10 Best Inflatable Fishing Boats In 2020 [Detailed Reviews + Guide]
Fishing used to involve lugging a heavy boat onto your car roof, driving to the lake or river, unloading the boat and getting it into the river. The whole journey requires at least two people and can be a pain from beginning to end.
The emergence of portable and easy to use inflatable fishing boats revolutionized fishing for many. This article helps you decide on the best inflatable fishing boat that best fits your lifestyle, and also contains a FAQs section and buying guide.
- Why Get An Inflatable Fishing Boat?
- Top 10 Table of Comparison
- 10 Best inflatable fishing boats Reviewed
- 1. Intex Seahawk 4 Review
- 2. Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
- 3. Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat
- 4. Newport Vessels Dana Dinghy - Best Inflatable Boat For Ocean
- 5. Advanced Elements Straitedge Angler Kayak
- 6. Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Inflatable
- 7. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
- 8. Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
- 9. AIRHEAD Angler Bay Inflatable Boat
- 10. Sea Eagle SE9 Inflatable Motormount Boat - Fisherman's Dream Package
- Inflatable Fishing Boats Buying guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- FINAL VERDICT
Why Get An Inflatable Fishing Boat?
Inflatable fishing boats make your fishing experience more comfortable and faster. The time it takes to load and unload a regular-sized boat is significantly reduced, and even one person can lift the inflatable boat. These boats are also very durable and long-lasting, and some can fare on practically all water bodies.
Inflatable fishing boats have hulls constructed from a lightweight material such as PVC, Hypalon, and polyurethane and bows made from flexible tubes filled with pressurized gas. The boats have rigid aluminum or plywood sheets that provide structure and a position for a motor.
Top 10 Table of Comparison
We have designed a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance.
|Product||Specifications & Features||Our Rating|
Intex Seahawk 4-Person Inflatable Boat
| Kayak Capacity: 4 Adults|
Dimension: 11 feet 6 in x 4 ft 9 in
Maximum Capacity: 1050 lbs
Weight: 37.5 lbs
Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
| Kayak Capacity: 1 Adult|
Dimension: 47 x 17.5 x 56 inches
Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs
Weight: 14 lbs
Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat
| Kayak Capacity: 1 Adult|
Dimension: 108 x 56 x 26 inches
Maximum Capacity: 400 lbs
Weight: 71.5 lbs
Newport Vessels Dana Dinghy
| Kayak Capacity: Up to 3 Adults|
Dimension: 106 x 60 x 18 inches
Maximum Capacity: 1067 lbs
Weight: 107 lbs
Advanced Elements Straitedge Angler Kayak
| Kayak Capacity: 1 Adult|
Dimension: 9 ft 8 inch x 35 inch
Maximum Capacity: 300 lbs
Weight: 41 lbs
Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Inflatable
| Kayak Capacity: 2 Adults|
Dimension: 12 ft 6 inch x 40 x 6 inches
Maximum Capacity: 500 lbs
Weight: 48 lbs
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
| Kayak Capacity: 2 Adults|
Dimension: 12'7" X 3'1" X 1'6"
Maximum Capacity: 400 lbs
Weight: 39 lbs
Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
| Kayak Capacity: 2 Adults|
Dimension: 118 X 35 X 16 inches
Maximum Capacity: 450 lbs
Weight: 27 lbs
AIRHEAD Angler Bay Inflatable Boat
| Kayak Capacity: 3 Adults|
Dimension: 96 X 54 inches
Maximum Capacity: 450 lbs
Weight: 6 lbs
Sea Eagle SE9 Inflatable Motormount Boat
| Kayak Capacity: 4 Adults|
Dimension: 11 ft X 4 ft 8 inch
Maximum Capacity: 1200 lbs
Weight: 76 lbs
10 Best inflatable fishing boats Reviewed
1. Intex Seahawk 4 Review
The Intex Seahawk 4 is made of a heavy-duty, puncture-resistant 30-gauge PVC material that is very durable, sunlight-resistant, and comfortable. The boat can seat four people comfortably and also comes with inflatable cushions that increase seating stability.
