The 11 Best Inflatable Kayaks

Best Inflatable Kayaks

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No matter what sport you’re into, if it requires a vehicle, like cycling, skateboarding, or jet skiing, you must be aware of the hassle associated with transporting the vehicle from one place to the other in an effort to enjoy your activity somewhere new.

This is especially true of kayaks as well because these vehicles are known for being long and should be wide enough to accommodate you, your gear, and equipment. But, if you’re a true enthusiast, you’ll begin looking for ways to make that possible without giving up on your favorite activity, and that’s where inflatable kayaks or blow-ups come in.

If you’re looking for the easiest way to enjoy kayaking where you wish, you should definitely opt for the portable, inflatable kayaks. And on this list, we’ve gathered the best inflatable kayaks on the market as well as tailored a buying guide to help you pick the one that suits you most according to the specs and features. Now, let’s dive into it!

Comparison Table

KayakWeightMaximum Weight CapacityNumber of Paddlers
Intex Challenger Kayak Series23.9 pounds220 pounds1
Sevylor Quikpak K118 pounds400 pounds1
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak39 pounds400 pounds2
Sevylor Big Basin34.8 pounds490 pounds3
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak30.6 pounds400 pounds2
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame52 pounds550 pounds2
Sevylor Coleman Colorado41.5 pounds470 pounds2
Airhead Montana Kayak36.3 pounds500 pounds2
Sea Eagle 370 Pro32 pounds650 pounds2
Driftsun Voyager27 pounds475 pounds2
Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Kayak23 pounds250 pounds1

The 11 Best Inflatable Kayaks in 2021

Now that you’ve taken a sneak peek into the best inflatable options let’s dissect each inflatable kayak on its own in order to learn about the pros, cons, and specs that make it different from the other picks.

1. Intex Challenger Kayak Series – Best Overall

Intex Challenger K1

Are you a single paddler looking for a portable yet reliable kayak for your upcoming trips? Then the Intex Challenger K1 would suit you quite well. It weighs 23.9 pounds and can accommodate up to 220 pounds, which means that it can fit you and all the gear you need on your trip with no issues.

Moreover, the Challenger K1 comes in bright and vivid colors that give it visibility in the water. And though it comes with a removable skeg to provide it with directional stability, it’s more suitable for mild weather conditions while kayaking on lakes or rivers.

This kayak is as easy to assemble, inflate, and deflate as it is to transport. This is especially true thanks to the high-output pump and Boston valve that makes the deflation and inflation process a breeze.

You can definitely count on the durability of construction of the Challenger K1 as it’s made of rugged vinyl, and when you combine that with the I-beam floor, you get absolutely reliable performance.

What’s more, the Challenger K1 comes with a low-profile deck, and its side compartments are of high buoyancy to keep it functioning with high stability. It’s actually so safe that it’s NMMA-certified.

As for comfort, you get plenty of adjustability with the K1 as it gives you an adjustable seat with a backrest, a grab line on each end of the vessel, and a repair kit that comes in handy if an emergency should arise.

In terms of storage space, it comes with a cargo net beside the hull, but its weight limit is a bit of a constraint on the number of items you can tag along. It also comes with an 86-inch aluminum paddle that makes its maneuverability easy and a streamlined design for smooth paddling.

Pros:

  • Very stable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Suits paddlers of all skill levels
  • Highly water-resistant
  • Great value for the price

Cons:

  • Doesn’t suit whitewater
  • Limited features

Bottom Line

The Intex Challenger K1 is an ideal recreational kayak that suits entry-level paddlers looking to enjoy calm and soothing water adventures on rivers and lakes.

2. Sevylor Quikpak K1 – Most Lightweight

Sevylor Quikpak K1

If what made you look for an inflatable kayak is your concern for portability, you’ll love how lightweight the Sevylor Quikpak K1 is. 

At only 18 pounds, this 1-person kayak is able to accommodate up to 400 pounds, which means that you can easily move it around on your own and that you can take every last piece of equipment or gear on board without worrying about the weight capacity.

Honestly, the 400-pound capacity may seem like overkill, but it’s nice to know that you can bring a small dog aboard if you feel like going on a water adventure with your pet. Despite all that room, the layout doesn’t make it suitable for fishing trips as it doesn’t have fishing rod holders or anything of the sort.

Made of PVC and tarpaulin, you can count on the Sevylor Quikpak K1’s durability and ability to withstand rugged use or less than friendly weather conditions.

