Question filling inflatable kayak?

I’m new to kayaking so please bear with me.

I recently purchased an intex 2-person inflatable kayak, and a battery-powered pump.

So last week I tried filling the inflatable kayak with this pump, and it was so slow that I ended up deflating the kayak and leaving. I had no idea it would take that long to fill a kayak.

So yesterday I went to Walmart and found an electric pump that can be connected to the car lighter socket. It says that the air flow is “650L/min”. Here’s a pic of the pump:

Theoretically speaking, how long would it take me to fill up the kayak with this electric pump?

Being the first time I kayak, I don’t want to spend too much on a pump.


Better to use a manual pump – didn’t your boat come with one? I don’t have a full inflatable kayak but I have used folding kayaks for years which have inflatable internal sponsons (tubes that run along the hull and add rigidity) and I have experience with white water inflatable rafts. For both I use a manual pump which I can carry with me. If you are out for a while, you often have to add air to the boat – when air is cooled by the water it reduces in volume (the opposite of it expanding when heated up). By the way, be sure that you let some air out when you leave the boat sitting on the shore in the sun on hot days. An overheated inflatable can blow out a seam.

My pumps are from Pakboat, the company that made several of my kayaks. I would suggest you contact AirKayaks, which has a range of manual and battery operated pumps and talk to them about which model would achieve optimal inflation for your boat and will work with whichever types of valves it has (I know some Intex boats have Boston valves, which are pretty common). I would suggest getting one with a gauge so you can get the inflation right. The owners information that came with the boat ought to tell you what pressure it should be. Intex boats are low-end products (not very durable) so you want to make extra sure you don’t over-inflate it.

Also, are you sure that the kayak does not have a leak? Did you buy it new? Try blowing it up at home before you try to take it out to the water next time. If it inflates firmly let it sit and see if it stays inflated. If it seems to be going soft, the easiest way to check for leaks if you can’t feel one easily is to submerge it in water and look for bubbles. Seams are the usual culprits. Patching leaks is simple – if it did not come with a patch kit, you should buy one and keep it with you when you are out on the water in case of a blow out.


I bought the kayak new, and it came with a hand pump.

The only reason I bought the battery pump is because many people complained that filling it with a hand pump was time-consuming.

All things considered, would the electric pump with “650 L/minute” still be slower than the hand pump?

For what it’s worth, here’s the link to the kayak I bought:

Large foot pumps usually get it done quickly IMHO…

I don’t know much about the inflatable kayaks, but those inexpensive electric pumps move a very low volume of air. Look at the pump, imagine the size of the cylinder in there that’s used to push air…
I would think a decent quality manual pump, spending some money on a much higher volume but low or regulated pressure electric pump or you are going to have to be patient.
Ever tried to fill a really low tire with one of those little things? Takes forever and a day.

You know i’m not positive but I really don’t have a lot of faith in an $86 inflatable kayak…They tend to be single air chamber and too flexible. They won’t be good paddler boats. However, I did use a similar inflatable to get to and from a sailboat at anchor for a long time.

Instead of buying a pump why don’t you just go down to the corner gas station and put your $.25 pieces in the air pump and see how the thing does on a tire pump. Perhaps it is the filler on the kayak and not the pump.

The inflation nozzle on the compressor at a gas station won’t work on the Boston valves that are used on inflatable boats and rafts. They are not like tire valves.

A hand or foot pump is going to inflate that boat a lot faster than any cigarette lighter or battery pump you might try to use. The volume of air in a deflated boat skin is much larger than what you have to add to top off a car tire.

“Liters per minute” means nothing if the pump motor doesn’t have enough oomph to build up high compression PSI. A cheap plastic room cooling fan might move hundreds of liters of air per minute but that doesn’t mean you could use it to inflate a tire or boat.

You can get 120 volt plug in compressors that people use to inflate those flocked air beds. Won’t be able to take one of those to where you launch, but you could inflate the boat at home that way.

Try the pump that came with the boat. You may be surprised at how well it works. But as I said, be careful over-inflating a cheap boat. You do need to have it firm enough to not sag in the water. Takes some practice to get it right if you don’t have a gauge on the inflation device.

The short version: obtain and use a manual pump instead.

The longer version: is your electric pump plug in or battery powered? Most are battery powered due to the potentially remote nature of where you are paddling (like not within reach of sockets in your back yard). Some have 12v DC access for your car but most of the electric have batteries. And one of the drawback of big rechargeables like that is they wear out and fail fastest, just like cars, when used a lot, or very little.

I just got an email from Grabner which is a high end inflatable brand from Austria for which I have a certain enthusiasm after having tried one out that is amazing. Anyway in that email from a few weeks ago it cautioned their customers with electric pumps to recharge their batteries now in the late fall and again 2-3 months from now because if you let it discharge too much for too long from sitting there during the winter without a recharge it will permanently damage the battery and it won’t hold a charge as well or at all come spring.

