While the performance of even the best inflatable kayaks is not quite as great as a hard shell kayak, they more than compensate for any drawbacks with their ease of portability.
With modern building materials, inflatable kayaks can also be used for white water raftingand fishing.
There are however, large differences between the many versions.
How do you decide that inflatable kayak is best for you?
This guide will aid you in buying an inflatable kayak for your needs based on our comparisons of the top rated brands. We assessed them stability, ease of inflation, reliability, value and just how easy they were to paddle.
If you are worried about leaks, then all the reviewed kayaks come with quick repair patch kits and a pump. However with contemporary materials being so tough, leaks are extremely unlikely.
First let us take a look at the best ranked inflatable kayaks, then we’ll discuss how to select the right one for you within our buying guide below.
Inflatable Kayak Reviews
1. Advanced Elements Expedition Kayak
Advanced Elements Expedition Kayak at a Glance:
If you’re searching for an inflatable kayak that’s close to a normal hard shell kayak, the Advanced Components Expedition Kayak is right for you.
It has built-in, lightweight aluminum ribs which provide exceptional rigidity for excellent speed and tracking.The bottom of the kayak utilize”drop stitch” contstruction that if inflated becomes extreamly rigid. The high back seats will have you wrapped in relaxation for long periods of time.
The 15 feet long kayak has low center of gravity for exceptional stability and also helps make paddling easier. The 6 chambers gives you the ultimate in safety on the water.
This kayak is suitable for anything from a day excursion, and with all the lots of storage capability a week long camping expedition.
The Advanced Elements is a fantastic kayak for fishing, with its solid tracking and maneuverability plus bungee tie downs for storage.
The Advanced Elements kayak consists of three separate layers which provide the most puncture and leak resistance provided by any inflatable kayak. Just like to take your furry 4 legged friend with you?
Well the Advanced Elements kayak will resist puncturing from the sharpest of claws! There is loads of space up front to lash cargo for long camping and fishing trips.
When they state convertible they aren’t kidding, it is configurable into many different options. You can kayak solo or tandem and place it up as a sit-on-top or perhaps sit inside kayak. That is convertibility!
Advanced Elements in Many Different configurations
The included carry duffle bag retains the kayak in a compact package of 35 inches wide by 12 inches high and 21 inches long and weighs only 56 lbs, small enough to be hauled in any vehicle.
The Advanced Elements Expedition kayak is a really solid feeling kayak that is as close as it comes to a normal hardshell kayak.
If you’re searching for a smaller, less costly solo kayak that the Advanced Components FireFly is a good selection.
2. Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak
Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak at a Glance:
Looking for something a little bigger?
It’s among the few 3 individual inflatable kayaks on the market. Though honestly, you aren’t likely to be able to fit 3 adults inside, more like two adults and a child.
The very first thing you’ll notice about the Large Basin is that is surprisingly stable and monitors nearly just like a traditional hard shell kayak. A good deal of the tracking stability is due to both vertical strakes (essential rudders) which maintain you paddling straight, even if your own solo.
The Sevylor Big Basin is constructed of some seriously strong, heavy duty PVC and a tarpaulin bottom to protect against abrasion and punctures from stones and sticks as well as other hazards.
If you have a 4 legged furry friend, this is the best kayak for dogs using its thick heavy duty PVC which will withstand their claws puncturing the material.
The Sevylor includes 3 different chambers for security in case you do suffer a puncture, it will not be pretty but you will have the ability to paddle to shore. Remember you should always take PFD’s, one per individual.
Even at a bargain price it includes some nice features like, cup/bottle holders for each chair and has an adequate amount of storage in the rear of the kayak for a cooler or fishing gear.
The chairs adjust and are surprisingly comfortable and as a wonderful touch, it has splash guards at the front of the kayak to keep water out.
While I probably wouldn’t take it whitewater rafting, it is capable of doing this. This is a pretty big kayak so I would seriously consider getting an electrical pump to inflate it.
Remember it does NOT include a pump or paddles, which means you will have to buy them separately. Make certain that you get a quality high volume pump so that you may get it inflated quickly.
In my opinion for the quality you receive, the Sevylor Big Basin is your most effective inflatable kayak for the cost.
3. Intex Challenger 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
Intex Challenger at a Glance:
Intex Recreation has come out with the bargain costly K2 inflatable kayak.
It’s constructed of the super durable vinyl for extreme durability and resistance to tears and leaks.
The Intek K2 is an ideal kayak for exploring lakes and slower flowing rivers. The cockpit is great sized using a inflatable seat and backrest it will easily fit most anyone. The Intex is definitely the best cheap inflatable kayak.
