I love taking my kayak and heading out onto the lake.
If I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I find a river instead.
Despite my love of kayaking, I’ve never owned the kind of vehicle that allowed me to transport a kayak from place to place.
That meant that I was limited to only heading to spots that had rental places.
Then, I found out about inflatable kayaks and this changed everything for me. These were cheaper, lighter, and more compact than the traditional options.
At the same time, I quickly figured out that not all of these kayaks were created equal.
This is why I decided to compile a list of the best inflatable kayaks so that you wouldn’t need to make the same mistakes that I did.
Here are some that might be right for you:
Quick Post Navigation
- The Best Inflatable Kayaks I Reviewed
- What Are The Different Types of Good Inflatable Kayaks
- How To Choose The Best Inflatable Kayak For You
The Best Inflatable Kayaks I Reviewed
Intex Explorer K2– 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set
While this is an undoubtedly great inflatable kayak, there is a minor setback. This kayak is best suited for smaller and milder bodies of water. As a result, you can’t really go too crazy with it and probably should remain on a lake.
I tested the Intex K2 on a relatively calm river and it held up pretty well. That being said, I wouldn’t really push your luck with currents that are too strong.
The kayak is quite durable as it is made from puncture resistant vinyl. The kayak is made for two people, capable of holding up to 400lbs, and is surprisingly comfortable and roomy.
The seats are adjustable and one can be removed as well in case you are looking for room for yourself. The backrest certainly goes a long way to alleviating discomfort. This kayak comes with its own high output air pump. Therefore, it does not take too long before it is ready to be used. The Boston valves accompanying the kayak make this job quite easy as well. There is a removable skeg that can be used with the kayak. This affords you a certain degree of stability when the weather conditions become less than ideal.
Speaking of safety, I really like the fact that the kayak is bright yellow. In the event of an emergency, there is no way that anyone is missing it out there on the water.
- 2 person kayak, 400lbs capacity
- Puncture-resistant vinyl construction
- Removable skeg
- Aluminum paddles
- COMFORTABLE FOR ANYONE: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable seat with backrest;Cockpit designed for comfort and space
- DIMENSIONS: Kayak measures 20 x 36 x 123 inches.Maximum weight capacity: 400 pounds
- DIRECTIONAL STABILITY: Removable skeg for directional stability
- INCREASED VISIBILITY: In case of emergency, bright yellow color helps visibility
- MADE FOR SMALLER BODIES OF WATER: Explorer K2 is made for smaller bodies of water including lakes and mild rivers
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak
This kayak resembles the real deal due to the aluminium ribs that are built into the vessel. Not only does this allow for a more defined design, it helps the kayak with tracking. This means that you don’t have to expend a great deal of energy to make sure that the kayak stays on course.
This kayak is also quite strong. It is made from rubber but it actually is made up of three layers of the material. This considerably reduces the chance of the exterior being punctured or torn by debris.
This inflatable kayak is certainly not lacking in size. At fifteen feet, there is more than enough room for you to get comfortable for those longer trips. This also allows for space for a small dry compartment. Therefore, you can actually take a few things with you out there on the water.
Adding to the coziness level is a padded seat that is not only adjustable but also has a backrest.
The construction of the kayak did have me concerned about just how portable it would be. Fortunately, it actually folds up quite well and can be stored in a bag.
I had no problem carrying it around.
Of course, it would have been nice – for this price – to have a paddle delivered along with the kayak. Despite this, I found this inflatable kayak to be a good quality option.
- 15 feet long, maximum capacity of 300lbs
- Three layer, rubber construction
- Built-in aluminium ribs
- Adjustable seat
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Kayak
With this two person kayak, there is very little that you can’t do.
“If you are the outdoorsy type, this is definitely the vessel that you need.”
First off, this kayak doesn’t just look rugged, it is actually built to be. Made from eighteen gauge PVC, it is reinforced with an 840D nylon cover and a 1000D tarpaulin cover. I like the value that you get as a result of this durability – you can use this kayak for years to come.
This construction is accompanied by an Airtight System so that you don’t have to worry about air leaking out from your kayak.
Even better is the compartmentalized chamber feature on the kayak. This means that if one part of the kayak is punctured, the rest of it will not be affected.
