Carrying that level of weight can be daunting every time you want to hit the water.
This is where inflatable kayaks come to the rescue. They are compact, easy to handle and fun.
Inflatable kayaks have amazing stability on water and last many years. They are best for beginners who want to try kayaking without spending a fortune.
This is why we have handpicked the top 10 best inflatable kayaks available on the market.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Inflatable Kayaks – Comparison Table
Best Inflatable Kayaks – Reviews
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak comes in a bright yellow color which makes it easily visible. It is a great way to have fun boating on your local river or canal. High visibility is a great security feature when you’re by yourself on a river. The kayak is highly durable as it is made from rugged 30-gauge vinyl. In addition, it is constructed with a 1200 denier nylon shell with internal tubes. The material is heavy duty and can resist any rough contacts with rocks or branches.
When it is inflated and put on water, it is strong enough to stand on, without the boat folding. This also makes it easier to get on and off this kayak. It stays remarkably stable in water as you paddle and tipping it would require a substantial effort. It has a total weight capacity of 352.74 pounds or 160 kgs which is usually enough to accommodate two adults.
Inside the box, you get a pump, two paddles, two inflatable seats, a repair patch, a skeg, a carry bag and the main kayak. The instructions are clear and can get you going within minutes. Many people would see its price and think it would not last long. But this isn’t the case. It is a high quality, practical product – one that will last many years.
When you’re done kayaking, it can be deflated and packed in under 10 minutes. The paddles are decent but a bit short in size. A drawback is that as you paddle, your hands brush along the seam on each side, which can hurt your hands. The remedy to this problem is to buy longer paddles or wear gloves to protect your hands.
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is well designed. It has three air chambers, which means that if one gets poked in with a sharp object and loses air, the entire boat won’t collapse. The I-beam in the center adds to its rigidity and makes it even more stable. There is a grab line and grab handle at either ends to ensure safety and comfort.
The Kayak is good for rivers and lakes where the water is calm and stable. There is a removable skeg that adds directional stability. So as long as the conditions aren’t rough, the boat is easy to handle. If it is highly windy or you’re in rough waters, it will be hard to keep the boat stable. Still, the boat fares well and remafishins stable in moderately tough conditions. You can get quality buoyancy aids to ensure safety, although they may cost the same as this kayak.
The Intex Explorer K2 kayak is a practical boat. When deflated, it can be kept in your car boot or can ride along with you on a train or taxi.
Overall, the Intex Explorer Kayak is a great value for money. It comes with a pump and paddles and has amazing stability with three air chambers. This is great for enthusiasts who want a quick jolly on the river or more serious hobbyists who are fit enough to take it to long distances.
Paddles are short, making your hands rub over the seam
For solo kayaking or canoeing enthusiasts who want a quality boat on a budget, the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is a great option.
Intex knows how to make strong and durable budget kayaks and the challenger K1 is a great example. It is made from tough vinyl material which feels heavy duty. For the price you pay, this is a serious product with enough stability for boating on calm and moderately rough waters.
The vinyl is good quality, but it seems to be weaker at the joins and the seams. The Challenger K1 comes with 84-inch aluminium oars, a high-output hand pump, hard plastic skegs, the kayak with an inflatable seat and a carry bag. The carry bag feels low quality but is big enough. You won’t likely need to replace it but some would still prefer a sturdier bag. The oars are collapsible and easy to assemble. The paddles do the job well – you won’t need to buy new ones.
The challenger has amazing stability and direction on water. With this kayak it is easy to paddle, propel forward and maneuver it in any direction. The removable skeg attaches underneath the kayak to keep it moving in a straight line.
A couple users mentioned that the kayak is more stable with the seat’s bottom cushion deflated, as the centre of gravity is lowered. There are two air chambers so if one of them gets punctured, the other one will keep you afloat.
