Best Inflatable Kayaks

Kayaking is an activity that is world renowned and one that is loved by both adults and children alike. It is an activity that allows you to glide through rivers, streams, and even the open ocean. Anyone that owns a kayak will tell you that it is quite the activity to do solo or with your family and allows you to relax but explore at the same time. Now there are two different types of kayaks and they are your regular hard shell and your inflatable, both are great but an inflatable kayak will give you a way easier way to transport than a hard-shell one. Now if you’re in the market for an inflatable kayak and want the ease of transportation and still be able to explore, then you have come to the right place.

Standout Picks

Hoibe I9S
In terms of everything you should look for in an inflatable kayak, the Hoibe I9s excels at. Sure, the price tag is sure to cause your jaw to drop to the floor but if you want the very best, you are looking at it right now.
Amazon Link
Advanced Elements
For several people, this next product is the true number one inflatable kayak in the world. No gripes from yours truly for those who feel that way and not only is it fantastic because of its three different seating locations but also that it can be transformed into either a double or single deck.
Aire Lynx II
This is yet another highly expensive model but due to its ranking on this list, it is clear that you get what you pay for. With 17 pairs of cargo loops for an impeccable amount of storage and a top-of-the-line construction, it is easy to see why one would rave at the sight of the Lynx II.
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Advanced Elements Lagoon
If you are seeking a one-person kayak, then the Lagoon from Advanced Elements is definitely one of your best options. It is constructed only from durable materials to deliver puncture-resistance and features low-profile rubber handles for smooth transport to boot.
Amazon Link
$499.00
Sevylor Big Basin
It may be an assumption in your mind that kayaks have always been designed for one person. Well, they can be large enough for more than one and this next model can actually hold three.
Amazon Link
$332.54
Sea Eagle 370K
Across the globe, one of the more popular inflatable kayaks is the 370K produced by Sea Eagle. For good reason, that is for sure, and perhaps the only speedbumps are potential issues of comfort and navigation that have been addressed by a few users.
Amazon Link
$359.10
Intex Challenger K2
Intex makes their first appearance on this list and they are known for releasing highly-affordable inflatable kayaks. Their Challenger K2 is a solid choice thanks to its puncture-resistant construction and bright green design for high visibility.
Amazon Link
$119.81
Sevylor Quikpak K5
To put it lightly, this next kayak is not designed for larger folks. Its 250-weight capacity is one thing and its limited space is an entirely different beast. However, for the right people, the Quickpak K5 Kayak can be perfect thanks to its simple setup and ruggedness.
Amazon Link
$347.78
Intex Explorer K2
Intex delivers their Explorer K2 Kayak and it is one of the most affordable, high-quality options out there. While this may not be suitable in rugged waters and high winds, it is still tough enough to handle ideal riding conditions.
Amazon Link
$149.84
Airhead Montana
This inflatable kayak can fit two people, which is great if you and a loved one enjoy kayaking together. This kayak is lightweight and portable - ideal if you do not have the room for a hard-shell kayak. It's easy to inflate and you will be on the water in no time.
Amazon Link
$627.72

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Durability

Depending on where you intend to kayak, the durability and construction (while important to begin with) as it could prove to be even more of a priority for you. For example, if you intend to kayak on roaring rivers with obstacles and potential accidents around every corner. Possessing a kayak that can withstand some impact and abuse is ideal. So, to do this you need to analyze its construction. Let’s start with the flooring and as you noticed, the premier inflatable kayaks have drop stitching. This technique combines thousands of tiny threads together to ensure maximum puncture-resistance.

However, the design as a whole is vital and it is not a coincidence that so many manufacturers opt to go with PVC. Thanks to its toughness, mechanical strength, and abrasion-resistance, it is an ideal material for kayaks. But, to minimize the chance of a potential abrasion, you may also see kayaks with multiple layers of material. In your mind, the durability of inflatable kayaks could be a reason you are hesitant to invest in one. But, rest assured, if they have everything that was just mentioned, they will hold up to rugged abuse.

Size

Now, it is worth noting that when you set out to go on a kayaking trip, aim to pack lightly. The fewer items you bring on a kayak, the better (especially if they are not waterproof). Still, you may want to tag along with some refreshments and possibly your electronic devices (ensuring you have a waterproof case). When addressing the storage capabilities of kayaks, there are a few areas you can analyze. One is if you will have access to D-rings or bungee tie-downs. If you had a cooler that would not fit in the interior of the kayak and there was a cargo area on the outside, you could strap it down with peace of mind.

But, what if you desire to utilize the interior for your essentials? The simple answer here is you should aim to invest in a kayak that accounts for it. Some, for instance, will come with handy storage pockets and even mesh pockets. Even if they do not, though, a spacious interior could be a useful location for your gear and items.

