Ten Best Inflatable Canoes and Kayaks

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I found an interesting article over at WideWorld in which the British online magazine lists their top picks for the 10 best inflatable canoes and kayaks with some interesting recommendations for those that don’t have the space to store a hard shell or a rack for the roof of their car.

The boats are broken down into some interesting categories, such as “Best Budget Model” and “Best for Whitewater”. The list is populated with suggestions from top manufacturers, such as Sevylor and Stearns, and makes it fairly easy for someone to find the right kayak or canoe to fit their needs. While the prices and websites are for the U.K., it is also very easy to do a quick Google search to find these in other markets as well.

The inflatable kayak market is one that has changes fairly dramatically in recent years. Gone are the cheaply made boats that are barely worth taking out onto a pool, let alone a real body of water. These are great options for those looking to get into paddling, but still want to be able to store their boat under their bed or in the trunk of their car. These newer models are tough, easy to paddle, and offer a host of options, and while they’ll never completely replace a true hard shell, the lines are blurring between the models.

I was happy to see Advanced Elements get some love from the list. I have one of their Dragonfly models, which they don’t appear to make any longer, and really enjoy it, and I’ve been thinking of moving up to the AdvancedFrame model for use on extended trips. With the weather finally cooling off here in Texas, I’m hoping to hit the water again soon. Maybe I should take one of these for a test drive and check it out.

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10 thoughts on “Ten Best Inflatable Canoes and Kayaks”

  1. I just saw an inflatable whitewater kayak last year. Looks cool, but doesn't handle tha waves as well as hard shell ones (according to the kayaker). MSR inflatable kayaks (the good ones) run from $500-1300. Cheaper to find a nice playboat on Craigslist for $200-350, ispecially if you are not sure if ww kayaking will be something for you.

  2. I definitely agree with you on the white water kayaks. Couldn't imaging doing Class IV or V in an inflatable, although I know people do. Performance out of an inflatable will probably never match a hard shell and where you really need it is in the big water.

  3. Performance of an IK might not match a hardshell, but they are usually MUCH more stable than a hardshell. That makes them a lot easier for most people to use. They can take a fair amount of abuse, so it's worth getting something made out of fabric backed PVC (not the cheap sevylors or k-mart boats), polyurethane or hypalon. Vanguard makes some solid ones that a lot of outfitters use. NRS has some good ones too.

  4. Great advice, and I agree. They are super stable and easy to paddle. And I agree on the fabric backed PVC too. Makes them very durable, and it is indeed worth paying the extra money for.

  5. this is really helpful – thanks. I'm itching to get into a folding kayak trip but not too sure where to begin…
    Al

  6. Where are you wanting to kayak at Al? Plenty of great places around the globe, and a folding kayak opens up some new possibilities since they are so easy to carry into remote destinations in comparison to a hard shell.

  7. I made the step up to an Advanced Frame and never looked back. Gave me the confidence to tackle 'real' whitewater and boy was that woth the additional cost:-)

  8. Fantastic article, it’s very comprehensive and exciting! it’s so helpful to me, and your weblog is very good. I am definitely going to share this URL with my friends. Just bookmarked this site.!

  9. Definitely go for the Advanced Frame inflatable kayak – it is great, I absolutely LOVED mine (it got stolen from my garage). Thinking about getting the Advanced Frame Sport next as it is a bit lighter.

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