I have received several emails over the past couple of years from people who have switched to an inflatable kayak because of different health issues that they currently suffer from or have suffered from in the past.
These are people who have done a fair amount of kayaking in their life but because of various health concerns could no longer comfortably use a hard-shell kayak.
Some of these people have disabilities, balance issues or suffer from aches and pains and have trouble getting in and out of their kayak. While others can no longer lift the kayak above their head and onto a roof rack.
Whatever their reason, many of them thought they might not be able to kayak again until they learned about inflatable kayaks.
This really got me to thinking once again about the benefits and conveniences of paddling an inflatable kayak. Although I find them convenient in my own life for all the typical reasons such as they can be stored in a small space and can be easily transported; I had not really thought about how they could benefit a person with health concerns or disabilities.
Of course if you suffer from any major health issues it is important to have your doctors okay before doing any type of physical activity or exercise. However assuming that you are good to go, an inflatable kayak could be of great benefit to you as it has been for others.
Below are a few of the benefits that an inflatable kayak can offer as shared by some of the great people who have visited this blog.
Inflatables in general are far wider than a fiberglass kayak. Their extra width and pontoon like sides make them extremely stable. This is a great feature for someone who lacks in balance or who has pain when getting in and out of his or her kayak.
With the extra stability you do not have to use your muscles as much as you would with a narrower model to keep your balance.
The stability also ups the comfort level when paddling as inflatables are nearly impossible to tip.
Sit Higher Up
With many inflatables you sit much higher up out of the water. Unless you are on a sit-on-top, the majority of fiberglass models have a very low seating depth, meaning you sit low inside your kayak.
Although the lower depth is great for paddling and maneuvering through the water, it can make it very difficult for someone to get in and out of their kayak if they suffer from aches and pains. The seats in many inflatable kayaks are up quite high, especially if the seat is inflatable as well.
Although this provides quite a different feel when paddling and may take some getting used to, it also means you do not have to bend as much to sit or get up. I have been told by several people who have trouble getting up and down that this makes it far easier to enter and exit the kayak.
Transport in your Trunk
If lifting a heavy kayak up onto your roof rack is out of the question for you for any number of reasons then an inflatable is totally ideal. Simply deflate and put in the trunk of your car.
That means no heavy lifting above your head putting strain on your muscles as well as possibly your organs for those with health issues or concerns.
Adjusting to the Feel
It is true that paddling an inflatable is a totally different feel to paddling a hard-shell model. The extra width, larger sides and higher seating depth take some getting used to.
However in my experience and from all those who have commented and shared their stories with me, you do get used to it and once you do will enjoy and even love paddling your inflatable as often as you can.
If a regular kayak is out of the question but you love to paddle, consider an inflatable kayak as a great replacement option that might just work well for you.