An inflatable is an object that can be inflated with a gas, usually with air, but hydrogen, helium and nitrogen are also used. One of several advantages of an inflatable is that it can be stored in a small space when not inflated, since inflatables depend on the presence of a gas to maintain their size and shape. Function fulfillment per mass used compared with non-inflatable strategies is a key advantage. Stadium cushions, impact guards, vehicle wheel inner tubes, emergency air bags, and inflatable space structures employ the inflatable principle. Inflation occurs through several strategies: pumps, ram-air, billowing, and suction.
Although the term inflatable can refer to any type of inflatable object, the term is often used in boating to specifically refer to inflatable boats.