a kayak as most of the boat is above the water.

a nice 10-footer

– Last Updated: Feb-27-06 12:25 AM EST –

Advanced elements advanced frame ae1002 is a nice inflatible/folding kayak with the style and shape of a ridgid kayak for only $300.

Air Frame
I second the Advanced Elements kayak.

It is 36 pounds packed in its duffle. Set up is a snap once you practice and get it down.

I recently took this kayak on vacation in the Everglades City, Fla. area; took five day-trips, including everything from quiet water and mangroves to a trip out into the Gulf.

It performed very well.

Everywhere I went people asked me questions about it. It is a sharp-looking kayak, great return on the (very reasonable) price.

Innova Safari
I had a Safari and it is an excellent boat. Pretty rigid when inflated, and a gas to paddle. The tracking fin keeps it straight, but being short is still easy to turn when you need to. The only reason I sold mine was to finance my drysuit for my SINK. Wish I still had it now.


Have you thought of trailering?
Not to discourage you from an inflatable if that is what you really want, but if it is a matter of space on your truck, maybe you could buy a trailer and pull it along?

Innova Solar
would be a good choice.

I hear the Safari is a good boat, but can be a little tippy.

revised usage
I’ve been reading up on Lots of info there.

I hadn’t plan on a tandem IK, but something that converts from a solo to a tandem would be great (e.g. Solar or Sunny). I thought tandems were tandems for life! :wink:

I’ve reviewed my potential uses and I guess it’ll boil down to lakes and calm rivers, especially if I try to get my kids involved. I like the Advanced Elements’ pricing especially if it’s getting good reviews.

Locally, there doesn’t seem to be any Innova, Aire or Advanced Elements dealers but all three are sold about 2 hours drive from my home. As soon as I get a chance, I go see them up close. For the time being, there’s so much snow on my front yard that I can hardly see the bus stop. Guess taking a kayak for a spin is still a couple of months away! :frowning:

Thanks !

PS Reefmonkey: Trailing is out ‘cause I’m already pulling a popup trailer behind my truck.