Kayaking is one of the best water sports where groups of friends and families can experience the fun and excitement of the water rapids and simply of good company. Your kayaking experience definitely needs one very important thing – an inflatable kayak.
Inflatable kayaks are much better than traditional hardshell vessels because inflatable kayaks are portable and deflatable to a very small and manageable size that does not take up much space at all.
The inflatable kayak is also incredibly portable and unbelievably sturdy at the same time. Nonetheless, you cannot have complete fun unless you have the best inflatable kayak with you.
Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews 2018
#1 Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package
This 2 person inflatable kayak is one of the lightest in terms of weight, thus making it the ideal weekend getaway boat for a couple or two friends who want to spend the time together. Despite its deflated weight only at 26 pounds, it is amazingly strong enough to carry a 500-pound load.
The Sea Eagle 330 is able to carry two adults plus their gear while needing only one adult to carry the boat to the water. This inflatable kayak boasts of its cargo space which can accommodate camping supplies for many days.
The Sea Eagle 330 can also accommodate the deflated kayak in a rugged bag anytime for transport.
The Sea Eagle 330 has numerous interesting features. This inflatable fishing kayak is not only used for fishing but also for skin diving. It can also handle up to class three whitewater for river runners.
As one of the easiest to use kayak, the Super Eagle 330 has a super-thick K-80 polykrylar hull material whose thickness resists almost any form of puncture. The 33 mil polykrylar hull along with an I-beam construction floor makes for an added rigidity.
It is also equipped with inflatable spray skirts as well as a drain valve is self-bailing and that turns out to be very useful in ocean surf on in white water rivers.
The Super Eagle 330 also features a removable inflatable front and rear seats. In addition, with its front and rear rope handles, your safety and security are guaranteed.
The I-beam construction as well as the nine-inch tubes and the high-frequency welded seams contribute to the general strength of the kayak.
The Sea Eagle 330 comes with two skegs that function specifically for tracking and for speed. Because of the importance of tracking to a kayak, skegs are necessary for the inflatable kayak to track smoothly across the water.
This is done in order that the effort you make to paddle the kayak is not wasted. If there are no rear skegs, inflatable boats which are cheaper just wander across the water and waste all the effort you put into paddling.
With the Sea Eagle 330’s two molded skegs, you can go faster and faster with minimum effort in paddling just like when you’re riding a surf board. The Sea Eagle 330 also has seams formed from the fusion of materials welded together at the magnitude of 10,000 volts.
Thus, Sea Eagle is so confident in the durability of this material that it is giving the inflatable kayak a 3-year warranty for the whole boat from the bow to the stern. Moreover, the kayak has a very roomy interior that measures 13 inches wide, 9 feet high and 6 inches long.
The heavy duty 440-denier nylon material also makes the Sea Eagle 330 one of the most durable inflatable kayaks in the market today. Not to mention, its elegant blue and white colors make for a very interesting and royal water experience.
#2 Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
The Intex Explorer K2 is a sporty and fun inflatable kayak that makes for a perfect water experience for you and your friend. The streamlined design and the lightweight and compact overall structure do not only make paddling easier but also make the kayak manageable and easy to carry and transport.
The Intex Explorer K2 is conveniently and intricately made with rugged vinyl construction. Thus, this inflatable kayak makes it extremely sturdy. The inflatable I-beam makes this boat not only rigid but also comfortable.
The Intex Explorer K2 is equipped with an removable skeg that makes the boat’s direction stable and two comfortable seats with backrests that are easily adjustable and inflatable. The Boston valve on both sides of the kayak is also one very good way to easily deflate and inflate the boat.
What is more interesting about the Intex Explorer K2 also has a grab line and a grab handle on both ends in order to guarantee not only safety but also convenience. The boat is also especially designated a U.S. Coast Guard ID, which means that its structure has passed strict standards of safety as approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The repair patch kit is also a worthy addition to the inflatable kayak set. In addition to this, the Intex Explorer K2 also has added accessories like two pieces 86” aluminum oars and a special Intex high-output pump used for quick inflation and deflation of the boat. Only a few models and brands of inflatable kayaks come with this many accessories.
