If you are an outdoor loving person, the thought of owning an inflatable boat must have definitely crossed your mind at one point of time or the other. And why not? Inflatable boats are cool, affordable, functional, handy, and practical to own. Whether you want to take a trip down the river to find the perfect picnic spot on a warm summer day, venture out to explore waterfalls or caves, go lake fishing with friends, water skiing, or use it as a rescue boat, the inflatable boats can perform all the duties.
What are the benefits of inflatable boats?
Owning an inflatable boat is not considered a luxury even by an average wage earner. Compared to traditional boats, an inflatable boat is more easily accessible, consumes less gas, and needs less or no maintenance cost at all. Moreover, inflatable boats are super easy to use and offer plenty of space for comfortable accommodation. You can also carry your boat wherever you go, owing to its ultra-light, compact, and foldable features. Once you buy a high-quality inflatable boat, it can be used for many years as is made using the best quality durable materials and coats that are highly water resistant.
How many types of inflatable boats are available?
There is an overabundance of inflatable boats in the market today. Consider giving yourself some time to acquire ample knowledge about what type of boat will be fitting for your fishing, recreation, diving, sporting, or racing needs. Also, consider which one will best fit your budget and taste. To simplify it for you, especially if you are a novice in the department, the inflatable boats have been classified into two main types.
- Fabric bottom inflatable boats and inflatable canoes: Dinghies, Sport Boats, Inflatable Rafts, and Inflatable kayaks all fall under this category. This type of inflatable boat can be deflated, collapsed, and easily stored in compact bags. It is very convenient for you to carry the boat while traveling a long distance or while going for camping as it consumes less space. You will have a great white-water rafting and kayaking time with this type of boat.
- Rigid Inflatable Boats: This type of inflatable boat is designed mainly for use in rough and fast water conditions. It has a rigid floor and solid hull which helps the boat to easily cut through waves. It also offers a buoyant feature which makes it hard for the boat to sink.
What are the additional accessories required?
Though it will not amount to a heavy cost, you do need to accessorize your boat for functionality and safety reasons. The basic accessories needed include oars, seats, a pump, a repair kit, lifting points, and a carry bag. These fundamental accessories are a must-have for every inflatable boat.
Look to include fins and tabs that can tweak the handling, and some wheels to transport tender and electric power for outboard while considering accessories for a more professional purpose. An inflatable boat with multiple air chambers can offer extra safety, while an inflatable thwart can provide more strength.
Which are the most sought-after brands of inflatable boats?
It is wise to dig up resourceful customer reviews while choosing a brand, particularly when it is new to you. The big names including Zodiac, Island Inflatables, and Intex are among the most sought-after brands when it comes to inflatable boats.
What to compare while seeking the best inflatable boat?
There are certain essential things you need to compare while buying the best inflatable boat.
- Size or capacity: There are a plethora of inflatable boats with different sizes available. Some boats can accommodate 4 people, while some can carry 5 people. Boats of such sizes are great for your camping or expedition activities with friends and families. Other boats are designed to transport a lot of cargoes or people at the same time. Another thing to consider while purchasing a boat is its compact feature.
- Weight: If you want an inflatable boat for transporting goods, you should compare and choose one that can carry more weight. The heavy duty boats can cost a bit more but don’t risk sinking all your valuable goods for some amount. Also, see which boats are easier and lighter to carry around for convenience sake.
- Speed: Some boats are meant for the amateur rowers and are constructed in such a way as to provide safety and stability with lower speed features. Other boats are for the more professional racers with enhanced speed features. Also, you will find ultra-light boats with the fastest speed features that are meant to be used by lifeguards and police. Compare them to have your best pick.
- Easy to pump and deflate: The best inflatable boats are easier to pump and deflate than others. It is a quality which makes them stand out.
How can you inflate an inflatable boat?
Learning how to inflate an inflatable boat will come handy during emergencies. These are the most common ways:
- Use equipment: A compressor or other form of inflation equipment can help you inflate the boat in no time. An air compressor needs the power to function and so it is suitable for use when you have power. Otherwise, you will have to blow into the valve with your mouth.
- Check the air pressure: Give a thorough check in all parts of your boat to see that there is no air leakage. Also, check whether all the valves are sealed correctly.
Top 5 best inflatable boats in 2017
Among the many high-quality boats, here is a list of the top 5 inflatable boats in 2017. They have been determined considering their features, ease of use, quality, and price. Have a look:
1. Intex Challenger 2
The Intex Challenger 2 is best suited for use on the still water. It allows room for two people and promises lots of fun and adventure. You can take an exciting ride with your friend down the stream, taking along some chilled beer and cool off the summer heat or go for a romantic ride with your partner in your favorite lake.
You will find a netted storage section at the front, a grab line on both ends for easy-carry, and a skeg underneath the canoe that slides before fully clicking into place. If you are not satisfied with the black color scheme, you can either choose a bright green or blue color. The boat is easy to control and has a good turning circle and hence safe to be used even by amateurs.
Users will be able to set up the kayak in no time and it comes with a handy hand pump, grab handle, and 48’’ French oars. The product measures 93’’ x 45’’ x 16’’ and can carry a maximum weight of 440 lbs. For offering extra comfort and for adding strength, an inflatable base is featured. Since it is made out of durable PVC, you don’t have to panic in case the boat bumps a rock. It will not puncture easily. The inflatable I-beam flooring makes the boat firmer and it is perfectly safe as it comes with three chambers that include a back up chamber on the insides of the main hull for more safety.
