Comparing The Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks

best inflatable fishing kayak

You know, I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve been convinced:

My favorite fishing kayak is my inflatable. It took me a long time to realize this.

I don’t even take my hard shell kayak out anymore. With my IFK, I can focus on fishing instead of the logistics of lugging a kayak around.

Also, with today’s manufacturing methods and materials its no surprise that inflatable kayaks perform just as well as hard shell kayaks. Aside from being cheap, versatile, easy to store and transport, inflatable fishing kayaks have a narrower profile than other boats. This lets you squeeze stealthily into tighter spots, letting you get up-close and personal with nature.

Whether you choose to invest in a long-lasting inflatable fishing kayak from the start or whether you wait until you grow in experience and skill, it’s important to put some effort into finding the best inflatable fishing kayak for your needs.

The problem is with so many boards to choose from it’s a tough decision to make.

Now:

How should you choose the best inflatable fishing kayak?

It’s simple, to help you make up your mind, start with the reviews and the buyers guide below.

That’s why I put this guide together.

I have tested and reviewed 42 models and chosen the top 4 for your money!

Continue reading for the top model reviews. For good order, here is the full list of products reviewed.

  NameSize (exterior)Rating 
Top Pick
Sea Eagle 33011'2" x 34"4.9/5Check Price
Best All-Around
AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana12' x 36"4.7/5Check Price
Best Budget
Sevylor Tahiti10'4" x 34.8" x 244.3/5Check Price
Best Quality
Strait Edge9'8" x 35"4.7/5Check Price
best inflatable fishing kayaks

Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks

Inflatable Fishing Kayak Comparison Chart

sea eagle 330
Sea Eagle 330
  • 4.9/5 Rating
  • 9’6″ x 13″
  • 11’2″ x 34″
  • Two adults / 500 lbs
sea eagle 330

Recommendation

Our top pick is the Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak, the little brother of the Sea Eagle 370. This kayak makes everything about lake and sea fishing easy: it’s quick to inflate, easy to manoeuvre and easy to pack down and transport in the back of your car. It’s lightweight, good quality and affordable, giving traditional hard shell kayaks a run for their money.

TECH SPECS

Size (interior)
9’6″ x 13″
Size (exterior)
11’2″ x 34″
Capacity
Two adults / 500 lbs
Weight of the kayak
26 lbs
Material
Extra thick 33 mil polykrylar
Assembly time
Six minutes

Sea Eagle 330

Who Should Buy

Although the Sea Eagle 330 can hold two adults, there isn’t a lot of extra room in the hull to carry any other gear. Rather than being best suited to two adults fishing together, this inflatable kayak is ideal for adults who want to go fishing with kids, or anyone who wants to get out on the water alone with plenty of legroom to spare.

Review

This fishing kayak features exceptional build quality and an impressively large load capacity considering that it is a lightweight, inflatable kayak. It weighs just 26 lbs – light enough for one person to carry – but its maximum load is 500 lbs. This means that two people can go fishing at the same time, especially as two removable, inflatable seats are included with every kayak. Alternatively, fit just one of the seats in the kayak and have lots of extra room in the hull to store your fishing tackle and other gear.

Once you’re ready to get out on the water, you’ll find that the stability is just as good as with hard shell kayaks. This inflatable kayak for fishing is fitted with two skegs towards the rear of the boat which help with controlling movement in a straight line. This – in addition to the fact that it is so light – makes this inflatable kayak very easy to manoeuvre using the two oars which are included.

Whether you intend to go fishing on flat water or the ocean’s surf, this inflatable kayak is tough enough to stand up to all the movement and wear and tear. Aside from its I-beam construction giving strength and rigidity, the material which is used to make up the inflatable hull is extra thick and puncture resistant. We would always recommend taking care of your kayak, but if you do happen to bump against any logs, branches or rocks (or the occasional stray fishing hook) you’re not likely to get a puncture. Luckily, if you do, Sea Eagle have included a patch kit and a drain valve to get you going again.

When you’ve finished a long day’s fishing, it’s even quicker to deflate and pack up the kayak than it is to inflate. It only takes a few minutes to wipe dry, completely deflate and roll up the kayak for transportation and storage. The fact that a storage bag is supplied is a fantastic money-saving feature, but it is a tight squeeze to fit the pump, paddles and any extra kit in the bag as well.