This state-of-the-art inflatable kayak for lakes and mild rivers also has sporty graphics on its sides. It also has a very elegant and sleek black and yellow design for added visibility and a touch of class.
#3 Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
The Intex Challenger K1 is another inflatable kayak that has a nimble yet very durable body. The welded material as well as the inflatable I-beam floors adds stability and durability to this inflatable kayak.
Considered one of the best choices by numerous inflatable kayak reviews, the Intex Challenger K1 is proud of its big, comfortable cockpit where one can get in and out of easily. This is one of its most unique features compared to other inflatable kayaks in the market today.
Although this 1-person kayak has a mere 220-pound capacity, the large size of the interior makes it comfortable for you to have one of the best boat ride adventures of your life. The Intex Challenger K1 also has an 84” aluminum oar for easy and efficient mobility plus a high-output hand pump for easy inflation anytime.
The oar and pump are useful additions to the already elegant streamlined boat in order to keep you safe when navigating through a lake or a serene, slow-moving river.
The Intex Challenger K1 also has a cargo nets on both ends of the kayak that may be used to store some extra sports gear. The comfort provided by this net is heavily complemented by the large size of the cockpit along with the large inflatable seat with an equally comfortable backrest.
The stylish graphics along with the kayak’s blue, green and black hues make it an adorable addition to your fine collection of water sports equipment. These graphics along with all the other interesting physical features of the boat are all creations of Intex Recreation.
Intex Recreation has been the leading maker of swimming pools, air beds, pool boats, lake boats and inflatable toys. Intex products,including the Intex Challenger K1, meet the strictest and highest safety standards.
#4 Coleman Quikpak ™ K1 1-Person Kayak
This coleman inflatable kayak is a blowup kayak that has so many interesting features. The Coleman Quikpak K1 has a 21Gauge PVC construction as well as a tarpaulin protection for its bottom, thus providing added strength and protection from punctures or other surface problems.
The Coleman Quikpak K1 also has multiple air chambers that allow other chambers to keep the boat afloat in case one chamber has been punctured. The Airtight System of this inflatable kayak is also a big guarantee so that it should not leak.
In addition, there are Double Lock ™ valves that provide quick and easy inflation and deflation through two locking points. These special and unique features alone make the Coleman Quickpak K1 one of the best inflatable kayaks for your next water sporting adventure.
This coleman inflatable kayak also has all the basic features of all good inflatable kayaks. You can set it up in a matter of only 5 minutes and the deflated kayak can be carried easily in a lightweight backpack system.
There is also a storage area where you can keep your food items and gear safe while you are enjoying the soft backrest and the comfortable seat. The multiposition feature of the foot also gives you added relaxation. The cup holder is also essential if you are having a drink.
The material is NMMA certified and can accommodate up to a huge 400-pound volume. This NMMA certification is what gives the manufacturer so much confidence that it is giving you a long 90-day warranty for any manufacturer damage on the boat.
The Coleman Quikpak K1 has a paddle that you can break down into a compact size plus a high-pressure hand pump that allows instant inflation anytime. Moreover, the gray and blue-green shades of the boat make it ideal for any classy water sports adventure.
#5 Advanced Elements AE1007-R Advanced Frame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak is a leader in the Advanced Elements series of inflatable kayaks. This inflatable kayak is easily convertible from solo to tandem and vice versa. Its built-in aluminum ribs are indispensable in tracking. Plus, the three-layer sturdy material from which it is made usually defy any puncture or jagged edges of rocks that the boat may hit. The 3-seat locations allow it multiple support. Naturally, this inflatable kayak has all the other basic features that other boats of its kind have.
The convertibility of the Advanced Elements Kayak into single or double decks is made possible in only a matter of seconds. This instantly transforms the solo kayak into one of the tandem type. Aside from the interchangeable deck, the unique design of the Advanced Elements Kayak also includes a stern frame and a strong, rigid bow.
