Inflatable kayaks offer convenience over boats made with more traditional materials as they are easy to transport to and from the water and can be stored compactly.
While inflating your kayak is essentially an easy task, it can be trick the first time you try it. There are different kinds of pumps out there and depending in the valves on your kayak, you may need to invest in additional attachments.
As standard though, the most common ways to inflate your kayak are the following options:
- A foot pump
- A hand pump, or
- An electric pump
The majority of kayaks come with their own pump and the appropriate attachments for the valves on the kayak. However, some kayakers invest in a better, more powerful pump to make inflating the boat a lot easier and quicker.
To help give you an idea which may be best for you, we have put together a guide to the three most common types of pumps.
This is often where people start, with a foot pump. It works really well and is easy to pump with as you do not need to bend over and can switch legs when you get tired. Foot pumps have the advantage of not being particularly expensive, but do wear out. If you are looking for a cheap and uncomplicated way to inflate your kayak though, the foot pump is a good place to look.
Hand pumps have been improved on and evolved over the years and many have high and low pressure modes. Usually, a hand pump is what an inflatable kayak comes with when you buy it. Although they are popular, some of the basic problems with hand pumps are that you either have to kneel or bend to use them and this can be hard on your knees and back as well as tiring all round.
At additional cost though, you can get a hand pump that doesn’t come with kayaks called the K-Pump. They are easier to control than a normal hand pump and can inflate a kayak to a very high pressure.
Although electric pumps can be expensive, they should be seen as an investment as the difference they make to the inflation process is unbelievable. Using an electric pump means you can inflate your kayak in literally a couple of minutes with no effort whatsoever. There are even pumps out there you can set to the specific air pressure you require.
When You Should Inflate Your Kayak
When you actually inflate your kayak depends on how you are planning on transporting it the water. If you intend on using the trunk of your vehicle you it makes sense that you would inflate your kayak once you arrive at the water.
However, if your car has a roof rack and you are not keen on deflating and re-inflating your kayak every time if you use it often, then it could be better to inflate it at home first before you begin your travels. Once the kayak is inflated, you can then opt to leave if inflated all the time.
Just be sure to sore it out of direct sunlight and regularly check the air pressure, before taking it on the water.
Attaching The Pump To The Kayak
Hand pumps and foot pumps normally come with all the attachments you need for various valve types featured on kayaks. It is often quite tricky the first time you try to attach and secure the hose and attachment to the valve, but after that first time, it is a lot easier.
Inflating Your Kayak
Inflatable kayaks are normally made of 3 main air chambers. You should always look at the instructions for your brand and model of kayaking before you begin the inflation process. Normally though, you would start by inflating the air chamber on the floor of the kayak and then the sides afterwards.
You may find that you only have to fill each side partially, making sure the floor and sides are in the proper position before finishing the inflation. If your kayak features a skeg, you need to attach the skeg before you start inflating.
It does not take that long to inflate a kayak and how long it takes will depend on your chosen method of inflation. If you are using a hand pump or foot pump for instance, it will take anything from 5 to 8 minutes, which is also dependant on the size of your boat. Whereas, if you use an electric pump, it could take as little as 2 minutes.