11 Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews – Tips & Guide

A friend recently introduced me to kayaking. I fell in love with the sport right away. But I had a problem. I didn’t have the room for a hard kayak.

So when I heard about inflatable kayaks, I knew it was the perfect option for me. Owning one is one of the best ways to get out on the water and enjoy the scenery up close.

Stay right here to read my inflatable kayak reviews and see if one might be the best inflatable kayak for you.

1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

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Some inflatable kayaks are lacking in appeal, but not the Intex. It has eye-catching graphics which can help keep you safe in the water. The seat is comfortable and has plenty of leg space.

I really liked the cargo net that helped me safely store my gear. You’ll receive an aluminum oar, repair patch, and a manual hand pump with your purchase. The kayak has a 220-pound maximum weight limit and weighs in at 30 pounds when inflated.

2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

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Like to kayak with a partner? This is a great tandem kayak that comes in a bright yellow shade for safety and is ideal for low-profile lakes and calm rivers.

If you do happen to hit some rough water, there are two separate air chambers. A leak in one should not be an issue. You’ll receive a repair kit just in case something does happen.

The kayak can hold up to 400 pounds. The seats include comfortable backrests and are adjustable. The only change I made with this kayak was that I purchased separate paddles for a more comfortable grip.

3. Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

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I loved the sporty look of this kayak, and the included high-quality aluminum paddles were nice. It was one of the easier kayaks that I inflated. 

This model is a tandem kayak with a 400-pound limit. I took a friend out in this kayak and he was hooked in a matter of minutes.

There’s just something so peaceful about being out on the water. When I don’t have anyone with me, the kayak is incredibly fast, especially for an inflatable.

4. Intex Excursion 4, 4-Person Inflatable Boat Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

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This is by far one of the best inflatable kayaks for fishing that I’ve ever seen. It’s made for four people, so grab your friends and some bait. You’re about to have a great day on the lake!

The seats are incredibly comfortable and there's plenty of floor space to stretch out or store gear. There are two fishing rod holders, a gear pouch, and oar holders. There are also motor mount fittings if you want a little help getting through the water.

The cushions have backrests that are so comfortable you might just skip fishing and lean back to take a nap. You haven’t fished like this before, trust me!

5. Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

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Hate blowing up your kayak with a manual pump? This tandem kayak comes with an electric pump that inflates the kayak in only eight minutes.

You’ll spend more time gathering your supplies than you will waiting for your kayak to be ready.

The pump has a cigarette lighter adapter so that you can inflate your kayak in a parking lot at a forest preserve or while parked near any body of water. There’s a nine-foot cord to give you a little wiggle room.

I also loved the inflatable spray skirts that helped keep me dry in cold, choppy water. However, the convenience of the electric pump is what sticks out to me the most.

6. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package

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This is the ultimate tandem inflatable kayak. The Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak weighs only 26 pounds but can hold 500 pounds. There’s plenty of space for your supplies, whether you want to bring snacks, drinks, or fishing gear.

Your kayak will come with inflatable spray skirts, inflatable seats, two oars, a foot pump, and a convenient carrying bag. The kayak also comes with a 3-year warranty, giving you peace of mind in your purchase.

7. Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

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The Advanced Elements inflatable kayak is one of the most durable I’ve come across. It has built-in aluminum ribs that help define different areas of the boat and improve tracking.

There are three layers of material to protect against punctures. You won’t find too many kayaks stronger than this one.

The seats are adjustable. You can either use both or just one for a comfortable solo trip.

8. Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package

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If you’re a fan of Sea Eagle kayaks, you’ll be a fan of their deluxe model. It has room for three people and can carry an impressive 650 pounds. It still only weighs in at 32 pounds.

It’s 12 feet long, so it’s still easy enough to maneuver through winding rivers. I’ve even brought this out in the ocean a couple times on vacation, and it performs beautifully.

9. Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak

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If you have five minutes, you have enough time to inflate your kayak and get out on the water. This kayak is designed for lake use and includes multiple air chambers to prevent you from sinking if one is punctured.

Both the tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover further protect against punctures.

I loved the backpack system that turned into the seat. If you love exploring as many places as you can in a weekend, this is the kayak for you.

10. Airhead AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak

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Asking for more leg room? This extra long 12-foot kayak has room for two people to stretch out and enjoy the scenery around them. It’s the best inflatable kayak for long trips.

Asking for more leg room? This extra long 12-foot kayak has room for two people to stretch out and enjoy the scenery around them. It’s the best inflatable kayak for long trips.

11. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

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This Coleman inflatable kayak is narrow, making it great for winding rivers and twisting lakes. The kayak includes trolling motor fittings so that you can head out even deeper into the lake.

I liked the Airtight System which guarantees no leaking, exactly what you want to hear if you’re going to head out into the middle of a lake. According to inflatable fishing kayak reviews, the Coleman inflatable kayak is the perfect tandem fishing kayak for long trips.

Why Buy an Inflatable Kayak?

If you love to kayak but just don’t have the space or stamina to handle a hard shelled kayak, an inflatable kayak offers the perfect solution. The best inflatable kayak reviews tell us that they’re lightweight and portable, so you can take your kayak virtually anywhere.

There are also different types of inflatable kayaks. Some are great for paddling, while others are designed for rapids. Another advantage of buying inflatable kayaks is their affordable prices.

You’re also sure to be impressed with their durability as well. Read a few inflatable kayak reviews. They’ll give you a clear picture of how much fun they are.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Inflatable Kayaks?

I’ve combed through inflatable kayak reviews, and I’ve come up with the following pros and cons based on these reviews and my own experiences.

Pros

Stores easily

One of the best pros regarding inflatable kayaks is that you can store them in small spaces, making them perfect for those who live in apartments or homes without a garage space.