With a hand pump, the inflation of the Quikpak K1 takes little to no time at all. Just like the Challenger K1, the Quikpak K1 only suits rivers and lakes and isn’t meant for use in seas or oceans as it’s not stable or heavy enough.

Pros:

  • Airtight technology to prevent any leakages
  • The bag doubles as a seat
  • Quick inflation

Cons:

  • Doesn’t track well

Bottom Line

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 is a great alternative to the Challenger K1 if you’re looking for something more affordable and capacious to grab more gear. However, its tracking is subpar, so it’s not stable enough for white water trips.

3. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak – Best Fishing Kayak

Intex Excursion Pro

If you’re looking for the perfect inflatable kayak for fishing, you won’t find anything better than the Intex Excursion Pro. Though it’s a little pricey, it’s worth every penny.

Firstly, it comes with a polyester core and an incredibly durable laminate 3-ply PVC construction that make it water-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and durable in the face of damage caused by sunlight or impact.

Moreover, it comes with a pump that provides high-pressure inflation in order to give the kayak the maximum stability and rigidity on the water, while the high-pressure valves with spring loads make way for smooth inflation and deflation.

To provide the kayak with the stability and comfort needed to suit fishing, Intex included 2 removable skews to suit both shallow and deep water. Not only that, but the kayak comes with 2 integrated recessed fishing rod holders, 2 floor-mounted footrests, and 2 adjustable bucket seats.

The Intex Excursion Pro also comes with removable and adjustable brackets that enable you to add plenty of extra accessories, like fish finders, swivel fishing holders, and GPS trackers. Not to mention, it comes with a carry bag where you can keep your valuable belongings and a repair kit that serves you well in the case of an emergency.

As for the storage area, you can keep your equipment in the bow and stern and make use of the D-rings if you want to secure your dry bag.

Pros:

  • Designed to suit fishing kayakers
  • Quick and easy inflation
  • Highly stable and safe
  • Duffel bag for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Not very affordable
  • Doesn’t provide much space for your legs

Bottom Line

If you’re an angler that wants to enjoy fishing from a kayak, you should definitely opt for the Intex Excursion Pro. It’s equipped with all the required extras, like offering enough storage area and removable skews for steadiness.

4. Sevylor Big Basin – Best 3-person Kayak

Sevylor Big Basin

Despite being only 34.8 pounds, the Sevylor Big Basin can accommodate up to 490 pounds, and that’s why it suits 3-person trips. But admittedly, 3 could be a crowd on this kayak, so it’s better for two adults and a child or a pet.

It’s sufficiently durable as it’s made of a heavy-duty, high-quality PVC and tarpaulin combination for the body and the bottom in order to qualify it for rugged use, especially if you’re going to be kayaking on lakes or rivers.

In terms of stability and tracking, the Sevylor Big Basin is comparable to a hard-shell kayak as it comes with two directional rudders that keep the vessel moving in a straight line, no matter the current working against it.

Perhaps the only setback to the Sevylor Big Basin is that its sides are too low, making it easy for the water to invade the vessel, which would cause a hassle of a wet situation.

The Sevylor Big Basin comes with multiple air chambers that give you a higher sense of safety, knowing that if one suffers a puncture, the rest will keep you afloat. What’s more, the airtight system prevents any leaks as well as keeps the air chambers intact and well-inflated.

Pros:

  • Large size and weight capacity
  • System is proofed against leaks
  • Seamless inflation and deflation
  • Built-in spray skirt

Cons:

  • Only suits calm waters
  • Low sides invite water into the kayak

Bottom Line

If you like kayaking with others, be it with friends, family, or your pet, you should opt for the Sevylor Big Basin. As its name suggests, this 3-person kayak is big enough to accommodate plenty of equipment without making it too crowded for everyone on board.

5. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Cheapest Kayak

Intex Explorer K2

If you’re new to kayaking and are looking for a vessel that provides you with portability, maneuverability, and reliable performance at a reasonable price, the Intex Explorer K2 is an ideal kayak for you.

It’s one of the more affordable options on the market, yet it’s also one of the best. It weighs 30.6 pounds and is able to handle 400 pounds of weight, which is a decent ratio. Its bright yellow color gives it visibility to keep you seen and safe when you’re on the water.

