8 Reasons To Buy an Inflatable Kayak

 If you could only buy one boat, an inflatable kayak is a great choice.

I’ve been paddling an inflatable kayak for a few years now and I really think you can’t go wrong investing in a good inflatable kayak, especially with the increasing popularity of paddling and the wide range of gear options available.

If you’ve ever been interested in paddling whitewater and rivers or paddling an inflatable kayak, keep reading for the top 8 reasons I think inflatable kayaks are totally worth the buy.

yampa canyon inflatable kayak red tandem

1. Inflatable Kayaks Can Go on All Kinds [and levels] of Rivers

Inflatable kayaks (or their alternative name: duckies) are totally adept at handling all kinds of rivers. Sure, they can navigate bigger water with ease like rafts and whitewater kayaks, but they can also float effortlessly on shallow rivers during low-water season.

With an inflatable kayak (also known as IKs) , you can plow through rapids and maintain momentum on flatter water, too. A ducky is an awesome all'rounder – it can manage most types of Class I-III rivers with ease thanks to its stable width and speedy length.

ducky yampa river

2. Inflatable Kayaks are Versatile

River is too low to paddle on? That's ok. Take your ducky to the lake! 

While duckies are certainly considered river performance gear, you can also feel confident that when Mom is in town for a visit she'll have a blast on the local pond or lake. 

An inflatable kayak may not be quite as quick and snappy as a whitewater kayak or as large and tough as a whitewater raft, but inflatable kayaks are definitely more versatile. The only other comparable gear are inflatable stand up paddleboards.

spud upper colorado river ducky inflatable kayak

3. Inflatable Kayaks are Easy to Learn On

There aren't many pieces of gear that are fun for beginners on day one. Think of all the frustrated skiers and snowboarders you see on the bunny hill each winter.

Inflatable kayaks don't require a ton of specialized skill. Hardshell kayak newbies often take lessons to perfect their roll, and there is a noticeable learning curve to rowing rafts

Simply put, duckies are fun on day 1.

PRO TIP: Level up your ducky game and learn how to read whitewater! It is an important skill for any safe river user to have.

4. Inflatable Kayaks Require Less Gear than Whitewater Kayaks

No skirt or floatbags are needed when you invest in an inflatable kayak! 

All you need to paddle your inflatable kayak is:

  1. Inflatable Kayak
  2. Paddle
  3. PFD
  4. Helmet

You can of course purchase extra IK accessories like thigh straps (for when you really want to get sendy!) or personal gear that can be rigged to your ducky like a small drybag or soft cooler.

durable inflatable kayak dog

5. Inflatable Kayaks are Durable

Whitewater inflatables, by nature, can handle smashing against rocks. All inflatable kayaks sold at CKS Online are made with high-quality materials from reputable and beloved brands.

IKs feature layers of fabric that can hold up to rocks, sticks, or other obstacles. 

6. When it comes to duckies, you have Options - lots of them

1-Person Inflatable Kayaks  2-Person Inflatable Kayaks


CKS Online carries IKs from several brands, including AIRE, STAR and NRS.

All three companies offer individual and tandem inflatable kayaks. For more information, check out our inflatable kayak collection for specs and pricing.

I personally ride a AIRE Spud and I love it. Several of my paddling buddies, including Luke Cutler, also love the AIRE Spud. Read his review here

7. Inflatable Kayaks Travel and Store Easily

Because duckies are inflatable, they take little time to fully inflate and even less time to deflate. 

Once the kayaks are deflated, simply roll them up and store in your gear closet or garage. This is a luxury that hardshell kayaks do not offer.

When you're ready for your next adventure, pull out your IK, toss it in your car, and use a vehicle-compatible electric pump at the put-in for easy inflation. 

8. Inflatable Kayaks are a Great addition to Any River Trip 

If you're already a seasoned boater, you're probably always on the lookout for new river toys. We highly recommend adding a ducky to your collection. 

Having an IK in your quiver means you can bring an extra craft to your next river trip. Since IKs are easy to master, they're a great way for anyone in your paddling crew to have some alone time on the water. Plus, they are easy to roll up and store away in the bow or stern in your boat when not being used! 

green spud aire inflatable kayak little yampa canyon summer low waterDon't think inflatable kayaks are for you? We recommend inflatable stand up paddleboards or packrafts, which are another great gear alternative to hard shell kayaks and rafts. 

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