Exploring the outdoors can be more fun with a kayak. Hard-shelled kayaks are not that cheap, and you wouldn’t want to purchase one without being sure that you really love kayaking.
Instead of getting a hard-shelled kayak, it might be better to acquire one of the best inflatable kayaks instead.
So what is the best inflatable kayak? My top pick for the best inflatable kayak is the Sea Eagle Pro.
These are great alternatives, and they can also do most of what the hard-shelled kayaks can. So let’s review my top picks.
Last update on 2023-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews of the Best Inflatable Kayaks
1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
Enjoying a nice time on the water in a kayak involves several different duties and responsibilities; one of the most important is securing a kayak that everyone can feel safe and comfortable in.
If you are shopping for a kayak, you will want to compare features between products to find the one kayak that is perfect for you and your needs. That said, here is information you can review when thinking about purchasing the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak.
- This is a 2-person kayak that is one of the cheapest inflatable kayaks available in the market today
- The purchase comes with the aluminum paddles and a pump so you won’t have to buy them separately
- It also includes 2 inflatable seats with backrest, so both people in the kayak can remain comfortable
- It is easy to inflate and deflate through the use of the Boston valves found on either side
- The floor feels more structured and rigid because of the inflatable I-beam. This also makes the kayak feel more stable
- It comes in a bright yellow color so that you can be easily spotted in case something goes wrong
- This kayak is only meant for smaller or milder lakes and rivers, as well as just for recreational purposes
- The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is the best for those who are on a tight budget and are in need of a 2-person kayak
- It comes with the paddles and a pump, so you have everything you need to better experience the calmer lakes or rivers
- There is a removable skeg that can be used for directional stability, which is great, especially for beginners who don’t have experience in simply using the paddles to go straight
- Although the paddles work, upgrading them is best if you have the budget for it
- All in all, it is a great and affordable kayak
2. Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak
The Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak is an incredible product that features heavy-duty three-layer body construction, an expedient folding frame, and a solid bow and stern.
It delivers an enjoyable kayaking experience for the whole family. You can use it for both tandem and solo kayaking. The kayak is spacious with enough deck space for 3 people.
The convenient advanced frame is spectacular in function and design, offering paddlers a fun and simple way to enjoy their time on the water.
It delivers exceptional tracking capability, allowing users to have ultimate control of their movements in the water.
Users also appreciate the fact that the product can handle cuts and scratches well on the bottom, which means that you can paddle in shallow rapids without having to worry about sharp objects and stones.
- Process of inflating and deflating is simple taking around 20 minutes
- Incredible comfort
- Excellent stability
- Paddles fast
- Highly durable
- Space can be decreased or increases with interchangeable deck
- Sufficient storage space to carry supplies
- Seats can be removed and replaced with ease
- Comes with a repair kit for emergencies
- It’s slightly heavy to carry but it is still manageable
- The sturdy AE 10007-R is perfect for kayakers, travelers or campers who want to experience a seamless ride on the water
- It is a stable kayak that handles different waters with ease, including estuaries, bays, lakes, and mild rivers. It has a huge onboard storage space, which means you have ample room for any equipment or food you want to store onboard
- Designed to carry two people comfortably, you and your friends can enjoy the great investment that is economically priced for your aquatic adventures.
- Users love it for its versatile, compact, durable, functional, and high performing nature.
3. Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak
The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak is just what you need, whether you are hunting for the day’s catch, want to explore secret coves/hidden waterways or are looking for over-the-edge excitement through whitewater.
Its construction features heavy-duty PVC which is rugged for lake use. Water lovers never have to worry about punctures with this kayak as it has a tarpaulin bottom that offers durable protection.
Additionally, it also comes with numerous air chambers allowing another chamber to stay inflated if one gets a hole so that the fun does not have to stop.
Users stay dry in the kayak as it has an airtight system that is guaranteed not to leak with spray covers that block splashes.
The fact that it is large enough to carry 3 people comfortably is a game-changer in the industry as it allows group kayaking, where friends and families can have a great time out on the water.
