The 13 Best inflatable fishing boats in 2018
You wake up one morning, and you decide you need a boat, or maybe it has been your dream to own a one. You probably don’t have an idea in mind of what you exactly want but you know the specifications you want to settle for, for your purchase. You go online, and to your surprise, there are more choices than you expected, and now you have to ponder your mind on the best you can get. Well, I found myself in the same situation but here is a guide to help you out.
Inflatable boats have become popular. Why is that? They come with many advantages especially in the aspects of portability and storage not to mention the prices. You don’t have to own a trunk to carry them as you can quickly put them on your back or fix them in your car’s boot. In this article I am going to take you through the best inflatable boats you can access with their specifications, leading manufacturers in this industry, benefits of purchasing inflatable boats and considerations for choosing one.
Quick reference table.
Types of inflatable boats
There are five types of inflatable boats as discussed below.
These are inflatable boats made of air and fabric characterized by adjustable seats, fore and aft spray guards. They are popularly known for the comfort they offer as one does not strain even when you sit for long hours. These crafts hardly let in water due to the spray guards.
Ease of carriage and portability has made them even more popular. While purchasing a kayak, you can opt for either a sit inside or sin on the top craft. Those that for their reasons prefer not getting wet and want to stay dry can settle for the sit inside, they will, however, have a limitation to only one fishing position. Unlike the sit inside, the sit on top boats offer many fishing positions be if from the side, back or sideways. Another important consideration is whether you prefer speed or stability.
If speed is your thing, I advise you to look for a narrower and longer vessel. If you are looking for something more stable, go for a shorter and wide craft. They are slow but stable. Kayaks are suitable for use in lakes, ponds, rivers and bay areas. Using them in oceans could be a bit challenging.
Rafts also known as soft tails are more similar to kayaks and dinghies. They are not only difficult to track but also rigid when it comes to maneuvering. They are therefore only suitable for casual fisherman.
They are the best choice for people who want to go out fishing once or twice every summer and prefer comfort to speed. The cheapest of their versions are children’s toys that can easily puncture if used for fishing. However, for a couple of a thousand dollars, you can get a durable raft as good as the traditional boats.
They have ‘u’ air shaped bladders that fail to connect with the rear of a boat. Unlike a raft, they can accommodate a motor more easily. They are more seaworthy, stable and controllable. They are the best choice for anglers who like the raft style but want a more equipped raft. If you intend to make small fishing trips, this is a perfect choice. Dinghies also known as tenders are not a good fit for loading much gear or going on long trips with many people.
Pontoon boats also known as catamaran rafts are made to suit the more serious anglers and best for open lakes. They are of three types namely; float tubes, frameless rafts and those with frames. The good thing about them is that they cater to your different needs. Whether you prefer fishing while standing or sitting, whether you want one that performs like a traditional boat or a dinghy, you are all covered. However, they have shortcomings like they are hard to track and with limited space for those who want to carry more gear.
For those that highly regard portability, then this is the best choice. Float tubes are smallest of their kind and affordable too. Due to their small size, it’s not possible to use a mortar and oars. They are difficult to steer and not a suitable choice for anglers spending a lot of time in cold water.
Highly rated inflatable fishing boat reviews.
If we were to discuss all the inflatable boats, we would take a while. To help you make a better choice, I have outlined the most popular and highly rated ones
Intex challenger k1.
Are you on a tight budget or are you giving fishing a try and you don’t want to break your bank? Well, this is the best for you. Though not strong enough it’s cheap, swift and comfortable to use in lakes and slow-moving areas. It has bright, eye-catching colors to enhance its visibility and safety.
- Intex k1 challenger is affordable as it only costs around $100.
- It’s easy to store, transport and set up. It takes approximately 5- 10 minutes to fully inflate its four chambers, small space is occupied for storage when deflated. Its lightweight makes it easy to carry it along.
- The kayak is comfy with ease of getting in and out without tripping
- It’s just a one person boat; you can’t tag a friend along
- Intex kayak users complain of poor tracking, they have found it hard to keep it moving in a straight line
Classic accessories Roanoke
- It’s easy to inflate and deflate
- The powder-coated steel prevents it from corrosion and rusting
- You can only row since it doesn’t support the use of a motor
- There is minimal storage
- The boat lacks rod holders which may be quiet disappointing for any user.
