10 Best Lightweight and Portable Inflatable Boats (Dinghies, Rafts) for Fishing, Hunting, Paddling AWESOME Review and Rating


Posted by
Ryan Peters
Updated by
Bill Miller
Last updated:
June 1, 2020

Water activities are not only useful but also funny and very pleasant, whether it's fishing, sports or just a family vacation. And in this case, lightweight and portable inflatable boat or dinghy that can be easily assembled for storage and transportation and just as quickly deployed and inflated for direct use bring a huge amount of emotions with them. Choosing a boat must be done responsibly because, among other things, this is the question of your safety. We have selected for you 10 most reliable options for different types of recreation, ranging from professional sports to family holidays. Compare these options and choose the most appropriate model.

Most Reliable β€” Top Rated Test Winner 2020

Editor's pickEditor’s pick

Inflatable Fishing Rigid Boat (Raft) with With Hard Bottom

Why it’s better?

  • Excellent quality.
  • Higher strength
  • Improved stone protection
  • High water resistance
  • Folding aluminum floor


TOP Dinghies/Rafts Comparison Chart

name Body (pontoon) material Seats Floor type Motor mount Bottom type
❑ 1. Inflatable Fishing Rigid Boat (Raft) with With Hard Bottom 1200D PVC with reinforced bottom protection 6 Aluminum Sea plywood transom seat V-shaped with deep dive
❑ 2. best Dinghy With Hard Aluminum Bottom and Seat Bag PVC with UV protection 2 Aluminum Composite transom Keel
❑ 3. Inflatable Sport Boat With Hard Bottom [Newport Vessels] 1100D PVC with UV protection 4 Wood with aluminum frame Sea plywood transom seat Inflatable V-shaped keel
❑ 4. Big Inflatable Boat Set with Oars and High Output Air Pump [Intex] Three-layer PVC with stone protection 4 Heavy-duty plastic No (fittings available) Inflatable keel
❑ 5. Inflatable Fishing Dinghy/Raft Boat with Trolling Motor Transom Three-layer vinyl 3 Three-layer vinyl Motor mounts Flat soft
❑ 6. 5-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and Pump [Intex] High strength vinyl 5 Inflatable vinyl Motor mounts Flat soft
❑ 7. Portable Inflatable Motormount Boat [Sea Eagle] PVC K80 4 Inflatable vinyl Motor mounts Flat soft
❑ 8. 2-Person Inflatable Boat [Bestway] High strength vinyl 2 Inflatable vinyl - Flat soft
❑ 9. Angler Bay Small Inflatable Boat [Airhead] Vinyl 6 Inflatable vinyl - Flat soft
❑ 10. Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat With Transport Wheel & Motor Mount [Classic Accessories] PVC 1 - -

1. The Best Inflatable Fishing Rigid Boat (Raft) with With Hard Bottom

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  • Quality
    95%
  • Features
    95%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

2. The Best best Dinghy With Hard Aluminum Bottom and Seat Bag

❑

  • Quality
    95%
  • Features
    90%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

3. The Best Inflatable Sport Boat With Hard Bottom [Newport Vessels]

❑

  • Quality
    90%
  • Features
    90%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

4. The Best Big Inflatable Boat Set with Oars and High Output Air Pump [Intex]

Big Inflatable Boat Set with Oars and High Output Air Pump [Intex] detail review

  • Quality
    90%
  • Features
    95%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

5. The Best Inflatable Fishing Dinghy/Raft Boat with Trolling Motor Transom

❑

  • Quality
    90%
  • Features
    95%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

6. The Best 5-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and Pump [Intex]

5-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and Pump [Intex] detail review

  • Quality
    90%
  • Features
    90%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

7. The Best Portable Inflatable Motormount Boat [Sea Eagle]

❑

  • Quality
    80%
  • Features
    80%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

8. The Best 2-Person Inflatable Boat [Bestway]

❑

  • Quality
    90%
  • Features
    80%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

9. The Best Angler Bay Small Inflatable Boat [Airhead]

  • Quality
    85%
  • Features
    90%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

10. The Best Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat With Transport Wheel & Motor Mount [Classic Accessories]

  • Quality
    90%
  • Features
    80%
Last Updated June 03, 2020

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Criteria Used for Evaluation

Overall, there are the most important things to consider when purchasing dinghies/rafts. Pay attention to the following unique features:

  • product’s quality;
  • price;
  • etc.

In the past year we've owned three different kinds of inflatable dinghies. And through our experience with these three dinghies, we kind of came up with the list of five major things to consider if you're thinking about getting an inflatable dinghy. Those five are:

  • size and shape,
  • material,
  • weight
  • features.

1. Size and Shape

First one, size and shape. Size and shape are totally personal preferences. Whatever you're going to be doing. Are you going to be going long distances or are you just going to use it to go to shore or do you have a dog you have to bring, are you going to go fishing off of it? We went bigger because we go fishing, spearing, bring the dog everywhere. We have a lot of stuff that we bring, but some people have to do is go from the boat to the dock and that's all they need.

bigger you have more carrying capacity, you can go a little bit faster. Smaller, it's going to be lighter, but you don't have as much room.

