9 Best Inflatable Kayaks (Easy to Use & Affordable)
The inflatable kayak is a fun boat that can be used for a wide range of activities, ranging from recreational family outings to competitive kayaking.
One of the best things about the inflatable kayak is that it is very easy-to-use, quick to set up and is quite affordable.
Moreover, the inflatable kayak is one of the rare types of boats where you absolutely do not need a permit to operate.
If you are fresh on the market for the best inflatable kayak for the money, we have you covered! Here are our impressions on a few hand-picked kayaks that are worth the consideration.
- 9 Best Inflatable Kayaks – Reviews
- 1. Sea Eagle SE370K-P – Best Overall Inflatable Kayak
- 2. Intex Explorer K2 – Most Stable Inflatable Kayak
- 3. Sea Eagle 330 – Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak
- 4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing
- 5. Driftsun Voyager – Most Durable Inflatable Kayak
- 6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible – Best Inflatable Kayak for Tracking
- 7. Intex Challenger K2 – Inflatable Kayak with a Rigid Floor
- 8. Intex Challenger K1 – Best Inflatable Kayak for the Money
- 9. Sevylor Quikpak K1 – Most Lightweight Inflatable Kayak
- How to Buy an Inflatable Kayak
9 Best Inflatable Kayaks – Reviews
1. Sea Eagle SE370K-P (Best Overall Inflatable Kayak)
2. Intex Explorer K2 (Most Stable Inflatable Kayak)
3. Sea Eagle 330 (Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak)
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado (Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing)
5. Driftsun Voyager (Most Durable Inflatable Kayak)
6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible (Best Inflatable Kayak for Tracking)
7. Intex Challenger K2 (Inflatable Kayak with a Rigid Floor)
8. Intex Challenger K1 (Best Inflatable Kayak for the Money)
9. Sevylor Quikpak K1 (Most Lightweight Inflatable Kayak)
1. Sea Eagle SE370K-P
(Best Overall Inflatable Kayak)
2. Intex Explorer K2
(Most Stable Inflatable Kayak)
3. Sea Eagle 330
(Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak)
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado
(Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing)
5. Driftsun Voyager
(Most Durable Inflatable Kayak)
6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible
(Best Inflatable Kayak for Tracking)
7. Intex Challenger K2
(Inflatable Kayak with a Rigid Floor)
8. Intex Challenger K1
(Best Inflatable Kayak for the Money)
9. Sevylor Quikpak K1
(Most Lightweight Inflatable Kayak)
1. Sea Eagle SE370K-P – Best Overall Inflatable Kayak
- People Capacity: 3
- Kayak Weight: 32 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 650 lbs
The Sea Eagle SE370K-P is the best overall inflatable kayak due to a number of reasons. For starters, it has the highest carrying and weight capacities, in which it can accommodate up to 3 people and up to 650 lbs. in weight.
Moreover, you get 2 quality paddles with this purchase. These paddles have aluminum shafts for maximum strength and durability while their asymmetrical blades provide a wide surface area for quick thrust.
You also get 2 comfortable deluxe seats that have improved back support and are movable so as to allow you to adjust your seating position.
Other features include 2 skegs at the bottom for improved tracking and speed, rugged Polykrylar construction that is 38mm thick and a sturdy I-beam floor that helps to maintain rigidity.
The only problem is that you only get two seats instead of 3, yet the boat is designed to accommodate 3 people.
2. Intex Explorer K2 – Most Stable Inflatable Kayak
- People Capacity: 2
- Kayak Weight: 30.6 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
With a 2-person capacity, Intex's Explorer K2 has quite a wide design that measures 3-ft in width. This ensures that you cannot easily overturn even when paddling on rough waters. Additionally, you get a removable skeg at the bottom for directional stability.
Other than that, the product has a weight capacity of 400 lbs., which is decent for carrying two people while a bright yellow exterior color improves visibility for safety purposes.
