Boating on a budget? I got you covered, my friend! I’m not sure if you know it already but there are great inflatable boats under 200 that you can purchase. Of course, these aren’t top-dollar choices and you can’t expect premium quality. Still, there are some diamonds that will give you the luxury of paddling or cruising into the water without breaking the bank. You just have to dig deep beyond the expensive rafts and dinghies.
Many boaters say that you’ll get what you pay for. And as a sailor myself, I can’t agree enough. We only enjoy the things that we purchase but that doesn’t mean investing in affordable deals will leave us with dysfunctional equipment. It’s a matter of finding the right boat that fits your budget. Scrutinizing a potential purchase is important to avoid the dud vessels.
Yes, you get what you pay for. But in these options I listed, you’ll get more quality than what you expected from what you paid for. From two to five-person rides, your $200 will allow you to go places. Check each out and let me know what appeals to you the most.
Intex Explorer 300 with Oars
Trusted and proven, the Intex Explorer 300 with Oars is one of the best finds for such a low price. It can house up to three people. If you’re still on a budget, you can get the Explorer 200 version but for a limited passenger capacity of two people. This Explorer 300 is Intex’s masterpiece where adult and kiddie boating meets. It has a weight capacity of 410 pounds to accommodate a combination of adult and kid passengers.
This Intex is U.S. Coast Guard approved and it comes with the USCG ID together with its other accessories like the set of oars, repair kit, and pump. Worth it as one of the inflatable boats under 200, right?
The boat is made of high-grade PVC with a small grab rope on the bow to drag it easily back to shore. For its price, it can surprisingly sit high on the water without any risk of the water splashing to the sides and entering the cockpit. There are rings on the sides of the boat where you can secure the oars or paddle it canoe-style.
Another awesome thing about this Intex choice is it can fit in a luggage if you remove it from the packaging. With that, you can bring it on your vacations sans the hassle.
The Intex Explorer 300 is worth less than $40 so you’ll have a very-low-risk investment. Even your kids would love it with its nice rocking motion in the water that won’t capsize easily. It’s also easy to inflate and deflate to get you ready in just a few minutes for a paddling trip by the sea.
As one of the inflatable boats under 200, this is just for calm waters. The material isn’t made to withstand large waves and too much scraping.
Intex Excursion 5-Person Inflatable Boat
If you can’t get enough of the Intex inflatables, take a peek at the Intex Excursion 5-Person Inflatable Boat. This has a bigger passenger capacity that can accommodate up to five adults. What’s more is that it comes with inflatable seats and a thwart so the riders can have utmost comfort while at it. The boat is possible to paddle on your own as you can make use of the oar rings to operate it like a canoe.
For such an affordable price, you’ll get premium features on this Intex boat like the grab lines for self-rescue. You can also utilize the rod holders during fishing trips not to mention that you can mount a motor in it. This vessel uses three different air chambers and an I-beam floor for the best rigidity and stability. There are also Boston valves on the boat for your safety in case the caps popped out. For inflatable boats under 200, this is a good catch.
The Intex Excursion boat is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and has the tough vinyl material on its construction. This doesn’t come with any other accessories aside from the pair of oars and a gear pouch. I suggest that you buy the repair kit and flotation devices before riding the boat.
If you want some improvisation, you can use plywood as the flooring before you inflate it. You can also make a plywood seat mount on it as well as a middle thwart to make your vessel a top-dollar boat. Anyway, even without this, you can enjoy the boat with your family. For less than $150, there’s nothing I can complain about the Intex Excursion. See, you’ll get more from what you actually pay for!
HydroForce Marine Pro Raft
In case you’re a fan of rafts, the HydroForce Marine Pro Raft will be a good option. This boat has a three-ply reinforced vinyl material and a high-pressure air deck floor. It has a weight limit of 594 pounds that’s equal to two adults and one kid. The marine-grade material this vessel possesses isn’t prone to UV and petroleum damage.
The all-white look of the HydroForce Raft will make it hard to believe that it’s one of the inflatable boats under 200 at approximately $80. It’s complete with a pair of oars, grab lines, inflatable thwarts, and rings that you can use for towing. The grommets on this vessel can be used in mounting a motor for added speed if you don’t feel like paddling. You can go at approximately two horsepower for the motor.
The oarlocks on the boat are omnidirectional for easy maneuvering and less wrist sprain. You can use this on saltwater too but I suggest that you minimize the steel parts’ contact with the water as it can rust over time. When it comes to the PVC material, there’s nothing to worry about as it’s durable enough to endure such nature. Anyway, I suggest that you clean your boat with potable water after use to remove the minerals that might build up in the hull.
Overall, the HydroForce raft is a decent tender that stays stable even in the choppy water. One trick to make this work at its best is to check the boat before launching it into the water. Some models tend to have air leaks on it so you might need to return it for a replacement or patch it up on your own.
Airhead Angler Bay, 4-Person Boat
In case you’re an Airhead patron, the Airhead Angler Bay 4-Person Boat is what I can suggest for the inflatable boats under 200. This is the good choice for fishing or just a quiet cruise on the calm waters. It has two rod holders and built-in drink holders that four persons enjoy. Like the HydroForce, the Angler Bay is surrounded by a grab line and rings for towing or securing stuff using carabiners.
The Angler Bay consists of high-grade vinyl with electronically welded seams. It’s lightweight and there’s even a fixed handle at the rear so you can easily drag it back to shore. Unlike other vessels, this one can be stored by one person. There are also inflatable seats for comfort. If you want space, you can ditch this and load your equipment.
You can use the Angler Bay boat on calm waters and running streams. Avoid launching it on rapids or strong waves on the sea. In terms of mounting a motor, this boat can accommodate one but with low 2-3 horsepower. This would help your tracking if there are only one or two persons onboard. In case it’s full, the motor can help in pushing you slowly on still waters.
For approximately $150, this raft is for the money. It says that four people can get in but for the best stability, you can consider limiting this to three adult passengers. There’s a tendency for the boat to feel narrow when four people are seating. Also, it doesn’t come with oars so you would have to purchase it separately. Aside from that, I can’t find anything to complain about the Angler Bay.
Inflatable boats under 200? Yes, you have one with quality! What I listed here are just some of the best finds. It’s up to you to decide where to put your hard-earned money. All these are functional and incredible beyond its price. So which one do you plan to purchase? Let us know in the comment section and we’ll discuss it with you!