People all over have discovered the fun of an inflatable boat. Whether it’s to go fishing, floating down the river, family fun time, going to great swimming spots, exploring hard-to-get-to spots of a lake or river, or just enjoying a sunrise or sunset on the water, there are so many great experiences that can be done with an inflatable boat. But what is the best kind of inflatable boat to use?
What Are The Benefits Of An Inflatable Boat?
To know the best kind of inflatable boat, it helps to have an understanding of the benefits of an inflatable boat. Just take a look at how convenient an inflatable boat can be:
- Much less expensive than a regular boat – Even the high end inflatable boats only run about $1,500. If you don’t want to go that high, you can still find a great boat for under $200.
- Takes up less space – You don’t have to park an inflatable boat in your driveway, storage shed, or your grandmother’s ranch. Many inflatable boats can fit in a backpack. Even when you add in the oars, you can fit your boat in the back of your closet or corner of the garage.
- You don’t need a car or truck big enough to haul a boat and trailer – As long as you have about 4-8 square feet available in your vehicle, you can take your inflatable boat anywhere you want to go.
- Easy to get started – When you get to the lake, all you have to do is air up the boat and set out. Some boats are easier to inflate than others, but no matter how long it takes, you won’t have to go to the boat ramp and deal with getting your boat out, parking your truck, and getting back in your boat.
- Easy to clean – Even people that love boating hate having to end a fun day by cleaning the boat. Inflatable boats are easy to wipe down and dry off.
So What Is The Best Kind Of Inflatable Boat For Me?
The best kind of inflatable boat for you will determine what you want to do with that. Take a look at these types of inflatable boats and you will be on your way to finding out which is the kind that you need to get. And don’t worry about the title of this article…inflatable boats are great for spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Rigid Inflatable Boats
Rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) are also called rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). If the best kind of inflatable boat for you is one that is super safe, then an RIB is the way to go. The hull is made of fiberglass, aluminum, or plastic, and it has an inflatable tube attached to it.
RIBs are extremely sturdy, and because of this, they can go on some fun adventures and even on the ocean. The Coast Guard uses them in their rescue operations.
The only downside to a rigid inflatable boat is that contrary to what we said up above, it cannot be folded up. You will need a trailer to haul an RIB.
Reasons to get a rigid inflatable boat:
- Can go into rougher conditions
- Can go on the ocean
Inflatable Sport Boats
Inflatable sport boats aren’t as heavy duty as a RIB, but they aren’t far off. On an inflatable sport boat, the keel, or part of the boat that creates the V-shape on the bottom, is either inflatable or made of wood. The transom, which is where you attach the motor, is also made of wood (sometimes fiberglass-covered wood). The floor is either rigid or semi-rigid.
Inflatable sport boats come in a variety of floors. Plastic, inflatable, aluminum, and wood are common choices. This type of inflatable boat can be folded up.
Reasons to get an inflatable sport boat:
- Can go fishing
- Can enjoy water sports
- Can go on the ocean
- Less expensive than a rigid inflatable boat
Some people are confused about the difference between a regular inflatable boat and an inflatable dinghy. So what is an inflatable dinghy and why would it be the best kind of inflatable boat? It is a small, light-duty inflatable boat that is great for occasional use on lakes and rivers. It is also good for getting from your larger boat to shore. You would not want an inflatable boat if you are needing something heavy duty.
Inflatable dinghies can be collapsed and rolled up. Because they are so light weight they are easy to store. You can even find some that are under 40 pounds. They aren’t as durable as RIBs or an inflatable sport boat, but if you just want something to paddle or troll around on, this is a great choice.
Reasons to get an inflatable dinghy:
- Can go fishing on calmer waters
- Great inflatable boat for floating a river
- Can go from a larger boat or yacht to shore
- Less expensive than larger inflatable boats
- Easy to store
- Easy to transport
Inflatable rafts are exactly what they sound like. They have a flat bottom and no keel. A whitewater rafting boat would be an inflatable raft, but so would the thing that kids float on in the shallow end of the lake.
An inflatable raft is usually used to take gear to a larger boat, sort of like a mini-dinghy. You can sometimes find an inflatable raft with a motor mount, but it is sometimes more trouble than it’s worth because they are hard to steer and make go straight.
Because inflatable rafts are so small they are light and easy to fold up. However, a nice, sturdy one can help get lots of cargo out to a bigger boat or yacht. Inflatable rafts are the best kind of inflatable boat to get if you just need something small.
Reasons to get an inflatable raft:
- Small and lightweight
- Easy to fold up
- Great for taking gear out to a larger boat
- Great for playing at the lake
- Heavier models can be used to raft down rivers
Inflatable kayaks are very popular nowadays. Due to their shape and size they are easy to inflate and easy to maneuver. They are very light and great for exploring and fishing a river, lake, or lagoon. An inflatable kayak can be stored in the top of your closet and carried in the trunk of your car. Or combine those things and store it in your car, and pop it out whenever the thought strikes. If you own a yacht, keep an inflatable kayak on board so you can get to places that your boat can’t.
If you want a heavier version, you certainly can. These are great for whitewater rafting.
Reasons to get an inflatable kayak:
- Small and lightweight
- Easy to inflate
- Great for exploring small or shallow bodies of water
- Heavy-duty versions can be used for whitewater rafting
Inflatable Pontoon Boats
Inflatable pontoon boats are perfect for you if you are a fisherman, and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you simply want a pontoon boat that you can take out by yourself to go fish, then a light-duty version is the best kind of inflatable boat for you. They are easy to tote to the lake or river, easy to slip in the water, and hold a lot of gear onboard.
A heavier inflatable pontoon boat is the best inflatable boat for you if you want to fish rougher waters and want a more sturdy boat.
You sit up higher in a pontoon boat, which helps you see, but also leaves you more exposed. Not a big deal, but you will need to be aware.
Reasons to get an inflatable pontoon boat:
- Great for fishing
- You sit up higher
- Heavier models can be used in rougher waters
- Easy to transport
- Can hold a lot of gear
Where To Buy An Inflatable Boat
Inflatable boats can be found at various boating and outdoor retailers. They will have experts that can talk to you further about the best kind of inflatable boat for you. But if you have an idea of what you want, then Amazon is a great option.
No matter how you choose to purchase your boat, you will have a lot of fun as soon as you discover the best kind of inflatable boat for you.