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The 10 Best Inflatable Boats 2017

The 10 Best Inflatable Boats 2017

Inflatable boats go well beyond just a rubber raft. These multi-purpose watercraft are becoming ever more popular thanks to their portability, stability, and low cost. An inflatable boat with motor easily does most of what hard-bottomed boats can. Here for your enjoyment and education, we give you the best inflatable boats we have found in the marketplace. Read on for product descriptions as well as a buying guide to the best inflatable fishing boats.

Top 10 Inflatable Boats

PictureNameRatingPriceReviews
Saturn 13 ft Red Inflatable Boat5$$$$4
HydroForce Caspian 7'7"4.5$$$32
Newport Vessels 8-Feet 10-Inch Dana4.6$$$$25
Intex Mariner 4, Inflatable Boat4.3$$391
Classic Accessories Colorado XT4.3$$$89
BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat4.3$$$$3
AIRHEAD AHIBF-06 Angler Bay4$$45
Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Raft Boat4.2$12
Intex Excursion 4, Inflatable Boat4.1$341
Solstice Sportster Runabout3.2$$$16

Intex Seahawk 4 Inflatable Boat Set

Intex Seahawk 4 Inflatable Boat Set With Oars, Pump And Motor Mount Kit

The Intex Seahawk 4 is an affordable entry-level blow up boat for those looking to do some casual floating or cruising. It has ample space for four, so you and your family or friends can have a fun outing cruising around the lake or floating downstream. Head to your secret swimming hole, catch some fish for dinner, or just sit back and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Inflated Size 11 feet long x 4 feet wide
Capacity 1050 pounds / 4 adults
Use        Casual floating & fishing, calm waters
Gear Included   aluminum oars, hand-operated inflation pump, motor mount kit

Construction

The Seahawk 4 is engineered with rugged 30 gauge PVC vinyl, tough enough to resist abrasions and punctures. Some customers have even brought their dogs on board. But never fear, even in the rare case of a puncture or leak you will be able to stay afloat. The Intex Seahawk 4 is constructed with three durable air chambers for optimum buoyancy.

The Seahawk 4 incorporates welded-on oar locks and oar holders for securing the oars. For safety, it is equipped with a grab handle on the bow, and a grab line that completely encircles the boat. Anglers will appreciate the built-in fishing rod holders and the included gear pouch.

If you wish to use a motor to propel the Intex Seahawk, simply attach the motor mount kit on the rear of the boat. It easily detaches for storage and transport.

Comfort

The Intex Seahawk 4 includes two inflatable seat cushions. The inflatable floor incorporates an I-beam to provide some firm support as well as comfort. It is very spacious and easily seats 4 adults.

Portability

The deflated Seahawk easily folds up into a compact shape and weighs just 46 pounds. With these characteristics, it is very easy to carry even for one person.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

Boston valves on the main hull enable rapid inflation and deflation of the air chambers. The high output hand pump is quick and simple to operate.

Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Raft 68370EP

Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Raft Boat Set With Pump And Oars | 68370EP

This Intex inflatable boat is quite economical. You get what you pay for, which is a durable, basic raft for relaxing outings with friends or family. In spite of the low cost, you will find that it is constructed with superior components and high-quality materials, to deliver a long-lasting and enjoyable rafting experience.

Inflated Size 10 feet long x 5 feet wide
Capacity  560 pounds / 3 adults
Use        Casual floating & fishing, calm waters
Gear Included   48-inch aluminum oars, hand-operated inflation pump

Construction

The Intex Challenger 3 Inflatable Raft is constructed with Intex’s proprietary SUPER-TOUGH PVC vinyl. This 20 gauge durable vinyl is highly resistant to tearing or abrasions, and is non-corrosive. Stay confidently afloat thanks to three air chambers, including an auxiliary inner chamber inside the main hull.

The Challenger 3 is equipped with oar locks and oar holders, as well as motor mount fittings, so you can choose whether to run under human power or engine power. The Challenger includes grab handles and an all-around grab line, for grabbing onto in the water, or for aid in carrying the raft around on foot.