Its construction is of rugged vinyl material, so it’s tough for anything to puncture it. And in the case that anything does, you’ll stay afloat thanks to the fact that it comes with three air compartments.

In terms of comfort, it comes with adjustable and removable seats that have a backrest, which makes paddling super comfortable. Add to that, the cockpit design focuses on providing the paddler with all the space and support they need.

Moreover, the Intex Explorer K2 comes with a removable skeg to give it directional stability and keep you feeling secure. Still, this kayak only suits small bodies of water like lakes and rivers of mild currents, so you should steer clear of waters of rough conditions.

Pros:

  • Comes with a handy repair kit
  • Adjustable and removable seats
  • Vivid and visible color
  • Suits hobbyists

Cons:

  • Doesn’t suit taller paddlers
  • Flimsy carry bag
  • Not the most durable

Bottom Line

If you’re still exploring the world of kayaks and want to get yourself a reliable yet affordable option, you should consider the Intex Explorer K2.

6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame – Highest Weight Capacity

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is actually more of a hybrid kayak than it is an inflatable one. It combines the features of an inflatable model and a folding frame one.

It can cut through the waves and is incredibly easy to maneuver thanks to the built-in aluminum ribs around the bow and stern that make it comparable to a hard-shell kayak. Not only that, but the kayak is practically impossible to flip with its 32-inch wide base.

Though the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is a bit hefty at 52 pounds, it has the highest weight capacity on the list with a whopping 550-pound limit. This means that you can take practically anything you want on board without worrying about performance or steadiness.

As for deflation and inflation, it takes 10 minutes for the former and 15 for the latter. This may seem like a long time, but then again, the vessel is quite large and capacious.

The seats on the AdvancedFrame are adjustable and padded to provide comfort on the longest journeys, while the multi-layer construction works on preventing any damage and doesn’t leave room for anything to puncture the chambers. 

Pros:

  • Incredible handling and tracking capabilities
  • Highly stable
  • Built-in aluminum ribs
  • Padded seats can be adjusted

Cons:

  • Rather heavy
  • Not the easiest to set up
  • Zippers aren’t watertight

Bottom Line

This 2-person kayak is a great choice for those of you who like to kayak with someone as well as bring all their equipment along. With a 550-pound weight capacity, you can bring along necessities and luxuries to your heart’s delight.

7. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best for Durability

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

When you combine the 18-gauge PVC construction of the Sevylor Coleman Colorado with the 1000D tarpaulin bottom, you’ll get an incredibly durable kayak that you can use for years on end.

The Colorado weighs 41.5 pounds, which means that it’s rather easy to transport it from a place to another as well as store it away. What’s more, it has a 470-pound weight capacity, which is quite in proportion to its weight and means that you can go kayaking with some company without leaving any of your equipment behind.

It’s worth mentioning that the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a suitable kayak for fishing as it comes with Berkley quick set rod holders, which you can adjust to enjoy hands-free fishing. Not only that, but it’s also equipped with a trolling motor that enables you to fish using plenty of techniques and gives you more versatility when it comes to your fishing methods.

Additionally, the kayak is equipped with paddle holders that work on keeping your paddles out of the way while you’re fishing, mesh storage pockets where you can keep belongings nearby, and D-rings that give you space to attach other equipment or gear.

With multiple air chambers and an airtight system, you can rest assured that the Sevylor Coleman Colorado will provide you with a safe and secure fishing trip on your kayak.

Pros:

  • Solid and robust construction
  • Comes with several air chambers
  • Allows use of plenty of accessories

Cons:

  • Inflation takes a long time

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a worthy investment that would last you for a long while, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a very good pick. It boasts a high-quality construction, a solid frame, and smooth performance at a reasonable price.

8. Airhead Montana Kayak – Best for Mild White Water

AIRHEAD MONTANA Kayak

If you’re looking for whitewater kayaks, the Airhead Montana is a good place to start. It’s made from 840D nylon and stainless steel, which is why it’s qualified to handle white water -as long as it’s mild-, unlike other PVC options that were more suitable for calm waters. 

The coating on the kayak, including the 3 air chambers, is water-resistant and provides UV protection, which extends the lifespan of the vessel.

Weighing 36.3 pounds, it’s on the lightweight end of the spectrum, while its 500-pound weight capacity is on the higher end, which is a fantastic combination. This enables you to enjoy a kayaking trip with a friend or with your dog.

