Everything you will learn here
- Our Favorite Inflatable Fishing Boats
- Best Boat for Big Guys: Intex Mariner 3 Inflatable Boat Set
- Best Boat with a Motor Mount: Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon
- Best Heavy-Duty Boat: Newport Vessels Dana Inflatable
- Best Boat for Two People: Intex Seahawk 2 Inflatable Boat Set
- Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing: Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
- Best Small Inflatable Fishing Boat: Intex Explorer 100
- Best Inflatable Boat Overall: Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat Set
- Buying an Inflatable Fishing Boat
- The Benefits of Inflatable Boats
- The Drawbacks of an Inflatable Fishing Boat
- The Different Types of Inflatable Fishing Boat
- What to Look for in an Inflatable Fishing Boat
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Best Inflatable Fishing Boats Comparison Chart
- In Conclusion
The next time that you want to head out for a day of fishing, you don’t necessarily need to rent an expensive boat for the day. You can have the freedom to hit the water whenever you like by investing in an inflatable boat. We’re going to go over what to look out for when it comes to inflatable fishing boats and some of the best options available on the market.
Our Favorite Inflatable Fishing Boats
These seven inflatable fishing boats stand out thanks to their quality and performance.
Best Boat for Big Guys: Intex Mariner 3 Inflatable Boat Set
This heavy-duty boat is ideal for passengers of all sizes, and unlike many other inflatable boats, it can handle excess weight without warping or sinking. The Intex Mariner 3 has an overall weight capacity of 880 lbs.
The body of the boat is built to last, with a three-ply construction that includes two outer layers of heavy-gauge PVC and an inner layer of strong polyester mesh. The sides of the boat are resistant to tears and punctures, though the valves may be prone to leaking with excessive use.
The Intex Mariner 3 boasts rotational oar locks, making it easy to row without stressing your joints. It also comes with two aluminum oars and a high-output air pump to help you inflate and deflate your boat with ease.
The floor of the unit is rigid and made of slatted plastic for comfort and stability. There are also two inflatable seats where passengers can relax, along with a built-in battery pouch and gear pouch to hold all of your fishing equipment. There are also two fishing rod holders, one on each side of the boat.
- Impressive weight capacity of 880 lbs
- three-ply design for added durability
- Rigid floor design to support heavy passengers
- Rotational oarlocks for easy rowing
- Plenty of comfort amenities
- Valves may leak
- The boat can be difficult to set up
Best Boat with a Motor Mount: Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon
This durable fishing boat gives you the option to row using the oars included, or to attach an outboard motor to the built-in mount. It’s a versatile choice for the fisherman who wants the option of motoring out to sea for some ocean fishing or carefully rowing downriver to get to your favorite outlet.
Two inflatable tubes connect with a powder-coated steel tube frame that’s resistant to warping and damage. It keeps its structure even with heavy wear and tear, and unlike other pontoon designs, resists sagging in the middle. However, it can be a challenge to inflate both sides completely. You must be careful not to introduce any punctures to the material.
When you want to stop, the Colorado XT boasts an anchor system with a fillable mesh bag. It’s relatively easy to control the anchor height using cleat and pulley controls. You don’t have to rely on any sort of external power, and you can adjust the weight to suit your specific needs.
This boat embraces for comfort, with an adjustable seat mount and footrests designed to adjust to just about any leg length. The rod holder also adjusts to six different positions. There’s plenty of room for storage, including a back platform, twenty pockets, and two insulated drink holders. The side pockets even combine to create a portable gear bag.
- A built-in motor mount allows for more versatility
- Powder-coated steel frame for extra durability
- Easy-to-use anchor system
- Adjustable seat and footrests
- Plenty of additional storage space
- Difficult to inflate fully
- Prone to tears and punctures
Best Heavy-Duty Boat: Newport Vessels Dana Inflatable
The Newport Vessels Dana is a sports boat that’s built to last, made with heavy-duty U.S. Coast Guard rated, three-ply UV-coated PVC. The heat welding technique used for the seams will prevent leaks, but excessive use could cause tearing.
The boat has a sporty design, with a rigid floor made of durable marine plywood. An aluminum frame keeps everything in place and offers additional support. The entire structure can support over 1,000 lbs. However, the construction makes the boat heavy and a challenge to set up quickly.
