Top 5 Best Inflatable Kayaks In 2021

Kayaks are different depending on their construction. The most common difference would be getting a hardshell or an inflatable kayak. It can be interesting to try out the best inflatable kayak as compared to the common hardshell kayaks.

Some people might be worried about the safety of inflatable kayaks. However, most of these models are built with puncture-resistant material that will help users enjoy kayaking just as it would be when using the hardshell kayaks.

If the idea of enjoying a good time outdoors using inflatable kayaks seems fun, then it is best to consider reading this guide to the end. We look at the top options in the market, how you can choose the best one, and why you need to try out inflatable kayaks.

Quick Picks: The Top-Rated Outdoor Dog House

Our Best Pick
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Tandem Kayak Inflatable White-Water Kayak with High Pressure Floor and EVA Padded Seats, High Back Support, Action Cam Mount, Aluminum Paddles, and Pump
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak Set | Includes Double-Sided Paddle, Extra Storage, Grab Rope, & Hand Pump | Convenient & Portable Kayak
Freein All Around Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board W/Kayak Conversion Kit -10’ 6” Long, 31” Wide - Includes Kayak Seat, Single/Dual Blade Paddle, Hand Pump, Travel Backpack, Ankle Leash…
Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
Driftsun Rover Inflatable Tandem Kayak
Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Bestway Hydro-Force Koracle Inflatable Kayak Set
Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Inflatable SUP with Kayak Conversion Kit
Our Best Pick
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Tandem Kayak Inflatable White-Water Kayak with High Pressure Floor and EVA Padded Seats, High Back Support, Action Cam Mount, Aluminum Paddles, and Pump
Driftsun Rover Inflatable Tandem Kayak
ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak, 15', Red
Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak Set | Includes Double-Sided Paddle, Extra Storage, Grab Rope, & Hand Pump | Convenient & Portable Kayak
Bestway Hydro-Force Koracle Inflatable Kayak Set
Freein All Around Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board W/Kayak Conversion Kit -10’ 6” Long, 31” Wide - Includes Kayak Seat, Single/Dual Blade Paddle, Hand Pump, Travel Backpack, Ankle Leash…
Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Inflatable SUP with Kayak Conversion Kit

In a hurry? Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!

What is an Inflatable Kayak?

An inflatable kayak is what you exactly imagine. This is where the kayak can be inflated, mostly using a hand pump, when you are close to the water body for kayaking. After you are done with kayaking, simply deflate the kayak to store it.

Due to the advancement in technology, you now have a lot more choices when it comes to inflatable kayaks. You will find many models in the market, each having nice features that can rival the hardshells.

It is best to take more time to research more about the kayaks before settling for one. Do not pick a model that might puncture easily while in the water.

Types of Inflatable Kayaks

Just like the hardshell kayaks, you are also likely to come across different types of inflatable kayaks. Here are some of the top options you are likely to come across in the market.

Sit-on-top kayak

With this type of kayak, the user will have to sit higher compared to the other styles. As the name suggests, the user will be sitting more or less on top of the kayak. This type of kayak would be best for those who are claustrophobic.

If you feel the cockpit might feel like being trapped, then this design will be great for you. Since the feet will not be in a hull, it will be easy to get off the kayak easier.

As much as it will have several benefits, you are likely to experience a wet ride too. Even in a small wake, you will always get wet with this kayak type.

Sit-in kayak

This is what you will get with most typical kayaks. From the name, it is easy to see that you will be sitting inside the kayak.

Many people will find this type of kayak is good at keeping you dry even if it gets a little rougher in the water since the feet are not exposed.

Depending on the model, you can still add a spray skirt on the inflatable kayak to keep the water from reaching you.

Canoe style

The canoe style type of kayak is loved for being versatile. This is because it can hold many more people like a canoe with the flexibility of an inflatable kayak.

These kayaks are mostly large to fit two people and will have more storage space. Such a storage space would be great in making sure that you can carry your gear with a lot of ease.

Open style

This type of inflatable kayak would have lower seats and higher sidewalls. Many find such a design offering the best stability, thus being a great choice for beginners. It can also be a great kayak for rough waters.

The deck will be completely open and thus the name. It will still feature a spray cover in case you have to kayak in the high wake.

When looking for the best inflatable kayak, you still have to keep in mind the water conditions. The water conditions will determine which type to choose. Luckily, manufacturers will always advise where best to use a certain inflatable kayak.

You are likely to come across kayaks best for white water, open ocean, and lakes. Always choose wisely.

