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Looking for an enjoyable way to explore the waterways? Consider getting the best inflatable kayak.
Besides being affordable, it is often more lightweight and more portable than a hard-shell kayak.
As such, you can easily pack it and bring it with you on your travels.
In doing so, your inflatable kayak actually saves you money, as you don’t need to rent one at every destination.
If you’ve decided to get one, below are reviews of our top five picks.
Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews
1. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Explorer K2 is a fun and sporty kayak with a streamlined design offering easier paddling.
It has a brightly colored exterior with sporty graphics that makes it highly visible in the water.
Since it comes with two seats, this is an excellent choice for people looking to experience mild rivers and lakes with loved ones.
Best of all, you will find that it is compact, lightweight, and easy to assemble.
The Intex Explorer K2 is a tandem kayak that closely resembles a banana, both in shape and color.
Made from rugged vinyl, this budget-friendly kayak has proven to be sturdy and long-lasting.
Unlike hard-shell options, it is compact, lightweight, and takes only a few minutes to assemble fully.
In terms of its specs, the kayak comes with three air chambers and standard directional skegs.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds, and it measures 123 by 36 by 20 inches.
There is an I-beam on the floor, providing the kayak with rigidity.
The detachable skeg gives it its stability, which is necessary for paddling in windy weather conditions.
As mentioned, it comes with two in-built inflatable seats.
You can adjust and align these seats to your body to get ultimate comfort.
To keep you safe and balanced, you will appreciate the addition of the handles located at each end of the kayak.
Since this is a complete kayaking set, you also get an air pump, two paddles, and a carry bag with your kayak.
Essentially, this means you won’t need to make any separate purchases if you pick the Intex Explorer K2.
Instead, you can go straight into the water and start paddling.
What We Like
We like how brightly colored this kayak is, as it can be helpful in emergencies.
The adjustable seats add more comfort when sitting in the kayak, making it easier to paddle.
Lastly, a repair kit comes in handy when you have to deal with unexpected damages.
What We Don’t Like
We found the kayak not being suitable for larger-bodied individuals. The paddles are also of average quality.
- Easy to assemble
- Sturdy and durable
- Lightweight at 30 pounds
- Impressive weight capacity
- Average quality paddles
2. Intex Challenger Kayak
When it comes to inflatable kayaks for those on a tight budget, Intex is the go-to brand.
We had to include another Intex product, as they know exactly what makes up a good inflatable kayak.
The Challenger is a single-person kayak that is easy to assemble and use.
It is one of the least expensive options you’ll find on the current market.
While it may not be fully advanced, it will keep you afloat and get you around in the water.
The Intex Challenger is a durable and agile kayak made of a strong welded material.
It is brightly colored with eye-catching graphics all over that make it visible even if you are at a distance.
Its vibrant color is also an added safety feature in case you are in an emergency.
This kayak is ideal for slow-moving rivers or lakes, and its cockpit is designed for maximum space and comfort.
It also features an I-beam on the floor, which adds more stability.
Additionally, you will find an adjustable inflatable seat with a backrest that keeps you comfortable while paddling.
For those looking to store things, you can take advantage of the cargo net in the front.
There is also a grab line on both ends of the kayak.
The kayak comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, along with a repair patch and hi-output manual hand pump.
Measuring 108 by 30 by 15 inches and weighing only 27.2 pounds, the Challenger is more lightweight than the Explorer K2.
However, it has a lower maximum weight capacity at just 220 pounds.
What We Like
Like the previous Intex kayak, the Challenger is also built well and made from a durable material that will last a long time.
We like that there is a cargo net that allows you to store your belongings.
The I-beam is an excellent feature, too, providing the vessel with good stability.
Lastly, the adjustable seat adds to the overall comfort you feel as you paddle.
What We Don’t Like
The Challenger might not be the kayak you should be considering if you are a tall and well-built person.
Anyone over six feet will have a hard time using this kayak.
- Comfortable seat
- Lighter than the Explorer K2
- Storage option
- Not ideal for taller people
- Can only carry 220 pounds max
3. Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak
Ocean or river, the Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion is a kayak that will work exceptionally well.
