Inflatable Kayaks - Inflatable Vs Hard Shell
First things first: not all inflatable kayaks made for recreational use are created equally, so there's some nuance when talking about how durable any average inflatable kayak actually is. Many variables associated with the construction of an inflatable kayak are key to know, and even other outside factors such as the age of the kayaker or the type of equipment worn by the kayaker make a difference. Here's a short rundown of what you should look for in an inflatable kayaking experience, as well as some general information about the sport itself.
There are two main types of inflatable kayaks that people tend to purchase. There are hard-shell kayaks and soft-shell kayaks. The difference is mostly a matter of preference, but there are some basic differences between the two.
Hard-shell kayaks have major durability advantages. While soft-shells don't have anywhere near the longevity of their hard-shell counterparts, they do have some major downfalls, too. They start leaking air while inflated, they are prone to punctures, and they take up significantly more space. A lot of these issues can be avoided with maintenance and the right kind of equipment. But for people who can't afford upkeep or who simply prefer the feel of a hard-shell kayak over its soft-shelled peers, inflatables have some major advantages.
The biggest advantage of an inflatable kayak, after longevity, is price. For less than one hundred dollars (around $75 US in most cases), you can get a high-quality, high-speed, low-priced pool toy that will give you years of fun. And because it is inflatable, it's going to last a long time. With a little work and proper storage, you can enjoy one of these pool toys for as long as you'd like without worrying about sacrificing its quality or its lifespan.
This might seem like a minor point, but it is important to consider. Some people don't like the idea of spending money on something that's not built to last. This includes inflatables that are part of larger sets, which might include jet skis or wake boards. You'll get more value out of your overall fun experience if you get everything in one package, especially if you're looking for a single item to use with every other piece of equipment you own.
On the other hand, inflatable kayaks have some big advantages that hard-shell kayaks don't have. For example, many of the inflatable kayaks available today have storage space in them. If you buy one that's easy to set up and take apart, you won't have to pay for a pricey storage unit to keep your kayaking gear organized. This is a major advantage that might be worth spending extra money on if you have limited storage space in your home.
Finally, there's safety. Unlike their hard-shell counterparts, most inflatable kayaks and water skis are built sturdy enough to withstand the weight of several people. They can also be used as walkways, as oars, or as supports for other equipment. This means that they can easily become the go-to piece of equipment when someone needs to use a walkway, get into the water, or get a boat. That kind of versatility makes them an excellent choice for almost any situation.
In the end, inflatable kayaks can be a great pool toy for small kids and a great outdoor gear item for adults. They're versatile, fun, comfortable, safe, easy to use, inexpensive, lightweight, and inexpensive to store. It just makes sense to pick up one for the pool this summer. And why not just get one for the backyard too?
One of the drawbacks to air-filled inflatables is that they are limited in maneuverability by the resistance in the atmosphere. They can't go very fast; they can't go very far from where they're inflated. This isn't really a big deal for kids; they will most likely get over it quickly anyway. Adults, on the other hand, may find that they like the limitation. For longer treks across the lake, they would appreciate an inflatable kayak that allows them to go at a higher degree of speed and with more distance.
However, many people argue that inflated air-filled inflatable kayaks have a tendency to be cooler than their hard-shell counterparts, which makes them more comfortable to use. The truth may be that both versions can be equally comfortable. The only real difference comes in how the hard-shell kayaks retain the heat they lose as they go through the water. Inflatable kayaks with hard-shells don't lose the heat as much, so they are more comfortable to use on hot days.
Another thing to consider is what you will be using the inflatable kayaks for. Are you mainly going out for a relaxing day on the water, or are you planning a day of competitive kayaking? If you are planning on competitive kayaking, you will probably want a model with a built-in boarding ramp. These models usually come with a special acrylic canopy to protect riders from the bright sun and to help them get a head start on the board. Soft-sided inflatable kayaks are also popular for recreational use, and they offer different ways to raise them for convenience.