Best Stearns Inflatable Kayak for Beginners

If you’re new to kayaking, an inflatable kayak from Stearns is a great option to get started. In this article, we’ll review the top Stearns inflatable kayak models for beginner paddlers based on stability, ease of use, and value. We’ll help you find the right boat to start your kayaking adventures.

Top Stearns Models for Beginner Paddlers

Kayaking is a fun and rewarding activity that is approachable even for total beginners. With an inflatable kayak from Stearns, you can get on the water with minimal investment and without sacrificing performance. Here are some of the best Stearns inflatable kayak models for beginners:

Stearns Bali Inflatable Kayak

This budget-friendly inflatable kayak has a wide and stable hull design perfect for new paddlers. The durable 30-gauge PVC construction and I-beam floor provide rigidity while keeping it lightweight. Built-in storage pockets let you bring supplies. The Bali tracks well and comes at an affordable price point for those starting out.

Stearns Catalina Inflatable Kayak

A step up in quality, the Catalina has a wide 34-inch beam for stability and a padded seat with a high backrest for comfort. The rugged tarpaulin bottom and polyester topside resist abrasions. Larger than the Bali, the Catalina has enough cargo space for day trips yet still inflates and deflates quickly.

Stearns Mystique Inflatable Kayak

The most premium of these beginner options, the Mystique has a streamlined inflatable design and a bow that cuts through the water efficiently. The drop-stitch construction results in unmatched rigidity. While nimble and fast, it still retains good stability. Built-in rod holders make it great for casual fishing.

What Makes These Great for Beginners

All of these Stearns inflatable models have adequate cargo volume, reliable air retention, and useful accessories like footrests. For new kayakers, they offer stability, comfort, and decent tracking at reasonable prices. Avoid the headache of a rigid kayak and start paddling quickly with one of these great inflatable options from Stearns.

Best Places to Use Your Stearns Inflatable Kayak

A Stearns inflatable kayak can open up a world of paddling opportunities. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best locations to use your Stearns inflatable kayak for lake paddling, river floating, ocean kayaking, and more. We’ll cover what makes these spots ideal for an inflatable kayak.

Calm Lakes

Lakes with minimal waves are ideal for beginners getting used to paddling basics in their inflatable Stearns kayak. Alpine lakes make great summer paddling destinations. Spot wildlife along the shores or find a quiet cove for fishing. Just avoid high winds which can affect navigation.

Mild Rivers

Inflatable kayaks are well-suited for lazy rivers and gentle streams. Float along at a leisurely pace taking in the scenery. The Rio Grande, Platte River, and San Marcos River are a few mild and scenic river options. Always research water conditions beforehand.

Coastal Shores

For ocean paddling, choose calm, warm waters and avoid high surf conditions. Stearns inflatables work well for paddling along tropical coastlines, coves, or mangroves to spot marine life. Just take proper precautions for potential wind and currents.

Mountain Reservoirs

High alpine reservoirs make amazing destinations for Stearns inflatable kayaking. You get stunning mountain views, freshwater fishing, and rarely any powerboats. They tend to be cooler but have less chop. Vallecito Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir are prime Colorado examples.

Urban Waterways

Even in metropolitan areas, there are opportunities to use your Stearns inflatable kayak on rivers, lakes, and harbors. Paddle through the downtown Chicago Riverwalk or along the Seattle waterfront for city explorations by kayak.

Key Tips

With portability on your side, you can seek out beautiful paddling locales across the country using your trusty Stearns inflatable kayak. Make sure to follow boating regulations and always wear a PFD life jacket. Safe paddling!

Tips for Launching and Landing Your Stearns Inflatable Kayak

Launching and landing a Stearns inflatable kayak properly is key to staying safe on the water. In this article, we’ll provide tips for transporting your folded kayak to the launch site, carefully entering the water, exiting while avoiding capsizing, and packing up your kayak. Following these tips will make your inflatable kayaking adventures smooth and enjoyable.

Transporting Your Folded Kayak

Inflatable Stearns kayaks pack down small for easy transportation. Store your deflated kayak in the trunk with your pump and gear. For longer distances, roof racks are ideal to transport your inflated kayak. Make sure to securely tie it down.

Choosing a Good Launch Spot

Find a launch spot with a gentle slope and no obstacles in the water that could snag or puncture your inflatable kayak on entry. Unpack and inflate your kayak fully. Carry it or wheel it carefully to the water’s edge before climbing in from shore.

