Best Inflatable Kayaks [2022 Reviewed]

Rowing in inflatable kayak

Rowing in an inflatable kayak

Are you looking for a reliable best inflatable kayak? If you’ve already begun your search, then you already know there is a vast array to choose from, depending on your needs. With decisions like the color of kayak you want, which features you want your kayak to boast, and the price you want to spend on your inflatable kayak, it can be a daunting task to make the right decision.

But it doesn’t have to be. By asking yourself important questions and considering certain factors along the shopping process, you will have a much better chance of leaving the store with the inflatable kayak of your dreams.

Tips for the Best Inflatable Kayak Shopping

We get it. You have aspirations of spending the warmer months cruising down a river in a shiny new kayak and enjoying the beauty of nature. You crave adventure that only an inflatable kayak can give you.

A great way to start the buying process is to determine what kind of kayak you need. Will you be using your new kayak for the occasional relaxing float down the river, or will it be for a high-intensity workout routine? Anyone will be joining you in your kayak, such as a dog or special someone? Shall you be fishing? What kind of water will you spend most of your kayaking adventures on? These are all important questions to ask and will play a role in what type of inflatable kayak you purchase.

Tandem or single kayaks:

While many kayaks are available with a single seat, there are also quite a few designed for two people. The tandem kayaks are also great if you’re just looking for an extra space to store camping and fishing gear. Whatever the purpose is behind your decision to purchase a tandem kayak, you can rest assured in knowing that it’s no more difficult to paddle and maneuver than a single-seat kayak.

If you do intend to purchase a tandem kayak for two people, though, make sure you get one with plenty of legroom and keep a lookout for weight capacities listed on any kayaks you’re considering.

Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable Kayak

Kayak weight and size:

Once you’ve decided on the type of kayak you’re going to purchase, the next thing to think about is the size of a kayak you’re going to need, along with its weight. Remember, you want to be able to transport your kayak without any hassle. When shopping, pay attention to the specs to make sure the weight of the kayak will be manageable for, say, the occasional hike through remote mountain areas. Also, how much space for storage will you need?

These are important questions to ask yourself before committing to a purchase. Fortunately, many modern inflatable kayaks are easily tucked away and transport in backpacks.

Where will you be kayaking:

Will you be kayaking down slow- or fast-moving rivers with a lot of rapids? Will you be coasting along a lake or in the ocean shallows? Do you need a kayak designed to withstand rougher waters? These are questions worth considering to ensure you get the best kayak for your needs. For example, if you plan on braving rougher waters with your new kayak, you will want to purchase one designed to withstand whitewater.

These types of kayaks are often of sturdier materials for more stability and offer more in the way of puncture resistance. These safety features help offer the protection needed in the event of an accident, such as a puncture, so you can paddle to safer waters or the shore before taking on too much water.

What will you do once you’re on the water:

Will you be fishing or using the kayak as part of a workout? Will you be using the kayak to travel and transport camping gear upstream somewhere? Depending on how you intend to use your kayak, you may need to purchase one with certain features.

For example, avid camping adventurers will want to make sure their inflatable kayaks have plenty of storage space for all their gear. If you plan on spending the entire day in your kayak, features that offer additional comfort might be worth the splurge, such as the design of the inflatable seats. Inflatable seats already offer great support and are quite comfortable, but you may want to test out a few to find one you like.

If you’re buying an inflatable kayak as your fishing vessel, you’re in luck. Many offer such features as rod holders, fittings for trolling motors, and added stability for when you’re wrestling with your latest big catch.

Will others, including kids, be in the kayak with you on your next adventure:

If so, remember that small children enjoy moving around a lot, so you will want a kayak with superior stability in these cases. Opt for one with an I-beam floor just to be on the safe side.

Check product reviews:

Reviews can be a powerful tool when deciding between two or more inflatable kayaks. Typically, if someone takes the time to write a review, it means they’re probably being honest about how they felt about a particular purchase. If you’re having a tough time deciding, reviews may be able to help eliminate some options from the table, simplifying your decision. Let’s take a look at some of the best inflatable kayak types on the market today.

