Inflatable Canoe & Kayak Buying Guide

History points out the canoe was a hollowed out wooden water vehicle used by American Indians and other cultural natives like Hawaiians. Kayaks were fashioned by the Intuit people in the Artics. Both cultural canoes and kayaks were used for short distance travel, fishing and hunting. Modern day canoes and kayaks are manufactured in a variety of strong, durable materials. They are designed for extensive uses, mainly connected to recreational games and various sport induced water activities.

Inflatable canoes and kayaks have hit the outdoor sporting environment in an exponential way. The main reason that blow up inflatables have become so popular is one word – “portability.” Inflatable canoes and kayaks can easily be transported on a plane, in a car, on a bike or on any type of mobile vehicle, not to mention a backpack. As easy as these inflatables are to carry, they are just as easy to store away.

What Is The Difference

Depending on where you live, canoes and kayaks can mean the same thing. The difference between the two is pretty slight. Of course, at a glance, the difference is noticeable. Canoes are designed with an open deck which is uncovered and kayaks are designed as a closed decked boating style. Also, people sit on a seat in a canoe and in kayaks people sit on the bottom with outstretched legs. Canoes are used more for fun and recreational activities. They can carry more people than a kayak. Their paddles are different – the canoe uses a single blade feature and the kayak uses a double bladed paddle.

Inflatable Canoe & Kayak Buying Guide

Paddles are very important in both a canoe and a kayak. Yes, the skills of a rower goes a long way in defining the paddles in either a canoe or a kayak. A double paddle for use in a kayak allows a person to sit low and comfortable, slightly above the waterline. There is less time between strokes with a double paddle than with a single bladed paddle. This is a big factor in why kayak are swifter in hull speed than a canoe.

A single bladed paddle is designed to be closer to the hull which keeps the canoe in a steady pace even though you still must switch sides with each stroke. Each stroke with a single bladed paddle requires less energy and gives more efficiency in paddling. This accounts for the reason that canoes, very slightly, can out pace kayaks over long flat water runs.

The combined likeness between an inflatable canoe and an inflatable kayak, includes their weight. Their weight is very light and they both are great on most bodies of water, including shallow rivers and lakes. The kayak’s sleek design makes it a faster and more agile moving vehicle, which is quite noticeable in the whitewater rapids competitions. The modern technology for kayaks and canoes keeps their similarities about the same. However, inflatable canoes are better known for their spacious roomy features and their greater stability. Their stability on the water is balanced when carrying passengers, but not passengers and their gear. For several years and around the world, many specially designed inflatable kayaks have been used on the ocean and on sea surfaces

Blow Up Kayak FAQ's

Inflatable Canoes Vs. Plastic Canoes

Your choice of an inflatable canoe and kayak is a personal decision. Price wise, a plastic craft is more expensive and requires more maintenance over its lifetime. The price tag for inflatable crafts is less than plastic canoes and kayaks, plus overtime, maintenance costs are less than that for hard plastic and other harder material crafts. Plastic crafts carries less equipment and accessories than an inflatable canoe or kayak. Inflatables can carry lots of weight, like two or more persons, including their gear, yet it is light enough to carry by hand. Returning to the subject of portability and storage, a plastic canoe and kayak takes up a large amount of room and is a lot heavier than inflatables. Canoes and kayaks made from plastic are very easy to maneuver and to paddle, while inflatable kayaks and canoes have better stability without an unnecessary rocking motion.

Are inflatable kayaks safe?

A common question about inflatable boats, kayaks and canoes is about their safety. Inflatable kayaks are very safe if you are safe with them, many are designed with chambers so that if you do puncture your canoe it will only effect one chamber helping you to keep afloat. A common worry is that you hit a rock and sink, with an inflatable you tend to bounce off rocks without any damage, however if you do get a puncture then with a kayak with multiple chambers you won’t just sink.

Are inflatable kayaks any good?

With advances in materials and technology things have come a long way in the inflatables world, more robust and durable materials are used, clever design makes them easy to inflate, deflate and store. So the simple answer is yes, inflatable kayaks are good, and they also have many benefits that make them a great investment.

  • Built from strong durable material
  • Easy to deflate and store, taking up less space
  • No need for a roof rack to transport
  • Great for advanced kayakers and beginners
  • Well priced and good value

Types of Canoes and Kayaks:

Canoes – These are great for a number of different activities.

  • Recreational – flat water paddling for fun activities.
  • Multi-Purpose – can handle long trips, multiple passengers and their gear.
  • River – enjoy running rapids and swift rivers.

Kayaks – When it comes to kayaks there are a lot of different styles, types and designs.

  • Recreational – 10 to 12 feet long; large storage space; good for short trips; smooth water surfaces.
  • Touring – good for long trips; 12 to 17 feet long; hulls are designed to increase lift in waves and rough water.
  • Sit-On Top – can hold 1 or 2 passengers; 10 to 15 feet long; self-draining holes; very stable.
  • Sit-Inside – traditional kayak design; enclosed cockpit;
  • Open Style – similar to the canoe style; higher sides than a sit-on top style; easy to enter into; uses a double sided paddle.
  • Standup – newest style; can be pumped up to 10 to 25 PSI; paddlers stand up while paddling.

What to look for in a quality inflatable Kayak

When looking at purchasing a inflatable canoe there are a number of things to look for.

  • Built from a strong and durable.
  • You want multiple ‘chambers’. If one chamber gets punctured then it won’t just sink.
  • The hull should be protected with a separate strong covering to add further protection to the inflatable sections.
  • High quality Boston valves will make inflating and deflating quicker and easier.
  • Look for a rubbing strake to protect the hull from wear, when paddling.
  • Once inflated these can be very heavy, so look for carry handles.
  • Expensive vs Cheaper Inflatable Canoe

Some inflatable canoes are very expensive, but are they worth it? What are the differences and what are the benefits?

The Best Inflatable Canoes and Kayaks:

Due to the increased interest and popularity in blow up canoes and kayaks and other water body crafts, they have evolved into high-tech specialized watercrafts that can rival even the hard bodied crafts. If you are seeking fun on your local river or pond in an inflatable canoe or kayak, then there are many less affordable crafts that can be purchased. For fishing, hunting, racing and more active events, the better brand names for water crafts are companies that manufacture both canoes and kayaks. A few of the best inflatable canoes & kayaks brand names, can include the following, Sea Eagle, Coleman, Wilderness, Sun Dolphin, Old Town, Lifetime, Intex, Malibu Tandem and White Water.

Manufactures for inflatables gives users a myriad of styles and accessories for canoes and kayaks. When checking out inflatable kayaks for sale there are a few questions you need to ask yourself, such as:

  • how will you use the inflatables;
  • how much time are you spending on the crafts;
  • what type of paddling can you handle;
  • how far will you travel;
  • how many people will be seated;
  • what will your water conditions be like;
  • how much weight will be carried by the inflatables;
  • do you want to sit up high in the water or lower in the water.

Other options includes models that are designed just for women and children. Today’s inflatable canoes and kayaks are great fun for all level of water-sports enthusiasts. Inflatable kayaks and canoes provide strength, durability, flexibility and safety. The best inflatable canoes & kayaks are a fun time on the water with family, friends or an alone time. For beginners and first timers there are many great cheap inflatable kayaks for sale that you can choose from.

Our Top 5 Inflatable Canoes & Kayaks for sale

If you are looking for a blow up kayak then these are some of our favourites, these Kayaks are for sale in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Many can be purchased and delivered online or picked up from many outdoor stores. You can view a round up of our top single seat inflatable kayaks for one person here.