Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Ever Thought About an Inflatable Kayak? Maybe You Should!


This summer our family visited and added some new paddling gear to our already overflowing adventure closet!  Though our purchase was made on a whim after some extra writing gig money came in, the idea has been brewing for a long time – as in, since the pre-Cragbaby days.  Steve and I had always enjoyed paddling and kayaking in its various forms – we’d sea kayak using fishing kayak for two people in New Zealand, rafted numerous rivers including the Upper Gauley (with a guide), and even had an epic backcountry canoeing experience in the Everglades (probably SHOULD’ve had a guide…).  Our biggest deterrent was that we could never decide on what kind of boat we wanted – canoe or kayak, onesie or tandem?  Paddling friends would advise us to go with “all of the above,” which was obviously less than helpful.  Once the crag-kiddo came along our dreams of paddling adventures got put on the backburner for a while.

But now that we’re living in Charlotte, we’ve found a host of paddling options within a short drive from our house, so now that C is older, we started entertaining the idea again.  We were now faced with a new dilemma as far as what type of boat to buy.  We definitely wanted something that could transport the whole family, making either a canoe or tandem kayak a good choice.  But I also knew that just as much (if not more) or our time spent on the water would be just me and C, and I wasn’t too jazzed about heaving a heavy vessel up on top of my car by myself – but two smaller yaks were way out of our price range.


That’s when I discovered the world of inflatable kayaks, recommended to me by some other outdoor bloggers who paddle as a family.  And lo and behold, we’d found the perfect floating vessel for our family – large enough for all, but compact enough to fit into my trunk (and it inflates in less than 5 minutes!)  I’m gonna go ahead and be honest and admit that we did NOT buy the brands that were recommended to us – not knowing how much use we’d get out of it, it was hard to justify the $800+ price tags of the fancy inflatable boats.  Instead, we went with the $200 option – every review we read made this boat seem well-qualified for our purposes (hanging out on a lake, with the occasional easy river).  It doesn’t have any bells and whistles, and I’m sure it doesn’t track as well as the nicer, more expensive boats, but the material seems very durable, and the price absolutely can’t be beat!  If we find that we’re really into it and are looking for more than our boat provides, we can always upgrade to a canoe or individual kayaks at some point down the road.  But for now, we’re all having a blast yakkin’ it up in the local waterways!

The whole thing packs up into a small duffel!

The whole thing packs up into a small duffel!


Removable seats!


9 Responses to “Ever Thought About an Inflatable Kayak? Maybe You Should!”

  1. Brandy

    I was going to ask you about this as soon as I saw the picture! what’s the process like when it’s just the two of you?


    • Erica

      Not sure exactly what you mean by “process,” but our typical m.o is to inflate the kayak when we get there, then carry it down the water and put in. We obviously don our life jackets before getting in the boat. C is allowed to put his hands in the water, but has to keep his bottom in the boat – so far we haven’t had any problems (fingers crossed). Hope that helped!

  2. How long does it take to inflate (and deflate)?


    • Erica

      Less than 5 minutes!!! We bought a special kayak pump (about $30) that both inflates and deflates. When we’re done I open up the air valves on the sides and bottom while we put the rest of our gear (paddles, life vests, etc) in the car. Usually by the time I do that the sides are pretty much deflated and I just need to use the deflator on the bottom for a minute or two. It really cant get any more convenient! 🙂

  3. Very cool. We might have to consider it someday. We have lots of lakes around here that we just don’t take advantage of cause we’re not really “water people”. Would be fun with the kiddos though.


    • Erica

      Yeah we’re not “water folk” either, but it’s been fun for goofing around our local lakes 🙂

  4. I think this is a great way to get involved in kayaking, as a lot of people are not sure whether they are going to continue with the sport and it gives them a relatively cheap way to try them out.


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  6. Hi,
    This one is great and is really a good post. I think it will help me a lot in the related stuff and is very much useful for me. Very well written I appreciate & must say good job.



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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN