Hobie is following up on the success of its first inflatable pedal kayak, the Hobie iTrek 9 Ultralight, with an expanded iTrek lineup. Just like the original, these new Hobie inflatable kayaks are lightweight, easy to transport and feature the advanced technology of Hobie’s Mirage Drive pedal system. Hobie inflatable kayaks use the same “dropstitch” construction employed in Hobie inflatable standup paddleboards, yielding a stiff and durable inflatable pedal kayak that performs almost as well as a hardshell—yet deflates, packs up small and stores easily in a closet.
You may recognize the Hobie brand of watersports equipment. Hobie was founded in 1950 and previously redefined surfboards and became synonymous with exciting and fun watersports with the Hobie Cat sailboat, so it’s no surprise Hobie inflatable kayaks are top of the line.
This article provides you with all the tools to identify the best Hobie inflatable pedal kayak for your needs. Inflatable pedal kayaks are certainly a niche type of kayak, being both inflatable and pedal-powered (as opposed to paddle-powered, like most other recreational kayaks).
But if you’re interested in a pedal kayak, Hobie serves up plenty of selection; this article will describe the workings of the brand’s different pedal-powered mechanisms and iTrek inflatable kayak construction. We’ll outline everything you need to know to choose the right Hobie inflatable kayak, whether it’s for recreational use or kayak fishing, to provide you with countless hours of enjoyment on the water.
Top picks: Best Hobie inflatable kayaks for 2023
Shop for Hobie inflatable kayaks
In the market for a Hobie inflatable kayak? The links in this section will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you can take a closer look at every Hobie inflatable kayak on the market, including reviews, ratings and where to buy. You can choose to filter kayaks by type and application, such as tandem inflatable pedal kayaks, inflatable fishing kayaks and more.
Each model includes specs, prices, where to buy and reviews. You won’t find a more comprehensive kayak buyer’s guide on the web.
Shopping for a used Hobie inflatable kayak?
You may be able to save some money by purchasing a used Hobie inflatable kayak. Set alerts on buy-and-sell forums like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and Craigslist—and be patient. Unlike other types of recreational kayaks, Hobie inflatable kayaks are hard to find because they’re new, fun, durable and a great investment. Most Hobie owners would hate to part with their inflatable kayak.
Another way to score good deals on lightly used Hobie inflatable kayaks is to visit dealer demo days, kayak trade shows and symposiums. These events often include floor models of Hobie inflatable kayaks for sale at discounted prices. It’s also a great way to try the kayak before making a purchase, discuss design aspects with experts, and network with other Hobie owners.
Before you make an offer on any used boat, consider the following:
- Make sure you’re buying the right used kayak for your paddling preferences by researching the particular model in advance to determine whether or not it truly meets your needs. First off, bear in mind that Hobie inflatable kayaks are propelled with your feet.If you want to mostly propel your kayak with a paddle, you should probably consider a more traditional recreational sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak. Then consider the type of water you’ll be paddling; Hobie inflatable kayaks are meant for sheltered bodies of water with calm places to launch and land.
- Take the time for a detailed visual inspection. Give the used Hobie inflatable kayak a once-over, looking for obvious damage to the hull (bottom), deck (top) and outfitting (seat and back rest, etc). Look for punctures in the Hobie inflatable kayak; for this you should take the time to fully inflate and set it up.While you’re at it, watch for any dark patches of mold, which indicate the kayak was stored wet and may compromise the strength of the material (besides looking ugly).
- Next, take a closer look at the pedal drive system. Hobie Mirage Drive relies on fairly complicated mechanisms for propulsion. Make sure the pedals, drive shafts and fins are in good working condition and operate smoothly, with no deformities or corrosion.
- Try to determine how the kayak was stored. A kayak that was stored outdoors for long periods of time may be subject to fading due to UV radiation (which also weakens the kayak’s structure and can damage the foot pedal mechanism).
- Taking the kayak for a test paddle (or pedal) is the best way to find if it works for you, in terms of performance, handling, comfort and fit.
- Hobie inflatable kayaks are niche boats and selection on the used market is very limited. You may have to take a chance on making a purchase (or consider buying a new model) if you want a kayak immediately.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.
Hobie inflatable kayak buying advice
Before you buy a Hobie inflatable kayak make sure this is the right type of kayak for you. Hobie pedal-powered inflatable kayaks provide a sleek, hands-free way of getting around on calm, sheltered water. These specialized open deck, sit-on-top kayaks are propelled with your feet, leaving your hands free for fishing or photography (and steering with the hand-controlled rudder).
The higher seating position of Hobie iTrek inflatable kayaks is ergonomic and can be more comfortable for some people than traditional kayak seats. Hobie inflatable kayaks allow you to work your lower body; this may be a selling point for some, but a less attractive option if you prefer to paddle your kayak. Hobie iTrek inflatable kayaks are easy to get on and off, without the confined feeling of a typical kayak. These kayaks are stable with models available for single, double and even four paddlers.
If you wish to use a paddle to propel your kayak, you’re better off considering a recreational, touring or fishing kayak from a different manufacturer. All Hobie inflatable kayaks are pedal driven and while paddling is an option, it’s not ideal. What’s more, Hobie inflatable kayaks have high-tech pedal-drive mechanisms that contribute to a price tag far greater than a typical inflatable recreational kayak. If you’re set on a Hobie pedal-powered kayak, it’s important to understand the various options available.
Hobie offers a Mirage Drive pedal-drive system that’s similar to walking: simply pump legs forward and back to propel the kayak, with your hands free to fish or take photographs. All Mirage Drive systems rely on underwater fins for propulsion. Hobie inflatable kayaks use the brand’s “Glide Technology” (aka GT) Mirage Drive, which has ball bearings in the drive system for smooth and efficient motion. This Mirage Drive system has “kick-up” fins that bounce over shallow hazards and fold flat to the hull for greater durability.
Hobie Mirage iTrek inflatable kayaks are constructed with durable PVC vinyl that’s made stiffer through drop-stitching, a type of sewing that allows you to inflate the tubes to higher pressure for greater rigidity. The original 37-pound Hobie iTrek 9 Ultralight remains available.
New for 2022, check out the 44-pound Hobie iTrek 11 single person inflatable kayak; the two-person, 73-pound Hobie iTrek 14 Duo; and the four-person, 105-pound Hobie iTrek Fiesta. Prices are comparable to Hobie’s hard-shell pedal kayaks, ranging from $2,449 USD to $5,399 USD.
Here are the answers to some common questions about Hobie inflatable kayaks:
Hobie inflatable kayak durability
Hobie inflatable kayak durability is excellent. These kayaks are made from the same tough PVC vinyl that’s used in whitewater rafts, with drop-stitch floors that allow the kayak to be inflated to a high pressure for greater stiffness and performance. Welded seams and robust valves are reliable over time and punctures aren’t something to be worried about.
Hobie inflatable kayak price
The prices of Hobie inflatable kayaks are comparable to Hobie’s hard-shell pedal kayaks, ranging from $2,449 USD for the iTrek 9 Ultralight to $5,399 USD for the four-person iTrek Fiesta.
Hobie inflatable kayak warranty
Hobie inflatable kayaks include a two-year warranty covering defects in materials, manufacturing and design. The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, improper storage or damage from impacts. Hobie will choose to repair or replace inflatable kayaks found to be defective within the warranty time period.
Hobie inflatable kayak reviews
Paddling Magazine is your best online resource for kayak reviews, including specialty boats like Hobie inflatable kayaks. Each review details the kayak’s performance and features, as well as what type of excursions it’s best suited for.
- Hobie Mirage i11S Inflatable Kayak-Paddleboard Hybrid Review
- Inflatable Kayak Review: Hobie Mirage i9S