Okay, let’s be honest here. You probably have wondered how these bulky and blow-up boats are going to keep you protected from underwater objects, right? Well, you are not entirely wrong. Inflatable kayaks are definitely not that secure compared to their hard-shell counterparts. But that does not mean that you should avoid them. Inflatable kayaks have innumerable benefits as well that we should ignore. They are safe as they can be and they cost a lot less which is a big relief.
Contrary to what most people believe, Inflatable kayaks are strong and well-built. They are powerful enough to keep your afloat in choppy water. You can even take an Inflatable kayak with you to paddle in a lake or river. Some Inflatable kayaks are even tested for class III rapids. Here in this article, we will try to put your doubts to rest –
In the last few years, technology has changed the very concept of Inflatable kayaks. They are no longer treated with contempt. The durability of Inflatable kayaks has got a shot in the arm thanks to the massive development in the field of science and technology. Previously, the UV rays of the sun tend to damage the outer layer of the Inflatable kayaks. Rubber polymers and the plastic also get degraded over the years and thereby making it highly unreliable but thankfully such days are long over.
Modern Inflatable kayaks are made from superior quality plastic and materials that are both UV and impact resistant. These days, the outer layer of the Inflatable kayaks is coated with Synthetic rubber so that the Inflatable kayaks can protect themselves from extreme weather and abrasions.
Neoprene fabric sans air bubbles are used in the inner section of most inflatable kayaks so that the air inside remains tight no matter what.
To increase the dimensional stability of the kayak and to increase its tensile strength, Inflatable kayaks are now using multiple layers of polyester woven fabric or nylon.
Conventional wisdom says that we should not use inflatable kayaks in shallow water because they can get easily damaged by sharp underwater objects. Inflatable kayaks are ideal for short trips.
You need to carry a patch kit while paddling in an inflatable kayak as it would help you repair your kayak in the middle of nowhere. Inflatable kayaks are known for developing punctures and therefore, it makes sense to carry a puncture repair kit along with you to deal with such eventualities.
Inflatable kayaks should also be maintained properly. After each trip, they should be washed and cleaned properly because exposure to saltwater can lead to serious degradations. Proper maintenance of the Inflatable kayaks will help you increase the longevity of the kayak to a great extent.
Stability and Rigidity Once Inflated
Stop comparing inflatable kayaks with balloons. When inflated, these kayaks still retain their rigidity and they can hardly be compared with flimsy balloons. Most modern-day inflatable kayaks are equipped with high- quality valves and they are made from superior quality rubber and nylon. Some inflatable kayaks have even got double stitching.
In case, you are looking for a kayak that remains stable no matter how extreme the situations get, you need to opt for inflatable kayaks. These inflatable kayaks have got flat-hull and that means, they will remain incredibly stable on the water. You can even stand upright on it without tipping it over. Yes, it is that stable.
Increased Buoyancy of Inflatables
The higher the buoyancy, the better it is. Buoyancy refers to the maximum carrying capacity of a kayak before it starts sinking in the water. So, while purchasing an inflatable kayak, you need to check out its buoyancy. Go for higher buoyancy if you are just starting out or planning to paddle with other people. Thankfully, most inflatable kayaks usually have higher buoyancy levels compared to hard-shell kayaks. Around the edges of most inflatable kayaks are inflatable tubes. The weight gets distributed evenly throughout the kayak thanks to these inflatable tubes and this is what it helps increasing the buoyancy level of the kayak.
How to Fix Puncture
We all know how it feels when an inflatable kayak develops a puncture owing to a collision with a sharp object. It looks like the end of the world, right? Well, it is not that bad. Thankfully, modern-day inflatable kayaks have multiple air chambers and that means, even in some worse cases, an air chamber develops a puncture, your kayak will stay afloat for quite some time, allowing you formulate an escape plan or to figure out how to reach the nearby shore fast. Moreover, punctures can be fixed easily with a patch kit. SO, no need to fear tears while on the water because in such extreme cases, the inner chamber will stay intact.
inflatable Kayak Safety Tips
In case, you are planning to partake in a kayaking expedition, you need to check out these following inflatable kayak safety tips to keep yourself protected –
Get on A PFD
Put on a PFD before you start your paddling journey. You can easily find stylish PFDs in the market. They are no longer ugly and uncomfortable to wear for long hours. Even if you find them a little uncomfy, you still need to put them on because these PFDs will keep you protected if your kayak happens to turn turtle or start sinking after coming in collision with some sharp objects.
You need to get dressed depending on the weather. You need to put on either a wetsuit or a dry suit to keep yourself protected from cold water. You never know when things might go out of hand and you might find yourself marooned in the middle of nowhere.
Choose The Spot
If you are a beginner, it makes sense that you should take your inflatable kayak with you in a place where is no strong wind or high waves. You need to assess your paddling skills and then pick up the right spot that matches your skill level. Avoid rapids like covid 19 and then pick a spot that is near the shore. You should at least be able to swim back to the shore if your kayak happens to turn over after getting hit by giant waves or any sharp objects.
Do Not Overload
Avoid overloading at any cost. Since you are not going on a multiday trip, you need to make sure that you are taking too many accessories with you. There is no point in overloading an inflatable kayak as it will definitely have an impact on the stability of the kayak.
Let’s accept the fact that inflatable kayaks do get fragile over the period of time and there are several factors that lead to their degradation. Improper cleaning, rough uses, etc. can make them flimsy over the years. You need to make sure that you are not carry sharp objects along with you while paddling in an inflatable kayak because it can pierce the kayak any moment. Better safe than sorry.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.