Technological innovations have made kayaking easier and affordable with the introduction of inflatable kayaks. Worry not about investing in one as it is worth every coin spent. You get to wrap it up, place in your car and get to the shore with ease without the need of a kayak trailer or cart.
Of course, the experience of the hardshell kayak is on another level, but the convenience of inflatable types remains unmatched. Here we seek to answer questions on inflatable kayaks to help you make wise decisions.
Along with the questions; we have reviewed top 10 inflatable kayaks out of 100+ kayaks out there on Amazon and other marketplaces and shortlisted as below based on reviews, comments and overall positive ratings.
What Are The Best Inflatable Kayaks?
There are a lot of traditional kayak and Inflatable Kayak manufacturers out there and it is kind of impossible to pick the best one from that list. Its because, all those are giants in making kayaks for so long. Based on a public reviews we found the best rated inflatable kayaks are from Advanced Element, Intex, Airis, AquaGlides, Sea Eagle, BIC, Conquest and Sevylor.
And to be more specific, we rated Sevylor Quikpack K1-1 Person Kayak, Intex Excursion Pro Kayak and Advanced Element’s Lagoon 1 Kayak are the best inflatable kayaks out there.
Let’s Look At Some Of The Best Of The Bests–
1. Best Overall – Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak comes with Excellent build quality with easy inflation and fast deflation facilities.
2. Best Tandem Inflatable Kayak – Sea Eagle 330 Pro 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle 330 Pro is best for two persons. If you loving kayaking with your partner; then go for this inflatable tandem kayak. Its so awesome to stop you owning this kayak in 2021.
3. Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak – Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak
4. Best Solo Inflatable Kayak – Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
Comparison Chart Of The Top Rated Inflable Kayaks
Beside that – we have short listed 10 more kayaks with a detailed review. Please check them below –
1. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
If you don’t like to spend too much time assembling your inflatable kayak then the Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak is the best option for you. This kayak requires less time to assemble so you will be able to spend more time in the water. In fact, Sevylor Quikpak K1 only takes 5 minutes to inflate thanks to the high-pressure hand pump. It comes with an integrated backpack so when you are finished with fishing you can fold it and carry the kayak on your shoulder. The backpack has padded shoulder straps that ensure convenient transportation.
Sevylor Quikpak K1 has excellent build quality as it is made from 21-gauge PVC fabric. It has Taurplain bottom and it provides durable protection from punctures. The rugged construction makes this inflatable kayak safe for lake use and it will definitely last for years without developing any points of leakage. The best part of this kayak is it has multiple air chambers so if there is any puncture then the 2nd air chamber will keep the kayak afloat. This kayak has both backrest and multi-positioned footrest so that you can sit back and relax while waiting for the fish to bite your bait.
There are few users who have raised a question mark about the Skegs of this kayak. It has two Skegs but they are quite small compared to other kayaks. Therefore, it might be a bit difficult to track this kayak in the water.
1. Secure storage area
2. Double lock valves
3. 5 air chambers: 2 large, 3 small
1. The paddle is flimsy
2. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
This is a professional series inflatable kayak and if you like camping and exploring new places then Intex Excursion Pro Kayak will be the best option for you. This is a durable kayak with excellent build quality; build from laminate PVC with polyester core. The build material makes this kayak very lightweight yet highly resistant to damage from abrasion and impact. It has high-pressure inflation so you will get extra rigidity and stability from this kayak. The high-pressure spring loaded valves ensure easy inflation and fast deflation.
You can use this inflatable kayak in both deep and shallow water because it has 2 removable skews. So, according to your requirement, you can use any type of skews. Other key features of this inflatable kayak are 2 floor-mounted footrests, 2 integrated recessed fishing rod holders, 2 adjustable bucket seats, etc. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak comes with a removable and adjustable mounting bracket so you can easily carry different types of accessories with you in the water including GPS systems, fish finders, fishing rods, etc. Moreover, it also comes with a carry bag and repair patch which is very convenient.
The rod holder of this kayak is inward so if you put a rod in both rod holders they will become a cross. Therefore, it will be quite impossible to maneuver this inflatable boat. However, it’s not a major problem and you can easily solve the problem with Scotty rod holders.