It comes with two 28-inch aluminum oars, a heavy-duty grab handle, and two built-in rod holders. This boat is very portable. It weighs 37.5 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 800 pounds.
The Intex Seahawk has three air chambers and one more in the hull for extra safety. It also has motor mounts that allow installation of an Intex trolling motor, if you want to go a bit faster.
It also comes with several features such as oar holders, four oarlocks, all-around guard line, hand pump, a repair kit, a U.S Coast Guard ID, and a gear pouch.
This inflatable boat is gasoline, oil, and saltwater-resistant, and very stable on the water. You can use it on choppy water without fear of abrasions because the hull is both puncture and scratch-resistant.
2. Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
This float tube from Classic Accessories weighs only 14 pounds. It comes with adjustable carrying straps, making it perfect to transport your boat if you don't have a car or if you're fishing in a remote location. It seats one and is designed for a solo backcountry fishing trip.
The hull is very adaptable to water, and it is easy to maneuver. This boat comes with two drink holders, two cargo pockets, two fishing rod holders, a fish ruler, and mesh storage. It has a maximum load capacity of 350 pounds, and it tracks extremely well in water.
The float tube is made from a sturdy, scratch-resistant PVC material that retains most of its air throughout the day.
It has a high padded seat that keeps you dry and an adjustable backrest that gives you support while you fish. The seat allows you to see ahead of you and makes casting more relaxed and more accurate.
3. Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat
This pontoon rig has a tough frame made from powder-coated steel tubes. The 9-feet pontoons are made of heavy-duty scratch-resistant PVC at the bottom and nylon on top. This rugged boat allows you to explore the roughest waters without any fear of punctures and scratches.
The boat has ten mesh pockets, twelve zippered pockets, and two drink holders that stay dry while you’re in the water. It also has rear storage and a weather-proof motor mount that can be fixed on the left or the right, for a trolling motor. It comes with a safety label meaning it reached the safety standards of ABYC.
This Classic Accessories pontoon boat comes with a padded plastic foldable seat, adjustable footrests, and oarlocks that lock in 3 positions.
Other features include 3-position rod holder, anchor system, two aluminum oars, cold and heat resistant bladders, and quick inflation and deflation valves. The boat weighs 71 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds.
4. Newport Vessels Dana Dinghy - Best Inflatable Boat For Ocean
The hull of the Newport Vessels Dinghy is made from tough 3x layer 0.9mm/1100D UV-Coated PVC that is US Coast Guard rated. Its frame and floor panels are made from wood and aluminum, and advance adhesives have been used to make it. The company offers a 30-day guarantee and a 2-year warranty.
This rugged boat comes with an air keel, secure carrying handles, a grab line, self-bailing drain plug, three stainless steel bow D-rings for towing, and a plywood transom mount to attach a trolling motor.
It has 18-inch tubes that give it excellent stability while turning; it can hold an engine of up to 10HP, and reach speeds of around 20 MPH, depending on the conditions.
The Newport Vessels Dinghy comes with an aluminum bench seat, a patch & repair kit, two aluminum oars, a carrying bag, and a foot pump.
It seats three people and deflates into a compact shape that can easily be lifted with the carrying straps. This boat has a maximum carrying the weight of 1,067 pounds and weighs 107 pounds. It is most commonly used for fishing in the ocean.
5. Advanced Elements Straitedge Angler Kayak
This unique inflatable sit-on-top kayak is one of the best available, and it was designed with serious anglers in mind. It features a removable accessory frame in front, which allows you to mount extra fishing rods and fish finders.
When fully inflated, this kayak is 9 feet long, but it deflates to just 30 inches, making it compact enough to fit into the trunk of a small car.
The hull is broad and made from multi-layer materials. There are aluminum rib frame and abrasion pads that increase the durability. The wide beam makes this kayak very stable, and it has a high seat that offers inflatable lumbar support.
This boat features 2-rod holders, a removable mounting rail, stainless steel D-ring, and bungee deck lacing for extra storage.
The Advanced Elements kayak is rated for class 3 rivers, and it handles them very easily. The boat inflates and deflates within minutes, and it has a maximum carrying load of 300 pounds and weighs 41 pounds.
6. Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Inflatable
This stand-up paddleboard from Sea Eagle is at the top of the list of good SUPs for fishing. The boat is 12½ inches long, 40 inches wide, and 6 inches thick when inflated, and deflates to a 45-inch size that can fit into a backpack.
It is made from 1000 Denier with reinforced drop stitch and quadruple overlapped seam. The one-way air valves keep the air inside.
This SUP is Sea Eagle’s most stable and buoyant SUP so far, and it is rigid, versatile, and very stealthy in the water. It is designed for fishing, and it keeps you ahead of others.
The boat comes with a backpack, AB30 paddle, SUP paddle, multi-purpose storage box, swivel seat, manual select SUP pump, and a repair kit.
The boat seats a maximum of 2 people and has a maximum carrying load of 500 pounds. It has a motor mount and can fit a small electric motor. When deflated, it weighs 45 pounds without the motor, and it is easily carried around in its backpack.
7. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is made from a very tough laminated 3-ply PVC with a polyester core. It is lightweight and resistant to sunlight, impact, and abrasion.
This sit-on-top kayak seats two people comfortably and has high-pressure inflation that adds high stability and rigidity. When inflated, it measures 12 feet, enabling it to go fast.
The boat has two adjustable boat skegs for shallow and deeper water, two integrated rod holders, two adjustable bucket seats with backrests and a removable seat booster, and two floor-mounted footrests.
There is also a detachable and adjustable mounting bracket for extra accessories such as fish finders, and additional fishing rods. The kayak has storage space in the stern and bow and also has some stainless steel D-rings for tying down the gear and dry bags.
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak features spring-loaded, high-pressure valves to be inflated and deflated within minutes, and it comes with an integrated drain plug. It has a maximum capacity of 400 pounds, and it weighs 43 pounds.
8. Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
The rugged hull of the Elkton Outdoors Kayak is made with 18-Gauge 1000D PVC, a sturdy tarpaulin, and a nylon cover. It is so tough that it can’t be punctured by your fishing hook or by rocks in shallow water.
The kayak has quick inflation and deflation within minutes, into its 10 feet frame that seats two people.
With the Elkton Kayak, you don't need to bother about fishing accessories because it comes with two adjustable seats, two vertical rod holders and four trolling rod holders, two mesh pockets, a mesh storage bag, a double-action pump, two double-sided oars, and its carry bag.
This boat is compact and lightweight, but it doesn't sacrifice performance for it.
The kayak is easy to use, maneuver, and repair, due to its removable air chambers. The boat is tough and rugged, and it can fare well in almost any type of river. It has a maximum weight capacity of 450 pounds, and it weighs 27 pounds.
9. AIRHEAD Angler Bay Inflatable Boat
The Airhead Angler bay inflatable boat is one of the best for fishers who enjoy slow-moving waters and still lakes. The boat is a 3-seater, has a wide and comfortable, movable seat and a soft inflatable floor. This boat has a unique design, and it is easy to steer.
This boat is sturdy and puncture-resistant thanks to its tough hull made of heavy-duty vinyl with electronically welded seams. There are wrap-around grab lines, with two-rod holders, and drink holders.
The Airhead Angler Bay inflatable boat has a transom mount for a light motor with a low speed because it is made for calm waters.
This boat measures 8 feet when inflated, and folds into a compact size of only 24 inches. It has a maximum load capacity of 900 pounds, and it weighs only 6 pounds.
10. Sea Eagle SE9 Inflatable Motormount Boat - Fisherman's Dream Package
Sea Eagle’s SE9 inflatable motor mount boat offers you portability and stability without compromising performance. The boat’s hull is made from 38 mil polykrylar (k80 PVC), with a high-frequency weld seam.
It is a puncture, abrasion, and sunlight-resistant. The floor and seat are both inflatable and removable, and they are made from reinforced double layer 4-inch thick I-beam, with an additional protective sheath to prevent punctures.
This boat needs only 15 mins for inflation and deflation, and it measures 11 feet when inflated, and folds into a 26-inch portable size that fits into a carry bag. Additional features include two 14-inch inflatable seats, two-floor drains, a removable motor mount, and a carry bag.
