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Newbie here.. have questions about buying an inflatable. TIA for help.

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  • Newbie here.. have questions about buying an inflatable. TIA for help.

    Hi, I am a newbie to boating in general. I have always loved water, but have not done many activities due to lack of time/knowledge. Just recently I thought of buying an inflatable and trying out in the lake. I picked up an intex Excursion 4 for about $70 from Craigslist. Took it out to the water with family and had a fun time. However, the boat seems not to have a solid base and I was thinking of may be upgrading since I know this will be a long term thing.

    I am not looking into doing any sort of speed activities. Mostly thinking of going to lakes with family. I like to ride very slow, relaxed pace. Not looking for anything crazy here. Electric motor will be just fine.

    Family with two kids mainly in the boat. So safety is # 1 priority.
    Not looking to carry on a trailer. I would like to fold it and keep it in the trunk of my car/van.

    I was thinking about buying the Intex Mariner 4 because of the hard floor, but I have come to realize if I pay a little bit more I may be able to get something nicer. I'd like to stay well under $1000.

    I have researched on this forum and on the internet and have come to understand that Saturn, Zodiac etc. are other brands out there. The price difference between a Mariner 4 vs the other brands are significant ($250 vs $1000).

    My questions:

    Is it worth it to spend the extra $$ to go with these other brands?
    What are my options?
    Any suggestions on the best place to buy these things from?

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by boatlova'; June 26th, 2017, 12:28 PM.

  • #2
    Hi,
    I just got into inflatable boats myself and picked up a new in the box 2014 Mercury air deck 340. It's a nice boat, I shopped around for a while considering different things and features and construction. I can take this boat into the gulf to fish, or down a river to sight see. These are not toys. Some of them really are toys so be sure to touch the stuff and learn the difference before you buy.

    Whatever you get I suggest a transom style boat instead of a raft with some sorta clamp on motor deal.

    But, for the sake of your question I will talk about PVC boats and not the Hypalon. (More $$ and a bit heavier)

    I looked at a Saturn and BRIS boats (Ebay), the Saturn gets great reviews and if you can catch them in stock you can get a fair price, oftehn under $1k.
    They have several different sizes and prices. The construction of both is fairly typical for a PVC boat. You can get an air floor or a hard floor, the air floor is lighter and sets up faster (And takes up less space in the trunk) Both of those brands use a glue together technique and with a PVC boat that works out fine if you don't store it outside in the sun, I guess the UV rays leach right through the PVC and break down the adhesives over time apparently. From what I learned is this style boat has a life span of about 3 -5 years on average. I came close to buying a few used ones but the "It has a small leak" seemed to plague the listings near me on 3-4 year old boats.

    So, I found some new old stock and I went with the Mercury, it has a "Welded" seam on the air chamber components and a 5 year warranty, the accessories are just glued on and not welded however. It's a great product and I like the air floor because it only weighs 100 pounds and the wife and I can lift it. I put a Mercury 15HP 2 stroke on it and I can tell you it is faster than I feel comfortable with.

    I like the boats with the sguared off shape at the front, more room for a cooler etc.. I also did a DIY Bimini top for about $100. I made my own PVC clamp on transom dolly wheel kit because I did not want to drill holes in my transom for the popular wheel kit.

    A good inflatable boat with an air deck is solid enough to stand up in, and you can stand up on the side tubes and dive off. These are rigid! A lot of fisherman go with the cheap Intex boats, I don't think I could do that and try to bring in anything from salt water.
    Last edited by jbcurt00; June 26th, 2017, 07:52 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hoosiercamper View Post
      Hi,
      I just got into inflatable boats myself and picked up a new in the box 2014 Mercury air deck 340. It's a nice boat, I shopped around for a while considering different things and features and construction. I can take this boat into the gulf to fish, or down a river to sight see. These are not toys. Some of them really are toys so be sure to touch the stuff and learn the difference before you buy.

      Whatever you get I suggest a transom style boat instead of a raft with some sorta clamp on motor deal.

