In the not so long ago past, people who wanted to go kayaking had to load up their hard-shell kayak and take it to the river, lake, or beach. Often, this meant that they would scratch up their vehicle and have to have a friend helping them to load it. Those days ended, when inflatable kayaks came along. However, many have yet to make the switch to inflatable because they have concerns about whether it is a good option or not. Let’s take a close look, so that you can decide which is best; inflatable kayak vs hardshell kayaks.
When it comes to performance and choosing between a hard-shelled kayak and an inflatable one, you will find that they both can do certain tasks well. For instance, inflatable kayaks are more stable and less likely to capsize because of the buoyancy, but in inclement weather, hard-shell kayaks are more stable because they sit heavier in the water. This means that the rigid kayaks are also a better option if you want to venture out into the ocean with your kayak. When choosing a whitewater kayak, if you are going to go for very rough waters, you may want the sturdier hard shell kayak. However, as the inflatable material continues to improve, many inflatable kayaks can now handle class IV rapids.
As to how easy it is to transport, an inflatable kayak wins hands down. They often weigh around 30-40 pounds, but some can weigh even less. They fold up and can fit into backpacks with ease, which ensures that you can carry it in the trunk of your car if you want to. A hard-shell kayak can easily weigh 60lbs and often they have to be towed on a trailer or on roof racks. This means you will often need to have help when loading or unloading because some are 9ft long or longer.
When considering cost, an inflatable kayak that is high-quality could cost you $600, but there are cheaper kayaks that cost closer to $100. It simply depends on what you are hoping to do and how many people you hope to take along with you on your next outing. Some hard-shell kayaks are also going to cost you a couple hundred, but they are made with composite materials. Wooden kayaks may cost more than a $1,000. Most of the time, inflatable kayaks are cheaper.
An inflatable kayak can be stored in a corner of the garage or in the trunk of your vehicle. They also have tons of storage on board, with a lot of it being dry storage. The rigid kayak is going to take up more room in your garage. They also have less dry storage areas on board unless they are fishing kayaks.
If you are wondering, “Are inflatable kayaks safe?”, you should know that most are very safe. They have multiple air chambers to ensure you always stay afloat, even if your kayak becomes damaged. However, damage is rare because the material that is used is extremely durable. With that, you still cannot take away the fact that rigid will always be the most reliable.
When it comes to asking, “Are inflatable kayaks good?”, everyone has their own opinion. There is no right or wrong answer. It is personal preference alone. Both have pros and cons and you simply have to decide which is best for your situation.