I feel like the designers of this kayak really did think of everything. For instance, you’ve got mesh storage pockets so that you can carry gear or food with you.
If this is not enough, there are also D-rings that you can use to attach other equipment as well. Then you’ve got paddle holders so that you have somewhere to keep your paddles out of the way if you want to fish, for instance. You also get a pressure gauge with this kayak which lets you figure out the optimal amount of air to pump into the kayak. This takes the guesswork out of the task.
Last but not least, you can fit a trolling motor onto this kayak if you want. This means getting to your destinations that much faster.
- PVC construction, nylon and tarpaulin reinforcement
- 2 person kayak, can hold up to 470lbs
- Airtight System
- Storage features
- Trolling motor capabilities
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak
In addition to a quality, inflatable vessel, you also get two paddles, a skeg, and a repair kit.
This is yet another one of the best inflatable kayaks that has a lot of grit behind it.
Even though it is inflatable, it has still been created to be quite sturdy.
The material covering the kayak is made from heavy duty PVC. The foundation of the vessel, however, includes a 33 mm polykrylar hull and I-beam construction. The seams are held together by high-frequency welding. All of this means that the kayak is capable of holding two individuals who can combined, weigh up to 500 pounds.
This has also resulted in a three-year warranty for the vessel.
Not only will this kayak last you for longer, it also means that you can take on a wider variety of activities as well.
For instance, instead of just using it to go fishing, you can even utilize it for Class III whitewater rafting!
The seats are definitely an interesting feature. At first glance, you can see how unusual they look. They are actually quite comfortable too.
Now, the company claims that it will take all of six minutes to get this kayak inflated. I tried it out and felt that it was a bit of an exaggeration.
However, once you get the hang of it, it shouldn’t take you too long to have this kayak up and running.
- Constructed from PVC and polykrylar hull
- 500-pound capacity
- Inflatable seats
Sevylor Quikpak K5 Kayak
I have to admit that I have always hated this part of the process. This is why I found the Sevylor Quikpak K5 such a nice reprieve from many other models. I had this kayak inflated and ready to be used in a matter of minutes.
Now, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure how well this kayak was going to hold up because it doesn’t look all that sturdy. These fears disappeared once I was on the water, however.
It is made from 24 gauge PVC and has a polyester cover and a tarpaulin bottom. I also like the mechanism in place in case this kayak does get punctured. It has been designed so that even if one chamber on the vessel has been comprised, the other section will remain intact.
There are also storage areas and D-rings that allow you to take a bunch of things with you. It’s great if you want to carry extra equipment or just want a snack while you are on the water. I also like how this kayak packs up. It can be neatly folded up and placed in a provided backpack.
Therefore, if you are hiking to get to the lake or river, there is no problem.
My only complaint with this model is with the paddle and not the kayak. It is an uncomfortable paddle that does not have the same level of durability as the kayak.
- 24 gauge PVC, polyester, and tarp construction
- Storage areas and D-rings
- Quick inflation
Airhead AHTK-2 Montana Performance KayakAirhead AHTK-2 Montana Performance kayak, I wasn’t sure that two people would actually fit in it.
My buddy and I who are both of average height managed to fit in just fine, which was a pleasant surprise.
This kayak is made from semi-rigid heavy gauge PVC so it can withstand a little bit more than most. You should even be able to take it for some mild white water rafting. That being said, this is not a kayak that will hold up to too much abuse.
Not that it is delicate by any stretch of the imagination. It has tri-laminate reinforcements on the bottom. Also, the three air chambers are 840 denier nylon that has been reinforced with waterproof and UV coatings.
The tubular I-beam floor does actually contribute quite a bit with how well this kayak tracks on the water.
The seats aren’t overly comfortable but do provide enough support for those longer trips. It certainly gets a couple of points for being a very bright orange – it is easily visible even from a distance away.
There are no overt complaints to make about this inflatable kayak. However, it does feel a bit bare bones – while it is well constructed, you are not getting all that much else for what you are paying for.
