Many kayakers will tell you to avoid using an inflatable kayak for multi-day touring, but there are actually plenty of reasons why they can be more advantageous for such trips than a comparable hard-shell kayak.
Here are just five reasons why.
1. Easy to Transport
First and foremost, inflatable kayaks are very easy to transport. If you just like kayaking on a local lake or river, you'll probably be able to leave your craft at that site. If you want to go on a tour, you'll need to transport your kayak to your starting point and back from your finishing point, so going with the easy-to-transport option only makes sense.
2. Fantastic Stability
Inflatable kayaks are clearly going to be extremely buoyant, and they also tend to be significantly wider than hard-shelled kayaks. This makes them a little less fast, but you'll rarely need to be going at maximum speed when you're touring. What you will need is the added stability that buoyancy and width provides; taking a tumble from your kayak can be a more serious affair when you're far away from help.
3. Rugged Construction
One of the main reasons people will tell you not to take an inflatable kayak on a long-distance journey is that pops can occur. While this is technically true, it is extremely unlikely. Inflatable kayaks are made from very rugged materials, so pops shouldn't be a problem. Furthermore, inflatable kayaks can be quite easily patched with a portable kit in the unlikely event of a hole or rip occurring. If your hard-shell kayak is damaged, you almost certainly won't be able to fix it yourself.
As you might well imagine, an inflatable kayak is much lighter than a hard-shelled kayak. It's always nice to be able to move your kayak in and out of the water without feeling like you might put your back out, but it's extremely beneficial when you're going touring. The likelihood of having to porter your craft becomes higher when you go across longer distances; at the very least, you're going to need to haul the craft out of the water when you settle on the bank for food or rest.
5. Greater Payload
Your payload refers to the amount of weight that you can carry. Thanks to their lighter weight, greater width, and overall improved stability, most inflatable kayaks can take a much heavier load than a comparable hard-shell kayak. This is clearly an advantage if you're going on a multi-day tour since you will need to transport food, shelter, and additional clothing.
Talk with an expert at a location like Wetspot Water Sports if you're not sure which type of kayak you'll enjoy most.