If you're looking for a kayak but don't know how to choose between an inflatable and a rigid one, here are some inflatable kayak pros and cons.
An inflatable kayak can be kept in the back of your car, ready to use at any time without affecting vehicle performance, unlike a rigid kayak which you'd kayak reviewneed to keep strapped to your vehicle roof if you wanted it to be readily available for a spot of paddling.
With an inflatable you don't need to fit roof bars to your vehicle.
If you live in an apartment you can easily store your inflatable kayak whereas you'd need a garage or a lock-up store to keep a rigid kayak.
If you're going on holiday and want to paddle while you're away, you can take your inflatable boat on a 'plane as a piece of luggage; a rigid kayak would present a few problems.
Particularly for smaller or older people, an inflatable kayak weighing between twenty and thirty pounds can easily be carried whereas a rigid boat weighing in excess of 50 pounds is somewhat more difficult.
Inflatables are easy to maintain; just wipe, leave to dry, fold and store in the carrying bag provided. A rigid kayak will need much more care than that.
Affordable pricing; an inflatable kayak starts at less than $100 and rises to around $600 with a huge selection in the $200 to 300 range. Rigid kayaks start at around $500 and just keep on going up.
The risk of puncturing an inflatable is quite high, despite the rugged materials used in their construction these days. There's also the risk of puncturing from within if you don't pack your gear carefully. If an inflatable deflates then you're in big trouble particularly in a whitewater situation. It's true to say that a rigid kayak can be holed but some vigorous bailing should get you to the shore in safety.
Tracking in a straight line is likely to be more difficult due to the lack of rigidity and this, in turn, will mean that you'll have to paddle harder to build up any momentum.
If the valves in an inflatable kayak leak then the boat will begin to deflate. If that happens then the weight of the paddler concentrated in the centre will push the centre of the boat into the water while the bow and stern will lift out. This makes paddling nigh on impossible.
You've seen the inflatable kayak pros and cons; how to choose is relatively easy. You already know that an inflatable kayak is easy to carry and assemble so kayak reviewcheck out the types of material available and select the most rugged. Find out which are the very best valves so that the risk of air leakage is minimised and make sure that you choose a kayak with a skeg so that the tracking will be the best it can be.