Full drop stitch inflatable kayak has become more and more popular in the market over the past few years. And according to the predictions of some senior players and the feedback of current owners, this product will enter a stage of rapid growth this year and next year. In fact, it’s easy to understand why drop stitch kayak has emerged so quickly: this technology has been well-proven in inflatable paddle boards and docks, so applying this technology to kayaks can be said to be a very natural and ingenious transition. In other words, people are happy to try the new toy. Thanks to the properties of the drop stitch fabric itself, inflatable kayaks are easy to carry and store. As for performance, how to make it comparable to traditional inflatable kayaks, many big brands have also launched their own different designs to continue to optimize its performance. Including the configuration of accessories, it also considers the user’s experience very intimately. And each brand has its own unique selling point. Let’s take a look at the comparison.

Full Drop Stitch Inflatable Kayak lucieneo.com
Full Drop Stitch Inflatable Kayak Structure

First of all, what is drop stitch technology?

We’ve covered these five points in details in another article(click here):

1. Basic structure of drop stitch material

2. Working principle of drop stitch material

3. Internal density of drop stitch material

4. Three commonly used drop stitch materials

5. Precautions when using

So we just briefly review it here:

The inflatable paddle board is made of drop stitch material, and the interior is covered with numerous tough threads . The upper and lower layers are made of PVC and woven mesh, and the upper and lower layers are combined by high-strength threads in the middle . A certain thickness and shape can become very thin after deflation.

When the inside of the board is constantly inflated, the threads will firmly pull the upper and lower layers of PVC material, and the board will maintain a fixed shape so that will not bulge like a balloon. And it is very simple to understand that because these threads/filaments are of the same length, they constitute a very flat surface.

As the pressure continues to increase, the pulling force of the threads gradually increases, and the board becomes harder and harder.

How to judge the quality of the drop stitch material itself? We also have a simple guide in this article (click here) . In short, the construction of the material itself is different. So you will also find that, like inflatable paddle boards, kayaks of the same size will have different weights and stiffness.

drop stitch material structure
drop stitch material structure

Compared with traditional inflatable bladder kayaks, what are the advantages and disadvantages of drop stitch inflatable kayaks?

Advantages

1. Can be inflated to higher air pressure and hardness.

2. A more comfortable and flat floor instead of a somewhat soft I-beam floor. Flat surfaces are also easier to clean.

3. More shapes can be made, such as the open stern kayak style we’ll mention later in the article.

4. The side tubes/panels can be very narrow, so the overall profile of the kayak is smaller and the glide is faster.

5. It is very hard and strong, so it has achieved the performance of hard-shell kayaks.

6. More accessories can be configured as the hull has enough strength and space to mount these things.

7. Less susceptible to wind as it is relatively heavier.

Disadvantages

1. Heavier than traditional inflatable kayak, especially if you choose to use stronger double-layered raw material or reinforced raw material.

2. Expensive, one reason is determined by the drop stitch material itself, and the other is caused by the rising labor cost caused by the complicated manufacturing process.

3. Higher risk of capsizing than traditional inflatable kayaks.

4. The technical requirements for players are higher, because they are narrowed. Players need higher skills to maintain balance.

5. End up twice as bulky as a same size inflatable tube kayak.

Lucieneo kayak
traditional tube kayak

Next, we will learn more detailed specifications and performance from several brands of full drop stitch inflatable kayaks.

The first full drop stitch inflatable kayak to mention is the model of Sea Eagle, because Sea Eagle first launched full drop stitch inflatable kayaks in 2015. And the most talked about is RazorLite-393rl and RazorLite-473rl. In the following years, other improved styles have also been introduced.

The most classic element of course is their sleek and sharp profile design, said to be able to reach speeds of up to 6 mph. And then the rigid plastic bow and stern made of the mould were also imitated all the time.

