Some of the best recreational activities in the world take place on lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans. One of the greatest ways to enjoy such bodies of water is with small watercraft; this is where the best inflatable kayaks come in. Conventional kayaks are great too, but not everyone has the space to store them or a vehicle that can transport them to their favorite recreational site. And if you’re saving space, forget about tandem kayaks!
1. WHAT ARE INFLATABLE KAYAKS?
Simply put, inflatable kayaks are watercraft that use air inflation to provide structural rigidity to the soft-sided canvas, vinyl cloth and rubber construction materials. Since inflation takes place at the recreation site, these watercraft can be stored and transported more easily than their conventional counterparts.
2. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN THE BEST INFLATABLE KAYAKS?
This all depends on what you will be using the kayak for. Factors include the number of people in your group, the weight of the participants, and whether you will be on placid lakes or shooting the rapids. Weight capacity, space, storage space, the weight of the kayak, the number of air compartments based on your safety needs and concerns, size of the kayak when deflated, and any other factors impacting the recreational use of the kayak also play a role.
3. HOW DO THE BEST INFLATABLE KAYAKS WORK?
In general, the best inflatable kayaks are stored in a canvas bag until ready for use. At the recreation site, they are unpacked and some models may require supports to be put in place or partial assembly. The rest is just a matter of inflating the kayak through electric compressors or hand/foot pumps, which may or may not be supplied by the manufacturers. Many of the best inflatable kayaks are propelled by oars and good old-fashioned arm power. One of the models here can also be powered using foot pedals.
4. WHERE CAN YOU BUY THE BEST INFLATABLE KAYAKS?
All of the best inflatable kayaks reviewed here are available for purchase through Amazon.
HOW WE REVIEWED
Image Source : flickr
All the best inflatable kayaks mentioned here were reviewed based on their capacity, space, weight, portability, included equipment, storage compartments, the number of air compartments and other specific features. Additionally, specific pro and con features are listed where applicable.
OVERALL PRICE RANGE OF THE BEST INFLATABLE KAYAKS
The range of the best inflatable kayaks we reviewed was from $90.00 to $2349.00. This range is dependent upon the features, function, materials, quality and other factors.
What we reviewed
- Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak
- Hoibe I9s
- Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak
- Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
- ADVANCED ELEMENTS Lagoon 1 Kayak
- Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak
- Rave Sports Rave Sea Rebel Inflatable Kayak
- Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
- Sea Eagle 420x Inflatable Kayak
- 3 person/650 lb capacity,...
- 370 Deluxe Kayak Package...
- 2 AB30 7'10"" 4 Part Paddles...
- 2 skegs on the bottom for...
- Open and close drain valve, 5...
This inflatable kayak features excellent durability and boasts a 650-pound weight capacity with enough space for up to three people and plenty of cargo too. The material is salt water and sun resistant to ward off cracking and fading. It also has a spray skirt to help keep the interior drier. The kayak weighs 26 pounds, so it is light enough to transport to remote locations and is rated to withstand Class III whitewater rapids. The kayak is 12 feet 6 inches long and made from PolyKrylar. It comes with a repair kit, two inflatable and removable seats, a foot pump and carry bag. The five air compartments give you safety and redundancy. This kayak is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
- 650-pound capacity
- Five air compartments
- Stable but not very maneuverable
This kayak comes with a three-year manufacturing warranty.
- Integrated Rudder System for...
- Rolling Travel Bag
- Large Cargo Area with Bungee...
This is a true top-of-the-line option when it comes to the best inflatable kayaks. It is a great choice for solo expeditions like fishing. This kayak is foot-powered so you can maneuver it while casting a rod or reeling in the big one. The rudder is controllable with either hand so you can multi-task between your tackle and driving the kayak. Transporting it is super easy as it comes with a rolling travel bag. There is a large cargo area with bungee tie-downs and an adjustable seat that positions you to effectively use the pedals. It has a 325-pound weight capacity.
- 325-pound solo capacity
- Right or left-hand steering
- Rolling travel bag
- Adjustable seat
This kayak includes a two-year warranty.
- COMFORTABLE FOR ANYONE: Kayak...
- DIMENSIONS: Inflated size- 10...
- DIRECTIONAL STABILITY:...
- INCREASED VISIBILITY: In case...
- MADE FOR SMALLER BODIES OF...
With 400 pounds of weight capacity, heavy-duty puncture resistant vinyl, high visibility yellow color, and adjustable inflatable seat make this a good choice for smaller and more placid bodies of water. The high sides help keep everything dry and the six mesh pockets give you plenty of options for storing your cargo. Three separate air chambers give you safety and redundancy and it holds up to two people. This kayak comes equipped with two oars and an air pump. It is designed to inflate quickly, and the seats and backrests are inflatable as well. This kayak measures 123 inches long by 36 inches wide.
- Puncture-resistant vinyl
- Lots of mesh pockets
- Does best on more stable water
- Short warranty
This kayak only comes with a 90-day warranty.
- Built-in aluminum ribs define...
- Three layers of material for...
- Pre-assembled at the factory;...
- High support, adjustable...
- Three seat locations allow for...
For the real adventurers, this is the best inflatable kayak for you. It has some metal ribs to give it more rigidity and better controllability. It has a dry storage compartment, a bungee deck to lash gear onto, and features puncture-resistant vinyl in three separate layers for extreme rugged durability. There are three different seat placements to give you the configuration that works best for you and it has a 550-pound capacity. The seats have a lot of support and padding that allow you to earily get through the water with your oars, giving you greater performance and maneuverability. It includes six air compartments and a carrying bag. Weighing in at 52 pounds, this kayak will get you to the tougher places you need to go with more ease.
