Planning a vacation for the summer is probably one of the hardest things to do. You know that you want to have fun but don’t really understand where to have that. You’ve been to your local amusement park so many times throughout the year, that it has become too boring. That’s when you remember that brochure for a lake house you stuffed away.
Vacations near a lake can be really fun especially when you know what the right activities are. You can purchase inflatable jumping castles that you can put in the lake. Or for something truly time-consuming and productive, why not buy an inflatable kayak? Inflatable kayaks are the best when it comes to spending quality time with your family and friends. People might not be too keen on spending hours in the water doing nothing but paddling. However, when you just want to escape the hassle of city life and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, kayaking quickly becomes your go-to activity.
The first thing that comes to your mind might be “Why on Earth should I buy an inflatable kayak?”. Well, that question is very valid. People often tend to go for something that looks strong and is able to bear your weight. This is especially true because it can get dangerous in deeper waters. However, with the recent advances in technology and the materials, you can rest assured an inflatable kayak is as good as any other kayak you might have seen on the internet.
What is an Inflatable Kayak?
inflatable is slightly different than regular kayak. An inflatable kayak is a small boat you can use to travel on a water source. People often tend to rent them out or purchase their very own because it helps them with not only their exercise but also their spirit. That’s right, inflatable kayaks are a great way of connecting with nature. You can take the kayak in the middle of the lake or river, look up to at the sky and just relax. You can also bring along a fishing rod if you are in the mood for fishing. Usually, if you are out camping with your family, you can use the kayak to go to the deeper end to find good quality fish. A fresh catch always tastes better than any supermarket variety!
Kayaking in itself is thought to be a single person sport. However, kayaks come in three categories. The first being a kayak that can only hold one person. The second is a tandem kayak that can hold more than one person. The third is a hybrid of the two and can be transformed to hold one person and more than one, depending on the situation.
Now, the major doubts is “Can an inflatable kayak hold your weight?”. The answer is yes. Inflatable kayaks are designed to be stable in the water and also have a sustainable weight limit that you can learn about in the following reviews. In fact, traditional is that they are more prone to sinking than an inflatable one. They are also a lot heavier, hence they are harder to transport which is why customers prefer inflatable kayaks.
Choosing an inflatable kayak that has more than one people can also turn out to be bad. People often give tandem kayaks the title of ‘divorce kayaks’ because anyone who lacks teamwork cannot use them to travel. This means you better figure things out and resolve any issues before you head off on the kayak. Only by working together can you make kayaking together a wonderful, relaxing experience.
How we Picked the Best Inflatable Kayaks?
There are several things to look into when deciding on which kayak you want. The final purchase you make has to be the right one. You might want to consider the opinion of anyone in your family who already owns one or decide by reading reviews. To make things easier, we have gathered a list of things you need to make sure exist in your kayak before you pay the money. Each kayak has its own individual personality and features that help make things easier for you. The more the features, the more costly the kayak is because that increases the overall comfort rating of the kayak.
Here are the things we kept in mind when we looked out for the best ones:
The journey from your home to the water source can be a long one. The benefit of inflatable kayaks is that they come with having lesser weight than traditional kayaks. They are also portable hence carrying them around with you is a lot easier. All you need to do is deflate them to reduce their weight even more and use a pump to inflate them back. Traditional kayaks are heavy and need to be transported on the back of a pickup truck or have their own wagon to carry them.
The Length of the Kayak:
The length of the inflatable kayak is important because it goes on to describe how stable the kayak will be on water. Longer kayaks are more stable and are more prone to not flip over if a speedboat passes by. The waves generated by the passing have flipped kayaks in the past which can be really painful if all you wish to do is just relax in the sun surrounded by calm water.
The Size of your Family:
Inflatable kayaks can now allow for more than one person to fit in. They are perfect for people not wanting to break their backs and carry a heavy kayak to and from the water. Decide the purchase by making sure you take into account how many people are interested in kayaking in the long-run.
Is it Sit in or Sit on top:
The traditional sit-in inflatable kayak allows you to experience the connection you wish for. This means it allows for you to be close enough to the water that you can touch it at an arm’s length. Kids get really excited about traditional kayaks because they are able to see the fish in shallower waters.
These kayaks are provided with ample amounts of leg space, so you may focus on the paddling rather than sit bearing the pain of not being able to stretch out your legs.
The sit on top inflatable kayaks however are more aligned for fishing trips. They come with comfort chairs that allow fishermen and fisherwomen to indulge in longer hours of fishing without getting backaches. Decide on which one you want before you spend your bucks.
