Need help choosing an inflatable kayak!

Hey all,

First, a little background - I’ve done a little hard-shell kayaking in the past, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’m not really into hardcore/competitive kayaking, or really that interested in whitewater rapids. I’m looking to get an inflatable tandem kayak (inflatable for storage/transportation ease) mainly for leisurely floating the Boise river, either with another person or my dog. I’d also like to use this kayak for fly fishing, either on high mountain lakes or slow, gentle stretches of streams/creeks. My main criteria when looking for a kayak to purchase were: less than $400, and a two-seater so I can kayak with someone else, or my dog (without having him in my lap). So I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to one of these:

Does anyone have experience with either of these brands/models? Or any advice on which would be better for my general purposes of lazy river floating with my dog, or fly fishing lakes and streams? Recommendations of other brands would be appreciated, but the main reason I’m looking at AdvancedElements or Sea Eagle is because I can receive a pro-deal from them through my employer.

Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks!

I have couple of Innovas
Helios 2 and Safari as well as a Feathercraft Java. Like them all. The Safari is great on Class3 rivers and surfing. Helios is fun for 2 on flat water. Java sails paddles and sails ok and whales like it

Also like my Innova
I was curious though about how your dog’s claws would do with an inflatable? My Safari is pretty tough, but I would think about this.

The problem with both of those cheaper models is that they will be floppier than higher priced ones with more rigid structure. This is a drawback for tandems because the weight of the paddlers will deflect the shape of the hull and bog them down, making them very slow and barge-like to propel and maneuver. If all you want to do is sit and fish, maybe not an issue, but you will find these quite tedious to paddle any distance.

If I was going to get an inflatable for the purposes you describe I would be looking at the Aquaglide Chelan tandem.

OR, if that price is too much for you, their Columbia tandem at $700 (possibly less from dealers running sales):

The shells of decent inflatables are pretty rugged but I would carry a patch kit just in case if paddling with a dog. Peel and stick rip-stop nylon repair tape (sold in places that sell camping gear) will make a good temporary patch on the water, then you can peel it off and do a permanent glue and rubber patch when you get back from the trip. A good quality boat will have multiple chambers so a puncture will not sink you or put you in any real danger.