Inflatable boats

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Zodiac etc.. Thinking maybe they are an easily storable / portable way to get 4 people out on some lakes.

Anyone have any experience with them? Pros / cons? Would you buy another again or go a different route?
 

F350joe

Well-known member
The seams fail in cold water/weather, they don't track well when paddling, easy to puncture in a camp setting and dont really break down very small. Paddleboard, mirco skiffs, canoe/kayak, or a portabote are all better options imo. I have a square stern canoe with an outboard but its a load, portabote probably the best option.
 

Josh41

Adventurer
Great idea! My wife and I used to stuff a 10 foot inflatable and 6hp motor into the trunk of a Honda Civic and drive from Mass to Key West every winter. We snorkeled every day and even did a circumnavigation of Key West once.
There are lots of affordable option out there now. I really like the inflatable floors for ease of storage. There is a foldable boat out there as well, looks like a surfboard when folded, then opens up to a V Hull. As you shop, don't be fooled by the size, the interior space of a 10' boat is more like 6 feet by 2 feet. Have fun!
 

kwill

Observer
It all depends on what you plan to do with it. I used to own one for white water river rafting but it is pretty miserable on still water.
 

RAFoutdoors

Retired Explorer
We had an AVON inflatable with a Yamaha 15hp outboard motor that we use to take camping. The boat was 11’ long and rated for 5 people. It did take up a fair amount of room. I agree that an inflatable floor would save weight and space. We had aluminum floorboards that were sometimes difficult to set in place. Stick with Hypolon instead of PVC material as it’s stronger.
The boat was a lot of fun but we didn’t buy it to take camping as much as we wanted to take it snorkeling and eventually bought a small trailer for it. The 15hp motor was heavy to move but got the boat up on plane quickly.
There are some great options out there including powerful electric self contained outboard motors.
Just make sure you look at the space the entire package will require for boat, motor, pump, paddles/oars, PFDs, fuel cans, safety equipment etc.
I know inflatable boats with outboard motors are very common in Australia.
Have fun.
 

SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
I used to dive off of an inflatable FC470 (hence my user name) which is a very large inflatable boat just over 15 ft. They're the popular inflatables boats for SF units. It was a big mother for a small boat and hard to deflate and store so I ended up selling it. I did trailer it down to mex a few times for some spear fishing and it was awesome because it's lightweight when towing and easily launchable. I slayed a lot of fish and got a lot of lobster off that boat.

On a few other occasions I went to mex with a friend who had a 6 foot inflatable zodiac with a 5hp I think, still large but manageable when stored. Like others have said, there are better options but if you have a camp trailer where you can store everything it makes it easier. All the gear associated with boats also takes up a lot of vehicle space and storage space.

I've also fished and dived off of a kayak which was easier in some ways and harder in others.

An inflatable will work for you if you have the space to store it and the capability to inflate/deflate and carry the motor- they don't track well with paddles. There are foldable trailer options from harbor freight that you can use, my father in law had one for his tender for a year but then got over it and sold it.

I'm sure there are much better options, that is just my experience. I've been out of the dive scene for the last 8 years so am not completely up to date on the new products.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
I have a square stern canoe with an outboard but its a load, portabote probably the best option.
This is another option I was thinking of. Attach a small outboard or even an electric trolling motor. But, not easy to find a canoe for 4....

It all depends on what you plan to do with it. I used to own one for white water river rafting but it is pretty miserable on still water.

Just to get off the shore a bit to do some fishing. Not really touring around a lake.

I used to dive off of an inflatable FC470 (hence my user name) which is a very large inflatable boat just over 15 ft. They're the popular inflatables boats for SF units. It was a big mother for a small boat and hard to deflate and store so I ended up selling it. I did trailer it down to mex a few times for some spear fishing and it was awesome because it's lightweight when towing and easily launchable. I slayed a lot of fish and got a lot of lobster off that boat.

On a few other occasions I went to mex with a friend who had a 6 foot inflatable zodiac with a 5hp I think, still large but manageable when stored. Like others have said, there are better options but if you have a camp trailer where you can store everything it makes it easier. All the gear associated with boats also takes up a lot of vehicle space and storage space.

I've also fished and dived off of a kayak which was easier in some ways and harder in others.

An inflatable will work for you if you have the space to store it and the capability to inflate/deflate and carry the motor- they don't track well with paddles. There are foldable trailer options from harbor freight that you can use, my father in law had one for his tender for a year but then got over it and sold it.

I'm sure there are much better options, that is just my experience. I've been out of the dive scene for the last 8 years so am not completely up to date on the new products.
Trying to avoid a boat trailer. If an inflatable, flat back canoe or aluminum fishing boat, I would def have a motor.

I tow a travel trailer and hoping to find something I can put on a rack over the bed. Kind of like this:
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AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
And…Here are a couple of sideways loading option that may allow you to unload your boat w/out unhitching the camp trailer:


 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
Or this one…actually allows you to load a small boat On A Trailer on top of your roof!

 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Was that one above with the red striped alum boat an Eide?

View attachment 707576
No clue. I just googled truck hauling boat.

I have seen those boat loaders and they look pretty slick. Just not sure how easy they would be to remove / install when not in use.

They all look pretty neat. I'm just not sure at this point if an aluminum boat is the best option.

I can fit 4 people easy. Probably the most expensive option and likely the heaviest. Inflatable would be the easiest to store when not in use.
 

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