It is a full set complete with a pump, paddle, and patch.
More than anything, you will appreciate that it is easy and quick to set up.
You will also find the cockpit comfortably-sized and features an adjustable seat and a backrest for additional support.
This an easy-to-use and -store kayak that will bring out your inner explorer.
The Hydro-Force Cove Champion is a single-person kayak that can comfortably accommodate a maximum weight of 220 pounds.
It comes complete with a durable, double-sided paddle, a heavy-duty repair patch, and an air hammer hand pump so you can quickly take it out into the water.
There is a wide-opening cockpit on this kayak that features an adjustable seat.
This seat boasts a backrest to offer extra lumbar support when kayaking for hours.
There are also removable fins, adding directional stability.
You will find a ton of storage areas for your adventure and travel equipment or necessities.
The kayak is extremely lightweight, and upon deflating, you can fold it down to a tiny size so that you can store or pack it easily.
Lastly, a wraparound grab rope surrounds the whole exterior of the kayak for more manageable transportation.
This design choice gives you the ability to tie the kayak up to an anchored spot or a dock.
What We Like
The Hydro-Force Cove Champion is a well-built kayak that takes only a few minutes to be fully ready.
You will like that it has an adjustable seat with a backrest, offering you phenomenal support and comfort.
There is ample storage space for your things, too.
What We Don’t Like
The sides of the kayak have two separate air chambers.
This means if you haven’t filled the air properly, it can completely throw the kayak off balance.
- Highly comfortable seat
- Ample storage space
- Easy to set up and use
- Weighs less than 20 pounds
- Can get off-balanced if not filled with air properly
- Only 165-pound max capacity
4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak
The Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak is a 15-foot kayak featuring an open-deck design.
It can go from an open to a closed deck in a matter of seconds.
It combines a rigid bow and stern rib frame and the versatility of solo or tandem seating positions with interchangeable decks.
This Advanced Elements kayak is an easy-to-use and straightforward vessel that arrives pre-assembled.
All you need to do is unfold, inflate, and attach the seats, and you’re good to go.
When folded, its size goes down to 35 by 21 by 12 inches, making it easy to carry.
The maximum weight capacity is an impressive 550 pounds, though the weight of the kayak itself is 52 pounds.
The kayak boasts three layers of materials that ensure exceptional puncture resistance.
There are two detachable inflatable seats with three seat locations on the kayak.
As such, you can either use it as a solo kayak or a tandem kayak.
These seats are highly padded, adjustable, and have phenomenal support, providing the kayaker with ample comfort for hours of paddling.
What We Like
We like how well this kayak is built and that the whole setup process is quick and simple.
The three-layered materials do a great job of protecting the kayak from damage.
The fact that it has a massive 550-pound maximum load capacity is also an impressive feature.
What We Don’t Like
At 52 pounds, this isn’t the lightest kayak on the market. Compared to its counterparts, this is a bit pricier, too.
- Doesn’t puncture easily
- Can handle a lot of weight
- Easy to set up and maneuver
- Use as a solo or tandem kayak
- Slightly heavy
5. Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle kayaks are quite similar to Intex kayaks in that they have a sun-resistant and durable construction.
Even so, it is still a very light kayak, weighing just under 26 pounds.
Made from durable molded plastic, the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe can carry a maximum weight of 650 pounds.
At 7 feet and 10 inches long, not only can it carry massive weights but also hold your onboard essentials.
It features two molded skegs that protect the kayak from getting damaged by rocks that appear out of nowhere.
The integral five-tube I-beam floor keeps it stable.
What’s more, this design choice helps you speed up when you wish to and stop when you want to take a break.
From its molded plastic construction to its impressive design, you can trust that this kayak can stand the test of time.
What We Like
One of the best things about this kayak is that it can hold up to three people.
For its size, you will find that it is still easy to haul because it is so lightweight.
Even though it’s so big, it can be inflated or deflated in under 10 minutes.
What We Don’t Like
The downside of this kayak is that it is not the most stable in windy conditions.
