Would like advice on inflatable kayaks

-- Last Updated: Apr-03-09 9:33 PM EST --

We have a 30' sail boat and would like to get a kayak or canoe, something easy to store on board that tracks well and will fit two adults, both 5'5" AND a 65 pound Labrador dog. Something affordable...for us that means around $200 - $300 (which we could find something used once we narrow it down). Does anybody have any suggestions? We have been looking into inflatables because of their easy storage, etc. Thanks for your help, input, opinions.

At that price range, and for two people and a dog I think your best bet is going to be one of these


Otherwise a Sevylor Colorado might work, but it may be to small for the dog.

One word of advice, the storagability of inflatable kayaks can be a bit overstated. The main issue is that they need more maintenance after being in the water (cleaning, drying). That can be difficult on a sailboat. The nylon hulls, like the sevylor are more prone to this. The qayak has a pvc hull and will be heavier, but not soak up the water as much.


The one that would fit both you and the dog would probably be outside your price range. This are great boats though. They are actually “hybrid” folding/inflatables with reinforcements in the front and rear and an optional “backbone” that runs along the bottom of the boat that greatly improves rigidity and tracking. They paddle as well as any short rec boat.

However the previous poster makes a good point about how easy it is to set up/dismantle an inflatable. I bought my inflatable as my first kayak and found it to be a major pain to inflate it and then pack it away afterwards. For one thing, it doesn’t dry fast and folding it up to fit into the bag when wet is was a major pain and not something you wanted to do. After a paddle I would just fold it up to fit onto my Jeep’s cargo rack and then lay it out to dry when I got home. Basically I didn’t find an inflatable very easy to live with.

Now that I have a kayak trailer I just inflate it and use it like any rec boat. I leave it inflated for the entire season and deflate it and put it back in the bag once winter comes. Much easier. For what you want you are going to need a rather large inflatable. I’m thinking a Sea Eagle may work well for you.

In that price range
you are talking about toys, not boats. What did you pay for that 30 foot sailboat? What kind of sailboat would you get for $200-300? What would you have to pay for the most basic sailboat that would fit two persons and a dog and be worth sailing?

Even if you go “high end,” in inflatables, two people and a lab in an inflatable kayak will not make for much of a paddling experience. Dogs, especially one the size you are talking about, will fit much better in a hard-hulled canoe.

Rowing dingy
If you only have that much to spend I’d go to duckworksmagazine.com and find some plans for a rowing dingy that you could store on the foredeck. It will be more practical and will stand up to abuse more than any inflatable you could get for that much money.

Another choice if you sailboat is shallow draft is to buy two sets of waders and wade ashore. I did that many times with my 24 foot sailboat.

Getting Ashore
Forget using inflatable kayaks or rafts for going ashore from your sailboat. Only the very expensive kayaks track well in wind, and few have the capacity for two people and a dog. All inflatables take more work to keep them useable.

Put your money into an 8’ dingy and a set of oars. You still won’t get out under $500 no matter what you pick. Paddles for kayaks are over $100 without the price of the inflatable.

Passage Maker take-apart Dinghy
More than the $200-300 you wanted to spend. But this would probably actually meet your needs.


Kayak for Sailors
Thanks paddlesheep and Wavewheeler for the two great sites…www.qayak.com & advancedelements and for the advice on storing inflatables and the importance of cleaning/drying them prior to storage; I had not considered that. In a sailboat, on a damp day and/or when evening falls, that’s next to impossible. The qayak with the pvc hull makes sense with the heavier material which doesn’t absorb moisture. I also like the Sea Eagle. I realize it may be a pain to inflate/deflate, but to use on occasion might not be so bad. We went to a kayak dealer who recommended the SOT Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL 13’4" ($800+), weighs 68 lbs, very stable. (They do not sell inflatables.) For us, it would be too big and cumbersome to store on top of the boat and I would have difficulty taking it out with just me and the dog for a paddle which brings me back to inflatables. Thanks for all your input. The kayak would be for fun & peace and quiet. We have an inflatable dingy and a motor to get to shore. The inflatable we got used for $300 and a second one in better shape for free, the motor - a 5hp Mercury - for $250 and the 30’ 1988 Catalina for $27,000; all great prices thanks to my very frugal engineer boyfriend. Can’t beat the price of the qayak!!! : ) My guess is that’s what we’ll get! Thanks again.

A friend of mine has one of the qayaks. He likes it just fine. I saw it up close…there’s a couple of pictures here, around the middle of the post.


If your plan is to do what I see most sailors with kayaks do, explore the shoreline of anchorages, throw in a fishing line, have a nice time on the water, you’ll probably do okay with this. But it’s not something you’ll be taking on any extended trips :slight_smile:

Good luck!

How did it work?
I am currently searching for the same product and reading the advice on this thread. We have a 60lb sailing dog whose heart would break if we paddled away from the sailboat without him. We have a 45’ sailboat with kayak racks on the rail but we want an inflatable so that we can stow it below in foul weather to keep the rails clear.

What did you buy and how well did it work out?


there is a kayak out there that is the perfect tender…dragonfly innovations makes them…called the manta 2.5…shortest tandem kayak available…10ft long…comes with three molded in seats so you could operate kayak balanced from the middle seat…also super stable 36’’ wide so you could get in and out of your boat easily…go to walmart.com and check it out…real cheap…not the fastest or best tracking boat but a great tender…could easliy store on deck…only 10ft…weighs 55 pounds…