More features include 2 aluminum paddles, a heavy-duty manual pump, 3 separate air chambers, a rigid I-beam inflatable floor and Boston valves for quick inflation/deflation.
However, this boat lacks a 3-ply construction, which limits its sturdiness and durability.
3. Sea Eagle 330 – Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak
- People Capacity: 2
- Kayak Weight: 26 lbs
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs
If you like whitewater kayaking, Sea Eagle's 330 should be your go-to option. With its 2-person capacity and 500-lb weight capacity, the boat is ideal for class 3 whitewater, which is mildly intense but recommended for experienced paddlers.
The kayak is also made from a heavy-duty Polykrylar material with a reinforced I-beam floor for enhanced durability when paddling through the whitewater.
You also get 2 rear skegs for excellent speed and tracking, 2 super comfortable deluxe seats with improved lumbar support, 2 aluminum shaft paddles with asymmetrical blades, a foot pump and a carry bag.
However, the skegs are not removable, which would otherwise be ideal for improving maneuverability.
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing
- People Capacity: 2
- Kayak Weight: 41.2 lbs
- Weight Capacity: N/A
Sevylor's Coleman Colorado is equipped with provisions for a trolling motor at the back, which allows you to attach this engine so as to expand your fishing capabilities.
Additionally, you get adjustable Berkley quick set rod holders for hands-free fishing, mesh storage pockets for keeping your fishing gear within close reach and multiple D-rings for attaching other types of equipment.
Another thing that distinguishes this kayak is its superior build quality. Indeed, this model is made from an 18-gauge PVC material, which is very tough.
This is further enhanced by a 1000D tarpaulin bottom plus an 840D nylon cover, which improved puncture resistance.
Other features include an airtight system for leak-proof use, paddle holders and a double threaded Boston valve. However, no paddles are included in the set.
5. Driftsun Voyager – Most Durable Inflatable Kayak
- People Capacity: 2
- Kayak Weight: 27 lbs
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs
Just like the Coleman Colorado, this Driftsun Voyager is built with durability in mind. It has a tough 840D coated nylon oxford fabric as the top cover, a puncture-resistant heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin material at the bottom and leak-proof double-threaded Boston valves.
On the inside, you get high quality padded seats that are made using non-slip EVA while splash guards at both the rear and front ends prevent water from getting inside.
Other features include a pointed nose for superior streamlined performance, a removable skeg for responsive tracking, paddle straps and corrosion-resistant hardware.
The only problem is that you don't get storage slots or pockets in this boat.
6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible – Best Inflatable Kayak for Tracking
- People Capacity: 2
- Kayak Weight: 52 lbs
- Weight capacity: 550 lbs
With its long 15-ft design, this 2-person inflatable kayak is ideal for speed when tracking. Additionally, it has built-in aluminum ribs that enhance tracking because of the way they define the bow and stern.
The boat comes pre-assembled from the factory for easy use, and is built using PVC with 3 layers for maximum durability and enhanced puncture resistance.
Other features include comfortably padded high-support seats that are adjustable for solo or tandem paddling, bungee straps for storage and carrying handles at the front and rear end
On the downside, this kayak is very expensive and also very heavy.
7. Intex Challenger K2 – Inflatable Kayak with a Rigid Floor
- People Capacity: 2
- Kayak Weight: 33.53 lbs
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs
Intex's Challenger K2 is characterized by an inflatable I-beam floor that is very rigid for firm support. This floor and the entire boat in general is made using heavy-duty vinyl that is puncture-resistant for maximum durability.
That said, the kayak has a sporty, streamlined design that is easy to paddle while a bright green outer color makes it easily visible for safety purposes.
You also get two 86-inch aluminum paddles in the set, a high output pump for quick inflation/deflation, 2 comfortable seats, a removable skeg and a cargo net at the front end for storage.
However, there are no carrying handles built in for easy transportation.