- Extremely comfortable
- Awesome stability and tracking
- Not too heavy for its size
- Easy to use
- Extra large
- Not easy to dry
- This awesome kayak is a great family conveyance that can be used to enjoy numerous water adventures
- You can adjust the seats to your level of comfort, and it also comes with a pressure gauge and carry bag
- Its construction makes it one of the most stable big kayaks that you will find on the market. If you take care of it, you will use it for years without any complications to create a lot of fun and unforgettable memories
- Its tracking ability is also impressive, making it the perfect kayak if you want to spend a lot of time on a large body of water without getting off course
4. Sea Eagle Pro Inflatable Kayak
Even though there are great hard-shell kayaks available, there are some great alternatives that can save money and time, one of which being the inflatable kayak.
If you are shopping for a kayak, and want to compare the features of one model to another, here are the details of the Sea Eagle Pro Inflatable Kayak.
- This kayak can be used to ride class 3 rapids, thanks to the PolyKrylar hull. Instead of ramming on the rocks, it safely bounces off of them. You can even bring your dog with you and be confident that they won’t be able to puncture the kayak with their paws.
- The set includes the kayak, 2 paddles, 2 inflatable seats, a foot pump, a carry bag and a repair kit to help you prepare for the worse.
- Although there are only 2 seats, it is actually capable of holding 3 people and has a maximum weight capacity of 650 lbs.
- Even with the sturdy hull, the whole kayak, including the pump and paddles, only weighs 35 lbs.
- In as few as 8 minutes, this kayak can be fully inflated.
- It’s not low budget; however, the features reflect the price, so it is definitely worth it.
- The Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package is best for those who enjoy the rapids.
- It is a tough and versatile kayak, due to the PolyKrylar hull, and this makes it comparable with other hard-shell kayaks used on the rapids or calm lakes; it is tough enough to be used safely on class 3 rapids.
- It is also spacious and can accommodate up to 3 people, but only 2 seats are available.
- It has a high maximum weight capacity of 650 lbs., which means there is room to bring what you need for the trip.
- It comes with accessories such as a bag, pump, repair kit and paddles, although the paddles aren’t ideal.
5. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is best for beginner kayakers who need a 1-person kayak that wouldn’t blow their budget.
It is very affordable, and even students who are just curious about recreational kayaking can purchase it.
- The kayak comes with a hand pump, repair patch and aluminum oar, which just leaves you to purchase a life vest before you can start kayaking
- The very affordable price gives you the option to try kayaking without breaking the bank
- The I-beam floors provide stability, which is well needed by a beginner kayaker
- The vinyl used to construct the kayak is UV-damage proof and is also puncture resistant so even beginners, who may make a lot of mistakes while kayaking, won’t end up totally ruining their kayaks
- There is adequate storage space in the front and a lot of leg room to keep the kayaker comfortable while in the water
- The bright colors of this kayak are capable of getting attention so that it can be easily seen
- This kayak is only meant for slow-moving rivers or calm lakes, which limits the places where it can be used
- The kayak itself is stable and durable, but the paddles it comes with are subpar in quality.
- It has an inflatable seat and adequate space for the legs for comfort while using it.
- The kayak only weighs 27.2 lbs but it can handle up to 220 lbs of weight.
Why Should You Buy an Inflatable Kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are very popular today because there are many people who want to get into this kind of sport but still can’t afford to own a traditional kayak. Many may not have a place to store one, nor have a means to carry it to their outdoor adventure.
You can secure a kayak on top of your vehicle but that isn’t as easy as it seems. They can be very heavy and it can be damaged if you lift it by yourself. In addition to this, your car can also be damaged. Trailers are a great solution, but then again, not all of us can afford a trailer specifically for a kayak.
Inflatable kayaks are a better alternative because of their portability and light weight. Most of them come with their own bags that you can easily carry or fit in your car while traveling.
Much like an inflatable paddle board, setting them up is easy because you just have to pump them with air. After using it, you simply deflate it, so that it can be easily carried and stored without taking too much space.
Inflated kayaks can also be used for different activities such as fishing, whitewater, camping, general recreation, or simply exploring. There are different kinds of inflatable kayaks that can be used for your desired activity. You just have to select them carefully.
How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak
In order to find the most suitable kayak for what you need it for, there are a few questions that you have to ask yourself, such as the following:
How many people are going to use the kayak at a time?
