Inflatable Vs. Rigid Kayak

Inflatable Vs. Rigid Kayak │ What Is The Difference?

You might have the classic image of a kayak being a hard-shelled, single person boat. However, you will be shocked by the presence of inflatable models present in magazines and retail stores. If you are on the search for a kayak, therefore, there are lots of important details to look into before making the purchase. The first being determining what kind or type of kayak to buy. Outlined below are some insights on the two kayak types, inflatable and rigid types.


Many people often get nervous when it comes to durability of inflatable kayaks. To many, they think hard-shelled kayaks are better in durability. However, this may not be absolutely true. When it comes to durability, kayaks have a huge variation across both hard-shelled and inflatable types.

That said, the durability of rigid kayaks is hugely reliant on the material whereas that of inflatable relies on purpose and price. For instance, whitewater inflatable kayaks are designed to handle some beating while inflatable fishing kayaks can handle fins, knives, and hooks.


Inflatable kayaks are overly better compared to rigid kayaks when it comes to portability. Transporting an inflatable kayak with a vehicle saves you from purchasing and installing roof racks and rigid kayaks associated procedures. They can also be placed safely inside the vehicle compared to rigid type which is vulnerable to theft on top of the vehicle.

Here is the difference between sit inside vs sit on top fishing kayak.


This is one of the biggest bugbears when it comes to hard-shelled kayaks. If you often feel some numbness when sitting on hard surfaces, inflatable models are your type. Sitting on the soft inflatable floor allows one to paddle for hours compared to hard floors.

Hard-shelled kayaks also have a short, hard back rest which is less comfortable compared to the clip-in seat which supports your back found in the inflatable kayaks. In addition to this, with inflatable kayaks, you can easily jump out, swim and return to the kayak easily whereas the hard edges of hard-shelled kayaks may be quite painful.

Rigid Kayak Material

Rigid Kayak

Inflatable Kayak Material

Inflatable Kayak


Here, you’ll get what you pay for. However, besides this, inflatable kayaks weigh less compared to rigid kayaks. Therefore, they can be quite difficult to control. Nonetheless, they are quite stable and hard to capsize. On the other hand, rigid kayaks are more maneuverable and faster, especially during winds.


This definitely is a no-brainer. Inflatable kayaks are way better. This is because inflatable kayaks pack up into a bag, taking less space back at home. No need for a garage or shed, unlike rigid kayaks.


Inflatable kayaks require inflation and deflation every time before and after use. Punctures can also occur but can be avoided by purchasing high-quality inflatable kayaks, made of tough materials. Some models are also resistant to punctures due to the materials used and redundant air chambers. Inflating the kayak could take less than 10 minutes.

On the other hand, rigid kayaks require less maintenance. Wooden models often require more care, basically drying them before storage.


The debate on which is a better type can never end. It often depends on your own perceptions, needs and intended use. Nonetheless, you can get quality kayaks, regardless of being rigid or inflatable by going for pricey models. They often come with outstanding features. And don’t forget to check our top finds of fishing kayak including both inflatable and rigid kayaks.

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