Weight

This, much like the storage capabilities, is all about personal preference. A few questions you need to answer beforehand are how many people you want to fit in one kayak and how much weight it needs to be capable of holding. Kayaks are often thought of as an individual canoe and while that is somewhat true, some inflatable kayaks can hold more than one person. However, if you would rather buy two individual kayaks for two people, then there is no reason for you to invest in a two-person or three-person kayak.

But, the weight capacity is also vitally important. If you are a larger individual, and we are not trying to call anyone out here, a two-person kayak with a 400-pound weight limit may not be enough for you and a friend. You may want to aim for 500 or 600 pounds if you think the need is there. However, you also have to account for your gear and how much it weighs. It is better to have weight to spare, rather than the constant concern if it will hold.

Features

With any product in the world, you can always look for convenient features and inflatable kayaks are no different. While the setup process was already addressed, how about actually transporting the kayak? Does it come with handles on the side when inflated? Also, is there a carrying bag that comes included with your purchase? Speaking of included accessories, this can also be an area of priority. Ensuring that your potential kayak comes with all the essentials you need, such as oars and an air pump, and perhaps some extra items, such as a pressure gauge, could prove to be important to you.

Top 10 Picks

1. Hoibe I9S

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Hoibe I9S
Amazon Link

In terms of everything you should look for in an inflatable kayak, the Hoibe I9s excels at. Sure, the price tag is sure to cause your jaw to drop to the floor but if you want the very best, you are looking at it right now.

Read more

Durability and Construction
First off, a technique called drop stitching has been integrated into the floor. Literally, thousands of tiny threads have been connected to both the top and bottom layers. In addition, the body is crafted with 1000 denier PVC.

Storage Capabilities
Thanks to the large cargo area, that has bungee tie-downs, there is an ideal location to store all the essentials that you desire.

Ease of Setup
Most reviewers have marked the setup time right around the ballpark of 10 minutes. This includes inflating the kayak itself and properly aligning the seats.

Size and Capacity
Even though this is only rated to hold one person, it has a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds. This is a bonus as most one-person inflatable kayaks will not precede 300 pounds.

Convenience
Included with this kayak is a rolling traveling bag but past this, the paddles are the most noteworthy feature. They are MirageDrive 180 paddles and they can be adjusted to adapt to all heights.

Overall
Due to the astronomical price tag, you should be serious about kayaking if you are planning on pulling the trigger with this one. But, know that every single penny is worth it because, in terms of pure quality, it just does not get better than this.

Amazon Link

2. Advanced Elements

Where to buy
Advanced Elements
Amazon Link

For several people, this next product is the true number one inflatable kayak in the world. No gripes from yours truly for those who feel that way and not only is it fantastic because of its three different seating locations but also that it can be transformed into either a double or single deck.

Read more

Durability and Construction
Much like the previous kayak, Advanced Elements also utilizes drop stitching with their high-pressure floors. Past this, it combines a stern rib-frame design with a rigid bow. Overall, there are three layers of material for puncture-resistance.

Storage Capabilities
If you use the double deck, you will have access to D-rings and a mesh pocket for storage. With the single deck, you also get a series of D-rings, along with a rear cargo hatch.

Ease of Setup
Even though this is advertised to be an easy kayak to setup, various users have claimed otherwise. In fact, it’s the lone issue with this kayak and as others point out, be prepared to exert some effort.

Size and Capacity
A maximum of two people can fit in this kayak, with three seating positions available, and as long as your total weight does not exceed 550 pounds, you are golden.

Convenience
Clearly, the option to transform this into a closed deck tandem, with the double deck, and a closed deck solo, with the single deck, provides great versatility for riding.

Overall
It is not difficult to see why this kayak is so highly-regarded by those who have used it. While the setup and deflating processes can be a hassle, when it is in the water, you will be glad you went through the effort.

3. Aire Lynx II

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Aire Lynx II
Amazon Link

This is yet another highly expensive model but due to its ranking on this list, it is clear that you get what you pay for. With 17 pairs of cargo loops for an impeccable amount of storage and a top-of-the-line construction, it is easy to see why one would rave at the sight of the Lynx II.

Read more

Durability and Construction
For an optimal amount of abrasion-resistance, urethane bladders are zippered into the PVC outer skin. In addition to this, the self-bailing floor has large mesh-covered openings to bail water quicker.

Storage Capabilities
Besides the handy storage pockets that are located on the back of this kayak, there are 17 pairs of cargo loops. This provides you with plenty of storage options for your gear.