Comfort

The Intex Challenger 3 incorporates an inflatable I-beam floor, which delivers comfort as well as rigid support. It also comes with two inflatable seat cushions.

Portability

The Intex Challenger 3 weighs just 28 pounds, and folds or rolls easily to a manageable size for super easy transport and storage.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

The Intex Challenger 3 can be completely set up in just 20 minutes. Boston valves help to expedite the process of inflating or deflating the raft.

Intex Mariner 4, 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set

Intex Mariner 4, 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump (Latest Model)

The Mariner 4 is from Intex’s Professional Series of boats, engineered for maximum performance, comfort, and rigidity. It is one of the higher-priced rafts in this class, but it is worth the extra cost for its premium quality and durability.

Inflated Size  10 ft 9 in long x 4 ft 9 in wide
Capacity  880 pounds / 4 adults
Use Casual floating & fishing, calm waters
Gear Included 54” deluxe oars, repair patch kit, battery & gear pouches, hand-operated inflation pump

Construction

The Intex Mariner 4 uses SUPER-TOUGH™ triple layered PVC, which resists the corrosive effects of gasoline and harmful UV rays. Its exceptional engineering ensures unmatched durability and performance for years of use. The Mariner 4 incorporates a rock guard around the hull for extra strength and protection.

The Intex Mariner 4 is constructed with four air chambers, for incredible buoyancy and resiliency. The keel is also inflatable, which contributes to optimal handling and maneuverability.

Intex has put a lot of attention into small details for comfort and convenience. The Mariner 4 includes rotating oar locks, oar holders, two fishing rod holders, and battery and gear pouches. A grab line circles the hull as a safety feature.

Comfort

The Intex Mariner 4 comes with three inflatable seat cushions. The rigid plastic floor provides ample firm support.

Portability

The Intex Mariner 4 is flexible enough to fold down for transport and storage with no hassle. It weighs 84 pounds so it should be manageable for two people to carry. Grab handles enable comfortable carrying while on foot.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

Easily and quickly inflate or deflate the Mariner 4 with the included hand-operated high output pump. Boston valves contribute to speedy airflow.

AIRHEAD AHIBF-06 Angler Bay 6 Person Inflatable Boat

AIRHEAD AHIBF-06 Angler Bay 6 Person Inflatable Boat

The Airhead Angler Bay 6-Person Inflatable Boat offers the best in convenience and amenities for the casual fisherman. There’s plenty of room for a few friends and all their gear too. Its heavy duty construction and tough engineering ensures a long-lasting and stable rubber dinghy that you can enjoy for many years.

Inflated Size  11.6 feet long x 5.5 feet wide
Capacity  1200 lb / 6 adults
Use fishing; calm waters & slow currents
Gear Included battery storage bag, ditty bag

Construction

The Airhead Angler Bay 6-person Inflatable Boat is constructed with 32 gauge heavy duty vinyl for superior strength and durability. Electronically welded seams are reinforcement against leaks. The Angler Bay is also equipped with swiveling oar locks and side mounted oar holders (oars are not included). It also has transom mounts for a trolling motor, and a wrap-around grab line.

Comfort

The Angler Bay was designed with plenty of fun extras for the casual fisherman or rafter. It is equipped with an inflatable seat that you can move around at your convenience. It also features two rod holders and molded drink holders for your favorite beverage. The Angler Bay also features a soft inflatable floor.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

The Angler Bay incorporates patented speed safety valves, which enable quick inflating and deflating. Note that this product does not include a pump.

Solstice Sportster 3-Person Runabout Dinghy

Solstice Sportster 3-Person Runabout

The Solstice Sportster is a professional-level inflatable dinghy for the outdoors boating enthusiast. Its durable construction and top-shelf components ensure that you will have a fantastic experience exploring rivers and cruising around lakes. Take along a cooler and a friend, or grab your fishing gear, and head to your favorite watering hole.

Inflated Size  9.5 feet long x 4.5 feet wide
Capacity  595 pounds / 3 adults
Use fishing & casual outings; calm waters & slow currents
Gear Included oars, bellows foot pump, carry bag

Construction

The Solstice Sportster’s hull consists of tough PVC layered over 3-ply, 500 denier fabric.  It is abrasion and puncture resistant, so you won’t have to get anxious if you happen to scrape against a rock. Three high-pressure air chambers provide excellent buoyancy and stability. The Sportster is equipped with heavy-duty D rings that enable mooring or towing assistance. The aluminum slat floor is marine quality and provides firm support.

