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Best inflatable boat 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best inflatable boat of 2018
We’ve narrowed down our options based on the customer feedback (read positive reviews), functionality, material and size. In other words, we’ve put all fundamentals into consideration to come up with a comprehensive list that suits various needs. Below you can find 3 reviews of the best inflatable boat to buy in 2018, which I have picked after the deep market research.
You must have heard that the best inflatable boat should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one. Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this inflatable boat win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day.
№2 – Intex Explorer 300
Why did this inflatable boat come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
№3 – Intex Explorer 200
Why did this inflatable boat take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
inflatable boat Buyer’s Guide
PVC versus Hypalon
Hypalon, on the other hand, is a weighty, expensive, and extremely robust fabric. That’s why it’s commonly used in the construction of heavy-duty RIBs. Plainly then, your buying decision should be based partly on budget but also on your intended usage. If you want to keep your tender ready-built and routinely exposed for frequent use, then Hypalon is the answer. However, if you want a more compact and portable boat for less regular use and for stowing away between outings, a modern, lightweight PVC craft is likely to prove the better compromise.
Consider portability, longevity, and cost when comparing PVC and Hypalon.
Even on an entry-level budget, basic accessories (oars, seats, a pump, a repair kit, lifting points, and a carry bag) should be included in the price. But you should also look for multiple air chambers for safety, plus an inflatable thwart for extra strength. Those with a pronounced inflatable keel have improve directional stability, and optional fins and tabs can help tweak the handling. Think also about investing in some wheels for transporting your tender up and down docks and beaches. And if you intend to buy a small outboard, you should consider electric power for cleaner, simpler stowage and transport. Whatever type of outboard you use, an extended tiller can help you shift your weight forward, for easier planing and a flatter ride.
Technically not really a pontoon boat, but we decided to include them in the buyer’s guide because of their similarities. Inflatable float tubes are for the fishermen that want to get up close and stalk their fish. Instead of standing at the bank hoping the fish will come to you, you come to fish instead. It’s basically a inflatable seat with a couple of pockets and to power the boat you paddle with your feet.
Inflatable pontoons without any frame look a lot like dinghies, they behave pretty much the same way. The only real difference is the motor mount and the few added accessories that most frameless pontoons come with, swivel seats and rod holders are one of the most common accessories. These are easier and faster to set up compared to pontoons with frames, they also take up less space. They are versatile as you can both row them or use a motor.
If you want to get the most out of your lake fishing, a frameless inflatable pontoon is highly recommended, you’ll be able to go further, fish in more water conditions, store more gear and if you want to, you can stand up and fish.
Pontoons With Frames
Pontoons with frames are another hit among fishermen. Instead of a hard wood floor, they have pockets and bags to store all your fishing gear. They get you closer to the water than a frameless pontoon, not as much as a float tube but just enough so you can reach down and grab a fish from the water. Just like the floating tubes, framed pontoons give a more ‘personal’ feeling to your fishing. It’s hard to explain but it’s almost as you’re one with the lake, it’s definitely a different side to fishing. If a float tube had an upgrade, it would be this.
Generally, the more expensive the inflatable, the better quality the material. At the top of the tree is Hypalon which has the longest warranty period (ten years).
Most dinghies use PVC-coated fabrics. The heavier the material, by and large, the more durable it will be. Fabric life warranty will be around five years.
Dinghies of yacht tender size usually have two or three inflation compartments plus floor and keel.
For safety the more the better but for easy inflation and deflation, two is enough. Tube diameter is also important. Fatter tubes keep backsides further from the water, provide a softer ride and keep water where it belongs.
On the other hand big tubes are heavier, bulkier and more expensive.
The AIB has an inflatable keel and a flat inflated floor, although when pumped up, it actually rose in a slight inverted vee.
It has three tube compartments, and two in the floor, which all have to be inflated in the right order and to the correct pressure.
Short grab ropes are fitted on each side, but there are none across the bow. The drain bung can only be reached from outside the boat as the floor gets in the way inside. There are no transom rings or davit lifting points.
This dinghy was simple to row as it sat lower in the water and the flatter floor made it easy to move around.
Under power the AIB planed with the 2.5hp and one light person aboard. With the 5hp the dinghy reached 13mph one up, and even faster at 15mph with two aboard, but the seat was sited too far forward.
The 6-person AIRHEAD AHIBF-0Angler Bay is a versatile boat that can handle many different fishing scenarios. It is constructed of heavy-duty vinyl and features electronically welded seams to ensure you do not have leaks in the seams. There are two rod holders on board and multiple drink holders.
The true inflatable boat fan will want to choose the Sea Eagle 28It is a pontoon boat that comes with everything you need to get up and going on your next fishing adventure. It takes only minutes to assemble and the engine capacity is 3hp. It is perfect for a single fisherman with its single pedestal seat.