Getting started is easy. You can have the kayak set up and ready to go within ten minutes. The two main chambers can be inflated using the two boston valves. The inflatable seat and footrest work with generic valves as opposed to boston valves. Due to this, it takes longer to inflate or deflate them.
The kayak is amazing for cruising. Tracking is excellent and effortless. For moderate winds and water conditions, the kayak is a superb product. You can have fun knowing that the boat is always under your control.
This kayak has enough leg room for a comfortable boat ride. The seat is super comfortable and you can sit with legs extended. The backrest can be adjusted. There is space behind the seat for storage. You can keep a bag or tent, but you will need to remove the seat to easily get it from behind. For handy storage, there is a cargo net on the bow and grab line.
The K1 kayak is so lightweight that you can carry it to and from the water in one hand.
Using the supplied pump can be a little awkward, as it is tiny. But this is something you will get used to with time. The pump’s plastic is rather cheap and it feels flimsy. But it does the job.
The repair patches that come with the kayak are almost useless. So it is better to buy a vinyl glue repair kit. Even with the lower chamber deflating due to a puncture, you will be able to paddle the kayak a few kms back to a safe spot.
It is a little confusing to fold the kayak back. Our advice is to take pictures when unfolding the kayak, so you can fold it exactly in the same manner. Doing this will protect the skeg and keep the kayak compact enough when folded.
A major drawback is that the kayak has no draining valve. You have to tip the whole thing upside down to empty the water. This makes drying the kayak really difficult as you need to manually dry it up in the sun and wipe the remaining water off with a large towel.
Overall, the Intex Challenger K1 is a fun and safe kayak that comes at an affordable price.
Good build quality
Easy to maneuver
No draining valve
The Sevylor Riviera is a high-quality budget kayak from one of the top kayak manufacturers in the world. Despite being a heavy duty kayak, it only weighs just 18 lbs. One can get the kayak ready to go pretty quickly. All you need to do is inflate the two side chambers using the provided pump and then inflate the floor chamber. Then attach the seats, which you can inflate using your mouth. When deflated, it can be folded and worn like a backpack.
The kayak is larger than many of its competitors. When inflated, its dimensions are 312 x 92 cm. It feels solid – the kayak is made with a durable PVC hull, two PVC side chambers and a solid I-beam on the floor chamber. It certainly doesn’t compare to $2000 boats, but it is a solid inflatable boat. The boat can support two people and a total of 180 kgs. of weight.
There are three chambers and the benefit is that if one or two of them get punctured, the boat won’t collapse. The three main chambers have boston valves which allow for quick inflation and deflation.
An innovative feature on this budget kayak is the pressure indicators on the side chambers, which give you a good idea of how much air you need to fill. When the bar is somewhere in the green area, it means the air pressure is optimal. The red bar shows whether you should add or remove air.
The seat is comfortable and stays stable as you paddle through the water. This kayak comes with only one paddle, which is a bit disappointing since it is a two-person boat. The kayak also has a built-in drain plug at the back which allows you to easily remove the water unlike in the Intex Challenger K1. Some users mentioned that the inflatable seats are hard to inflate as the plastic plungers are hard to secure in place.
Once on water, the boat is easy to maneuver and quite stable. However, heavier users won’t be able to shift and change their position in the boat as it may cause the water to flow in. Some users reported that getting out of the boat is tricky. There is nothing to hold onto while getting off the kayak. If you do decide to buy it, you will come up with your own trick to get off of it with time.
What the boat misses out on is a skeg to keep it moving in a straight line on water. This is an absolute must and without a skeg, you will be moving haphazardly in circles. So make sure you buy a skeg along with this kayak.
The kayak is pretty stable but you shouldn’t take it too far from the shore, especially on windy days. This is good for having some fun boating on lakes or small rivers. This is because if the wind gets rough, this boat won’t be as stable.
If you need help with unboxing and inflating the kayak, there are some excellent videos on youtube that can help you. There is an official Sevylor video too but it shows an older model of the Riviera, with a more complex design.