      But, for the sake of your question I will talk about PVC boats and not the Hypalon. (More $$ and a bit heavier)

      I looked at a Saturn and BRIS boats (Ebay), the Saturn gets great reviews and if you can catch them in stock you can get a fair price, oftehn under $1k.
      They have several different sizes and prices. The construction of both is fairly typical for a PVC boat. You can get an air floor or a hard floor, the air floor is lighter and sets up faster (And takes up less space in the trunk) Both of those brands use a glue together technique and with a PVC boat that works out fine if you don't store it outside in the sun, I guess the UV rays leach right through the PVC and break down the adhesives over time apparently. From what I learned is this style boat has a life span of about 3 -5 years on average. I came close to buying a few used ones but the "It has a small leak" seemed to plague the listings near me on 3-4 year old boats.

      So, I found some new old stock and I went with the Mercury, it has a "Welded" seam on the air chamber components and a 5 year warranty, the accessories are just glued on and not welded however. It's a great product and I like the air floor because it only weighs 100 pounds and the wife and I can lift it. I put a Mercury 15HP 2 stroke on it and I can tell you it is faster than I feel comfortable with.

      I like the boats with the sguared off shape at the front, more room for a cooler etc.. I also did a DIY Bimini top for about $100. I made my own PVC clamp on transom dolly wheel kit because I did not want to drill holes in my transom for the popular wheel kit.

      A good inflatable boat with an air deck is solid enough to stand up in, and you can stand up on the side tubes and dive off. These are rigid! A lot of fisherman go with the cheap Intex boats, I don't think I could do that and try to bring in anything from salt water.

      Thanks for the response! I looked on their site and that boat looks nice. I have a feeling it may put me way out of my budget. Is it possible to fold this one for transport? Will it fit in a car or van?

      Comment


      • #4
        My next question is will these boats run on electric motor like Minn Kota or do they need the higher powered motors?

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, mine is an 11' boat and it fits in a large bag. I would not want to carry that bag very far, but it could easily fit in the back of a CRV or other small SUV. Electric trolling motors are popular with these lightweight boats. You can use two motorcycle gel cell batteries, one to get you out and the other to get back in case the first one runs low. A Saturn 11' boat will run you about $1150 shipped, ebay has cheaper boats pop up all the time but I would learn what brands are prefered before I spent any money. Some guys order right from China and try and cut out the retailers and sometimes they get boats that are glued improperly etc..

          Check out youtube and start searching for RIB fishing and also SATURN boat videos and also look at the unpacking and set up videos and you can get a good idea what these inflatables are used for.
          Where are you located geographically?

          Comment


          • #6
            Hoosiercamper had a lot of great advice. Saturn is the go-to for glued PVC boats that are affordable and come in tons of sizes. I bought a boat with a $700 budget about a month ago and considered saturns, Bris, and used welded boats. I also realized I wanted to equip this boat with a swivel seat, outboard motor, rod holders, and other accesories. Because of the extra money I knew I would be spending, I decided against a used welded boat (~$900) and got a glued PVC boat brand new.

            I ended up settling on a 14.1ft Bris "KaBoat". You may not know, but a kaboat what Saturn calls a narrow, long inflatable dinghy. If you are looking for wide interior space, this may not be the boat for you, but I can give you a rundown on the overall quality. The fabric is tough and has taken a lot of abuse already. The seams look relatively clean, but it is hard to tell with a glued boat how they will last.



            Here is a picture of it once I added the swivel seat. It has been a ton of fun on local rivers and lakes with up to 4 people. I have also ordered an electric outboard motor for it which will be coming in a couple days, so ill update how well it works with that.

            Let me know if you have any other questions, its hard to cover everything

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hoosiercamper View Post
              Well, mine is an 11' boat and it fits in a large bag. I would not want to carry that bag very far, but it could easily fit in the back of a CRV or other small SUV. Electric trolling motors are popular with these lightweight boats. You can use two motorcycle gel cell batteries, one to get you out and the other to get back in case the first one runs low. A Saturn 11' boat will run you about $1150 shipped, ebay has cheaper boats pop up all the time but I would learn what brands are prefered before I spent any money. Some guys order right from China and try and cut out the retailers and sometimes they get boats that are glued improperly etc..

