Best Inflatable Kayak For Whitewater

Inflatable Kayak For Whitewater - Reviews & Guides For 2024

Our Top Inflatable Kayak For Whitewater

Need Help Choosing Inflatable Kayak For Whitewater?

Inflatable kayak for whitewater buying guide

Love to kayak in whitewater? You must invest in a suitable inflatable kayak for whitewater to enjoy the thrilling activity safely.

While selecting a particular kayak, you need to consider several elements. Gathering information on these aspects can become a tiresome task.

A comprehensive buying guide provides all the vital information on these elements under one roof. You don't need to waste your time looking here and there. You can quickly analyze all the pointers and funnel down the best kayak for our expedition.

Let us begin our hunt with a simple introduction to the product and then dive deep into the guide.

What is Inflatable kayak for whitewater, and why should you buy them?

Kayaks need to be highly responsive and should be easily maneuverable in the fast-moving water of rivers and streams. Due to this reason, a perfect inflatable kayak for whitewater is short and broader. An inflatable kayak for whitewater is durable, stable, and can be easily maneuvered.

This is chosen above traditional kayak as the kayak structure will not get damaged easily on rocks. The kayak is portable, which makes it easier to reach small streams or rivers. These inflatable kayaks for whitewater are very safe if you use them properly.

It is suggested that while buying these kayaks, get a model that has more number of air chambers so as to avoid sinking in water if any one of the chambers gets punctured.

One should always inflate these kayaks to the appropriate PSI, which is guided by the manufacturer for optimal performance. These kayaks are very easy to pack and can take you to any location that you desire.

Whitewater Rapid Classification Systems

These inflatable kayaks for whitewater are specifically designed for whitewater. Whitewater is formed rapidly when the gradient of the river's water is increased to give rise to turbulence that the air gets entrained in the water body.

This results in the formation of bubbly and unstable aerated water current. This frothy water is white in color. This might also be known as turbulent agitated flow.

The term whitewater is also used for rivers that have more number of rapids. Boating on rivers like this is often referred to as whitewater kayaking.

So, according to this, every river has some whitewater in it. Every river has enough turbulence to create an aerated whitewater current, which makes the water look white.

This kind of water has small ripples and is generally created through waves caused by large-sized rocks in the river.

There is a scale to represent the rapid whitewater rate. This scale is from Class 1 (most comfortable) to Class 6 (most difficult).

Class 1 Rapids

This generally includes the flat-water and some obstruction and riffles. These are occasional waves that can be easily avoided. Anything capable of floating can come to the category of class 1 river rapid.

Class 2 Rapids

This class has more ripples, obstructions, and frequent large waves that can be easily avoided or run through. If you want to avoid this obstruction, you need to know how to paddle, mostly trees that have gone down or exposed rocks.

All inflatable kayaks for whitewater can easily make it through the class 2 rapid section. But still, there are boats which are being paddled by inexperienced paddlers which capsize in class 2 rapids.

The main reason for this is the paddler's inability to keep the kayak straight down the river. A kayak that is going sideways can hit a small wave and get easily capsized.

Class 3 Rapids

Much larger rapid waves up to 4 feet are encountered in class 3 of fast waves. A paddler who is paddling through such water should have enough knowledge to overcome such water, which has obstructions and large rocks.

So as to keep their kayaks facing downward in the river water. There are some inflatable kayaks for whitewater, which can efficiently run through class 3 rapid water without any issue.

The paddler should also have knowledge about the water, and the boats should comprise drain valves, which allow them to drain any water that comes inside the boat.

There are some cheap inflatable kayaks for whitewater, which can bang with rocks and get punctured, and that can often lead to stress on the fabric of the boat.

Their more affordable kayaks do not have drain valves, too, which does not allow the boa to drain the water out.

Class 4 Rapids

The best inflatable kayaks for whitewater can run through the class 4 rapid water, making it different from the other kayaks. The waves are enormous and rapid run for more extended periods.

The water current is also powerful because of the steep slope, and the water has turbulence.

Class 5 Rapids

This is the most difficult class of rapids. If a paddler is stuck into a problem, he may die or encounter serious injuries. The rapids are very long and complicated.

The short length of the kayak will make it easy to run through the large waves, raising high up to five feet. These inflatable kayaks for whitewater have self-bailing capabilities.

Even if the water flows into the kayak, it will drain out quickly through the drainage holes.

Class 6 Rapids

This is a hazardous class, and it is impossible to run. To get through this water, you require specialized training, and this is for only experts.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Inflatable Kayak For Whitewater

Construction and Durability

Inflatable kayaks for whitewater have been made to last longer, and all the durability issues which it used to have in the past have been resolved. All of these issues have been eliminated in modern-day kayaks.