Overall, this is a heavy duty kayak for solo paddlers who want to have some fun kayaking in calm to moderate conditions.
Impressive build quality, built with heavy duty PVC
Convertible to 1 person kayak
Lightweight: weighs just 18lbs
Multiple chambers guard against punctures
Wearable as backpack when deflated
Easy and quick to set up
Only one paddle
Hard to get off the kayak, no hard surfaces to hold onto
The Sevylor Tahiti Plus Kayak is an inflatable boat. But it is certainly not a toy. It is made from heavy duty 26 gauge PVC material – it has a sturdy PVC hull, two PVC side chambers and a floor chamber with rugged I-beam construction.
Weight and Size
It is strong enough to accommodate two adults, plus a child. For accommodating the child, there is a convertible seat at the back. This kayak can support a total of 200 kgs or 441 lbs. of weight. This weight capacity is one of the largest among all the inflatable kayaks in the market. When inflated, its dimensions are 361 x 90 cm. When deflated, the kayak can be rolled to convert into a backpack, which makes it easy to carry around.
There are three independent chambers in the kayak. So when one of them gets punctured due to an accident, the kayak won’t collapse and will stay afloat due to the air in other chambers. However, one must carry life jackets as a safety measure regardless of this feature.
This kayak is extremely lightweight. It weighs just 12 kg, so it is easy to transport. It comes with boston valves for easy deflation or inflation. You don’t need to stomp air out of the kayak, instead it can be vacuumed out automatically when you unscrew the entire valve. However, on the floor panel, the valve is ordinary, not a boston valve. There are pressure gauges on either side to help you inflate the kayak with the right amount of air.
The Sevylor Tahiti comes with an emergency repair kit that secures you again sudden leaks. When you know how to fix your kayak, it feels a little more secure and you are able to explore more and have fun.
Another convenience feature is the carry handles on either side of the kayak. It is generally hard to take the kayak out of the water by yourself. But the carry handles make it easy. You can go out on your own and carry it by yourself.
The only thing it lacks is paddles, as Sevylor doesn’t provide them in the package. However, you can buy high-quality paddles separately from Sevylor. Moreover, you also need to purchase a skeg otherwise the kayak won’t be able to hold its direction.
3 chambers for safety on water
Supports 200 kg of weight
2 adults + 1 child seater
Deflates to become a backpack
No paddles in package
No skeg in package
The Bestway Kayak Kit Venture is a 2-person inflatable kayak with a balanced set of features. This is one of the more expensive Kayaks on this list and reasonably so. It comes with a pump and paddles unlike other comparable boats such as the Sevylor Adventurer. It also comes with not one, but two removable fins that provide directional stability. This makes it a value-for-money product. You will save £70 to £100 because everything you need is included in the package.
The outer layer of the kayak is built from nylon, which makes it tough and resistant against punctures or contacts with rough objects. There are two adjustable seats that are comfortable for those long kayaking sessions. There are boston valves that make it easy to inflate and deflate. However, the valve on the floor panel is a normal one.
Inside the package, you get the kayak, two oars with one paddle, a pump, a manometer, repair kit and two removable fins. The seats are comfortable but firmly padded and have pockets in the back. They provide great additional back support and are easily adjustable. It has a mesh bag at the front, but it isn’t enough.
With the removable fin, you don’t have to worry about directional stability. It also comes with an integrated drain valve which allows you to easily remove the water when drying up the kayak, which otherwise would take up to 30 minutes. The kayak measures 330 cm x 94 cm – it is long enough to make paddling easy for two people. Since this is a longer kayak, it would take a bit of time for beginners to know how to maneuver it on water.
Since this kayak is spacious, you can take additional gear and supplies with you. The 1 metre beam in the kayak helps it with stability especially when it is windy or the water is choppy. At the front, a slight ridge is designed so that the spray from choppy waters is blocked as much as possible.