There are also added features like two folding seats as well as a repair kit and a duffel bag where the deflated kayak may be kept for transport. The extreme versatility of this inflatable kayak is also made more amazing by its large 550-pound capacity and its ultra-stylish gray and red design. The durability and the extreme versatility of this state-of-the-art kayak makes it one of the most popular inflatable kayaks in the market today.
Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide
Things to Consider Before Buying an Inflatable Kayak
There are some things that you have to be bear in mind before you make your next inflatable kayak purchase. First, you should know what type of inflatable kayak is fit for you and at least know the kind of water sports adventure that you and your friend are up to. Before you buy your next boat, make sure that you are already familiar with the basics of a kayak or an inflatable kayak specifically. These basics include the specifications of inflatable kayaks, the parts, accessories, and everything else including how to inflate or deflate a kayak. In short, if you do not know these things, better hire an expert in kayaks when you purchase one.
Which Type of Inflatable Kayak Do You Want?
Each of the inflatable kayaks in the market is designed for one or more specific uses.
- Inflatable touring kayaks are usually streamlined to a long and thin shape. This particular structure reduces the effort needed to travel along flat water. Touring kayaks may be used in both freshwater and sea water and are equipped with a rudder for easier mobility. The inflatable touring kayak also comes in handy and portable because it can be deflated and kept in a bag. The touring kayak could either be an inflatable 2 person kayak or an inflatable tandem kayak. Choose this type of inflatable kayak if what you want is an ordinary kayak for a normal water sports experience.
- White Water kayaks which are inflatable may also be a 2 person inflatable kayak or the tandem type. The white water kayaks are generally shorter in length but larger sideways compared to the touring ones. With a water kayak, it is the force of the moving water itself that transports the kayak while requiring less paddling or propelling effort. The reduced length of the white water kayak gives it easy navigation especially when faced with fallen trees and rocks. In the same way, the width of the white water kayak is essential in maintaining its stability. Choose the white water kayak if what you want is something more adventurous like navigating through water rapids.
- Fishing kayaks are usually larger than touring kayaks but smaller than white water kayaks. They are usually shaped more round at the front and in the back. This round shape is essential in making the kayaks stable enough for fishing and comfortable enough to be propelled by paddle. There are also rod holders, bait bucket, anchor cleat, and a tackle compartment. Obviously, choose the fishing kayak if you want to go fishing as your main goal or as a form of leisure after your water sports.
- The Sit-On-Top Kayak is another type that features a seat where the rider is outside the cockpit and on top of the kayak itself. This design is perfect for the recreational purpose of this particular type of kayak. These kayaks are also wider than touring kayaks. Inflatable sit-on-top kayaks have a width that makes them stable enough for scuba diving and fishing.
Does Size Matter?
When it comes to choosing kayaks, naturally size does matter. However, it depends on your own personal preferences. Inflatable kayaks have two main advantages: they are easy to store and they are equally easy to transport.
You should be aware that the heavier the inflatable kayak is, the less compact it will be when it is deflated. This is so because of the thickness of the material. Thus, you should make sure that what you want is just the right size of kayak for your needs.
Choose Kayaks Based on the Number of Seats
Inflatable kayaks can have one, two or three seats. Touring kayaks usually have two or three seats. Choose one that can accommodate you and your friends’ or family’s needs in case you would want to go out kayaking with them.
Choose a kayak whose number of seats would be most useful to you. If you usually do things alone, then there is no need to choose a bigger kayak with two or three seats.
Does Material Matter?
The main material that an inflatable kayak is made of is usually nylon, PVC, hypalon or polyurethane. The most durable of these is hypalon but it is also heavier. Others have a tendency to become rigid when the kayak is inflated. Thus, it is important to decide whether you want durability and stability when dealing with the next kayak that you will purchase.
Do not sacrifice durability for a lightweight capacity, or vice versa. Thus, it is more important to be with a kayak expert or a long-time owner of a kayak when purchasing your first.
What About the Length of a Kayak?