Along the bottom of the boat, a V-shaped air keel allows for easy maneuvering. A self-bailing drain plug helps to keep water out of the hull, while a mount on the transom of the boat offers space for a 10hp engine. In optimal conditions, the Dana can reach a top speed of over 20mph.
There are plenty of features to keep you comfortable as you sit out on the water in this boat. A sturdy aluminum seat keeps you supported all day without buckling, while topside D-rings allow you to set up a bimini to keep you out of the sun. Three stainless steel bow D-rings let you tow behind your boat as needed.
- Made of heavy-duty PVC material
- Rigid floor and aluminum construction
- V-shaped air keep for quick and easy maneuvering
- Sturdy motor mount
- D-rings for towing and setting up shade
- Seams are weak and prone to tears
- Can be difficult to set up and dismantle
Best Boat for Two People: Intex Seahawk 2 Inflatable Boat Set
If you plan to go fishing with a partner, the Intex Seahawk two-seater might be a good option for you. The boat boasts two built-in fishing rod holders and a gear pouch that’s big enough to fit two people’s equipment.
There are rotational oar holders on either side of the boat alongside two oars included in the set. The boat also comes with a convenient repair patch kit and a hi-output air pump. You can inflate and deflate the boat in a few minutes using two separate quick-fill Boston valves.
If you would rather motor around than use oars, the vessel offers an optional motor mount with built-in fittings in the back. You can mount a 1.5HP engine on the back end of this boat to reach maximum speeds. Its light weight helps you to save on fuel while improving efficiency.
Even with two people aboard, the Seahawk offers plenty of stability. The boat design includes three separate air chambers, with an inner auxiliary chamber inside the hull for improved buoyancy. The outside is a lightweight PVC that helps to improve the speed and maneuverability of the boat. However, the material is also prone to punctures and tearing at the seam.
- Comfortably fits two occupants, with plenty of room for gear
- Versatile enough for either oars or a motor
- Quick to inflate and deflate thanks to two Boston valves
- Added stability from three air chambers
- Comes with oars, a repair kit, and a hi-output pump included
- Seams are not durable
- Material is easy to puncture
Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing: Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
The Excursion Pro Kayak is ideal for fishing. It can hold two occupants with a weight capacity of 400 lbs, but it may not be spacious enough for tall or heavy people. The design includes two removable skews, two footrests, two recessed fishing rod holders, and two comfortable and adjustable bucket-style seats.
The Excursion Pro is easy to inflate and deflate using high-pressure, spring-loaded valves. It makes setup easy for one or two people and allows you to be ready to go in just minutes.
A laminate PVC with a polyester core makes up the outside. It helps to protect against tears as well as damage from wind, weather, and general use. However, the internal air bladders are prone to leaking and losing air during use.
For additional gear, there’s plenty of storage space along the bow and the stern of the boat. There is also a mounting bracket that’s both removable and adjustable, allowing you to use tools such as GPS or fish finders easily. If you’re heading out towards rougher water, you can tie down your equipment using built-in stainless steel D-rings.
- Easy to maneuver
- Quick to inflate and deflate
- Plenty of amenities such as bucket seats and footrests
- Storage space throughout the boat
- Adjustable components
- Prone to leaks
- Not a lot of legroom
(You might be interested in reading more about Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks)
Best Small Inflatable Fishing Boat: Intex Explorer 100
This small, one-person boat is easy to store and transport without taking up too much room. Thanks to its inflatable floor, you can fold it or roll it as needed. It only weighs a few pounds, so it’s easy for just a single person to carry around between fishing spots.
The design features two separate air chambers for support, as well as a rigid inflatable floor. Two welded oar locks allow you to row the boat around, though no oars are included in the set. The boat works best in calm waters such as lakes and ponds, though it can also withstand some rougher rivers and streams.
On the bow of the boat, a grab rope makes it easy to tug and tow around when inflated. The outer material is lightweight PVC. Though durable, the vessel is resistant to rips and tears with heavy use, especially along the seams.
- Ideal for calm waters
- Comfortable yet rigid inflatable floor
- Small and easily portable
- Two air chambers for stability
- Built-in welded oarlocks
- Weak outer material
- Seams prone to leaking
Best Inflatable Boat Overall: Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat Set
The Intex Excursion 5 is a versatile choice for any fisherman, with plenty of room for gear and companions alike. It can fit up to five occupants comfortably, with inflatable seats on either side of the boat as well as a central inflatable bench seat.
