Have you been kayaking recently and are considering investing in one of your very own, rather than always renting? Perhaps you’ve already checked out what’s available and thought there was just the hard-shell variety, when you saw that there are inflatable versions too. So, how do you decide which is best? In any situation when you have two things that are very similar, it’s best to consider the pros and cons of each. That’s what we are going to discuss in the following post. Hopefully this will help you figure out which is right for you.
Perhaps the biggest advantage, noted by many experts, of hard-shell kayaks is their unrivalled manoeuvrability. Although inflatable boats are getting better, the basic science behind how they function means that they just don’t have the same degree of control and handling. hard-shell sit a lot lower down below the surface of the water, which makes them track better as with every paddle stroke you need to push through a considerable amount of water to make the boat turn. As a result, they are less likely to veer off-centre as easily.
If you want to go on kayaking and camping trips that are going to last for much longer than just a day and a night, a hard-shell kayak is the perfect choice. That sturdy and robust frame will give you enough space behind and in front of the cockpit for all your gear. The amount of space for storing gear and accessories you have will depend on how long the boat is.
Perhaps the biggest downside of hard-shell kayaks is their weight, as they are much heavier, in fact, around two to three times heavier than inflatable models. Particularly if you are looking for a two-person hard-shell, that will be impossible to transport without the help of some additional equipment or a partner.
When it comes to inflatable kayaks, the biggest thing in their favour is the considerably lower price. This means that they are ideal if you are still a relative beginner and unsure whether you are going to be interested in kayaking for the long haul.
Inflatable kayaks also benefit from being particularly portable and you will find that many models actually come complete with a duffel or backpack-style storage bag. This makes them the perfect choice if you are needing to take your kayak on public transport, don’t have a car rack or are planning to paddle around some rural lakes.
One thing you need to think about before going down the inflatable route, is where you can actually use them. While many inflatable boats are constructed from robust and durable materials, they are still prone to punctures, so if there are boulders and rocks along the way where you are intending on using one, the boat could get damaged. This means you have to be careful with the beaches or areas you choose to launch your inflatable kayak, as well as ensuring it can cope with the route and any obstacles along three way.
So, if you are trying to figure out which is best for you, you need to weigh up the above pros and cons and think about your own preferences. If you do decide to go down the inflatable route, check out some of the best UK inflatable kayaks.