One major drawback of this kayak is its paddles. They aren’t comfortable and would leave your hands sore over time. It is better to buy new paddles.
The Bestway Hydro Force Ventura is a perfect boat for hitting the water with your friend or solo. It is spacious and comfortable, and comes with all the essentials. It is remarkably stable, even better than some fiber-glass kayaks. So after some time of paddling, you can lay down and soak up the sun while still on water. Many users mention how it is the perfect alternative to the Sevylor Colorado, which costs £50 more.
The Sevylor Unisex Adventure Plus Kayak is another impressive offering from one of the top kayak manufacturers, Sevylor. It is a solid kayak with a nylon outer layer to protect it from punctures. As a matter of fact, nylon is stronger than the just plain PVC material that is seen on many kayaks. The kayak has a polyester hull and two PVC side chambers that make it sturdy and durable. Although nylon makes the kayak sturdy, it also makes it heavier and an easy target for dirt. It also takes more time to dry due to this nylon covering.
We liked that the company provides a fin in the package. Without a fin, it is hard to keep the boat going in a straight direction. There are three air chambers to protect the boat against punctures and keep it floating even after one of the chambers gets punctured. All three chambers have boston valves which make them easy to deflate or inflate.
Assembling the kayak is easy. All you have to do is take the kayak out of the bag and place the air tubes correctly inside the nylon cover. To ensure that the pressure level is right, the package comes with a manometer. The side chambers feel hard after inflation which is good for stability. But the floor chamber feels rather soft after inflating, which isn’t good for ergonomics – you want to sit on a sturdy floor rather than a soft one.
The seats look high-quality with a nylon covering on them. Each seat has two valves for inflation/deflation – one for the seat and one for the backrest. However, it is hard to inflate the seats fully with the normal valves, as some air is bound to get out when you close the valve. But this is an issue with most boats and not a deal-breaker by any means. The backrest is attached to the sides with straps, which makes its position adjustable.
Although the Adventure Plus kayak can accommodate three people, the middle person struggles with legroom, if they are an adult. When there are two people aboard, the space is enough to be comfortable and even bring some supplies and gear along the way. Carry handles on either side make it easy to take the boat in or out of the water. It also has a mesh bag and spray decks at the bow and the stern. However, the built-in mesh bag isn’t enough to carry big items, so it is better to buy a proper carry bag.
There is a strap that runs across both sides of the boat. You can tighten this strap to narrow down the space to make the boat run smoothly through water. Alternatively, you can widen it to open space for persons or luggage.
The Adventure Plus fares well on water. The side chambers aren’t too high or obtrusive, so you can paddle nice and easy with full range of motion. It moves with a steady pace on water, with good directional stability. The kayak is smooth to maneuver, but it is not as responsive as you may expect. However, if you use longer paddles, it becomes really easy to handle.
For this kayak, it is best to use a paddle that is at least 90-inch long. Because of its maneuverability, using a single-blade paddle is easier and fun than using a double-bladed paddle on this kayak.
One major drawback of this kayak is its seats. The support isn’t firm enough to make you comfortable. A user tried a make-shift solution by sliding a piece of plastic up the small pocket at the back. Another drawback is that it doesn’t come with oars or an inflation pump, which adds to the overall cost.
Solid build quality
Nylen outer layer for protection
Three chambers for water safety
Boston valves on all three chambers
Easy to set up
Quick to inflate
Fin provided for directional stability
Spacious enough for keeping supplies
Seats aren’t comfortable for adults
Maneuvering is not smooth and responsive, requires longer paddles
No inflation pump provided
Floor chamber isn’t hard enough
If you are looking for a budget kayak with enough space for two and a balanced set of features,the Bestway Hydro Force Rapid X2 is a strong contender. It can accommodate 1 or 2 people and comes with a pair of oars on a budget. It is 10 ft long and 3 ft wide. The form fitted design ensures that you don’t get sprayed by water.
