Cruising & Sailing Information

What Is Best For You; An Inflatable Kayak Or A Hard-Shell Kayak?

If you are buying a kayak for the very first time it is very exciting but there are a lot of things that you need to consider and to think about. You will need to consider what type of kayak you need for the type of activity you will be doing with it.

What types of kayaks are there?

* Hard sided or rigid kayaks
* Inflatable kayaks
* Collapsible kayaks

Hard sided kayaks are also known as rigid kayaks and they are made traditionally from wood. Wood kayaks are beautiful and can be very symbolic to those that own them or make them with their own two hands; however they do require a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

More commonly, plastic kayaks are found. Plastic kayaks are typically the least expensive of all of the rigid kayaks; however you will find that they are also the heaviest of them all. If finances are an issue then you may want to choose plastic for a first kayak, because not only are they more inexpensive but they also do not damage as easily and therefore do not require frequent repairs. However, be aware that when the plastic kayak does sustain damage, they are much more expensive to repair.

There are also kayaks that are made of fiberglass, which is another very popular choice. Fiberglass is one of the most popular materials for rigid kayaks because it is much more lightweight and it is easier to repair. However, you will pay more for a fiberglass kayak.

You can also find kayaks that are made from composites such as carbon fiber or Kevlar. These composite kayaks are more expensive, but they are much lighter and easier to maneuver.

What About Collapsible Kayaks?

Collapsible kayaks are typically more expensive than hard sided kayaks or inflatable boats because they can completely collapse. Basically they are made of a fabric that stretches over a metal or wood frame to take the shape of the kayak. They are very tough and durable and although they are typically more expensive, they also hold their resale value very well.

What About Inflatable Kayaks?

Inflatable kayaks are quite possibly the best choice for someone who has never owned a kayak before. They are very portable, and extremely lightweight. There is an inflatable kayak that is created for every type of kayaker whether you enjoy easy paddling or white water rapids. The prices of inflatable boats are generally cheaper than that of hard sided boats and they also are remarkably tough and durable as well.

What Is Better, A Hard Sided Kayak Or An Inflatable Kayak?

There are a lot of different opinions about what is better, an inflatable kayak or a more traditional hard sided boat. Both have their pros and cons.

Many people are under the impression that you cannot take an inflatable boat into white water rapids. However, that is not true; in fact there are many different inflatable boats that are created especially for the purpose of white water rapids.

If you are looking for an inflatable kayak to take into class IV rapids, an excellent brand of kayaks to look at are manufactured by Sea Eagle. Sea Eagle has been one of the world's leading manufacturers of inflatable kayaks since 1967. Sea Eagle manufactures inflatable kayaks for one to two people; they even have boats that will seat three people. If you are planning on using your boat for overnight trips or camping you will want to choose a boat that will accommodate you, your traveling partner and all of your equipment.

The beauty of an inflatable boat is that it can hold a few hundred pounds but only weighs a few pounds itself. A two person kayak can carry not only two people, but their gear and their equipment such as paddles as well. Even though the boat carries so much, only one person is necessary to carry it to the water.

With a hard sided boat, you will not be able to find a boat large enough to carry two people, their gear and equipment that is lightweight enough for only one person to carry to the waters edge.

Another major difference between boats is the price between inflatable kayaks and hard sided kayaks. Hard sided boats are generally much more expensive and require more maintenance over the life of the boat. With an inflatable boat, you will pay less for the initial purchase of the boat, and it will not cost as much to maintain it either.

What Is The Bottom Line?

The bottom line is that when you are choosing a kayak for yourself, you need to choose a boat that will suit your needs, your lifestyle and your boating needs. Depending on if you are looking for a tough and rugged sea kayak that can withstand white water rapids, or if you are looking for a light weight boat perfect for easy paddling in a lake, there is an inflatable kayak that is right for you and your budget.


About the Author
Kevin Brown is successful author and publisher of many informative websites including His websites offer tips and advice on a wide array of topics including inflatable kayaks, small fishing boats, boat accessories, and more.


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