The Intex K2 meets all safety standards determined by the Coast Guard while undergoing intensive stress testing to guarantee safety. The K2 will give you years of enjoyment on the water.
4. Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak Pro Package
Sea Eagle SE 370 at a Glance:
Whether or not you would like to go down Class III rapids or even a leisurely paddle around a lake, the Sea Eagle is an ideal answer to your kayak needs.
The rocky PolyKrylar hull is incredibly durable, so tough in reality there is no reason to leave your 4 legged best friend residence. The 38 mil strand will defy the sharpest of claws and withstand tearing or puncturing.
The Sea Eagle weighs only 32 lbs but will carry up 650 pounds of passenger and cargo! It comprises 2 skegs so that the Sea Eagle tracks nicely for optimum speed and efficiency.
Included are 2 inflatable, removable chairs (3 person capacity)front and rear self-bailing drain valves and front and rear rope handles for easy portability.
The Sea Eagle deflates down to a small bundle of 31 inches , 19 wide by 8 inches deep and transports easily with the included carry case. The Sea Eagle is the greatest tandem inflatable kayak in the marketplace.
With the Sea Eagle you can go from the trunk of your automobile to being around the water in 8 minutes. 100 pumps of this high capacity foot pump and its own fully inflated and ready for just about anything! The Sea Eagle is a good kayak for the money.
Note: The just released Sea Eagle 380X Kayak includes a drop stitch structure and close rigid kayak performance.
5. Sevylor K5 QuikPak Inflatable Kayak
Coleman Quikpak K5 at a Glance:
The Coleman Quickpak is my other selection for a solo kayak. This is a well thought out/designed inflatable kayak. To begin with, is that kayak folds up small enough to fit into the incorporated backpack. It has comfortable padded shoulder straps that make it simple to carry from the parking lot into the water.
The kayak will go from backpack to being in the water in 10 minutes, after a few times you’ll be able to get it down to about 5 minutes. The double lock valves create inflating and deflating the kayak a cinch (using the included pump).
The Coleman Quikpak K5 is an perfect kayak for fishing and camping trips. There’s a rear zippered storage compartment where you can package food and misc equipment in addition to the front of the kayak has lots of room to lash down gear together with the bungee cords.
The front and rear of the kayak have taken handles to portage the kayak or haul from your vehicle to the water. The kayak is designed to be as close to a hard shell kayak as possible. It’s a ridged flat base floor plus a three chamber design for security and keeping its shape to aid in monitoring.
The kayak measures just over 10 feet long by just under 3 ft wide and holds up to 250 pounds of passenger and freight.
The only genuine confrontation, is the included 2 slice aluminum paddle was reported to break easily, so buying a better quality paddle might be a fantastic idea. The Coleman Quikpak is the best inflatable kayak under $500.
6. Elkton Cormorant Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Elkton Outdoors Cormorant Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak at a Glance:
While the Elkton Cormorant is advertising itself as a fishing kayak, it’s fantastic for recreational use as well. For the angler it is a good substitute for a standard rigid kayak using the features you would expect.
The Cormorant has 6 complete rod holders, 4 of these that may be used for trolling and 2 complete action holders. Having comfortable and flexible kayak chairs, it may be utilized for many day fishing expeditions.
Simply because it is inflatable, do not have the idea that it may be punctured by a lure. Being produced from 18-Gauge tear resistant 1000D PVC it would be difficult to nearly impossible for that to take place.
Among the drawbacks of many fishing kayaks is the shortage of storage. While the Cormorant may not have as much room as some stiff kayaks, it is close. The front part of the kayak comes with a mesh storage bag that will hold a lot of gear.
The stern has a pretty good sized area for equipment storage, enough for any angler. I liked the side mounted paddle holders so that you can keep them from the boat while fishing.
Elkton Cormorant Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak Storage and Chairs
If you like to fish in shallow rocky water or close to oyster beds, then you will love the thick tarpaulin bottom that is tough and durable enough to protect it from abrasion and tears.
The Cormorant comprises 2 aluminum paddles, a high volume inflation pump, removable skeg and of course a transport bag. I’d need to have seen in order to be utilized as a backpack nonetheless.
If you’re interested in finding a quality inflatable fishing kayak for under $500, it would be tough to fail with the Elketon Cormorant!
7. Intex Excursion Pro K2 Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Intex Excursion Pro K2 Inflatable Fishing Kayak at a Glance:
When you’re looking for a convenient, portable inflatable kayak for fishing the Intex Excursion Guru K2 Kayak is unquestionably a solid alternative. Its very stable with an I-Beam structure floor for rigidity.