Even at its price point, this kayak is a solid product and will last many years. It is strong enough to support a total weight of 160 kg. The kayak is made from vinyl material, which is pre-tested for rigidity and water safety. This kayak can accommodate two big adults but they won’t be able to extend their legs fully.
One of the things that really matters in a kayak is its performance. Fortunately, this kayak is easy to maneuver and control on water. It is easy to use and in fact, intuitive. The Hydro Force Rapid X2 has many segment-leading features too. It has a drainage valve so that you don’t have to manually take out the water from the kayak. It also has a removable fin for directional stability. The fin allows you to have more control while moving through water, otherwise you’d struggle to keep the boat moving in a straight line.
We liked that the paddles are well-made and sturdy which isn’t always the case, even with more expensive kayaks. The paddles are 2.18 metres in length and do the job well. The boat is relatively lighter than other kayaks, it weighs only 8.33 kg or 18.4 pounds.
Chambers and Valves
An assuring feature is that it has three air chambers, which allow you the safety to use it with kids. Three chambers mean that the boat will stay afloat even when one or two of them gets punctured. The valves on the seats and the deck covers are normal valves – not boston valves – yet they are easy to close after inflating and don’t leak.
Seats have a high enough backrest and can be inflated by mouth easily. However, they aren’t very comfortable, as some users reported and it is a squeeze on the sides – so not good for bigger people.
The kayak has carry handles which allow you to easily take the boat in or out of the water. A grab rope helps you stay stable and remain in control.
The kayak comes with a repair kit, but it isn’t good quality. Same goes for the grab ropes. However, the boat isn’t a toy, it looks like a serious product and offers a lot in terms of value and practicality.
Overall, the boat isn’t made for whitewater grade inflatable kayaks, but it is good for lakes, streams, ponds and so on. It is a practical product that allows you to have fun with your friend or family member.
Good build quality
Quick release valves
Easy to maneuver
A pair of paddles included
Decent space for two adults
Fun to use
Three air chambers for water safety
Seats aren’t comfortable, you may need to buy new ones
Not for whitewater grade rafting
If your budget falls in the mid-range, the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak is a compelling option. This kayak has a superior build to the other kayaks we have reviewed so far. It comes with aluminum ribs in the bow and the stern to give it strength as well as maneuverability. Inside the kayak is the folding aluminum frame wrapped with PVC-coated polyester.
The outer layer is more robust than what we have seen in other kayaks on this list. Its seams are strongly held together than you’ll see on other inflatable kayaks. Its waterproof outer layer makes it easier to dry up the kayak after using. It is definitely not meant to be carried by a single person. At the bottom, the kayak has sturdy plastic-y material that can stand through all tests of nature.
With the pointed bow, it is effortless to cut through water. It has many skegs to keep it moving in a stable direction – the stern is so low in water that it acts as a skeg itself. No wonder this kayak is a joy to handle.
With its aluminum-powered frame, you can take this boat to choppy waters and it won’t bat an eye. It will remain stable and allow you to have fun. The cockpit opening is narrow so water won’t get inside. The balance of this kayak is worth admiring – you can get out or in without “rocking” it in any way.
We were disappointed to see that there is no drainage valve in this expensive kayak. Instead, the company wants you to buy their “spray skirt”, which is a tunnel worn by the paddler on their torso. A spray skirt keeps out splashes of water and protects you from rain. It also keeps you warm when the water itself is cold.
Also, the floor doesn’t inflate to the point where you don’t sense the waves moving just under you. One of the most important elements of a kayak is its seat. Fortunately, the seat on this one is comfortable with enough cushion. It can be adjusted to your desired position. Your legs also stay comfortable as the narrow design of the kayak lets them stretch naturally on the ridges on the floor.
The company claims that the kayak can support 300lbs of weight. But users report that this may not be true. Many users found the boat riding rather low even when holding around 225 pounds of weight.