The vessel delivers exceptional stability, with three air chambers to keep it afloat in even rough conditions. The auxiliary air chamber in the hull gives the entire unit added buoyancy to help keep it up out of the water and reduce the risk of capsizing.
The floor is designed in a roll-up fashion, making it easier to store and more flexible in the water. The boat itself is made of PVC vinyl. Though the material is puncture-resistant, the seals around the air valves might leak due to wear and tear.
The Intex Excursion is also versatile enough to get just about anywhere it will fit. The design includes both welded oar locks and an optional motor mount. The kit also provides two heavy-duty aluminum oars and a hi-output manual pump for easy inflation and deflation.
- Large enough to fit five people comfortably
- Three air chambers for stability and buoyancy
- Roll-up floor for easy storage
- Made of durable PVC vinyl
- Compatible with oars or a motor
- Leaking valves can be an issue
- Not easy to maneuver
Buying an Inflatable Fishing Boat
There are a wide variety of inflatable boats available today, but not all are ideal for fishing. Let’s take a closer look at the top features to consider when shopping for an inflatable fishing boat so that you can make the most of your time out on the water.
The Benefits of Inflatable Boats
If you’re not sure which type of boat to buy for your next fishing excursion, consider looking at inflatable options. There are plenty of good reasons to invest in an inflatable boat if you’re an avid fisherman looking to expand your arsenal of equipment.
Easy to Store
Unlike traditional fishing boats, inflatable boats are easy to assemble and disassemble as needed. They take up less space in the driveway or garage, and you don’t need a trailer to transport them to your favorite fishing spot.
Inflatable fishing boats also tend to be more cost-effective than solid kayaks, speedboats, or larger vessels. You can find a wide range of options to suit just about any budget. Though an inflatable boat may not last as long as traditional options, with proper care, a quality inflatable boat can last for years.
Because fishing boats are so lightweight, they’re easy to maneuver using just a set of oars. Many also offer a motor mount, either built into the boat design or as a separate attachment. This gives you the versatility to travel any way you like to get to your favorite fishing spot. Many inflatable boats are able to handle both smooth and choppy conditions.
Even though they’re lightweight, inflatable fishing boats can still stay afloat with heavy loads. Many are capable of holding hundreds of pounds of weight, either in the form of multiple occupants or heavy fishing gear.
Easy to Repair
Unlike boats made of other materials, inflatable vessels tend to be relatively quick and easy to repair on the go. Many even come with puncture repair kits that help you patch up accidental holes and keep yourself afloat. Often, you can simply use glue or adhesive patch to seal and cover any small rips or tears you notice.
While an inflatable boat might not seem as safe as traditional options made of wood, metal, or fiberglass, they can actually offer more stability in certain conditions. Buoyant areas and a low center of gravity help to keep the boat upright, even in rough waves.
When you’re out on the water, it’s always important to keep safety in mind. If you want to learn more about drowning risks, we offer an interactive resource on our website for US drowning Statistics, worldwide drowning statistics, and drowning prevention.
The Drawbacks of an Inflatable Fishing Boat
Though there are benefits to owning an inflatable fishing boat, you also have drawbacks that you have to consider. Inflatable boats are less resistant to wear and tear than other vessels and need repair and replacement more frequently. Wind, weather, and sunlight can all take their toll on the outer material, as can sharp objects.
Inflatable boats, while convenient, can also be a hassle. While they’re easy to set up, if you fish frequently, you may find yourself spending a significant amount of time inflating and deflating your vessel. If you’re short on space, they can also take up a decent amount of room. Though they’re more compact than other boats, inflatable models can still be bulky.
The Different Types of Inflatable Fishing Boat
When it comes to fishing boats, there are countless models to choose from. However, most of these options fall into one of just a few main categories. We’re going to discuss some of the most common styles of inflatable fishing boats, and why each might be the right choice for you.
High-Pressure Inflatable Floor Boats
This is one of the most common types of inflatable boat, as its design is simple and compact. These boats have no rigid components and are entirely inflatable, making them incredibly lightweight. The floor isn’t solid, but instead, is inflated at a high pressure to create a floor that’s able to support a person’s weight.