With size, the bigger it is, obviously it's going to be more expensive. Smaller, you're going to be cheaper on the price range.

2. Tube and Hull Materials

And then with that brings us into our next category, which is materials. When we're talking materials, we're talking about two things: the tube material, and also the hull material.
When choosing an inflatable boat, the material from which it is made is certainly very important. There are many different types of soft materials today, but PVC (vinyl) and hypalon are the most popular. PVC is a material that is more expensive and durable. Additionally, there are several additives that create an additional stone and cut protective layer. For example, two layers of PVC can also be combined with the addition of lamination.

Hypalon or PVC tube

Let's talk about the tube material first: hypalon (a kind of synthetic rubber made of chlorinated and sulfonated polyethylene) and PVC.

Hypalon's going to be more expensive but way better in the sun. It's going to hold up to UV a million times better than PVC. PVC is definitely going to be cheaper, but it's not gonna hold up in the sun very long. If you're considering cruising the Bahamas, the Caribbean, I would say that hypalon is definitely really the only option if you're looking long term.

But if you're in other areas where the sun isn't as strong as down south, then you can save a couple of bucks and go PVC route.

Maybe if you're in the northeast, are you only using dinghy seasonally, it's only in the sun two, three months out of the year, you'll get a long life out of PVC still. Especially if you keep it covered and they even make chaps. These like covers the tubes of the dinghy. If you have chaps on you might be able to make that dinghy last from actually pretty long. If it's PVC and especially if it's hypalon.

Aluminum, fiberglass and the inflatable hull

hull material can be the same rubber tube material just laid down in the hull with slats as like the floor supports or even a removable floor that's made out of wood or aluminum. bottom can also be just an inflated floor, like a high pressure inflated rubber bottom material where there's not even any slats. It's just high pressure kind of keeping it semi rigid. You can have a solid fiberglass hull or you can have a solid aluminum hull. I'm sure there's other options out there, but those are the major ones.

Inflatable floor

The floor provides comfort when you are in a boat. There are different floor types: soft, inflatable, rigid collapsible, rigid frame (solid), etc. In most cases, the boat is folded in a carrier bag, so it is important that the floor is either soft or hard but composite. Rigid collapsible floors are more comfortable, but they are heavy and require extra installation and reassembly time.
In our boat it actually has some thin wood slats to keep it a little more rigid.
Obviously with those first things, whether it's a high pressure inflated floor or an inflatable floor with slats or even an inflatable hull with sections, removable sections, those are all going to be semi-rigid and they can range from it feeling like you're stepping on a waterbed. It's pretty close to rigid (solid). Pretty rigid.

other thing with that you have to worry about beaching the boat. If you're ever on, let's say a beach with rocks or barnacles or whatever, you could pop that extremely easy compared to the hard rigid floor you have more sturdiness.

Talking about a solid fiberglass or aluminum hull, you definitely have the ability to give yourself a little bit more leeway if you do run up on a rock or a barnacle. Or some coral or something.

Now our last dinghy was solid fiberglass, this one is solid aluminum, and that's part of the reasons that we kind of changed it up and got an aluminum boat and that's because of the light weight that you get with aluminum while still having a lot of strength.

Fiberglass hull

Fiberglass is definitely going to be a little bit heavier, but it might be a little easier to repair if you ever put a hole in it or something because you probably have fiberglass supplies on your boat. With an aluminum hull you can probably still, you can probably do a make shift repair with epoxy I'm sure, but for a permanent repair, you probably need someone to weld on something to that aluminum. But it's going to be harder to puncture an aluminum hull. If you just put a scratch in it, that's not a big deal. It can be much more durable being pulled up on the beach with rocks or coral or whatever. You're probably not gonna put a hole in an aluminum hull.

3. Weight

Weight is very important for us specifically because our, our boat is completely dependent on weight. lighter it is, the faster it goes so when we raise the dinghy and put it on the boat, we want it to be as light as possible so it's easy to get up. But also so we keep the weight down so we go faster.

If you have a whole system, like a crane that lifts the dinghy on the boat and you don't have to worry about lifting yourself and you're on a trawler or then it doesn't matter as much.

4. Features

That kind of brings us into our next category, which is features because the more features you have, generally the more weight you're going to have.

Features can range from anything from just a seat to some fancy electronics, a center console, a bench seat and built in in the back, a little radar arch.

A lot of features that most dinghies have are like handholds all over, these D-rings. Some D-rings under the front of the boat for towing or locks with aluminum oars, which we're going to have to test out. I actually tested them out on the other dinghy to see if you can actually row it. Supposedly it's pretty hard to row an inflatable boat, especially if there's any sort of breeze, whatever. But those are a lot of features that most dinghies do have.

In our old dinghy the bench seat was like in the middle and then under the bench seat we kept the gas tank so it was still out of the way, but taking up kind of floor space. Now we have a separate locker for the gas tank as well as a separate locker for the anchor. Because now under the bench seat we have this space for our life jackets.