Where You Are Going to Use It:
This point needs to be understood very carefully. The kind of destination you wish to kayak in matters because different inflatable kayaks are suitable for different water bodies. Rivers have stronger currents therefore require kayaks that can handle the pull and push of the waves. Lakes are much more relaxed and cozy but require the kayak to have good paddles to take you far. There is no external push that can propel you to where you want to go.
People do not kayak in the sea but those who do, prefer shallower options like the waters of Maldives. The sea requires a much more balanced approach hence you should look at what the kayak specializes for before purchasing it.
Does the Kayak have a Paddle Rest?
The paddle rest could be a lifesaver when it comes to giving your arms some rest. People who are seasoned in the sport know of its importance to the design especially people who go out for fishing using the kayak. Inflatable kayaks generally don’t have paddle rests but the ones who do are a prize.
The whole reason you need a paddle is because there is quite a chance that you will end up losing it. The paddle could fall in the water and the next thing you know, you’re soaking wet from having jumped in to save it. The paddle can also be a nuisance once you’ve parked your kayak in the middle of a lake and have to balance it on your lap.
The paddle rest therefore can help you from the unnecessary hassle. Some kayaks even have rod handles that allow fishing enthusiasts to store their rods in and relax.
The storage space provides you with the opportunity to store your belongings on-board. Naturally, you must have brought your camera or your phone because you wish to take a picture out in the water. To prevent it from getting wet, companies design the storage area to be completely waterproof. This feature keeps your electronic gadgets safe and anything else that you don’t want water to get in.
Imagine riding the strong currents of a river. You won’t have the time to think about what happened to your belongings neither will you ever know if they fell out of your kayak until you reach the end. The storage area ensures that you do not lose anything.
Lastly, the storage space is great for fishermen who wish to store their fresh catch in a small ice box. Most kayak companies design their kayaks making sure there is enough space for a small ice box or dry box to fit in. This keeps your fish safe from contamination till you reach shore.
The paddles are an important part of the inflatable kayak because they help you with not only going forward but also changing directions. Their design determines how much further you can go with the amount of effort you put in.
A poorly designed paddle will end up making you tired. You won’t even be able to reach great lengths in the water. The whole point of kayaking is to make you feel comfortable and relaxed not get you all worked up. That being said, some inflatable kayaks come without any pedals and you would have to purchase them on your own. In such a case, we suggest you look up reviews of the best pedals in terms of design, length and grip online.
How We Tested the Best Inflatable Kayaks?
Our team put in a lot of effort to check a total of ten inflatable kayaks across the market. Most of these inflatable kayaks already had good reviews and we wanted to make sure that was the case. Starting out, each kayak was checked for durability and sturdiness. We understood that the kayaks might be taken to places other than the ones they were designed for. They might also get dragged along a rocky surface so the material needed to be puncture proof.
We then moved on to checking how well the paddle worked in the water. Our team was divided into two and each was given a different set of paddles to work with. Then they were made to race and the team had to provide reviews for the paddles once they were done. They spoke of how the paddles had good grips which kept them from falling off followed by the design that made it lightweight and strong.
Our team also ended up weighing the kayaks. All the inflatable kayaks weighed around 30 to 50 pounds in total with a few outliers. We also checked for pumps and how long it took for these inflatable kayaks to fill up. The average time came around 10 minutes and the best time we had was of Sevlar Quikpak that filled up in under 5 minutes.
Lastly, we had to check how stable the kayaks were on water. We made a speed boat pass by each kayak to test their chances of flipping up. All of them were able to mitigate the effects of the waves and stood their ground on the waves – no pun intended.
1. Sea Eagle SE370:
The Sea Eagle SE370 is an all-purpose inflatable kayak that can be used in all kinds of water bodies. The kayak is known to have the strength and design to withstand any currents and is best for thrill seekers who wish to use it as roughly as possible.
The kayak can hold 3 people inside and also withstand weights up to 650 pounds! That’s more than most tandem kayaks in the market. The kayak weighs only 32 pounds making it easily transportable. One person can carry it to a destination and start filling it up for the adventure. The kayak is also NMMA certified and can withstand class III whitewater. The seats are movable and can also be adjusted to hold just one person to make more leg space.
In case water starts filling up in your kayak, the company’s design ensures that is drained properly with the open and close drain valve. The kayak’s ability to fill up in under 8 minutes is because of its amazing 5 one-way inflation and deflation valves. These allow you to quickly pack and unpack the kayak for use without wasting any effort or time.