Benefits of Inflatable Kayaks

One thing you always have to keep in mind before getting the best inflatable kayak is if the kayak is worth it. The following benefits of inflatable kayaks should be more reasons you consider getting one for yourself.

Inflatable kayaks are lightweight

The inflatable kayaks are known for being lightweight. This is because they are not made of heavy plastic materials. The manufacturers will opt for lightweight materials that make them easier for transportation.

Ease of storage

The hardshell kayaks can stretch up to 12 feet long sometimes. It is easy to see that storing such kayaks would be hard. It is why you need the best inflatable kayak. When it is time to store the kayak, you simply deflate it and fit it into a travel bag.

The next time you have to take trips with your kayaks, then consider an inflatable kayak as it does not take up much space.

Portability

Another thing to like about the best inflatable kayak is the portability. Once it is in the deflated state, you can take it anywhere. There will be no need to invest in roof racks to carry the kayak. Most models would be in a travel or duffel bag. As such, you should end up having an easy time using them wherever you want.

Versatility

The inflatable kayaks can work in different types of water bodies. Just make sure you get the right kayak for the water body. This ensures that you will always get to enjoy the activity without worrying that the kayak would not handle it.

Less maintenance

In most cases, there is less maintenance to think of when you have the best inflatable kayak. The same cannot be said for the hardshell kayaks in the market.

Let us say you are kayaking in a river full of rocks. An inflatable kayak will easily bounce off the rocks without major damages.

I would recommend that you let the kayak dry before folding it up for storage. Storing it while it is wet can lead to the development of mold and mildew. That is not something you want for your inflatable kayak.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Inflatable Kayak

Kayak material

This is probably the most important consideration to make when looking for the best inflatable kayak. The material largely determines the overall durability of the kayak for years to come.

In the past, Hypalon was considered the top choice for making inflatable kayaks. However, that has changed over time. This is because Hypalon was heavy and cumbersome, even though it was durable.

Many inflatable kayaks are made of PVC material. This type of material is strong and can take a relatively high PSI. Also, the material is lightweight, foldable, and easily reusable.

PVC seams can also be welded instead of stitching. Such a construction will provide the user with a superior construction compared to using glue.

Nitrylon material is another common option for making inflatable kayaks. Many love it for being eco-friendly compared to PVC. It is also stronger and easier to patch. The only downfall is that the material is heavy.

Kayak weight

The kayak weight is always an important consideration. This is because you have to carry the kayak to your destination. Luckily, most inflatable kayaks will be lightweight. Look at the kayak weight before inflation and after inflation. This helps you decide which kayak will be good for you when taking regular kayaking trips.

Length

The length will often determine how many people can fit in the kayak. If a kayak is around 12 feet, it would have enough room and stability to fit two people.

The inflatable kayaks can extend up to 16 feet or be as short as 10 feet. So, it is best to determine which kayak size will be good for you before buying one.

The weight capacity

The weight capacity will often vary from 300 to 700 pounds depending on the kayak design and construction. If you plan on taking a partner to kayaking, consider a model with a higher weight limit. This ensures that the model you get will stand out for being great to handle the weight and remain stable.
Whenever you overload a kayak, it will be slow, and the controllability is also affected.

Accessories

The accessories that you get with the inflatable kayak will determine the kind of performance you will get with the model. So, what are some of the accessories to look out for? Here is a quick list;

  • The kayak needs to have a pump for inflating the kayak
  • Getting two paddles makes it easier to move easily in the water as two passengers. Getting double-sided paddles makes it easier to move the kayak.
  • Some models can have removable skegs. This can allow for better navigation through the water, depending on the conditions.
  • For those who want to go fishing, consider an inflatable kayak with rod holders. This will help you to fish a lot better.

Top 5 Best Inflatable Kayaks

This type of kayak is seen as a great choice for anyone who is in the market for something comfortable and fits two people. Even with two people in the kayak, it still feels comfortable.

The manufacturer made the seat and backrest to be adjustable. It is now easy to adjust the seat to fit you perfectly depending on your size.

The overall weight capacity of the kayak is 400 pounds. Compared to some other models in the same price, it is easy to see that this one would hold a lot more weight without a problem.

The model still features a removable SKEG to help with directional stability. You are likely to enjoy the overall stability even for an inflatable kayak.

The colors used on this kayak help a lot with visibility. In case someone calls for help, then it would be easy to locate the kayak.

Pros

  • It offers amazing stability
  • The seat and backrest are adjustable
  • Impressive weight capacity

Cons

  • It is only best for small water bodies

This is another top choice as the best inflatable kayak. This is because it is durable and lightweight. Such are two important features most people would want to see in their kayaks.