Setup is Hard
Setting up this kayak is going to take a lot of time. There are seven air chambers out of which, five work best when you fill them with mouth. Although Advanced Elements suggests inflating all chambers with a pump, finding a compatible one is a hassle. The instructions ask you to inflate to a particular pressure level, but no pressure gauge is provided.
The compatible pump and a pressure gauge will add to the costs. As mentioned earlier, drying up this kayak isn’t easy either. You can try all techniques, but it will be annoying to see that there is no easy way to get the water out. So setting up and wrapping up this kayak is going to be hard.
The kayak weighs 23.6 kg or 52 pounds, so carrying it around isn’t really easy. Another drawback of this kayak is the flimsy carry bag – at its price we expect everything to be high-quality.
Overall, if you are an experienced paddler, this kayak may be too much to handle considering how hard it is to set up and take down. Other than that, it is a superior quality product when it comes to build quality, comfort or performance.
Superb build quality
Pointed bow helps cut through water
Comfortable feet position
Stays stable in wind or waves
Instruction manual is hard to understand
Multiple skegs help with directional stability
Stern positioned low, acts like a skeg
Waterproof outer layer
Set up is hard
No drainage valve
Flimsy storage bag
Hard to carry around
No pump provided
No pressure gauge provided
Another great kayak from Advanced Elements; the Island Voyage 2 is a versatile boat with a uniquely open design and plenty of space.
The kayak comes in two colors – yellow and grey. There are three air chambers which can be inflated or deflated using boston valves. Three chambers ensure that the kayak stays afloat even when one or two of them is punctured. And boston valves make inflation and deflation quick and easy.
The kayak has three layers: two side chambers made from PVC are covered with a fabric. The hull is made from durable PVC Tarpaulin material which prevents punctures. It has a detachable fin that helps with directional stability. The floor is sturdy enough to resist scratches from pets or handle other damaging intrusions.
Setting up the boat is easy and can be done in 10-15 minutes. The same goes for taking it down. In fact, it is quite impressive how fast you can inflate or deflate this kayak. When inflated, the kayak is 11’2” long and 3’2” wide.
This makes it one of the largest kayaks in this list. It has good stability with its bigger cockpit design. It also comes with a rear drain plug to easily remove the water. Grab handles on either side keep you stable on waves and allow you to carry the boat easily.
On the back of each seat are two cup holders. The velcro strips allow you to easily adjust the seat based on a person’s height. There are several rings and velcro straps too, for hanging dry bags or other gear. Since the kayak has an open design, getting in and out of it is easy.
The boat supports 227 kg or 400 lbs. of weight. The boat itself weighs 31.5 lbs. or 14.3 kg, so it isn’t that hard to carry around. It is fairly lightweight for a single person, man or woman, to pick it up.The kayak can accommodate two adults. But if both are over 6 feet tall or bigger in size, then getting comfortable can be tough.
Since the cockpit is larger in this kayak, it is easier to paddle as a tandem with space available for full range of motion. When riding solo, the bow tends to wiggle a bit which can be resolved by putting some weight in the front. The boat can be adjusted in three seating positions for tandem or single use.
Maneuvering is easy as the kayak is very responsive to paddling and changing directions. Even without the fin, the kayak has one of the best directional stability you will come across. This shows how stable it is on water. The pointed bow with a rocker allows it to cut through water. It feels rugged and the seats give good amounts of support.
Shorter people may need to add an inflatable seat base to help with paddling. Without it, they would need to make a high-angle paddling stance to clear the side walls. The inflatable base will raise shorter people just enough to clear the paddles and still make them feel stable and “grounded” inside the kayak.
Another thing worth noting is how easy this kayak is to store. You don’t need a roof rack for this boat. Just put it in your car and it is good to go.
One potential downside is that its spare parts aren’t easily available. Also, the velcro paddle holders fall short when the paddle is placed along the side.
Good for the Elderly
This boat design will especially suit the elderly or people with issues in the physical body because of its large and open design. The kayak comes with a repair kit and a carrying duffle bag too.