Different Types of Inflatable Kayaks

There are a variety of different types of kayaks available with different features and uses. Knowing the difference between them will help make the buying process easier. Let’s take a look at the different types available.

Expedition Level Inflatable Kayaks

Out of all the different types of inflatable kayaks available, the expedition level inflatable kayaks are more versatile than any other type you can buy. Not only are they more ideal than others for floating down remote rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, but their larger weight capacity makes them the perfect choice for a pair of paddlers. Because of the size and design, these kayaks are also able to carry a lot of gear for extended trips.

Single paddlers will have even more room to store their gear, so if someone is looking to escape for a couple weeks, an expedition level inflatable kayak and all its storage space will help make that possible.

However, these best inflatable kayak aren’t only ideal for long trips upstream. They can also perform well for tackling the local rapids. In fact, many of these kayaks are certified for Class IV whitewater rafting. If you’re looking for a kayak to paddle across a lake or another flat body of water, while not the best for that sort of venture, these kayaks are best. Many of these kayaks have a detachable skeg to improve paddling.

So, no matter what type of kayaking excursion you have planned, you can’t go wrong with an expedition level inflatable kayak. They’re stable, comfortable, portable, and easy to set up in even the most remote areas.

That said, some of the more common uses for these best inflatable kayak include:

  • Long, multiweek kayaking trips
  • Whitewater adventurers up to Class IV whitewater rapids
  • Recreational, relaxing floating trips on slow-moving rivers
  • Paddling on flat-water ponds and lakes
  • Casual fishing trips

Inflatable Kayaks for Paddling on Ponds and Lakes

Are you a fan of recreational paddling on your local flat-water lake or pond? Fortunately, there are special types of inflatable kayaks specifically for this type of paddling. These kayaks are ideal for those who frequently venture out on long paddling trips on flat bodies of water. This is because their nose design and sleek body make it easy for the kayaks to cut through the water like a knife through butter.

Because of this, they’re a great choice for anyone looking to embark on a long paddling trip across large bodies of water. Many are the best fit with high weight capacities and are very durable. They’re not ideal for tackling rapids higher than Class II.

Paddling at kayak

Paddling a kayak

Recreational-Use Inflatable Kayaks

An inexpensive option, many recreational inflatable kayaks are durable and quality made. These kayaks are very best for the adventurer looking for a bit of fun and are mainly for shorter paddling trips across lakes, across ponds, or down rivers. Some recreational inflatable kayaks are even durable enough to tackle Class III rapids. However, the lower weight capacities of these kayaks make them a poor choice for anyone planning a long multi-day trip.

Because of the affordability of these types of kayaks, it’s important to note that the quality can vary depending on the one you choose. Always aim to purchase the best-quality one, poor-quality recreational kayaks have the tendency to spout leaks and it is unrepairable.

Some of the more common uses of inflatable recreation kayaks include:

  • Ideal for lazy floats and those planning leisurely day trips
  • Casual fishing platform
  • Low weight capacity
  • Not ideal for freezing temperatures

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Whitewater Rafting

Inflatable kayaks for whitewater rafting are specifically for those wanting to tackle strong rapids up to Class V.  Oftentimes, these kayaks use tougher, heavier fabrics, such as 2000 denim.

By using tougher, sturdier fabrics in the construction process, these kayaks are better able to handle collisions with rocks and steep drops. They’re also shorter than the average kayak and easier to maneuver than others.

Despite these benefits, inflatable kayaks for whitewater rafting aren’t for high weight capacity, so they’re not ideal for overnight or multi-day paddling trips. They are for one person at a time. In addition, the lack of storage space means paddlers can’t take a lot of gear on their trips.

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Fishing

A type of specialty kayak, inflatable kayaks for fishing are specifically for anglers. This means many of them to have special seating positions, added stability, swivel seats, mounts for trolling motors, fishing rod stands, and more. They’re popular among anglers because they make it easier to fish in even the most remote waters for the best catch.

Some fishing kayaks even double as expedition kayaks or leisurely paddling kayaks and are best for adventurous day trips.

