Inflatable kayaks merge the maneuverability and speed of kayaks with the high float and stability of inflatable rafts, resulting in a boat that is easy to paddle and stable but can be maintained in tighter, more technical whitewater. Since they deflate at the end of your trip, these boats are also lightweight and extremely easy to pack and transport. Inflatable kayaks come in both solo and tandem varieties, with paddlers sitting one behind the other in a tandem boat, and are paddled with long double-bladed kayak paddles.
NRS (Northwest River Supplies) was started in 1972, and has become one of the biggest manufacturers and retailers of paddling equipment. Its mission is to provide quality equipment at prices that won't break the bank. NRS offers three solo and two tandem models of inflatable kayaks. It also offers seats, thigh straps and foot braces which can be added. These upgrades take your inflatable from a recreational boat to a high performance craft capable of taking on any stretch of whitewater.
Northwest River Supplies
AIRE, and its child line Tributary, offers seven models of inflatable kayaks. Durable PVC construction and up to a 10-year warranty make these boats a very safe investment. While offering boats for beginners and advanced paddlers alike, a particular craft of note is the Force series, which can be paddled and even rolled just like hard shell kayaks.
Hyside Inflatables is one of the most highly regarded names in whitewater rafting, and like most raft companies offers a line of inflatable kayaks as well. While its offerings are not as extensive as other companies, the company focuses on safety and stability, with most of the inflatable kayaks stable enough to be paddled standing up. At the same time, the boats are more rigid, with performance similar to hard shell kayaks.
Article Written By Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.