Inflatable kayak purchase guide
What do you need to start kayaking?
Kayaking is, just like paddleboarding, a low-threshold sport and you don't need much to get started. The most important thing is of course a good and sturdy inflatable kayak.
Which inflatable kayak suits you best? Many people ask this question, especially people who have never kayaked before.
After we got asked this question a number of times, we decided to write this purchase guide.
So we based this purchase guide on our experiences. We did do a lot of online research and asked customers for their opinion.
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Advantages of an inflatable kayak
Before you even consider a kayak, it is important to ask yourself whether you are looking for an inflatable kayak or a 'hard' model. For this reason we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of an inflatable product for you below.
A big advantage, perhaps the biggest, is the ease with which you can transport an inflatable kayak. A rolled up kayak is the size of a big backpack. This makes it easy to carry in any car, on your back when you go for a walk or even the plane.
Going to spend a week in the Ardennes or on holiday to one of the popular southern European destinations? You no longer have to leave your kayak at home or tie it on the roof. Roll it up, slide it into the back of your car and you can even enjoy your holiday or weekend away on the water.
You can kayak all year round on the water. Yet we see that the product is mainly used in the summer months, which is logical. Would you rather stay by the stove in winter than brave the water? Then it is handy that you can empty the kayak and store it in your shed or attic..
The technique in inflatable products such as a paddleboard or a kayak has become very advanced in recent years. For more than three years, the materials are tested for every weather condition before they are used in a product. An inflatable paddleboard is now so strong that you can easily drive over it with an SUV.
So a kayak can certainly take a bump. If you paddle against a super sharp stone, it could happen that a kayak will get a leak. Yet a kayak is designed so that it won't leave you drowning.
The technique on the inside of a kayak ensures that it deflates as slowly as possible. You also get a repair kit with every kayak, so you'll soon be back on the water!
Last but not least, the purchase price. An inflatable product is a lot more affordable to buy than a 'hard' kayak. The production costs are many times lower, as are the transport costs.
This makes a significant difference in costs and you notice that! For about £200 you already have a good inflatable product. That would be really difficult with a hard kayak.
Disadvantages of an inflatable kayak
There are also a number of disadvantages to an inflatable product. We also explain these here, so you can make a good decision for which product suits you best.
When you brave the water with an inflatable kayak, you will experience that you can achieve less speed than with a 'hard' product. The quick design of a hard kayak allows you to manoeuvre faster, make faster turns and also make more use of the current. Especially advanced users will notice this.
Do you want to catch that narrow piece of river or paddle in that super narrow cave? Then it will be easier with a hard kayak.
An inflatable kayak is a bit bigger than a hard kayak and you will notice this especially with the narrow pieces.
The advantage of easy transport in the back of the car also has its downside. When you arrive at your destination, you will have to inflate your board first.
This takes about 8 – 10 minutes before the kayak is fully inflated and you can get on the water. The advantage is that you have already done your warming-up!
Types of kayaks
What to pay attention to when you start kayaking is first of all what you want to do with your inflatable kayak.
Would you like to relax in your kayak, brave wilder waters and defy the waves or even fishing on your kayak?
This determines to a large extent in which type of kayaks you should look for your new kayak. At Supboard-99 we distinguish between the following kayaks:
These are the kayaks for people who love to paddle in nice weather. They don't need the best model, but they want to get out of it every now and then.
The kayak is suitable for all ages and is easy to paddle around with.
These kayaks are just a bit more comfortable and suitable for people who want to tour a bit with a kayak. These kayaks lie wonderfully in the water and provide sufficient stability.
These kayaks are for the true sports fanatic who wants to get the most out of his paddling day. The kayak has to be of great quality because you expect a combination of performance, speed and agility from the product.
You purchase this product if you are a fan of the sport and do it regularly. Yet you want to benefit from the advantages of an inflatable product instead of a hard kayak.
Did you know that your inflatable kayak is inflated within 8 to 10 minutes?
Our favorite inflatable kayaks
Did you know that almost all inflatable kayaks are supplied including paddle?
Kayaking together or alone?
Would you like to get on the water and experience wild adventures in wild waters? Or just relax and paddle through a lake or river? Are you someone who prefers to cruise on his own and look for peace and quiet, or would you rather go for the action together with your spouse or friend? For all possibilities and combinations there is a suitable kayak. Because the choice of inflatable kayaks is slightly smaller than the options you have with the inflatable paddle boards, you certainly have to choose from fewer options. Nevertheless, it is difficult to know exactly what the right kayak for you is, especially if you are a beginner.
Do you like to go out on your own without being disturbed by anyone else? Enjoy nature and the movement of the water all by yourself? Then a one-person inflatable kayak is definitely for you. These kayaks are of course slightly smaller than the two-person kayaks and therefore inflated faster. Depending on the type of inflatable kayak you choose, it weighs little or a bit more. The heaviest single kayak weighs 36.4 lbs, luckily you always get a handy carrying bag when you buy an inflatable kayak!
Do you as a couple or friends especially like to go on the water together and experience adventures? Would you like to talk quietly in a beautiful natural environment without being disturbed during your conversation? With a two-person kayak you can go out together to discover new areas, to relax but at the same time to be sportive.
Check out our Complete inflatable kayak collection >
Inflatable kayak maintenance
Whichever kayak you choose, it's not only important to choose the right inflatable kayak that suits you best. You also want the kayak to stay in good shape for a long time and get the most out of your investment.
That is why the maintenance of a kayak is very important. We have already written an article about the maintenance of a paddleboard, but the same goes for a kayak. Please read this article if you bought a kayak:
Also read our blog article about the maintenance of your Kayak or paddleboard.
The most important thing you should always put above all else when kayaking is the safety of you and your kayak partner.. Especially if you take children with you, you should pay extra attention to this and observe all safety rules.
Always wear a life jacket when kayaking, so you won't be faced with unexpected surprises. A Restube for your kayak is also a must-have to ensure that you will surface in any situation.
When kayaking in hot weather, don't forget your sun lotion! If you are kayaking in cold weather, you need to take into account even more factors, read our blog article about this.
Finally, it is good to have a dry-bag have with you with important things like a cell phone or dry clothes. If something happens, you can always reach someone. You can also take a camera with you (and keep it dry) to capture the most beautiful pictures.
Kayak paddling technique
As with most other sports, it is very important to learn a good technique right away when you first sit in your kayak.
You learn how to perform the right stroke technique, how best to keep balance and accelerate, brake and turn in your kayak. Watch the video that explains how to learn the right technique.
When it comes to kayak paddles there is actually little choice to be made, the paddle that comes with every inflatable kayak in the package is a good paddle to start with.
Unlike a SUP board paddle, a kayak paddle naturally has a blade on both sides, so you can achieve even more speed. Especially if you do this together in a good rhythm it will create a lot of speed.
What do you need besides an inflatable kayak regarding accessories? Except a kayak you of course need a paddle to advance on the water. A hand pump or electric pump is also indispensable for inflating the kayak to be able to access the water.
To make it easy to take the inflatable kayak with you, it is best to use a spacious backpack. Pay attention to our range of inflatable kayaks, because many of the popular models include a paddle, hand pump and backpack for free!
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- Note the size of the kayak, because this is often accompanied by more stability. A smaller kayak is faster!
- Are you planning on touring a lot with a kayak? Then choose a larger kayak.
These are better for longer distances.
- For touring we recommend the Aqua Marina Betta VT K2 and the Aqua Marina Tomahawk inflatable kayak.
Besides an inflatable kayak it is wise to look for good accessories.
- We always recommend beginners and children to have a Restube or a life vest with them.