1. Storage space in bow and Stern
2. Stainless steel d rings
3. Weight capacity: 400 pounds
4. 86 inches Aluminum Oars and High-output pump
1. Lack of legroom
2. Paddles are short
3. Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Kayak
This is a compact and very durable inflatable kayak and one of the smallest designs of Advanced Elements. It’s a lightweight kayak that weighs only 23 pounds, so you can easily take it with you everywhere. It’s a single-person kayak and it’s best for lakes, mild rivers, bays, etc. The bow and stern of this kayak have fixed rigid forms so you can easily cut through the waves and keep yourself on course. The build quality of this inflatable kayak is excellent and the inner tube increases the rigidity and durability. It’s a multi-use inflatable kayak and anyone who loves water can use it.
With this kayak, comfort is almost guaranteed. It has a soft bottom therefore it is very comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Other features include inflatable seat rest, foam floor, paddle loops, tracking fin, etc. It has a built-in rigid tracking fin so you will be able to enjoy improved tracking and steering experience. What most of the professional kayakers like about this kayak is rubber molded handles and bungee lacing on the deck for storage. Kayakers can carry all their gears conveniently thanks to the storage features.
The only disadvantage of this kayak is; it can only be used in flat water. You can use this kayak in lakes, oceans, or rivers, but you have to keep it on flatwater with not a lot of surf.
1. Easy to set-up and use
2. High-quality materials
3. 250-pound weight capacity
1. Not for rougher waters
2. For solo use only
4. Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak
This inflatable kayak is perfect for camping, vacationing, exploring remote areas, fishing, etc. If you are looking for an inflatable kayak that will provide enough room for two paddlers as well as provide enough stability and maneuverability then Airhead Montana Kayak should be top of your list. This kayak is specially designed for two people and for kayaking in on lakes and moderate white water. It weighs 36.3 pounds and measures 12 feet so it’s a perfect balance between portability and performance. Airhead Montana has heavy-gauge, semi-rigid PVC construction and the outer shell is covered with water, and UV-resistant coatings so there is no question mark about its durability.
Airhead Montana Kayak is supported by a tubular I-beam floor for better buoyancy, tracking, comfort, and stability. Moreover, the draining facility of this kayak is excellent thanks to the threaded drain hole that runs through the hull. This kayak is very popular among expert kayakers because of its surprising responsiveness and maneuverability. It provides excellent tracking while generating very little drag. Airhead Montana Kayak’s bow and sterns were fixed with sturdy D-rings so you can easily carry all your gears. If you need extra storage then you can use the bow because it is equipped with a stretch net.
Airhead Montana Kayak is equipped with removable bladders and many users have complained that they find it very difficult to do the maintenance of this kayak properly because of these bladders.
1. Lightweight, compact, portable
2. Tubular I-beam floor for superior comfort
3. 2 Boston valves for quick inflating & deflating
4. Front and back spray covers
5 Neoprene elbow guards for comfort
1. Removable bladders
5. Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak
Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak is the best choice when it comes to practicality and functionality. Moreover, it is incredibly compact and lightweight for an inflatable kayak. This kayak only weighs 22 pounds and it has a weight capacity of up to 400 pounds. It is very easy to set up, great stability, easy to get in and get out; all these features make it perfect for beginner kayakers. It is made from 22-gauge PVC which makes it a very rugged kayak. It is built with Sevylor’s Airtight System therefore it is guaranteed not to leak. Moreover, multiple air chambers add safety and redundancy to the inflatable system.
This kayak is rated for Class I and Class II white water and you can use it in rough water without any worry because it has spray covers on the bow and stern. Sevylor Fiji 2 kayak has one fixed seat at the rear, and one removable seat in the middle so you can use it as a single person kayak as well as a double person kayak. It has a mini-double lock and double locks valves and they have two locking points so that you can easily inflate and deflate the kayak.
Though this kayak is packed with some amazing features; it has a few disadvantages. Many kayakers find it a bit slow as well as difficult to maneuver. Moreover, it doesn’t have a tracking fin. If two people want to kayak together then you have to buy an extra kayak paddle as it only comes with one.
