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Thread: Inflatable Kayak/Canoe - Decathlon?

  1. #1
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    Default Inflatable Kayak/Canoe - Decathlon?

    I'm looking to possibly buy an inflatable/inflatables to take with us on motorhome trips. Our current rigid SOT kayaks would be too awkward to cart around with our small van. I've been looking at the Sevylor Colorado however we'd much prefer to have two individual boats. The price of two of these would be about the same as the Colorado;

    https://www.decathlon.co.uk/1-man-in...SABEgKEE_D_BwE

    But are they any good? Anyone have any experience of them? We'd only be pottering around flat rivers, lakes, estuarys, maybe the Broads - that sort of thing.

  2. #2
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    Probably is good enough for your purposes, but I have no direct experience of that brand. But Decathlon stuff is generally ok in my experience. We have a Gumotex Palava, which is tough and single skin - which I decided would be much easier to use from our motorhome, as it is much easier to dry off before you put it away. You can just towel it off before folding up, as opposed to those twin skin, internal bladder type, which I understand are a right faff to dry off properly. When we have been in France, (admittedly in warmer weather!) when we've carried it back to the van and left it upside down to drain off, by the time we've had an icecream or brew, it's dried off and ready to deflate/put away.

  3. #3
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    I had an Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, I found inflatables quite limited as it was easily effected by wind and was quite slow.

    Given the choice now if choosing inflatables id always go for a SUP, although there may be contrasting opinions...

  4. #4
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    A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to get a deal, £87 (Last of line) on a Sevylor Riviera canoe from Decathlon. I've yet to paddle it but have spent some time inflating it and sticking on various 'D' rings for securing kit. When properly inflated it is surprisingly robust and so far appears well made.
    Before lashing out on the purchase I watched a few You Tube videos, just to get some idea of Sevylors in general use. Having seen various nutcases whizzing down white water in them, together with my own impressions of it's construction I would say that for use in calmer waters it will be more than up to the job.

  5. #5
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    Stand up paddle board SUP the inflatable ones; have you thought about trying one of them, I’m investing in one as it’s less faff than getting the canoe out when I just wanna go for a quick float ..

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipster3 View Post
    Stand up paddle board SUP the inflatable ones; have you thought about trying one of them, Iím investing in one as itís less faff than getting the canoe out when I just wanna go for a quick float ..
    Hmmm not sure about that, I think we're really looking for something we can sit in (perhaps take a picnic along) and pootle about gently for a good few hours.

  7. #7

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    Hi ttxela

    'Inflatables' is a VERY broad church, comprising as it does boats that are very cheap up to those that are very expensive. There are a few different manufacturing processes that are used too. I've tried to summarise it below but will have inevitably left some stuff out. So, you have


    • thin uncovered vinyl stuff at the bottom end of the market (Intex, Sevylor Riviera/Tahiti) that are pretty much kayak shaped rubber dinghies - OK to pootle around on but don't expect anything much from them. My first boat was a Tahiti and I thought it was absolute rubbish



    • slightly thicker uncovered vinyl stuff. As far as I'm aware, the Sea Eagle SE 330 (and is there a slightly bigger one??) is the only boat to fall into this bracket. It's definitely better than the Sevylor Tahiti but still has its limitations (low inflation pressure so slow, can fail on the seams, vinyl isn't terribly tough



    • covered vinyl 'bladder' boats. So-called because they have a tough non-waterproof outer cover which houses vinyl bladders. On cheaper boats these can be prone to failure but can be repaired (unless it's the seam that fails) or replaced. The Sevylor Colorado is a popular entry level bladder boat that many like well enough (I'm not a fan but who cares) and the Itiwits are built along very much the same lines. I've never paddled one but they look fine for what they are. The Tributary range (Chinese made sub-brand of the US manufacturer Aire) is the best regarded in this category but I'm not sure how the prices compare or whether you can still get them in the UK. Ooh, I forgot Advanced Elements too. People seem to like them but I don't think I've ever even seen one in the flesh let alone paddled one



    • covered urethane bladder boats. Same manufacturing process as above but they use more durable urethane bladders that can be pumped up harder (more rigid, faster and responsive boat). The US brands tend to go for this system, pricey stuff like Aire and NRS



    • 'bladderless' boats. Not to be confused with the cheap uncovered vinyl boats, these are made from a very tough fabric that is glued or welded to form the air-holding chambers - no need for a bladder. Gumotexes and Grabner use rubber (Grabner claims theirs is the best and has a price tag to match) the higher end Sea Eagles (Explorer; Fastrack) use a very tough PVC. It's increasingly common for these to now have a 'dropstitch' floor which means super rigid as it can take 10psi or more



