Best Inflatable Boats

Inflatable Boats - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Inflatable Boats buying guide

Are you tired and frustrated with transporting your traditional boat to water whenever you want to enjoy the activity? Don't sweat anymore. Inflatable boats are here to the rescue.

They can be packed in the trunk of your car and are travel friendly. Moreover, they can carry up to six people on board, so you can enjoy the water activities with your loved ones without any hassle.

However, selecting a suitable option requires proper study of all the elements. You have to deem about the size, floor type, design, hull type, and whatnot.

A comprehensive guide presents you with all the necessary information at a single stop. You can quickly skim through them and funnel down the best option that caters to all your needs.

So without any further ado, let us have a brief introduction and then dive into this extensive guide.

What do you mean by Inflatable Boats? Why do you need them?

To escape the bustling urban setting and retire in nature's lap, outdoor activities are required. That is the only way to stay close to mother nature while having lots of fun and thrill.

The best advantage of visiting the woods is its beauty and calmness. The long and slender trees accompanied by a water lake is the best combination.

While many people prefer camping these days by a lakeside, having a water vessel is necessary. But how to carry a robust solid boat?

Inflatable boats, or the lighter alternative of the traditional boats, came into existence to overcome transportation issues. These are air-filled boats that occupy significantly less space when deflated and packed and are highly portable.

It will be a great shock if any other boat matches the efficiency of these. Besides the advantage of portability, these boats also offer you many other benefits.

  1. Extremely seaworthy and resistant to overturning

These boats are very efficient in any water body and do not topple in the middle. Thanks to their low gravity centers, these boats have hardly ever overturned and caused an injury.

  1. Larger load capacity

You can easily accommodate a large number of people and their belongings in this boat. Despite so much load, these still have enough legroom and storage spaces and are excellent in maintaining stability.

  1. Lightweight hull

Because of the light hull, you don't need to install any boat propelling machine. You can easily control and tow it. This feature makes the boat economically feasible.

  1. Softer and flexible tube sets

The boat's tube sets' flexibility helps absorb shock while the softness of these comes into action while docking them parallelly to a yacht.

Types of Inflatable Boats based on use

Depending on the purpose intended behind your use of these boats, you can opt for any one of these five types that is suitable for you.

  1. Inflatable Rafts- used for recreation

If you have seen a lifeboat in real or reel life, you must know how an inflatable raft looks. These are used for recreational activities as well as saving lives in emergencies.

Because of their small structure, these fail to stand against the heavy currents of the water. Hence, an inflatable raft is only used in lakes or ponds.

These come in various sizes. The bigger ones have additional features, which include safety valves, fishing rod holders, etc.

  1. Inflatable Pontoon Boats- used for fishing

These are specially designed for fishing purposes. Otherwise called Catamarans, these use two air-filled tubes tied together with the help of metal frames that makes it easier for them to cut through the stream.

You will find two types of seat construction in them. One type includes the inflatable seats, while the other type consists of a sturdy metallic frame seat.

To increase your stability while fishing and resist the boat from overturning, the seats are located precisely in the middle. This sitting position also enables you to control your vessel easily.

While the small pontoons are more comfortable controlling, the bigger ones (though they carry more people) pose a difficulty.

  1. Inflatable kayak- multipurpose

An inflatable kayak is the fashionista of the town who is always on the front page. This water vessel has stolen many hearts because of its luxurious features. It offers you easy usability, high portability, long-lasting years of service, and more.

This is a multipurpose boat that you can fruitfully use for recreational activities, fishing, or even rafting.

  1. Inflatable Dinghy- used for water sports

An inflatable dinghy is also called a sports boat because of its versatility. This water vessel is usually docked with a more massive ship. The different kinds of flooring enable you to use it in the sea also.

This small-statured boat is highly durable and can endure rugged use. It is lightweight and accommodates only one person. The most significant feature is the outboard motor that is mounted on it.

  1. Rigid Inflatable boat- used for surveillance

A rigid surveillance boat is produced, combining the features of an inflatable and traditional boat. This boat has a rigid hull that helps control it in the sea, and the air tubes provide buoyancy.

This unsinkable rigid water vessel fails the test of portability. Due to the rigidness of the hull, this boat cannot be folded and compactly packed.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Inflatable boats

To find the best inflatable water vessel, you need to do a lot of research. Long gone are the days when you have to visit every shop or webpage and spend hours altogether.

This buying guide is the perfect way to end your suffering. In this guide, you will find all the crucial features whose presence or absence makes a huge difference. Without further ado, let's quickly look at all the critical aspects of an inflatable boat.

Weight Limit

The traditional boats are known to carry enormous amounts of weight, and many think that air-filled boats lack this feature.

