In this post, I’m going to talk about why an inflatable kayak is safer than you think, then I’ll cover the pro and con of the inflatable kayak and at the end of the post, I’ll show you how to maintain your inflatable kayak with some tips.
In recent years, kayaking has seen a lot of innovations in technologies, resulting in a much safer and more enjoyable experience for adventure-seekers. However, there seem to be few recent technologies as innovative, and as controversial, as inflatable kayaks.
“Is an inflatable kayak safe?”
This probably going to be the one question every kayak salesperson will have to encounter every day. With a soft and flimsy look, inflatable kayaks invoke some serious doubts in even the most open-minded of us.
So, Is an inflatable kayak safe? The answer is: Yes, it’s absolutely safe. I have consulted several experts in the field and I can confidently say that thanks to advanced materials and technologies, inflatable kayaks are absolutely safe, provided that they are used and maintained correctly.
In the rest of the post, I’ll reveal some key facts on why inflatable kayaks are absolutely safe for you and your family.
Why inflatable kayaks are safer than you think
What comes into our mind when we think of the word “inflatable”?
For most of us, it is probably the rubber duck we used to have as kids, and it does not spell “safety” to us. Many of us are afraid of the materials used to build inflatable kayaks, but did you know that inflatable technology has progressed a long way since our childhood.
What makes inflatable kayaks safe?
The inflatable technology was mostly used for military purposes in the past, but now is being harnessed by recreational companies for everyday uses. Let’s take a closer look at how inflatable kayaks are structured in order to understand why it is absolutely safe for customers.
The two most used materials for this kind of kayaks are PVC and Hypalon. Even though each one of these materials has its own strengths and weaknesses, they all are very durable in most conditions. On one hand, PVC is known for its extreme durability and it can be welded to create more durable structures. On the other hand, Hypalon is extremely resistant to UV light and environmental factors. With these tough materials, it will take a lot more than your average rock shards to puncture a hole in your kayak.
What if it is punctured?
Despite it’s not happened a lot, it did happen sometime. Fear not. Modern inflatable kayaks are multi-layered, meaning they have multiple layers of different materials. Even if the first layer is punctured, there are still two other layers of rough and sturdy materials to keep your kayak afloat until you safely make it ashore, where you can quickly repair it with a repair kit and join the fun again in just a few hours.
Check out the video on how to repair an inflatable kayak.
Afraid of getting capsized by rough winds and waves?
Do not be worried! Inflatable kayaks are actually more stable than we are led to believe. Double stitching, the combined use of different materials, and superb valves will make sure that your kayak stands strong even under tough weather condition. Furthermore, inflatable kayaks use a tube wall design, which leaves them wider and their hull flatter than traditional ones. This allows passengers to even stand up without any fear of tipping the kayak.
You can check out this article (Inflatable Kayaks: Solid Buy or Full of Hot Air?) to find out more about inflatable kayak safety.
Also, Check out this impressive video!
Inflatable kayaks: pros and cons
Still not convinced enough to buy one of those new inflatable kayaks? Let’s consider inflatable kayaks’ pros and cons.
Inflatable kayaks are a sound investment for your because of these pros:
The very first thing which comes to our mind when we want to buy something is pricing, and inflatable kayaks offer very competitive prices. You can get a decent inflatable kayak less than $250(With paddle). Generally, an inflatable kayak is much cheaper than the traditional one. This will make them a great choice for enthusiasts who are on a tight budget, or for people who just do not want to spend too much yet on their kayaks.
Portability is also a great plus for inflatable kayaks. Made of super lightweight materials, these kayaks can easily be neatly folded and packed into a bag. You can bring them around with a carry bag. For those of us living in small apartments of living space, this can be a huge blessing. This also means that there will be no rigging needed, and gone are the days of trying to have a huge hardshell kayak up your car’s roof.
Image Source: boatownersworld.com
Finally, you can adjust the seats however you want. Want it to be as wide as possible to comfortably accommodate another companion? Just pump it to the max. Prefer a less spacious seat? Just inflate it to your point of preference. The highly variable seats will surely give it an edge over its competitors.
However, inflatable kayaks are not perfect. There are some minor downsides:
The pumping process can take a while, even if you use an electric pump from your car. For kayak veteran who just want to dive headlong into the water after a tiresome drive, this can be a mild mood-killer. With the foot or hand pump, you can expect to be pumping for about 5 – 8 minutes, depending on the size of your kayak. With the electric pump, it will be done in about 2 minutes. See the article about inflating your kayak:(Tips For Inflating Your Kayak.)
Inflatable kayaks are known to be slower than hard-shell kayaks. Also, due to the design, hard-shell kayaks perform noticeably better than inflatable ones in rough waters and strong winds. However, because inflatable kayaks handle stability much better, you will have a lower chance of capsizing with these boats.
How to maintain your inflatable kayaks
Remember that I said that inflatable kayaks are absolutely safe if maintained correctly? This is true for all kinds of inflatable kayaks, however expensive they are. Here are some factors to consider when you maintain your inflatable kayak:
Some inflatable kayaks are quite sensitive to UV light. Extreme UV weather conditions might seriously harm your kayaks and ruin your fun, or in rare cases, threaten your life. For that reason, always spray 303 protectant on your kayak. This protectant is widely available at inflatable kayaks stores for very reasonable prices.
Image source: Amazon.com
A wet inflatable kayak is very susceptible to fungi and other bacteria which can be harmful to the kayak itself. Therefore, remember to thoroughly dry your deflated kayak before you put it in your bag.
Grains of Sand
Surely when you are done with a kayaking session, tiny grains of sand or pebbles might stick on the kayak. Make sure to remove them completely before you deflate the boat. However, keep in mind that you should NOT use high-pressure cleaning equipment, because they might rip a tear in the kayak’s exterior. Also, don’t forget to check in the nooks and crannies of your boat.
NEVER EVER use strong detergents such as Acid, Mineral Spirit, etc. or Silicone-based products to clean your inflatable kayaks. Use the inflatable boat cleaner will be fine.
Inevitably, your kayaks will have leaks and you will have to fix them. Check for leaks regularly using soapy water. When you have found a leak, mend it with the appropriate type of glue. PVC boats use very a very different glue from Hypalon and Nitrogen, so make sure you know what your kayak is made of.
Store your kayak away in dry and cool place. Don’t let it be exposed to the sun or heavy rain. Check for any sharp objects which could leave a hole in your kayak, and keep them out of the storage space. Rodents and pests can also be a problem, so store it away from any potential rodent nest. If you can afford it, spread a cover on the kayak to provide top-notch protection from environmental factors.
Check out this video: Detailed guide about how to clean and store an inflatable boat.
So to sum up, should you buy an inflatable kayak? Definitely yes!
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just simply an enthusiast, inflatable kayaks can be a refreshing experience in whole new, uncharted waters. Yes, there can be some tedious maintenance involved, but the absolute safety and accessibility of these boats mean that everyone can enjoy it with fewer hassles as compared to hard-shell ones. Just be sure to check for everything before you engage in your adventures.
And Hope you find this post helpful, if you find anything wrong or outdated. Please kindly leave your comment below, I’ll update as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading. Happy Kayaking.