The cruising boater or silver-haired grey navy sailor would be well served by what is commonly termed a boat-in-a-bag. This is about as simple as boating gets. Compact, durable and inexpensive, basic roll-ups sport an inflatable collar and flexible synthetic rubber floor, the latter often reinforced with timber or composite slats that facilitate folding and add rigidity. Most are supplied standard with paddles/oars and can be folded down into a carrier the size of a golf bag, while many have rigid transoms capable of supporting an outboard.
Capable of a substantial payload once inflated, a 2.4m Plastimo Raid P240SH inflatable, for example, is rated to 5hp, with a capacity of three adults and a maximum load of 350kg — all this in a boat that can hide in the lazarette and the boot of a car. They’re great as a cheap tender and just right for fishing in shallow and skinny waterways. Add a small 2hp engine, a couple of two-piece rods and a splash of fuel, and you’ve got a stealthy boat that can access backwaters and creeks where you’d never get a conventional 10ft tinnie.
The best part, you get all of that for just a couple of grand — including the rods and fuel.
In recent years you may have caught New Zealand’s unique Sealegs boats performing party tricks around the Aussie boat-show circuit, morphing from rock crawler to tender extraordinaire before your very eyes. Available with either a fibreglass or alloy hull, Sealegs is a category unto itself and this innovative craft did itself proud in the aftermath of last year’s Queensland floods.
Predominantly outboard-powered inflatables require no more effort than any other boat to maintain in as-new condition. To maximise your inflatable’s lifespan, follow these simple guidelines: • If you normally have a shower after a dip do the same for your boat, a 10-minute washdown is all it takes. If you have a boat-in-a-bag, air it once it’s rinsed off, much like you’d hang out a wet tent. Hang wet carpet on the lifeline or siderail to dry and pop some moisture-absorbing pouches in any storage locker. • Flush the engine after every use. I repeat, flush the engine after every use. • Tubes can be cleaned of grime and scum with a bit of elbow grease and a mild detergent, while products like Jiff or Scuff Orf will sort out stubborn stains. Wax any fibreglass hull surfaces and dress the interior vinyl with a protectant such as Armor All. • Check the tubes for correct inflation and for leaks. • A pressure gauge is an inexpensive investment as is a bucket of soapy water, which brushed onto the tubes will reveal any leaks through tell-tale bubbles. Punctures are easily fixed with the supplied repair kit.
Here are a few tips to keep you out of trouble on those first few adventures out on the water.
Before you launch run through a check list as you load your gear into the boat. It is easy to forget something even for an experienced boatie. Your check list should include: are the bungs in and tight? What about flares, fire extinguisher, anchor, marine radio, lifejackets, bailer, spare fuel, something to eat and drink, warm clothing, and so on? It is very easy to get underway and then realise you have left something important back in your vehicle at the slipway! “Why is that,” replied the indignant contestant. “You have no propeller on your stern leg,” my mate replied.
The contestant walked briskly to the rear of his pride and joy to see for himself.
Always have a backup device or a backup plan. For example carry three times as much fuel as you think yow will need to get there and back. Have two means of propulsion such as a main motor and an auxiliary motor. Have a marine two way radio and a cell phone. A marine two way radio is much more important in an emergency situation than a cell phone as it will be heard by the coastguard and other vessels in the immediate area. Use a cell phone only if you have nothing else available. Have two bailers instead of one, and so on.
When fishing on a large lake from a small craft hug the shoreline. Avoid heading out into the middle of the lake. Should the wind change suddenly lakes can, and do, become very rough, very quickly.
The sea is very deep off Kaikoura making your anchor useless. You will of course be drifting with the wind. Already the situation has started to become life threatening. You decide the best option is to sort the motor out.
If venturing offshore it is a better option to travel out together with at least one other boat. This buddy system would enable your mate to tow you back in this situation.
First time boaties have heaps to learn. Much of it is alien to someone who has had little to do with boats.
Support the transom and motor
When the trailer hits a bump or pothole on the road, the motor will bounce up and come down again with considerable force. That force can in turn cause the transom to bend or even break away from the hull. One way to prevent this is to have a trailer long enough for the bottom of the motor to rest on the trailer, though that’s not optimal.
If you’re transporting an inflatable on a trailer with the outboard motor in a raised position, you could try attaching transom supports or adjustable motor support brackets. These are basically metal rods that go between the trailer and the leg of the outboard to support and stabilise the motor and take the strain off the transom. They’re available online or from your local marine supplies outlet.
Your inflatable boat will tend to bounce in transit, so it’s important to keep it firmly fastened to the trailer to reduce independent movement. Cam or ratchet straps are best, since they won’t slip, but make sure they’re correctly rated for the weight of the boat.
If necessary, upgrade the suspension on your trailer to further dampen shocks and install a weight distribution hitch to keep it level.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your inflatable boat wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of inflatable boat
- №1 — Intex Recreation 58329EP Explorer 100 1-Person Boat
- №2 — Intex Explorer 300
- №3 — Intex Explorer 200