The Airhead Montana gives you plenty of versatility as it can be used for camping and transporting your camping gear, going on vacation, cruising yachts, and general exploration. And being equipped with grab handles, it’s super easy to mount into or off the Airhead Montana.

Moreover, this kayak comes with elbow guards made from Neoprene to provide you with comfort while you paddle. Not to mention, its padded seats are removable, in case you wanted to make more room for yourself and your legs.  It also features a stretching net in the bow and 6 D-rings at the bow and stern, which you can use to attach gear.

Finally, with the bright orange color of the Airhead Montana, you can be sure that you’ll have a solid visibility on the water.

Pros:

  • Can storm through the white water
  • Well-protected air chambers with a nylon cover
  • Elbow guards provide comfort
  • Easy to get into and out of the vessel

Cons:

  • Not stable in the face of strong winds

Bottom Line

The Airhead Montana gives you some room to explore different types of water, so you can use it for lakes, rivers, or mild white water. It’s durable, solid, and comfortable, though it doesn’t put up a grand fight in the face of strong winds, so make sure to use it when it’s nice outside.

9. Sea Eagle 370 Pro – Best Weight/Capacity Ratio

Sea Eagle 370 Pro

The Sea Eagle 370 Pro is the second out of two kayaks for a 3-person inflatable kayak on the list, and we’ve narrowed it down to just these two because they’re more or less the best. 

But the Sea Eagle 370 Pro definitely beats the Sevylor Big Basin if we compare weight-to-capacity ratio as the former weighs 32 pounds (around 2 pounds less) and can accommodate up to 650 pounds -around 160 pounds more! Think about all the equipment you can bring along.

Despite its lightweight, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro is a quite stable kayak, and that’s why it suits navigating class III rapids.

In terms of convenience, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro is entirely integrated. It comes with Deluxe kayak seats that you can move and adjust, two paddles, a foot pump for fast and effortless inflation, and a carry bag that you can use to move your kayak from one place to another.

It’s not just the foot pump that helps the inflation and deflation process, but also the fact that it’s equipped with 5 one-way valves, which are quite time-efficient. You can use the included pressure indicator to make sure you’re pumping the right amount of air.

Finally, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro comes with a robust PolyKrylar hull that protects it from any puncture or damage. And if you want your pet to tag along, you can bring your dog along without worrying about its paws damaging the vessel.

Pros:

  • Accommodates very hefty weights
  • Comes with a decent range of accessories
  • 5 inflation and deflation valves
  • Better tracking with two skegs

Cons:

  • Paddles are substandard
  • Little to no storage area

Bottom Line

The Sea Eagle 370 Pro is your best bet for a 3-person inflatable kayak if you’re looking for something with the highest weight capacity, easy inflation and deflation, as well as steadiness on the water.

10. Driftsun Voyager – Best for Beginners

Driftsun Voyager

If you’re not a well-versed kayaker, the Driftsun Voyager would be an excellent option for you. Despite its suitability for novices and that it’s an entry-level pick, it has a heavy-duty construction that makes it tough and durable.

It has a PVC tarpaulin bottom and is made from an 840D nylon material and EVA to provide you with a combination of toughness and comfort. What’s more, it comes with aluminum paddles, a rear tracking fin for stability, a hand pump for quick inflation, and a carry bag to allow you to transport it without a hassle.

Moreover, it’s equipped with removable skegs that make it more stable as well as padded back seats to provide kayakers with comfort throughout their trips and paddles you can adjust between 0 and up to 60 degrees.

The bungee storage is spacious, and the bow and stern provide ample space. But if you want to go all out, you can turn this 2-person kayak into a vessel for one in order to use the freed up space to store more gear and equipment.

Weighing 27 pounds, the Driftsun Voyager can accommodate up to 450 pounds, which enables you to bring along a kayaking partner as well as all the equipment any of you might need.

Finally, the Voyager comes with drains that quickly remove water from inside the kayak to keep you feeling secure as well as protect you and your gear from getting wet.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction makes it durable
  • Aluminum components included
  • Puncture-resistant
  • Lightweight and stable

Cons:

  • Only suits beginners
  • Drifts when winds are strong

Bottom Line

If you’re an entry-level kayaker that needs a portable kayak but don’t know where to start, the Driftsun Voyager is a good starting point. While it may be susceptible to blow away with stronger winds, its construction is reliable, and it offers adequate portability and the needed steadiness to suit beginner kayakers.

11. Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Kayak – Best for Taller Paddlers

Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Kayak

With a width of 34 inches and a length of 8.4 inches, the Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 kayak suits kayakers of up to 6.2 feet.

This is another one of the 1-person kayaks that suit adventures on calm waters like bays, lakes, and mild waters. With the high-flow spring valves and quick-inflating twist-lock mechanism, the Lagoon 1 gives you a very quick and seamless setup.

Moreover, it comes with a padded seat with high-support to further suit taller kayakers, as well as molded rubber handles that give you a good grip when moving the kayak around. As for storage, you get a bungee deck lacing and a mesh pocket, which isn’t the most comprehensive but decent enough.

This 23-pound kayak can accommodate up to 250 pounds, which is yet another average yet adequate number. It does come with an inflatable coaming to enable you to attach a spray skirt and a tracking fin to maximize tracking accuracy.

Pros:

  • Plenty of reliable storage options
  • Decent dimensions make it suitable for all people
  • Easy setup
  • Folding seat to offer more space

Cons:

  • Tracking isn’t the best
  • Not plenty of storage space

Bottom Line

If you’re among taller kayakers, you’re probably tired of finding great vessels that don’t accommodate your height, but the Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 would definitely spare you this hassle.

Pros and Cons of an Inflatable Kayak

There are plenty of reasons why an inflatable kayak is an excellent addition to your fishing arsenal, but there are some setbacks as well. In this section, we’ll go over the pros and cons of inflatable kayaks to help you decide whether such a vessel would suit you or not.

Pros:

  • Portability: An inflatable kayak comes with a compact and lightweight design that enables you to move it around a lot easier than you would a hard-shell kayak.
  • Easy storage: Because of their compactness and the fact that they can be deflated, they’re much easier to store than their rival kayaks. They require no backyard or storage unit, and you can simply put them in your vehicle instead of installing a roof rack during transportation.
  • Secure: Since inflatable kayaks have multiple air chambers, you practically never have to worry about them sinking or about your safety. If one of the compartments is punctured, the rest will carry you to the shore, safe and sound.
  • Affordability: It’s no secret that blow-ups come at a much more affordable price than hard-shell ones. So, if you want to enjoy the sport without splurging, an inflatable kayak would suit you quite well.

Cons: 

  • Performance: While inflatable kayaks can go a long way in terms of steadiness, durability, and reliability, they wouldn’t compare to a hard-shell kayak if all the other factors are made equal. In that case, a hard-shell one would definitely be faster, more stable on the water as it has no flex, and generally more secure.
  • Launch time: With a hard-shell kayak, all you have to do is get to the shore and push your vessel into the water. However, with inflatable kayaks, you’re going to have to spend some time blowing it up, and no matter how short the process is, it would still take longer than a hard-shell one for a paddler to start enjoying their activity. 
  • Drying: Unlike a hard-shell kayak, an inflatable kayak would have to be laid out to dry instead of just drying on the way back home. Of course, this isn’t the most efficient method and perhaps is the most burdening part of having an inflatable kayak.

What to Look for When Choosing Inflatable Kayaks?

When you’re shopping for inflatable kayaks, there are a couple of aspects that you should bear in mind if you want to enjoy your fishing trip to the max. In this section, we’ll help you figure out how to choose your vessel and tell you about the features you should be on the lookout for.

Type

When you’re shopping for an inflatable kayak, you’ll be faced with several types to choose from, and you should make your choice according to your purpose and what you want to get done with your vessel.

Recreational Kayak

A recreational kayak usually spans less than 12 feet in length and derives its stability from its width. These don’t stress out the paddler as they’re easy to maneuver, though they don’t suit rougher water conditions. Despite the fact that they can handle some rapids of class II, they’re better suited for slow currents like bays and lakes.

Fishing Kayak

If you’re going to be using your kayak for fishing, you shouldn’t just focus on one that’s easy to carry but also one that comes with accessories like fishing rod holders, bottle holders, safety ropes, sonar brackets, tracking fins, anchor lines, D-rings and a storage area for your gear.

A fishing kayak doesn’t only focus on that, but it also comes with tough and durable construction that handles being around sharp hooks. They also enable the paddler to stand up while reeling and casting their rod in order to make fishing more convenient.

