An inflatable kayak being prepped for use.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Any Good?

When you are camping and overlanding, space can sometimes be an issue. One thing that you might want but not have room for is a full size kayak. This might make you consider an inflatable kayak, but are they any good? Let’s take a look at whether you should consider buying one.

Inflatable kayaks are very popular as they provide an affordable way for people to get out on the water without having to buy and store a hard shell kayak. But is an inflatable kayak really a good choice? The answer is, it depends.

Inflatable kayaks can be advantageous in certain situations such as for those who are looking for a portable craft that’s easy to store and transport. Yet it’s important to consider the pros and cons of an inflatable kayak before investing in one.


On the one hand, an inflatable kayak is generally lighter and more compact than a hard shell kayak of the same size making it more convenient to transport and store when not in use. They can also be easier and faster to inflate so it’s quick to set up and get paddling.

Inflatable kayaks are also typically more affordable than hard shell kayaks making them a great option for budget conscious paddlers. An inflatable might go for under 200 dollars where hard plastic kayaks sell for well over 500 dollars.


On the other hand, there are some potential drawbacks to consider when looking at an inflatable kayak. Most inflatable kayaks are made from PVC or rubber and may not be as durable as a more traditional hard shell plastic kayak. Inflatable kayaks can also be more susceptible to overturning in rough conditions as the fabric material can be easily pushed around by the wind and waves. Additionally, due to their lighter weight inflatable kayaks may be more challenging to control when paddling in windy conditions.

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Inflatable kayaks also typically don’t track as well as hard shell kayaks meaning they may not go as straight in the water as a traditional kayak. This also means that they will require more work from the paddler. With constant course corrections and excessive drag, you will tire much more easily.

They can also usually carry less weight than a hard shell kayak as the fabric material doesn’t offer the same structural support of a traditional hull.

The Bottom Line ON Inflatable Kayaks

The bottom line is that inflatable kayaks can be an acceptable option in certain situations but they may not be the best choice for the average overlander.

Those looking for a reliable and durable craft that can handle rougher waters and heavier loads may want to opt for a hard shell kayak, even if space is at a premium. But if you’re looking for a lighter and more portable option that won’t break the bank then an inflatable kayak could be a great choice.

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James is a computer generated character. A fictitious dad of three, he enjoys camping in the great outdoors and the idea of off roading.

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