Skip Cheap Inflatable Kayaks and Aim for Quality

When it comes to shopping for an inflatable kayak, you can either search for cheaper, poorly made ones or more expensive but better-quality ones. In short, you get what you pay for when it comes to inflatable kayaks. But how can a prospective kayak buyer tell the difference between the two? How does a cheap kayak stack up against one of better quality?

For starters, quality-made kayaks can last up to a decade or longer if well cared for, even with heavy use. Poorer-quality kayaks are more prone to rips and tears, causing leaks that will require patch jobs.

In addition, it’s important to note that poor-quality, cheap inflatable kayaks that are typically selling in big stores, such as K-Mart, Meijers, and Wal-Mart, often look nice on the outside. They are affordable and an attractive option for those looking to save a buck, but actually they are making you fool. Although they often appear fine up close, as soon as cheaper kayaks get on the water, it won’t be long before issues begin popping up, such as irreparable rips that can lead to leaks.

The poorer-quality fabrics used on cheaper-made kayaks are also more prone to punctures, yet another annoyance you will have to be on the lookout for if you choose one of these kayaks over a higher-quality one.

That said, the best decision you can make when shopping for an inflatable kayak is to choose a high-quality one. Even though these might be more expensive, they will save you a lot of headache down the road. Keep in mind that you don’t want to have to run out and buy a new kayak every couple of years. You want one that will last and stand the test of time.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the best inflatable kayaks on the market today.

Best Inflatable Kayaks

There are many quality-made kayaks on the market designed for a variety of different uses. Whether you’re looking for one for fishing trips or tackling heavy rapids or just want one for relaxing day trips down your local river, there are plenty of kayaks to choose from that will stand the test of time. Here are five of the best inflatable kayak on Amazon today, and each one is affordable without compromising on quality.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

This sporty and adventurous kayak is for easy maneuvering and paddling. Available in yellow with eye-catching graphics, anyone will be able to see you on the water in this beauty. It’s an ideal kayak for exploring lakes and rivers and is perfect for two adults.

Intex Explorer K2

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

In addition, its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to transport, and assembly is a breeze. It’s of vinyl and even has an inflatable I-beam and removable skeg for stability. Each of the two inflatable seats offers comfortable backrests, and every Intex Explorer K2 Kayak comes complete with a repair patch kit and U.S. Coast Guard I.D. To complete the package, it also comes with two 86-inch aluminum oars and a pump to make inflation and even deflation a breeze.

A few of this kayak’s specifications include:

  • Length: 10 feet, 3 inches
  • Width: 3 feet
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • Passenger Capacity: 2 people
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Two separate air chambers
  • Puncture-resistant vinyl

Intex Explorer K2

Intex Challenger KI Kayak

Owners of this kayak often enjoy the roomy cockpit for maximizing space and is also comfortable. For added stability, it comes complete with an inflatable I-beam and a cargo net for added storage. In addition, the inflatable seat has a comfortable backrest, and there are grab lines near both ends of the kayak. As if that wasn’t enough, this lightweight kayak is easy to carry, inflate, and deflate. It also comes with a repair patch kit, manual hand pump, and an 84-inch aluminum oar.

Intex Challenger KI Kayak

The precise specifications include:

  • Length: 9 feet
  • Width: 2 feet, 6 inches
  • Weight: 23.9 pounds
  • Passenger Capacity: 1 person
  • Weight Capacity: 220 pounds
  • Puncture-resistant vinyl
  • Two separate air chambers

Advanced Frame Convertible Kayak

One or two persons can paddle this convertible kayak. It has an open-deck design that makes getting in and out of the kayak easy and combines a stern rib-frame and rigid bow design for versatility. Not a fan of the open-deck design? Take advantage of the interchangeable deck option and convert the kayak to a closed solo or tandem kayak with ease.

This quality-made kayak has three layers of puncture-resistant material and is easy to set up. Additionally, its overall design offers comfort thanks to its adjustable, high support seats to accommodate hours on the water.