1. Great for entry-level kayakers
2. NMMA Certified with safe and secured valves
3. Lightweight and compact
4. Extremely rugged and durable
5. Rated for up to Class II rapids
1. Seats aren’t very supportive
2. Require additional Skegs
6. Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak
This kayak is a standout among other inflatable kayaks because it is very easy to set up as well as very convenient to carry and a rigid kayak to be honest. If you want to experience the best of kayaking then you should give this kayak a chance; trust me, you won’t be disappointed with its performance. The special design of this Kayak makes it a good investment when you compare it with other traditional inflatable kayaks. It is made from high-quality material therefore this kayak is very durable and you don’t have to worry about the sturdiness of this unit.
You can use this kayak in rocky terrain or turbulent waters, and whatever the water type you will get excellent stability. This is a two-person kayak and it remains stable on the water when two people sit on it. Moreover, it provides optimal buoyancy in turbulent waters therefore beginner kayakers will enjoy kayaking with it. Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak comes with all the required accessories including a carry bag, repair kit, detachable skew, and 2 seats which are very convenient. The seats are removal and adjustable so you can use it as a one-person kayak or a two-person kayak.
One major concern about this kayak is the seat. The seats of this kayak have the tendency to get unzipped while kayakers are sitting on them.
1. Quick to set up the Kayak
2. Reasonable pricing
3. Simple assembly design
1. The qualities of the seats are not up to the mark
7. Sea Eagle 330 Pro 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
The all-around versatility, durability, convenience, and affordability of Sea Eagle 330 Pro make it one of the most popular kayaks in America. It is popular among kayakers for many reasons and the lightweight feature is one of them. This kayak weighs only 26 lbs. and it can be packed down small enough to fit in the car trunk. The weight capacity of this kayak is 500 pounds and it is suitable for Class III whitewater. It comes with two movable seats and they are super comfortable and provide excellent back support. So if you want to spend hours in the water then you should consider the Sea Eagle 330 Pro inflatable kayak.
Sea Eagle 330 Pro is a multi-purpose kayak and it can be paddled on flat water, white water, ocean surf as well as can be used as a solo kayak or a tandem kayak. You can easily inflate and deflates this kayak, so it will save a lot of time. The hull of this kayak is made of 33 mils Polykrylar and it has high-frequency welded seams. All these features make this kayak strong enough to survive almost any type of use. Moreover, the hull material is sun-resistant and it is also suitable for fresh or saltwater. Therefore, Sea Eagle 330 Pro 2 Person Inflatable Kayak is ideal for both inland and ocean paddling.
There are few customers who have complained about the quality of the seat as they didn’t find the seat comfortable. However, our experts have checked the seats and they find them comfortable enough to spend hours sitting on them. I think the comfort level varies from man to man.
1. NMMA Certified
2. Five deluxe one-way valves
3. Sun & saltwater resistant hull material
4. 2 Skegs on the bottom for better tracking
1. Seats aren’t very supportive
Are Inflatable Kayaks Worth it?
You might be reluctant to buy an inflatable kayak due to safety and durability concerns. Worry not as the inflatable kayaks are worth investing in as they will give you value for your money. Do not get confused thinking they are like the swimming floaters as the inflatable kayaks use improved technology.
Recreational companies have harnessed the inflatable innovation to manufacture high-quality, professional and durable yaks. These types are lightweight, making it easier to carry around compared to traditional hard-shell kayaks. Light does not mean weaker, as the inflatable kayak can hold much than their traditional counterparts. Besides, they are foldable and thus making transport and storage stress-free.
Regarding stability and durability, the inflatables can withstand bumps and knocks. In case of a collision, they bounce off hard surfaces and rocks, making it easy to avoid severe accidents. Most are made using drop-stitch technology to create a sturdy surface with long-lasting rubber and PVC outer layer that make inflatable kayaks more robust than the hard-shell types.
However, you should know that the inflatables are not always cheaper, as there are most advanced options that cost as much as the hard-shell kayaks. More affordable options are best for calm water and thus suitable for beginners who are seeking to learn the basics rather than exploring more in the water.
