Different Inflatable Boat Types & Which to Choose

Chris King

Whether you’re heading over to the lake with your friends or just want to the beach for a solo trip, you’ll need a boat. We’ll go over the different types of inflatable boats to help you make an informed decision. To avoid regretting your purchase, you’ll need to be more informed about the different types and their features.

Different Inflatable Boat Types & Which to Choose

What are Inflatable Boats and their differences?

Inflatable boats are water-crafts with sides made of inflated and flexible tube. Thanks to its inflatable nature, it is light in weight. The tubes on the sides of the boat are made up of rubberized synthetic fibers including PVC and polyurethane.

Inflatable boats have gained popularity as participation in water-based recreational activities surges. When talking about inflatable boats, the first thing that comes to mind may be inflatable tubes and bottoms. You can distinguish between inflatable boats based on the type of material used in the tubes and their positioning.

The backside of the inflatable boat can be rigid when a motor has to be mounted. However, the flooring of an inflatable boat can be variable, depending upon the purpose.

The 5 Types of Inflatable Boats

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to their types.

Inflatable Raft

Inflatable rafts are mainly used for recreational activities. For instance, when you go to the beach, an inflatable raft is great to lounge around on.

The prices of inflatable rafts vary significantly depending on the quality, size, and characteristics. For instance, models in the lower price range come in smaller sizes or lack durability. As the price increases, the size of the raft and features increase as well. Typically, features include safety valves, grab ropes, and fishing rod holders.

Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable kayaks and canoes have gained significant popularity in the last few years. A major reason for this is that people can use them even if they lack experience with boats.
Most manufacturers use PVC to make inflatable kayaks. A benefit of this material is that in case of a puncture, glue or another piece of PVC can help you fix it. This is contrary to when you’re using a conventional rigid kayak, which is not easy to fix.

Inflatable kayaks are handy and you can fold them to fit in a bag. This makes it easy for when you take it along on a trip. In a nutshell, an inflatable kayak does not require much space, so once you’re back from your trip, you can neatly store it away. This type of inflated boat is ideal for water sports because it’s easy to maneuver and only has room for a single person.

Manufacturers are designing specialized inflatable kayaks based on their specific purpose;

Lake recreation- A lightweight and low profile kayak that’s easy to paddle in ponds and is ideal for a beginner.

A fishing kayak is usually 3 to 4 meters long, making it comfortable for anglers to use. Moreover, the high elevation seats give a clear view while fishing.

Large capacity kayaks, which can store up to 180 to 270 kg are excellent for trips along the river.

Inflatable pontoon boat

Inflatable pontoon boats, also known as catamarans, are popular among fishermen. This type of boat is made of 2 large air-filled tubes. A curved air bladder and a metal frame help hold the tubes together.

The seat is mounted in the center of the boat, which provides a stable and high viewpoint to fishermen. Since fishermen spend a lot of time sitting, the boat is designed with two different types of seats.

The first type is an inflatable one, which inflates along with the boat. Users can inflate this seat separately thanks to the secure straps. Another type is a structured boat seat with a metal frame.

This boat comes with features designed to meet the needs of fishing enthusiasts. However, features may vary based on the manufacturer. In addition, the number of features is directly proportional to the price, so expect to pay more for advanced upgrades.

An important feature of an inflatable pontoon boat is its weight capacity. Because you may be carrying a lot on board during a fishing trip, it is important to know your gear and choose accordingly. Usually, pontoon boats can accommodate 2 people, but some designs can seat 4 people too.

Inflatable Dinghy

You may know inflatable Dinghies as inflatable Sports Boats. These are commonly used as a tender for larger boats and they are available with different kinds of floorings. Inflatable dinghies are rugged and durable, which makes them very seaworthy.

They are swift enough for a single person to handle as well. As a sports water raft, they are mounted with 1-15 HP outboard motors. They come with different types of flooring, such as roll-up floors and hard floors, which comprise 3 to 4 pieces.

Although dinghies are called “sports boats,” not all models can bear choppy waters and high winds due to their low weight. Therefore, only specific models are sea-worthy enough to be called sports boats. T

Multi-Hull Inflatable Boat

This kind of boat uses inflatable tubes as hulls. By keeping contact with water, it effectively supports the weight. The hulls are on both sides of the boat and supporting frames are placed on the hulls.

This type of boat is highly stable on the water and cannot flip over easily. This is beneficial because they tend to accommodate up to 3 people. Since they aren’t very big, they’re ideal for fishing trips with difficult weather conditions.

About the author: Chris loves the outdoors and has developed a love of gadgets and inflatable toys, from kayaking and paddle boarding to relaxing in his hot tub at home. The founder of WhichInflatable and has been the editor for 7 years.

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