Now that's vented and the fuel line actually runs underneath the floor all the way back to the engine so that fuel line's not in the way ever. And then here's the anchor locker.

One thing that we didn't have on our other dinghy that is amazing is just this simple little slot for the line to come out so that when you're anchored you'll have your anchor line tied to the boat, but most of your extra line is still in here. It's nice to have this. line can come out and you can still close this, without breaking the hinges or anything on that hatch. Another great thing about these two compartments that we were surprised to find out is how easy it is to step the front of the boat, to the back of our catamaran. That was a really nice surprise.

And then one other thing that I love and I dog likes too, is that we have this soft kind of non-skid material on the boat so she has something that doesn't like hurt her paws and we don't slip as much.

One last major feature I want to talk about is having, I don't know what you call it, a floor. Having a floor over just the bottom of your boat is the bilge. But this is our actual floor and underneath here is just space. You can see if we get water in the boat, the water fills up underneath this floor first because there is like holes you know in the corners and in the anchor locker and stuff like that. And that way if you have just a little bit of water in your boat, it's gonna sit in the bilge in the floor and your feet aren't going to get wet, all your stuff isn't gonna get wet and even if you have a little sand it'll sit right there kind of underneath the floor.

If our phone fell on the ground, it's not sitting in water or the cameras or whatever.

But it's definitely a little bit of extra weight, it's definitely a little bit of extra money, but it's a feature that I really like and it's definitely worth it for us. Something to think about.

Well as I mentioned before, some other features you're going to have is like a whole console here to steer with a steering wheel and a steering system and everything besides just the tiller. It'll have a throttle. You can have bow lights, stern lights, you could have bilge pumps, batteries, radio, everything.

With all those extra features comes, weight, which is our most important thing that we're trying to limit.

Some more features:

Availability of motor mounts

choice of a boat is always based on certain objectives. And additional equipment is selected depending on the purpose. Fishermen need a motor, so a boat for them should have motor or transom mounts. If a boat is intended for family holidays, the motor is not required, but paddles and paddle crutches are important.

Keel

To improve maneuverability and handling, a keel is needed in any boat. Depending on where and under what circumstances the boat will operate, a boat with or without a keel is selected. If it's a family holiday, you don't need a keel, but a keel is very important if it's a sporting interest or professional activity. A keel may be soft or rigid (inflatable). A rigid keel offers better handling, of course, but it is installed on heavy boats only. It is more common to have a soft keel.

Crutches and paddles

Wherever and how the boat is used, crutches are important. Comfort depends on them when using paddles. Crutches should be as powerful as possible and hinges should be as mobile as possible. At the same time, it is necessary to secure the paddles in them firmly but without losing free movement. Paddles themselves can be made of wood or composite materials. Weight is important here: the lighter the paddle, the better.

Number of seats

Each boat has its own weight and seat capacity limitations. Therefore, when choosing a boat, it is always worth considering how many people would be there at the same time. For family holidays, light boats with a large interior space and a large seat capacity are better suited.

Components package

Components package, i.e. items that come complete, such as paddles, pump, seats, optional accessories, is very important. These components are critical for boat sailing and they should be attentively checked out when choosing a boat.

Find out also how to inflate an inflatable boat and set up the aluminum floorboards inside correctly.

Best Dinghies/Rafts Brands and Manufacturers

The market is dominated by some manufacturers such as: Newport Vessels, Intex, Sea Eagle, Bestway, Airhead, Classic Accessories. All of them offer a variety models of best inflatable (blow up) dinghies, rafts, fishing boats for Fishing, Hunting, Paddling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best for Fishing, Hunting, Paddling for money?

A: The Inflatable Fishing Rigid Boat (Raft) with With Hard Bottom is our Editor’s Choice as the best model of with its combination of performance, features, quality and price.

Q: Where to buy cheap dinghies/rafts for sale?

A: Take a look at this TOP dinghies/rafts kits reviewed of 2020 and then press the Β«Check PriceΒ» button to check their price and availability.

Q: How to find near me?

A: You can choose any model of dinghies/rafts, then press the Β«View FeaturesΒ» button to check the location.

Q: You offer fairly interesting options, but I can't decide. I need a rubber boat for river rafting, which one's the best?

A: For river rafting, boats with elongated pontoons are best suited, as they are more stable in rough flows. In addition, attention should be paid to protecting the bottom from cuts, as there are usually sharp stones on the bottom of banks. Plus, such models usually have a place to secure a transom under the motor.

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Comments to Review

  1. Our Newport Vessel boat has served us so well for the past few years. It is super easy to store and fun to take our kids out in on the little late in our backyard.

  2. Ivan Roberts says:

    My choice is HydroForce Marine Pro is the perfect small family inflatable boat. It is for 2 adults and 1 child (it can carry 3 adults or 2 adults or 2-3 children simultaneously). The boat is made of durable material of three layers and has a load capacity of more than 590lbs and boat is folded into a small bag for transportation. It has a rigid inflatable bottom. A security cable holder and motor mounting fittings are also available. Inflatable cushions and a storage bag are included. Good product.

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