Classic Accessories Colorado XT boat
The Colorado XT Is approximately 9 feet long with a carrying capacity of 400 pounds. It has integrated transport wheel which makes transportation easier. Other features include removable gear bags with 20 pockets, multi-position rod holders two insulated cup holders and many more. It has a thick PVC cover that helps to prevent punctures and leakages that could be caused by rocky surfaces.
- It’s heat resistant and therefore not affected by temperatures.
- Spacious giving room for more storage even after you have packed all your gear
- Smart anchoring system that allows you to stay anchored in your favorite spot even when you drift away
- Colorado TX is expensive; you have to dig deeper into your pockets.
- You have to purchase a motor. The motor bought has to be registered in the country you want to go fishing.
Sea eagle 285 FPB
Sea eagle 285 FPB is the latest model of frameless pontoon boats. Being the newest model, it has come with many improved features like a sturdy motor mount, floorboard pump oars, shoulder straps for carriage, two oars amongst others. It is light enough to carry around yet strong enough to handle rocky surfaces.
- It’s portable due to its lightweight
- It comes with a 3-year warranty
- You can either paddle, row or use either electric or gas motors, meaning you can take it to whichever destination quickly and easily
- They are expensive, the least it can cost is $800.
- You should forget about a romantic trip or carrying a friend since it’s only fit for one person.
Intex Mariner 4
The manufacture of this raft probably had a fisher who would wish to go fun fishing with friends. It is highly durable and known for its perfect performance. It can accommodate four people and reasonable fishing gear supporting a total of 880 pounds.
- Easy to inflate and set up
- Its warrant only last for only 30 days
- Its oars are not the best; they could sometimes be disappointing.
Intex Excursion 5
This Intex model is a spacious five-person capacity boat which is characterized by 4-rod holders, two inflatable chairs, and a bench style seat in the middle. It’s ideal for large families looking to get something portable to explore the lake. It’s easy to modify; that is you can fix your swivel seats and change the floor to suit you better. While you can still use it for fishing, its best used for recreation purposes
- It’s relatively cheap thus affordable
- It’s spacious and comfortable
- Its stability is quite appealing
- Poor or holders
- If you are using it for fishing, you are limited to fishing while sitting.
Intex Seahawk 4
- The boat has a PVC material cover which makes it durable and less prone to damage
- It’s affordable
- It has separate air chambers which makes it safer
- Its soft floor makes it a challenge to stand while fishing
- It’s somehow uncomfortable because it lacks backrests on the seats.
Hydroforce voyager 1000
Made of sturdy and dense three-ply vinyl material, hydro force Voyager 1000 is an excellent purchase for the money. It’s strong enough to resist damages from hard surfaces abrasion and pollutants. Its carrying capacity is approximately 594 pounds meaning it can support at least two adults and a kid and still leave a vast space to store your fishing gear. It’s perfect for a fishing trip in the lake, I would, however, discourage you using it in turbulent water bodies or fast moving water like waterfalls
- It’s easy to paddle and maneuver
- It has well-fitted seats that make it more comfortable
- It can carry up to three people; it’s, therefore, an excellent choice for a fun afternoon ride with friends or family
- Its users have complained that it’s somehow challenging to deflate the craft
- It’s not advisable to use the boat with an electric pump.
What do you consider before buying a boat?
You so much want a boat, but you are not sure of factors to consider other than your budgets. Here then are the major factors that you must consider before making a purchase.
Depending on the size that you have to store your raft, you have different choices to make. Different boats deflate to a different size. If you have limited storage space, you have no options other than going for the craft with the smallest size once deflated.
If you are looking for a boat you can carry for long distances, you have to choose the one with the least weight and preferably with carrying handles or backpack straps that you can use to carry them on your shoulder
Pontoons come as frameless or with a frame. Most anglers today have a preference for the frameless boats as they are lighter and assembled much easily. The decision is yours
- Fishing destination
If you intend to fish in calm waters such as a pond, then you can use any of the inflatable boats. However, if you wish to visit large water bodies, you have to be more careful with your selection. You need a model that can withstand intense currents and float tube cannot be a choice
Vinyl and PVC are the most common materials that make inflatable boats. It’s advisable to avoid any rafts made of plastic since it’s a lesser quality which is not efficient. The new Hypalon is the most durable material for building long-lasting boats. However, PVC is good enough and can make good enough rafts.
