The warm weather is coming and perhaps you've got the itch to get out on the water? Do you dream of going kayaking with family or friends independently? Perhaps the bulk and transport difficulties of a hardshell kayak rule it out for you? Have you thought about inflatable kayaks and the opportunities they offer? Here's a Tribord feature on these new crafts.
A kayak that is easy to carry, transport and store!
Inflatable kayaks have become an ideal alternative for families wanting to kayak independently without the usual logistical difficulties. They're the inflatable equivalent of "sit-on-top" plastic canoes that can be found on the market.
But inflatable kayaks have many advantages over their hardshell plastic cousins.
- First of all, far from being a long and boring task, it doesn't take long to inflate them(7 minutes for the 1-2 Itiwit 2 blue) using a dual action hand inflator.
- Another key thing is that transport is no longer a worry! Inflatable kayaks simply fit into the trunk of your car. No need for a roof rack and the stress of losing your boat on the way!
- Once deflated and back in their bag, these kayaks don't take up much room, making for easy transportation and storage.
Note: It's important to let your inflatable kayak dry before you fold it up. This is important to prevent mould build-up and to keep your kayak in good condition for as long as possible.
Inflatable kayaks: featherweight!
As well as being compact, inflatable kayaks are also much lighter than most plastic kayaks or canoes.
A 2-seater polyethylene kayak weighs a minimum of 35 kg, whereas an inflatable kayak won't break your back when lifting it around. The Tribord 2-seater weighs only 14 kg on average!
These kayaks are made from a thick and very resistant lightweight material, the same stuff that's used for rafts.
Thanks to this robust material, your boat can be fully-pressurised and becomes almost as rigid as its plastic counterparts. So you won't need to worry about the boat's fragility when out paddling! This material doesn't puncture easily but in case it does, an easy-to-use repair kit comes with the kayak when you buy it.
A perfect paddling experience in an inflatable kayak
Configured with two lateral chambers, these inflatable kayaks are stable boats with a shallow draft.
This means you can paddle in shallow water, while being less affected by the current and enjoying better manoeuverability.
However, on windy days, the boat will tend to drift more easily because of how light it is. To counter this, Tribord has designed its inflatables with skegs.
Another important thing is how cheap inflatable kayaks are. As the materials and technology used for these products are less expensive than for hardshells, they also cost a good deal less.
Limitations in the use of inflatable kayaks
Compared to hardshell kayaks, inflatable kayaks can’t carry as much weight.
An inflatable 2-seater kayak can carry around 150 kg of cargo. This isn't much if there are two of you and you're bringing some equipment with you on your day out.
However, if you want more load space in your inflatable kayak, you can opt for a larger boat, such as the Itiwit 3 (up to 3 people).
Its load capacity is 230 kg! You'll have more room on board for equipment, and you'll also be able to take a child with you in the middle seat.
If you're a real ocean lover, another thing to think about is that inflatable kayaks don't have Division 240 approval, allowing you to paddle more than 300 m offshore.
In France, sea kayakers going more than 300 m offshore must get themselves registered, but in the UK there are no legal requirements for the safety of individual sea kayakers.
While hardshell kayaks are best suited for intense kayaking, enthusiasts will still be attracted by the many advantages offered by inflatable kayaks (practicality, durability, price, etc.). They'll provide plenty of enjoyment and great outings, alone or with family or friends!
The best option is to try them out before making your choice!