The Solstice Sportster incorporates swivel oar locks. It can be propelled with the included oars, or you can buy your own outboard motor up to 4HP. The Sportster is compatible with either gas or electric motors.

Comfort

The Solstice Sportster includes an aluminum bench seat. The capacity is listed for three adults, but some users noted that it was a pretty tight fit.  Three adults can fit but then there is not much room left for gear.

Portability

The Solstice Sportster rolls up into a compact pack not much larger than a sleeping bag. Stuff it into the included carrying case and you can transport and store it without needing very much space at all.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

The Solstice Sportster can be inflated in only 20 minutes, using the included pump. The aluminum slat floor is very simple to install in the boat.

Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat

Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat With Transport Wheel & Motor Mount, Pumpkin

The Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat is an excellent choice for the single fisherman. It has plenty of storage for gear and lots of cool extras that any angler might wish for. Take this eye-catching watercraft to your favorite lake or stream and enjoy a relaxing day taking in the fresh air and practicing your line casting skills.

Inflated Size  9 feet long (pontoons)
Capacity  400 pounds / 1 adult
Use Fishing; lakes or rivers with Class 1 rating
Gear Included Gear bags, 7-foot aluminum oars

Construction

The Colorado XT Pontoon Boat is engineered with a powder-coated steel tube frame. Heavy duty pontoons have PVC on the bottom and durable nylon on the top, with cold and heat resistant HD vinyl bladders.

Handling

The Colorado XT Pontoon Boat features an integrated transport wheel to help in launching the craft into the water. It stows out of the way while you fish. An anchor system with cleat and pulley controls is very user friendly and intuitive to operate.  In case you want to row your boat around, the Colorado XT comes with 7-foot oars and includes brass oar locks. If you prefer a motor, the Colorado XT is equipped with a two-position rear motor mount.

Comfort

The deluxe cushioned seat and non-slip footrests are fully adjustable according to your height.

Extra Amenities

The Colorado XT is outfitted with an abundance of cool gadgets for the avid fisherman. Removable gear bags incorporate 20 pockets and two insulated drink holders. Mount your rod in the rod holder in one of six positions. Other perks include a removable stripping basket, wire rear storage, and two foam fly patches. Also included with your purchase is a free trial membership to Trout Unlimited.

Portability

Ease of Assembly/Setup

The pontoons feature quick fill/deflate valves, and can fill with air in as little as two minutes. Full assembly is straightforward and can take up to an hour. When it is completely disassembled it fits in the trunk of a medium sized sedan.

Advanced Elements Commander 9 Inflatable Boat

Advanced Elements Commander 9 Inflatable Boat

Advanced Elements is one of the best-regarded names in inflatable boats, and the Commander 9 cements their reputation for quality and performance. The Commander 9 is an excellent inflatable fishing raft for going out with the kids to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and maybe catch a fish or two.

Inflated Size  9 feet long x 4.5 feet wide
Capacity  700 pounds / up to 4 people
Use recreational rafting and fishing, calm waters and slow currents
Gear Included gear and utility bags, repair kit

Construction

The Commander 9 is exceptionally buoyant and steady thanks to five air chambers. It is constructed from heavy duty PVC, and also incorporates chafing pads at key stress areas.  Therefore the material is very strong and tough against punctures and tears.

The performance bow is more streamlined than a standard round nose, enabling the boat to slice through waves more cleanly.

The Commander 9 is equipped with two fishing rod holders and 4 swivel oarlocks. For safety and convenience, it is encircled with a grabline. If you wish to attach a motor, it is compatible with motors up to 2.5 HP.

Comfort

The Commander 9 includes two inflatable seat cushions. The floor is also inflatable, but incorporates I-beam design for firmer support. Use the drain plug to drain off water that has collected inside the boat.

