Water activities while camping - inflatable boats?

Camper054

Active Member
Jul 23, 2019
313
Indiana
Hi all,
I do not have a canoe or kayak, or a boat, but want to enjoy some water activities while camping (when there is a lake or waterways nearby). Pulling my pup, there is no easy option to pull/haul any other things such as canoe or kayak etc. I know some state parks etc., that have waterways will rent a kayak or a boat so that is an option. But I was thinking of something more portable - such as an inflatable boat. Such as: https://www.amazon.com/Intex-Excurs...eywords=Inflatable+Boat&qid=1590853994&sr=8-2
There are some expensive ones and some seems reasonable (as in the link). But do not know how practical to have and use one. Have any of you thought about this or used one? Reading reviews and it is mixed. So, I thought to reach out to you all who enjoy outdoor activities. Please share thoughts, experience, comments and thanks in advance!
 

kcsa75

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 9, 2013
5,712
Kansas City
We own a 19-foot ski boat so don't know a lot about these, but I'm seeing more and more kayaks - inflatable and hard-sided on the lakes. We looked into one for our twin granddaughters recently. It was an inflatable two person kayak at Academy Sports. Thinking it was right around $200.

One thing I can tell is that the hand-pump in the link you shared will wear you out before you get that boat inflated. You can get a electric pump for about $20. We have a couple of them that we use to inflate air mattresses and a three-person towable tube.
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,061
We have an inflatable kayak (1 or 2 person) and it moves pretty good. It's also a comfy sofa at the campsite. I think it is a Sea Eagle.

It weighs about the same as our 19' canoe but packs much smaller. I haven't decided yet how to transport the canoe with the popup. I guess it just dangles off the ends?
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,619
Northern Virginia
I had a sea eagle. Sadly it sprang a leak at the valve so decided to throw it away last season. Had it for about 7 seasons so cannot complain. It's great for puttering around on a lake etc. I've taken it on some rivers as well. It's not the greatest when it's windy as it rides quite high in the water so you can really struggle getting it to go where you want. I took it on the bay once but it's very slow in getting anywhere and big boats don't always see you when speeding along. It's a great step into canoeing or kayaking if your not sure about getting a hard sided boat. Easy to pack, mine fit in a long suitcase with wheels so could easily bring it to launch. I personally used a battery air pump as the one that came with it was slow. I may consider buying another inflatable for some of my trips but I now have a hard sided kayak. IMG_20190724_183228374_HDR.jpg
 

Camper054

Active Member
Jul 23, 2019
313
Indiana
Thank you all very much for taking time to reply and pictures. Pics look so great! Yes, this is not easy for me as I need something that holds at least 5 persons. So, that is why I was looking at the one in the link. Agreed, it is not the best thing in the water with winds or in high waves. Just for sputtering in a rather calm lake.

Again many thanks you all!
 

scubacamper

Super Active Member
Mar 19, 2013
1,361
Jacksonville, FL
Bought my DW an inflatable Paddle Board for her B-day in March and this past weekend we camped at a local beach where she tried it out. It all collapses into a back pack so it's easy to load, carry and take along...we'd do it again. We've talked about a canoe or 2 kayaks which would mount to the top of the Mini-Van but haven't yet pulled the trigger...best of luck in what you decide.
 

jonkquil

Super Active Member
Jul 20, 2009
858
I had a sea eagle. Sadly it sprang a leak at the valve so decided to throw it away last season. Had it for about 7 seasons so cannot complain. It's great for puttering around on a lake etc. I've taken it on some rivers as well. It's not the greatest when it's windy as it rides quite high in the water so you can really struggle getting it to go where you want. I took it on the bay once but it's very slow in getting anywhere and big boats don't always see you when speeding along. It's a great step into canoeing or kayaking if your not sure about getting a hard sided boat. Easy to pack, mine fit in a long suitcase with wheels so could easily bring it to launch. I personally used a battery air pump as the one that came with it was slow. I may consider buying another inflatable for some of my trips but I now have a hard sided kayak. View attachment 62221

That's exactly where my camp chair would be placed too :) What an amazing site!!!
 

