Let's not let this "Blow Up" on us..thoughts on inflatable boats

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
So, I was just browsing Amazon for Christmas Presents and somehow came across a blow up
dinghy which has really got me thinking. I have no idea why this thought never crossed my mind as I used to own a Sailboat and had a pretty sturdy, solid-floor 10' dinghy we towed behind for traveling to shore. Since I can't pull the TT AND a boat, at least not legally here in Florida, I'm thinking about adding an inflatable to my camping "mix". I'd probably go with a 10', keep the motor at 5hp-ish, maybe even trolling motor. But I figured I would reach out and see if anyone is already using one of these and what their experience is?

My concerns are a 10' dinghy is probably going to weigh over 100lbs in the bag, not to mention the weight of the outboard/gas tank/etc. I've got room/payload, so that's not the concern, but is that too heavy to be fooling with at the Campsite? Also, assuming I'll use an electric inflator, how difficult is it to move to the water? My thoughts are 10' boat with the removable aluminum floorboards, aluminum-plastic transom. Not worried about the weight of the outboard since it will carry separately, but is there too much hassle to gain the enjoyment? Looks like an entry priced boat on Amazon is around $400, then I'd have to spend another 300-400 bucks on the motor. What say you??
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,490
Northern Virginia
No experience with an inflatable dinghy but my inflatable kayak just used a regular air mattress pump which I already had on hand. A friend of mine has an inflatable sea eagle motor mount boat and just uses a small electric motor. So he doesn't have to worry about gas and what not. It works fine for him and his wife. Not sure how long the motor lasts though. His boat only weighs about 50 pounds without the motor attached. He's had it for 8 years and still uses it. It's the only way he can get his wife on the water. He usually deflates it for travel and storage and inflates it at his cabin in Maine.
 

nineoaks2004

Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday
Oct 15, 2006
8,241
Dukes, Fl
I have never used an inflatable, I do not think it would hold up here in the Fl creek, rivers etc due to the stumps, trees down etc. I had the same problem as I could not tow a second trailer behind the TT, I thought it over and I have a 12' solo Old Town canoe which weighs 40 lbs. I carry it on my pickup using a HF ladder rack mounted on the bed of my Truck, and it works well for me. I also have a small sot yak that I have rigged for fishing and it only weighs 40 lbs. So I have an option of what to bring. This has worked well for me. Maybe a rack for the top of your TV might work with a larger canoe.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,730
Nj
The inflatables would surprise you, they can handle a lot. Mine was in the ocean, white water, class 3 ( i thought more class 2) rivers lakes and more. Had it for over 10 years and still holds up well.
 

Arruba

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 28, 2014
808
Central Oregon
I have a 10ft inflatable pontoon boat. I personally find it very useful. Inflated and with the rowing frame, it weighs about 80lbs. It can be folded up and hauled, but everything is easier if I keep it aired up and assembled. It is pretty simple to load and haul. I've hauled it car top, pickup bed and pup roof. Packing it a long way by myself is a drag. Luckily there are wheel kits available for it, as well as for most inflatables/car topper type boats.

I you have some interests you're passionate about that a boat like you have in mind would facilitate, then certainly consider one.
 

generok

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 7, 2013
3,401
Anchorage, AK
We were thinking about an inflatable we could load in the UTV and explore some remote lakes. The Sea Eagle looks AWESOME, so thanks to this thread for turning me on to that one!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,490
Northern Virginia
The inflatables would surprise you, they can handle a lot. Mine was in the ocean, white water, class 3 ( i thought more class 2) rivers lakes and more. Had it for over 10 years and still holds up well.
I second this, and it could even handle my dogs claws walking on it. I've taken it in some streams and had it drag on the bottom and no leaks. A few sharp rocks hit it never a problem. Now I don't doubt something could happen if you hit something hard enough. My sea eagle kayak did come with a puncture kit, but I've never had to use it. However I had a valve crack somehow. Those valves are under a lot of pressure and it just looks like a pressure crack. So maybe I inflated it too well. I ended up glueing and sealing the crack and sanded down the top of the valve where a piece was sticking up. It managed to form a tight enough seal to use it again but sadly the boat lost its appeal to me especially when a friend of mine gave me a deal on a used hard shell kayak I couldn't refuse.
 

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
I had that hypalon dinghy for a bit and didn’t worry about scrapes because it had a wood floor. The one I’m considering is aluminum but I kinda like the idea about the ladder rack sup/yak idea too. Then again with the rack I could probably leave the dinghy inflated and strapped on top. Lots to consider but I will go one way or the other because I love the water.
 

gladecreekwy

Super Active Member
Sep 25, 2016
1,735
Jackson Wyoming
04D71A3A-82AE-4AB9-BF70-9DA074F0BF81.jpeg CD18FF3C-AD1D-4438-827E-2488D3CCC16B.jpeg When the choice is boat or no boat always choose boat. I have an 8’ one person pontoon that only weighs 45 lbs. with frame. It can handle a trolling motor and packs into a large duffel. Great for rivers and lakes. My wife drives me upstream from our site and I fish/float back. The top pic is the last time I used it this season
 
Last edited:
Feb 19, 2019
15
Finksburg MD
We have a hard shell tandem kayak, we are looking a Saturn Kaboat or a Scout 365 both are very similar we both like the upgraded seats you can get (sitting a aluminum plank for hours kinda doesn't have the same appeal it did 30 years ago). I want something that we can store easy and to use a electric trolling motor with.
Has anyone had any experience with either of these hybrid boats or something similar
 

nineoaks2004

Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday
Oct 15, 2006
8,241
Dukes, Fl
I sold my s.o.t. Yak today, I still have the solo canoe and will probably have and use it until I pass on. The yak was just not cut out for me any longer, age and mobility made sure of that. I can move about and even stand up in the solo canoe
my week long camping trips are pretty well out the window but over night trips and long weekend trips are still on also day long fishing trips are definitely on.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,730
Nj
Yea, ill agree and i am younger then you, i hauled the old town up and down an embankment lots of times. And took it lots of places before i got a camper. When i got my inflatable everyone at the lake wanted to know where to get one. As i was in the water in 15 mins. They had to line up at the boat launch, get ladders out to get the canoes off the truck ,van ,etc , then rest as it took a while. Meanwhile i was out on the lake, made a good half trip around and was back to shore. I dont fish , but was takinging my daughter, then 4 around, and i stayed close to the shore line just in case. We had life vests, i can swim ,but wasnt taking a chance.
 




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