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Are Drop Stitch Kayaks Faster?

Are Drop Stitch Kayaks Faster?

If you enjoy flying over rapids or are preparing to test your skills in a race, you would probably like to give yourself an edge with a fast kayak.

You’ve heard drop stitch kayaks are fast, but are they all they’re hyped up to be?

What are drop stitch kayaks, exactly, and are they faster than other types of kayaks? Are they really worth the money?

Keep reading as we dive into the answers to these questions and more!

What are Drop Stitch Kayaks?

Drop stitch kayaks are basically inflatable kayaks, but their inflatable chambers are made differently from standard inflatable kayaks.

In drop stitch kayaks, the inflatable chambers are designed and reinforced with tightly woven nylon or polyester threads. 


This makes the chambers extremely hard and durable while maintaining the flexibility and space-saving quality inflatable boats are known for. 

Drop stitch kayaks can be inflated to much higher pressures than regular inflatables. The added air pressure gives a drop stitch kayak a much more rigid feel, which has a variety of benefits when you’re out on the water.

While a regular inflatable boat may feel a little like a blow-up pool toy, a drop stitch kayak will feel and handle more like a rigid one. 

The drop stitch chambers are covered with rubber or PVC to make them waterproof, but the drop stitch design inside does all the work. 

It makes these kayaks highly buoyant, firm, and strong. They are often the preferred type of kayak thanks to their rigidity and durability.

Of course, these added benefits come at a cost; drop stitch kayaks are more expensive than regular inflatable kayaks.

This leads to a few questions. What are the specific benefits of drop stitch kayaks? Are they faster than other kayaks? Are they really worth the money? 

We’ll address these questions throughout the rest of this article.

Are Drop Stitch Kayaks Faster?

Solstice Flare 2 person Drop-Stitch Inflatable Kayak

Because they can be inflated to such a rigid firmness, drop stitch kayaks are much more efficient on the water than most inflatables. 

For this reason, they can be faster than other types of kayaks. That said, how fast your kayak can go depends on how much effort you’re putting in.

If you’re paddling hard in a regular inflatable, you will almost certainly go faster than if you’re paddling slowly in a drop stitch kayak. 

Also, some traditional inflatables and rigid kayaks may have differences in design that would make them more efficient than certain types of drop stitch kayaks. 

So, are drop stitch kayaks faster than other types of kayaks? It depends.

The bottom line is, if you have a drop stitch kayak, you won’t have to work as hard to go as fast as you would in another type of kayak. It is an efficient kayak design, so you will get better results for the amount of effort you put in. 

Thanks to this efficiency, the drop stitch design is considered one of the faster kayak types. But how fast you actually go on any given trip is up to you. 

Are Drop Stitch Kayaks Worth It?

Drop Stitch Kayaks are worth it

Obviously, these types of inflatables are going to cost more than other kayaks. There are several reasons for this.

It takes quite a few skilled workers to assemble drop-stitch kayaks, and these workers have to be well-trained in the process beforehand. 

The process of actually making drop stitch kayaks takes longer because of the added steps involved and the specialized materials used. 

Speaking of materials, drop stitch kayaks make use of higher quality products in comparison to other types of kayaks, and these materials generally take longer to manufacture in the first place.

All of these factors combine to make drop stitch kayaks one of the most expensive types you can buy.

So, are they worth the money?

Again, it all depends on preference. What do you plan to use the kayak for, and what are you hoping to get out of it?

Drop stitch kayaks essentially take regular inflatables and make them perform like rigid kayaks. So you have all the buoyant, lightweight convenience of an inflatable with the rigidity and efficiency of a rigid.

If you are a serious kayaker who is frequently out on the water and needs a more durable, efficient ride, drop stitch kayaks are totally worth the money.

If you’re often riding rough waters and you want an inflatable kayak that can stand up to the abuse, then you’re definitely going to want a drop stitch kayak. 

On the other hand, if you’re a more casual, Saturday-afternoon kayaker who doesn’t go out very often, you may be better off with a simpler, less expensive kayak. There’s no reason to spend extra money on a big-time kayak that isn’t going to see much action. 

If you’re new to kayaking, it may be best to start with something cheaper unless you’re confident you’ll keep using it.

So, the short answer is yes, for some people, drop stitch kayaks are definitely worth the money. But there are some things to take into consideration, such as how often you’ll use it and what kind of kayaking you enjoy.

What is the Fastest Kayak?

Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl Inflatable Drop Stitch Kayak

Drop stitch kayaks are generally considered one of the fastest types of kayaks, but as mentioned above, how fast you go depends on several factors. 

Though drop stitch kayaks are fast, they may not always be the fastest depending on the following factors:

  • Shape and design: Drop stitch kayaks are generally designed for speed and efficiency, but it may be possible to find a classic inflatable or rigid kayak with a superior design.
    If the boat is more slender, has a rudder, or has a trolling motor installed, it will most likely go faster than a drop stitch kayak.
  • Quality: Drop stitch kayaks are generally pretty high-quality, but the cheaper ones on the market may not be built as well as the more expensive ones.
    A high-quality standard inflatable or rigid kayak will most likely perform better than a low-quality drop stitch model.
  • Weather and water conditions: Obviously, it doesn’t matter what kind of kayak you have; it’s going to go faster in calm waters or if it’s moving with the current. Even a drop stitch kayak will go more slowly if you’re fighting your way upstream or going up against stiff waves.
  • Kayaker: The final factor, of course, is you. If you’re an expert kayaker with years of experience, you’ll probably find ways of going faster than a newbie no matter what kind of kayak you’re in.


Drop stitch kayaks are specially-designed inflatables that give them extra rigidity and efficiency in the water.

They generally perform better than other types of inflatable kayaks and are often considered some of the fastest kayaks on the market, though a variety of other factors contribute to just how fast they can go.

If you do a lot of kayaking and need something that’s durable, dependable, and efficient, then a drop stitch kayak may be exactly what you’re looking for. Good luck and stay safe out there!