Ease of Setup
The Leafield B7 valves that the Lynx II is advertised as delivering hassle-free inflation and deflation when your journey is over.

Size and Capacity
This is designed to hold two people and a plethora of gear. However, if you simply want to go out on your own, it can double as a solo kayak and there will be even more room for you.

Convenience
To get further clarification on the regulations of the warranty, you may need to get in touch with Aire. But, it is comforting to know that you are provided with a 10-year warranty.

Overall
When it comes down to it, you get what you pay for. In terms of its combination of strength, durability, storage options, and seating capacity, it is tough to match what the Lynx II delivers.

Amazon Link

4. Advanced Elements Lagoon

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$499.00
Advanced Elements Lagoon
Amazon Link

If you are seeking a one-person kayak, then the Lagoon from Advanced Elements is definitely one of your best options. It is constructed only from durable materials to deliver puncture-resistance and features low-profile rubber handles for smooth transport to boot.

Read more

Durability and Construction
Advanced Elements only utilizes durable materials in the construction process of their Lagoon Kayak. This includes the top side being designed of a high-denier polyester and PVC laminate.

Storage Capabilities
Thanks to the lacing that is integrated on the bungee deck, you are provided with a logical location to stow your gear.

Ease of Setup
Both the Spring and Twistlok valves are compatible with a wide range of pumps and as such, the setup process should take little to no time.

Size and Capacity
With a weight capacity of 250 pounds and only a single seat, this kayak is only going to be suitable for a certain amount of people.

Convenience
To allow for a mode of smooth transport, there are low-profile rubber handles integrated into the kayak. Also, it comes with a heavy-duty duffle bag.

Overall
Advanced Elements has produced yet another top-of-the-line inflatable kayak. While not as world-renowned or beloved as their previous entry, this is a fantastic option for those seeking a solo kayak that has plenty of storage space.

Amazon Link
$499.00

5. Sevylor Big Basin

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$332.54
Sevylor Big Basin
Amazon Link

It may be an assumption in your mind that kayaks have always been designed for one person. Well, they can be large enough for more than one and this next model can actually hold three.

Read more

Durability and Construction
The Airtight System of this kayak is practically guaranteed never to leak. Even more so, the PVC construction makes it suitable for the roughest of lakes and waters.

Storage Capabilities
The interior of this kayak makes up the majority of it. As such, there should be plenty of room inside for your accessories and kayaking gear.

Ease of Setup
A pressure gauge is included so you know precisely when enough air has been added to the kayak. Thanks to the Boston Valve being double-threaded, it is also user-friendly to both inflate and deflate the kayak.

Size and Capacity
Despite the fact that this can properly seat up to three people, it actually only has a weight capacity of 490 pounds. As you can no doubt tell, it is optimal for no more than two adults.

Convenience
The spray covers are a nice touch as you are somewhat protected against splashes. Better yet, though, are the adjustable seats as they can significantly aid in comfort.

Overall
This is an ideal kayak for say, two parents and their child or a parent and his two children. Basically, any combination that does not include three grown adults will suffice.

Amazon Link
$332.54

6. Sea Eagle 370K

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$359.10
Sea Eagle 370K
Amazon Link

Across the globe, one of the more popular inflatable kayaks is the 370K produced by Sea Eagle. For good reason, that is for sure, and perhaps the only speedbumps are potential issues of comfort and navigation that have been addressed by a few users.

Read more

Durability and Construction
This is designed with sun and saltwater-resistant hull, making it ideal for ocean waters. Thanks to its eloquent combination of durability and lightweight nature, it is practically perfect for all adventures.

Storage Capabilities
Within the kayak, there should be enough room for you to store some of your essentials. However, there are no D-rings and per the manufacturer’s warning, you should not glue on your own, either.

Ease of Setup
Sea Eagle advertises their kayak to inflate in roughly eight minutes. In addition, they include a pressure gauge to indicate when there is enough air inside.

Size and Capacity
While there are only two seats that come with the 370K Kayak, it is capable of seating three people. All in all, its massive weight capacity of 650 pounds can account for a wide range of people.

Convenience
Included for your convenience with the kayak itself is a foot pump, nylon carrying bag repair kit and also a pressure gauge.

Overall
Simply put, this is one of the best family kayaks in the world today, inflatable or not. Its weight capacity and seating arrangements will account for several different people. On top of this, the 370K is built-to-last.

Amazon Link
$359.10

7. Intex Challenger K2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$119.81
Intex Challenger K2
Amazon Link

Intex makes their first appearance on this list and they are known for releasing highly-affordable inflatable kayaks. Their Challenger K2 is a solid choice thanks to its puncture-resistant construction and bright green design for high visibility.

