Inflatable Kayak vs Hardshell – Which One Is The Best?

There are different types of kayaks on the market, and it can be confusing to decide which one is right for you. There are two main types of kayaks: inflatable and hardshell.

So, which one is right for you Inflatable kayak vs hardshell? Inflatable kayaks are easy to store, transport, and lower in price. Hardshell kayaks offer more durability and performance but can be expensive and require more storage space.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each type to help you decide which one is best for you.

Inflatable Kayak vs Hardshell

Inflatable kayaks are as easy to transport as a large air mattress. They’re able to fit into a car trunk, unlike hardshell kayaks that require a roof rack and a large van to transport and hardshell kayaks are much heavier than inflatable ones because they’re sturdy and durable. They can weigh as much as 100 pounds compared to an inflatable kayak which weighs only 30-50 pounds.

Properties And Disadvantages Of Hardshell :

Here we will discuss a few properties and disadvantages of hardshell.

Properties Of Hardshell:

  • Durable and stable.
  • Offers speed and performance.
  • More expensive than inflatable kayaks.
  • Require storage space for roof racks, vans, or pickup trucks.
  • Can be heavy to lift and carry 100 pounds.

Hardshell Disadvantages:

  • Not as durable as inflatable kayaks because they can be punctured easily by sharp rocks or other objects in the water that is difficult to see due to their small size.
  • Not as easy to transport and store as inflatable kayaks because they don’t deflate into a small package that can be stored in the trunk of a car or back of a truck.
  • Less stable than inflatable kayaks because they’re thinner and more streamlined than an inflatable kayak which is extra-wide giving it more stability.

Properties And Disadvantages Of Inflatable Kayaks:

Here we will discuss a few properties and disadvantages of inflatable kayaks.

Properties Of Inflatable Kayaks

  • Lightweight.
  • Can be stored in the inbox.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Easy to store and transport.
  • Comfortable paddling position.
  • More stable than hardshell kayaks because of their extra-wide size.

Inflatable Kayak Disadvantages:

  • Not as stable as hardshell kayaks because their wider size makes them more unstable than a hardshell or inflatable kayak.
  • Can’t go over big waves and rough water as easily as a hardshell kayak.
  • Not as durable, punctures can quickly occur on sharp rocks or underwater debris that is difficult to see because of their smaller size.
  • If there are leaks, you have to find them before they get worse and can become difficult to repair if not repaired quickly after being found.

How To Store And Transport Your Inflatable Kayak And Hardshell?

If you choose an inflatable kayak, make sure that your inflatable kayak comes with its own carrying bag or duffel bag. If not, invest in one to ensure you don’t puncture your boat by tossing it into the bottom of a trunk. Don’t place sharp objects next to your boat because even if it’s deflated, inflatable kayaks can still be punctured.

Hardshell kayaks are easy to store if they come with their own carrying case or roof rack is not required which saves you money on buying another set of racks. They’re lightweight and easy to transport in the backseat of a car but make sure to use seat belt straps for safety.

When it comes to transporting hardshell kayaks, you need to use a roof rack. Make sure the roof racks are strapped securely to your vehicle so they don’t come loose while driving. They’re easy to lift and carry but can be cumbersome because of their weight so two people should help transport them.

Inflatable kayaks are easy to store. If you don’t have a duffel bag or case, roll them up and put them somewhere out of the way until you’re ready to use them. Rolled-up inflatable kayaks can fit into very small spaces as long as they’re not punctured. The best place for them is inside a closet or back of a wardrobe. If you store them somewhere outside, make sure to put them out of the sun and rain so they don’t get punctured. Either way, storing your inflatable kayak properly will ensure it doesn’t become damaged.


I hope this article about the differences between an inflatable kayak vs hardshell kayak has helped you find out more about each type of kayak and decide which one is best for you.

Both kayaks have their own unique features and benefits. An inflatable kayak is best for recreational paddlers but if you’re looking for more of a workout, choose a hardshell kayak.


Q1. How much do inflatable kayaks weigh?

An inflatable kayak can weigh as little as 20 pounds or more than 40 pounds depending on the model.

Q2. Do inflatable kayaks tip over easily?

No, inflatable kayaks are stable and easy to paddle. They are not likely to tip over unless you do something to upset the balance, like stand up or lean too far to one side.

Q3. Where are hardshell kayaks stored?

They’re stored inside their carrying case or on your roof rack.

Q4. Do inflatable kayaks puncture easily?

Inflatable kayaks are made of durable, puncture-resistant materials. However, they can be punctured by sharp objects like rocks or glass. It is important to inspect your kayak before each use and repair any punctures as soon as possible.

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