Pros and cons of inflatable kayaks

You either adore or despise inflatable kayaks. Sometimes people are really attached to the hard shell options, but a lot of people have become avid proponents of the inflatable options on the market.

If you’ve never tried out inflatable kayaks, you should! You’ll likely find that you really enjoy them, but while it would be easy to say that anyone who isn’t using inflatable kayaks is just missing out on all the fun and convenience that comes with it, the reality is that both inflatable and hard-shell kayaks have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re weighing up whether or not to get one, here are a few things you should consider.


A closet isn’t the best place to keep a hard-shell kayak, but an inflatable one can be easily stored away when it’s deflated. If you live in an apartment or other tiny dwelling, stowing your kayak won’t be an issue.

Easy to travel with

You’ll spend a lot of time trying to secure a hard-shell kayak to the top of your car, but inflatable kayaks present no such challenge.

Inflatables are convenient since they can be stored in a car trunk or, if they are lightweight enough, carried in a backpack (as some are). To add to the fun of holiday, you can even fly with inflatable kayaks. If you enjoy the adventure and convenience of discovering new rivers, it is an amazing perk.


People who own recreational vehicles often take their inflatable kayaks with them on trips for the same reasons. Extremely rugged construction – contrary to common belief, many inflatable kayak manufacturers today produce high quality, rugged kayaks that can take a real beating and still last a very long time. They’re not the fragile toys of yore, but sturdy vessels that can take on anything, even dog paws.

Low cost

Costs are far less than traditional kayaks for inflatable kayaks. When budget is a primary consideration, an inflatable kayak can be a great choice.


Speed varies with the quality of the inflatable kayak you choose to use. Although most will only provide average performance, most will track rather well, and some will even be capable of impressive top speeds.

Easier to launch

Inflatable kayaks have the benefit of being lightweight while still being able to carry a considerable load. When compared to a hard-shell kayak, an inflatable kayak for one is significantly easier to transport and launch.

They’re fun

Inflatable vessels are suitable for use in a wide variety of water conditions and, most importantly, are a lot of fun. An inflatable kayak is suitable for paddlers of all ages. They are reliable and secure, making them ideal for families, canines, and anglers.

Possibility of popping

Though there is the possibility of “popping” inflatable vessels if you hit a very sharp object, it is unlikely. Even if something does go wrong, the repair kit that comes standard on every inflatable boat will have you out on the water in no time. In general, inflatables require less upkeep than their hard-shell counterparts.


Inflatable options are often wider than traditional kayaks, which is a common complaint. Greater stability can be attained at the expense of some of your speed, thanks to the extra width.

There’s a lot of benefits to opting for an inflatable over a hard shell, but there can be some drawbacks. Generally, it comes down to how you like to travel and how you like to use your kayak. For most people, an inflatable vessel can be a really great option and is well worth considering.

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