Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash
There is something very relaxing about being near large bodies of water. In fact, there is research that has shown that living near water improves our overall well-being and mood. So, if you find yourself gravitating more towards the ocean, rivers, and sea, then you’re doing something pretty magical. Some people might go for swimming, surfing, kayaking, fishing and a bunch of other activities, but if you are looking for something that is not entirely traditional than canoeing might be the thing for you.
Canoeing can be used for a number of purposes, so you can do it as a competitive sport, for camping, and then general recreation and relaxation, so it can really suit anyone’s needs. Canoes can also fit a bunch of people, so the next time you find yourself with nothing to do with your family or friends group, give canoeing a shot.
In case you happen to already love canoeing and want to be able to do it more regularly, it is better to just buy a canoe as opposed to having to rent it regularly. Now, if you do not have space to keep a proper canoe with you or are just looking for a more convenient solution, an inflatable canoe might just be the right choice for you. So, if you are currently thinking of buying an inflatable canoe and are still confused, you can keep on reading below:
As the name suggests, inflatable canoes can be inflated and deflated whenever needed. So, all you have to do is set up a pump and your canoe will be ready in a matter of minutes, and once you are done using it, you can just deflate your canoe, and then watch it becomes small enough to be fit into a duffel bag that you can just carry it around with you. This is part of what makes inflatable canoes so convenient since you can simply inflate them when you do want to use them, and then deflate them afterward, making them very lightweight and portable. So, you do not have to worry about putting your canoe on the roof of your car, or dealing with lugging the weight of a proper canoe anymore. So, an inflatable canoe will not take up a lot of space or require any physical labor on your end. This is especially good for people who do not use canoes as regularly or do not have the space to make room for a canoe in their house.
A lot of people have a misconception that an inflatable canoe is going to be weak and will end up tearing and getting damaged in a single go, and that is not actually the case. Modern innovation has now made it possible for really durable inflatable canoes to be created. In fact, most inflatable canoes now are able to withstand a lot of bumping and will do just fine even in rapid waters and withstand collisions with rocks and jagged surfaces. Of course, it is also important to remember that you will get what you pay for. So, if you are only paying $100 or $200 for your inflatable canoe, chances are that it is probably not going to last you long. This is why if you are planning on buying a canoe, be it inflatable or otherwise, you should be willing to spend a little extra to make sure that you have the right one or else you are going to end up getting one that will go out of commission early, and you will essentially be throwing your money down the drain.
Another thing you should consider when looking at inflatable canoes is what you plan on doing with them. So, the purpose of your inflatable canoe will also factor into the kind of canoe you should go for. You will find that there will be different recommendations if you want to use your inflatable canoe for competitive use, and similarly, you will find a different list if you only want to canoe for pleasure or fishing and so on. This is why it is important to always ask yourself what you plan on doing with your inflatable canoe, and then start looking through your options from canoes that are designed to work with said purpose. This will end up making the process a lot easier for you and you will be able to make the right decision this way.
Now that you have a couple of basic misconceptions cleared and have a better understanding of what inflatable canoes are and what they can offer you, you can now make a more well-informed and sound decision that you will not end up regretting later. Now that you are armed with the necessary knowledge, you can choose what you want to do next.
What is the inflatable canoe?
The canoe is a boat you drive seated or kneeling facing the direction of travel with a single-bladed paddle. It was the North American Indians who first used canoes for transportation, and people worldwide today use them as recreational boats. The inflatable canoe is made with tear-resistant tissue material coated with rubber material.
Two people paddle in the canoe; the first one is like the motor and the person in the back has to steer the canoe and paddle. People with experience can handle a solo canoe, which requires practice.
How does it work?
The inflatable canoe is made with multiple air chambers that you inflate with a powerful air pump until adequate form and stiffness. The inflatable canoes don’t get as stiff as solid-hull canoes, but they compensate with lightweight and small pack size.