Take a look at a video of the SEA Eagle 330

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpBRJiCb-1o

Pros
  • High weight capacity (two adults or 500 lbs)
  • Lightweight (26 lbs)
  • 33 mil polykrylar material is very thick and puncture resistant
Cons
  • Not a lot of room to carry or store extra gear
sea eagle 330
sea eagle 330 inflatable fishing kayak seat
sea eagle 330 inflatable fishing kayak in use
sea eagle 330 inflatable fishing kayak paddling in river
airhead ahtk 2 montana performance
AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana
  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • [x] size (interior)
  • 12′ x 36″
  • Two adults / 500 lbs
airhead ahtk 2 montana performance

Recommendation

The AIRHEAD AHTK-2 is the best all round inflatable fishing kayak on the market. At under $300 it offers storage space for your tackle, stable construction and portability for a remarkably low price point. It does compromise on some of the stitching and how easy the kayak is to dry, but instead of this you’ll get great tracking and some of the fastest inflation and deflation times around.

TECH SPECS

Size (interior)
[x]
Size (exterior)
12′ x 36″
Capacity
Two adults / 500 lbs
Weight of the kayak
36.3 lbs
Material
Semi-rigid heavy gauge PVC
Assembly time
Five minutes

AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana

Who Should Buy

A great all-rounder, this kayak is for anyone who’s new to inflatable kayak fishing or if you just want a basic entry-level model. However, with this package only the kayak is supplied – a bag, pump and oars will have to be bought separately, which could ramp up the cost.

Review

Measuring 12 feet long, the AIRHEAD AHTK-2 is larger than the Sea Eagle 330, offering superior stability and extra space in the hull to store your gear. If two people are using this boat at once (the maximum capacity) then you will be able to carry more fishing kit than in the Sea Eagle 330, but it’s still not exactly spacious.

You can use the AIRHEAD AHTK-2 on white water, but it’s best suited to lakes, flat water and light surf – perfect for fishing. When out on the water it’s easy to control and manoeuvre the kayak due to its light weight and four fins. This is an improvement on the Sea Eagle 330 (which only has two fins), meaning that the boat tracks very well.

The only hindrance to the tracking is that there is a known issue with some of the stitching on the bottom of the kayak. It is not faulty as such, there is just some unevenness which causes the material to pucker slightly. This doesn’t affect how watertight the kayak is, it just means that it sometimes struggles to track or sit straight in the water – although this isn’t as serious an issue for fishing as it would be if you intended to race.

In addition, the kayak does have a tendency to take on some water underneath the cover. This is mainly down to the fact that the bladders aren’t removable. The main disadvantage to this is that the kayak is difficult to clean and dry completely – disappointing considering that it can be deflated and rolled up in a matter of seconds.

However, the build quality on this inflatable kayak is excellent, making it a sensible long-term investment for any fishing enthusiast. It’s made of heavy gauge PVC with I-beam construction, providing rigidity and durability. It might be softer than a hard case kayak but it will withstand scrapes and bumps against branches and rocks.

Here are a few great video reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFztlARwikg

Pros
  • Four fins make it easy to manoeuvre
  • Very comfortable
  • Good quality construction
  • Very quick inflation (five minutes) and deflation (less than a minute)
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a bag, pump or oars
  • Some misplaced stitches can cause problems with tracking
  • Takes on some water between the cover and the bladders – Not self bailing!
airhead ahtk 2 montana performance
airhead ahtk 2 montana performance inflatable fishing kayak front
airhead ahtk 2 montana performance inflatable fishing kayak inside
airhead ahtk 2 montana performance inflatable fishing kayak in river
elkton inflatable fishing kayakl
Elkton Outdoors 10′ Foot Inflatable Tear Resistant Fishing Kayak with Double Sided Oars, Rod Holders, Foot Pump & Repair Kit
  • 3.8/5 Rating
  • 10′ long
  • 11’8″ x 35″ x 16
  • Two adults / 420 lbs
elkton inflatable fishing kayakl

Recommendation

Our runner up for the title of best fishing inflatable kayak is from Elkton Outdoors. With an interior measuring ten feet long, its storage space and special features have been designed with fishing in mind. The only one of our inflatable kayaks to come with both vertical and trolling rod holders, this is a fantastic option for people who want something compact or portable to enjoy fishing alone or with a friend.