What’s more is that you are also given a pressure gauge to make sure the right amount of air is pumped in. The rough PolyKrylar hull ensures the kayak is puncture proof and adds more durability to it. It is so durable that you can even bring your dog along and not have to worry about their paws damaging the kayak.
- NMMA Certified.
- 5 deluxe one-way valves for inflation and deflation.
- Rough PolyKrylar hull able to withstand punctures.
- 2 Skegs for better tracking and speed.
- Weak and cheap paddles.
- No storage area.
- Susceptible to blowing away in the wind.
2. Sevylor Quikpak:
This is a very small kayak that is designed for just one person. The Quikpak has an amazing fill-up time of just 5 minutes making it the fastest inflation there is amongst any other inflatable kayaks. The kayak weighs around 35.7 pounds and is easy to carry.
The company has designed it to be carried in a backpack and be your quick raft to carry you along any body of water there is. What’s more is that the company has ensured no effort goes to waste. The backpack itself becomes a seat in the end for you to sit on!
The 24-gauge PVC construction ensures your safety on water and adds strength to the structure for rough use. The bottom of the kayak is made of Tarpaulin and the covers are all polyester that help making this kayak puncture proof for any unlikely events. The company ensures its customers that the way the kayak looks is not necessarily a depiction of its performance as well. It has great tracking for being a small kayak and is perfect for people seeking adventure near a river.
The multiple air chambers are a great innovation and ensure the kayak from not sinking. The way they work is that in the unlikely event one of the surfaces gets punctured, another layer underneath it is filled with air and hence keeps you afloat. The narrow-end design is good for tracking and allows you to have as much fun out of the investment as possible.
- Quick 5-minute inflation time.
- Easy to carry in a backpack.
- Comfortable seat.
- Multiple air chambers for safety.
- Cannot carry big people.
- No storage area.
- Weak paddles.
- Lack of space for legs.
This inflatable kayak is one of the most expensive kayaks on the list however all of that is justified when you see the kind of features it has. The structure is strong and made up of aluminum that increases the overall strength of the kayak to withstand strong water currents. The puncture resistance surface is made of strong Polyethylene material that keeps it from puncturing while you drag it on rough terrain.
As a tandem kayak, it is 15ft long and can be used by more than one person. This allows you and your partner ample space to enjoy the ride. The length of the kayak also keeps it more stable on water and the wide area to sit in allows for you to sit back without having to feel stuffed in.
The kayak has total depth of 22 inches that is more than enough room in an inflatable kayak. The company has also provided the user with an advanced conversion feature that can close of one of the seats in the matter of seconds. This adds more room to the kayak for the user to go on kayaking along.
Multiple reviews online have spoken about the kayak’s incredibly comfortable seat. The AdvancedFrame is one of a kind and the $700 price on Amazon is justified based on the features the company provides you with. The highs support, padded seats are a fisher person’s dream because they have to spend long hours in the water trying to catch fish. Longer journeys are made easy as you can paddle for hours and not feel a backache. This allows the kayak to be used by all-age groups who understand how kayaking works.
- Advanced Convertible technology that helps to change raft from dual to single use.
- Comfortable seats for longer hours of kayaking.
- Strong, three layered hulls for added strength.
- Built-in aluminum frame along with puncture resistant material.
- Can withstand strong currents or class 3 rapids.
- Requires full dissembling so it could be dried off which takes time.
- Paddles and inflating pump are not included.
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado:
This kayak is especially designed for fisher folk so they may be able to spend longer hours uninterrupted in the water. Two people can fit into this inflatable kayak. The Coleman is a strong, highly visible kayak that can spotted from a mile away. The thick tarpaulin bottom gives the kayak enough strength to withstand any pokes at the design.
The company has ensured the user that the kayak is durable enough to be used in any water body there is. The 18-gauge PVC construction and the NMMA certification are both proof of the kayak’s immense resistance capability. The kayak also has a multiple-chamber feature that allows you to stay afloat even if the kayak gets punctured by an object. The company guarantees the system is airtight so you can rest assured about the strength of the kayak.
Moving forward, the kayak has amazing tracking through its narrow-ended design and also has storage on-board to store your fresh catch. The Sevylor trolling motor also allows you to expand your fishing capability by venturing out into deeper waters at greater speeds. The company also provides its customers with a set of paddle holders so they can be safe while you resume your fishing. They can be nuisance though, once you have to choose between either taking care of the fishing rod or the paddle.