Whitewater Kayak

An inflatable whitewater kayak usually has a shorter design and a weight capacity that’s lower than average, but the main focus with these is having a drain plug and the ability to self-bail. They come with plenty of drains that you can leave open if paddlers are in whitewater and can be shut when in flat water to keep the floor and insides dry. Moreover, a whitewater kayak would come with a spray skirt to keep paddlers dry.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity is an important aspect to consider when picking a kayak. Though you may not think it, a personal inflatable kayak can accommodate plenty of weight as their floating ability is excellent.

Still, the weight capacity depends on plenty of factors, like whether you’re going to be kayaking alone or with some company, how long a paddler is going to stay on the water, and how much equipment and gear they’d like to take with them on the trip.

Solo vs. Tandem

A huge part that contributes to the maximum weight capacity of a kayak is whether it’s a solo or tandem one. Naturally, solo kayaks have a lower weight capacity, which starts from around 200 pounds, while tandem ones can reach up to 500 pounds. Of course, picking this or that depends on whether you typically go on solo trips or if you have a partner.

The general rule of thumb is that you should opt for a weight limit that exceeds the on-board weight by around 100 pounds.

Storage Space

The storage area is another factor that depends on the weight capacity of the kayak. Naturally, with more weight capacity, you’ll be able to grab more gear and equipment on board. Still, it’s not just about how much belongings you can bring along, but also how the storage space is laid out across the vessel. 

Kayaks come with hatches that give you access to the bulkhead where you can get to your belongings trapped in the air space. You should match the size of the hatch according to the type of equipment you bring along. For example, if you’re planning to use large objects like poles for tents, you should opt for larger hatches.

Portability

A lot of aspects affect how portable an inflatable kayak is, but they’re all easy to carry and transport in general. A hard-shell kayak can weigh up to 70 pounds if it’s a solo one and up to a whopping 90 pounds if it’s a tandem one.

And that’s why a solo kayak that weighs between 8 to 40 pounds is an excellent deal and can only be possible with an inflatable vessel. Tandem ones range between 35 to 65 pounds, which is still largely portable for a tandem kayak.

Storage bags or backpack straps make it even easier to transport your vessel from one place to another. They also give you an advantage over a hard-shell kayak if you’re going to go through rough terrains.

Launch Time and Inflation

To inflate your vessel, you can use a pump, be it a foot, electric, or hand pump. Getting one with a built-in PSI indicator would be a good choice to make sure all the air compartments are inflated equally, which makes the movement of the kayak more stable on the water.

A foot or hand pump would inflate a tandem kayak in about 7 to 10 minutes, while an electric pump (12 volts) can take only 5 minutes or less. But whatever you opt for, make sure to make room for a few minutes to double-check that all compartments have the same pressure.

Tip: If you’re going to leave your kayak in the hot sun, make sure it’s not fully inflated and that you release some of the pressure from the air compartments. And contrarily, make sure it’s properly filled if you’re going to set out on your adventure in the cold.

Stability

Speaking of making the kayak more stable, you should opt for a vessel with a wide and flat base to maximize stability. Of course, that’s after making sure that each air partition is filled up as much as the rest.

Getting an inflatable kayak with rudders or skegs is advisable to add more stability to the vessel, especially since they aren’t exactly the most stable due to their shapes and nature.

Materials and Durability

The materials of which your kayak is made will definitely play a role in how durable it is. Of course, the tougher and lighter the materials are, the more expensive the kayak will be, but you can find some excellent, puncture-proof options that can make it through the fallen branches and deadheads you’ll definitely stumble upon when kayaking.

Most options use PVC, which is one of the most tear-resistant materials. However, if you’re looking for a top-notch combination between durability and lightness, you should opt for Hypalon. Generally speaking, most vessels would be made of a combination of both materials anyway, but try to get one with more Hypalon if you’ve got some bucks to spare.

Finally, you can opt for the toughest option, which is Nitrylon. However, you’ll be compromising some portability as it’s a hefty material. Still, this new material is the only one for you if you’re looking for something eco-friendly that suits cold kayaking trips.

And while the material and how careful you are when dragging the vessel through paths and gravel, the one thing that keeps you safe throughout the trip is to have a repair kit or a patch kit to fix up any punctures when and if they happen.

Tip: It’s advisable to add a drop stitch floor to kayaks that don’t come with one. Look for ones with 4-6 PSI ratings to keep it lightweight yet secure and steady.

Bottom

There are two types of bottoms that you can choose from when it comes to kayaks: a V-bottom and a flat bottom.