A light electric motor or a 3HP gas motor can be attached to the removable motor mount. This boat can be taken into almost any type of water due to the high and wide hull design. The boat can seat four people and has a maximum load capacity of 1200 pounds.
Inflatable Fishing Boats Buying guide
Going from a traditional hard shell boat to an inflatable one isn’t always easy, especially if it is your first time. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a skilled fisherman, this buying guide will take you through the different steps to pick the best for your needs and personality.
Inflatable boats significantly reduce the time and energy it usually takes to get a boat into the water. You need to inflate it, and you're ready to go in the water.
They are also portable and easy to store. Inflatable boats come in several different designs, sizes, and types, and there are certain factors you should consider when purchasing your inflatable fishing boat.
One of the first things you need to have in place before acquiring anything at all is your budget. Apart from helping you to avoid making a wrong purchase, having a budget enables you to weed out the ones you can live without, and helps you make a well-informed and more satisfying choice.
Generally, inflatable fishing boats are a lot cheaper than their hard shell counterparts that can cost up to $10,000. Also, there is an inflatable boat for practically every budget.
The price of an inflatable fishing boat largely depends on the size, type, and features. A smart way of eliminating options that are way over your budget is applying the price filter.
2) Type of boat
An inflatable fishing boat is made for fishing. This means several different boat types fall under that category. You can’t say this is better than the other as they have different strengths.
Float tubes can be as basic as a covered inner tube with oars, or the more recent U-shaped tube. They are perfect for a solo fishing trip on a slow and gentle stream or lake because they aren’t very easy to maneuver.
It involves you sitting up to your waist in the water and propelling the boat with your feet, much like riding a bike.
Sit-on-top kayaks are very commonly used for fishing, especially by those new to fishing because they can easily be flipped back up if they tip over.
They are easily maneuvered and usually have enough storage space for your gear. These boats can be used in rivers, but not in rapids. Using this boat puts you in constant exposure to the water, so you’re advised to wear a wet suit.
Sit-inside kayaks are designed for fast rivers and some rapids. As the name implies, you sit with your legs tucked in below the hull. These boats tend to have a lot of storage space, and they are very stable. Sit-inside kayaks with a self-bailing floor recover faster when they capsize.
Rafts come in handy when you want to go fishing with more than one friend because they are much larger than most of the other options. You can find inflatable rafts of almost any price, from the cheap regular raft to the much more expensive whitewater raft.
If you like to spend a lot of time on rough waters, you might have to go for the costlier versions because of durability.
Dinghies are usually designed to carry an outboard motor and have reinforced floors and seats. They move well in large lakes, rivers, and coastal ocean waters. Some of them even come with oarlocks if you want to row, and they keep you relatively dryer than most.
They are good to use in cases of emergency, and they are mostly made from reinforced material that makes them durable.
Pontoon boats are bulkier, costlier, and heavier than many other inflatable boat options, but for some, the benefits outweigh the cons. Firstly, pontoon boats are incredibly stable and easy to maneuver.
They also tend to have a lot more accessories and features than others. Paddlers will prefer the pontoon boat because of the decent seat and leg support, and excellent positioning. They perform well even with strong currents, and they do an excellent job of keeping you dry.
Stand up paddleboards are great, but they require you to have a remarkable balance to be able to fish in them. If you’re one of the lucky people, then you get to enjoy a dryer and more traditional fishing experience.
The SUP is lightweight and very portable, it gives you better propulsion and viewpoint, and keeps you away from the water, as long as you don’t fall off. They are generally made for flat water, but some can fare well in rivers.
Inflatable canoes combine the advantages of a hard shell canoe with the benefits of inflatable boats. They are perfect if you always have company because they are spacious and are maneuvered better by two people. Inflatable canoes are very stable and can fare well in fast-moving water.
In many cases, features determine the cost of the product. It is not always true when it comes to inflatable boats. You can find a variety of boats with a range of prices and features. However, you should always look out for those features which are mandatory.
Some boats come with rod holders attached to the hull, extra gear compartments, grab lines, and an emergency survival kit. A few of them come with oars, and you can always find some that come with detachable inflatable seats.