TECH SPECS

Size (interior)
10′ long
Size (exterior)
11’8″ x 35″ x 16
Capacity
Two adults / 420 lbs
Weight of the kayak
Material
18 gauge rip and hook resistant 1000D PVC
Assembly time
A few minutes (inflation is less than a minute)

Elkton Outdoors 10′ Foot Inflatable Tear Resistant Fishing Kayak with Double Sided Oars, Rod Holders, Foot Pump & Repair Kit

Who Should Buy

Fitted with six rod holders (two vertical and four trolling) and made with hook resistant PVC, this is excellent value for money for those who want an inflatable kayak specifically for fishing.

Review

The Elkton Outdoors 10′ inflatable fishing kayak is one of the fastest inflating kayaks that we’ve found. From being completely rolled up, it can be fully inflated and on the water in minutes – and deflating the kayak is just as quick. This means that you’ll have more time on the water to catch those fish.

Larger than the Sea Eagle 330 but marginally smaller than the AIRHEAD AHTK-2, this Elkton Outdoors kayak gives a good balance of manoeuvrability and stability. It includes two removable, inflatable seats so that you can enjoy fishing with a friend, or go it alone and have a little extra storage space.

However, unlike the Sea Eagle 330, it isn’t such a struggle to fit all your fishing gear into the Elkton Outdoors kayak – even when being used by two adults. The manufacturers have designed it with six pockets at various points along the hull, meaning that you no longer have to have your tackle and other kit stashed between your knees. In addition, the inclusion of four trolling and two vertical rod holders leaves your hands free to paddle and to prepare your bait.

Despite the fact that it has a relatively low weight limit of 420 lbs, the build quality of this inflatable fishing kayak makes it incredibly versatile. You’ll find three separate bladders which can all be removed and repaired separately if needed (using the repair kit which is included). Being able to clean, adjust and maintain your inflatable kayak in this way is an easy way to prolong its life.

The only word of caution is that if you want to prolong its life even further, do not use an electric pump to inflate this kayak. Doing so will cause the kayak to burst, so it’s worth taking the time and care to inflate it using a foot pump.

Pros
  • Fitted with two vertical and four trolling rod holders
  • Very quick to inflate (less than a minute)
  • Plenty of space for extra kit – includes six mesh pockets
  • Comes with two adjustable seats, double sided oars, a foot pump, a repair kit and a carry bag
Cons
  • Cannot be inflated using an electric pump
elkton inflatable fishing kayakl
elkton inflatable fishing kayak gear
elkton inflatable fishing kayak side
elkton inflatable fishing kayak front
sevylor inflatable fishing
Sevylor Tahiti
  • 4.3/5 Rating
  • size (interior)
  • 10’4″ x 34.8″ x 24
  • Two adults / 360 lbs
sevylor inflatable fishing

Recommendation

Coming in at just over $100, this is the best cheap fishing kayak on the market. It’s lighter in weight and the material is thinner than you’ll find with more expensive models, but it makes up for this with an anti-leak design feature, a deep hull and a compact size when rolled up for storage.

TECH SPECS

Size (interior)
Size (exterior)
10’4″ x 34.8″ x 24
Capacity
Two adults / 360 lbs
Weight of the kayak
19 lbs
Material
21 gauge PVC
Assembly time

Sevylor Tahiti

Who Should Buy

As with most things, you get what you pay for. If you’re used to hard shell kayaks then you might find this a little unsteady, but if you’re new to inflatable kayak fishing or if you just want to try it out as a hobby, this is a fantastic entry level option which doesn’t cost the Earth.

Review

Despite its low price, this kayak has been designed to make inflation and deflation quick and easy, and to eliminate the risk of taking on water altogether. It features an Airtight System and Double Lock valves to guarantee that you’ll stay safe and dry while you’re fishing.