High-pressure inflatable boats tend to be speedy and easy to maneuver. They’re able to flex alongside the waves, making them ideal for ocean fishing. This type of boat is also easier to roll up, transport, and store than those with heavy, rigid components.
As you may have guessed, roll up boats are designed to be deflated and rolled up like a mat. Unlike high-pressure inflatables, though, these boats usually include a built-in floor made of plastic or wooden slats. However, the floor isn’t completely rigid, and so it’s able to roll and fold as needed during transportation and storage.
Roll up boats have more give in their floor than other rigid inflatables, allowing them to travel across the waves without too much bucking. At the same time, they’re sturdier than similar high-pressure inflatables, giving you the support that you need to use a motor and reach high speeds.
Inflatable sports boats deliver speed and durability. The design includes a rigid floor, often supported by a lightweight frame. The floor is usually modeled in a V-shape to allow it to cut through the water more easily. These boats can reach faster speeds.
However, it’s important to remember that the tradeoff with sports boats is often weight and portability. Many are bulky and challenging to assemble solo. It also takes more fuel to get them up to speed than more lightweight styles of inflatable boats.
Rigid Inflatable Boats
Also known as RIBs, this type of boat offers the best of both worlds in terms of versatility and durability. RIBs take after more traditional wooden and fiberglass boats, with a rigid V-hull. However, unlike traditional crafts, buoyant inflatable tubes help to give the vessel more stability on the waver.
RIBs are harder to disassemble than most inflatable boat styles, and thus, harder to store and transport. However, they’re still more portable and more affordable than most traditional boat styles, and they hold up better over time than most other inflatables.
(You can read all about the Best Rigid Inflatable Boats here)
A pontoon boat consists of two inflatable tubes connected by either a metal frame or a third tube. Often, they only include enough room for one occupant. However, most pontoons include plenty of excess space for gear, making them an ideal choice for fishermen.
Pontoons are also more maneuverable than other inflatable styles, especially for a single person. You can use oars to direct them, or a motor for those that boast a motor mount. The chances of sinking are low, and you have plenty of stability when working with your rod.
(You might be interested in reading the Best Inflatable Pontoon Boats)
While most people think of kayaks as a recreational tool, they have an ideal design for fishermen who prefer to frequent smaller areas such as ponds, streams, and shallow riverbeds. They don’t cut through the water as deeply as some boats and tend to be narrower along the sides.
While kayaks typically can’t be used with a motor, they’re easy to row and maneuver with either one or two people. They also disturb the water much less than wider or deeper boat designs, ensuring that you don’t scare away the fish as you approach.
What to Look for in an Inflatable Fishing Boat
No matter what style of fishing boat you choose, there are a couple of features that you should keep in mind based on your needs. It’s important to consider the construction and the boat’s capacity so that you have everything you need for a day out on the water, either solo or with your fishing buddies.
You can make an inflatable fishing boat from a variety of materials, but the most common one you’ll see on the market today is PVC plastic. This is an affordable material that’s quick and easy to produce, which lowers the price of inflatable boats with plastic components significantly.
PVC is also incredibly strong without sacrificing flexibility. It’s thin, lightweight, and able to move alongside the water for added stability. Some PVC materials include threads embedded in the plastic for even more durability and flexibility. Materials featuring a tighter weave tend to be more resistant to wear and punctures.
However, PVC is not always the best choice for those who are interested in the longevity of their boat. No matter how durable it might be, it wears down more quickly than rigid materials such as fiberglass or wood.
Hypalon is a stronger alternative to PVC plastic that’s becoming more common in inflatable fishing boat models. This type of material is thicker, heavier, and more expensive than PVC, but it also holds up much longer against the elements. For boat owners looking for minimal maintenance, hypalon might be a better choice than PVC.
Many inflatable boats come in a range of different sizes. Most are rated by how many people they can comfortably carry. This is based on both size and weight capacity, and may not be accurate for everyone. Those who are taller or heavier than average may want to look for an inflatable fishing boat that’s longer or wider than average. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the weight capacity is high enough to include all occupants along with gear such as an outboard or tackle boxes.
