Buying your first kayak can be an unnerving experience. Since there is a puzzling range of options, you can get. The first thing that you have to deliberate is whether a Hardshell, inflatable or folding one would be more apposite for your needs.
They each have their rewards and drawbacks. Also, they vary significantly in price. As in numerous other things, it is not always smart to go for the inexpensive alternative! I’ve put together my view on the most common two types of kayaks and how they differ.
Yes, I’ll be talking on the Inflatable Kayak vs Hardshell kayak topic!
Table of Contents
- What is A Hardshell Kayak?
- What Is An Inflatable Kayak?
- Which Kayak Has Better Construction?
- Which Kayak has Better Portability?
- Which Type Takes Less Time to Set Up?
- Which Kayak Would Offer Better Stability?
- How The Price Does Varies In Both Kayaks?
- Which Kayak is Easy to Care and Store?
- What Type of Kayaking Can I Do In Each Type?
- Which One Will Give More Suitable for Experienced or Beginner Kayakers?
- Final Verdict
What is A Hardshell Kayak?
Hardshell kayaks are the one that does not support any folding or inflation-deflation method but stays in the shape it comes. These are the kinds of kayaks used by most people. The inexpensive option here is a plastic structure. But this would also be the weightiest. They are fairly strong and also long-lasting. But they are almost non-repairing if they are deeply smashed.
A little more exclusive is a fiberglass assembly. These would be lighter and easier to fix but also is easier to harm. Further construction resources include graphite composites, carbon fiber, and Kevlar. These are very nimble but also pricier.
Although not nearly as prevalent, wood kayaks can be a good option too. Especially in kit method to accumulate yourself. Even though wooden kayaks are honestly easy to mend they need much more maintenance than maximum other kinds of kayaks.
What Is An Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are the one that lets you blow air in to use it and also while storing you’ll be able to deflate. Let me talk about the inflatable kayaks pros and cons now. Kayaks of this kind are outstanding for conveying and storing. They are among the economy types you can get.
You would be able to use them for whitewater, quiet water, and sea kayaking. You might be hesitant about their sturdiness. However, if you don’t go for the inexpensive one and get a good quality inflatable, it would be as robust as a hardshell kayak. For maximum people, except if you are going in for grave competitions, an inflatable kayak would be the finest option.
Which Kayak Has Better Construction?
Hardshell kayaks are completed of a few types of elements that can create tough shell-like fiberglass. And so these kayaks are more durable, and they give better stability for sure. These kayaks also use other tough materials like woods and tough plastic. And so there is a very less chance of the kayak getting broken.
On the other hand, the Inflatable kayaks use PVD, neoprene, Hypalon, polyurethane and stuff like that for construction. That’s not good for better sturdiness, but they do fine and if you preserve with inflatable care ones will also be durable enough for the money spend.
Which Kayak has Better Portability?
Anything that would be portable and easy to carry will have a plus point. And so inflatable ones are the hero here since they are made to offer lightweight handling. Because of the light materials these kayaks use, they tend to be a lot nimble in weight.
And so you would be able to have them with you no matter for what adventure you go. On the other hand, rigid ones are slightly heavier. But still, you can manage to carry them. However, for the sake of comparison, I’ll keep the inflatable ones ahead in this section of inflatable vs. hard kayak.
Which Type Takes Less Time to Set Up?
Now for the third round of inflatable kayak vs hardshell kayak, let’s judge by set up time. Most of you might think that inflatable kayaks are time overwhelming and a Hardshell one can take you to the water straight away. But this is not the truth.
There is no doubt that a Hardshell kayak goes from the rooftop of your car right to the water. But there’s this point; you also have to think through the time undoing it from your car. After that, you would also strap it back up again once you’re done.
Which Kayak Would Offer Better Stability?
This is important. Since kayaking is not a joke and you need to be on balance. When likening stability of Hardshell vs. inflatable, they are shockingly both similar. A few will say they favor a Hardshell when boarding on a long ocean tour. Well, that’s particularly true.
