Best Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable Kayaks - Reviews & Guides For 2020

THE WINNER
18
8.6 / 10
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series
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RUNNER UP
19
8.5 / 10
Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person
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BEST VALUE
21
8.2 / 10
Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak
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Our Top Inflatable Kayaks

1
18

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series

EDITORS RATING:
8.6 / 10

Super-tough and high strength abrasion resistance kayak perfect for the more advanced kayaker. Comes complete with 2 paddles, pump and carry bag. Removable mounting bracket is a big bonus which can be used for additional accessories such ... as fishing rods or GPS systems, fish finders etc.

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Adjustable Footrests
Mounting Bracket
Carry Bag
2 Paddles
3 Air Chambers
2 Integrated Fishing Rod Holders
Some Few Complaints Of Leaks
Only 2 Person
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2
19

Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person

EDITORS RATING:
8.5 / 10

Good all round 3 person inflatable kayak with use for up to class 2 whitewater kayaking. The Sea Eagle is lightweight and easy to carry and manoeuvre with a weight of only 32lbs, but can hold up to 650lbs of weight. Only takes 6 minutes to inflate ... .

comes complete with 2 seats, 2 paddles, a foot pump and a carry bag.

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Up To 3 Person
Suitable For Up To Class III Whitewater
2 Paddles, Foot Pump, And Carry Bag
Only Comes With 2 Seats
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3
21

Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak

EDITORS RATING:
8.2 / 10

Lightweight, compac, portable and highly visible 2 person kayak perfect for beginner-intermediate kayakers. Deigned for lakes and river with moderate white water. 

...
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Highly Visible
Lightweight
12 Foot
Not For Extreme Whitewater
Not As Rigid As Competitors
Doesnt Come With Paddles
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Need Help Choosing Inflatable Kayaks?

Inflatable Kayaks Buyers Guide

There’s nothing better than exploring the oceans and rivers with an inflatable kayak. There are tons of benefits you get with an inflatable one compared to a hard-shell kayak.

But for a rewarding experience with an inflatable kayak, it's indispensable to buy the right one. Buying a kayak requires you to look for different parameters that will influence the performance and lifespan of the kayak.

Here is a full-fledged inflatable kayak buyer's guide that'll assist you with the know-how to choose an ideal inflatable kayak.

What is an inflatable kayak, and how it’s different from a regular kayak?

Inflatable kayaks are gaining popularity among kayak paddlers as these are easy to transport when compared to a hard-shell kayak. Furthermore, there are fewer chances of physical damages during transportation, and you have less weight to carry.

Inflatable kayaks are designed in such a way that you can only use them whenever required. Moreover, packing the kayak is more comfortable, and you don't have to fumble with a heavy kayak on your trailer.

Why is reading a buyer’s guide essential before buying an inflatable kayak?

You might be thinking, what's the need to read a buying guide before purchasing a kayak? Well, even professional paddlers can get confused while selecting the best inflatable kayak as there are immense options available these days.

By reading this buyer's guide, you will get to know the difference between different types of inflatable kayaks and how to shortlist the best kayak from an extensive list.

Things You Need to Consider Before Buying an Inflatable Kayak

There is a list of factors you should look for before finalizing an inflatable kayak. These kayaks are generally specific for different types of waters, so you should be more specific while choosing one.

Let’s get started:

Materials

The first and foremost thing is the material because it has a lot to do with the lifespan of the kayak. We all need a kayak that lasts longer and needs lesser maintenance, so you should choose the type of material much wisely.

Generally, inflatable kayaks are manufactured using four types of materials:

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • POM (Pennel Orca Material)
  • Nitrylon
  • Hypalon
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

A majority of inflatable kayaks are manufactured using PVC as the material is highly flexible and durable. Furthermore, these kayaks are economical and tear-resistant up to a great extent, so you won't be getting it repaired against punctures multiple times.

However, PVC kayaks are not resistant to harsh chemicals and excessive abrasion. You need to use UV-resistant spray to safeguard the PVC from UV rays to enhance the kayak's longevity.

