Looking for the best inflatable kayaks on the market right now? In this guide, we are going to give you the best picks and also the best tips for purchasing ones yourself.
Kayaking is one of the best summer activities; no one can deny that.
It harmonically combines a great workout and an amusing activity to deliver an unbeatable experience.
The thing is, not everybody can afford a kayak, nor is everyone willing to keep getting a vessel from the house to the car then to the river and vice versa.
Thankfully, standard kayaks aren’t the only option, and the portability issue can be solved through a versatile yak type that’s getting more and more popular: Inflatable kayaks.
We know choosing a vessel may seem like a hard task for most people, that’s why we’ve prepared this guide, in which you will find everything you need to know before purchasing your inflatable kayak.
After going through countless products in this category, we’ve compiled a list of the best 10 inflatable kayaks that would surely check the boxes for most people’s needs.
We’ve based our selection on various factors including portability, ease-of-use, etc.
Each one of our recommendations comes with quick repair patch kits and a pump in case a leak occurs. You should be totally safe using one of these yaks in your water endeavors.
Here’s a quick overview of the products on our list:
The Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2018
- Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
- Intex Challenger 2 Person
- Sea Eagle SE 370
- Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person
- Sevylor K5 QuikPak
- Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater Kayak
The Best Inflatable Tandem Kayaks
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
- Length: 15′
- Width: 32″
- Weight: 52 lbs (23.5kg)
- Weight Capacity: 550 lbs (249 kg)
- Paddler Capacity: 2 Paddlers
- Chambers: 6
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak is the closest you can get to a standard hard-shell vessel, as it has robust yet lightweight ribs that rigidly support the body and provide extra protection, speed, and tracking on water.
The kayak measures 13ft in length with a low center of gravity and high back seats for comfortable kayaking and easy paddling even during long adventures.
The safety wasn’t taken lightly when this kayak was designed, as it has nine chambers and consists of three separate layers to resist leakage and puncture, making it suitable for a ride with your clawed cat or dog.
As for the applications, Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak has plenty of storage space in the front or the back, which qualify it for fishing trips, one-day adventures and long camping expeditions, especially considering its easy tracking and maneuverability.
Transporting-wise, the kayak comes with a curry duffle bag capable of compacting the vessel’s size to 20 x 15 x 15 inches, with a weight point of only 42 pounds, so you shouldn’t face any issues while moving the yak around in your car.
If you’re looking for the closest experience to a standard hard-shell kayak, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak is the one for you. It has an efficient design, robust structure, and good storage capacity, and that’s everything you may need during your endeavors.
Intex Challenger 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
- Dimensions: 138″ x 30″ x 15″
- Material: 30-gauge PVC vinyl
- Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
- Paddler Capacity: 2 persons.
- Features: Aluminum oars; backrest; a double quick hand pump; removable skeg; grab lines, cargo nets.
It goes without saying that Intex is a well-known brand in the inflatable kayaks industry, and it’s bound for more success with its new K2 series.
This inflatable kayak promises excellent durability, extended longevity, and an unbeatable resistance to leaks and tears thanks to its robust structure made from Intex’s unique super tough vinyl.
The Intex K2 measures 30” x 15” x 138”11.5’ inches when fully inflated.
If you’re on a budget and looking for an excellent inflatable vessel to explore local lakes and slower flowing river, you can’t go wrong with Intex K2 as it has a good-sized cockpit with two comfortable inflatable seats designed to fit anyone.
Safety-wise, the Intex K2 meets all safety standards set by the Coast Guard, and each unit goes through intensive testing before hitting the market.
It’s also worth noting that the Intex K2 comes with two 84-inch aluminum paddles, a pump and a patch kit, which makes it a grand bargain worth looking into.
Sea Eagle SE 370 Inflatable Kayak
- Length: 381 cm
- Width: 86 cm
- Person Capacity: 3
- Weight Capacity: 295 kg.