Additionally, you need to get ready to spend at a time to inflate and deflate the kayak before and after use. This can take up much time- approximately 10 minutes when using a foot pump and longer without one. You might also get challenge pumping in the correct air level that can affect the performance of the vessel in the water. Controlling the kayak in rough seas can also be a challenge.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Good for Fishing?
Yes, inflatable kayaks work well in fishing (I see the smiles on a kayak angler out there on the corner :)). Their versatility in that they can be used in large lakes, small ponds, sheltered ocean bays and any river makes it a good platform for angling. You need to choose one wisely as all the inflatable kayaks ae not the same when it comes to fishing. Basically, they are four types explained below:
1. Recreational inflatable kayaks: These are types that are designed for daily use in the river or lake. You can take the vessel for fishing, snorkeling, and diving.
2. Whitewater inflatable kayaks: These types perform well in powerful whitewater rated as class IV & V. Few anglers visit the kind of water and when they do they can use the vessel for fishing though not really recommended.
3. Lake paddling kayaks: If you intend to paddle for long in large flat water bodies then the lake paddling kayaks are the best. They are faster and easier to paddle.
4. Expedition inflatable kayaks: These are vessels that perform well in nearly all water bodies. Their versatility is what makes every angler fall in love with the kayak as they can fish wherever and whenever.
The inflatable fishing kayak comes from recreational, Lake Paddling, and expedition types. If you choose the basic yaks, then you will have to redesign by attaching the necessary fishing accessories to make the angling experience better.
However, some are already designed with fishing-friendly features that make them top picks. They make angling fun, more comfortable and productive. You get to choose one depending on your fishing needs. Here are some features to look out for when buying an inflatable kayak for fishing.
1. Comfortable swivel seats
2. Elevated seat height
3. Motor mounts
4. Rowing frame
5. Lure and rod holder
6. Compatible with trolling /low powered gas motors
7. Fish rulers
8. Tie-down straps and accessory pouches
9. Ability to withstand large waves
10. Use keels or skegs
11. Green color
12. Stability while standing to allow for casting and reeling in the catch
Are Inflatable Kayaks Hard to Paddle?
Paddling inflatable kayaks per se is not hard but may not be comfortable. Your physical fitness, paddling grip and strokes techniques used and body positioning play a part in determining whether you will paddle with ease or not. When going out for shorter trips in calm waters, then the experience will be best as without paddling the vessel can still stay afloat and even moved by wind.
However, when paddling upwind or in rough waters, you are likely to get tired with palm soreness and tightness around your body. Note that in an inflatable kayak, you do not have a natural position of paddling and cannot move anyhow; thus propelling the yak can be challenging. Luckily, with some kayaking experience, paddling inflatables become easier and better.
Can One Person Use a 2 Person Inflatable Kayak?
Yes, but paddling and controlling a two-person inflatable kayak alone can be tedious. If you are planning to use it solo, then go for standard tandem kayaks that allow for the loosening of the back seat for easier paddling. By moving the chair, the weight is transferred forward for efficient paddling.
However, if the back seat cannot be loosened, it becomes almost impossible to paddle alone. In windy conditions, it is hard to control a two-person kayak since the yak is bulky you will be pushed from the back if you are sitting in front or from the front if seated at the end. Nevertheless, if you find yourself alone in a tandem kayaks, then it is recommended to sit at the back and add some wait in the front seat to make it more easy and manageable to control singlehandedly.
How Long Do Inflatable Kayaks Last?
Many people are always worried about the durability of the inflatable kayaks. Rest assured that these types last longer when taken care of. Most are puncture-resistance and take a lot of misuses to get a single tear.
You will be surprised that the inflatables will serve you longer, just like the traditional hard-shelled kayaks. Even the adventure companies, water rescue agencies and outfitters are already embracing the use of inflatable kayaks in undertaking their activities in the water.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?
Safety should be a top concern to every kayaker, and this is properly the reason many people are concerned if the inflatables can put them in danger. The truth is that the inflatable kayaks are made of rigid structures, tough materials and comfortable seats that make them safe and easy to use like the hard-shelled types.
