Kenneth Grahame wrote the infamous line: “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. This still rings true for the many people that love to take to the water on a sunny day.
Boats provide an escape from the everyday world, a chance for adventure and an opportunity to indulge in some hobbies. Boats come in all different shapes and sizes, including inflatable. An inflatable boat is a must-have item for many families heading to the lake or keen fishermen. But, why inflatable?
There are many reasons to purchase an inflatable boat for the summer season.
The simple reason is that you can’t go out on the water without suitable watercraft, and inflatable options are often the most convenient. An inflatable boat is ideal for all those that live inland and don’t have space for a more traditional vessel. These inflatable models shrink down into a compact, manageable size ready for inflating. There are many styles and shapes.
Some families need nothing more than the more basic single hull dinghies for cruising, tubing, lazing around on the water. Adventurers and fishers will prefer something with multiple chambers and better support.
Therefore, we need the right boat to suit the occasion. A high-end multi-hull, a fishing boat is a bit extreme for a gentle paddle down the stream. Likewise, it won’t do you much good for tubing. The same rules apply the other way round. Fishermen aren’t going to catch much sitting in the most basic rubber dinghy with minimal equipment.
Below we will look at some of the best models in inflatable boats for fishermen, adventurers, and families.
Review These Important Features When Buying Your Boat
(Source: Ezvid Wiki)
Three types of inflatable boats and their purpose
1) The multi-hull durable fishing boat for keen anglers.
2) The more mid-level dinghy for adventurers cruising down the river
3) The cheap and cheerful inflatable for family fun on the lake.
These three purposes best highlight the range in inflatable boats. At the top end, there are the fishing vessels with plenty of attention to detail. These boats must be tough enough for a long afternoon and equipped to handle the needs of its occupants. Then there are the many inflatables and rib-style boats that provide a safe voyage down the river.
These tough, secure vessels are often adaptable for manual or motor power and vary in size, strength, and functionality. Then there are the cheaper models for the kids that are low on features but offer the safety and convenience families need for a trip to the lake. There are some important features to consider with all of these vessels. Some of the followings apply to all three boat types featured above; others are more specific to one purpose.
Construction Of The Inflatable Boat And Is It Tough Enough To Handle Rough Treatment On A Rocky Shore?
The material and quality of the rubber are vital when choosing the best inflatable boats for your family or fishing trips. A cheap material may lower the price of the product, as well as the weight, but it won’t be as durable or secure. A high-end vulcanized rubber, with the best seal and tough coating, can be worthwhile. These materials resist puncture as users drag the boat over gravels and shorelines, or if it hits rocks out on the river.
The best way to judge the durability of a model is through the experience of other users. If there are reports, and perhaps photos, of a damaged hull, it is probably best to look elsewhere.
How Easily Does It Inflate?
A tough, puncture-proof hull, or three, is essential when heading out on the water. However, buyers cannot forget that they need to inflate them all first. No parent wants to drive out to the lake and realize they have to spend another hour manually pumping the boat up for the day’s activities. Some smaller family models inflate with ease, taking in the air from a hand or foot pump in little time at all.
Some larger models work with mechanized pumps for an effortless approach. Others are less convenient and fall somewhere in the middle. Again, buyers cannot rely on sales pitches that this is “super easy to inflate.” It is best to read the reports from the fathers and fishers that have to inflate it. Also, look to see how easily it deflates. Does it let out air slowly and need physical force to squash down, or does it have a quick release system?
What About The Seating And General Capacity Of The Boat?
How many people can comfortably fit inside this inflatable boat – either on designated seating or sat on the inflated floor? Smaller models are appealing to those that want a model that inflates quickly and is easy to transport. However, it has to be fit for purpose. The whole family, and perhaps the family dog, need enough space to sit comfortably.
Seating is also an issue with boats designed for fishing. There are some models, as is seen below, that is for single occupancy only. This is great for the solo fisherman after a peaceful afternoon. Others will want something larger, for a small group of friends, that is still suitable for the purpose.
Is There Adequate Storage On Board For Everything That Users Need?
This is important for long cruises and fishing trips. Fishers and adventurers must be prepared for the journey ahead, with enough space for all their belongings. The best inflatable boats for these consumers have waterproof areas for food and supplies and sometimes specialized areas for tackle and bait. Pay attention to the number of areas, the configuration on the boat and whether they can be removed or not.
How Well Does It Handle The Water?
Some buyers can overlook this final factor when they are too caught up in the specifics of the features. It can have a great material that is strong and buoyant, as well as all the right tools for the job. This is is no good if the boat flips over at the first sign of a strong current.