Portable

You can take your kayak anywhere, even across the country or when flying over the ocean. You can always have a kayak with you with an inflatable version.

Affordable

Compared to hard shell kayaks, inflatables are much more affordable. With proper maintenance, your investment can give you a great return based on all the fun you’ll have.

Lightweight

If you like to walk down the beach in order to find the next best spot to head out on your kayak, having an inflatable will be crucial. They’re light enough to carry without your arms giving out.

Cons

Slower

The best inflatable kayak reviews will tell you that they create more friction, so they’re typically slower than hard shell kayaks. For most, this isn’t an issue because of all the benefits, but if you have a need for speed, you should consider this.

Vulnerable

Sharp rocks are an inflatable kayak’s worst enemy. It is possible for your kayak to be punctured by rocks or debris. While your kayak usually won’t sink, you will need to repair it. Deep or large tears could render your kayak unusable.

Width

Most inflatable kayaks are wider than hard shell versions. This improves stability, but can make paddling more difficult and slow you down.

How Do Inflatable Kayaks Compare to Regular (Hard Shell) Kayaks?

It should be no surprise that inflatable kayaks are lighter than hard shell. They’re also wider, and both of these factors lead to a slower ride. If you’re all about speed, you'll want to stick with a hard shell.

But if you’re all about price, inflatables are less expensive. They’re also easy to store and they’re completely portable.

But they do require a bit more maintenance, and you’ll spend more time prepping on the beach before getting in the water as they’ll need to be blown up. When it comes to performance, you’ll be surprised with how close the two are.

Inflatables are stable and difficult to tip over. Hard shells are easier to maneuver. If price and the ability to bring your kayak anywhere with ease is important to you, an inflatable will always be a better choice than a hard shell.

What Should I Look for in an Inflatable Kayak?

There are several questions you should ask yourself before deciding on an inflatable kayak:

Will I be kayaking alone?

Some kayaks are made for only one rider, while others are made for two. Some can be converted. If you don’t plan on taking anyone with you, it’s best to get a solo model so you have more storage and features.

What’s my ideal water type?

Certain brands do better in cold water or saltwater. Some are made for smooth water, while others are better for choppy. Try to figure out the type of water your kayak will typically be in to help you make a decision.

How tall and heavy am I?

Some inflatable kayaks have weight limits, while others, particularly those that have the user sit inside the cavity, can be tight fitting. Keep this in mind if you’re on the taller side.

Do I need room for supplies?

Are you just heading out on the water to enjoy the openness or do you plan on fishing or navigating choppy waters? Depending on your plans, you’ll need certain supplies, like a Tribord EasyBreath Snorkeling Mask, and you’ll want to make sure you have the space.

Some kayaks have more storage than others, so look for something that fits your storage needs.

What Is the Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing?

According to inflatable kayak reviews, the best inflatable kayak for fishing is ideally a tandem version. It should be rugged and durable with multiple air chambers, just in case you develop an air leak while out in the open water.

There are some with trolling motors, which can come in handy if you’re trying to get to the middle of a big lake. A Coleman inflatable kayak is a great choice.

What Is the Best Inflatable Kayak for Rivers?

If you plan on cruising down a river, look for a kayak that allows you to sit inside of the boat. It should be a tight fit. It won't be as comfortable as a sit-on-top style, but it’s better for navigating choppy waters.

What Is the Best Inflatable Kayak for Oceans?

Assuming that you’ll be in mostly calm waters, the best inflatable kayak for ocean trips is a sit-on-top style. You’ll appreciate not having to crawl into a tiny hole and paddling your way to a sore back.

You’ll also enjoy sitting on a full size seat with a backrest, as well as the ability to twist and turn to take in the scenery whenever you want.

How to Choose Paddles for Inflatable Kayaks

Blow up kayak paddles are different than canoe paddles. Canoe paddles only have one blade, a shaft, and a grip.

Kayak paddles have two blades and a shaft. You hold on to the middle of the paddle instead of the end. The blades are dipped one by one into the water, which is more efficient for kayaks.

Inflatable kayaks are usually wider than traditional models, so you’ll want to look for kayak paddles measuring at least 90 inches in length.

You’ll also need to decide between materials. Most are made from aluminum, carbon, or fiberglass.

Aluminum is the least expensive, but it’s more corrosive. Fiberglass is durable and stiff and can handle saltwater better.

It’s also comfortable to hold onto because it doesn’t heat up or cool down quickly based on water temperature. Finally, carbon is the most expensive, but it’s also the lightest.

It’s slightly less durable, but the lightweight factor could make it the best option if you plan on paddling for long distances.

What Should You Do if You Get a Puncture?

Even the best inflatable kayak reviews will tell you that punctures do happen on occasion. The good news is that for the most part, inflatable kayaks are unsinkable.

They typically have at least three separate air chambers, so as long as the leak is only in one, you should stay afloat.

Most punctures are small, so the air leaks out slowly. This should give you enough time to head back to shore and repair the leak with a repair kit. While punctures are inconvenient, they’re usually not the end of the line for your kayak.

How Do I Protect It from Wear and Tear?

It’s easier to care for a blow up kayak than you might think. Make sure you hose down your kayak with fresh water if you’ve been in the ocean. Always dry it off either in the sun or with a towel to prevent mold from showing up.

Let out the air and roll it up only once it’s dry. Place it in a storage bag and keep it in a dry place where it won’t be exposed to extreme weather. You can also use a UV protectant spray every once in a while to protect your kayak even more.

If you want to spend as much time in the water as possible, a blow up kayak could be just what you need. If you’re not sure about purchasing one, just take a look at a few inflatable kayak reviews. You’ll quickly realize how much fun it is to own one.

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