Stable Boarding

Use caution when stepping into your kayak, keeping your weight low and centered. Have your paddle ready to stabilize the kayak. Wearing watershoes helps avoid slips. If possible, hold the kayak steady while boarding.

Controlled Landing

Approach the shore slowly and perpendicular to the waterline. Lean forward as the bottom touches to prevent falling backwards. If possible, step out while the kayak is still floating in shallow water.

Proper Deflation

Clear gear from your kayak. Unscrew valves to deflate completely and evenly. Make sure no sand or debris is stuck inside. Fold the kayak neatly to fit your storage bag. Rinse with fresh water if needed.

Stay Safe Out There

With some practice launching and landing, you’ll quickly gain confidence with your Stearns inflatable kayak. Stay aware of weather and water conditions, and always wear a personal flotation device. Enjoy the paddling journey!

How to Care for Your Stearns Inflatable Kayak

Investing in an inflatable Stearns kayak is a great way to explore the water, but you’ll want it to last. In this article, we’ll explain how to properly care for your Stearns inflatable kayak. We’ll cover setup, storage, cleaning, protection, and repairs. Our kayak care tips will help keep your inflatable boat in peak condition.

Follow Setup Instructions

Always follow the setup, inflation, deflation, and folding instructions provided by the manufacturer. This ensures you get the right tension and avoid damage.

Clean After Each Use

Rinse your kayak with fresh water after use to remove dirt, saltwater, or debris that could deteriorate the material prematurely.

Use Proper Storage

Keep your kayak out of direct sunlight and avoid excessive heat when storing. Deflate partially for storage to reduce pressure on the seams.

Careful Transportation

When transporting inflated, tie down securely and avoid dragging over abrasive surfaces. For storage, fold neatly along creases to avoid kinks and tears.

Maintain the Valves

Ensure valve caps are sealed tightly before inflating. Check valves periodically for cracks or leaks. Keep valves clear of sand and sediment.

Apply UV Protection

Apply a UV protecting spray to guard against sun damage, especially for kayaks used in intense sunlight. Reapply as needed.

Make Timely Repairs

Fix any small punctures with the provided repair kit right away to avoid further damage. Check for wear on seat material or handles.

Enjoy Your Stearns Kayak for Years

With the right care and maintenance, a Stearns inflatable kayak can provide years of reliable use. Follow these tips and inspect your kayak regularly. Catching issues early makes repairs easier. Enjoy the journey while keeping your Stearns kayak in top shape.


Stearns offers some of the best inflatable kayak options for paddling beginners looking for stability, durability, and affordability. Their kayaks allow new paddlers to start exploring the waterways in a safe, comfortable boat. With the portability of a Stearns inflatable kayak, you can seek out beautiful paddling destinations across the country, from serene mountain lakes to tropical coastal ecosystems. Properly launching and landing your inflatable kayak takes some practice but following a few simple techniques will have you paddling confidently in no time. And taking measures to properly care for and maintain your Stearns kayak through proper setup, storage, cleaning, and repairs will keep it delivering top performance for many seasons to come. Investing in a Stearns inflatable kayak opens the door to endless days of adventure on the water.

FAQS for Stearns Inflatable Kayak

Discover the answers to frequently asked questions about Stearns Inflatable Kayak insights below:

Is an inflatable kayak a good idea?

Inflatable kayaks are a great choice for casual paddlers and beginners.
They are more affordable and allow beginners to experience kayaking.
While they may not perform as well in certain conditions, they are still a reliable option.

How long should an inflatable kayak last?

A: The average lifespan of an inflatable kayak is around 5 to 10 years with proper care.
Higher quality inflatable kayaks may last 20 years or more.
Cheaper kayaks that are not properly cared for may only last a couple of years.

Should you keep an inflatable kayak inflated?

It’s generally okay to store your inflatable kayak or paddle board inflated.
However, letting a little air out can protect against expansion beyond the recommended PSI.
If stored for a long period, releasing some air can help prevent the weakening of the seams.

Are inflatable kayaks seaworthy?

Yes, inflatable kayaks can handle the ocean.
However, it is important to choose a kayak specifically made for saltwater and rough waves.
Not all inflatable kayaks are suitable for these adventurous activities.

Can I use an inflatable kayak on a river?

Inflatable kayaks are versatile and can be used on rivers.
They provide fun and maneuverability through whitewater and rock gardens.
The length of the kayak affects its tracking in calm water, while shorter kayaks are better for whitewater.

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