By their very nature, inflatable fishing boats are easier to cart around than traditional styles. You can simply inflate them and stick them in your trunk instead of hitching up a trailer to the back of your car. However, not all inflatables are created equal.
Some boat designs are harder to transport due to weight, bulkiness, or features such as a rigid floor insert that doesn’t fold down. You should consider how much space you have both in your car and your garage and make sure that you won’t have any trouble transporting your boat. If you’re short on space, it’s best to stick to fully inflatable models such as high-pressure inflatable floor boats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some additional things about consider about inflatable boats and safety.
Are Inflatable Fishing Boats Safe?
Well-constructed inflatable fishing boats are just as safe as more rigid alternatives, if not more so in certain situations. Though they’re more prone to leaks and tears, inflatable boats offer more stability than those made of wood, metal, or fiberglass. They allow for more flexibility, allowing them to move with the waves instead of bucking against them. Inflatable boats also have a low center of gravity, making them difficult to flip in rough weather.
That being said, it’s still best to be cautious when out fishing on an inflatable boat. Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket in a bright color so that in a worst-case scenario, rescue teams can spot you. It’s also a good idea to carry first aid, a repair kit for your boat, and a radio so that you can contact help if necessary. Whenever possible, try to bring a buddy along. If you don’t, always make sure someone on shore knows your plan for the day.
Can You Stand in an Inflatable Boat?
If your boat has a rigid bottom, it’s usually okay to stand in your boat. However, the rocking motion of the boat may make it difficult to balance. It’s best to keep your center of gravity low as you move to prevent from falling or tipping the boat over.
It may be harder to stand in high-pressure inflatables. Though the boat is rigid enough to offer support, the inflated floor is much softer and bouncier than wood or plastic floors found in other designs. It’s far easier to fall, and thus, not recommended that you stand in boats with an inflatable floor.
How Can I Protect my Boat from Damage?
Unfortunately, it won’t always be possible to protect your inflatable boat from damage during use. You may hit a snag or unseen rock, or you may not realize you have hungry rodents gnawing at the material in storage.
The best way to protect your boat in the water is by making sure that you don’t push it past its limits. Some boats are rated to only handle up to a certain classification of river. You should always try to stick to water bodies that are more gentle than what you know your boat can handle.
You should also be careful when inflating or deflating your boat. If you inflate to too high a PSI, it can strain the vessel’s seams and the material itself. When deflating, be careful when rolling or folding the boat, and always try to pack it away in a clean and dry storage container. Make sure you wipe away grit or salt ahead of time and seal it away to prevent pests, mold, or more from damaging it.
Best Inflatable Fishing Boats Comparison Chart
|Product Name||Price||Size in CM (LxW)||Weight capacity (Pounds)||Distinct Features|
|Intex Mariner 3 Inflatable Boat Set||$$||78.9x41.19||800||Welded-on rotational oar locks, three-ply design for added durability|
|Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon||$$||108x56||400||Easy-to-use anchor system, adjustable seat and footrests|
|Newport Vessels Dana Inflatable||$$$||127x60||1248||Made of heavy-duty PVC material, rigid floor and aluminum construction|
|Intex Seahawk 2 Inflatable Boat Set||$||93x45||520||Comes with oars, a repair kit, and a hi-output pump and quick to inflate and deflate|
|Intex Excursion Pro Kayak||$$||152x37||400||PVC with polyester core: light weight and highly resistant to damage from abrasion|
|Intex Explorer 100||$||58x33||410||Comfortable yet rigid inflatable floor, two air chambers for stability|
|Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat Set||$$||144x66||1000||Made of durable PVC vinyl, compatible with oars or a motor|
Owning an inflatable fishing boat allows you to get out on the water whenever and wherever you want. They’re affordable, portable, durable, and serve their purpose just as well as any traditional boat could. However, with so many different inflatable boats to choose from, it’s important to make sure that you opt for the one that best suits your unique needs.
Different inflatable boat models work best for different applications. You may be looking for a two-person boat that’s perfect for you and your partner or a pontoon for easy maneuverability in tight fishing spots. Our favorite overall choice is the Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat Set, thanks to its spacious, durable, and versatile design.
If you fancy great whitewater journeys, the Best Inflatable River Rafts are an alternative boat design made out of highly durable material to withstand rocks and streams.
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