4) Size of the boat
Your fishing habits and body of water should determine the size and design of the boat. Big boats are not as easily maneuvered as smaller boats, while small boats are not as stable on the water as larger ones.
Bigger boats tend to have more storage space for your fishing gear, and a higher load capacity. The size of the boat after deflation should be considered as regards to storage, and also, if you fish with friends, several boat options seat two people and above.
Inflatable fishing boats are made with lightweight synthetic materials such as PVC, Hypalon (CSM), and polyurethane so that they retain their portability.
Boats made with PVC are lighter, cheaper, and more portable than those made from Hypalon, but they require regular maintenance to last long. On the other hand, Hypalon is heavier, thicker, and more durable than PVC.
6) Fishing style
Some boats come with just paddles, but if you like speed, you can go for the models that have provisions for trolling motors. Also, when fishing on still waters and using a large boat, you may need mobility accessories.
A short boat is more comfortable to maneuver and make turns than in a longboat, but a long boat speeds up faster than a short boat. In any case, you should pick the boat that works well with your fishing lifestyle and habits.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are inflatable boats safe on the ocean?
That depends pretty much on the type of boat. Some are made to be used in slow-moving streams and lakes, while some types fare very well in faster bodies of water. However, dinghies are the best choice if you want to use your inflatable boat in coastal waters.
2. Is Hypalon better than PVC?
Hypalon is a thicker and heavier material than PVC. Although it lasts longer than PVC, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Hypalon is denser, so it doesn’t fold into a compact shape as PVC does, so the portability is limited.
PVC is cheaper and less durable than Hypalon, but it sits lighter in water, and it is easy to maneuver. None can be said to be better, and it just depends on your preference.
3. How long is their lifespan?
Inflatable boats do not last as long as hard-shell boats do. Boats made from PVC can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years, while those made from Hypalon can last up to 20 years or more, as long as you maintain them correctly.
Most durability problems arise when the owners of the boats don’t take care of the boat.
4. Can I take my dog on an inflatable boat?
If you want to take your dog out on your inflatable boat, make sure the floor of the boat is reinforced with a hard material, or made from a puncture-proof material.
Also, ensure your dog has on a life vest. Do not take a puppy on the water. Make sure your dog is mature enough to sit still so as not to rock your boat.
5. Are inflatable fishing boats safe?
As long as you maintain your balance on your inflatable boat, you are safe. They even recover faster than hard-shell boats if they capsize.
However, if you're not a very good swimmer, or you’re in a river with a strong current, make sure you wear a life vest. If you have children or pets aboard, ensure that they put on life vests, too.
6. How do I clean my inflatable fishing boat?
When cleaning your inflatable boat, make sure you stick to just mild soap and water. Wipe the boat down and dry it properly to avoid molding.
If the boat gets very dirty, you can take it to a boat maintenance shop to get it cleaned. Avoid using strong chemicals or solvents on your boat as they can compromise the glue at the seams of the boat and cause a leak.
7. How do I store my inflatable fishing boat?
An inflatable fishing boat can be stored inflated or deflated, but the latter is recommended. Before storing it, you have to dry it thoroughly to avoid any mold and mildew growth.
Do not dry your inflatable boat in the sun as constant exposure can damage the material of your boat.
Inflatable fishing boats have permanently changed the idea of fishing with their portability, versatility, and excellent performance. Choosing the best inflatable fishing boat requires you to have a good idea of what you want before you begin shopping because no single inflatable boat can claim to be the best. It all depends on your preference.
The Newport Vessels Dinghy Boat is the premium model that offers solid performance and very high load capacity. If you have the budget, we recommend you to go for this model, you will not regret it.
The Intex Seahawk 4, on the other hand, is affordable, portable, and suitable for choppy water. For us, our best choice would be the Cumberland from Classic Accessories as it has a very comfortable seat, portable, plenty of storage space and budget friendly.
Whatever your choice might be, proper care is the only way to make your inflatable boat last long enough for you to get value for your money. Say goodbye to the days of struggling with a heavy boat, and enjoy your new fishing experience.