8. Intex Challenger K1 – Best Inflatable Kayak for the Money
- People Capacity: 1
- Kayak Weight: 23.9 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 220 lbs
If you are on a tight budget, Intex's Challenger K1 is an affordable inflatable kayak to consider buying. It is quite similar to the K2 because it has a bright green exterior that is easily visible and a cargo net at the front for storage.
However, this one accommodates only one person, which means it has a single seat and comes with one 84-inch aluminum oar paddle.
The kayak is built using puncture-resistant vinyl for enhanced durability and has a rigid I-beam floor that gives firm support.
You also get Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation, an adjustable seat that is removable, grab lines on the front and rear ends and a removable skeg for better tracking.
On the downside, the boat has a low weight capacity of 220 lbs. but considering it has a 1-person capacity, this is quite reasonable. However, this is not recommended for an overweight person.
9. Sevylor Quikpak K1 – Most Lightweight Inflatable Kayak
- People Capacity: 1
- Kayak Weight: 18 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
Even though it is made using a heavy-duty 21-gauge PVC material, Sevylor's Quikpak K1 is surprisingly very lightweight. Coming in at 18 lbs., this kayak is very easy to carry into or out of your kayak trailer.
In addition to the PVC fabric, this boat also has a tough tarpaulin bottom that protects against punctures while an airtight system with multiple air chambers ensures you remain afloat even if one pocket is punctured.
You also get multi-position foot rests that let you sit in your most comfortable position, double lock valves for easy inflation/deflation, a cargo net at the front, a cup holder and carrying handles at the front and rear.
The only problem is that the seat is not adjustable because it is part of the boat (permanently attached).
How to Buy an Inflatable Kayak
Before finding the best inflatable kayak for the money, there are some important factors to take into account. Here is an overview of some of the most important ones:
1. Types of Inflatable Kayak
There are several types of inflatable kayaks and each is suited for a particular purpose. Here are some popular kayak types that you will encounter.
Self Bailing Kayaks: These kayaks have holes at the bottom, which are known as ports. Their use is to drain water if it gets inside the kayak.
Indeed, this type of kayak will need those holes as it is made for whitewater rafting. It sounds pretty weird that an inflatable kayak is used for whitewater rafting as this is normally reserved only for hard-shell kayaks.
However, the self-bailing kayak has a very durable build construction with a heavy duty underside that allows it to raft on those dangerous waters.
Sit on Top Kayaks: The sit on top kayak has an open cockpit so that you can freely move around. Additionally, you have a bird's eye view over the waters around you do due to the fact that this kayak is also tall.
The only problem with the sit on top kayak is that when water gets inside, it is very difficult to get it out.
Therefore, this type of kayak is mostly used on calm rivers and lakes where there is little possibility for water getting inside the cockpit.
Sit Inside Kayaks: The sit inside kayak has a closed cockpit. Therefore, this type of kayak is better suited for rapid waters and sports rafting since the inside stays dry. Nevertheless, maneuverability is not as good as a seat on top kayak since the cockpit is smaller and limits movement.
Canoe-Kayak: As its name suggests, that canoe-kayak is a hybrid between a regular canoe and a kayak. The end result is a short and wide kayak that is very stable on the water.
This type of kayak is generally meant for recreational purposes and can accommodate any type of people, big or small with equal ease.
Size is one of the most important considerations for an inflatable kayak. The bigger the size of the inflatable kayak the better stability you will have.
That said, longer kayaks such as Advanced Elements' AdvancedFrame Convertible are better suited for tracking while wider units like Intex's Explorer K2 are more stable and better suited for beginners.
The build construction of an inflatable kayak is extremely important because sinking can be fatal. Therefore, you do not want a puncture to happen because of poor build quality.
Ensure that your inflatable kayak is made from high-quality and durable materials like PVC such as in Driftsun's Voyager. Additionally, the material needs to be made in such a way that it will not lose durability when inflated and deflated over time.
Moreover, for best security, we recommend that you go with an inflatable kayak that has a reinforced bottom and an airless system (like in Sevylor's Quikpak K1), which guarantees floating.
4. Kayak Weight
The weight of a kayak directly affects its portability. If you constantly have to load and unload the kayak to your car or trailer, it makes sense to go for lightweight model such as Sevylor's Quikpak K1.
5. Weight Capacity
Apart from the kayak's weight, you should also consider its weight capacity, which basically tells you the maximum weight that it can carry. That said, the higher the weight capacity, the better because the boat is more difficult to sink.
In this case, Sea Eagle's SE370K-P stands out because it can carry up to 650 lbs and up to 3 people.
Keep an eye out for accessories like a removable skeg, removable seats, cargo nets, and grab lines. All those accessories make your kayaking much more enjoyable.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Durable?
The short answer is yes. Inflatable kayaks are made from highly durable and long-lasting materials that do not puncture easily. Moreover, they can withstand sunlight for long periods without losing elasticity because most are also UV-resistant.
In addition, many top-rated inflatable kayaks have a cleated bottom for even more durability. What this means is that there is an additional thick layer of plastic, tarpaulin, or heavy-duty PVC that is glued to the bottom of the kayak so as to protect it from rough waters, rocks or logs.
How To Care For The Inflatable Kayak?
Of course, if you want to prolong the lifespan of your inflatable kayak then you need to take good care of it.
After each and every use, it is important that you deflate and spray your kayak with water so as to clean any impurities. Especially if you use your inflatable kayak on seawater where saltwater causes corrosion.
Do not forget to fold and pack your kayak afterward.
Additionally, it is important not to over-inflate your kayak as it may rupture or make the PVC material lose its elasticity over time.
What Type Of Pump Is Best For Inflation?
Unfortunately, many inflatable kayaks do not come with a quality pump. This is especially true for budget inflatable kayaks. This is not a big problem since heavy-duty pumps for kayaks are available almost everywhere.
You can go the manual route or choose an electric pump for ease-of-use. An electric pump usually consumes 12 V of power and can simply be connected to the outlet in your car.
What Type Of Valves Do They Have?
Most inflatable kayaks come with 3 types of valves.
- The drain valve
- The one-way valve
- The dual-lock valve
The drain valve is responsible for deflating the inflatable kayak. It usually comes as a screw system that slowly lets air escape so that the inflatable kayak can easily and safely be deflated.
On the other hand, the one-way valve is where you connect your pump to inflate the kayak. As its name suggests, it allows air in only one direction so even if you remove the pump valve, the inflatable kayak will not deflate.
The dual-lock valve system allows air to pass through one valve at a time only. This works as a security feature and prevents your inflatable kayak from deflating while you are inflating it.
How Long Will Inflatables Last?
Inflatable kayaks usually last a long time. This is mostly because of their high-quality and durable construction. This is especially true if you go for a top rated, high-end model that is built using high-quality materials.
However, nothing lasts forever. In general, it will depend on your use. Sunlight is one of the primary reasons for causing degradation of an inflatable kayak.
Seawater also causes more harm than freshwater. Eventually, the lifespan of your inflatable kayak will depend on how and where you use it.
What Kind of Wear and Tear Should I Watch for?
Wear-and-tear is a normal thing when operating an inflatable kayak. However, you need to pay particular attention to small punctures and rips as those can literally render your kayak useless.
Most good quality inflatable kayaks come with patch repair kits that allow you to mend punctures. If your chosen model does not come with this kit, then you can buy it online. It is not very expensive.
In summary, we can conclude that all the products reviewed above fit the best inflatable kayak description. However, Sea Eagle's SE370K-P stands out as the overall best because it can carry up to 3 people and up to 650 lbs. in weight.
The product also has a durable Polykrylar construction and features 2 skegs for better tracking. However, for the best tracking, we recommend Advanced Elements' AdvancedFrame Convertible because it has a long frame with aluminum ribs for enhanced tracking.
If you are on a tight budget though, check out Intex's Challenger K1.