First of all, you have to be clear on whether you are getting a kayak that you can ride on your own, or ride with another person. If you are still unsure, you can always get a kayak that can accommodate two people. This way, you can bring someone or even your pet on your adventure. It can also give you more space for your gear.
On the other hand, if you are sure that you are doing it solo, you can purchase a kayak meant for one person. Most of them are less expensive and lighter than those meant for multiple people.
Where are you going to use it?
Do you prefer to be on calm and flat lakes, or do you love the rush of whitewater river rafting? There are kayaks that are limited to calm or slow-moving waters. They are not stable enough and can tip over when there is a current. On the other hand, there are also more stable and more capable inflatable kayaks that can even be used with class 3 rapids.
Do you intend to use it for fishing?
Most kayaks can be used for fishing, but there are some that are specifically designed for it. The sit-on type of inflatable kayaks are your best bet when you plan to do a lot of fishing. These allow you to turn and move around so that you can easily cast a line or reach your fishing gear without tipping your kayak.
Spacious and heavier weight capacity kayaks should also be chosen for fishing because they enable you to bring your fishing gear without compromising the stability of the kayak.
What are your height and weight?
When selecting a kayak, you have to make sure that it can also carry you. Kayaks have different weight capacities and you should combine your weight with your gear or with the other people with you to really figure out if a kayak can carry you.
It is best to select a kayak that is capable of carrying more than just your weight because you still have to bring some of your things with you in the kayak and they all add weight. Your height is also important because it lets you know how much leg room you need to be comfortable in a kayak.
How much can you pay for it?
Even if the inflatable kayaks don’t have a hard shell, they can still be expensive, especially if you get one with a lot of great features. If you have a tight budget, then you can select the more affordable inflatable kayak available.
These are really cheap that even students can afford them. These may not have as many features as the more expensive models but they can do the basic things that kayaks are supposed to do.
What accessories should you purchase?
Some inflatable kayaks are sold as packages or sets, and they have some of the essential accessories that you need for your adventure. Some, on the other hand, are sold as kayaks only.
Among the things that you should make sure you have are a paddle, a hand or foot pump, a fish finder if you’re going fishing, a storage bag, and a repair kit. Some packages that already have paddles that are mostly made of low-quality materials and construction.
It is best to select and purchase your own paddle separately to be on the safe side. In line with safety, you should also remember to make sure that you purchase and wear a life vest whenever you go kayaking.
How to Repair an Inflatable Kayak
Although inflatable kayaks are made from durable materials, it doesn’t mean that they won’t get damaged. Sometimes, they can get punctured while in the water.
It is also possible for them to be damaged because of how you handle them and where you store them when not in use. In such cases, when an inflatable kayak is damaged, you need a repair kit to make sure it works properly again.
The first thing you need to do is to deflate the kayak and mark the punctured section so that you can easily see it after all the air is out.
Then, it’s time to clean the area around the hole so that the patch can easily be attached to it. Get a patch from the repair kit and press it hard over the hole.
Before you check if the repair works, make sure to let it stick there for at least 4 hours before you inflate the kayak again.
Proper Maintenance for Your Inflatable Kayak
Even if an inflatable kayak is not that expensive, you should still make sure that you know how to properly maintain it. This will ensure that you can enjoy using it for a longer time or until you decide to upgrade to another kayak. Here are a few tips on what you should do.
Observe the water
Even before you go into the water with your kayak, you should first look at the water and figure out if there are sharp rocks and know where they are. You should make sure to avoid them to lessen the risk of puncturing the boat.
By simply rinsing out your kayak with fres hwater, you can remove the dirt, sand and other debris that can scratch it. This will make sure it doesn’t get punctured.
Let it dry
Let it dry out first before storing it inside the bag. Letting it dry helps avoid the growth of mold on your kayak.
Properly store it
Once folded, store it in a cool and dry place to avoid mold from growing on it.
My Choice for the Best Inflatable Kayak
Inflatable kayaks can provide a more convenient choice for those who are looking into experiencing the joys of kayaking. To be able to figure out what to purchase, there are things that you have to consider.
There are different inflatable kayaks for different users, but if I had to choose just one among the 5 above, I would pick the Sea Eagle Pro Inflatable Kayak. This is the best inflatable kayak for those who have the budget for it and for those who want a kayak that can be used in different locations.
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Last update on 2023-02-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API