Advanced Frame Convertible Kayak

Other popular, convenient features include:

  • D-ring tie downs
  • Reinforced seams at the bow and stern
  • Integrated pressure relief valve located on the floor
  • Molded rubber handles
  • Paddle holders
  • Six chambers
  • Skeg tracking fin
  • Rip-stop fabric
  • Two folding seats
  • Carry duffel bag

Precise specifications for the Advanced Frame Convertible Kayak include the following:

  • Length: 15 feet
  • Width: 32 inches
  • Color: Red
  • Weight: 52 pounds
  • Passenger Capacity: 2 people
  • Weight Capacity: 550 pounds

Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak

This lightweight and portable kayak make cruising down a river or across a lake fun and safe. They can carry up to three people and their gear. This durable kayak can transport by a single person.  It folds down to fit comfortably in a storage bag. Fully set up, this kayak is ideal for anglers, skin diving, casual paddling, and so much more. It’s even durable enough to handle Class III whitewater rapids.

In addition, this kayak features plentiful cargo space for all your gear, rope handles near the front and rear, a self-bailing drain valve, two molded kegs, inflatable spray skirts, welded seams, and more.

Sea Eagle

The Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak is NMMA certified.

Its precise specifications include:

  • Length: 12 feet
  • Width: 34 inches
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • Passenger Capacity: 3 people
  • Weight Capacity: 650 pounds

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak

Heralded by some as the ultimate getaway kayak, this $224 kayak is easy to transport, paddle, inflate, and deflate. It also has enough storage space for all your camping, hiking, or fishing needs. Because of its ample storage space, this inflatable kayak is also ideal for multi-night trips and can even handle Class III whitewater rapids. It’s easy to maneuver and this is for beginners and experienced kayaking enthusiasts alike.

Sea Eagle 330

In addition, it comes with a host of impressive features. For starters, the kayak can carry up to two adults and has an inflatable I-beam on the floor for added stability. It has two molded skegs for added speed and welded seams. As if that wasn’t enough, each Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak comes with a three-year warranty to help protect against any manufacturer defects.

Other features include:

  • Inflatable spray skirts
  • Self-bailing drain valve
  • Pressure gauge
  • Repair kit
  • Grab lines near the bow and stern
  • NMMA certified

In addition to these convenient features, this fun kayak also has the following specifications:

  • Length: 11 feet
  • Width: 34 inches
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Passenger capacity: 2 people
  • Weight capacity: 500 pounds

These are only a few of some of the best kayaks on the market today. As you can see, they’re available in a wide assortment of prices to suit every budget. That said, virtually anyone can enjoy kayaking of some sort. Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-assemble fishing vessel or another outlet for your adventurous tendencies, you can’t go wrong with an inflatable kayak. In addition, inflatable kayaks also have a lot of benefits that traditional kayaks don’t.

Benefits of Inflatable Kayaks

For starters, unlike traditional kayaks of harder materials, inflatable kayaks are often lightweight and take up less space. This means they’re simpler and more portable. You won’t have to worry about where you’re going to store your kayak or how you’ll transport it as long as you have an inflatable kayak. With traditional kayaks, you need to factor in logistics, such as where to store it when it’s not in use and how to transport it.

One of the biggest and most notable benefits of owning an inflatable kayak is that you can take it anywhere. From your local river or lake to remote bodies of water, owning a lightweight, easy-to-transport kayak means you can go on kayaking adventures anywhere you want. Inflatable kayaks are also more practical than other types of kayaks. They’re easy to assemble, store, and transport, so you can spend more time enjoying time on the water instead of wrestling with a bulky, solid kayak

Many inflatable kayaks have puncture-resistant materials, they’re very durable. Many can stand up to even the rough waters and weather conditions. From leisurely floats down a slow-moving river to exploring coasts and remote waterways, inflatable kayaks are versatile enough to tackle any adventure.

In terms of upkeep and maintenance, a best inflatable kayak is a breeze, as well. Inflatable kayaks can last a decade or longer if you take care of and patch them when the need is. It’s important to dry them totally before you fold and store them after use. This helps prevent mold growth and will help extend the life of the kayak.

So, what are you waiting for? With so many options available, you’re sure to find the right kayak for your budget that has all the features and add-ons you’re looking for. From kayaks specifically designed for anglers to casual paddling kayaks and kayaks designed for rough Class IV and V rapids, there’s something for every adventurer.