Portability

Handles at the bow and stern enable land-based portage. It weighs under 30 pounds and folds up into an unbelievably small package for storage.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

The Commander 9 hull includes Boston valves, which enable quick inflation and deflation.

BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat

BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat Rafting Fishing Dinghy Tender poonton boat

Construction

The BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat is constructed with a tube hull of 1100 denier fabric layered with 0.9mm PVC. It is extremely durable and resists punctures and abrasions caused by impact with rocky or rough surfaces. This BRIS Inflatable Boat also includes a deep V keel and three individual air chambers, for exceptional buoyancy and stability. The hard floor is made of 12.5mm aluminum, which is both lightweight and durable.

The BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat does come with oars, and is equipped with built-in oarlocks. If you prefer to attach a motor, the boat features a marine plywood transom mount, and can accept a motor up to 15 HP.

Inflated Size  10.8 feet long x 5 feet wide
Capacity  1213 lb / 4 adults
Use fishing, recreational rafting, lakes & rivers
Gear Included oars, foot pump, carry bag, repair kit

 Portability

The BRIS 10.8 ft Inflatable Boat comes with a carry bag for convenient transport and storage. However it is quite heavy at 121 pounds, so you will need several people to assist in carrying it.

HydroForce Mirovia RIB Inflatable Boat

HydroForce Mirovia RIB Inflatable Boat

The HydroForce Mirovia RIB Inflatable Boat is the only Rigid Inflatable Boat on our list, and you’ll find that it’s relatively affordable. It offers superior construction and high-quality materials in order to create a boat that excels in performance, comfort, and sturdiness.

Inflated Size  10 ft 8 inches long x 5 ft wide
Capacity  1410 pounds / 4 adults
Use recreational boating, fishing, lakes & rivers
Gear Included oars, hand-operated inflation pump, 33’ tow rope, carrying bag, pressure gauge, repair kit

Construction

The HydroForce Mirovia RIB is engineered for durability with heavy grade PVC. Its extra-tough strake encircles the front and sides to deliver superior rigidity and a stable balance. The strake also acts as a shock-absorber, safeguarding the PVC from impact damage or abrasions. The Mirovia also incorporates an aluminum floorboard for improved structural integrity and support.

The HydroForce Mirovia RIB also features an inflatable keel, which delivers optimal steering control and handling. It also is equipped with five air chambers, for improved stability and buoyancy, even if one of the chambers does happen to be punctured.

You can maneuver the HydroForce Mirovia by paddling, or by installing a motor in the solid marine-grade transom.

Comfort

Place the bench seat in two different positions so you can pick the one that is the best fit for you.

Ease of Assembly/Setup

The HydroForce Mirovia incorporates air valves specially designed for quick inflation and deflation. This makes inflation easy and hassle free.

Saturn SD385 13 ft Red Inflatable Boat

Saturn 13 ft Red Inflatable Boat

The Saturn SD385 13ft Red Inflatable Boat boasts premium quality and functionality. With its large size you can do so much more with it. Head out on the lake, take it on a fishing expedition, or cruise on down the river. It fits four adults and all their gear comfortably, or maximum six adults.

Inflated Size  13 feet long
Capacity  4-6 adults
Use fishing, pleasure cruiser, recreational boating, lakes and rivers
Gear Included aluminum oars, repair kit, carry bag, hand-operated inflation pump

Construction

THE Saturn SD385 benefits from tough, best-in-class materials. It is constructed with 1100 denier PVC fabric, reinforced with polyester support to resist breaking and tearing. It also comes with a marine-grade sectional plywood floor for superior durability and support.

The Saturn SD385 is engineered with separate internal air chambers. Even if one loses air pressure, you will still be able to maneuver the craft. An inflatable keel offers optimal handling and steering control.

The Saturn SD385 has built-in protection from abrasion and sharp rocks, thanks to the rubber strake protector along the keel. It also comes equipped with a rope grab line, and stainless steel D rings for towing. Use a one-way drain valve with plug to drain off excess water that has collected in the bottom.

For assistance in transporting the Saturn SD385 on land, removable dinghy wheels can be attached to the transom.

Comfort

The Saturn SD385 comes with removable aluminum seat benches.