You may be a victim of an underused battery, my 2 cents. In general other than my phone and vehicle I avoid rechargeables like the plague for this reason because they tend to have poor shelf life. If a battery is really needed I will get something that uses disposable batteries vs rechargeables. Or a plug in device.

Sure. I stand corrected. I agree use the manual pump that came with the unit. Or one of those they use for inflatable SUPs.

I suspect most people here have at best limited experience with this one. Most have hard shells or folders.

But I did see this in the reviews of the intex 2 person on the Walmart site. It appears their experience with the pump is different than yours, so you may want to consider that there are issues with your battery powered pump.
“I am very happy with this kayak. I have taken it out on the lake when it was calm and also a choppy. It was easy to maneuver and also very easy to blow up with the pump, it took me about 10 minutes. I’m planning on buying this product again to add to our family.”

For the price I might just go to Academy and pick one up for the fun of it.

Ten minutes is an awfully long time to inflate a kayak (per the Intex reviewer). I’m sure it never took me that long to inflate a two man WW raft with a hand or foot pump.

Exactly. It takes a couple minutes to inflate a Grabner Holiday 3 which is 17 1/2 feet long and much larger by hand.

After having done some work in the internet world and online forums as a moderator elsewhere as well as having dealt with various organizations and their online experiences I have 100% stopped believing online reviews.

The truth is that you can pay review monkey services in India to not only give you good reviews in many different sites, but they will do the same to discredit your competition. You pay and depending on the quality of your reviews you get more likes and more positive, more detailed reviews. Also these services have multiple accounts on review sites and even forums to act as shills so the same account owned by one of these hijack review writers will on a website write reviews for many different entities. They will get plenty of “stars”, friends and medals appearing to be a legitimate reviewer. You can also pay them to create ghosts and shadows to trick the search engines so that your products, business or website comes out in the first page or at the top of an internet search and your competition is pushed further down to irrelevance. Although since many do it this is not as much of a competitive advantage as it was 5-10 years ago.

I wrote a few honest things making solid recommendations and got thousands of hits. I got so many emails, questions about the stuff I did and put a lot of time. I had a lot of online “friends” and connections but wasn’t looking to sell stuff, just help people. Then merchants looking to peddle wares people didn’t need would get like 100,000 likes and subscriptions in 1-2 days as soon as their video or review or article was posted on whatever website.

After that I don’t read online reviews much any more, and if I do I keep my private airplane handy to fly me to my thousands of acres of salt mines out west.

I took a wild guess at estimating the air volume of a 10 foot inflatable and came up with an upper-end guess of 640 liters. If you can trust the 650 liter/min spec on the Walmart electric pump, it would inflate that volume in about a minute. But odds are, if the pump is really capable of 650 liter/min, that’s with no back-pressure at all, so the flow rate would drop off when pushing air into the deflated kayak.

…For the fellow geeks, I calculated the volume as 3 simple cylindrical tubes 30 cm in diameter and 300 cm long (2 sides plus one flattened for a floor).


Apparently you have some experience with pumps for these boats, that was useful. But you spent a lot longer touting your expertise w online reviews…

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I loved the Grabner. Amazing boat. Not great in high winds or seas but the wife won’t go out in those conditions anyway. It’s almost like it re-writes the laws of physics. You don’t get something for nothing though as the risk of puncture, while low, can really sabotage you if you don’t stay close to a safe area. Never had a puncture but it’s one of those “pick up a penny in front of a steamroller” where the risk of something bad happens is very low but that something is catastrophic.

FYI you don’t need to take it from me, here is the info I got in an email dated 11-7:

Now recharge the electric air pump battery

You own a 12 volt electric air pump with lead or NiMH battery?

“To extend the life of the battery as possible and to avoid damage, we recommend you to recharge the battery now!
If the battery is not used for a long time during the winter months, it will self-discharge. A deep discharge can cause irreparable damage. For this reason, disconnect the battery from the pump, fully charge it, check the charge every two to three months, and recharge if necessary.
The state of charge should not fall below 12.5 volts.”

This mirrors pretty much all the recommendations with rechargeables. Their shelf life tends to be poor if not dishcarged and recharged semi regularly.

Also here is the Grabner video on inflating it. With just using the hand pump and including all the elements of putting it together such as seats and foot rests, not just inflation, you can do it in about 3 minutes once you get the hang of it. In my experience it doesn’t take long at all to get that “quick”.

So I think something is wrong with OP’s pump battery. The fact he got it 2nd hand means there is an uncertainty in the use of the previous owner. The most common reason why someone would sell a kayak if because they are not using it any more. And if you’re not using this kayak any more the battery is going to sit there and languish as above.

I was corresponding a couple months ago with a guy selling a Grabner tandem for a good price, but unfortunately I could not proceed with the sale due to being financially tied up with having a garage and boat storage building built on my property. They look like really neat boats – I even contacted Grabner and got one of their catalogs.

Maybe I will get one someday, when I get too stiff to assemble the folders and too weak to haul the hard shells.