The overall weight of the kayak is around 41.5 pounds. You are also provided with a pair of fishing rod holders so you can relax while fishing. The Boston valve to fill in air is double-threaded which means inflation and deflation is pretty much easier and longer lasting. The price of the kayak is $308 on Amazon.
- 18-gauge PVC construction for strength in structure.
- 1000D tarpaulin bottom for durability.
- Boston Valve for easy inflation/deflation.
- Multiple-air chambers for safety.
- Paddle holders and fishing rod holders for comfort.
- Susceptible to being blown away by the wind.
- Long inflation time.
5. Rave Sea Rebel:
This small, yellow neon colored kayak is ideal for one person. It has a weight capacity of 200 pounds and is perfect for people to race on the water. The kayak can be used in almost any type of water body be it a lake, river or stream. The kayak is equipped with a heavy-duty 24-Gauge PVC bladder that helps greatly once you start paddling in the water. The durable 420D nylon cover along with the 500D tarpaulin bottom makes this bad boy a real surprise for the customers.
Naturally, the small size of this inflatable kayak will spark suspicion and people may stray away from it thinking it’s not safe. However, the company has taken every measure to make the kayak as safe as possible. Both the nylon cover and tarpaulin bottom add extra durability to the already-strong structure of the kayak making it resistant to any current possible.
Other features include 4 carry handles that allow you to easily drag the kayak and transport it once it’s inflated. There is also an adjustable backrest that gives your back a lot of comfort while you’re out paddling for hours. The company also gives you a 1-year warranty on the kayak so you can feel secure about making the purchase. Lastly, the kayak can be stored inside a backpack that comes with the purchase and weighs around 22 pounds, meaning it is easily transportable to anywhere you go.
- Comes with a carry bag for easy transportation.
- Hand pump able to inflate it in under 6 minutes.
- Sling seat with adjustable backrest.
- Stron 420D nylon Cover with 500D Tarpulin Bottom for durability.
- Tendency to take on water if not inflated fully.
- Sling seat is not optimal and may not be supportive to larger backs.
6. Driftsun Voyager:
The Voyager comes in with its very own hand pump. The inflatable kayak is able to inflate in under 5 minutes and is 10ft in length. The kayak can be transported with no extra effort at all because of its compact size and weight. The kayak only weighs 27 pounds and can be lifted by one person alone.
The kayak has a beautiful design and color combination that is very eye-catching. The strong structure followed by a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom makes the kayak durable against most surfaces as well as puncture proof. When we move on to its design, we see a pointed bow that helps with tracking and stability on rougher waters. The pointed nose of the Voyagers front allows you to paddle faster with excellent performance.
What’s more is that the company has designed a removable deep fin that gives you extra tracking and increased performance when you are out kayaking for a longer period of time. The rear drain plug also allows you to drain any water that gets collected in the kayak which stops the kayak from slowing down. The high quality padded seats provide you with longer hours of comfort on longer adventure trips with your friends or family.
Lastly, the paddles themselves are made up of a light-weight aluminum with ergonomic grips that allow for you to paddle faster. This strong paddle is designed especially keeping in mind the kind of kayaking done in downstream rivers. The kayak is perfect for thrill seekers wanting to go on a trip and not wanting to go through the hassle of having to carry a heavy kayak on their backs. The kayak is priced at $500 on Amazon.
- Good paddles with ergonomic grips.
- Heavy duty tarpaulin bottom for extra durability.
- Quick inflation under 5 minutes.
- Drains to allow for water to drain away quickly.
- Pointed bow and removable fin for excellent tracking performance.
- Susceptible to blowing away with the wind.
- Cannot support more than one person.
7. ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge
The kayak comes in two colors that include yellow and gray. The kayak’s built in aluminum ribs give it strength to deal with different water body types. The kayak is preassembled and all you need to do is open up, inflate and give it a go in the water.
The kayak weighs 34 pounds and is over 9ft. The shorter length of this kayak might reduce the stability but the overall narrow-ended design helps balance it out. The kayak has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and the company provides adjustable, highly comfortable seats for the user. It is one person kayak so you might want to buy one more if you wish to kayak with someone else.
The PVC tarpaulin hull material allows for extra layers of safety for you or your family members when they are out in the water. The kayak has excellent performance with longer hours of use and can be carried in a duffle bag anywhere you go.
- Strong aluminum ribs for sturdiness and strength.
- PVC tarpaulin cover for extra durability.
- Comfortable, one-person only seats.
- Visible neon yellow for safety in water.
- Only supports one person.
- Not enough leg space because of smaller length.
