Want to be a boat owner without breaking the bank? An inflatable boat can be a perfect choice! They’re easy to store and transport, which gives you more time for fun on the water. Whether you’re going to the lake for a day, camping, hiking, or living near a river, an inflatable boat is a budget-friendly game-changer.
Let’s explore the benefits of an inflatable boat and six of the best models on the market.
There Are Many Benefits to Owning an Inflatable Boat
An inflatable boat can give you flexibility and practicality at the same time. You can take it with you in a vehicle without needing a trailer, tow truck, or dealing with a kayak rack. And most inflatable boats are lightweight enough that one person can carry them.
For example, if you’re heading to a river for an afternoon of kayaking, you can throw a 30lb inflatable kayak in your trunk. Then, you can inflate it on the banks of the river in about 10 minutes, enjoy your paddle, deflate it at the end within a couple of minutes, and fold it up to store in your trunk.
It’s as easy as it sounds.
Another benefit is the limited storage needed for an inflatable boat. While you’ll need an outdoor parking spot or warehouse space for a traditional boat, you can store an inflatable one in your garage, RV, car, or apartment. In addition, you save big on storage fees.
An obvious–and our personal favorite–benefit of an inflatable boat is the cost. It’ll cost you a fraction of what a traditional boat does. So whether you’re shopping for a fishing boat or kayak, the inflatable version is a budget friendlier option.
Pro Tip: Many inflatable boats come with a hand or foot pump. We like to use an electric air pump to assist with inflation.
6 Best Inflatable Boats for Easy Storage and Transport
Let’s examine some of the best inflatable boats on the market. We’ve identified six that are easy to store and transport. The models vary in terms of boat type and add-ons. These rankings are in no particular order.
1. Intex Excursion
The Intex Excursion is a five-person inflatable boat with a carrying capacity of 1,300 lbs. It’s a great option for fishing or a relaxing joy ride on the lake. It has two inflatable seats with backrests and two oars. It also comes with a storage bag, foot air pump, and repair patch kit.
The Excursion weighs 57 lbs and is 144” L x 66” W x 17” H. You can also add a trolling motor to the boat, which you can purchase separately.
Intex’s Excursion is durable, puncture-resistant PVC. The three air chambers allow for extra buoyancy and safety. It’s an NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) and U.S. Coast Guard certified watercraft for lakes and mild rivers.
- INFLATABLE BOAT: The Intex Excursion 5 inflatable boat is...
- FEATURES: 2 inflatable seats with backrests are included for...
- MOUNTING: Fittings for a motor mount are included for the...
2. Intex Mariner
The Intex Mariner has three-ply plastic construction, which makes it tough. It has a durable rock guard that lines the hull. Four people can fit in this boat, and the weight capacity is 1,100 lbs. It includes three seats without backrests, two oars, a gear pouch, a battery pouch, two fishing rod holders, a patch repair kit, and a foot pump.
The boat weighs 91 lbs, and its dimensions are 129” x 57”. It’s a U.S. Coast Guard certified watercraft. The Mariner should be used for lakes and mild rivers.
- The strong molecular structure of this plastic makes it highly...
- Four Boston valves on main hull chamber for quick-fills and...
- The keel is inflatable; this results in improved control and...
3. Intex Explorer Kayak
Intex’s Explorer K2 is a two-person inflatable kayak. It has a maximum weight capacity of 400 lbs and is 10’ long and 3’ wide. The kayak has two inflatable seats with backrests and a removable SKEG (fin) to keep it straight. It also includes two kayak oars, a foot pump, and a storage bag with handles.
The Explorer K2 weighs about 30 lbs, making it easy for one person to handle. The bright yellow color increases the visibility of the boat, so it’s great for lakes or rivers with a lot of motorboat activity.
It’s best for small bodies of water such as lakes and mild rivers.
- Comfortable for anyone: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable...
- Dimensions: Inflated size 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch;...
- Directional stability: Removable SKEG for directional stability
Pro Tip: Want to take your boat out on a fishing trip? Read up on The Visitor’s Easy Guide to Florida Fishing Licenses.
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4. Intex Challenger Kayak
Intex’s Challenger Kayak is for one person with a weight capacity of 220 lbs. You might consider the Challenger less stable than the Explorer K2 due to its smaller size. However, its cockpit has inflatable i-beam floors that add stability, and there’s a removable SKEG.
You’ll find a cargo bay on the back of the kayak that serves as a storage area or a grab line. It also includes an inflatable seat with a backrest, one oar, a hand pump, and a carrying case. The kayak weighs 27.2 lbs and is 108” long and 30” wide.
- Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye...
- Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and...
- Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of...