These are made using very robust materials that endure the weight of you and your supplies. Whether you plan for fishing or casual recreational activity, you will always find the adequate capacity to accommodate everything inside them.

This is the significant benefit of using these boats. You never have to worry about the lack of space and your vessel getting imbalanced.

Materials

The materials used in any product is responsible for enhancing its quality and lifespan. Inflatable boats are high-quality water vessels that are very durable and long-lasting. The entire credit goes to the fabrics that make these so strong.

The different materials used to construct these are listed below. These have their pros and cons. Hence, focus on the minute details before deciding.

  1. Poly Vinyl Chloride

PVC is a synthetic material that is exceptionally lightweight. The boats constructed of this material are very affordable, and because of less weight, it is highly portable.

This material is known for its vibrant range of colors. If by chance, your boat gets damaged, it is incredibly easy to repair it.

Disadvantages

This material resembles plastic in texture that makes it vulnerable to abrasion. Besides, the seams are glued because of which the boat is not strengthened. The external elements can affect the fabric and shorten the lifespan of your boat. Hence, vessels made of PVC don't have durability.

  1. Hypalon

A synthetic rubber material, Hypalon, is a lightweight and abrasion-resistant material. Even the destructive elements of nature cannot destroy the fabric. This characteristic of this material imparts excellent durability to your boat.

It forms a coating over nylon and polyester fabrics, thus adding a layer of protection. Boats made of this material can be easily folded, which increases their portability.

Disadvantages

Hypalon is an expensive material because of the exclusive features that it offers. The boat made of this material gets dirty pretty soon because of the porous texture of the fabric. Though it is abrasion-resistant, fading of its color is commonly noticed.


Floor Type

The different types of floor impact your boat's mobility, portability, and storage space. Listed below are four-floor types to choose from.

  1. Roll up the floor

Pros
  1. The majority of the boats without the keels have roll-up flooring that makes them compact and easily portable. You will find many boat variants based on size, design, and quality with this flooring type. Boats with roll-up floors are very economically friendly.
Cons
  1. This floor type does not make your boat durable.
  2. Boats with this type of floor move slowly, making them usable only for short distances.

  1. Hard floor

Pros
  1. The boats with hard floors perform better than the ones with roll-up floor types. This excellent performance makes them a perfect choice for many.
  1. The hardness of the floor of your boat helps maintain its balance and increases its speed. This floor type offers the ease of setup and can withstand high waves and strong currents.
Cons
  1. The increase in speed can sometimes pose a danger when the current of the stream is strong.
  2. Due to the enhanced stability and performance, the boats with this floor fall on the expensive end.
  1. Air floor

Pros
  1. This floor type is gaining popularity overnight. The base of your boat is filled with air, which makes it light and easily floatable.
  1. This floor type also increases its speed because air holds no resistance against water. Boats with air floors offer excellent directional stability and performance.
Cons
  1. Being filled with air only, the floors can get punctured midway putting you in danger.
  2. They are incredibly lightweight and hence are not suitable to be used in strong currents.

  1. Self-bailing floors

Pros
  1. Self-bailing floors drain out water, automatically reducing your efforts to remove the water inside manually.
  2. The sides of the floor lining have small openings that drain water. Boats with this flooring type are the best to be used if you are planning for rafting.
Cons
  1. This floor requires regular maintenance.
  2. The boats with this floor can get damaged when stored. Hence, you need to be careful while keeping it.

Hull Type

The different hull types serve other purposes of using a water vessel. Inflatable boats feature three different kinds of hull shapes that help in enhancing the functionality of your boat. These are listed below to help you opt for the best match.

  1. Flat hull

These PVC constructed hulls lack a keel. Due to this reason, the hull of your boat lacks its stability, and so it underperforms. You will experience difficulty while controlling it with a flat hull despite its slow speed. Flat hull boats are suitable to travel shorter distances.

  1. V-hull

This hull is constructed of PVC and has a keel that can be inflatable. The boats with this hull shape either have hardwood flooring or air floor. This floor type provides strength to the keel to cut through the stream and move fast.

The V-shaped hull keeps your water vessel stable but purchasing it is an expensive affair. Professional fishers, wildlife fanatics, and skilled divers use the boats with V-hull as their tender.

  1. Deep V-hull

The most expensive of all the other hull types, deep V-hulls, is found commonly in Rigid inflatables. This hull type enhances your boat's performance by increasing its speed and precision in control. You can use the boats equipped with this hull for voyaging longer distances.

You should not forget that your boat will face stability issues with this hull type. Deep V-hull makes it sail at a height that carries a risk of overturning due to sea storms or rough wind.

Design Type

You must have come across the word 'keel' in the earlier sections. Do you know the meaning and function of this term? Let's understand its purpose and different types.