Note that there is no pump or pressure gauge in the package. So it will incur additional costs. The boat comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Superior stability – even without a fin
Open design makes it easy to get out/in
Quick to inflate and deflate – takes 5 minutes
Three seating positions
Three chambers for water safety
Boston valves for quick inflation or deflation
Rear drainage plug
Bungee deck lacing and D-rings
Design suits the elderly or physically disabled
Velcro paddle holders can be tricky to use
No paddles or pump in package
The Sevylor Inflatable Kayak Reef is made from high quality materials. It consists of a sturdy nylon hull, two side chambers made from PVC and a robust tarpaulin shell for water safety. The floor chamber is constructed with an I-beam for structural rigidity. In other words, the floor is stiff enough to give the feeling of a real boat. The nylon cover strengthens its overall body and makes the boat secure against branches or rocks.
It has three chambers that ensure that the boat doesn’t sink when one or two of the chambers get punctured. It also has four carry handles that allow you to easily take the boat in or out of the water on your own. Inside the package, you get the kayak, manometer, fin, a carry bag and a repair kit.
The manometer helps check the pressure during inflation and ensures that there is no damage or risk due to overinflation or underinflation. There is a velcro strap to secure the paddle when not in use.
The kayak is super lightweight – weighing just 7 kg or 15.4 lbs. Still it can support a net weight of 253.5 pounds or 115 kg. When inflated, the kayak is 7 feet 8.9 inches long and 2 ft. 9.8 inches wide. Since this is a lightweight kayak, it is better to not use it in heavy winds or waves. It is best suited for lakes, ponds, streams, small rivers and even sea shores. But we wouldn’t recommend it for anything more challenging.
The Sevylor Reef 240 comes in two variants: 1 Man Canoe and 2 Man Canoe. Setting up this kayak is easy. It takes just ten minutes to inflate it and have it ready to go. It has strong and adjustable seats, which make you feel stable while paddling while keeping you comfortable. The seats can be adjusted according to the paddler’s height. There is a removable footrest as well for additional comfort. A bungee cord at the stern allows you to strap a small bag or bottle along.
The kayak comes with a removable fin that gives it directional stability. Without a fin or skeg, most inflatable boats can’t move in a straight line. On top of that, there are welded directional strakes that make the boat easy to maneuver on water.
The kayak boasts of jumbo valves, which are two-way valves making the entry and exit of air easily controllable. However, many users reported how the valves are rubber and not screw – they are large and thick and difficult to open for deflation. Inflating the kayak isn’t a hassle, but deflation is quite tedious.
Since it is lightweight, it is easy to transport as well, you don’t need a roof rack to carry this in your car. Just put it in the trunk and you’re good to go! It is light enough to be carried by a single person, male or female. This is great for a solo trip to your nearby lake on the weekends.
Although there are many impressive features, there are some drawbacks worth noting as well. First, the rear end or stern isn’t closed as it is in other kayaks. Due to this, water tends to get in and accumulate on the front and sides. But at the same time, the open rear end allows water to flow away from the hull and makes it easy to clean the boat as well. Also since the kayak is a sit-on-top, it leaves you more exposed than regular kayaks.
Second, the side chambers of the kayak aren’t very high. So when moving through waves or choppy water, water easily gets inside. Moreover, the back support of seats isn’t comfortable. The taller you are, the more uncomfortable it gets. One user mentioned that the seat bends when you lean on them, so it isn’t comfortable.
Lastly, the kayak doesn’t come with a drainage plug, so it will take time to dry this kayak.
Overall, the kayak is a fun boat that has good build quality with a nylon outer later and I-beam on the floor. It also has satisfying maneuverability for calm waters. It is light, so much that one can carry it in one hand. However, it comes with some flaws such as the open rear end, ineffective valves and uncomfortable seat.
