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Desert Mountain Paddlers Message Board › inflatable Kayak - any suggestions? Discussion?

inflatable Kayak - any suggestions? Discussion?

Glendale, AZ
Post #: 24
I looking into inflatable kayaks and wanted to know if there are any members that have some insight and opinions, or maybe even a used one for sale? My research shows that Sevylor boats are not very good quality but that the Advanced Elements convertible and the new Sea Eagle Fastrack models looks like some of the best for speed and tracking, but they're moderately expensive.
Dan C.
Prescott, AZ
Post #: 4
I am the owner of three AIRE brand IK's. They are great boats and durable, with three different price ranges. The Tributary Tomcat series are their least expensive ones, made in Asia, but no glued joints (all stitched or welded) in the outer hull. Next step up is the Tributary Strike series, which are also made in Asia but have a higher quality urethane bladder (Tomcat has a vinyl bladder). Last are the top end US-made AIRE Boats (The Lynx series, Outfitter, Super Lynx). All AIRE boats are constructed with a outer PVC hull that is durable and heavy weight, and an inner AIRECell bladder which holds the air. Great setup in my experience and makes for a tough and rigid IK.­

You can typically find used Tomcats for sale on Craigslist and the NRS Gear Swap and Mountain Buzz Gear for Sale sites with a little patience and effort. There is an outfitter in Sedona that rents Tomcats and usually has some used ones for sale as well at a reasonable discount. The Tomcats are built to last even though they are the lower end on quality within the AIRE brands. Steps up in cost to the next 2 levels gain you both in warranty (transferable) and performance.

I strongly recommend you take some time to read the many pages of information available on IK's at The Boat People website (Lee, the owner, has been a great resource for me in the past) http://www.theboatpeo...­

Be wary of any PVC boats that have glued joints. If you want to buy a boat that will last, know that PVC slowly outgasses over time which softens the glue (if used) and eventually a glued boat will structurally fail after 10 years. There are many lower priced PVC boats out there that are glued together. If you only want to have a boat that will last 10 years, that's something to consider, but a 10-year-old AIRE boat will usually have excellent resale value comparatively because people know it will last.

I sound like a salesman, but am really just a happy owner.
Ron, the Canoe G.
user 10861546
Group Organizer
Glendale, AZ
Post #: 18
Thank you Dan for the informative reply.

Hiking Shack here in Phoenix on Cave Creek rd (but thought I heard they were moving to a new location) rents IKs and could be a great local resource. At least, you could try before you buy.

Dan C.
Prescott, AZ
Post #: 5
I can't say much that hasn't already been said on The Boat People's FAQ site:

There are many pages of good info on this site. If you are seriously thinking about buying an IK, I reiterate spending some time on that website, even if you don't order one there. In their response to the first FAQ, they include some thoughts on different brands, including the Advance Elements boats.
Dan C.
Prescott, AZ
Post #: 6
I will also add that if anyone is considering an inflatable strictly for lake use (no rivers or current at all that you need to manuver in), the AIRE Tributary Sawtooth models (both single and tandem) get rave reviews for flatwater tracking.
user 8498015
Glendale, AZ
Post #: 9
Much depends on the waterways one plans on paddling. For rivers and whitewater rivers, self bailing inflatable kayaks designed for that purpose work well. Many choices exist.
The Aire Lynx, Hyside Padillac (bomber built like a raft) and Sotar IK's are my favorite choices.

For flat water lakes and oceans, hull rigidity, inherent hull speed is much more important and stiffer, smoother materials excel over any inflatable.

The Aire Tributary Sawtooth models and the higher end Aire Sea Tiger are excellent choices for better flatwater tracking, hull speed with the portability and compactness of an inflatable when not inflated.

Long term, a higher quality, more expensive inflatables are well worth the cost, it's best to look for a hot deal on a slightly used high quality inflatable for the best long term value.
A former member
Post #: 1
For moderately priced inflatables, the AE kayaks get good reviews. I'm thinking of picking up an AE Advanced Sport Frame.
user 11005621
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 1
I have an Advance Elements Advanced Frame sport model (the 25 lb, not the 35 lb model) and I really like it. I'm sure there are more rugged inflatables out there, but I couldn't lift them. The Advanced Elements is rigid, durable, and easy to store and carry. Inflates quickly, is comfortable, plenty of room for my dog and I (we're both small). Has a slight wag, but doesn't bother me in the least, since I've only used inflatables. Slower response/turning time than my Sea Eagle (not the new fast track, but the one that looks like a canoe) inflatable. I actually like my Sea Eagle a lot too, because it is super responsive and you can get right up to the shore line and turn on a dime. It does have more wag than the AE and a higher profile, which makes it more susceptible to wind. But I still like it. That said, now that I have the AE I find myself using that over the Sea Eagle, partly because it just looks cooler and more like a standard kayak. I'm not sure, but I think it may be faster than the Sea Eagle as well -- of course I haven't tried the new Fast Track.

Both good and good price points if you're not sure you're ready to spend $1,000 on an inflatable.
Sara S.
user 14499271
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 13
I own the inflatable Sea Eagle 385 Fastrack and love it. It does track well unless of course their is alot of wind. It comes with 2 inflatable seats, 2 paddles, foot pump and is very easy and comfortable to get in and out of. It can be used as a single or tandem. I invested $800 so it is affordable and made out of very sturdy material and weighs 36 lbs.. I have had it for about 2 yrs and have run both the Verde and Salt rivers, Glen Canyon portion of Colorado river, and alot of the lakes around here. I have bumped it into branches and gone over rocks and there have been no leaks or holes. It has a removable skeg that helps with the tracking. It takes 10 minutes to inflate and 1 minute to deflate. I love the fact that I didn't have to buy a roof rack and can throw it in the back of my 4Runner and I can carry it myself if I have to. You can view specs online at and order it from them. There is also a Sea Eagle dealer Tim Ryerson who I bought from and is helpful with any questions and can get a better deal than through Sea Eagle at who at one time lived in Prescott area but now travels in his motorhome.
I have a girlfriend who has an Advanced Elements IK and likes it except struggles at times with putting the floor in it. It is a sit inside kayak where the Sea Eagle is sit on top kind. The floor of the Fastrack inflates to a firm surface and you could stand up on it if you wanted. I did invest extra in a battery operated pump that hooks to my car battery for easier inflation.
Al P.
user 57812852
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 2
I'm selling my blue Tributary Tomcat inflatable kayak, air pump, paddle, and backpack storage/carrying case for $275. You can view the ad on Craigs List under inflatable kayak.
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