We'll be traveling across the US with our truck and travel trailer, and we want to capitalize on the beautiful places we're going to visit, including waterways.
I have a 16ft Canoe, but it's a little too big to haul with my truck and trailer. So I was looking for inflatable boats that would work well for us. There are 5 of us, so I need something that can fit us all comfortably. So here's what we are looking at:
Best Cheap Inflatable Boat for Multiple People
The Intext Mariner 4 seems to be a really solid boat that can handle a decent amount of weight and even a motor mount and small motor.
The Intex Mariner 4 is a raft, but it's pretty sturdy and has a hard (removable) floor. I don't imagine it would be super fun to paddle this using the oars, but the option of a motor certainly makes it attractive.
In my research about using a motor (even an electric trolling motor), I found that it would mean registering it in every state I decided to use it in. That includes a small fee and slight hassle, but could really come in handy.
The other drawback to using an electric motor is having to lug everything around, plus putting the battery itself in the boat with the rest of us. The craft itself doesn't seem like it would be as maneuverable as a kayak or canoe without a motor. In short, if I buy this, I'll likely go the whole 9 and get a trolling motor.
Best Cheap Inflatable Kayaks
You can spend a lot of money fast with them (especially if you get pro-grade like whitewater rafting duckies), but it seems like the best bang for your buck is the Sea Eagle 370 with the pro package.
The Sea Eagle 370 standard seems pretty nice too, but I read a decent amount of reviews that said the seats were awful. So the pro package might be worth the extra cash since it comes with inflatable seats that provide better support.
The reason I really like these is because they come with the pump and paddles. It seems like this is a really great boat that would suit two people well, and the reviews seem very positive. But…we have 5 people. Which brings me to my next current pick.
The reason I have this one on the list is that I have 5, so we'll need to split two of us in one kayak and 3 for another. The Big Basin seems to be a pretty good choice for this.
Now, it looks like we might be a little tight in there, but my kids are pretty small, and I'm thinking it'd probably be two kids and one adult.
The kayaks seem like they'd be a lot easier to maneuver in smaller waterways and will likely move faster. The primary con with this kayak I saw is that the fabric gets wet and adds to the weight, making it heavy to carry after use.
In an RV Community I'm a part of, someone recommended the Intex Explorer K2. I'd love to think this is a great kayak…but I've been through 1 too many air mattresses to think my kids won't destroy it. It is super highly rated, and folks seem happy with it. It just seems like it would end up breaking more easily to me.