- Hull Weight: 15 kg.
- Chambers: 3 (port, starboard, floor)
- Features: One-way air valves. I-beam construction.
The Sea Eagle SE 370 is a veteran kayak capable of handling both cozy and extreme situations, from leisurely paddling around a small lake to Class III rapids.
Even your pet can enjoy a nice ride abroad this vessel thanks to its rugged PolyKrylar 38 mil hull, which is durable, sturdy and resistant to punctures, tears, and sharp claws.
What we dig about the Sea Eagle is I-Beam construction that provides enough rigidity to rival the hard-shell counterpart.
This kayak can hold 650 pounds (295 kg), including passengers and cargo, which is impressive considering that it weighs around 32 pounds and that when deflated, this vessel can fit in a small package measuring 31 x 19 x 8 inches.
As for the maneuverability, you should be safe knowing that this kayak has two skegs for an easy tracking even when going at maximum speed.
For added comfort, the seats are inflatable and removable, and the yak has front and rear self-bailing drain valves.
Moving the kayak around should be as easy as pie using the included carry case, and the inflation process only takes 8 minutes and 100 pumps of the high capacity foot pump, which is included with the product.
There are also two ropes in the front and back for easy portability.
All in all, the Sea Eagle SE 370 is an excellent kayak for the money, and it delivers what it promises to the fullest, so it’s well worth the money.
Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Inflatable Kayak
- Dimensions: 12 ft. 3 in. x 3 ft. 1 in.
- Construction: Rugged Heavy-duty PVC
- Weight Capacity: 490 lbs.
- Paddler Capacity: 3 persons.
- Features: Tarpaulin bottom, multiple chambers, Airtight® System, Boston Valve, Adjustalbe seats; D-Rings; Carry Handles.
- Warranty: 1-year Warranty
- Includes pressure gauge and carry bag.
While the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is nothing but a magnificent vessel, it may prove too small for some people, especially if you’re taking your yak with the intention to collect some big catch or with a couple of friends.
If that’s the case for you, Sevylor Big Basin is an excellent inflatable kayak to consider as it has so much to offer. When fully folded, the vessel measures 24 x 10 x 18 inches.
This 3-person kayak is suitable for a small group trip, though it’s recommended for two persons and a child to ride it.
What we really dig about the Sevylor Big Basin is the fact that it’s equipped with two directional strakes for a smooth and straight paddling even when you’re driving solo, which contributes to the excellent track-ability this vessel is known for.
Maneuvering this kayak is straightforward, and it’s built of robust and heavy-duty PVC plus a tarpaulin bottom that protects it from punctures, which is an excellent security feature even if the water is filled with rocks, sticks, or other obstacles.
The thick heavy-duty PVC also offers enough resistance against punctures coming from claws, so getting your pet abroad should be safe.
Another security feature we like is that the chambers are separated to keep the vessel from drowning in the unlikely event of a puncture. That will allow you to paddle back to safety, but never leave shore without wearing a PFD (the same applies to your companions).
The Sevylor Big Basin promises to deliver a good experience with its comfortable, adjustable seats, each of which has a cup/bottle holder within arm’s reach, and the decent storage where you can place some light fishing gears or a cooler for that matter.
Besides, the kayak has splash guards in the front, which is a nice touch.
As for the inflation, we recommend doing it using an electric pump as the kayak is a bit big for a manual air-filling.
Beware though as the pump isn’t included, nor are the paddles, so you have to consider that you have to buy them yourself before getting the Sevylor Big Basin.
The Best Solo Kayak
Sevylor K5 QuikPak Inflatable Kayak
- Dimensions: 10′ x 2’10”
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
- Material: 24-Gauge PVC
- Features: Double Lock Valves; Separate Air Chambers; Backpack system turns into seats; D-Rings; Airtight System etc.
What we like about the Sevylor K5 is the fact that it can be folded enough to fit in the included backpack, making it one of the easiest inflatable yaks to carry around.