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Durability and Construction
Utilizing ultra-tough vinyl, Intex was able to construct their Challenger K2 to both puncture-resistant and UV damage-resistant. Past this, the cockpit is both spacious and comfortable.

Storage Capabilities
There is not an abundance of room in the interior for your accessories or gear, but there should still be enough room to utilize. Also, there is an integrated cargo net at the front that can hold your gear.

Ease of Setup
As one user reported, a foot pump instead of a hand pump may have been more optimal. But, as it stands, inflating this kayak can take some effort on your part with the included accessories.

Size and Capacity
Either one or two people can use this kayak. However, with two people, you will be a bit limited by the 400-pound weight capacity.

Convenience
Included with your purchase is a repair patch kit, two aluminum oars and a hand pump. Additionally, the bright green color ensures that the kayak is highly visible in the water.

Overall
Cheap? Yes, but not in the way you may think. About the only design aspect that users took issue with is the skeg that happened to fall off on them. Other than that, though, this is a high-quality kayak no matter the price.

Amazon Link
$119.81

8. Sevylor Quikpak K5

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$347.78
Sevylor Quikpak K5
Amazon Link

To put it lightly, this next kayak is not designed for larger folks. Its 250-weight capacity is one thing and its limited space is an entirely different beast. However, for the right people, the Quickpak K5 Kayak can be perfect thanks to its simple setup and ruggedness.

Read more

Durability and Construction
The PVC exterior and the tarpaulin surface, with a polyester cover to boot, provides a terrific combination of durability and puncture-resistance. Also, because of the multiple air chambers, it will stay inflated if one layer is punctured.

Storage Capabilities
Both D-rings and bungee storage areas are conveniently located on top of the kayak to provide you with a place to store your gear and essentials.

Ease of Setup
Because the Double Lock valves have two locking points, inflation and deflation can both be done in as little as five minutes.

Size and Capacity
Let’s just say this, this is not a feasible kayak for larger people. It only fits one and the 250-pound weight capacity is not really the issue, but the lack of space is. If you are tall, pretty much forget about having leg room.

Convenience
Innovative design is at work here thanks to the backpack system. When deflated, the kayak will fold out into the seat. In addition to this, when it is fully inflated, there are carrying handles.

Overall
Despite the issue of space, which is prevalent for larger and taller folks, this is another logical choice in a long list of them.

Amazon Link
$347.78

9. Intex Explorer K2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$149.84
Intex Explorer K2
Amazon Link

Intex delivers their Explorer K2 Kayak and it is one of the most affordable, high-quality options out there. While this may not be suitable in rugged waters and high winds, it is still tough enough to handle ideal riding conditions.

Read more

Durability and Construction
Being designed with vinyl and an I-beam floor, durability should not be a concern here. However, the included seats do not provide much back or buttocks support.

Storage Capabilities
With two people sitting inside, it may be tough to get much of anything else inside. However, riding solo should provide you with enough room for small gear.

Ease of Setup
No doubt about it, the setup for the Explorer K2 is a breeze. With a Boston valve on each side of the kayak, both inflating and deflating are user-friendly.

Size and Capacity
As was just mentioned, this is a two-person kayak. Much like with their Challenger K2 Kayak, though, the Explorer K2 has a weight limit of 400 pounds; which is a bit limited.

Convenience
Besides coming equipped with two aluminum oars and an air pump, the bright yellow design guarantees you will be visible in the water.

Overall
A couple slight limitations aside, the Explorer K2 Kayak is a fantastic choice. It may not be suitable for enthusiasts of the kayaking art but for those who want to get out every once in a while, it is almost perfect.

Amazon Link
$149.84

10. Airhead Montana

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$627.72
Airhead Montana
Amazon Link

This inflatable kayak can fit two people, which is great if you and a loved one enjoy kayaking together. This kayak is lightweight and portable - ideal if you do not have the room for a hard-shell kayak. It's easy to inflate and you will be on the water in no time.

Read more

Durability and Construction
When it is fully inflated, the Montana is a sturdy vessel that will take you and a friend or loved one exploring through rivers and the open water.

Storage Capabilities
There are no pockets or many storage compartments on this kayak, but if you are traveling solo, you can use the extra seat as storage.

Ease of Setup
Those who have reviewed this product have not had any issues with the setup process. It seems to be a consensus that it is simple.

Size and Capacity
This kayak is designed for two people. If you do not have an extra person it is a great idea to pack your gear in the extra spot so the weight acts like another person and you can steer more easily.

Convenience
Very lightweight and compact. This kayak is easy to store and travel with.

Amazon Link
$627.72

Sources

  1. Antonio Cala, BEST INFLATABLE KAYAKS OF 2018, Blog