2. Sea Eagle SE370
There are plenty of surprises awaiting the buyers of the Sea Eagle SE370 inflatable boat. The inflatable kayak with Deluxe Package is sporty, light, and portable. It can carry up to 3 people and a maximum weight of 650 pounds. The boat is foldable and can be easily carried to your camping site. However, it still offers a cargo space to store supplies for many days.
Once you reach the spot, it will take around only 8 minutes for inflation and to set up the boat. On the inside, it measures10 feet, 8 inches by 1 foot, 1 inch and the exterior measures 12 feet, 6 inches by 2 feet, 10 inches. The Deluxe Package includes a 2-person inflatable kayak.
The boat is fantastic for your skin diving and fishing expeditions, and also for yacht tending. It is also a good buy if you are a river runner as it can handle up to three class whitewater. Talking about versatility, great features and best price here is your chance to buy all in one.
The Sea Eagle SE 370 is made out of super tough Polykrylar material that can endure rough use, and also features 1- beam construction floor that offers extra rigidity.
3. HydroForce Marine Pro Inflatable Raft
There is no better way to spend a hot summer day than rowing on the Pro Inflatable Raft. It offers the capacity of carrying 2 adults and a child, making it perfect for a family adventure. The boat measures 115″ x 50″ x 18″ and can hold weight up to 594 lbs.
The inflatable floor is made to endure high pressure and it features motor grommets, grab ropes designed for safety, 60’’ Omni-directional aluminum oarlocks, super comfortable cushions, air pump, and storage bags.
The tough boat is durable since it is made out of premium marine grade material. It is seen to withstand the most extreme marine conditions including exposure of the boat to ultraviolet rays and petroleum products. If you are on a look out for a boat with superior strength and durability, you have the perfect choice in HydroForce Marine Pro Inflatable Raft.
Considering its loaded features, the boat is easy to assemble and can take normally around ten minutes to completely set it up which is less. It’s collapsible and compact features make it easy to carry around wherever you travel.
4. Newport Vessels 8-Feet 10-Inch Dana
The Dana Inflatable Newport Vessel is a perfect choice for those who love to go out fishing. It is compact and light. You can also use it as a multipurpose tending boat or use it for running daily errands. It is one of the most stable boats available owing to its extremely large 18’’ tube. You can handle the boat at high speed without risking accidents or collision.
You can pair the boat up with a 9.9 Honda outboard or other compatible outboard for attaining higher speed and maximum performance. Reaching speed up to 25+ mph will not be a problem. It features extremely high-pressure inflatable keel that allows the boat to perform its best while performing tasks like banking, speeding up, and turning.
You will find marine wood flooring framed out of aluminum and accessories like a bench seat, foot pump, and oar sets, repairing kit, and carry bag along with the boat. The boat is designed with 1,100 denier PVC, a material which is used to build professional White Water rafts. The boat is flexible and can be easily folded since an extra layer of polyester has been used for that purpose.
You can drag up the boat on the shore, run into harbors, and still the boat will keep up with the deterioration process. The total length of the boat measures 106 inches. It can carry up to 3 passengers and you only need 15 minutes to inflate the boat and 5 minutes to deflate it. Though the inflatable boat is a little expensive, it will give you your money’s worth.
5. HydroForce Caspian 7’7″ Inflatable Boat
The 7’7’’ Inflatable boat is an ideal vessel for carrying two adults. It comes with 2 chamber construction that allows better buoyancy. The tough boat floor is made out of marine grade plywood transom which offers stability and high durability. Yet, it is light and super easy to roll up. You will also find other features like integrated drain valve, metal steel tow ring, safety grab ropes, Omni-directional oarlocks, and rigid strakes to safeguard against friction and impacts.
The Caspian features heavy grade PVC that can withstand ultraviolet radiation and abrasive pollutants. The boat is perfect for your adventure camping, hunting, and fishing trips. If you have planned an outing with your friend, you can go ahead and buy the boat at a reasonable price. You are sure going to have some fun.
The maximum weight capacity of the boat is 568 lbs and measures 91 x 51 x 13 inches. Since the boat features super tough strakes, it is safe to row the boat under harsh weather conditions. You don’t have to worry about the jerking motions even if you bump a rock.
How to maintain inflatable boat?
Taking proper maintenance of your inflatable boat can elongate its life span and also ensure safety. Here are some ways to maintain your boat:
- Wash the boat: Washing your boat from day 1 can lengthen its durability. However, avoid washing your boats with solvents, bleach, acetone, ammonia, and cleaners with a PH greater than 11.5 and avoid using abrasive scrub pads to clean the boat.
- Store the boat: Store away the boat when not in use in a semi-inflated state rather than completely deflating. It will reduce the risk of damage.
- Avoid sharp objects: It is easier said than done, but as far as possible, keep the boat away from sharp objects.
- Inflate the boat in the right way: Learn to inflate the boat the proper way. Over-inflation may lead to heavy damage.
Owning an inflatable boat can provide you with limitless fun, adventure, and invaluable service. But it is best not to rush into buying a boat both for economic and safety reasons. Do consider purchasing a boat of the best brand and highest quality while you go for it and make a cost-effective investment. Also consider its capacity, speed, and other features so that it can meet your requirements. Once you buy a high-quality boat, you can enjoy your camping trips or fishing expeditions with assured safety and comfort. There is nothing like owning a great inflatable boat.