For added portability, the vessel has padded shoulder straps that make moving the kayak from the car to water and vice versa a piece of cake, even if you don’t have a sturdy build.
The Coleman Quikpak K5 measures 10” long by 2”10’ wide and can hold 250 pounds, including the passenger and any included gear.
The design is ergonomic and durable, made of 24-gauge PVC with a tarpaulin bottom to protect the Bessel from tears and punctures.
The inflation process couldn’t be easier, and it takes 10 minutes if you’re a total newbie or 5 minutes after some trials.
You can inflate and deflate the kayak using the included pump through the lock valve that makes the process even more comfortable.
Carrying the kayak from the car to the water can be done through front and back carry handles.
Whether you’re going on a fishing trip or a camping adventure, the Coleman Quikpak K5 got you covered as you can fit all your gear and food in the rear zippered storage and the front of the vessel that has bungee cords to lash down your objects.
Maneuvering the kayak is also reasonably comfortable thanks to the included 2-piece aluminum paddle.
Some customers reported that it breaks easily though, so you may need to purchase new paddles along with the kayak.
The Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater Kayak
- Length: 9’6″
- Width: 35″
- Weight: 34 Lbs
- Person Capacity: 1
- Weight Capacity: 225 Lbs
- Air Chambers: 3
- Features: Spring Valves; Adjustable Seat; Self bailing ports; Self-draining storage; etc.
Many people assume that an inflatable kayak is incapable of handling whitewater, but that’s nothing but a misconception.
The Advanced Elements Attack is designed for rough water and can handle it quite efficiently thanks to its 840-Denier PVC tarpaulin structure that has a zippered outer shell with inside pontoons and three air chambers.
Besides, the yak comes with abrasion rails on the hull for a maximum impact withstanding and self-bailing ports.
The kayak also comes with 12 inches of rocker to give you the ability to avoid rocks with a fast spin if you discover them at the last moment.
What’s impressive about the Advanced Elements Attack is the fact that it comes in a compact size despite the durable materials and impact-resisting features.
It measures 9’6” x 35” and weighs 34 lbs, placing it among the smallest and lightest whitewater kayaks on the market.
The Advanced Elements Attack also has an adjustable seat that positions with Velcro and thigh straps for a comfortable kayaking experience even when the water is too harsh.
Storage wise, the kayak has a decent cargo at the back with a mesh cover that can be protected with bungee cords.
We cannot deny that there are far better kayaks for whitewater, but for the price, the Advanced Elements Attack is a no-brainer.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak
NRS Pike Fishing Inflatable Kayak
- Length: 12’8″
- Width: 39″
- Interior Width: 17″
- Weight: 35 lbs
- Features: 3 air chambers; pressure relief valves; PVC-coated fabric floor; adjustable seat; D-Rings; 3-Year Warranty. Etc.
Kayak Fishing is among the top activities that you can do using a kayak, and when it comes to this sport, the NRS Pike promises to deliver exactly what you need; an inflatable kayak that’s efficient and easy to carry around.
Standing may seem impossible on an inflatable kayak, but the NRS Pike rivals the standard hard-shell kayaks when it comes to this aspect thanks to its 4” thick, drop stitch insert, which is the used on stand-up paddle boards, and that provides a solid floor for a stable standing while you cast your line or reel in your catch.
When fully inflated, the kayak measures 12’ 8” long x 39” wide with a weight capacity of 350 pounds (158 kg) and can hold two passengers.
The stern has a decent storage area backed up by bungee ropes.
The inflation process is fast and straightforward thanks to the NRS Super Pump with Leafield C7 inflation valves.
For extra safety, the NRS Pike has three air chambers, and its hull is made of 40 oz./1000 Denier PVC tarpaulin.
Maneuvering the kayak is relatively easy as it has two removable fins for proper tracking. Besides, the seats are collapsible and can be easily moved around.
