Welcome to the forum!
A light nice cheap dinghy
I saw was a stich and glue dighy made from a two sheets
. It was amazingly stable and carried passengers and luggage quite well. You cut the plywood
and stich it together then cover with glass and resin. I know of nothing cheaper. Here is one such place to get free plans: Free boat plans from Bateau
If you google
you can find other desgns.
Some of the cheaper air floor digny's are more you pay for what you get and good inflatables are not cheap
and row very poorly. I've seen them with platic or aluminum
slats as you have seen the wood slats suck.
Therre are folks that love the Portaboat that folds flat and you store on the lifelines
High quality comes with cost. The best hard dignhy I ever saw was a Trinka 8 - they row like a dream. Inflateables come in all price
ranges with the Hypalon RIB
being the fastest and heaviest. While you may tow it most of the time there are times when you want to strap it to the deck
so a system to lift
it and deploy it is needed.