0 Best Inflatable Kayaks

On a nice, warm day, it is difficult to resist the urge to head to the lake and jumpstart a water adventure. Thanks to inflatable water kayaks, you can do just that in one go. Take in your surroundings or cruise through rivers without having to assemble parts or renting a vehicle. You could even bring your friends and family with you. Just unfold, inflate, and you are good to go.

People mainly use kayaks for recreation or day touring. These are versatile, sturdy, and durable water steeds. Known for bouncing off obstacles, they are also great for flowing rivers. Choosing the best kayak that will suit your fancy is no easy task, as there are several things that you need to consider.

In this inflatable kayak review, we give a rundown of features to consider when choosing the best inflatable kayak, discuss five of the best products in the market, and present our top pick.

From seat, weight capacities, and accessories, there are many features to think about when choosing an inflatable kayak.

Inflatable Kayak Seat

Kayak seats ideally provide comfort that help you maneuver for hours, especially when you are planning a lengthy or extended trip. Easy to move and store, inflatable kayak seats offer convenience and are efficient to handle in the water. Most of these are padded, which prevents back aches once you are out in the water. It is best to choose an inflatable kayak seat that is not only adjustable but also removable, as these will give you more space on board.

One-Person Inflatable Kayak

Also known as solo kayaks, a one-person inflatable kayak is easy to control, store, and transport. These weigh and cost less than tandem boats and are a great opportunity to explore the water on your own. Since these are quite small and compact, they are also easier to inflate and store inside the car, on planes, and even on bikes. 

While solo inflatables are typically used for recreation, they can also display tremendous tracking performance, which puts them at par with hard-shell kayaks. While light and simple, one-person inflatables can hold a tremendous amount of weight. The AdvancedFrame, for example, can hold up to 300 pounds.

Two-Person Inflatable Kayak

Also called tandem inflatables, a two-person inflatable kayak is great for picking up speed and more power when paddling. This will come in handy during bad weather, when there is a need to pick up extra power to quickly get back to shore. A two-person kayak is also a great way to share the workload, as you and your partner can take turns paddling. This provides both of you a break, so you can relax and observe your surroundings. If you are a beginner in kayaking, a two-person kayak can serve as an introduction to the sport, as you can invite an experienced kayaker to help you better navigate the waters. 

On the other hand, tandem kayaks are much heavier than solo ones, which may be a bit harder to maneuver during long travel. More than that, both passengers would really need to be in sync to gain the same amount of control that keeps the vehicle gliding smoothly.

Three-Person Inflatable Kayak

The popularity and performance of tandem kayaks gave birth to the three-person inflatable kayak. This type of set-up is meant to be enjoyed by a family of three or a set of friends. A three-person kayak can also work well for two people and a fully loaded gear. While a three-man vehicle provides the same advantages as a two-person kayak, it is meant for greater adventures.

Three-person kayaks make use of multiple air chambers, which keep passengers afloat. These also provide security should one or two chambers get punctured during a trip. Three-man kayaks are also naturally heavier than tandem kayaks. As such, they are harder to control and challenging to use if you are riding them solo.

Inflatable Kayak Accessories

A few accessories are necessary to get you through your long kayak trip.

  • Skegs help kayak boats track straighter in the wind. They are essentially dropdown fins that prevent the boat from being blown by the wind. Some inflatable kayaks use reinforced sterns instead of skegs.
  • Oars help you steer the kayak, as well as keep its balance. For inflatable kayaks that come with oars, it’s best to check whether the material used is durable. Longer oars are also ideal for gaining more power or control of the water.
  • Repair kits come with all inflatables. They usually consist of several patches, tubes of glue, and a spatula, which are enough to remedy your boat in case of emergency. Repair kits differ per inflatable, so you may need to check its contents and store any essential repair items that’s not included. You will also need to read up on your kayak’s manual for repair instructions.

Inflatable Kayak Backpack

Choose an inflatable kayak that already comes with a carry bag, as this makes for easier storage and transport. Some inflatables feature a heavy-duty duffel bag, which are durable and discreet. On the other hand, inflatable kayak backpacks are more convenient, as you can just strap them on your back and go. While they can carry quite a lot of weight, they also provide comfort and breathability. Besides, they look cool and allow you to store additional gear.

Inflatable Kayak Pump

To use your inflatable kayak, you first need to pump it up. 

  • Manual pumps can either be foot pumps or hand pumps. These rely solely on mechanical energy and are far more affordable than electric pumps. Without the need for a power source, they are a convenient outdoor accessory. While manual pumps can solely inflate a kayak, they are strenuous to work with, especially when you have to fill in large inflatables.
  • Electric pumps ease up on the strain and inconvenience that you experience with a manual pump. You just need to plug them in, switch them on, and watch them pump air into your boat. While efficient, they need a power source, which can be quite a problem when you are outdoors. Moreover, electric pumps sometimes lack the required pressure power, and so manual pumps end up finishing the work.

Lightweight Inflatable Kayak

For people who are looking to travel, lightweight inflatable kayaks are often an ideal choice. These are easy to control, as they glide smoothly across waters. These are also popular among first time kayakers and kids who are still getting the hang of kayaking before moving onto larger kayaks. They are best used for flat waters, day trips, and calm oceans. Even if they are lightweight, they have a sturdy build. Kayakers just need to put in extra effort for control, so that they don’t get blown by the wind.

0 Best Inflatable Kayaks

Joshua Keaton
Joshua Keaton

Joshua is our senior staff writer for Fishing.org and Shooting.org. He is an avid hunter, clay shooter and amateur photographer.