Back for more kayak-style fun, eh? Well you’re in luck campers, because we’ve just completed our latest entry in our blog series on the different types of kayaks available on the market today: inflatable kayaks and folding kayaks. Probably one of the biggest maintenance issues of owning a kayak is the rather large, bulky amount of space that they take up when not in use, which has driven kayak designers to satisfy the demands of the more gadget and innovation-oriented paddlers. Enter the inflatable and folding kayaks, and you’ve got a highly-specialized niche market that’s fallen in love with convenience!
Inflatable Kayaks: Not Just Hot Air!
With the millennial generation taking over the marketplace compactness and affordability have become major design requirements in kayak design, which is probably why inflatable kayaks have become so popular in recent years. Simply deploy, inflate, and enjoy! While inflatables have a design similar to a sit-on-top or recreational kayak, they perform equally well on calm water as white water and some are even suitable for the open ocean. The basic construction of inflatable kayaks usually consists of a Kevlar-based fabric over several strategically-placed air cells running along the length of the kayak body, making inflatable kayaks much less expensive than their traditional counterparts. Storage is simply a matter of deflating the main body and folding up the interior. As with any specialty design, inflatables do have their drawbacks such as decreased durability and speed, but the most prominent is the extra time required to inflate/deflate the kayak before and after use. All we can say is if inflatables appeal to you, be sure to get a high-quality air pump!
Folding Kayaks: Convenience…for a price!
There really isn’t much more to add to the description of a folding kayak beyond the basics: it folds up when not in use. But don’t think that a folding kayak’s biggest claim to fame is simply folding in half! Folding kayaks are fully-functional kayaks that can stretch 12-15 feet in length when fully deployed and yet fold up to a package the size of a suitcase. Talk about portability! Dense water-tight fabric stretched over a carefully-constructed metal frame made of detachable tubing is what forms the core of a foldable kayak, though some have small hinge and spring mechanisms that allow for quick deployment. But the ease of storage comes with a price, and a pretty big one at that; folding kayaks are about twice as expensive as a Kevlar or plastic molded kayak and can take a total of an hour to assemble and pack away. But if you have the money to spend and the closet to store it in, it’s hard to pass up a folding package of water fun. Believe us, we’ve tried.
We’re in the home stretch of our kayak exploration: recreation, sit-on-top, ocean, whitewater, inflatable and now folding kayak varieties have all been explored. We’ve saved the best for last however, so tune in next time to see our evaluation of kayaks that appeal to the great sport enthusiasts of the water-world: fishing and military kayaks!