While it’s true that inflatable paddlecraft do not offer the same performance as a vessel manufactured from fiberglass, Kevlar, or rotomolded plastic, they are hard to beat for portability and instant access to water you might not otherwise be able to reach—especially if you’re an angler wanting to ply areas inaccessible to other watercraft. Here’s how to pick the right inflatable for your next expedition.
Single or Tandem
Tandem kayaks take up little more room than a single-seater. Deflated, they can be car-topped, horse-packed, flown-in, or shipped to your final destination. It’s a great way to share the paddling chores and double your carrying capacity without doubling the weight. If you want a boat specifically for fishing, some models include GPS mounts, fishfinders, and rod holders integrated into the hull.
If you just want to cross a body of water, say an alpine lake or a few miles of stream, a single-person inflatable kayak may be the way to go. They are small enough to carry deflated on your back but offer enough navigability to open up miles of inaccessible water or hunting ground.
The SUP Option
Once considered a fad, stand up-paddleboards (SUP) are here to stay, and anglers have taken note. Throw an inflatable SUP in the stowage of your center-console boat, pump it up at your point of anchorage, then hop on and use it to cross otherwise unnavigable marsh and access isolated flats.
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