Specifically designed for hunting and fishing, it will withstand bumps and scrapes from rocks and branches, so there are no limits to how much fishing you can do in the great outdoors. The 21 gauge PVC material used for the hull is sturdy and durable, although it is marginally thinner than that used for the Elkton Outdoors inflatable kayak.

The quality of this fishing kayak is seriously impressive for its price. If you’re likely to go fishing on lakes and slow moving rivers, punctures are very unlikely as it’s tough enough to withstand everyday use. However, if you do find yourself caught short then the inclusion of several separate air chambers will keep you afloat.

The maximum weight capacity of 360 lbs is lower than that in our other inflatable fishing kayak reviews, but it’s still plenty for two people along with a little gear. The adjustable, removable seats have padded backrests, providing support and comfort as well as an opportunity to sit back and relax while you fish. The kayak is deeper than the Elkton Outdoors model, giving an added sense of stability and space.

One downside is that this inflatable fishing kayak doesn’t come with a pump, paddles or skegs. You will have to purchase these separately, which does make the low price slightly less impressive. However, a carry bag is included, allowing you to roll up and store the inflatable kayak in a much smaller space than you might expect – and at 19 lbs, it’s lighter than any of the other makes we’ve reviewed.

If you want a closer look take a look at this video review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjLsEMzCIU0

Pros
  • Airtight System guarantees no leakage
  • Double Lock valves make inflation and deflation very fast
  • Separate air chambers keep the kayak afloat even in the case of a puncture
  • The lightest inflatable fishing kayak (19 lbs)
Cons
  • Low maximum weight capacity (360 lbs)
  • Does not come with a pump, oars or skegs for tracking
sevylor inflatable fishing
sevylor inflatable fishing and hunting kayak in use
sevylor inflatable fishing and hunting kayak carried
sevylor inflatable fishing and hunting kayak in use family
advanced elements inflatable fishing kayak top
Strait Edge
  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • 15.5″ wide
  • 9’8″ x 35″
  • Two adults / 300 lbs
advanced elements inflatable fishing kayak top

Recommendation

Coming in at over $500, this is the most expensive inflatable kayak for fishing that we’ve reviewed, but it’s by far the best quality. Its build quality and impressive tracking make it comparable to hard shell kayaks, despite the fact that there are no skegs included.

TECH SPECS

Size (interior)
15.5″ wide
Size (exterior)
9’8″ x 35″
Capacity
Two adults / 300 lbs
Weight of the kayak
34 lbs
Material
Heavy duty PVC
Assembly time
Five minutes

Strait Edge

Who Should Buy

Suitable for use on everything up to class III whitewater, the Strait Edge two person kayak makes a fantastic purchase if you want to go fishing on flat water and lakes, but it can also be used if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous. Its high price and excellent quality make this a great buy if you already have experience with inflatable fishing kayaks, while beginners who want their first fishing inflatable kayak should only consider this as a serious investment buy.

Review

The best inflatable fishing kayak when it comes to value, this Strait Edge kayak doesn’t have any skegs fitted or included. This might seem surprising for a product within this price range, but this inflatable kayak doesn’t need skegs: the genius manufacturers have included aluminium ribs within the design to give a sturdy, solid shape. This rigidity allows for tracking which is far superior to the other kayaks we’ve reviewed, as well as creating a structure which feels virtually identical to traditional hard shell kayaks. Strong and stable, this design will let you fish for years, making it worth every cent.

Its high quality design means that while the Strait Edge kayak is best suited to fishing on flat water (thanks to its two rod holders), it can be used on anything up to class III whitewater. This increased versatility gives fishing fans and adrenaline junkies extra value for money.

In addition to the rugged construction, you’ll get a seriously comfortable experience in return for your money. The adjustable backrest doesn’t provide a high level of support, but it is exceptionally comfortable due to its soft padding. This makes a whole day spent fishing comfortable and pleasant.

Inflating the Strait Edge kayak is very quick (taking around five minutes) but deflating it is a little more tricky. Some of the plugs are difficult to reach when the kayak is fully inflated, and the design means that water can sit in the creases rather than draining straight out. If even a small amount of moisture remains, it can lead to mildew and weakened materials.