- Metal ribs for extra rigidity
- Great seats
- 550-pound capacity
- Dry storage compartment
- No glaring flaws
It comes with a one-year warranty.
- The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak...
- The bright green color and...
- Two 86 inch aluminum paddles...
- Made of company's rugged,...
- Measures 30 by 15 by 138...
This high-visibility kayak has two air chambers and can fit one or two people. It is UV resistant, has a mesh cargo carrier, and is made from puncture-resistant vinyl. The Intex Challenger Kayak measures 138 inches in length and has a 400-pound capacity. It comes with two aluminum paddles and a high-output pump for easy inflation and deflation.
- UV-resistant, puncture-resistant vinyl
- High visibility
- High-output pump
- Designed more for calmer environments
It includes a 90-day warranty.
- Single-person inflatable kayak...
- Built-in rigid panels on the...
- Quick-inflating Twistlok and...
- Padded high-support seat;...
- 250-pound weight capacity;...
This is the best inflatable kayak for the solo adventurer who wants to get to some of the more forsaken waterways in the wilderness. This kayak features twist-lock valves for fast inflation and deflation. It offers250 pounds of capacity and measures 8 feet 4 inches long. The sweet ergonomics and superior ripstop fabric design are the icing on the cake. This kayak comes with a padded seat to get better performance out of this watercraft. The rigid front panels help give better mobility and stability and offer you more control over the craft. The front nose has bungee lashings to lug around extra gear. The Lagoon 1 Kayak even comes with a duffel bag to stow it all in.
- Rigid panels
- Padded seat
- Ripstop fabric
- Duffel bag
- Weight capacity might not be enough for larger adventurers
This kayak comes with a one-year warranty.
- 5-minute setup lets you spend...
- Easy-to-carry backpack system...
- 24-gauge PVC construction is...
- Tarpaulin bottom and polyester...
- Multiple air chambers allow...
This kayak has great features and a superb value. The 24-gauge PVC from which it is constructed means it is super tough and durable. The bottom tarpaulin material resists punctures and scuffing well. Setup is fast and easy too, as inflation only takes about five minutes in total. This watercraft packs up into a backpack for the ultimate option in portability. Multiple air chambers ensure your safety and redundancy, even if mishaps occur.
- Backpack carrying system
- Backpack frame doubles as a seat for the kayak
- Quick inflation and deflation
- Multiple air compartments
- Spray covers to keep you dry
- Lots of storage space
This kayak includes a one-year warranty.
- LIGHTWEIGHT and PORTABLE: The...
- EASILY INFLATES: With a high...
- DURABLE: Constructed of thick,...
- PERFECT SIZE: At 8'6" long x...
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED: This...
Made from PVC tarpaulin material and heavy-duty nylon to ensure ruggedness and durability, this watercraft really imbues value. The bottom of the craft is low friction to get you over obstacles. The four foam handles help you handle the kayak when it is necessary to carry it (when the shortness of the distance makes it impractical to deflate it). This craft is very versatile and measures 103 inches in length which gives you a fair amount of storage and cargo area. This is a single-person craft with a carrying bag and a hand-pump.
- Tough and durable
- Foam filled handles
- Low friction bottom
- Few high-end features
It comes with a one-year warranty.
- INFLATES QUICKLY: The Driftsun...
- COMPACT & MANEUVERABLE: When...
- DURABLE DESIGN: Heavy-duty PVC...
- SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE: Rocker...
- EVERYTHING INCLUDED! -...
This tandem-style kayak weighs in at just 27 pounds and inflates in under five minutes using the included hand-pump. The PVC tarpaulin bottom is tough and resistant to punctures, plus it is low friction to get over objects without snagging. The V-shaped hull helps provide added stability, and it has a drain plug to get water out once you hit shore. The kayak feels and acts more like a rigid boat which is a great selling point. There are two bungees up front to help maximize storage and it comes with two high-quality paddles. The travel bag along with the padded seats, removable deep fin, repair kit and rip-resistant fabric of the body round this kayak out to provide great value and recreational opportunities.
- Fast inflation
- Tough PVC tarpaulin bottom
- Removable deep fin
- Open design does not keep splashes out well
It includes a one-year warranty.
- Exterior: 14' x 39" / Weight:...
- Load Capacity: 2-3 Adults or...
- Material: 1000 Denier...
- Inflation Time: 9 min. /...
- Pro Package includes: 420x...
This kayak has the largest weight capacity of the kayaks reviewed here. At 855 pounds, this kayak can easily accommodate up to three people and is designed to withstand Class 4 rapids. It is extra strong and durable with 1,000 denier and reinforced seams. This kayak comes with two paddles, two TBS seats, a carrying bag, stow bags, an A41 foot pump along with a repair kit. Inflation time is about nine minutes. The three-year warranty on this watercraft shows just how tough it is.
- 855-pound capacity
- Rated for Class 4 rapids
- Extra strong 1,000 denier material
- 13 inches long
This kayak comes with a three-year warranty.
Image via Amazon
The best inflatable kayak for one person may be completely wrong for another. When the great outdoors calls, we would answer that call with the Sevylor QuickPak K5. The allure of a kayak that fits on a backpack, fills in just a few minutes and carries with it the durability and safety necessary to brave the wilderness waters solo is what makes us give the nod to this kayak. We hope this guide will help you with your decision on which of the best inflatable kayaks to buy. Enjoy the outdoors with a kayak you can trust!
Hey, look at that! You found me! Lucky for you, because when I’m not writing articles all about the wilderness life, I’m out in the bush. Camping, fishing, canoeing, and sometimes even getting lost. You know the drill.