    • all dropstitch boats. The new kid on the block, this tech promises super rigidity throughout the boat. Sea Eagle were the first with their Razorlight (there's also the KX Slider which I think is the same boat under a different brand) but Decathlon has moved it on with it's X500 which incorporates some curves - a first for an all dropstitch boat


    Phew, so those are the options. If you don't want to spend very much, the Itiwit 1 looks like a no brainer. If you want something that's a bit better to paddle and you're prepared to double your budget then the Gumotex Twist 1 is the one to go for. It's a bladderless boat that's made of Gumotexes tough full strength Nitrilon fabric, weighs 2kg less than the Itiwit at 9kg and folds to 53 x 35 x 19 cm as opposed to 62 x 44 x 27 cm for the Itiwit (and in my experience, while bladderless boats really do fold that small a bladdered boat like the Itiwit tends to be more of a struggle). The Twist inflates to 3 psi to the Itiwit's 1.5, meaning faster more responsive etc. But, it's literally double the price of the Itiwit

  8. #8
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    Hmm, plenty to think about there. I still haven't decided.....

  9. #9
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    There are also Packrafts - lighter and smaller than other types of inflatable (good for stowage in a motorhome), and not cheap. Tough and versatile, would suit your pootling with a picnic. Lots online generally and on here about them.

    I would steer clear of the bladder types for a motorhome, as they get wet between the outer and the bladder and need drying out before you can pack them away.

  10. #10

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    Yes good point. Packrafts seem to be a bit more affordable these days too. I know I always bang the drum for Chris S's https://inflatablekayaksandpackrafts.com blog but it really is worth a read if you haven't already, ttxela. Edit: his most recent post on packboating covers all of the ground that I did and more and has the added benefit of being well-written, horse's mouth stuff (I'm fairly sure he came up with the 'bladdered' and 'tubeless' definitions which I and many others have subsequently and shamelessly nicked)
    Last edited by The Inflator; 17th-April-2019 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Extra info

  11. #11

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    I have the AE convertible and very nice to but heavy for an unfit one to carry with all the extra bits so I inflate by the car which means I can use an electric pump for main inflation then top up with a barrel pump ( I think they are called) then onto a trolley modified for extra width of kayak/canoe.

    Only used it on calm water Wye and canals, a very weak swimmer so always like to keep close to land. I had hoped to take it into the sea last year on the Norfolk coast, unfortunately high winds (nothing was going out, 60MPH wind gusts) stopped that little exercise going ahead.

    It has the vinyl floor which is very liloish but AE do a drop stitch floor but liked all drop stitch expensive.

  12. #12

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    Still loving our Gumotex Helioses (unfortunately now discontinued) - still going strong after three seasons & planning on buying a third gummyboat now that one or other of the kids insists on coming with us


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    I'm in the same situation as I've a motorhome and still want to paddle but my van is 3 mtrs high so am looking at a ally canoe.
    It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.
    Jerome.K.Jerome

  14. #14
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    I bought a Sevylor Alameda last year. One trip on the Basingstoke canal was enough to tell me that it wasn't for me - Inflated to the correct pressure, it was floppy, and the seats were actually worse than useless. I returned it to Amazon (no problem at all) and purchased a Z-Pro Tango 300. This is much better and has given excellent service. I'm not saying that Sevylor kayaks are no good (I believe the Sevylor and the Z-Pro are made in the same factory). It's just that anything under about £400 doesn't seem to be worth having.

  15. #15
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    I've got a Sevylor Colorado (a few years old, the modern ones have cut a few corners) and that is a good little boat, yes the high sides mean it is a little prone to the wind taking it but on a calm day makes a very stable and maneuverable canoe, the kids love it for messing about in sheltered bays and it will happily bob around over reasonably big swell. Also have an Advanced Elements Advanced Frame, a very different beast, behaves far more like a hard shell kayak and is a pretty capable little sea kayak. A bit of room below decks for storage but plenty of deck space to carry your picnic on.

  16. #16
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    The high end boats like the Sea Eagle's are made from the same material as the curtain sides on HGV's, this makes them very tough and even if you were to damage one it can be repaired easily. This makes them good buys as a second hand boat, they show up on eBay quite regularly. The video below gives you an idea as to how tough they are.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ardGNdwZ0aQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJKEVxGVWVY
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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  17. #17
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    If you don't mind a bit of boat building work that a look at diypackrafts.com

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