It will take less than 10 minutes to inflate the kayak and start to enjoy kayaking. It weighs 28 lbs. when fully inflated. This kind of weight is easily manageable compared to what you get with some models.

The manufacturer uses 1000D reinforced PVC side tubes. These tubes are all about durability. The use of PVC tarpaulin is important for providing the user with a durable kayak resistant to punctures.

When you look at its overall structure, you will find it is stable and easily maneuverable. This is thanks to having a water tracking fin and an ample rocker profile. The result is that you will end up with better controllability and stability.

The model comes with adjustable EVA padded seats for more comfort. Also, the deluxe double hand pump will make inflation time a lot lesser.

Pros

  • The inflation time is 9 mins
  • It comes with an impressive weight capacity
  • It is easy to control the kayak

Cons

  • The material is prone to getting dirty easily

Still on the topic of best inflatable kayak, this model can be a nice choice too. As much as it might not be the cheapest, it does live up to its price.

The manufacturer integrated aluminum ribs into the kayak to help define its bow and stern. Other than durability, the aluminum ribs also improve tracking.
The model also features three layers of puncture-resistant material. The idea is that you can take the kayak to different environments, and you will not worry about any punctures.

The total weight capacity of the kayak is 550 pounds. For its weight capacity and size, it will fit two people comfortably.

Some people will find it is heavy at 52 pounds. However, you can easily inflate it when you are close to the water body you want to enjoy kayaking.

The model offers adjustable padded seats too. These are all important for providing the best comfort for hours when paddling.

Pros

  • The seats are comfortable for hours of paddling
  • The model offers high support for various conditions
  • It comes with aluminum ribs for improving tracking

Cons

  • It is too heavy for most users

You can now take your summer to a whole new level with this best inflatable kayak. It is made to be good for drifting along the lake, ocean, or river. As such, many people will find it is a versatile kayak to own.
As much as it has many desirable features, the kayak still stands out for being affordable. Many would have expected it to cost more, but it is cheaper than comparable models.

Another reason for getting this kayak set is that it has everything you need to get into kayaking. This includes a double-sided paddle, a heavy-duty repair patch, and an air hammer hand pump. It is easy to see that it would be hard to get stranded when you want to use the kayak more often.

The weight capacity is 330 lbs. This weight capacity is not as bad as it seats only one person. Such a weight capacity will also allow you to carry more gear needed for kayaking.

Pros

  • The kayak is comfortable
  • It has four footrests for versatility
  • It features important accessories

Cons

  • It is not the best for beginners to kayaking

Many people looking for the best inflatable kayak will find this one being worth the money because of its versatility. Other than being an inflatable SUP, it can easily be converted into a kayak for more fun while in water.

The model weighs less than 25 lbs. when fully inflated. This means that carrying it into the water is a lot easier than the heavier models.

All the accessories can be packed into a backpack that weighs 18lbs. As such, carrying the kayak should not be a problem as it is lightweight even before inflating it.

The 31-inch wide body of the board is vital for promoting balance, stability, and control. Even beginners in using kayaks will find it easier to control the kayak better than before. You will like the grip you get in the wet conditions for the ease of handling the kayak.

Pros

  • The kayak offers the best stability for the money
  • It fills up quickly even with a hand pump
  • It offers excellent grip in wet conditions

Cons

  • It is expensive for its features

FAQs

Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe and Durable?

Yes. The inflatable kayaks are made of strong materials important for durability and safety. You might even notice that they would perform better in places where there are many rocks. This is because they can easily bounce off the rocks.
Always follow the manufacturer maintenance guidelines to ensure that the kayak you get can last for longer.

Can I Go Fishing Using An Inflatable Kayak?

Yes. Inflatable kayaks have many applications, and fishing is one of them. Just make sure that the kayak you pick has additional accessories important for fishing. This can include the rod holders.

How do you dry and store an inflatable kayak?

It should not be hard to dry the inflatable kayak. Let it dry naturally outdoors before storing it. Make sure the area is covered from the UV rays. Leaving the kayak in direct sunlight will lead to fading and wear of the kayak’s material.

Conclusion

The best inflatable kayak would just be as safe as when using the conventional hardshell kayak. This is because the manufacturers consider all the safety concerns that users might have in mind. As such, you can be sure to end up with a safe product.

There are many types of inflatable kayaks in the market. It comes down to what you want to achieve in terms of kayaking experience. Depending on the water conditions, consider looking at the manufacturer’s recommendations. This would help you pick the right inflatable kayak for the water sport.

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