Sea Eagle RazorLite

The specifications can be seen clearly and quickly through the table below.

nameRazorLite 393
material1000D
size393x71cm
sidewall thickness10cm
floor thickness8cm
person capacity1, max 225kg
chamber3
inflation time7 minutes
inflation pressure10psi
spray deckbow and stern with carry handles, without luggage rope
seatEVA
D-rings4
footrestbuilt-in and adjustable
accessoriespaddle, pump, fin, repair kit, backpack
Spec of Sea Eagle RazorLite 393

The double person capacity model is RazorLite-473.

size: 473 cm long and 76 cm wide

capacity: two persons, max 340 kg

Other details are almost the same as RazorLite-393.

Both sizes of these two kayaks can carry more than enough luggage, thanks to the raised side walls and narrower side panels for more dimensional space. It also means this design is perfect for long trips and even with family or team.

Advanced Elements also launched their designs in year 2020. The names are Airvolution AE3029 and Airvolution AE3030. Many users also call this full drop stitch kayak a crossover kayak or two-panel FDS(short for full drop stitch), because the kayak is made of two drop stitch paddle boards that are fastened and fixed together. This design has one less air chambers, so that the inflation rate is relatively increased. It also has a pressure relief valve for each board. The bow and stern are also sturdy plastic molded nose crash designs. Smooth, narrow lines guarantee sailing speed.

V-hull with chine design also enhances tracking and hull speed. What’s more, it can be seen that the seat position is the widest part of the entire hull, which ensures the stability of the kayak to some extent. So it’s easier for users switching from inflatable stand up paddle board enthusiasts to this full drop stitch inflatable kayak. At the same time, such a narrow and long design also leaves more space for the bow and stern decks, which are also equipped with luggage rope design. Their EVA seat design has a molded heat embossed logo for a more upscale look. The footrests are also inflatable. Drain holes in the middle of the cabin make it easier to drain, clean and keep dry.

More features can be seen more clearly in the table below.

nameAirvolution AE3029
materialheavy-duty PVC
size396x84cm
top board thickness10cm
bottom board thickness10cm
person capacity1, max 136kg
chamber2
inflation timeBattery operated inflator is included so it’s faster.
inflation pressure10-12psi
spray deckbow and stern with soft carry handles and luggage rope
seatEVA with brand logo
D-rings4
footrestinflatable and adjustable
accessoriespaddle, fin, repair kit, backpack, battery operated inflator
Spec of Airvolution AE3029

Another model is AE3030, the size is 442cm long and 94cm wide. Person capacity is 1 or2 , with max weight 249 KG.

If the above two kayaks are evaluated from the manufacturer, the production process of these two styles of Advanced Elements’ will be relatively more complicated, so the cost will be higher.

Another brand, Sandbanks Style, their full drop stitch inflatable kayak has another selling point in addition to the above.

Sandbanks Style

That’s the V-shaped hull design in the Optimal series. This clever design not only ensures the stability of the kayak for beginners, but also makes it easier to cut through water. Of course, the specific performance also needs more user feedback to reflect.

Sandbanks Style V-shape hull
Sandbanks Style V-shape hull
nameSandbanks Styles Optimal
materialFusion drop stitch PVC
size386x81cm
top board thickness10cm
bottom board thickness10cm
person capacity1, max 159kg
chamber2
inflation timeunknown yet
inflation pressure12psi
spray deckbow and stern with soft carry handles and luggage rope
seatEVA
D-rings4
footrestwithout
accessoriespaddle, fin, repair kit, backpack
Spec of Sandbanks Styles Optimal

Since it comes to water sports, it must be Itiwit, a sub-brand of Decathlon. The name of their drop stitch inflatable kayak is Strenfit X500. Even such a kayak has a pioneering design of a coaming, which is convenient for the needs of traveling in various water classes and seasons.

Itiwit Strenfit X500

Judging from the narrow and pointed shape design, this kayak is very suitable for players above the intermediate level. Because to control this kayak, you need a very high level, in addition to maintaining stability, but also the ability to quickly turn over when it capsizes.

