Inflatable Kayak or solid?

Discussion in 'Canoeing / Kayaking, Boating, & S.C.U.B.A.' started by myride, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Well, received an inflatable kayak (Intex Challenger K2) as a gift. Had the opportunity to test run it over last holiday. Besides the ease of packing, quick inflation and low cost I wasn't enamored with it. I found the inflatable seat backs a complete failure, always creeping down and really no support at all. It came "out of the box" with a leak so that was dissapointing.

    Here is my question, has anyone had any experience with the Pelican Unison 136T or a better quality inflatable tandem kayak? Aside from the uncomfortable paddling position due to the seat backs and the feeling my fat ass was causing it to ride bow high in the water it was "OK" but thinking a solid kayak is the route to go. Not looking to break the bank but suggestions on any tandem kayak is welcomed and appreciated.
     
  2. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

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    Until you get into the "real inflatables" like over at NRS, nrs.com and spend a couple grand the rest are junk. Even the expensive "duckies" still lack so much that you'd get in a hardshell like foot braces. I paddled a high end inflatable ducky on the San Juan river in Utah for a hundred miles over a week's time and had a blast but it was far from the comfort of a hard shell. I wouldn't buy an inflatable unless storage is an issue. Hard shells are cheaper and much better value. Inflatables don't track worth a crap either and weathercock bad into the wind. Some hard shells have skegs to improve tracking and have much more comfortable seating. Perception is a good brand to look at.
     
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  3. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Dan, thanks for your input. My thoughts exactly regarding a hard shell over an inflatable. The decent inflatables are more expensive than a hard shell with more options! I'll take a peak at the Perception as you suggest.
     
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  4. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

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  5. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Inflatable would not do well here, due to the many things that can puncture it in the dark waters it would probably de-flate from punctures. I have had several hard types over the years and they do take a beating but never sank from punctures, years ago I organized a Paddlers group and started with 8 people, then it blossomed to 50 plus members. We Yakked every weekend and had all kinds of Yaks and Canoes, but nary an inflatable.
    I now have a 12' old town solo canoe, an 18' Grumman canoe and a 10 ft s.o.t. yak for fishing. They stand up to rough treatment and are comfortable to use.
     
  6. gatorbait

    gatorbait Upstate, SC

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    We have two challengers and an explorer for packing reasons. They are much more comfortable if you leave the air out of the bottom of the seat. Then you can pull the straps tight on your lower back. Then its very comfortable. The explorer is terrible in wind. I consider it equivalent to a canoe. They put a seam right where your arms hit so i have to wear long sleeve sun shirts. Challengers a bit better. Also the skegs have a tendency to come off. I drilled a hole in these and tie a line to it. I think they're fine for floating around lakes and the kids love them. A lot of times we just rent some. If i was going to put money in some it would be a hard shell.
     
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  7. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Never thought of deflating the seat portion to bring up the back area...makes sense. The single, narrow back strap was definitely a bone of contention with me but lowering my ass might be the answer...lol
     
  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I like my cheapo inflatable. Is it the same as a hard kyack. Hell no. Is it easy to transport, set up etc. Yes. If your just looking to paddle around on a lake , river , bay , it does the job. I wouldent fish out of it, or take it in white water . But it has seen level 2 rapids, the ocean, Hudson, a few lakes and the bay. It's great and fun. I don't use the seat at all , I'm tall and it's easy enough to sit on the floor. I'm also 220 lbs and it does fine. They do sell better seats for some of these , so that could be an option.
     
  9. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Better seats or reconfigure the ones supplied are.an option....but with no storage/transporting issues I'm still leaning towards the hard shell.
     
  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Mine is more for convince, it's me and my 6 yo. I have a ocean tandem hard ride on top kyack , it's heavy, hard to transport for one person and with trying to controll the kid , while carrying the kyack and gear isn't an option.
     
  11. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    I can see the ride on top isn't an option for me...my GD would put us in the drink waaay to fast. Hence the hard side/sit in style. From what I've read it's only on the average 18-20lbs heavier than the inflatable so that's doable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  12. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    Being in Florida, wouldn't even consider an inflatable on the Gulf or the Atlantic. Plus, most of them don't have
    the payload capability at least in the "less than the cost of a hardside" segment (I'm 6'2" 235lb, most inflatables
    have a max 225lb limit). And from what I've seen, they don't necessarily save a lot of room since the bags
    are usually bigger than a mid-size piece of luggage, whereas one can easily mount a carrier on top of the TV or
    the pup itself.

    At the same time, there's a significant difference between an entry level kayak and those that are pricier, I can
    attest to. It's almost like a Road Bike vs. a Wal Mart Bike. They might look similar, but the engineering in each
    is miles apart.
     
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  13. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    One of my concerns is payload indeed...lol, thanks for the insight what do you think of this?
    https://www.pelicansport.com/us_en/unison-136t
     
  14. ezakoske

    ezakoske Active Member

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    We have a Challenger K1, and Explorer K2 and a much nicer West Marine branded Advanced Elements single kayak. The Intex boats are essentially toys, but work fine for the family. Everyone typically wants to use the West Marine boat, though.
    For us, it's a matter of space. We'll likely sell the Explorer K2, and pick up a couple of SUPs.
     
  15. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    This is what I bought, it's going on its 10th year (hope I didn't curse myself) I use it with me and daughter or alone. Weight limit is like 500 or 600 lbs off the top of my head . I did have it maxed out once. It's good foe what it is, and for me is easy. I can also throw it in any car to take for day trips. https://www.google.com/shopping/pro...&ved=0ahUKEwiprtTn7PTcAhWCmeAKHdfMDtMQgTYIsQQ
    Like I said seats suck, but they have a better model.
     
  16. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all for your responses. Seeing as storage/transport is not an issue I think I'll go with a solid walled sit in style. Any preferences out there in a tandem design that DOESN'T break the bank?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  17. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    The only thing going for my inflatable is the portability and ease of storage. I still have it, but my go-to kayak is the hard shell kayak. If you are just looking for a cheap recreational perception comes out with a tandem. No experience with the tandem but the single seat perception is a decent boat, but is a rec boat so wider and a bit slower on the water and the plastic a bit heavier.
     
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  18. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    I have a 10+ year old Wilderness System 12' Pamlico that I still drag around with me for lakes and rivers up to Class 2. Wife has a new Old Town 10' Vapor that she takes for the same waters. We know other couples that both paddle the Vapor. It is a popular model around here. The issue with tandems are having to paddle in sync, so paddles don't clash.
     
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  19. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    For pleasure paddling that’s a perfectly fine ‘yak. Pelican makes quite the range and they tend to hold up pretty well.
     
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  20. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    However, if you and the DW are new to kayaks I might recommend a “sit-on-top” and always get the longest you can transport. Sit in Kayaks are actually much harder to get in and what most people don’t think about is if water starts to get in, or you fall out in the water, you probably won’t be able to get back in. Trying to hold that thing up with water in it is not an option. The longer the kayak the more waterline means less effort to paddle. Tandem does require a coordinated effort so plan on practicing as much as you can.

    Here’s a Pelican sit on top;
    https://www.pelicansport.com/us_en/sentinel-130t
     
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