What we dig about the NRS Pike is the variety of features that are dedicated for fishing purposes, which are:
- Three Scotty Mount Pads for accessories like rod holders or even a kayak fish finder
- Bungee lacing on the box to secure the fishing tackle, a dry bag, or a cooler
- Several attachment points in the stern’s storage
This kayak is also designed for easy portability with 32 stainless steel D-rings all around the vessel for easy rigging and carry handles on each end for easy moving in and out of the water.
In addition, the kayak comes with a Nylon carry bag with shoulder straps.
All in all, if you’re looking for an inflatable kayak that’s easy to transport, but with the stability of a regular vessel, the NRS Pike is an excellent option to consider, especially considering its reasonable price point.
More details about this kind of kayak can be read at: Top 5 Inflatable Fishing Kayaks – Top Brands, Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
How to Choose the Best Inflatable Kayaks in 2018
Inflatable kayaks are true life changers. What’s better than pulling a vessel out of your backpack and inflating it within minutes to start paddling immediately?
If you hate the hustle of getting the kayak from your car then getting it to water, an inflatable yak is exactly what you need.
The problem is, considering the countless products on the market today, choosing the right type isn’t as simple as it seems, especially if you don’t have previous experience with these vessels.
But do not worry, as we’re here to rescue you with this guide on how to choose the best inflatable kayaks.
Why Get An Inflatable Kayak In The First Place?
Inflatable yaks have plenty of advantages over their hard-shell counterparts, that’s why people choose them more than often.
Unlike hard-shell yaks that can (almost) be transported only by car, an inflatable one can fit anywhere and can be moved to places to which you can’t carry a standard kayak.
They can also fit on a plane, train, or bus, which means that you can get them with you during your trips.
The most significant advantage of an inflatable kayak against a regular one is their lightweight. Most of these vessels can be carried around by an average adult, and some even come in backpack deflated form.
An inflatable kayak can be used for a variety of activities; water trips, fishing, whitewater rafting, touring, etc. Add that to the portability advantage, and you’ve got yourself a versatile vessel that’s capable of withstanding any condition.
When fully deflated, an inflatable kayak gets to the size of a duffel bag and can be stored anywhere in the house as it can fit under the bed, on a shelf, in a closet.
Short Launching Time
Inflating this type of kayak using an electric pump takes less time than moving a regular kayak from the car to the water. Even if you use a hand or foot pump, the inflating time remains shorter that the amount of time you’d need to get a hard-shell vessel from the house to the car then to the water.
Although they’re susceptible to punctures, inflatable kayaks make withstanding scratches and dings seem like a cakewalk. Just avoid sharp objects, and you’ll be fine.
They can be easily folded and stored inside the house, which makes stealing them quite the laborious chore. That’s an extra advantage over hard-shell kayaks that are prone to be taken away if you leave them outside.
Types of Inflatable Kayaks
Although they may seem similar, inflatable kayaks come in many categories, each of which has its own features, advantages, and drawbacks.
A sit on top kayak has a hull shape that’s similar to the hard-shell counterpart.
There is no enclosed cockpit to allow you to sit on the top and have the freedom to move around as you wish which is extremely useful, especially when you’re fishing.
Take a look at this page for more details: Best Sit-On-Top Kayak Reviews – Discover The Top 5 Outstanding Brands
Sit Inside Kayak
This is the typical example of a kayak, and what you’d imagine when you hear the word kayak. It has an enclosed cockpit where you can sit, allowing you to stay the driest compared to other types as you’re well protected against water splashes.
If you’re planning to kayak in rough conditions, get a spray skirt and an inflatable sit on top yak, and you’re good to go.
As the name suggests, a self-bailing kayak has several holes positioned in specific areas on the bottom to drain water out of the vessel, so you don’t have to do it yourself.
This type is suitable for whitewater rafting when you don’t have the time nor the energy to bail water yourself when it splashes inside.