You should also try to consider the length of the inflatable kayak that you are about to buy. Kayak length depends mainly on what type of kayak it is. Touring kayaks are longer at 5 meters while white water kayaks are just 3 meters long.
Length is important as to how a kayak should be used. However, length only comes secondarily to the type of use that you want for your kayak. Just be ready with accommodating a longer kayak if what you want is the touring type.
What Is the Significance of a Heavier Kayak?
The heavier a kayak is, the thicker the material it is made from and the more resistant it is to punctures. Thus, although you may want to purchase lightweight inflatable kayaks, only a heavy one guarantees more protection from punctures and usual damage from sharp edges of rocks. It all depends on your priorities.
What are the Basic Inflatable Kayak Accessories?
The basic kayak accessories include a paddle, a life vest, an air pump, a storage bag, and a patch kit.
- Inflatable kayak paddles are usually wider and longer than the traditional ones used for hardshell kayaks. These paddles can also break down easily in order to be transported with ease along with the deflated kayak.
- Life vests are necessary so you should always bring the accessory life vest that comes with the kayak when you purchase it. Moreover, every sensible paddler must wear a life vest while on the boat. With white water kayaks, expect to end up in the water more frequently and so ensure that all the passengers of your boat must be equipped with a life vest before you begin your water sports adventure. Safety should never be sacrificed for fun.
- An air pump is most indispensable when having to inflate kayaks anytime along the way. Air pumps can be hand operated or foot operated although the first is preferable because it is regarded as more efficient. However, the second is much easier to use. The thing about air pumps is that you should not use it too often with your kayaks. The most important thing to do is to make sure that your inflatable kayak does not need inflation all the time.
- A storage bag is also essential for carrying items and accessories when you have to go out kayaking. Whatever you put inside the storage bag, make sure that this storage bag is waterproof so that they can protect your things while you go on your water sports adventure. Also, make sure that the storage bag is designed to make air stay in it and keep it afloat so that it has to float when it falls off. When using the storage bag, also try to make sure that you do not carry with you so many things that it will already affect the overall load of the kayak.
- Patch kits are the most important when using inflatable kayaks. They are considered puncture repair kits that are designed to close any holes that the kayak may receive. Some repair kits may not be suitable for particular paddling situations like those that may be acquired through white water expeditions. Just make sure that your patch kit is enough to seal off a large puncture for quite some time before giving it a full repair later on.
What Should You Keep in Mind When Buying Kayaks Online?
When buying kayaks online, make sure that you can buy from a reputable site. Otherwise, you will end up buying a substandard one with a few hidden defects. Before making any purchase of an inflatable kayak online, the most important thing to remember is to find an expert to guide you with it.
It is always much better to ask and be guided than to make a mistake and having to return a kayak for a refund.
Should You Prioritize Cost Over Usage?
Prioritize usage over costs. The most important reason for buying a kayak is not to save money but the reason that you have in mind. If what you want is a white water expedition, then you should buy a white water inflatable kayak that can withstand high-speed conditions.
For fishing and calmer waters, it is appropriate to buy fishing kayaks. Always try to be aware of how you are going to use the kayak first before deciding on purchasing a cheaper one.
Should You Buy a Kayak with a Large Storage Space?
That should depend on how much kayaking gear you are planning to bring along with you. If you usually carry a lot of things with you perhaps for peace of mind, then go for the sit-inside kayaks.
These inflatable kayaks have additional storage capacity around both hulls. Otherwise, bring only a few things with you. Also try to bear in mind that the more storage space there is in your kayak, the more you have to pay for it when you purchase it.
Whether it is the Sea Eagle 330 or the Intex Explorer K2 that you are going to purchase, buying your next inflatable kayak depends on a number of factors. Basically, you choose a kayak based on your proposed use for it – whether it should be for fishing or for white water expedition.
You should also try to consider the material that it is made of and try to anticipate the heaviness of the kayak if you want it to be as sturdy and durable. Make sure that you also have all the essential accessories that a kayak should have. Lastly, make sure that you do not sacrifice safety, storage and capacity for price.