Inflatable Kayak Australia

August 13, 2017
Airfusion Elite Inflatable

This group aims to bring together people who have folding kayaks/canoes or inflatable kayaks/canoes, with a view to getting out on day trips and longer expeditions. My name is Tim, and I have a folding kayak that fits into a backpack, which I have used on many adventures. The main advantage of such portable boats is in being able to jump on and off public transport with them, thereby avoiding the need for cars, roof racks and car shuffles (not to mention the ease of storing them at home, compared to regular hard-shell kayaks and canoes). I have taken my folding kayak out on multi-day camping expeditions along the Goulburn and Murray Rivers, and I often take it out on the Yarra River by jumping on a train to Fairfield or some other place near the river, and then paddle back in to the city. Such kayaks are usually slower than a hard-shell kayak, but they allow much greater freedom in some interesting ways.

I am planning to organise a few multi-day kayaking/canoeing expeditions in the coming months.

I am not asking any membership fees.

Please note that you are responsible for your own safety. We're all friends with a common interest in kayaking/canoeing. Happy paddling!


Q. How much does a folding kayak cost?

A. New ones start at about $1000.

Q. How much does an inflatable kayak cost?

A. New ones start at about $70.

Q. Where can I get a folding kayak?

A. Generally through the internet. I am not aware of any Australian manufacturers of folding kayaks, and I have only found a couple of outlets for buying them in Australia, neither of which is in Victoria.

Q. Where can i get an inflatable kayak?

A. I believe Ray's Outdoors, Harvey Norman and Anaconda stock them, but I have no idea how good these are. The internet is also loaded with heaps of inflatable kayaks and canoes, but I am not sure which ones are junk and which are worth having. A lot of pool toys are called inflatable kayaks by their sellers.

Q. Why would I buy a folding kayak if inflatable kayaks are so much cheaper?

A. Generally folding kayaks are faster and can carry more stuff below deck. However, inflatable kayaks have a number of advantages over the folding kayaks: they are generally more resilient in white water, particularly if you bash into a rock! They are generally lighter than the folding kayaks (especially if you get a packraft). They generally pack into a smaller bag (especially a packraft). Typically they can be set up much quicker than a folding kayak. (typically 5 minutes compared to about 25 minutes). They are much more widely available to purchase in Australia. Obviously the inflatable kayaks hold many advantages over the folding ones, but their two main disadvantages are pretty major ones. A third reason you might prefer a folding kayak over an inflatable one is that it looks like a real kayak and not a pool toy. This is a very snobbish reason, but it does come up very often.

Q. What sort of kayak do you have?

A. I have a "Citibot", which is a folding kayak produced by an American company called Folbot. They also make a number of other models. You can see them here, along with their prices:

I should note that I am considering buying a packraft, which is a short, wide, lightweight inflatable boat, which can be packed up to the size of a football, and weigh as little as 1 kg. It is a slower boat to paddle, but its advantages are quite obvious when you want to carry one any distance, especially if you are planning to carry anything else at the same time.

Q. Are there any other folding kayaks available?

A. Yes, there are. Check out the following on the internet: Klepper, Oru Kayak, Pakboats, Feathercraft, Firstlight and Nautiraid. There are other makers too, but these are some of the more popular ones.

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