Most Popular Types of Inflatable Rafting Boats

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Rafting is gaining more popularity each day because of its adventure and memorable experience. In the beginning, this activity started just like an individual’s way of spending time, especially during free time. The vessels that were used (for instance the boats) were just the simple traditional ones that were mostly used to navigate shallow waters. As time went on, more people joined rafting to accompany their friends and have fun. Rafters borrowed and shared the simple traditional boats that they used for rafting. As of today, rafting is a sport (since the 1950s) and it is still becoming more popular with time. Better and improved vessels have also been introduced to make the sport more enjoyable, fun, and memorable for any participant. Technological advancement has made it possible for new introductions and also improvements in the rafting industry. Competition is a reality in this industry. The different manufacturers of the rafting products like life jackets, kayaks, canoes, and rafts are stopping at nothing. They are continuously striving to introduce and market products that meet customers' satisfaction by increasing and improving their experience in the sport. We are here to help you understand more about the rafting activities by discussing the different types of inflatable water vessels (boats, canoes, kayaks, and others) that are used in rafting.

5 Main Types of Inflatable Rafting Vessels

Rafting is simply a recreational activity that involves navigating across any water body of choice using a buoyance water vessel. Some of the inflatable boats that are used in rafting are discussed below.

1. Kayaks

Are one of the well-known and most popular boats used for rafting. The two major types of rafting kayaks are:

I. Sea kayaks

Sea kayaks are hard to maneuver and are also long. Sea kayaks are best suited in the water that has many waves to deal with but with slowly flowing water.

II. Whitewater kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are mostly made for water that flows on the surface of the rafting vessel. Their length is shorter and also, they can easily navigate in a fall because they are found to be more maneuverable. The stability of whitewater is not interfered with by the turbulence in the water. This, therefore, makes it good for navigation. Their make allows for easy righting through Eskimo Rolls if they overturn into the water. They come with big storage space. The space allows for safe transportation of personal goods and also makes it easy to navigate the waters with little effort.

2. Rafts

Rafts are types of water boats that are very common. These watercrafts are also used by most companies that offer rafting trips. They are most preferred over kayaks because they are more stable. Inflatable rafts are easy to guide and control while rafting. These types of rafting boats are made to give the users the utmost experience in their recreational sporting. Therefore, their shape and material were well thought out while designing them. They are made with high-strength fabrics and materials that are inflatable. Their fabrics are usually coated in Urethane, Neoprene, and PVC to increase their reliability and durability. Another advantage of these inflatable rafts is that they are big enough to allow accommodate multiple passengers. Its ability to handle many passengers helps to make the activity more fun and interesting. You are also not left alone if you are looking for a raft that is made for a single user. There are plenty of rafting boats that you can choose from for individual use.

3. Catarafts

Catarafts and inflatable rafting boats are made with the same material. However, Catarafts have additional special metal frames that are called Shredders. In their design, catarafts have double inflatable supports that are fitted on both sides of the boat. The Shredders are joined from the middle of the boat. The frame used to bridge the boat helps to keep the rafters safe and also keeps the boat steady. The seats are positioned at the frame thus allowing only a few passengers for the rafting adventure at a time. The main disadvantage of catarafts is that they can be rowed by one person at a time. This leaves the passengers with no other responsibility other than to enjoy the ride. Though catarafts can come in any size, they are mainly smaller than inflatable rafts. This makes them easy to maneuver in the water.

4. Canoes

At times, people want to use the things that will give them the traditional experience that they miss. This is the case with canoes. They are chosen as rafting boats mostly when one wants to have an experience of the oldest means of rafting. Initially, the canoes were made from trunks of trees. Today they come in many forms like Kevlar, plastics, and fiberglass. Spray covers are also added as a strategy to keep water from the hull. This also makes the canoes look like kayaks. Open canoes have large airbags or pieces of foam on the sides. The bags help to remove water from the boat when the amount is high. There are also holes at the top rim in case it starts to collect water.


C1s and whitewater kayaks are similar though for C1s; you have to kneel when rafting instead of sitting. These types of boats only have one paddle which is small in size. C1s are shorter than canoes but longer than kayaks. They are therefore easier to maneuver than canoes but harder than kayaks.

3. Reasons Why They Are Inflatable

The inflatable boats are the most common type for rafting because they are lightweight which enables them to carry rafters with ease. They have tubes that are super flexible which are filled with pressurized gas on the sides and bows to make sure that they can be steered easily through the water. For the boats that are 10 feet, they have an aluminum sheet made on the floor with rigid plywood plants fitted between the tubes. This helps to increase the buoyance of these rafting boats. Their inflatable nature also makes them more portable for transportation. Most inflatable boats can be disassembled and packed with ease for transportation or storage.

4. Conclusion

Rafting is for sure a fun activity that one should not miss out whenever it is happening. With the needed kind of rafting boat that suits the waters that you are going to navigate, rafting can be the most exciting experience in a lifetime.