              Check out youtube and start searching for RIB fishing and also SATURN boat videos and also look at the unpacking and set up videos and you can get a good idea what these inflatables are used for.
              Where are you located geographically?
              I am in Northern California, Sacramento area. I have been researching a lot on youtube. My main goal is to relax on calm waters and move at a slow pace. So most probably I will stick with the electric motor. Thanks for the great advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by awmaster10 View Post
                Hoosiercamper had a lot of great advice. Saturn is the go-to for glued PVC boats that are affordable and come in tons of sizes. I bought a boat with a $700 budget about a month ago and considered saturns, Bris, and used welded boats. I also realized I wanted to equip this boat with a swivel seat, outboard motor, rod holders, and other accesories. Because of the extra money I knew I would be spending, I decided against a used welded boat (~$900) and got a glued PVC boat brand new.

                I ended up settling on a 14.1ft Bris "KaBoat". You may not know, but a kaboat what Saturn calls a narrow, long inflatable dinghy. If you are looking for wide interior space, this may not be the boat for you, but I can give you a rundown on the overall quality. The fabric is tough and has taken a lot of abuse already. The seams look relatively clean, but it is hard to tell with a glued boat how they will last.



                Here is a picture of it once I added the swivel seat. It has been a ton of fun on local rivers and lakes with up to 4 people. I have also ordered an electric outboard motor for it which will be coming in a couple days, so ill update how well it works with that.

                Let me know if you have any other questions, its hard to cover everything
                Thanks for the response. I was interested in the kaboat because of the price, however I read that they are not as stable as a normal inflatable boat. Is that true? I am mainly concerned about this because none of our family knows swimming. Also, how many chambers does it have and does it have an inflatable hull? Hard floor? I know its a lot of questions - but I appreciate the answer! Was it much cheaper than the $900 that you planned on spending initially?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by boatlova' View Post

                  Thanks for the response. I was interested in the kaboat because of the price, however I read that they are not as stable as a normal inflatable boat. Is that true? I am mainly concerned about this because none of our family knows swimming. Also, how many chambers does it have and does it have an inflatable hull? Hard floor? I know its a lot of questions - but I appreciate the answer! Was it much cheaper than the $900 that you planned on spending initially?

                  They are slightly less stable than a wider traditional inflatable, but are still VERY stable. Inflatables in general have so much buoyancy that even the more narrow kaboats are less tippy than a canoe for example. If you are using it on big rough water though I would recommend a wider boat than a kaboat for stability in waves.

                  If you all cannot swim, remember to bring good life vests and never go out alone or on secluded waters where response time would be long if you were to need help.

                  The Bris Kaboat has 4 chambers (Not including floor). The floor is an inflatable high pressure floor which I really like for ease of setup. The floor is also quite stable as long as you have it inflated properly.

                  The boat was only $600, which left a lot of room for budget for the electric motor and other upgrades. I am happy to be able to stay under $900 with other accesories rather than spending the money on just the boat and having to save up to modify it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by awmaster10 View Post


                    They are slightly less stable than a wider traditional inflatable, but are still VERY stable. Inflatables in general have so much buoyancy that even the more narrow kaboats are less tippy than a canoe for example. If you are using it on big rough water though I would recommend a wider boat than a kaboat for stability in waves.

                    If you all cannot swim, remember to bring good life vests and never go out alone or on secluded waters where response time would be long if you were to need help.

                    The Bris Kaboat has 4 chambers (Not including floor). The floor is an inflatable high pressure floor which I really like for ease of setup. The floor is also quite stable as long as you have it inflated properly.