We also included this great video review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB1PPKJ3wIo

Pros
  • Aluminium ribs aid with tracking
  • Stiff and sturdy construction feels similar to a hard shell kayak
  • Suitable for use on up to class III whitewater
  • Special features include a padded backrest and two rod holders
Cons
  • Expensive (over $500)
  • Difficult to drain completely – can cause a build-up of mildew
advanced elements inflatable fishing kayak top
strait edge two person advanced elements inflatable fishing kayak in use
strait edge two person advanced elements inflatable fishing kayak package
strait edge two person advanced elements inflatable fishing kayak infograph

How To Choose The Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak

The Definitive Buyer’s Guide

inflatable fishing kayak buyers guide

How to choose an inflatable fishing kayak?

The size and stability of your kayak is the first important consideration when researching inflatable fishing kayaks. The longer and wider a kayak is, the more stable it will be. However, you won’t be able to slice large kayaks through waves quite as quickly or easily as those with small, narrow prows. In general, inflatable fishing kayaks for lakes have larger dimensions and more stability, while ocean fishing kayaks are smaller and more manoeuvrable.

Within your chosen category of fishing kayaks, you should look for one with as large a surface area as possible. Having a long, wide hull will provide stability which is important for fishing. The last thing you want is to tip over when reeling in a fish due to having a narrow, imbalanced boat.

Overall size is important, but one element that is unique to inflatable kayaks is the size when deflated and folded up. Typically, most inflatable kayaks can deflate and fold down to store in a duffel bag or similar backpack, and often, one of these is included with your purchase. However, if your car has a small trunk or if you have very little space at home to store your kayak, the folded dimensions should play an important part in your decision making process.

While you’re looking at overall size, you should also give some thought to your kayak’s interior dimensions. If you’re going to take a lot of gear out on the water with you, you’ll need space to store it in the hull. Look for a high maximum weight limit (such as the Sea Eagle 330 and the AIRHEAD AHTK-2 which both hold up to 500 lbs) to make sure that your boat can hold all your kit – especially if there will be another person in the kayak at the same time.

Not every kayak can seat two people – and not every kayak that says it can hold two people has lots of space in the hull. Removable, adjustable seats are flexible, allowing you to create an area in the hull which is suited to both your size and your needs. If you’re tall and you’re worried about your feet and legs cramping from being squeezed into a small kayak, adjustable seats could be the answer to letting you sit and paddle in comfort. This versatility gives you the option to go fishing solo or to take along another adult, child or even your dog! Fixed seats do not offer the same versatility, although you might be able to use any spare seats to put your kit.

Some people complain that inflatable seats do not offer adequate lower back support – especially if you have back problems – but Sea Eagle is just one company that’s addressed this issue by producing extra supportive, deluxe inflatable seats. These can be bought separately.

When looking for the best kayak for fishing, you should also think about the type of water that you’ll be encountering. While basic kayaks are best suited to flat water, some of the more expensive models (such as the Strait Edge inflatable kayak) can be used on choppier water as well.

If there’s a chance that you’ll try out your kayak on both water types, you might want a self-bailing design. This will prevent water from building up inside the hull, allowing it to flow out through holes in the bottom instead. This is particularly useful if you’re going to use your kayak on ocean waves most often, so you may find that a self-bailing design makes the boat difficult to manoeuvre if you’re going to take it out on flat water only.

Do give some thought to how well your kayak will stand up to natural geological features, and how you intend to protect it from damage. For example, if you intend to fish in a fairly shallow, rocky area of water, you’ll need to protect the bottom of the boat. However, if you’ll be fishing in a deep lake then the risk of damage will be much lower, only presenting itself when moving the kayak in and out of the water.

The Elkton Outdoors fishing kayak is one example which uses a super durable material to provide all the protection that’s necessary. Some models also come with a patch kit to make repairing any punctures easy. Alternatively, you could consider buying extra bumpers and rubstrips to guard your kayak against further abrasions and tears.

When it comes to ongoing maintenance, choosing an inflatable fishing kayak which is made up of multiple air chambers makes the job much easier. If, on a rare occasion, you do get a puncture, having the extra air pockets will keep you afloat – at least enough to get back to the shore. Similarly, being able to deflate one section of the kayak will allow you to access valves, creases and other hard-to-reach areas easily. This is important for cleaning and repairs.

