Inflatable Kayak vs Hardshell: Making the Right Choice

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Do you want to live a life filled with adventure while also working out in a fun way? Why not buy a kayak.

However, maybe you’ve been scrolling through a website about kayaks and realize there are hardshell and inflatable kayaks!

In this article, we will compare the inflatable kayak vs. hardshell kayaks. We will examine cost, storage, traveling, and durability of these two kayaks.

Then by the end, you won’t have any qualms about choosing the right one. Keep reading to find out the perfect kayak for you.

1. Costs of the Inflatable Kayak vs. Hardshell

As one might guess, the inflatable kayak is much cheaper than a hardshell kayak. An inflatable kayak runs anywhere from $80 to $200 whereas the hardshell kayak runs from $150 to over $600.

If you are a beginner and are interested in trying it out for the first time, perhaps you will be better suited to purchase an inflatable kayak. Or if you are struggling economically but want to explore nature, then the inflatable kayak is the route to go.

However, if you’ve gone kayaking before and are convinced you love it and want to kayak long-term, then investing in a hardshell kayak may be the way to go.

Before you go deciding, let’s look at the further pros and cons of an inflatable kayak vs. hardshell.

2. Storing Kayaks: Do You Have Enough Space?

Before you decide between the two types of kayaks, you should take a look at how much space you need to store it.


Storage is a factor to consider when buying a kayak. You will need a room or garage spacious enough to store your kayak. Before you purchase a hardshell, you are going to want to measure it.

For example, maybe there is space in your basement, shed, garage, or utility room.

You also want to make sure your kayak won’t undergo shifts in extreme heat or cold. If you don’t consider these factors, your kayak could warp.

Make sure your kayak is on an angle or standing up. It’s best to keep it covered and make sure it’s balanced.

When cleaning your hardshell, you want to use an all-purpose cleaner that is mild. Simply use an old sponge and wipe your kayak down, from the inside to the outside. Make sure there isn’t any remaining residue or dirt.

Even though a kayak is used in the water, it will not last well if it’s constantly wet. The surface of the kayak will begin to break down from constant exposure.

You will want to routinely check to make sure that mildew and mold aren’t growing in the kayak due to a damp atmosphere.

Finally, if you are storing your kayak indoors or outdoors, make sure to use a cover. This will keep dust and mice from building their home within your kayak, as well as protecting the kayak from the elements.


A lot of the tips we went through above do not apply to the inflatable kayak, because you don’t have to worry about having the space to store it. Instead, think of a safe place you can keep it.

Like with the hardshell kayak, you want to store your inflatable kayak in a place that doesn’t have drastic temperature shifts.

The inflatable kayak can be deflated and loosely folded. You can then store it indoors and away from the sunshine. If you keep it in the sun, it can wear down.

However, if you are storing indoors, make sure the kayak is in a place that is away from furry rodents.

3. Things to Consider When Traveling with Kayaks

You shouldn’t make a decision before you consider how you’re going to travel with a kayak.

Hard Shell

Do you dream about taking your kayak to Europe and exploring the waterways? Many people purchase their kayaks with dreams of adventure and fun. Therefore, we are going to talk about flying with your kayak.

A lot of airlines will not load a kayak into a full plane. They may put it on the next flight. If you hope to travel with your kayak, ask your airline to deliver your kayak to the final destination.

You don’t want to arrive in Scotland ready for adventure, only to find out your kayak is still in London.

Another thing to consider is traveling with a kayak on the road. You will need a specific kayak rack that will adequately secure and protect your hardshell kayak on your roof.


Now let’s talk about traveling with an inflatable kayak. The beauty of having an inflatable kayak is being able to hop out of your car at any point when you are on the road and explore the local lake, ocean, or river.

Inflating an inflatable kayak takes about ten minutes or less. Imagine being able to travel with the freedom of being able to kayak wherever you like.

This is a definite perk of traveling with an inflatable kayak. The only thing that may feel like an inconvenience is having to inflate and deflate it after each use.

The convenience of traveling with an inflatable kayak is the ability to pack it in your car or suitcase and inflate it so quickly. If you are looking at convenience while traveling, the inflatable kayak is the route to go.

4. Understanding the Durability of Kayaks

On top of all the other considerations, you need to think about the durability of the kayak.


For the most part, hardshell kayaks need more preservation and maintenance than inflatable kayaks.

Unfortunately, due to not having the rubber exterior and material that is flexible, the hardshells are more prone to knocks, scraping, and bumping.


The difference between hardshell and inflatable kayaks is the material they are made from. Inflatable kayaks are created with the purpose to endure scraping and knocks. They were designed to bounce off hard rocks.

The outer layer of the kayak is durable rubber. Overall, the inflatable kayak is more durable than a hardshell.

If you want to read more about pros and cons of inflatable kayaks, check out our article!

Come Visit Us for More Information

Who do you think won between the inflatable kayak vs. hardshell? Overall, the inflatable kayak won in the rounds of cost, storage, traveling, and durability.

But it all depends on what you want. Do you have space where you can store a hardshell kayak? Perhaps you don’t want to spend your time inflating and deflating a kayak. Then you might choose a hardshell.

If you are a beginner and are looking to try kayaking out, an inflatable kayak is your perfect choice.

We have all the tips you need to know as a beginner kayaker. Check out our site for more information.


Leave A Reply