The Excursion Pro was well thought out and equipped with fishing in your mind. The D-Rings all over the interior provide lots of attachment points for securing gear.
The removable skegs deliver good tracking and adjustable foot rests allow for leverage to make paddling fast and easy.
The bucket seats offer all day comfort for those long fishing trips and can be moved to your preferred location.
The kayak when inflated steps 12’7″ long and 37″ wide and will accommodate two people with a weight capacity of about 400 pounds.
Intex Inflatable Fishing Kayak — adjustable foot rests and mounting bracket
There are 3 air chambers for safety and the hull is made from a 3-ply PVC that resists tears and punctures. Especially important when you fish shallow waters.
Intex includes to 86″ paddles along with a top output inflation pump that you get you on the water fast.
For about $200, the Excursion Pro K2 is a lot of fishing kayak for the money. With the stability of a regular kayak and all of the benefits of being inflatable, in my estimation the Excursion Guru is the greatest inflatable kayak for fishing.
How to Choose the Best Inflatable Kayak
- Why Use an Inflatable Kayak
- Advantages of an Inflatable Kayak
- What are the Types of Inflatable Kayaks?
- Inflatable Kayak Materials
- Considerations For An Inflatable Kayak
Why Use an Inflatable Kayak
Before looking at the types of kayaks allows discuss why you might want to get one in the first place and that is Portability and Storage. I had the normal hard casing, sit on top kayak and at first I did use it a whole lot. When began kayaking I used to transfer it on top of my car using foam blocks.
This worked but was a terrible solution. The kayak would almost always shift around and it was very hard for me to lift the kayak on top of the automobile. They are extremely heavy, particularly trying to lift it on your own. Then I noticed the very top of my car was being all scratched up by the base of the kayak rubbing against the paint.
So I purchased a trailer to transport the kayak. At first this looked like a good solution, no longer lifting the kayak. The trailer was not cheap however and the problem of where to keep it.
It took up a great deal of room and I don’t have a garage. After a time the trailer started rusting, then there was that the cost of a tag and insurance so I decided it was not worth it. I sold it and bought an inflatable kayak.
An inflatable may be stored virtually anywhere. However small your home or apt and if you travel by RV, better. Take it anywhere you go!
You can literally, pull your kayak from your backpack, inflate it in minutes and be on the water until you can get a kayak off the roof of your vehicle.
Inflatable kayaks May Be Used for just about any use that a difficult shelled kayak May Be Used for:
- General Recreation
So no matter what your intended usage, there is an inflatable kayak that will suit your needs, while providing the convenience and portability that regular kayak owners can only dream about.
Advantages of a Inflatable Kayak
An inflatable is mild enough to be carried by any one. They can be transported to the launch stage win a backpack.
An inflatable kayak could be stored in a cupboard or shelf. They deflate into the size of a duffel bag which makes them small enough for to save most anywhere.
With an inflatable kayak you use one most everywhere. It is possible to paddle in distant locations that carrying a rigid kayak nearly impossible to get to. Take it with you on a journey, they can be assessed when flying, or fit in the back of any car. No roof rack or trailer needed.
Time to Establish
Obviously you need to inflate the kayak, but using an electric pump, you can have it inflated and ready to go in minutes. Probably faster than carrying it off the roof of your vehicle and finding a parking spot.
An inflatable kayak can be used for most anything, be it fishing, touring or white water rafting.
Care and Upkeep
With an inflatable, dings and scratches are something of the past. However they’re vulnerable to punctures so care has to be taken to prevent sharp objects. A rigid kayak can be simple rinsed off and washed while an inflatable has to be folded up and packed away.
Since a inflatable kayak may be held in the trunk or back of your SUV you don’t need to worry about it being stolen once you park your vehicle. Keep it with you at all times so that you may be ready to go at a minute’s notice.
What are the Kinds of Inflatable Kayaks?
With inflatable kayak increasing in popularity, there are more types becoming accessible with ever more features and more uses.
Self Bailing Kayaks
This sort of inflatable kayak includes holes or ports on the bottom of the kayak to drain water exactly like a hardshell kayak has. This style is often utilized for white water rafting. I know, river rapids in an inflatable kayak? They can manage it I assure you.
The ports on the floor allow the water to drain out because it splashes into the kayak so you don’t fill up with water. A number of these forms of kayaks deficiency a fin for monitoring and don’t do well paddling on a lake of river due to this.
Sit on Top Kayaks
The same as a hardshell kayak this type of kayak there’s not any enclosed cockpit because you basically sit on the top of the kayak. This kind is best for fishing since you’ve got maximum motion for accessing gear and projecting.