Portability

Despite its large size, the Saturn SD385 can be deflated and folded so that it fits in the back of an SUV.

BUYING GUIDE FOR INFLATABLE BOATS

Picture yourself on a perfect sunny day, drifting with your fishing line, listening to the birds. Or picture yourself at the lake with your family, enjoying the fresh air. Inflatable boats can be used to find a good swimming spot, cruise around to points of interest, find a secluded spot for a picnic, or explore the river. You can have all of this without the expense of a large investment, thanks to an inflatable boat.

Benefits of Inflatable Boats

  • Storage: They are typically lighter and easier to store and transport than conventional boats.
  • Cost: They are very economical to operate and maintain.
  • Efficiency: Because they are so light, they don’t require much power to operate.

Types of Inflatable Boats

The number one consideration in choosing a boat, is how you plan to use it. Your requirements will be very different, depending on whether you plan to use a boat for fishing in open water, cruise down a river or waterway, or drift contentedly in a calm pond or lake. A 2 person inflatable boat is ideal for taking out your significant other on a unique outing. Inflatable boats are available in a wide variety of styles and classes, for just about any waterbound activity.

  • Rigid Inflatable Boat
    Rigid Inflatable Boats are also known as RIBs. They are not fully collapsible, as they have a solid hull of fiberglass or aluminum. An inflatable collar or tube is attached to the hull. They can be quite costly, and don’t offer many advantages versus a more solid and seaworthy fiberglass boat.
  • Yacht Tender or Dinghy
    The small tender or dinghy is usually equipped with a trolling motor, but it is also small enough for paddling or rowing. It is typically used for fishing and pleasure outings on the water.
  • Sport Boat
    A roll-up sport boat offers the benefits of a sport boat with the portability of a dinghy. Roll it up (without the motor) for convenient transport. It typically has an inflexible keel and a shallow V-shaped hull.
  • River Raft
    The river raft is typically very compact and affordable, an ideal choice for casual river floating and even fishing.
  • Pontoon Boat
    A pontoon boat is perfect for a fun afternoon on a lake or pond. Anglers love them for fly fishing and lake fishing.

Factors to Consider

  • Material: Inflatable boats are typically made from PVC or Hypalon.
    • Hypalon is more durable but also more expensive. It holds up better than PVC in extreme weather conditions, being resistant to oxidation, salt, and UV rays. It is better suited for boats that will be frequently used and stored ready-built.
    • PVC is lightweight and affordable, and easily folded or rolled. Modern PVC construction has made great improvements for resiliency and sturdiness.
  • Deck: Some inflatables come with an inflatable air deck, which is a high-pressure air floor. This type of deck is more comfortable, lighter, and makes for easier assembly. A hard deck is better suited if you desire greater structural rigidity and a faster, more efficient watercraft.

Handling and Maintenance

Because rubber boats are so light and buoyant, you can expect it to handle differently than a rigid boat. It is more susceptible to being thrown off course by forceful winds or currents. It has a greater tendency to flex or rear up.

All occupants on the boat should be trained in basic watercraft safety. This can include remaining seated and limiting your movements. All occupants should know the correct procedure in case they fall overboard.

Depending on the size and class of your boat, you may be required to register it with local agencies, just as you would with a car. Check with your local municipality to see if there are any requirements for registering your watercraft.

Know how you plan to store and transport your boat. Even collapsed small inflatable boats can be quite bulky and heavy. Depending on the size of the boat, you will want to have wheels, a flatbed, or even some type of trailer for towing the boat and lowering it into the water.

Outfitting your Boat

Most inflatable boats we’ve covered will include some basic accessories. Depending on how you will use your boat, you will want to make sure your chosen boat has the right gear, or purchase it separately.

  • Propulsion: A smaller raft style is ideal for human power with oars or paddles. For a larger craft or better speed, you will want to buy an outboard motor.
  • Handling: Consider items such as fins and an extended tiller, to give you greater control in maneuvering.
  • Safety Gear: Depending on the day’s activities, it is recommended that all occupants of the boat should wear safety gear including helmets and life vests. Other helpful gear in case of an emergency includes a life buoy, whistle, and flares.