- Type of floor
Floors are usually of three kinds, air decks, solid decked and slatted ones. Air decks are the most expensive and the lightest of all the three types. Standing on these floors may be a challenge since they are only full of air. Solid decked floors have inflexible bottoms which make them stable as compared to slatted and air decked floors. However, transporting and storing them is difficult as they do not deflate completely. To assemble them for the first time you will need at least one or two friends to help you out. Slats floors are made up of wood and plastic. They are easy to set up and store.
- Purpose of purchase
While buying an inflatable fishing boat, you need to determine the intent of use. You need to ask yourself some critical questions. Questions like, what will be the use of my craft? Solely fishing or recreational purposes? Do I need a one-person raft or do I need the one that will accommodate a more significant number? Do I need a boat that I will only use once in a while or do I need a boat that I can entirely rely upon for regular use? Whatever your answer to the above questions is then you have to choose a craft that suits your purpose.
Quite many manufacturers are currently investing in the manufacture of inflatable boats due to their increasing popularity. For the sake of making your choices more manageable, I choose to narrow down to the three leading brands that you can be sure to get a perfect boat of your choice
Sevylor usually deal in the production of kayaks, rafts, recreational floats and children toys. The good thing about them is that their products are long-lasting as a result of durable materials used in their production. Most of their boats, however, lack pumps paddles and other essential features commonly found in other boats. For anglers, I recommend you to consider Sevylor when getting a boat
With over 40 years in production, Intex is famous for the production of rafts and kayaks. They produce compelling crafts at affordable prices. I will recommend their products to those trying fishing or those who have own traditional boats but still want to make fishing trips around small waters. For serious anglers, this may not be an excellent choice.
- Creek Company, Colorado
The company has been on the market for over two decades now. Their products include float tubes, pontoon boats and fly fishing accessories. They are putting effort to ensure they produce high quality and innovative fishing gear to attract more clients.
Zodiac has gained some respect in the inflatable boat making industry due to producing high-quality vessels from their trademarked fabrics.
- Classic Accessories
Their boats are of high quality, and you can purchase them at reasonable prices. Their products are mainly floating tubes and pontoons from high-end materials. Their boats have more storage space compared to other models.
Reasons why you should choose inflatable boats
- Storing of traditional hard shelled boats is hectic. Carrying them is even worse. Inflatable boats are not only flexible but also portable. Setting them up for use only takes a few of your minutes, less than 30 minutes to be precise. Once deflated they are just like a stack of clothes which makes it easier to store and transport. Using them saves you time and energy of minding how you have to carry and store them
- Inflatable boats are cheap to buy and easy to maintain. Let’s take an example of their gas consumption. These boats are light and thus propelling them just require a small amount of fuel. The lesser the gas consumption, the lower the spending. They also come with paddles which saves you the cost of having to purchase an outboard motor.
- Usually, inflatable boats is a combination of two tubes joined together leaving a flat floor surface in the middle. They have a low center of gravity which increases their stability and makes it difficult to flip over
- Last but not least, you can use these boats in many ways, you can either row, paddle, sail or cruise. This ability to transform draws more users to them.
The best inflatable fishing boat is a myth. It doesn’t exist. No single boat can be good at everything. Different rafts are made to cater for different conditions and situations. You choose one according to the need. Intex raft style boats will serve you right if you are looking for something relaxing and having a group fun. Prices are friendly. If you are looking for something that can handle weighty loads and accommodate large motors, I advise you to go for the dinghy styled boat. They are the best you can get for this purpose. To navigate in Lakes Rivers and other water bodies that may have strong current then purchase a pontoon. To make short trips in calm waters mostly for fun or a fishing trial, you don’t have to strain your finances going for an equipped vessel; a float tube is just an excellent choice.
No one wants to get disappointed while trying to have enjoyable experiences out in the water, whether alone, with family or friends. To avoid the disappointments, it’s imperative that you choose the best boat that perfectly aligns with your purpose. For any boat that you settle for, make sure you consider its use, how many times you intend to use it, the people you want to tag along, and above all the activity you will get involved. By so doing, believe you me you are going to have fun and beautiful experiences. Is that not what we all want?