Inflatable Kayak or Regular Kayak? How to Choose

Summer is approaching, the weather is warming up and I'm sure many of you are already out shopping for your new Kayak! The options are endless, and sometimes make you feel overwhelmed to make the right choice. To make things easier, we have put together this piece of information for you, so that you can choose your perfect kayak, and get out in the water to have some fun!

Let us examine the benefits of a Folding or Inflatable Kayak versus a Regular Kayak:

Size Matters:

Regular Kayaks are much heavier compared to the air-and-rubber counterparts- which can weigh as little as 15 lbs. However, rigid kayaks have a much bigger storage space inside them compared to inflatable or folding kayaks.


You do not need a roof rack installed on the top of your car when you have an inflatable/folding kayak, unlike the regular kayak. Once you have deflated it, an inflatable kayak can easily fit inside a small duffel bag and can easily sit on your car seat or in the trunk. A folding kayak can also be easily carried on a motorbike or a bicycle, especially if you plan to go kayaking near your home or hotel. This means no matter what size or kind of vehicle you own, you need not worry about the transportation of your kayak. On the contrary, the regular, rigid kayak is difficult to transport, given to its size and weight.


As long as you have the knowledge and own a high-quality pump, you can easily assemble and inflate your kayak anytime and anywhere. All you need to do is roll it out of your kayak bag, and pump up the chambers with air. Once inflated, the kayak is ready to hit the water with your paddles, of course!

While with a regular kayak, you have to go through the burden of unloading it from your car and then taking it all the way to the water!

Cost Counts:

Rigid kayaks are way more expensive than the basic folding kayaks. The price of an inflatable kayak can soar as high as a regular kayak when it comes down to quality. Better quality kayaks correspond to a more expensive price range. Also, the durability and maneuverability improve, as the quality of the kayak improves.

Rigid kayaks made with plastic are indeed inexpensive, but they are also the heaviest!


Inflatable kayaks need to be inflated and deflated after each use and must be dried completely before storing, and there is always the possibility of puncturing them. However, an inflatable kayak made with high-quality materials reduces the chances of a leak. Some materials are also resistant to puncture while other kayaks have redundant air-chambers. Assembling a folding kayak may take as little as 10 minutes, while some kayaks may take longer.

On the contrary, rigid kayaks do not require much maintenance, with the exception of wooden kayaks.


Since folding and inflatable kayaks are much lighter in weight, they can get a little difficult to control at first. However, they have a major advantage of being stable and do not capsize easily compared to regular kayaks.

But, regular kayaks are more useful in windy conditions and inclement weather around the ocean, where they are faster and easier to maneuver.


Since the inflatable kayak is filled with air in its chambers, it is very less likely to sink- unless most or all of its chambers are interfered with or punctured. Rigid kayaks have a high possibility of capsizing in high wind conditions.


Despite both- the folding and inflatable kayaks being so light in weight and easy to carry around by one person, they can easily accommodate two people with their equipment and gear. Regular kayaks are heavy and difficult to carry around by a single person.


The regular kayak operates with motor, air or water, and pollution is always expected. Inflatable or folding kayaks do not have any harmful effects on the environment, as they are generally used with paddles and not a motor to move on the water.


High-quality folding kayaks, made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or Polyurethane, are strong enough to withstand harsh conditions in rough water. If you are looking forward to a breathtaking experience down a fast-flowing stream of a river, with rocks, branches and sticks protruding, be assured that your kayak with not let you down when undertaking the big challenge. Rigid kayaks are also pretty durable.


The folding kayak easily folds down to the size of a duffel bag and can easily be stored in the basement or a closet. Same applies to an inflatable kayak. Both can be easily stored in an apartment, which is not possible when it comes to a regular kayak. When storing, make sure you do not store sharp pointy objects around an inflatable kayak, which may unnecessarily damage the kayak.

The bottom line is that when you are choosing a kayak, select the one that suits your needs, convenience and lifestyle. No matter if you're looking forward to a challenging day in the rough waters at the sea, or a lightweight kayak to paddle around a lake, there is an inflatable as well as folding kayak option out there- to suit your needs- falling in your budget!

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