There are some differences in the models of these kayaks, which can count for their varying durability in a dynamic environment. When you are choosing the inflatable kayaks for whitewater, you should always buy the one which has the supreme quality PVC or PolyKrylar.

The denier rating should also be high and always purchase the kayak, which drop-stitch constructed air chambers.

It would help if you got a model of either 3,4 or 5 when considering the air chamber for your inflatable kayaks for whitewater. This will make sure that your kayak will not sink even if any one of the air chambers gets punctured.


The design for inflatable kayaks for whitewater is relatively short and comparatively more comprehensive.

Such designs for kayaks will assist you as they do not require much effort into steering the kayak in water. The moving water already helps in propelling the kayak.

The kayak is built to self-bail. When you are rafting on very high rapids, the water will pour down into the inflatable kayak for whitewater.

Even if you are an experienced and trained paddler, you cannot avoid the water from pouring down the kayak.

So when you are purchasing your kayak, try going for the ones who have fast-draining capacities. It also dries super fast.


The inflatable kayak for whitewater is significant as it is key to the kayak's success and popularity. The fabric of the kayak is needed to be durable and robust enough to not pop out on the end of the sharp rock. But still, it is light to pack down and easily transport without the need for a trailer.

When you are choosing your perfect inflatable kayaks for whitewater, the durability of your kayak should top the list of your priorities.

Durability is a concern for people as the kayak is full of air in the air chambers, and you will need the most challenging kayak to survive through the challenging water currents.

The inflatable kayaks for whitewater are made of a material that will not puncture and are immensely more challenging than any other inflatable products. There are multiple air chambers in the kayak so as to contribute to its massive construction.

There are many perks of having a multiple air chamber in your kayak. The most important one is to have a backup in case one of the air chambers gets punctured.

Having many air chambers adds to the rigidity of the kayak adds it affects the stability of the air chamber positively.

Scupper Holes

The inflatable kayaks for whitewater should be self-bailing. When an individual is rafting on high rapids, the water will pour down into the kayak.

Even if the paddler has a lot of experience or if he is an expert, he cannot avoid the water from entering the kayak. So while purchasing a kayak, you should make sure that it drains out the water of the kayak quickly and that it can dry super fast.

This is precisely where the scupper holes come to our rescue. They help in draining out the water to not accumulate in your kayak, leading it to sink.

Some people use kayak bilge pumps to get rid of the water manually from their kayaks. However, these pumps are impractical as your hands are going to be busy in paddling, and if you use the pump, you will not be able to steer your kayak.

Scupper holes do this draining water work on their own. So there is absolutely no need to do it manually. You can keep on steering your kayak without worrying about the water in your inflatable kayaks for whitewater.


Inflatable kayaks for whitewater must be highly responsive, rigid and durable in the fast-moving rivers and streams.

Due to this reason, a good and perfect inflatable kayak for whitewater is a bit shorter and broader. This design is specifically designed to make it more durable so that it does not capsize and lets the kayak turn immediately.

There are self-bailing holes in an inflatable kayak for whitewater that will help drain out the extra water inside the kayak model and thus prevent the boat from flooding.

You can also get a kayak with a rocker and spray skirts as it will lower the amount of water inside the kayak.

Whitewater, as discussed above, is classified into several classes from 1 to 6. The inflatable kayaks for whitewater are tested correctly for grade 2 and 3 rapids.

Setup and Inflation Time

When you reach the water of the river or stream, you will need to invest more time in setting up the kayak in water of strong currents and turbulence before you set your kayak out.

The time invested in setting the kayak totally depends on the valves of your inflatable kayak for whitewater and also on the type of pump.

These features vary in different models, and the process generally takes 10 to 30 minutes. If you want to set this up faster in the strong current with higher waves, then you should look for a model that comes with a high capacity of valves, and these features are compatible with that of an electric pump.

Electric pumps inflate the kayak the fastest while the hand and foot are the slowest for inflating a pump.

Generally, it does not depend on the pump as no matter what pump you select, it is not that difficult and will not take that much time. The inflation pressure of PSI 3.2 will take 9 minutes for inflation of the kayak.


The inflatable kayak for whitewater has the most significant advantages, and that is its portability. You can easily reach remote locations with the help of an inflatable whitewater kayak.

The packed size is compact, and it increases on inflating. There can still exist a massive difference between the models of the kayaks.

This is the reason why it is suggested to always check the deflated size of the product and the weight of the product so that you will have an idea of how easy it will be to carry the kayak.

You will be delighted if the model is available in a huge carry bag as that helps so much in transporting the package.