If you invest in a low price rigid kayak than it would be worse than an inflatable one, if you are short on budget but still need moderate stability, get a good quality inflatable kayak that will still be cheaper than the rigid ones.
And you don’t have to worry too much about the difference. Because even the good quality and better built-in inflatable kayaks are stable enough to endure even the sternest rapids. There are so many rescue crews and coast guards that nowadays favor using inflatable kayaks on a regular basis.
How The Price Does Varies In Both Kayaks?
For a lot of budget freaks, this part is vital. And I understand, it’s our precious money. Now the fact is, you are going to have both options in both types. There are expensive inflatable ones and also inexpensive rigid ones to have. But definitely, the quality will vary.
Most people including myself from a few years back might think inflatable kayaks are less pricey than Hardshell ones. That is true, no doubt about it. But that’s only because of the construction and features.
Some general purpose kayaks are a hardshell type, and they will probably be sizably less expensive. Anyone who is just beginning with kayaking should think it as a fantastic starter option. But remember most touring and white water hardshell kayaks are built for functioning. And so the price would reveal that.
When picking between Hardshell and inflatable, the price must be an important factor. But also keep in mind to not hold it as the only deciding factor especially if you plan for long term use.
Which Kayak is Easy to Care and Store?
Here is where maximum people see the largest difference between the two. Inflatable kayaks do manage to require a little more maintenance particularly if you are deflating and bending them up to put away since they have to be clean and dry first.
Both varieties must not be stored in direct sunlight. This is because they can fade away and warp. When it comes to loading, inflatable has the exact lead because they could be tucked away easily in their solid bag. These bags usually come with the kayaks.
However, Hardshell kayak would need to be put up on a pulley. Also, they need a large amount of space. For countless people, possessing and storing a full-size plastic or fiberglass kayak is not practicable. A large proportion of kayaking fanatics live in cities. And they have space that is limited and housing is pricey.
What Type of Kayaking Can I Do In Each Type?
You need to have a kayak that would suit-well with the kind of kayaking you wish on doing. This is the most important thing we neglect the maximum of the time. Well with a better quality inflatable kayak you would be able to do fishing, touring surfing and activities like that.
Which One Will Give More Suitable for Experienced or Beginner Kayakers?
An expert kayaker when looking for their kayak would most likely seek diverse qualities in a kayak than a beginner kayaker would. A veteran person would usually look for what they know as a kayak with decent final constancy. However, the beginner would more or less value good preliminary stability – minus tipsiness.
The tipsiness that is natural for all kayaks with less initial permanency makes novices awkward and shy away. However, it is this tipsiness that mostly indicates a kayak has better final stability. That’s important to have when they’re fighting bigger waves.
Initially, anybody would feel the inflatable ones are for beginners, and the rigid ones will please the pro kayakers. But this may differ if the features in both the inflatable and hardshell also exclude or includes.
For example, a speedy inflatable kayak will do better for the expert kayakers than a slow, rigid one. Then again, if the rigid one has a good hull, it will suit the beginner’s style. So it’s more depending on the features within then the kayak type.
Also, a veteran kayaker more or less needs a tighter floor. Though a beginner would mostly prefer a huger one making it simpler to get in as well as out of the kayak, still, other novices may have a concern about either fleeing from a tipped-over kayak.
When you have to pick which one to buy, the verdict can be a bit overwhelming. In the Inflatable Kayak vs Hardshell kayak options, both have their portion of advantages over the other. However, none of them is necessarily better than the other. In simple words, they are just different!
In the end, it comes down to individual preference. However, if you are comparing the two because you have some misconception over one type for example if you believe the inflatable variety is unsafe, then know that this is not the case at all! They are as safe when used properly.
Try to figure out what matters the most to you. Get your requirements in a note down and then decide which one would fulfill most of them. Good Luck Kayakers!