Itiwit Strenfit X500

It is undeniable that Itiwit is excellent in detail design, and every detail maintains the style of the brand itself. For example, the classic orange color of the adjustable pedals, the simple and generous lines of the backpack, etc. You can refer to the table below to see more thoughtful design elements. If you are a heavy fan of kayaking and paddling sport, or a heavy pursuer of the ultimate experience, then you can definitely consider this model. Because it can be seen that it’s really trying to optimize every point he can think of.

iwit Strenfit X500
Itiwit Strenfit X500
nameItiwit Strenfit X500
materialFusion drop stitch PVC + foam
size381x64cm
sidewall thickness10cm
floor thickness10cm
person capacity1, max 125kg
chamber2+2
inflation time10 minutes
inflation pressuremax 15psi
spray deckbow and stern with carry handles and luggage rope
seatEVA
D-rings0
footrestadjustable
accessoriespaddle, fin, repair kit, backpack, pump
Spec of Itiwit Strenfit X500

In addition to the above styles, many brands have also launched their own designs.

And as more brands keep updating their designs, we’ll keep this article updated as well.

Plus, there’s another full drop stitch inflatable kayak design which is both simple and clever, and that’s Costway’s Go Pro. The hull is a thick drop stitch material, about 20cm thick, and then a sunken floor is subtly glued. And at the same time it can be matched with a comfortable EVA seat. This design is more suitable for beginners, because it is almost smoother and steadier than an inflatable stand up paddle board. Washing and drying is also very simple, just turn it over. The length is 330, the width is 81 cm, and the weight is about 130kg. The profile design is similar to a common iSUP board.

Costway's Go Pro
Costway’s Go Pro
nameCostway GoPro
materialdrop stitch PVC
size330x81cm
sidewall thickness20cm
floor thickness8cm
person capacity1, max 136kg
chamber1+1
inflation timeunknown
inflation pressuremax 12psi
spray deckbow and stern with carry handles, luggage rope on bow
seatEVA
D-rings4
footrestadjustable
accessoriespaddle, fin, repair kit, backpack, pump
Spec of Costway GoPro

When talking about the various shapes of full drop stitch inflatable kayak, we mentioned the open stern. It was launched by BOTE and looks like this. Would you call it kayak or sup? As BOTE positioned it: the name versatile recreational kayak suits it better. There, this full drop stitch inflatable kayak combines the performance of kayak and sup. Even the seat is made of drop stitch fabric. So it is worthy of the name.

BOTE kayak open stern

I think another most worth mentioning is the design of the drop stitch inflatable seat. Because the height of this seat allows the paddler to sit comfortably in the cabin and adjust the position of the legs at any time. So it is really a good choice for recreation.

nameDEUS Aero
materialmilitary-grade PVC
size335x84cm, 35cm deep
sidewall thickness10cm
floor thickness10cm
person capacity1, max 136kg
chamber3+1
inflation time10 minutes
inflation pressure10-15psi, seat 5-7psi
spray deckopen bow and stern with soft carry handles and luggage rope on floor
seatdrop stitch inflatable seat with comfortable EVA, removable
D-rings4
footrestfoot bar
accessoriesfin, repair kit, travel bag, hand pump
Spec of BOTE DEUS Aero

And in the optional package, KULA 5 Cooler Seafoam is very suitable for leisure needs. It can be used not only as a cooler, but also as a bucket directly, which is very practical.

KULA 5 Cooler Seafoam
KULA 5 Cooler Seafoam

It can be predicted that more companies will launch full drop stitch inflatable kayak in other shapes with more functions, because this product from BOTE is a very good inspiration.

Future Trend

So, with any of the above FDS inflatable kayaks, you no longer need to worry about being too heavy to carry or not having enough storage space. And each kayak is designed to carry enough luggage on the deck or in the cabin. The thoughtful detail design also makes your journey more comfortable. If you want to exchange any opinions, feel free to contact us.

Lucieneo dropstitch crossover kayak
Crossover/2-panles kayak

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