So, you’re in the market for an inflatable kayak? Great!
We’ve selected the 7 best inflatable kayaks from top manufacturers for you, but that’s not all!
As a little surprise, we’ve thrown in a lot of useful information on how to choose the best inflatable kayak. Keep reading to find out more!
Kayaking is a great activity that will not only let you develop your upper body, but will also allow you to explore places which bigger vessels can’t access, like caves or narrow rivers. It’s a fantastic way of spending active holidays by the lake and a true challenge if you want to face some harder environment like river rapids.
The most problematic thing about kayaks is their length, which makes transporting them quite difficult. Although thanks to their light, carbon-fiber construction it’s fine to carry them for a few hundred meters or so, to travel with them for tens or hundreds of kilometers you would normally need a trailer.
Buy an Inflatable Kayak
If you do not want to invest in such equipment, an inflatable kayak will be a perfect solution for you.
It’s lighter than the regular kayak, it usually folds into a backpack or a bag that you can easily carry, inflating and deflating takes just a few minutes, and you don’t need any additional gear to transport it.
The market for inflatable kayaks has been growing rapidly in recent years and it’s really worth taking a while to look at all the specs in order to make a correct decision. We prepared this handy list to help you choose the best inflatable kayak.
Best Inflatable Kayaks
|Shop now on
|Sevylor Big Basin
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|Intex Challenger K2
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|Sea Eagle 370
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|Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
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|Sevylor Quikpak K1
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|Advanced Elements Attack
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Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Inflatable Kayak
We’re starting with something a little bigger than usual and very affordable at the same time. Sevylor Big Basin can hold up to 3 adults, although it’s rather recommended for 2 adults and a child, mainly for comfort reasons.
This kayak is definitely designed to serve a recreational purpose, rather than intensive paddling or other activities like fishing. It will be comfortable enough for a relaxing tour around a peaceful lake, to admire the nature from a different perspective. It will do well in all kinds of calm waters, be it river, lake or even a seashore on a windless day.
Sevylor Big Basin is made of heavy duty PVC with additional tarpaulin bottom, which makes it a very durable unit that does not shy from brushing against a rock from time to time. Of course, all necessary caution is advised when paddling near such places or in shallow waters, but gentle bumps or accidental scratches against bottom shouldn’t create any real danger.
This unit is 12 feet (3.65m) long, 3 feet (0.91m) wide, and it’s equipped with a Boston Valve that allows particularly fast inflation and deflation of the kayak. To get the entire thing ready shouldn’t take you more than 5-10 minutes.
Given that you are paddling all three at a time, it will glide nicely and you can bring it to a really exciting speed. Of course, due to it being a bit long the maneuverability will suffer a bit, but with the strength of six arms you will still be able to turn sharply and swiftly. Additionally, the kayak tracks very well even if there’s one person aboard, thanks to two directional strakes that keep the vessel going straight.
Sevylor Big Basin is a very universal unit that will meet the expectations of any casual kayaker. Deflated it will fit into any car trunk which makes transporting it completely hassle-free.
Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak
This unit shows sleek and sporty design combined with high portability and great maneuverability. Bright colors increase its visibility on the water. Intex Challenger K2 is made of extremely durable, rugged vinyl to provide increased safety. This is a perfect choice for both beginners and experienced kayaking enthusiasts.
It’s a 2-seater and with the length of 11.5 feet (3.5 m) it’s really comfortable for 2 grown adults to use it for extended periods of time. However, if you decide to go solo in it, you will have loads of additional space for your camping or fishing equipment. The weight limit of this kayak reaches 350 lbs (158 kg), but it shouldn’t be a problem if you go with a few extra pounds.
Once you get inside this unit for the first time, you will feel safe and stable. The thick vinyl material reassures that no scratches will puncture the kayak neither from the sides, nor from the bottom. It’s also UV resistant.
Two inflatable seats provide comfortable position when paddling thanks to broad and high backrests. Kayak is also equipped with a cargo net in the front, and a grab-line to pull it in and out of the water.
Among the additional equipment you will find two paddles, a manual high-capacity pump, and a repair patch kit.
Intex Challenger K2 is a great, economical choice for anyone who would like to start their journey with kayaking, but can also be a more advanced tool in the hands of a professional.
Sea Eagle 370 Inflatable Kayak
Back to casual, versatile, and more neutral looking kayaks, but with some extra muscle to hold the weight, here is the Sea Eagle 370. This “tank” of a kayak has been made of super thick PolyKrylar (33 mm) and the floor has been equipped with I-Beam Construction.
What does it mean?
It means this thing can take a serious beating and still work perfectly. You can drag it through the rocks or through the forest, and there is very little chance anything will get punctured. You can even bring your dog on board as there is practically no chance that any claws will hurt the surface.