Camper054

Active Member
Jul 23, 2019
313
Indiana
Bought my DW an inflatable Paddle Board
Hi, if I may ask, which one you got? I have a family of five, three teenagers, me and my DW (combined weight of our family will be around 750 lbs). So far, based on my 'research', I am looking at one of below (most likely between Intex Mariner 4 or Sea Eagle SE9). Haven't pulled the trigger yet...
1) https://www.amazon.com/Intex-Mariner-4-Person-Inflatable-Aluminum/dp/B00CMBTCHW
This one is made of better material, but probably bit small for my need, but it may work for us. Wight capacity around 900 lbs). Price $250ish.
2) https://www.amazon.com/Intex-Excursion-5-Person-Inflatable-Aluminum/dp/B00CMBJ1VE
This is not as 'strong' as Intex Mariner 4, but look like will hold five of us (I couldn't find official weight capacity, but probably will hold 1200 lbs). Price is $180ish (it was available before, but not now in Amazon).
3) https://www.seaeagle.com/MotormountBoats/SE9
Sea Eagles are suggested by some as a good choice as well. This one is also 4 person/1200 lbs. Price $450ish.
4) https://www.seaeagle.com/SportRunabouts/106SR
This is one says it is for 5 person/1200 lbs. Price is $1650ish (can't justify spending this much for occasional use!).

Thanks all!
 

slowcarfast

Member
Nov 5, 2019
83
Sunshine State
Do you have clearance to throw roof rack on your tow vehicle and mount a canoe/kayak without interfering with the pop up? Or do you have physical constraints that make it difficult to load unload such a setup? If it were me, I think I'd get frustrated trying to paddle around an inflatable and wouldn't want to mess with the setup/teardown time. I know last time we were camping there was a guy with dual kayak mounts on the roof of his pup, but I'm not sure what implications that has related to roof strength and such.
 

Camper054

Active Member
Jul 23, 2019
313
Indiana
Hi @slowcarfast , good suggestion. My TV is Ram 1500, and I know I can modify the cab and put in something to mount a canoe or a boat. I am unwilling to do this change since the boat I want is purely for recreational and occasional use. 'Knock on wood', I am still okay and should be able to load and unload stuff from the truck. The main other reason I am unwilling to buy a boat/canoe is storage. I live in a subdivision and they do not allow to store boat/campers on the driveway. I am fortunate that I have built the house with a three car garage and also 'lucky' that my camper can fit in the garage. I know it takes time and effort to set up an inflatable boat and definitely not ideal in terms of taking it in the water, but that is what we will have to settle for now :). Thanks!
 

slowcarfast

Member
Nov 5, 2019
83
Sunshine State
Hi @slowcarfast , good suggestion. My TV is Ram 1500, and I know I can modify the cab and put in something to mount a canoe or a boat. I am unwilling to do this change since the boat I want is purely for recreational and occasional use. 'Knock on wood', I am still okay and should be able to load and unload stuff from the truck. The main other reason I am unwilling to buy a boat/canoe is storage. I live in a subdivision and they do not allow to store boat/campers on the driveway. I am fortunate that I have built the house with a three car garage and also 'lucky' that my camper can fit in the garage. I know it takes time and effort to set up an inflatable boat and definitely not ideal in terms of taking it in the water, but that is what we will have to settle for now :). Thanks!
That makes sense, pickup mounting is a little different, certainly possible but a bit more invasive during regular driving. I know my Uncle had a porta-bote, with a little outboard or a trolling motor that he used to take all over with his RV. That's a whole other price tier compared to the other options mentioned here though.
 

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
3,042
DFW, TX
My son went on a whitewater rafting trip last summer with the scouts. The outfitter provided them with inflatable kayaks, I think they were called Ducks or something like that. Worked well for the milder rapids, and then they all transitioned to the bigger rapid rafts with 6 people in them. They had a blast.

I am not a boat or water person, but I might consider an inflatable like a zodiac, and mount a small motor on it. Starts to get big though,
 

GandD

Member
Jul 29, 2019
31
Idaho
Could you get the 20190707_101846.jpg mariner 4 and a 2 person kayak?

My teens enjoy the kayak more than the raft because they get a chance to be independent. We are out in the inflatables together. Teens in the kayak and my husband and I in the raft.
We also have an electric trolling motor for the mariner 4. Works great.

Wish I could find a picture of us in the water. This was our setup a couple of years ago. Still using the rafts, but now we have popup camper instead of a tent
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,619
Northern Virginia
Just throwing this out there just in case. Some states require you to register even an inflatable boat even
if you plan to use a simple trolling motor occasionally. My state for one will be out looking to make sure your compliant too. It's crazy. If you only use paddles they usually don't care, so be sure to check with your state on the rules. Also check on the rules of the state your visiting. I got stopped in PA as I didn't realize I needed a temporary pass to paddle the public waters there. Not something you think about for just a simple, relaxing float on the water occasionally while on vacation. Every state is different and there may be some more lenient than others.
 

phoodieman

Super Active Member
May 18, 2009
807
Hutto, Texas
Hobie makes a very good inflatable kayak. It utilizes the "Mirage Drive". A foot pedal system that really makes the kayak go. You still use standard oars with it. It is very pricey though.
 




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