However, caution should be exercised when paddling as it can be a little challenging compared to using the traditional yaks. Even though problems such as punctures and leaks are unlikely, they sometimes happen as the kayaks are not damage-proof. Use common sense and take care of your vessel for easy and safe paddling. You should know what to do in case of a puncture to paddle to the shore safely.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Slower?
The reality is some inflatable kayaks are faster than hard-shelled kayaks. But, if you were to compare the fastest hard-shell kayak with the fastest inflatable kayak, the later will be slower.
After the above questions have been answered and finally you have decided to invest in an inflatable kayak the worry might be on how to fill it. Yes, before you use the inflatable kayaks, you have to fill in the air to the recommended pressure for safe and efficient paddling. Here are the steps that you should follow to pump up your vessel effectively:
Step 1: Unfold and lay out the kayak
When you get to the kayaking location, you will need to take out your vessel, unfold and put it flat on the surface.
Step 2: Start by inflating the floor chamber
There are three air chambers in an inflatable kayak that allows air to be pumped in. There are two on the sidewalls and one on the floor. Some with poor quality may come only with two air chambers, one on the floor and the other on the sidewall.
Regardless of the model, you should always start by inflating the air chamber at the bottom of your vessel. When the floor is pumped, the base is set which makes it easy to inflate the wall of the kayak. The valve can either be Halkey Roberts or Boston, and you should learn the type on your kayak for easy pumping. To inflate, attach the right valve adapter to the air pump and bring the floor chamber to full inflation. Detach the pump and close the air valve once done.
Step 3: Pump in the wall chamber to 60-70% each
Next, you need to inflate the wall chambers of your kayak. If the vessel is new, it is recommended to pump in only 60-70% to allow the yak to set up. Inflating one side to 100% might cause the material to warp, making the process a little hard to complete.
To inflate, open the air valve on the kayak wall, insert the pump hose and begin pumping. If you have experience of using the inflatable kayaks then go ahead and fill each to 100% and everything will be set up with ease.
Step 4: Inspect the setting of the floor chamber
You should always check whether the floor is set at the center once you partially inflate the walls of the kayak. If not, move the walls a little bit to ensure that all parts of the yaks are well aligned.
Step 5: Inflate the wall to 100%
Once you have checked that the kayak is well set, go ahead and fill up both of the wall chambers. In case you are umping with weaker electric pump, consider top it up to reach 100% inflation which is the ideal air pressure. Close the air valve once done.
N/B: Double check that all the air valves are closed tightly to avoid having to redo the process of inflation again.
Step 6: Inflate the seats
Most of the inflatable kayaks come with seats that require positioning and inflation. Have a look at the correct positioning of the chair using the guide as they vary from one model to the other. Once okay, go ahead and inflate it fully.
Step 7: Insert the skeg
After everything has been inflated, it is the right time to insert the skeg (removable skeg) if your yak uses one. Sometimes, it may be good to attach the skeg once your kayak is in the water to avoid damaging the boat. Laying the vessel on the skeg may accidentally cause puncture or tear.
A Beginner’s Guide To Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayaks
The introduction of the inflatable kayaks has revolutionized the kayaking industry in a way no one could ever have imagined. Having the flexibility of putting the vessel in the pack back and pump it once is the shore is the convenience every kayaker would appreciate. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or expert; the inflatable kayaks have been designed to provide matched experience like their traditional hard-shell counterparts.
Even though paddling the inflatables can be a little bit challenging, you are assured of their safety and durability. Besides, the inflatable kayaks are affordable with low maintenance to keep them functioning. Though some are worried of time taken to inflate, once you have the expertise, it will take you a maximum of 10 minutes to pump it fully.
The effort is worth compared to having a hard hassle getting the hard-shelled kayaks to the shore. In that case, you will need the kayak trailer and cart to transport it. It thus makes every sense to give the inflatable kayak a shot and enjoy kayaking with many conveniences!
James is a professional kayaker and his hobby is fishing! He has been fishing for last 5 years and he loves using Kayaks while outing as well. Based on his experiences with the different type of Kayaks; he is sharing his opinion about various kayaks so that a beginner can get started right away. Find him on Twitter here. Happy reading!
Last update on 2021-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API