  • POM (Pennel Orca Material)

Pennel Orca Material is a type of synthetic rubber that's exceptionally durable and tough to wear and tear. With an inflatable kayak made using POM, you will experience several benefits like superb resistance to abrasion, resistance to UV rays, and high temperatures.

Generally, many kayak manufacturers choose POM for external coating of the kayak to make it last longer and deliver its true potential.

  • Nitrylon

Nitrylon is much more eco-friendly as compared to POM and PVC; that's why many paddlers go with kayaks made using nitrylon. The material has a mix of natural rubber, and synthetic nitrile rubber that can withstand considerable abrasion, and the kayak will not get punctured easily.

Having an inflatable kayak made using nitrylon offers extensive benefits like excellent resistance to abrasion and puncture, better strength than PVS, and easier to patch than other kayaks.

These kayaks are more weather-proof, and you can even paddle down the stream in freezing water.

  • Hypalon

Hypalon is a dependable material that rewards the kayak with added durability. The reason why the U.S. Coast Guard chose Hypalon was due to its resistance to abrasion and wear-and-tear. Inflatable fishing kayaks made using Hypalon are expensive as compared to other materials, but these also offer enhanced performance and safety.

Types

After choosing the type of materials, it's time to select the ideal type of inflatable kayak. There is a myriad of options available, so it holds paramount importance to go with the right type.

Self Bailing Kayaks

Self-bailing kayaks have ports or holes at the bottom part that drains the water similar to what you have seen in a hard-shell kayak. These types of kayaks are perfect for white water rafting, as these can handle the rapids pretty well.

The ports available at the bottom drain the water as soon as it splashes into the kayak, so you don't have to worry about anything.

However, self-bailing kayaks don't have a fin and are not so great for paddling on a river or a lake.

Sit Inside Kayak

The name is enough to justify the type of kayak it is. Sit inside kayaks have an enclosed cockpit, and half of your body fits easily inside it. With one of these kayaks, you will remain dry as the cockpit protects you from the splashing water. These kayaks are ideal for rough conditions, including icy cold water.

Canoe Type

Canoe type inflatable kayaks look similar to a canoe i.e., these have higher walls with a broader design. The seat is generally deeper than the walls of the kayak.

With a canoe type kayak, you get more space around you as compared to a sit-inside kayak. These are best suitable for fishing purposes.

Sit on Top Kayaks

Sit on top kayaks are similar to the hard-shell kayaks as you sit on top of it in an enclosed cockpit. These kayaks should be your choice if you need one for fishing.

There's enough room for physical movements, and you can handle the fishing gear with ease.

Standup Paddle Board

A standup paddleboard kayak isn't the actual type of kayak, but the reason for listing it in this article is the popularity. These kayaks are getting popular among folks because of their flexibility. You can even have a standup paddleboard as a secondary kayak to enjoy the serenity of the water.

Weight

Checking the weight of the kayak is essential to avoid buying a heavy inflatable kayak. In general, inflatable kayaks are lighter as compared to hard-shell kayaks; still, it's vital to check the weight beforehand.

Make sure that the kayak is light in weight so that you can carry it with ease. Also, there are some areas that require more portaging, and having a lightweight kayak will be a blessing.

However, the weight depends on certain factors like the material and type of kayak.

Kayak Length

How can we leave the size of a kayak as it plays a critical role in its overall performance and stability! The length of an inflatable kayak ranges from 8 to 16 feet, depending on its type and purpose.

You can select the kayak length quickly with the following information.

Long Kayaks (12-16 feet) are faster, more efficient, and easier to paddle in a straight line.

Short Kayaks (8-12 feet) – short kayaks have high agility, but paddling them requires more effort.

Longer kayaks have better stability, and you can carry more gear as there's ample space available as compared to the shorter counterparts.

These are also good for prolonged paddling, and you can paddle them while enjoying the open water.

On the other hand, shorter inflatable kayaks are fit for adventurous sports like agile river paddling. You can select the length of kayak based on these factors and where you want to paddle with it.

Seating Capacity

Do you love to paddle alone? Or do you want to bring your partner to be with you to enjoy paddling? Well, you can decide on an inflatable kayak based on the seating capacity. With a single-seat kayak, only one person can go on paddling for the time, and it will be challenging to carry the extra gear.