The former is better for fast-paced kayaking and fast waters, which is why V-bottom options are the best for kayaking in whitewater. On the other hand, if you’re going to be kayaking in shallow waters, you should opt for flat bottoms for the steadiness they have to offer.

Comfort

While you’re kayaking, you’re going to spend extended periods of time on your kayak seat, and that’s why you should opt for an option with well-padded and comfortable seats. Not only that, but you should also look into a footrest you can adjust to provide you with enough room for your legs to stretch and rest throughout the trip, as well as carry handles to make transportation easier.

Price

Inflatable kayaks give you a considerable advantage over hard-shell ones when it comes to budget constraints. While you can find a high-end kayak that costs more than a thousand bucks, you can find plenty of reliable inflatable ones at $500 or less.

Solo models that don’t have plenty of weight capacity can be as cheap as $250, so there’s plenty of room to save if you opt for a personal inflatable kayak.

Warranty

Longer warranties help you rest assured regarding the quality of your purchase, so opt for the longest possible option. A 2-year warranty would be a good deal, but cheaper options usually come with 6 months to 12 months of coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Inflatable Kayaks Worth It?

Inflatable kayaks are definitely worth trying if portability is a huge concern for you. Not only do they serve that purpose, but with the ever-advancing technologies used, they can be just as reliable, safe, and durable as hard-shell kayaks.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?

Yes, and the more air compartments the kayak has, the safer it would be to get on board. This is because the presence of multiple air chambers means that if one gets punctured for any reason, you’ll still be able to stay afloat and safe until you get to the shore.

How Important is the Self-Bailing Feature?

If you’re going to be kayaking on flat water with friendly water conditions, like lakes or rivers, you probably wouldn’t need it at all. However, if you’re the one for adventures and you know your cockpit is likely to be flooded, a kayak with a drain plug and a self-bailing feature is essential to you.

Should I Opt for Open-deck or Closed-deck Kayak?

There isn’t one that performs better, so it’s a matter of preference. If you enjoy more freedom of movement, you should opt for open-deck kayaks, which have similar designs to canoes. On the other hand, if you want to feel a bit more secure and protect yourself from getting wet, opt for a closed-deck kayak.

Are Inflatable Kayaks Good for Fishing?

Yes, you can easily and confidently use an inflatable kayak for fishing. Though there’s a lot of controversy over how well they would hold up in the face of all the equipment and gear, a lot of them serve the purpose thanks to advanced technologies and designs.

How to Dry and Clean Inflatable Kayaks?

You should always clean your inflatable kayak well before you store it if you want to extend the durability of the material. Start by removing the accessories, then scrub it with a mixture of kayak cleaner and lukewarm water. 

After you’re done, you can give it a wipe using a clean cloth to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all sand, dirt, and grime. Finally, turn it upside down overnight to dry it thoroughly.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’re done with the reviews on the best inflatable kayaks on the market, we hope you’ve made your choice, or at least narrowed it down to a vessel or two. If you’re not sure yet, here’s a recap to jog your memory.

If you’re looking for an excellent inflatable kayak overall, you should opt for the Intex Challenger K1. This recreational kayak is quite stable, suits paddlers of all skill levels, and is a breeze to assemble. However, it’s not a kayak for waters of fast currents and doesn’t come with so many features.

The Intex Explorer K2 is a great alternative if you want a decent set of features that suit a hobbyist without paying too much.

A kayak that would help you navigate mild currents on water would be the Airhead Montana. Not only is it stable and provides good tracking, but it’s also well-protected and durable. It also comes with an elbow guard and padded, removable seats that give you comfort and freedom to expand the storage area on the kayak.

The Sevylor Big Basin would be a great kayak for those who love to go on adventures with friends, family, or even their pet. And despite being large and capacious, it’s easy to inflate and deflate. Not to mention, it’s proofed against leaks and comes with a spray skirt.

But if you’re looking for the absolute maximum weight capacity and want to bring along company without leaving any of your gear behind, you should opt for the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame kayak.

Finally, if you’re getting your kayak for fishing, you won’t find a better option than the Intex Excursion Pro. Not only is its construction rigid as it’s made of 3 plies, but it’s also stable, easy to deflate and inflate, and comes with plenty of fishing-oriented features. This includes fishing rod holders, adjustable seats, and adjustable brackets that you can use to add swiveling rod holders, fish finders, and GPS devices.

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