Inflatable Kayaks

#1
I like to float rivers and lakes and have done some whitewater rafting. Now though I am interested in a boat that my lovely and I can paddle and drift through class 1 and 2, (at the most) waters and all the local lakes. My life limitation however is portability I have a travel trailer and pickup and Car topping is out. I also live in an apt and have no storage.
I have done a little research and I think a 2 person inflatable kayak may be what we need. Easy to store fits in the trailer and convert able to one or two peeps.
Anybody done this?
 

Shapp

Active Member
#2
For a 2 person kayak for 2 people for sub-class III floating I would recommend an Aire Strike II if you are smaller folks, if you are hefty americans I would recommend the Aire Outfitter II kayak if you will be on mostly moving water, if mostly lakes or very flat rivers an Aire super lynx would also be great.

A small raft with breakdown oars and a breakdown frame will store nearly as small as a 2 person inflatable kayak. If you think a raft might work better, For nice sized raft for 2 people that rolls very small and a frame that packs up to nearly nothing, I would recommend a Hyside mini-max with a Welfelt Frame and breakdown oars.
 
#3
Thanks for the reply. The outfitter2 is one I have been looking at. There is a dealer/rental place here in Boise on the river I am hoping they will have a rental or demo so we can try it out. I don't want to make an investment in a boat like this and find out it just won't work for us.
 

hbmcc

Active Member
#5
I know you are keen on inflatables. However, note that an inflatable boat is heavy, bulky, a pain to inflate and deflate; and if you want to do it single, no fun at all, which has to do with balance issues. Compared to a rigid craft, the inflatable has several more headaches to contend with. We haven't gotten to the matter of bladder integrity yet.

My son has one (two-man, even) and took it out once. I seriously doubt the mass--a half-closet worth, and twice the bulk of the original--will be inflated again.
 

Shapp

Active Member
#7
I must disagree with hbmcc' opinions as well.

My perspective comes from using our family navy over my life time. We currently have 7 inflatable kayaks, all form Aire. Our oldest is from about 1994 and is a single lynx. We have 4 doubles and 3 singles all together currently. We also have multiple rafts, a drift boat a 24 foot jetboat, an old town canoe, and some hardshell kayaks. A large navy in total.

First, inflatable kayaks are not bulky. For example, an old style Aire Lynx II, comparable to a new Aire Outfitter II, that the OP says is top on their list, would fit into a medium NRS boat bag that is 40”x25”x11”. In addition to fitting that boat in the bag, you will also be able to fit in the bag – a throw bag, couple life jackets, small hand pump, small electric pump, a patch kit and some other small misc. items. Hardly a big bundle that includes all your gear but paddles.

Inflatable kayaks are easy to inflate. From pulling up to your put-in, it should take you 5 minutes or less to have the boat inflated and ready to go using an electric pump. Same for rolling back up at the end of the day.

Double inflatable kayaks paddle just fine as a single, and can haul a huge amount of gear for multiday trips. If you can’t paddle a 2 person inflatable kayak as a single, then you need to adjust your seat placement, have a really crapy brand/type of boat, or simply don’t have any skills at all.

Bladder integrity? That is a purely uneducated comment in regard to aire brand inflatable kayaks. I have never had to patch an aire bladder in the field after paddling literally thousands of miles. Does it happen, I am sure, but none our large number of Aire boats has needed this. Regardless, repairing in the field is straight forward if ever needed.

You seem to suggest that an inflatable kayak is heavier than a rigid boat. I am sure there are high end rigid kayaks and canoes made of really light and expensive materials.

A simple comparison by the numbers:

The Aire Inflatable Kayaks I recommended:

Aire Strike II kayak, 12.5’ long, 37 pounds
Aire Outfitter II kayak, 12.5’ long, 46 pounds
Aire Super Lynx kayak, 14’ long, 46 pounds

Lets Take Old Town for a simple comparison with hard boats (I have a 14’ old down canoe which I love).

14’ guide canoe = 82 pounds
11’ discovery canoe = 49 pounds
13’ Discovery canoe = 78 pounds

Nearly all the old town single kayaks weigh more then the inflatable kayaks above, and their double kayaks all weigh considerably more.

There are pros and cons to all boats. The main real difference between a rigid and inflatable kayak/canoe is that the rigid will generally handle flat water much better.

Bottom line, Aire double IKs are plenty awesome and versatile.

Salmon fishing:


multiday solo:


Its an SUP


Its a Bed


its a couch


2 people in whitewater if you are skilled


or single whitewater
 
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#8
Wow very good info. The critical comments by hbmcc just did not match the many positive user reviews. The first hand comments that followed are more in line with the things I have read.
Jesse
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#10
Jesse, as you are now retired, you might also consider the packed size and weight for airline travel. I have friends who regularly bring their IK's to Hawaii and other warm water destinations. They have a blast with the IK's and never leave them behind. If you can see yourself doing that, add packing size for travel to your list of criteria.
 
#11
Jesse, as you are now retired, you might also consider the packed size and weight for airline travel. I have friends who regularly bring their IK's to Hawaii and other warm water destinations. They have a blast with the IK's and never leave them behind. If you can see yourself doing that, add packing size for travel to your list of criteria.
Air travel may not be in the picture but we have a lot of plans to travel in our truck and travel trailer. Packing size is important, there never seems to be enough room.
 

hbmcc

Active Member
#12
My! Flame me! I will give you more gas. And, not retract anything I said.

Not my pile of plastic. I saw/ experienced the before and after scene. Son mentioned a lot of inflated issues that are inherent with big windbags. And, he probably punched a few leaks. Yeah, pull it out of the trunk and toss into the mudhole is great. But I plan on doing other things and a 24x24x36-40-inch wad of forty plus pounds just don't cut it.

I made my first kayak and it was dog that Folbots of the time couldn't touch. (Mid 60's.) The second was a bit heavy but fiberglass was new to home building teams. I didn't do that one. I will never do FG again.

There's no way I can get into one now. But, with the correct weight distribution, a light craft is heaven. You won't stick it into a trunk, however.

Edit: Those in the photos aren't kayaks. They are rafts. Depending on the water craft reg.'s you could call them canoes, too. [This should cause a riot....]
 
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Shapp

Active Member
#13
I think you confuse flaming, with providing actual information based on in-depth experience on-topic to what the OP asked a question about, and making sure the discussion was't derailed by ignorance on the subject at hand.


Are these inflatable boats considered kayaks, hard shellers and inflatable kayakers can co-exist! :)
 
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