Solid build quality
Rigid floor with I-beam
Super strong tarpaulin shell
Easy to maneuver with included fin and welded strakes
Four carry handles
Three independent chambers
Carry bag, manometer, fin and repair kit included
Valves are difficult to open for deflation
Open rear end makes water accumulate inside
Uncomfortable seat, especially for taller and bigger people
Best Inflatable Kayaks – Buyers Guide
Things to Consider Before Buying an Inflatable Kayak
Before you spend your hard-earned money on a kayak, it is important to know what to look for.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of waters are best for an inflatable kayak?
Do you want to kayak on a calm lake? Or do you want to hit running waves and rough waters? The latter needs you to spend more to get a boat that has a high-level of stability. These are called whitewater kayaks. However, many of the kayaks mentioned in this guide can get through mild winds or waves.
If you are going to kayak in cold weather, getting a kayak with a spray skirt is necessary as it ensures that you don’t get wet and cold from water getting in.
What’s the best inflatable kayak for 2 or more people?
Will you be kayaking alone or with someone along? Kayaks come as one-seater, two-seater or three-seater. Those that accommodate more than one are called tandem kayaks. Some kayaks are also convertible from solo to tandem.
Also check the total weight capacity of the kayak before buying – taking into account the weight of persons on board and the luggage you will carry.
Where can I find the best value inflatable kayak?
As with any product, the price determines the quality you will get. Once you know how you’re going to use the kayak and review your options, you can set a budget. For beginners and occasional kayakers who don’t want to take the kayak in extreme conditions, spending a couple hundred dollars (or quid) on a kayak is enough. However, you can always spend more to get superior build and better performance.
What’s the best inflatable kayak weight and size for me?
If you are going to be on your own while kayaking, it makes sense to get a kayak that is lightweight and has carry handles for easy transportation. Heavier kayaks are hard to move around or carry while covering long distances on foot.
However, heavier kayaks are often strongly built too, so they can carry more weight and stay more stable in rough waters.
The size of the kayak dictates how hard or easy it is to carry and store. Large kayaks will need a roof rack on your car to transport. Smaller kayaks are easy to transport as they can be put in the trunk of your car.
Are inflatable kayaks easy to maneuver and handle?
You want a kayak that responds to your paddle strokes. Moreover, it should stay steady in a particular direction. Kayaks are usually easy to maneuver, but they should have at least one skeg or fin for directional stability. A fin or skeg ensures that the kayak can move in a straight line.
How spacious and comfortable are inflatable kayaks?
How spacious a kayak is determines whether you will be able to extend your legs and relax or stay squeezed in. Space also determines how much luggage you can carry along and whether you can bring your pet along with you.
The first thing to look out for when it comes to comfort is the quality of seats. Are they adjustable? Do they provide enough back support? Good seats are able to stay somewhat stiff after inflation as softer ones won’t provide enough support.
What are inflation valves?
Check whether the boat has boston valves for inflation at least in its main chambers. Boston valves are one-way valves that have two caps both for inside and outside. Boston valves help with quick and easy inflation and deflation of the various chambers of the kayak. As you can see in the image below, there is a return flap in the boston valve that prevents leakage. Moreover, boston valves are ‘check valves’ – they allow air to flow in only one direction.
Here is a video that shows how boston valves work:
What are the best inflatable kayaks made out of?
You can’t buy a kayak which is made of weak materials. Many kayaks use PVC – a plastic that is strong enough for calm waters and moderately challenging waters. Some kayaks also have a nylon outer layer for resistance against abrasion. High-end kayaks often use synthetic rubbers such as Hypalon or Pennel Orca, which are extremely strong and able to take any kind of abuse.
A kayak can is a good way to have some fun with friends and family. But before you spend your money, know what to look for and read the pros and cons of each kayak mentioned in this guide.
If you are ready to make a decision, our number one pick, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is worth considering. It is a heavy-duty, spacious and comfortable kayak that has boston valves for easy inflation or deflation and tracks well.