Sit Inside Kayak
This is probably what comes to mind when you think of a kayak. With this kind of kayak you sit inside the kayak and there is an enclosed cockpit. This version you will tend to stay drier because you’re mostly protected from spashing water and the elements. Finest for rougher conditions of chilly weather along with a spray skirt is recommended.
The same as the name suggests, it looks like a kayak. This inflatable kayak features a broader design with higher walls and the seats are deeper in the kayak. You’ve got more space to maneuver around with this kind and is a favorite selection for fishing.
Standup Paddle Board
I listed this style even though it isn’t a”true” kayak. This sort of kayak has become very popular because of their flexibility. You may use them for a workout, fishing, racing, surfing as well as rafting.
Many of them come with a seat or components to attach one giving you the best of both worlds. They are extremely stiff with a”drop stitch” structure and are very rugged and durable.
Inflatable Kayak Materials
- PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride is undoubtedly the most common substance use in inflatable kayaks. PVC is usually bonded to nylon for extra tear resistance. Although it is quite UV resistant, then it will break down if lett at sunlight for long intervals.
- Nitrylon: Is a combination of nitrile synthetic rubber that’s more eco friendly than PVC and organic rubber bonded to polyester cloth. It’s quite tough and puncture resistant compared to PVC and has better abrasion resistant.
- Hypalon: Is more UV resistant than PVC but is significantly more expensive because its not as easy to use. It is even more abrasion resistant than PVC or Nitrylon. Many inflatable kayaks save money by combining PVC using a Hypalon coating.
Considerations For A Inflatable Kayak
Solo or Tandem?
Are you planning on kayaking by yourself or with other men and women? If you are not sure and need the choice of having a different paddler with you or perhaps your dog, you may be best served by obtaining one that was created for two individuals.
When you want to go out , the seat can be transferred to the center position by way of clips so you can attach the seat. There are kayaks which can fit up to 3 people comfortably. This could be your main consideration.
Are You Going to Use it For Fishing?
You can of course use any kayak for fishing but some kinds are much better for fishing than many others. The sit type model is the best choice because you are able to turn and proceed easily for casting and obtaining your fishing equipment.
The canoe style kayak is a fantastic alternative too as they’re wider and make it possible for you to move around easily and allow you to carry a lot of gear and your own fish.
Where Can You Use It?
Are you really going to use it in tranquil, flat lakes or slow moving rivers? If you live near a bay or the sea are you going to use it ? If so you might want a sit inside kayak. What about white water rafting if you live near a river? Kayaks that work for a flat, calm lake isn’t the best kayak for ocean use.
Your Height and Weight
If you are tall or thicker you will need a bigger kayak with more weight capability and leg room. Ensure that you look closely at the specs to your kayak and see if it will work for you. Don’t forget about equipment and gear you will take along with you. Especially important if you anticipate using it for camping.
What Are You Going To Use It For?
Are you really going to use it for short paddles of an hour or two? Or do you intend on longer excursions of all day or maybe a week. Are you going to use it for fishing? Or perhaps even snorkeling or diving? If you plan on going camping with it, be sure to have enough room and weight capability for cargo.
How Comfortable Are You Getting In and Out?
If you think you may have difficulty getting in and out of a kayak, then you might be better served with a sit on top kayak. All these are easier to get in and from. But they are more prone to leaning because the center of gravity is significantly higher. Be sure to practice getting back into the kayak to make certain that you can do it quickly.
What Kinds of Weather Are You Likely to Encounter?
If you’re the type of individual to call off a trip because there is a chance of rain, this may not be a concern. However, if you are ready to go out in the rain, wind or cold weather make sure the kayak can adapt a spray skirt.
Would You Want a Self-Bailing Kayak?
A self-bailing kayak discussed previously have holes at the bottom of the kayak for draining water while you’re paddling. Whenever you have this sort of kayak there will generally be some water at the bottom of the kayak due to this.
Self-bailing kayaks are mostly utilized for white water or in more demanding ocean conditions. Most of them come with plugs when you are in flatter water and also do not need to worry about draining water. In case you don’t have any intention of paddling in more demanding conditions then you don’t require this option.
New to Kayaking? Here’s a whole How to Kayak for Beginners Guide and if your still unsure on what type of kayak to buy: See my ultimate buyers guide.
While all inflatable kayaks include a paddle, you may want to update to a better paddle. Here’s a buyers guide for kayak paddles.
Do not overlook a fish finder if your going to be fishing with your inflatable kayak.