Willow and Chuck ; best inflatable?

Primarily lakes with a river once in awhile. An annual marsh trip.
Maybe with a dog.

Not Willow or Chuck, but I advise you to look for a drop stitched floor. It’ll be better for a dog, it makes it a little easier to get in and out, and makes it feel more rigid. For pure inflatables (excluding hybrid folders), there’s three basic designs around a drop stitch floor. The first and most common design uses large tube sponsons as sides. The second uses drop-stitched planks for sides, looking a bit like a square bottom canoe; this type is faster but less stable. The third type is a clamshell of drop stitched deck and hull, which has more of a hardshell feel but there’s no space to put anything between the floor and deck.

The only inflatable I’ve owned so far is the hybrid frame/inflatable Java sit on top, I believe Chuck had one for a while too – I recall shots of Paris riding the bow deck. But those are rare in the market and at 16’, probably longer than you would want (though mine only weighs 34 pounds). He’s mentioned some inflatables in his armada, like the Innova Sunny.

I suspect lakes are a bit of a problem with a lot of the plumper raft-like inflatables depending on how windy they are.

No experience at all with it but I noticed Advanced Elements has come out with a 10’ long dropstitch floor inflatable with pup-sized extended cockpit that looks interesting (39 pounds), though a little pricey. There are some reviews of it on the REI listing. I suspect it would be too short (and perch too high on the water) for the windy lakes I usually paddle with 2 to 30 miles of reach:

Have not found it yet but I like my drop stitch Aquaglide Chelan 155. The Aire Sawtooth is nice to paddle but it has internal bladders and gets lots of water inside the skin. Just got a Sea Tiger that was able to take out with friends



Patrik Vuorio, a Swedish paddler I’ve friended on Facebook (so I can follow his video posts on his kayaking adventures around Scandinavia and other areas of Europe), has owned 10 different inflatables and just posted this video of each of them in rough conditions. Doesn’t give much detail on the models but he does identify them. I can ask him if he’d share feedback on the relative performance of each of them. Currently he is using the dropstitch Itiwit 500 V2 for most of his travels and it seems to be a pretty nice boat.