How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable Kayaks, also known as IKs or duckies, are exactly what they sound like. They are inflatable boats made out of materials like PVC, and are shaped similarly to standard hard boat kayaks. IKs come in many shapes and sizes that are best suited for a variety of paddling scenarios. All of Rocky Mountain Rafts’ (RMR) inflatable kayaks are made out of bomber triple-welded PVC backed up by 6-yr retail & 3-yr commercial warranty on workmanship and materials.


There are many advantages to owning an inflatable kayak, including: portability, ease of storage, beginner-friendly to advanced paddling uses, works well in whitewater and flat-water, cost, and flexibility from paddler to paddler. 


So now that you know an inflatable kayak is the ultimate freedom machine, let us help you choose which RMR IK is right for you. 


RMR inflatable kayaks come in two size types (single or tandem) with an additional two style types (drop-stitch or i-beam floor). All of the Rocky Mountain Raft IKs are suitable for whitewater and flatwater. But, let’s explore some differences…


Single or Tandem Inflatable Kayaks


Single IKs are perfect for single paddlers from youth to medium/large adults. Some of us at RMR even paddle the single IKs with a little kid tucked in too. Tandem IKs are best for two paddlers or larger to extra large paddlers who prefer more space and buoyancy. To paddle solo in a tandem kayak you simply sit in the IK backwards, with your back against the opposite side of the center thwart (tube that crosses the center). Anglers and overnighters also enjoy the added space of the tandem IKs. These inflatable kayaks are great for fishing! 


Drop Stitch or I-Beam Floors for Inflatable Kayaks 


Drop-stitch floors provide a flatter and stiffer bottom to the boat. This allows for a stiffer ride and punch through waves in whitewater. It also makes a nice flat surface for packing gear. Our IK-126 Taylor Single Inflatable Kayak and the IK-152 Tandem Taylor Inflatable Kayak both feature the drop-stitch style floors. Other benefits of the drop-stitch (Taylor) models is that they roll up easier and are lighter than the Animas models. 


I-beam floors have what look like ribbed chambers running along the floor. This style offers the most stability and tracking. The IK-123 The Animas Single Inflatable Kayak and the IK-144 Tandem Animas Inflatable Kayak both feature the I-beam style floor. Keep in mind this style of boat is best transported and stored inflated. 


Individual Features 


IK-126 Taylor Single Inflatable Kayak


The RMR IK-126 is our most affordable inflatable kayak. It is the fusion of affordability, craftsmanship, performance, and design. Triple-welded PVC combined with a drop-stitch floor insert give this IK a stiff yet comfortable ride. Diminishing side tubes create a progressive rocker profile made for popping up through waves and stable, responsive maneuvering. Adjustable backrest and tons of double D-rings allow for all kinds of customization. This is often the best choice for paddlers looking for an affordable yet durable single IK that can still hang in whitewater or flatwater scenarios. Larger or tandem paddlers look for the tandem version below. 


IK-152 Tandem Taylor Inflatable Kayak


The RMR IK-152 Tandem Taylor Inflatable Kayak has all the same features and performance as our single Taylor but with room for two. The roomy open deck can accommodate two people with extra gear storage. Triple-welded PVC seams combined with a drop-stitch floor insert give this tandem IK the same stiff yet comfortable ride. Diminishing side tubes create a progressive rocker profile made for popping up through waves and stable, responsive maneuvering. Adjustable backrests and tons of double D-rings also allow for all kinds of customization.


The IK-123 Animas Single Inflatable Kayak


The IK-123 Animas Single Inflatable Kayak is durable without sacrificing performance.  Designed with the commercial Outfitter in mind, it comes standard with an I-beam floor, chafers, and baffles. The seams are triple-fused with welded seam tape inside and out. This single IK is built with the perfect blend of performance, durability, and stability. These incredibly durable IKs are sure to be a blast regardless of your experience level. If you are a larger paddler, tandem, or looking for more room for fishing or overnight gear, check out the tandem model below. 


IK-144 Tandem Animas Inflatable Kayak


The IK-144 Tandem Animas Inflatable Kayak offers all the durable and stability benefits of the single model, with more room to spread out, haul gear, or take on another paddler. This is our most popular tandem model for outfitters. 


What kind of paddle should I buy?


Most of our inflatable kayak, or ducky fans, enjoy a double bladed paddle between 110cm and 140cm depending on your size, height, and personal preferences. We recommend consulting your local gear store to personally try some out. For more information check out our Paddle Buying Guide here. 


How do I get started with my new Inflatable Kayak?


Check out the RMR Inflatable Kayak how-to video that covers the use of your boat from opening the box, inflating, using the valves, transport, carrying, and getting onto the water. 


We know you will love the freedom of your new IK. Please share your adventures with us on facebook and instagram.

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