The most appropriate way to transport an inflatable kayak for whitewater is to deflate them. But if you just inflated the kayak and you are driving through your way to a different spot to paddle, you stick the inflatable kayak up your vehicle's roof.

Inflatable kayaks that are used for fishing are comparatively heavier while the backcountry kayaks weigh tiny, as much as 1.5 pounds.


While you are hitting the whitewater with severe currents, it may sound fun, but it is also considered to be a very serious business.

You really don't want any accident to happen just because you are moving around in an inappropriate kayak in river water that possesses a high level of danger.

It would help if you definitely had a durable whitewater kayak that can withstand up to the abuses which are rapidly inflicted upon the boat. Any expert in whitewater kayaking can tell you this.

World-famous manufacturers like Aire and STAR are there in the market to produce the best whitewater kayaks that money can buy.

They have built quite a reputation for bomb-proof inflatable kayaks. The best inflatable kayak for whitewater is built to handle so much more than just some water splashing through the kayak.

Getting the appropriate gear for a kayak is also extremely important while whitewater kayaking. When you have got all things right, then the fun of whitewater kayaking is maxed out.

While buying the best inflatable kayak for whitewater, your safety and stability should be the number one priority.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity for inflatable kayaks for whitewater is basically about finding some balance between the carrying capacity and maneuverability.

If you want a correct working whitewater kayak that can yield you suitable from the money you have invested, you should go for a smaller boat.

A smaller boat cannot carry as much weight as a large boat can carry. If you are carrying a more massive load, then you need a large whitewater kayak, but that will come at a sacrifice of maneuverability.

If you try adding another passenger to your whitewater kayak will increase the weight capacity of the kayak.

You need to have a large bag that can easily store the compact deflated whitewater kayak when not in use so as to reduce the amount of space an inflatable kayak for whitewater will take.

Inflatable whitewater kayaks are a lot easier to carry and transport than the hard molded parts of the whitewater kayak.

If you can maximize the ease of portability, then considering the weight of the inflatable kayak for whitewater will be the most viable option.


In general, the weight of inflatable whitewater for kayaking can primarily affect the ease of transportation of the kayak to places and remote locations.

It is easier to transport as compared to the hard molded parts of the kayak. A kayak which has been deflated can easily fit in your trunk of the vehicle.

But there are so many whitewater rivers which lie in remote locations. It is quite possible that there is just a trail leading to the river.

In such a case, you will need to maximize the ease of transportation in which you should consider the overall weight of the whitewater kayak.

The weight of an inflatable kayak for whitewater is actually between 20-40 pounds, which is not sounding much right now, but when you have to walk for long distances, this much weight can exhaust you too much.

UV protection

Modern inflatable kayak for whitewater is made with durable plastic, which includes polyurethane and Polykrylar.

This material can be converted into brittle through extended exposure to the UV rays. Special chemical coatings are available in some models to protect them from damage.

Some kayaks are specially designed with internal bracing to provide hull rigidity and faster inflation.

Internal bracing

There is some inflatable kayak for whitewater specially designed with internal bracing to assist in great hull rigidity and faster inflation.

Sometimes the presence of the internal bracing can make it very difficult for you to inflate your inflatable kayak for whitewater. Still, its existence has a very positive impact on the performance of the kayak.

Multiple Chambers

While you are looking for the best inflatable kayak for whitewater, which is suitable for all types of whitewater, you must go for the one that has a large number of inflation chambers.

Remember: Multiple chambers come with a plethora of pros, and the most crucial being that even if any one chamber gets faulty, you can rely on the other chambers to provide support and buoyancy.

The air will thus not wholly leave the chamber, which will provide rigidity to the kayak. More than one air chamber, therefore, makes your kayak rigid and is responsible for the optimum kayak performance.

Inflatable kayaks that have only one chamber are in continuous danger of getting bent from center or in any other manner, which will make them slow to maneuver, which ultimately lowers its speed.


Drops are referred to as an instant change in the elevation level of water. Drops can usually be caused by rocks or changes in the gradient of the river or sometimes even due to a waterfall, which creates big holes with greater pressure of water.

Due to the lightweight of the inflatable kayak for whitewater, they become highly unstable while the elevation level falls specifically from high drops, so certain drops are needed to be avoided while kayaking.


  1. Is the product travel friendly?

Yes, it is quite portable and consumes very little space while packing.

  1. Are these kayaks safe to use?

Yes, they are quite safe and have different air chambers that prevent the kayak from frowning in case of getting punctured at one part.

Summing Up

With all the information under your possession, all you need is to invest in the right option. In this guide, you will get all the necessary pointers that define the usability and performance of the product.

It is time that you should go through them and purchase an elite kayak for your thrilling expedition. Happy Kayaking! / - © Copyright 2020