Inflatable Whitewater kayaks – What you must know before buying

Blow up or inflatable whitewater kayaks are the perfect choice for whitewater kayaking sports. They are easy to carry, comfortable and convenient for the whole family to use.

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There are a myriad of choices for inflatable whitewater kayaks depending on your budget and how many people you want to sit in the boat. And of course, the seaworthiness of the vessel must be taken into consideration. Brands such as Sevylor and Sea Eagle offer sturdy vessels that last a long time and feature innovative designs that can be used in whitewater. There are kayaks that are as low as $120+ and as high as $1000+.

Inflatable whitewater kayaks are growing in popularity because are known for their durability and their easy carry feature. If we were to compare inflatable kayaks to the traditional hard-shell kayaks, you don’t have to worry about the space your kayak will take in the car because it is inflated and deflated with an action pump. That also saves money and instead of paying for a locker for a hard-shell kayak, the inflatable can be taken home. The user can put the kayak away into a neat compact bag and its weight ranges from 25-30 pounds. The user can even bring the deflated kayak onboard an airplane. Inflatable kayaks have the convenience of being inflated within a few minutes and deflate it just as easy once done.

Most blowup whitewater kayaks are made of sturdy PVC plastic and high grade nylon that can hold up to capacities of as much as 400 pounds. Aside from the weight the kayak can carry, certain blow up whitewater kayaks such as the Sea Eagle 330 can handle Class III whitewater. The Sea Eagle model as well as the Innova K1 whitewater canoe have self-bailing properties that prevent water from filling the boat.

Inflatable kayaks may have several drawbacks in that its lightweight feature causes the vessel to be easily caught by the air, making the maneuverability of the vessel quite difficult for the user. This is expected of a lightweight vessel. Some boats come with a skeg but some require the separate purchase of one. The skeg will increase the trackability of the vessel as well as the maneuverability and decrease the unwanted wandering and weaving of the vessel.

Extensive research of each brand and product will help in choosing the correct model and type that corresponds to use and budget. There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing an inflatable kayak. The size and shape, stability and speed and maneuverability of the kayak will determine the purchase. For whitewater kayaking, look for a river running style inflatable with self-bailing holes and knee-strap anchors to handle the harshness of whitewater. Recreational kayaks are used on a more flat-water, calm and slow-moving rivers so check the quality and durability of the materials.

The design of the hull will determine the stability and stability affects speeds. A wider boat is more stable than a narrow-bodied vessel. A V-shaped hull will aid in tracking. A high air pressure or multiple side tubes on the inflatable makes a stiffer hull for better performance. Tie-down gear, net bags, rope lacing and storage compartments are useful for long distant trips. Spray skirts must be included to keep dry and protected. An outdoor patio provides additional rigidity and dryness and warmth is guaranteed for the trekker in nastier conditions.

Know the kayak’s controllability and how easily the boat will turn and track. It can get rough in the water and high quality inflatable kayaks with good hull designs and high air pressure will hold the inflatable kayak’s shape and have stable and controllable performance.

Whitewater kayaking needs a certain level of precaution and safety. Whitewater rafting is a challenging recreational outdoor activity and the inflatable whitewater kayak that is purchased must match the challenge. Whitewater rafting is considered an extreme sport and it can be dangerous. An awareness of the boat’s dynamics and basic safety knowledge will aid the kayaker in staying safe while having fun.

Inflatable kayaks do stand the test of time with the proper use and storage. Taking care of the vessel must be practiced so that the blowup whitewater kayak will last. Allowing the vessel to dry out completely before storing prevents the formation of mildew which can further erode the material and damage it.

In general, for individuals that have a love for the outdoor, a purchase of an inflatable whitewater kayak is worth the purchase. An extensive research of each brand and product will help in choosing the correct model and type that corresponds to use and budget. But as far as popular brands go – names such as Advanced Elements, Sea Eagle and Sevylor – all produce quality inflatable whitewater kayaks that can be enjoyed by the kayak enthusiast.

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