On top of that, the carry weight tops at 650 lbs (295 kg), so two grown men and lots of equipment can easily fit into the Sea Eagle 370. Even with such load it’s very responsive and is tracking quite well, thanks to two skegs in the bottom.
This kayak will perform well in almost any environment, be it lake, river or even coast of the sea or an ocean. It’s more than suitable for long, even multiple day trips.
This is a self-bailing kayak, which means that it’s equipped with a special valve in the bottom, that allows for draining any excess of water from the inside.
You can use it either as a tandem or a solo kayak, as the inflatable seats are fully adjustable. You can move them around inside depending on the passengers’ height or simply remove one of them to take it on a solo trip.
The whole kayak rolls up into a nice package when deflated and can be easily transported, even for one person. Additional equipment includes two paddles and a foot pump.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements bring the experience of a traditional hard-shell kayak into the inflatable dimension. AdvancedFrame is a perfect hybrid between the two as it combines the portability of an inflatable kayak with a durability and performance of the classic one.
This unit is packed with fantastic features like aluminum rib-frame and Drop-stitch technology on the floor while remaining as compact as possible when it’s deflated. It’s a perfect solution for any type of adventure, be it a gentle trip on a calm lake or riding waves on the ocean’s coast.
Expedition Elite is 10.5 feet (3.20m) long and 32 inches (81.5 cm) wide with a weight load limit of 300 lbs (136 kg), which is quite impressive for a 1-person kayak. This model is formed of 7 inflatable chambers, which means that even if one or two of them get punctured somehow (which is not easy either), the kayak will still stay afloat and will allow you to return safely to the shore.
At the same time, it’s very comfortable with a fully adjustable lumbar seat providing great support while paddling. The low center of gravity is a perfect solution that makes paddling easier, but also guarantees extra stability for the kayak.
Setting up the Expedition Elite is quick and easy, especially with the patented technology of Spring valves. You can have the whole vessel ready to put into water within minutes.
On top of all the great features, this kayak also has a massive storage compartment and lots of additional little perks like neoprene knuckle guards, bungee deck lacing, D-ring tie downs, adjustable foot brace, or molded rubber handles.
This is a fantastic product, truly worth the money, as its performance and durability guarantees safe and comfortable paddling for years.
Sevylor Quikpak K1 Inflatable Kayak
If you prefer solo trips and portability is your biggest concern, this kayak should definitely satisfy your needs. Quikpak K1 is probably the lightest and most compact 1-person vessel you can find on the market.
Although it may lack some of the performance of a regular inflatable kayak, you can still take it on a calm lake or enjoy a peaceful float down the river. It’s made of durable PVC and inside you’ll find two separate chambers for extra safety in case of one of them gets punctured.
Quikpak K1 lands somewhere between a kayak and a floatie, as you will sit on top of it. However, despite that it turns out to be surprisingly durable and quite comfortable for short rides. It doesn’t have any additional rudders, so tracking will be heavily affected, especially when using it on a windy day.
What really highlights such small and compact kayak is the fact that there’s even some extra cargo space in the stern, a cargo net in the front, and it’s even equipped with a cup holder!
Another great thing is the deployment time of this kayak. Many customers stated that it can be ready to go in under 5 minutes. That’s really impressive time! Together with all the extra stuff included, like paddles, pump and a quickpack, it’s a decent choice for short distance paddling in good weather.
Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater Inflatable Kayak
Are you looking for something more thrilling than just a “walk in the park”? Are you ready to challenge the unpredictable water rapids? Good for you! But you won’t be able to do it alone. For that you need a strong companion, and that’s what Attack Whitewater Kayak is.
This unit has been made of ultra-durable 840 Denier PVC Tarpaulin, it consists of three inflatable chambers and has been equipped with multiple self-bailing ports not to hold any water inside. Even the cargo space located in the stern has self-draining system that won’t keep your gear floating carelessly inside.
To make sure that the paddler is comfortable and as secure as possible, Advanced Elements Attack kayak features adjustable thigh straps, hull abrasion rails, and fully adjustable seat. You can position it very accurately with Velcro, and the support is really doing a great job.
This is a solo vessel that measures 9.6 feet (2.92m) in length and 35 inches (89 cm) in width with the weight capacity of 225 lbs (102 kg).
Like most Advanced Elements kayaks it’s been equipped with number of features to provide the best durability and safety. We’ll find here effective and fast Spring Valves, welded seams, and molded rubber handles.
Attack Whitewater kayak is a perfect choice for those, who are looking for a challenge and want to face the nature in the safest possible way.
Sevylor Colorado Fishing Inflatable Kayak
We haven’t, of course, forgotten about fellow fishermen. Inflatable kayaks are not only great for recreation or challenging the rapids, but perform very well while angling too. This model has definitely been designed by enthusiasts of this sport.
Sevylor Colorado comes with a 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover, which provides a top of the line protection from punctures. The multi-chamber structure allows the vessel to stay afloat, even when one of the chambers loses air.