Finally, rod holders are really simple but useful features which set fishing kayaks aside from regular kayaks. When it comes to rod holders, the best inflatable kayak for fishing is the Elkton Outdoors inflatable kayak, which is fitted with two vertical and four trolling rod holders. These are just useful features of a fishing kayak (rather than essential ones) but as they make your life easier they end up being great value for money.

Why buy an inflatable fishing kayak?

Inflatable kayaks for fishing are usually significantly cheaper than hard shell models. The Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish Kayak is the best cheap inflatable kayak for fishing – costing much less than $200 – making this hobby accessible for people with all budgets. Although the price rises with improvements in quality and features, you can still expect to pay several times less for inflatable kayaks than for rigid kayaks.

In addition, inflatable fishing kayaks are very light in weight compared to hard shell kayaks, even when fully inflated. If you’re small or the journey to and from the car is a long distance, it’s still easy to carry these kayaks around. In addition, they can be inflated and deflated in minutes – less time than it takes to load and offload a solid kayak from a roof rack. As far as we’re concerned, anything that allows you to get out on the water (and home again) in less time is a no-brainer.

When not in use, they can be rolled down and stored in duffel bags or backpacks, allowing you to keep them in your trunk or take them on your travels. As a result, inflatable kayaks offer portability and versatility that you just don’t get with a hard shell kayak.

Are inflatable kayaks durable/reliable?

Inflatable kayaks are remarkably durable and reliable, especially considering that they undergo extra wear when they’re rolled up for storage.

Many inflatable kayaks for fishing have been designed with extra thick material to avoid being snagged on fishing hooks, so most of the time punctures won’t be a problem. However, if this is a particular concern of yours, look for an inflatable kayak which comes with a puncture repair kit.

Heavy duty PVC is a popular choice of material for building inflatable kayaks. This is down to its strength and resilience, not to mention its low price tag. That said, other options are available. If you’re looking for something with all the strength of PVC but with added resistance against mildew and fungus, haypalon could offer a good (albeit more expensive) solution.

Are inflatable kayaks worth it?

The answer to this question depends on how much money you have to spend, what you’re looking for in a kayak, and how much use you’ll get from it.

Inflatable kayaks are much cheaper and more portable than hard shell kayaks (while offering comparable levels of strength and stability) so they’re usually excellent value for money. If you’re new to inflatable kayak fishing or if you don’t want to invest a lot of money then you might want to choose a budget model, but if you’re a real inflatable fishing enthusiast who wants increased versatility, splashing out on an expensive option might prove to be a better decision in the long run.

Their durability, portability and affordability definitely make inflatable kayaks good investments when compared to solid kayaks. Advanced design features mean that there’s almost no difference in terms of stability between inflatable and non-inflatable kayaks, so if you’re going to spend a lot of money on a fishing vessel then it makes sense to go for the option that can be stored and transported more easily.

Can you fish from an inflatable kayak?

Yes!

Provided that your kayak is large enough to be stable when reeling in fish, there’s nothing to stop you from fishing from an inflatable.

The best fishing kayaks feature specific fishing design elements, but if you can’t get your hands on these then it is still possible to fish from a general all-round inflatable kayak.

The Elkton Outdoors fishing kayak has a total of six rod holders and six additional pockets inside the hull to store other fishing kit, proving that some inflatable kayaks make ideal choices for fishing.

Inflatable vs solid kayaks

With advances in technology and improved design features, nowadays there are very few differences between inflatable and solid kayaks.

Aside from the price, the main difference comes in with portability. Inflatable kayaks are much lighter in weight than solid kayaks, so they can be transported easily by anyone of any size. In addition, as inflatable kayaks can be rolled up, stored and carried in a backpack, it’s so much easier to take them travelling than hard shell kayaks.

Solid kayaks are made from a very hard plastic which is difficult to dent or crack, so they’re more resistant to serious damage than inflatable kayaks. However, many inflatable kayaks (including the Elkton Outdoors) come with a repair kit, so if you do get a puncture you can fix it quickly and easily on your own. Solid kayaks are much more difficult, time consuming and expensive to repair, giving another reason why buying an inflatable kayak for fishing is a sensible choice.

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