Inflatable canoes come with two or several benches where the paddlers sit or kneel on. If you plan long trips where you have to pack a lot of gear, canoes are great options as they’re spacious. Many people use them for camping trips, expeditions, and whitewater experiences. If you like to paddle with other people and to explore nature, the canoe is an excellent investment to make. Canoes are also unique options for adrenaline lovers who want to paddle level 4 whitewater.
Uses of inflatable canoes
You can use inflatable canoes for many activities, but the main areas of use for inflatable canoes would be:
For white water
If you like whitewater paddling, inflatable canoes are excellent. The stability is excellent thanks to the thick inner tubes and wide hull. Unlike the rigid shell canoes, the inflatable canoes have more flexibility and can pass over obstacles easier than regular models. We recommend buying high-quality inflatable canoes for whitewater as the material must be rigid and firm enough to hold the boat.
Inflatable canoes for whitewater have thigh straps and a safety clasp for additional safety. We advise you to practice using the thigh straps; you have to get off the canoe quickly in case of flipping over. Models with a stern and a raised rectangular bow for challenging whitewater are an excellent choice. You can use them on whitewater class IV. For long trips on rivers and lakes, models with a stern and pointed bow are a perfect choice as they get fast thanks to the pointed hull.
For camping trips and expeditions
If you like camping and fun expeditions, you can use inflatable canoes as they offer generous inner room. They don’t have a cockpit to cover the boat and the paddlers sit on the benches. Canoes provide with more space than kayaks, so they make a better choice for multi-day trips. Canoes are easy to transport, so you can take one when you go on a vacation. Exploring the surroundings in a canoe is a unique experience.
When you use a canoe, you don’t intend to go fast but focus on admiring nature and have a long trip on the water. Paddling in a canoe is relaxing and getting in/off the boat is rather effortless. Packing your gear in a canoe doesn’t take much effort as well.
For family trips
Since canoes are very stable, they make a reliable option for family experiences. Capsizing a canoe takes a lot of effort! Additionally, the inflatable canoes have side tubes that ensure safety for children in the boat. Children can sit on the floor, so the risk of dropping in the water is low. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t supervise your kids when traveling in a canoe.
Needless to say, a family with kids will have a lot of gear to carry and canoes have generous space to store that gear. Unlike kayaks, canoes come in various sizes, so you can find the size that fits your family’s needs the most.
How is the driving performance with an inflatable canoe?
Unlike the rigid-hull and folding canoes, inflatable canoes will float on water thanks to air buoyancy. The side walls are large and the canoes ensure the generous surface area for the wind to attack. Therefore, it won’t be easy to paddle in a canoe on a windy day, especially if you’re on a lake. For such situations, rigid hull and folding canoes represent a better choice than the inflatable models because they have better formed stern and bow. Gliding through the water will be easy for these models.
On windy days, paddling in an inflatable boat will become tedious. You can definitely use them on lovely sunny days, though.
In the case of flowing water, inflatable canoes will impress with their performance. Thanks to the current, the bank slopes protect small and medium rivers from the wind and help canoes go smoother
. Thanks to the air buoyancy, it will be easy to pass shallow river passages with your canoe. A folding or rigid hull model would touch the ground in such conditions. Since the air tubes ride over the obstacles in the water, you can confidently use inflatable canoes on whitewater rivers as well. For such waters, the fixed-full canoe would capsize fast, whereas a folding model will rapidly damage the skin.
How’s comfort and space in an inflatable canoe?
When we talk about inflatable boats, the inflatable canoe is one of the most spacious types of boat to get. You can find it in various sizes: 2, 3, 4, or 10 person models. Like a wooden hull canoe, you can paddle both sitting and kneeling. As a matter of fact, when you paddle kneeling, the inflatable canoe is more comfortable than the rigid hull alternative. The air bottom makes the kneeling more relaxed than a rigid hull model. Additionally, the air bottom will keep you warm as it insulates you from the cold water if the water temperature is low.
Inflatable canoes present a high load limit due to their air buoyancy. You can load some of the top models with up to 900lbs. Compared to the fixed hull and folding canoes, the inflatable canoe offers less room for gear, mainly because of the air tubes. Should you plan a two-week trip, you will need to pack your gear wisely—side chambers will take away some of the space.