A keel is a metallic piece that runs along the length of your boat's base. This vital piece helps maintain the stability of your boat and supports the entire structure. You will find two types of Inflatable boats' designs: one with a keel and the other that lacks it.

  1. Boat with a keel

Having a keel in your boat ensures enhanced stability, performance, and versatility. This metallic structure helps it to cut through the stream and move faster.

This also makes your boat compact and suitable to be used in vast water bodies like the ocean. A Rigid Inflatable Boat and the inflatable tenders come under this category of boats.

  1. The boat without a keel

A boat without a keel has its advantages and disadvantages that are worth paying attention to.

Advantages
  1. These boats are more compact than the ones with a keel. This compactness makes them highly portable and offers ease of setup and storage.
  2. The water vessels without a keel are economically feasible and comfortable to use.
Disadvantages
  1. These boats have a restricted range of speed.
  2. These are quite difficult to get on a plane, unlike their counterparts.
  3. Boats without a keel can only be used in flat waters and can travel only short distances.

Choice of Steering

The choice of steering is a significant aspect of any inflatable water vessel and needs to be in the limelight. Inflatable boats have two steering options. Depending on your comfort, you can search for a suitable one for you.

  1. Tiller Steering

If you incline towards tiller steering, you should not worry about the budget. This choice of steering is inexpensive and requires low maintenance. It offers you the ease of setup and does not add any weight to your boat.

  1. Remote steering

You will buy yourself a comfortable voyage with an easy setup by opting for a remote steering option. It is effortless to maneuver your boat with remote steering.

However, this choice of steering will add some pennies to your budget because of its high maintenance requirement.

Power Source

To propel your boat forward, you need a power source. While the primary source is your hand, there are situations when you cannot use them. This can be due to tiredness or if you are fishing. To move it without using your hands, you need to find an alternative.

An inflatable boat is a paddled boat powered by a motor. Some variants feature gas or electric engines. With the presence of an engine, you don't need to use your legs or hands.

These two options offer you comfort to continue with your work, and there is no way you can get tired. This boat helps you enjoy your voyage and take back sweet memories.

Before investing in this boat, check the material of the motor. It should be constructed using water-friendly aluminum or plywood that can withstand the harmful elements.


Safety and Comfort

Safety and comfort are the essential criteria you should focus on. You should opt for the inflatable boats that have a hard deck, and the area coming in contact with the surface of the water should be broad. This will ensure that these don't rock on the high waves and maintain stability.

As far as comfort is concerned, you should search for variants that offer adequate storage spaces and appropriate legroom. The seats are no exception and should be comfortable with sturdy back support.

Portability

Inflatable boats are preferred over the traditional ones because of their excellent portability and lightweight. These are very compact and can be stored in your backpack or car's trunk. This feature makes them desirable for outdoor trips like camping or fishing.

These offer adequate room for storage and are very easy to be transported from land to water. The easy setup is a crucial feature that attracts many buyers.

Oars and Pumps

Oars and Pumps form the essential equipment that accompanies any inflatable boat. Check the oars or paddles' material that will be used and ensure that they are durable and of high quality.

Also, ensure that the pump you are using to inflate your boat has a pressure gauge. This instrument will help you prepare and inflate it in no time.

Durability

The material's quality is responsible for the durability of your boat. Hence, invest in an inflatable boat that is made using high-quality material and lasts long. Since these boats are prone to punctures and frequent damages, good material will ensure that these don't wear off quickly.

Though Hypalon is an expensive material, investing in boats made of this material will pay off. If you want a durable vessel and have a flexible budget, vessels constructed using Hypalon are the best.

FAQs

  1. Can you attach a motor to the inflatable boat?

If your model has the motor mount, then you can attach the motor. If the mount is not present, then the motor can damage the product severely. Somehow, if you manage to do it, it is not safe for the riders to ride on such a boat.

So, if you want to connect a motor, then invest in the right model.

  1. How much time does it take to inflate the product?

This depends on the size of the boat and the type of pump you are using for inflation purposes. For massive products, it will take relatively more time than the smaller ones.

If you are using a hand pump, then it will take ages to inflate the boat. A foot pump will reduce the time, but you have to go through an aggressive workout session. On the contrary, an electric pump will reduce the inflation time, and you don't have to put much effort into it.

  1. Is the product long-lasting?

This entirely depends on your maintenance and storage. Even the best quality boats bow down to regular wear and tear after 4-5 years. However, proper cleaning and safe storage can increase the life of the product.

Summing Up

Inflatable boats present a simple solution to the portability issue over the traditional ones. All you need is to select an elite product.

Here in this guide, you will find all the necessary details structured in an organized way. Go through the pointers and make an informed purchase.



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