Favorite Recent Purchase: Inflatable Kayaks

Two summers ago, I knew I wanted to actively pursue a new hobby. I had made a list of goals for myself and kayaking was one of the hobbies I found interesting enough in which to invest my time and money.

That summer I bought a 12 foot, hard-bodied kayak off of Amazon and it was waiting for me when I got home to Minnesota that summer. I love that kayak. It tracks well, it isn’t too crazy heavy to get from the top of my car, to the water, and back again. However, my car doesn’t have a roof rack. As a ’98 Camry, I don’t feel incredibly confident traveling at high speeds and for far distances toting my kayak, even though it has been stable and secure wherever I’ve taken it.

That alongside my desire to do more kayaking in Alaska…and the lack of budget for a new car just to suit my hobbies, had me looking into more portable models.

This past summer I made the plunge into another kayak investment, this one of the inflatable variety.

As I searched through the reviews, I found myself favoring the Advanced Elements brand.

Eventually, I settled on an ultralight model, as I planned on taking it on planes and I’m not the strongest individual in the world. With my best friend getting another model, we’ve started our Alaskan kayak adventures

Advanced Elements Sport Kayak

Here are my current thoughts:

ProsCons
Ultralite Inflatable (Advanced Elements)

See on Amazon
– Very light
– Comes with backpack straps
– Very stable
– Fast and easy fill
– Sluggish
– Doesn’t glide as nicely
– No sturdy inside bottom
– Most expensive of the three
– Leans a little to the right
Sport Inflatable (Advanced Elements)

See on Amazon
– Inflatable Bottom
– Still fairly light
– Very stable
– Tracks well
– Fast and easy fill
– Least expensive of the three
– Heavier to pack
– No backpack straps
– More chambers to inflate
Hard body (Sun Dolphin)

See on Amazon
– Tracks well
– Very stable
– Lots of storage space
-Sits heavy in the water, causing it to glide better for me.
– Highest weight limit of the three options.
– Not easily portable by airplane
– Takes up a lot of storage space
– Needs to be registered in some states


Overall, I love the purchases. The inflatable kayak is extremely easy to use and I feel stable. It is easy to transport and I have had no problem checking it. There have been no leaks or feelings of water escaping from the kayak. I’m a little paranoid about it tearing, but on its multiple voyages, there have been no issues.

I’m a little nervous about the idea of using the inflatable kayaks in the freezing salt water of the arctic…but maybe someday.

It is a worthy purchase for people that live in small spaces or have dreams of traveling with it!

If I get another inflatable kayak, I’d probably go with the one I was eyeing (a little more expensive than my current Ultralite and a lot heavier) but it looks like it would track well and I would glide better through the water. (Keep in mind there may be a bit of operator error, too.)


***By using the Amazon links (even if it isn’t to buy these exact kayaks or a kayak at all) I get a small kickback, so thank you in advance for any and all support!***

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