Different Strokes for Different Folks

Kayaking the Truckee River is growing in popularity but the “learning curve” to master the use of a hard shell kayak takes time and experience. Inflatable “sit-on-top” kayaks provide entry-level rafters an alternative to experience the adventure without the extensive training.

Inflatable kayaks and rafts come in a variety of sizes and widths for different uses and levels of whitewater. Many models provide room for provisions and/or extra passengers so they can make a great family or group recreational boat. Different designs lend options for day trips, overnights or extended excursions. Obviously, load capacity varies with the length and width of the kayak. Kayaks ranging from 14-feet to 18-feet long can store at least 600 pounds; load capacity for 10-feet to 12-feet long boats ranges from 275-475 pounds. Most can be easily stored inside a vehicle when they are deflated.

Catarafts are innovative catamaran type inflatable boats that can maneuver big volume Class 4-5 whitewater and shallow, rocky, technical rivers. A considerable amount of gear can also be carried on a cataraft for long fishing, hunting or camping trips.

A few models of inflatable kayaks are designed to mimic the maneuverability of hard shell kayaks while providing the security and safety of an inflatable kayak. With these models you can take the time to learn the stunts and perform “enders, flat spins and complete Eskimo rolls”.

Many retailers and rental agencies have a variety of inflatable kayaks available. If you missed those kayak lessons again this winter and want to give the sport a try, an inflatable kayak may be just the ticket to get you down the river.

By James Bell

James Bell is the owner of Sierra Adventures in Reno.