8. Blue Wave Sports Nomad:
The kayak is famous amongst the kayaking community and is preferred for its cool design and comfortable seat. The overall weight capacity the kayak can hold is 231 pounds. The kayak’s features include a 24 gauge PVC reinforced construction that allows for it to be used in the roughest waters. The anti-leaking feature with it keeps the kayak from sinking after having been punctured once or twice.
The kayak has 3 air chambers that allow for you to rest easy even if you see a puncture on the surface. The kayak is known for its airtight seal and quick inflation and deflation. The foot pump that the company includes helps you not bend and easily inflate the kayak in under 10 minutes. The reinforced large polyethylene blades are good for paddling allowing you to put in less effort to go to further areas.
The seat is adjustable and also has a strap for gripping when riding strong currents. This feature can assist you in not falling off from a sudden push at the hull. The kayak can fit inside of a bag that the company provides and can be taken anywhere you wish. This means that if you find a water source after long hours of hiking, you can take the kayak out, inflate it and travel across without having to go through any other hassle.
- 24-PVC reinforced construction for strength.
- Long, Polyethylene paddles for easy paddling.
- Includes foot pump and bag.
- Oversized pressure valve for easy inflation and deflation.
- Only for one person.
- Not much focus placed on tracking.
- Poor performance in windy situations.
9. Elkton Outdoors Cormorant:
This inflatable kayak is especially designed to have fishing enthusiasts on-board and provide them with enough features to make the best of their fishing experience. This two-person kayak can inflate in a matter of minutes therefore not wasting important fishing time for people.
The company designed the kayak to keep in mind the fact that users may accidently puncture the kayak with their fishing hooks. That’s why the Elkton has an 18-Gauge rip resistant 1000D PVC that makes it not only puncture proof but also hook proof. This kind of durability can only be found in a few inflatable kayaks in the world.
The kayak also features 2 fishing rod holders so you could rest your arms. It also has adjustable seats for longer hours of travel on calm waters. The kayak also includes two double sided oars and a pump that can fill up the kayak in under 8 minutes.
The lightweight and compactness of the kayak does not necessarily decrease with performance. The kayak’s three air chambers are easily repairable, saving you from further cost if in any case the hull gets torn apart. You will not be sinking anytime soon with the kayak because the three air chambers keep you afloat. Drag it as much as you want on the ground because nothing is going to happen to its surface.
- Super-strong hull with hook resistant feature.
- 2 fishing rod holders with paddle holders for comfortable fishing experience.
- Includes pump and quick inflation.
- Mesh storage compartment at the back for keeping valuables.
- Comfortable, adjustable seats with gel interior.
- Susceptible to blowing away with wind.
- Kayak bottom not water proof.
- No instruction manual.
10. Sea Eagle Inflatable 420X Explorer:
This is the highest priced inflatable kayak that we have on this list. The kayak 14ft in length and that adds the stability part of the features. The kayak can hold three people with an overall weight of 860 pounds. This makes the kayak perfect for water adventures with family and friends.
The inflatable kayak’s material is made from 1000 denier reinforced that gives the kayak extra strength with multiple layers for puncture resistance. The kayak has overlapped seams and extra durability through multiple air chambers that keep the kayak afloat despite having been poked a hole into. This makes it safer to go to deeper ends or ride with the strong currents of a river.
The kayak is NMMA approved and has a whitewater rating of class IV. The total inflation time it takes to fill this kayak up is under 9 minutes which is enough to get your things ready and then drag this kayak into the water. The company gives you a foot pump through which you can inflate the kayak along with a duffle bag to carry it in. There is a large removable center skeg that can be removed without the need for inflation or deflation. You can remove it in calm waters to prevent yawing. The skeg also increases the overall tracking performance of the kayak.
Lastly, the kayak comes with a strong modular rigid drop stitch floor that is waterproof and is strong enough to resist any shock or poke from the bottom. The kayak is priced at $1349 on Amazon.
- Super stable on water.
- Easy to lift regardless of size.
- Great maneuverability.
- 1000 denier reinforced material for great durability.
- Centre removable skeg for good tracking.
- Super expensive compared to other kayaks.
- Not really fast.
In the end, the best kayak depends on you and your requirements. All these kayaks have fancy features that can assist you in your kayaking but you need to decide what the kayak will be for, all year round. Will it be used to go out on fishing trips or will it serve to be a companion in hiking trips and keep up with your exercises? Depending on the strength and design of the kayak along with the understanding of which water body you want it for, make your final purchase. We hope you won’t regret it!