- Can carry up to three people
- Easy to set up
- Comes with two movable seats
- Includes paddles, carry bag, and a pump
- Not very stable in windy conditions
Any one of these best inflatable kayaks is sure to bring you and your family lots of fun.
Still, if you have never used one before, we understand how deciding on just one can be challenging.
To make your purchase easier, here are the most critical factors you would want to keep in mind:
1. Type of Water You’ll Use It in
The type of kayak you pick depends on the kind of kayaking you want to try doing.
There are different types of inflatable kayaks, and some can withstand even the roughest of waters.
Beginner or professional, if you enjoy whitewater kayaking, you will need to find an inflatable kayak for white waters.
If you prefer kayaking on ponds or lakes, get a kayak that can track straighter and can deal with wind and waves.
2. Seating Capacity
Next, choose whether to get a single-person kayak or a tandem kayak.
Trying to maneuver a tandem kayak by yourself can be quite tricky. Hence, if you’re going to go out by yourself, we recommend choosing a single-person kayak.
That said, if you have children or wish to go with your partners, you will get a ton of value by selecting a tandem kayak.
It would help if you also consider the weight of the kayak before you choose one.
A heavier kayak could be challenging to maneuver when you are in the water and even more difficult to transport between bodies of water.
On the other hand, a heavier kayak may be beneficial to handle strong winds than lighter inflatable kayaks.
If you are looking for one you can transport easily, a lighter one will definitely be the better choice.
Longer kayaks have the advantage of tracking straighter in the waves and winds, but they have a hard time turning.
Preferably, choose this type of length if you like kayaking in lakes and ponds.
Shorter kayaks are great if you are looking for the most maneuverability.
5. Sit-on-Top or Sit-In
Inflatable kayaks most often come in one of two kinds with regards to their sitting position.
Sit-on-top kayaks position the kayaker above the water and will typically feature comfortable chairs.
These kayaks are mostly less streamlined, tend to be more comfortable, and are ideal for activities such as fishing and hunting.
Sit-in kayaks, on the other hand, place the kayaker inside and enclosed in the kayak.
These kayaks go much faster, are more streamlined but not as comfortable.
6. Paddle Rest/Paddle Holder
While most inflatable kayaks come with a paddle rest or paddle holder, some don’t.
Obviously, it would be better to choose one that has a paddle rest.
You do not want to be holding your paddles throughout the time you are kayaking, right?
7. Storage Compartments
Depending on how you intend to use your kayak, storage space can be an important feature.
Kayaks with storage compartments will often come with a waterproof section and areas that can strap on packs and more.
Make sure you check out the features of the compartment before you settle on a kayak.
Kayaks can come with several additional features, such as seating features, fishing attachments, and a plethora of other extras.
If you know exactly what you will be using your kayak for, look for those features as they can be quite important.
Inflatable Kayak FAQs
1. Are inflatable kayaks any good?
Depending on your usage and preferences, you’ll find that inflatable kayaks can be good investments.
After all, these tend to be hard-wearing, stable, and robust.
At the same time, they are portable and lightweight, making them much easier to manage than their hard-shell counterparts.
2. How long does an inflatable kayak last?
An inflatable kayak can easily last anywhere between five and 10 years.
However, that still depends on how you are using it and how well you take care of it.
3. Are inflatable kayaks hard to paddle?
Since these tend to be so lightweight, inflatable kayaks are pretty easy to paddle.
Still, this only applies to calmer waters.
If you are using an inflatable kayak in rougher conditions, it will be more difficult to paddle.
4. Do alligators attack inflatable kayaks?
Yes, alligators can attack inflatable kayaks.
While we can’t exactly say how often, in most cases, the odds of it attacking your kayak are relatively low.
If you are kayaking in places where alligators are native, there is a higher chance of that happening.
5. Do I need a license for an inflatable kayak?
For most states, no, you do not need a license for an inflatable kayak if you will use it only in the sea.
However, some states may require you to register your inflatable kayak.
It’s best to check with officials before you use your kayak.
What Is the Best Inflatable Kayak to Buy?
Our personal favorite is the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, which has the perfect combination of great features and price.
It is well built using durable materials, easy to set up and compact, and is suitable for lakes and calm rivers.