                    The boat was only $600, which left a lot of room for budget for the electric motor and other upgrades. I am happy to be able to stay under $900 with other accesories rather than spending the money on just the boat and having to save up to modify it.
                    Does the kaboat fit 4 people?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have taken it out with 4 people a couple times. To fit four I have the rear swivel chair all the way back, the two middle passengers sit on opposite tubes, and the front passenger sits on the front bench facing forward with the cooler under his bench. This was comfortable enough, and would have been even better if we had a motor and didnt need room to row. Was not easy to fish except for front and rear passengers.

                      Usually we travel with 3. Rear swivel chair, middle passenger sits on the cooler, and front passenger sits on the front bench facing forward. In this setup there is plenty of room to row, fish, and relax. Dont have any pictures of the inside with 3 or 4 people but here is a picture with just me and one passenger up front to show how much space there is in the middle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by awmaster10 View Post
                        I have taken it out with 4 people a couple times. To fit four I have the rear swivel chair all the way back, the two middle passengers sit on opposite tubes, and the front passenger sits on the front bench facing forward with the cooler under his bench. This was comfortable enough, and would have been even better if we had a motor and didnt need room to row. Was not easy to fish except for front and rear passengers.

                        Usually we travel with 3. Rear swivel chair, middle passenger sits on the cooler, and front passenger sits on the front bench facing forward. In this setup there is plenty of room to row, fish, and relax. Dont have any pictures of the inside with 3 or 4 people but here is a picture with just me and one passenger up front to show how much space there is in the middle.

                        Thanks. It seems like a lot of space. It will mostly be my wife and I plus two kids. It seems like there will be plenty of room.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, There will be plenty of room. Just do you at the back, wife up front, and keep the middle nice and open for the kids. Room for a cooler under the benches, room for other supplies behind the rear bench of just in the middle.

                          When I am traveling with 3 or 4 it is large active young adults who are shifting around, getting in and out, and fishing, so with 2 adults and 2 kids it should be fine.

                          Let us know what you decide! Most of these options are significant upgrades over the Mariner 5 (which I also own). Just be aware that coming from the mariner the kaboat is much narrower and has higher tubes so less of an open flat area type feel that the Mariner 5 has. That being said the kaboat is much longer, much more stable, and the high tubes will make you feel much more safe on the water.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by awmaster10 View Post
                            Yes, There will be plenty of room. Just do you at the back, wife up front, and keep the middle nice and open for the kids. Room for a cooler under the benches, room for other supplies behind the rear bench of just in the middle.

                            When I am traveling with 3 or 4 it is large active young adults who are shifting around, getting in and out, and fishing, so with 2 adults and 2 kids it should be fine.

                            Let us know what you decide! Most of these options are significant upgrades over the Mariner 5 (which I also own). Just be aware that coming from the mariner the kaboat is much narrower and has higher tubes so less of an open flat area type feel that the Mariner 5 has. That being said the kaboat is much longer, much more stable, and the high tubes will make you feel much more safe on the water.
                            Since you mentioned you also own a Mariner 4, I'd like to hear some more details of the differences. I understand the Kaboat is narrower, but by how much? 6 inches, one foot? Will it be more stable than a Mariner 4 if I go to lakes where big boats leave ripples and tides through the water?

                            How many aluminum benches does it come with?

                            Also, can I attach an electric motor to the kaboat?

                            Comment


                            • #15
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                              My mistake, I was mixing up the excursion 5 and mariner 4. I actually have an excursion 5 just like you. I havent used it since I purchased the kaboat.

                              Youd have to look up the exact dimensions but to put it roughly, the excursion is 2 people wide, the kaboat is one person wide. The kaboat is almost 4 feet longer in length though.

                              Kaboat should be much more stable in wake and ripples.

                              Yes the kaboat has a transom for mounting an electric motor just like larger inflatable boats. Much better than the motor mounts youd have to use for the excursion.

                              The saturn kaboats come with 3 aluminum benches. The Bris version which I have came with 3 wooden benches. The wooden benches are heavier but better for installing accesories.

                              Comment

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