On the other side, kayaks with second seating allow you to install one more seat for your partner. Also, you can carry a small drinks chiller or fishing gear with you.

Weight Capacity or User Capacity

The weight capacity or user capacity of the total weight a kayak can carry without sinking. Every kayak can handle a different weight capacity, but the common range is 350 to 700 pounds.

You can decide the ideal weight capacity of kayak by evaluating how much weight you are going to carry it on. If you need an inflatable kayak for more than one person, then it's evident to go with the kayaks that carry more weight.

Similarly, if you need a kayak for fishing, then reckon the weight of the gear you will be taking with you. Inflatable kayaks with a single seat tend to have less weight capacity for obvious reasons.

Accessories to look for in the Package

With many inflatable kayaks, you won't get the additional accessories required, like the pump, paddles, and seat, which means spending extra time and money to get the necessary stuff.

You should look for the best inflatable kayaks that come with a package of accessories so that you don't have to buy them separately.

  • Air Pump- the air pump is essential to inflate the kayak, so it should be on the top of your list while checking for accessories.
  • Carrying Bag- with a carrying bag portaging with the kayak will be easy and effortless.
  • Paddles – there's no need to explain why you need paddles with a kayak. Go with the options that have around two paddles included in the package, so if one sinks down in the water, you have a backup by your side.
  • Seat- check whether the manufacturer offers a seat with the kayak.
  • Rod holders- rod holders, are essential if you need an inflatable kayak for fishing.

There are some other accessories as well, like life vests and other protective gear you should use while paddling. Some sellers offer comprehensive packages, and you will get everything required to take the kayak on the water.

Some additional considerations to make while choosing an inflatable kayak

So you have decided the inflatable kayak you will be buying based on the factors mentioned above? Excellent, pat yourself on your back!

But there are some other considerations as well that will impact your experience with the kayak. Check out what you need to consider while selecting an inflatable kayak.

Why do you need a kayak?

Ask yourself the question to determine what kayak will be good for you. If you need a kayak for fishing, then canoe style inflatable kayaks are good as there's more room to move, and you can carry your fishing gear with you without creating a mess on the kayak.

If you need one to paddle on rough water with rapids, then sit inside the kayak to make a good choice. Ultimately, it depends on where you will be using the kayak.

Your Weight and Height

Your physical dimensions will also impact the type of kayak you should buy, if you are heavier and taller then go for kayaks with more length and weight capacity. Also, consider the gear you will take along with you to decide the specs of an ideal inflatable kayak.

Kayak Seat

Inflatable kayaks are infamous for their not so good seats, but that doesn’t imply to all kayaks. There are multiple options available in the market with excellent seats.

While buying the kayak, check the seat correctly. If you don't know how to inspect the seat, then at least buy a kayak with a removable seat so that you can replace it with a comfortable seat.

Spray Skirt Accommodation

If you are the one who can't resist the urge to paddle with a kayak, then make sure to check the spray skirt accommodation in the kayak. This will surely help you in bad weather, and the skirt will protect you from the rain and other harsh climatic conditions.

Self-bailing kayak, do you need it?

As discussed in the types of inflatable kayaks, we explained what self-bailing kayaks are! Now it’s up to you whether you need a self-bailing kayak or not.

These kayaks are good for paddling in rough conditions and in whitewater, where you have to cross many rapids that continuously splash on the kayak.

Perks of Buying an Inflatable Kayak

It's natural to think, "what benefits will I get with an inflatable kayak"? Why should I go with an inflatable kayak when there are some fantastic hard-shell kayaks available in the market?

We know these questions might be roaming around in your mind!

Here are some undeniable perks you will experience with the best inflatable kayak.

Highly Portable

Inflatable kayaks are highly portable, and you can even take them to areas where taking a hard-shell kayak is not an option. These kayaks allow you to explore the remote locations as you can inflate the kayak right on the location, and there will be no hassles of handling a heavy kayak.