Having anglers in mind, this kayak has been equipped with adjustable Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders for comfortable, hands-free fishing.
Angling is a sport for the patient and patience goes together nicely with comfort. That’s why Sevylor Colorado offers thoughtfully-designed seats that are very comfortable. Talking about comfort, there is also a trolling motor fitting, if you don’t always feel like paddling.
Kayak measures 10.9 feet (3.32 m) in length and 3.3 feet (100 cm) in width. Weight capacity tops at 470 lbs (213 kg). There are countless possibilities of customizing your gear with steel D-rings attached to the surface of the kayak. What we consider a very nice touch, are mesh pockets inside for storing some snacks, drinks, or other essential items.
Why Buy an Inflatable Kayak
Now that we’ve looked at some of the favorites on the list above, it’s time to dive into the reasons why buying an inflatable kayak is a good (or bad?) idea.
There are many variables to take under consideration when making such decision, as those units are usually quite pricy, so making an educated purchase is truly crucial.
As you can see from our list of best inflatable kayaks, those vessels can be used for almost anything when it comes to water sports. Starting from gentle floating on a calm river, through recreational kayaking across the lake, to challenging river rapids and angling in the reeds.
Most inflatable kayaks roll into a backpack or a bag, which makes transporting them completely hassle-free. The packages are usually small enough to fit into any car’s trunk. If you happen to live near a lake, you can even throw it on your back and travel those few miles on foot.
If they are easy to transport, they are equally easy to store. They won’t take more space in your closet than a few stacked boxes of shoes. No need for a garage or a shed to keep your kayak in. Just throw it behind your sofa and you’re done!
Inflatable kayaks are nimble enough to get you to places you probably couldn’t reach with a traditional kayak or a boat. The sole fact that it’s inflatable means that you may sometimes be able to squeeze into some tighter spots, as the surface is soft and can be bent a little if needed. On top of that, they are usually smaller than hard-shell kayaks, which makes them perfect vessels for exploration.
Think of how much hassle is connected to bringing your regular kayak on the trailer. Not only the drive alone is more dangerous, but untying all the straps and locks before putting it into water may take some time. With the inflatable kayak, all you need to do is connect the pump to the valve and inflate, even with the unit being already on the shore. With an electric pump, it will take minutes before you will be ready to paddle.
What are the Types of Inflatable Kayaks
Year by year, the market for inflatable kayaks grows rapidly. First models that were created resembled rather floaties than actual kayaks, but today there is a wide range of products to choose from. Let’s take a look at the most popular types of inflatable kayaks.
Sit on Top Kayaks
As the name says itself, this is the type where you sit on the surface of the kayak and there is nothing protecting you from splashes, neither from the sides, nor from the front. The biggest advantage of this type is the freedom of movement, as there are no walls or cockpit limiting you, but they are also easy to get on from water.
Sit Inside Kayaks
This is the most common type which many people think of when talking about kayaks. You will be covered from the sides and your legs will be secured by a cockpit. It will prevent your lower body from getting wet from any splashes or waves. It’s the best choice when you predict a bit rougher conditions involving wind.
Canoes have slightly more space inside compared to other types. The walls of the kayaks are higher and the seats are located a bit deeper, so the people inside are more protected from elements. It’s popular among anglers and fisherman as there is more room to move around and store your equipment.
This type is equipped with a system, that allows to get rid of excess amount of water from inside of the kayak. This is essential feature while white water rafting. All the water splashing into your kayak every second of the ride, will be continuously drained through the floor.
How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak
If you already made up your mind about buying an inflatable kayak, it’s time to consider your requirements. There are a few aspects to go through, to make the best choice.
It’s good to take a moment to think if you’ll be paddling alone or with company, but also if you’re going to need additional space for cargo. When going on short trips that usually won’t be a problem, but if you’re setting of on an overnight camping trip, you need to look closely at the size and weight load of your kayak.
Don’t forget to take your own height and weight under consideration.
Where will you be using your kayak the most? Is it a peaceful lake? Rapid river? Sea shore with occasional winds. You need to choose a proper vessel for your surroundings. If you expect fighting with winds, choose a kayak with additional skegs to improve your tracking. When going down the rapids, the spray skirt will be a good idea.
What will you be using your inflatable kayak for? Will it be fishing, diving, recreational paddling, or some long-distance adventures? For those extended trips, make sure you have a comfortable seat with proper support. For angling, additional loops, mounts, lines and nets for your gear will be essential. When thinking about diving or snorkeling, you will need a kayak which is both easy to get in and out from.
Self-bailing or not
Self-bailing kayaks are equipped with additional draining valve that will get rid of any water excess from inside. If you expect some more intense activity in your kayak, like river rapids or battling sea waves, it’s a good idea to get a self-bailing one. You probably don’t want to end up sitting in water you entire way back.