Pro Tip: If you have a regular kayak, you’ll need a place to store it while on the road. These are the 7 Best RV Kayak Racks For Your Camper.
5. Yocalo Inflatable Boat
The Yocalo Inflatable Boat can fit two adults comfortably with a weight capacity of 507 lbs. Categorized more like a raft, it only weighs 15.4 lbs and is 85.8” long and 47.2” wide. It’s constructed of durable 0.6mm PVC and has five air chambers.
The boat comes with two inflatable backrests, two oars, a patch repair kit, and a hand pump.
- ❀ Dimension: Length 85.8', width 47.2' and height 13.8',Weight...
- ❀ Safety & Environmental Protection constructed with super...
- ❀ 5 independent air chambers with valves; Boston Valve...
6. Newport Inflatable Dinghy
The Newport Inflatable Dinghy is the most expensive inflatable boat on our list and also the most robust. It’s made out of PVC fabric with UV treatment. The maximum carry capacity is 1,067 lbs and can seat up to three people.
You can also add a trolling motor weighing up to 90 lbs at a speed of to 20 mph. The air keel creates a v-shaped hull for easy steering.
You can assemble and disassemble the boat in about 15 minutes, making it portable and convenient. It comes with a four-piece wooden floor, one aluminum bench seat, repair patches, a valve wrench, a front carry D ring, towing D rings, two oars, a foot pump, and a carrying bag.
The dinghy weighs 107 lbs and is 8’10” long, and you can enjoy this vessel on lakes or seaways.
- WHY NEWPORT VESSELS: The crisp white PVC fabric of a Newport...
- FEATURES: Electric trolling motor compatible. 3-20hp Outboard...
- PREMIUM QUALITY: Hull made from high quality crisp white PVC...
7. SeaEagle SE-370 Inflatable Kayak
The Sea Eagle 370 collapses & packs down to a fraction of its size for mobility & storage. This model claims that it can hold 3 people or 650lbs, but it is most comfortable for 2 people. It inflates to 12.5 feet long and weighs 30-40 pounds. This means it is heavy and bulky enough that you’re probably not going to want to bring it backpacking 3 miles to your kayaking destination.
The Pro Package comes with 2 inflatable movable seats, 2 collapsible paddles, a foot pump to inflate the kayak, a repair kit, a pressure gauge/monitor, and a carry bag with shoulder strap .
The hull material is resistant to sun and saltwater. It is thick and strong, but still soft to the touch. If you like to take your dog kayaking with you, this inflatable boat holds up to its claws.
Two molded plastic skegs on the bottom provide better tracking and speed than some other inflatable kayaks. The floor uses Sea Eagle’s “I-Beam Construction” to retain rigidity and strength.
The Deluxe seats vs. the normal seats have a different shape that provides more back support as well as lifts you 5 inches off the bottom of the kayak. Adjustable straps help with adjusting the support level. They have a durable covering and a storage pouch in the back of the seat.
The Sea Eagle inflates and deflates quickly. Once inflated, it is very easy to carry with two people using the ropes at the bow and stern.
- 3 person/650 lb capacity, weighs 32 lbs, suitable for up to Class...
- 370 Deluxe Kayak Package features two movable, super comfortable...
- 2 AB30 7'10"" 4 Part Paddles with asymmetrical blade and aluminum...
What to Look for When Buying an Inflatable Boat
As you can see there are several components of an inflatable boat, but overall they’re pretty straightforward. When shopping around, look for one that has the carrying capacity you need. If you go over the weight limit, it will reduce your buoyancy and performance on the water.
Also, consider the weight of the boat itself. For example, if you’ll be managing the boat by yourself, know how much you can carry.
Think about what comes with your boat, too. For example, are oars included or do you need to purchase them separately? These factors will contribute to your overall cost. Regardless of the cost, make sure it’s durable enough to suit your needs.
Is an Inflatable Boat Right for You?
An inflatable boat can be a cost-effective way to live out your dream of owning a watercraft. But is it right for you?
We recommend considering how often you’d use the boat while making your decision. If you’re going to be out there every day, an inflatable kayak might not be up to the task. It might be worth paying for a solid, quality kayak or boat that can stand up to the rigors of daily use.
But one huge benefit is that inflatables are easy to store. So if you don’t have a way to store or transport a large water vessel, an inflatable boat might be worth it, even if you use it often.
And the cost-benefit is huge, particularly when you consider renting a kayak for a day is often about half the cost of buying your own inflatable kayak.
Ready to get on the water? Whether or not you choose an inflatable boat as your water vessel of choice, we hope to see you out there soon!
Where would you take your inflatable boat first? Drop a comment below!
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