- Heavy gauge PVC construction
- Two person, 500lb capacity
- Moderate white water rafting compatible
What Are The Different Types of Good Inflatable Kayaks
It is very difficult to definitively categorize kayaks into distinct types. Nonetheless, there are several features – or lack of features – that can help you distinguish between different ‘varieties’. Here are some of them:
Sit-on-top Kayaks vs. Sit-in Kayaks
Sit-in kayaks tend to be the most widespread options. Here, the walls are higher and there is a sort of cockpit that you sit in. These have several advantages including the fact that you are less likely to get wet. They are also better suited to whitewater rafting.
Sit-on-top kayaks are the ones where the walls are lower and you are not really enclosed into a pit. This is preferred by individuals who will remain in calmer waters such as lakes. It is also better if you are kayaking in water climates.
Self-bailing vs. Non-Bailing
With self-bailing kayaks, there are holes that are placed in the raised floor of the kayak. This gives the water a chance to drain out. On the other hand, non-bailing kayaks don’t have this feature – you will be required to get rid of the water yourself. The problem with self-bailing kayaks, however, is that they don’t really work well in rough waters or open water, even if you use plugs to plug up the holes. You can still expect water to come through.
Inflatable Kayak Materials
Kayaks can be made from a number of materials. The most common are PVC, hypalon, and nitrylon. PVC is one of the cheaper options which is why it is quite so popular. Despite the low price, it is still quite durable and lightweight. Its properties make it ideal to be used in the construction of the best inflatable kayaks. However, it does not hold up too well to various elements such as UV rays or chemicals.
Hypalon, on the other hand, tends to fare better in tough situations. It is a synthetic rubber that is known for its toughness. Among other things, this material can withstand UV light and can even ward off mildew. Hypalon has its own set of drawbacks, nonetheless. In addition to being more expensive, it also needs to be glued (and not welded like PVC). This means that the seams could come apart more easily.
Nitrylon is the environmental-friendly counterpart to these materials and is quickly gaining in popularity. In many ways, it does do a better job than PVC. For instance, it is stronger, more puncture resistant, and even easier to patch. Unfortunately, it is quite heavy which does make it less appealing for this particular function. Instead, kayak manufacturers tend to limit to certain parts of the kayak.
How To Choose The Best Inflatable Kayak For You
There are several things that you must consider when choosing the best inflatable kayak. This will help you make a decision that is best for your requirements as well as your particular situation:
Single, Double, or Convertible
Are you a lone wolf or do you like having others along for the ride?
This will determine whether you require a good inflatable kayak that can seat just one person or two people. Kayaks that are meant for just one person tend to be easy to maneuver around. On the other hand, the two-person model offers more in terms of stability. If you can’t make up your mind, that’s not a problem. This is because there are convertible options as well. Due to the adjustable (and removable) seats, these kayaks can transform into either a one person or two person vessel, depending upon the occasion.
Type of Kayaking
Do you want to leisurely paddle out onto a glassy lake or are you looking forward to taking on some serious whitewater?
You are going to need to choose the best inflatable kayak depending on your activity of choice. Most kayaks are typically made for more lakes with mild waves or rivers that are quite calm. There are several that can take on more moderate whitewater rivers, nonetheless. These tend to be more durable and have closer quarters to avoid toppling over.
As you can imagine inflatable kayaks require you to use a pump to inflate the vessel. The time that it takes to set up the kayak largely depends on the design and structure of the vessel.
If you are looking to get the most basic kayak, it should take you about ten to fifteen minutes to have it pumped up. This will be determined by the type of pump that you use.
However, if you are looking for a kayak that offers greater performance, more durability, and better stability, you will have your work cut out for you. Due to the increased number of parts, you can expect to spend quite a while putting it all together. The payoff is better quality, nonetheless.
Weight and Compactness
Now, the main reason that you choose the best inflatable kayak is that you expect to carry it around.
This is why you should take a good look at just how much each kayak weighs. This is especially important if you have to hike with this folded up kayak to get to the body of water. Now all of these kayaks do come with their own carry bags – some are better than others. What you must consider is just how easy it is to fold up the vessel and put it away.
These are the things that you should focus on when shopping for good inflatable kayak. You should be more than happy with any of the items on the list. However, if you are looking to get one by yourself, refer to the guide here so that you won’t make a mistake.
Last update on 2018-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API