I Used an Inflatable Kayak This Weekend – Here’s My Review
I tried it out so you don't have to. You're welcome.
Disclaimer - I LOVE KAYAKING. I went on my first kayak trip when I was in high school; we paddled from Madison, Wisconsin to the Wisconsin Dells and it was so much fun.
Michigan is a fantastic place to paddle. We have 86 watersheds and more than 26,000 inland lakes. And that's besides the fact that we are the only state in the country that is surrounded on three sides by water. Michiganders have more recreational boats than any other state, too.
I've always rented a kayak because, frankly, my car is too small to carry my own. Renting a kayak limits you to where and when you can paddle, especially now during COVID-19. So, for Mother's Day, I asked for an inflatable kayak.
First of all, let's be clear - I'm a bargain shopper. I never buy ANYTHING unless I've got a coupon or a good deal. Inflatable kayaks are easily more than $100 cheaper than a hardshell and they're easier to transport & store.
I read the reviews online and decided to go with the Intex Challenger K2. It's a two-seater, since I like to take my dog and/or my son with me. This was the most helpful video that I could find when it came to set-up and inflation.
The guy in the video is absolutely right - use the hand pump, it's faster.
But how does it handle?
My first paddle was on Saturday on Mott Lake. I had actually planned on kayaking the Flint River but, once I pulled up to the launch in Flushing, I realized that it was VERY high and moving VERY fast and decided to find a lake instead.
It's tough to get into without getting some water in it, so have others hold it for you if you're by yourself. And, no matter the depth of the water, USE THE SKEG. Usually they say that you don't need it if the water is shallow but, for me, it made a HUGE difference.
I felt more comfortable in it when I was alone than I did with my son as far as balance, but that could've just been first-paddle-butterflies.
It deflates fast and stores easily so, if you've been on the fence about getting one, I highly recommend it. Make sure you do your research for which brand will work best for you; I'm a casual paddler and not looking for whitewater rapids, so this kayak worked well. If you're looking for more adventure, a pricier version would probably be a better choice.