Even though river rapids on inflatable kayaks seem like a crazy idea, it can be done efficiently with a self-bailing kayak.
The only problem is that tracking may be a bit harder than usual as this type usually lacks a fin on the bottom, which may make paddling a daunting task on a river or a lake.
While canoeing and kayaking are two different (yet similar) activities, kayaks often have a design that’s similar to a canoe to take advantage of its features.
This type offers enough space to move around comfortably as it’s wider with deeper seats and higher walls compared to a regular kayak.
Standup Paddle Board
While it’s not what you’d typically call a kayak, you can attach a seat or hardware to a standup paddleboard to get the best out of two worlds.
This type can be used for a variety of activities including fishing and workout as you have plenty of room for comfortable movement.
How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak
To choose the right one, you need to answer some essential questions, which are:
How Are The Weather There?
If you live or you’re planning to go on a trip in an area that’s known for bad weathers and heavy rains, it’s crucial to get a kayak that can accommodate a protective spray skirt.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to ride your kayak for whitewater or in rough conditions, getting a self-bailing vessel is a no-brainer because, as mentioned above, it has special holes on the bottom to drain splashing water out of the yak while you’re paddling.
That being said, if you’re only going to kayak on calm water when the sun is out, those conditions may not be of concern, and you may go with whatever vessel you deem better, after going through the previous questions, of course.
Do you prefer Solo or Tandem?
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re going to kayak on your own or with a companion or two.
That companion can be a friend, your partner, your pet, etc. If that’s the case for you, you’re better off going with a tandem kayak, designed to hold at least two people on board.
What’s convenient about these kayaks is that you can ride them even if you’re going alone by moving the seat to the center and position them there safely using the usually-included clips.
More details can be read at here.
Is Fishing the Primary Purpose of the Kayak?
Even though almost any kayak can be used for fishing, some models just stand from the others and provide extra features specifically for this activity.
Our recommendation here is using a sit on top model as they give the freedom to move around freely which allows you to access your fishing gear, cast your line, and reel in your catch comfortably.
Another option to consider is the canoe-kayak because it offers extra space and therefore more freedom to move around and more storage for your gear and catch.
For What Are You Going to Use the Kayak?
Different activities require different kayaks, so set your goal before purchasing your vessel.
- Will your trips last long? Get a kayak with comfortable and adjustable seats.
- Are you going to camp or fish? Get a kayak that has extra room for the gear.
Whatever it is you intend to use the kayak for, make sure your product of choice has what’s needed.
Did you Consider Your Weight and Height?
It goes without saying that the bigger you are, the bigger the kayak you’re going to need.
Make sure to pick a large kayak with a decent weight capacity and extra leg room if you’re among the giants’ descendants.
Keep in mind that the kayak has to have some extra space for your gear as well.
Can You Get in and Out Comfortably?
Getting in and out of a deep kayak may prove difficult for some people.
If that’s the case for you, but you still want to practice kayaking, your best bet is getting a sit on top kayak as they’re way easier to get in and out of.
The problem is that the gravity center is higher than usual, which makes these kayaks vulnerable to tipping quite easily as well, and you may need some practice to master getting back to the kayak in a fast manner.
Kayaking is a fun activity, and it’s getting more and more popular every day.
Today, space and portability are among the primary concerns of the modern man or woman, and that’s why inflatable kayaks were invented.
Transporting these kayaks is as comfortable as pulling one out of your backpack and inflating it within minutes
But should you choose an unsuitable vessel, you’re most likely to face dangers during your adventures, especially if you’re planning to ride water in harsh conditions.
The above guide has everything you need to know about inflatable kayaks, and it will allow you to make the right choice and pick the best kayak for your trips.
Make sure to read it carefully before hitting the order now button for any product.
We’ve also chosen the best kayaks in each category, which should make the choosing process much more relaxed.
What are you waiting for? Grab your gear and get going with your fishing venture!