Cheaper, family friendly options are rarely any good in fast-paced water. Rivers and rapids require a tougher beast with greater handling, the right weight, and strong hydrodynamics. Some are much better than others, and it is better to judge the performance through user experiences than the specification.
The Best Models of Inflatable Boats for 2017
The Best Vessel For Fishermen
1.)The Classic Accessories Colorado XT Pontoon is a great choice for keen fishers because it covers so many of the factors mentioned above. The key selling point here is the use of storage for all the equipment. There are twenty pockets and two insulated drink holders so users can separate all their belongings and enjoy a cold drink.
Other benefits include the adjustable rod holster, with six different positions, as well as the comfortable swivel seat and transport wheel. However, users do warn that it isn’t great in fast water. Therefore, this should have no problem at all out on the lake, or a gentle river, for a full afternoon of fishing.
2.) A second alternative in this category goes to the Airhead Angler Bay 6-Person Inflatable Boat. This looks more like your typical dinghy and doesn’t have the style and adjustable features of the pontoon boat. However, the main difference is capacity. The Classic Accessories boat is for single occupancy while this has room for six plus their gear. Again, there are mounted rod holders and molded cup holders for convenience. It isn’t as high-tech or attractive, but it works well for larger parties out on the lake.
The Best Cruising Vessel For The River:
1.) The Bestway Hydro-Force Caspian inflatable boat is like many of these types of powerful, hydrodynamic inflatables. They all have a fairly typical look and shape to them and many of the same features. This one stands out to consumers and keen enthusiasts for few reasons.
First of all, this is a tough boat with high-end materials. There are marine-grade plywood floorboards, a strong rubber for tough conditions and a non-slip surface inside. Secondly, it handles well while remaining comfortable. There is a two-chamber construction with extended tail tubes to improve the buoyancy. Finally, many feel that it offers good value for money.
2.) Another option in this category goes to the BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat. The untrained eye may have trouble telling these types apart from each other. There are many similarities on the surface. The biggest difference here is the use of three individual air chambers and the deep v keel, rather than the two. There is an 1100 denier fabric layered with 0.9mm PVC for durability. The hard floor is aluminum, rather than wood. It doesn’t look as good but does decrease the weight. As with many of these boats, users can attach a motor on the transom mount – in this case, one that is up to 15 HP.
The Best Kid-friendly Vessel For Family Fun:
1.) The Aquavue Voyager immediately stands out from other basic dinghy options. This is because of the transparent bottom on the inflatable. This is essentially the cheap, kid-friendly equivalent of the glass-bottomed boats on tourist cruises. This time kids have the whole place to themselves and can lie there marveling at all the life in the water.
Parents will also love that there is the choice to use either a hand or electric pump, and the inflation process is quick and easy. A pull rope quick release system means that the same is true for deflation. The only major issue here is that this is classed as unfit for larger adults – although many kids will be happy to have this to themselves.
2.) The Intex Seahawk 4. Like the alternative option in the fishing category, this does look like a standard dinghy. The selling point here is the focus on safety for all the family. There is a grab handle on the bow, as well as a grab line that runs along the length of the boat. Other benefits include the inflatable seat cushions, simple hand-operated inflation system, and secure or holders. It isn’t as fun or interesting as the see-through option above. It does have a larger capacity and provides good value.
Research all the options and styles before making a choice.
The models above are all highly rated examples of some of best models in the three categories covered in this guide. The information here should provide some guidance on what is available and the best features to look out for. However, it pays to carry out plenty of research and get the best information on models that are available.
Read and compare the specifications fully for any model to learn more about its purpose and potential. Also, buyers can’t forget the worth of the customer testimonial. These real life experiences are the best way to judge an inflatable boat and its suitability for the job. A model can sound great on paper, with a specification that ticks all the right boxes, but then fail in the water.
Which Is The Best Inflatable Boat For Your Needs This Summer?
In short, it is important to understand precisely what you need a boat to get the best experience. Understand the key purpose – cruising, river adventures, fishing or something else – and the number of people it must hold. From there you can find a great model with the right function, capacity and additional features for a great trip.
Buyers don’t need to go overboard with their purchase for a simple kid-friendly dinghy on a lake, but it pays to find a model with enough safety features. Adventurers can choose between oars and motors and find the ideal model with the right capacity, hydrodynamics, and handling.
Finally, fishers can look at the comfort, stability and additional storage on the best fishing inflatable boats. There is something out there for all needs and all families.