Storage

Storing an inflatable kayak requires less space, and you don’t have to keep it on the rooftop cargo carrier. Some of these kayaks even fit in portable bags so you can transport them easily.

You can even store an inflatable kayak in a shelf or closet, which isn't the case with hard-shell kayaks.

Lightweight

Inflatable kayaks are getting more and more popular due to their lightweight. These kayaks are made using lightweight materials, and you won't feel that you are carrying extra bulk with you.

The kayaks become even lightweight when you deflate them.

Easier to Handle

If you have ever handled a hard-shell kayak, then you might understand the efforts it takes to take the kayak off your vehicle's roof while taking it to the waters.

But this is not the case with inflatable kayaks. You can inflate the kayak easily, plus these are lightweight. So you don't need anyone to launch you with the kayak when you can do it easily.

Highly Secure

Do you worry about the kayak getting stolen from the cargo carrier? Well, these incidents are getting common, but an inflatable kayak gives you extra assurance as these are safe and secure.

You can keep the kayak in your vehicle's trunk, and there are least chances of anyone stealing it.

Versatile

This is one of the best benefits of why inflatable kayaks are trending these days. You can use these kayaks for multiple purposes, including fishing, whitewater rafting, and touring. In fact, there are some kayaks available that are fit for every task.

Easy to Maintain

Those scratches definitely look bad on your hard-shell kayak, but with an inflatable kayak, there's no need to worry about dings and scratches. Inflatable kayaks are easy to maintain, but you have to be extra protective to avoid sharp objects from puncturing the kayak.

FAQs about Best Inflatable Kayaks

  • How stable are inflatable kayaks?

Inflatable kayaks generally offer excellent stability as these are wider. The inflatable kayak width can range from 30" to 40" so you can expect these to be stable on the water. Kayaks with leaner width can be unstable, so always go with the options that have good width.

  • How quickly do these kayaks inflate?

It entirely depends on the size of the kayak and the type of pump you are using. If you use a hand or a manual air pump, then it may take somewhere around 6-8 minutes to inflate the kayak completely.

Electric pumps can inflate the kayak pretty quickly as they can blow more air in it.

  • Are inflatable kayaks safe?

Yes, inflatable kayaks are as safe as hard-shell kayaks, and you won't face any issues regarding safety. Also, the kayaks are stable, so you don't have to struggle much to control it. There are different air chambers in inflatable kayaks, so safety shouldn't be your concern.

  • Can I easily get inside a kayak?

Yes, you can get inside an inflatable kayak quickly, depending on the type of kayak you have. Moreover, these remain stable, and the kayak will not wobble, making it easier to get inside.

  • What about the warranty?

The warranty varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some offer a 1-year limited warranty, whereas some manufacturers provide a 3-10years warranty with the kayaks. Go for an inflatable kayak that has at least two years of warranty.

  • Can I take my dog on an inflatable kayak?

Yes, you can take your furry friend with you on a tour of the water. But make sure to buy a kayak with more seating capacity so that your pet can comfortably sit on it.

  • How well do inflatable kayaks track?

With an inflatable kayak, you can track decently. Most kayaks don't come with a rudder, but the tracking fin will make it easier for you to track with the kayak.

Look whether the kayak has a removable fin if you need it for tracking.

  • Do they puncture easily?

No, inflatable kayaks are manufactured to withstand minor wear and tear, but a blow from a sharp object can result in a puncture. You need to keep extra care of the kayak to safeguard it from sharp objects so that the air doesn’t leak when you inflate the kayak.

  • How to patch the hole on an inflatable kayak?

There are some puncture kits available with the required stuff to patch the hole on the kayak. Also, it depends on the size of the puncture. In some cases the punctures are irreparable because these are too big to be patched.

Summing it up

With these factors in mind, nothing can stop you from buying the best inflatable kayak. We have listed almost everything that can influence your experience with these kayaks.

Undoubtedly, inflatable kayaks are perfect for fishing, touring, and rafting, so having one is essential. Make sure to check out the FAQ section as well to know more about inflatable kayaks.

Lastly, buy proper gear like protective jackets, helmet before you take your kayak for rafting or touring.

Happy kayaking!

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