Best Inflatable Kayaks

Review & Comparison, Last Update June 20, 2017
Have you decided to purchase some watercraft for summer recreation? Check an inflatable kayak and put to rest wooden or plastic boats. Maneuverable, lightweight and designed with safety in mind, inflatable boats guarantee an ultimate experience for the whole family. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TYPE
INFLATED DIMENSIONS
LOAD CAPACITY
CHAMBERS
EXTRAS
SUPPLY PACKAGE
WEIGHT
 
PROS
This 2-person kayak is rated up to Class III whitewater. 2 skegs ensure great yaw stability. Comes with a foot pump that maximally simplifies chambers inflation.
CONS
Back support the seats provide could be firmer.
OUR VERDICT
This model is perfect for both novice kayakers and advanced paddlers. Its design along with high-quality hull material makes it perfect for both whitewater and slow-running rivers.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Open-style 2 person kayak
INFLATED DIMENSIONS
11.15 x 2.82 ft.
LOAD CAPACITY
500 lbs
CHAMBERS
3 polykrylar chambers, one-way valves
EXTRAS
Self-bailing drain valve, Two skegs on the bottom, Lashed down inflatable spray skirts
SUPPLY PACKAGE
2 inflatable seats, 2 aluminum paddles, Foot pump, Carry bag, Repair kit
WEIGHT
26.5 lbs
PROS
Special fittings above deck allow you to attach the trolling motor. The paddles can be stored in convenient holders and the Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders ensure hands-free fishing.
CONS
A pump doesn't come with the boat.
OUR VERDICT
The manufacturer has equipped this kayak with all the items a fisherman may need. Ideally suitable for oceans, lakes, and calm water.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Open-style 2 person kayak
INFLATED DIMENSIONS
10.75 x 3.25 ft.
LOAD CAPACITY
470 lbs
CHAMBERS
5 PVC chambers, Boston valves
EXTRAS
Airtight®, Removable skeg, Berkley® Quick Set Rod, Trolling motor fittings, Paddle holders, Mesh pockets, Adjustable seats, Carry handles
SUPPLY PACKAGE
Carry bag, Pressure gauge
WEIGHT
~40 lbs
PROS
Luminous color and robust construction of the kayak are approved by US Coast Guard I.D. Comes with all required equipment and components and can be set afloat just out of the box.
CONS
The skeg is attachable. If fixed improperly, it can be lost in a shallow water.
OUR VERDICT
This affordable kayak is perfect for paddling on calm water, lakes, sea and ocean gulfs. Recommended for novice kayakers, family recreation, or fishing.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Open-style 2 person kayak
INFLATED DIMENSIONS
10.25 x 3 ft.
LOAD CAPACITY
350 lbs
CHAMBERS
3 vinyl chambers, Boston valves
EXTRAS
Removable skeg, Adjustable seats, Heavy-duty grab handles
SUPPLY PACKAGE
2 inflatable seats, 2 aluminum paddles, Pump, Carry bag, Repair kit
WEIGHT
32.1 lbs
PROS
Fully enclosed cockpit keeps water out of the kayak. Rigid panels on the bow and stern ensure stability on water and easy boat control.
CONS
There may not be enough leg room for tall people.
OUR VERDICT
This classic kayak is irreplaceable for people who favor active recreation or fair water landscapes. Perfect for calm water but also suitable for up to Class II rapids.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Sit-inside 1 person kayak
INFLATED DIMENSIONS
7.83 x 2.91 ft.
LOAD CAPACITY
250 lbs
CHAMBERS
3 PVC chambers, Twistlock valves
EXTRAS
Mesh pocket, Skeg tracking paddle, Rigid Bow & Stern
SUPPLY PACKAGE
Carrying duffel bag, Repair kit
WEIGHT
16 lbs
PROS
A rugged tarpaulin bottom ensures extreme durability and protects the kayak from punctures. The size and width of the boat ensure comfort paddling for all people onboard.
CONS
The paddles are sold separately.
OUR VERDICT
Considerable dimensions of the inflatable kayak along with 3 adjustable seats make this model perfect for recreation with a family and a company of friends alike.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Open-style 3 person kayak
INFLATED DIMENSIONS
12.25 x 3.08 ft.
LOAD CAPACITY
490 lbs
CHAMBERS
2 PVC chambers, Boston valves
EXTRAS
Airtight®, Self-bailing drain valve, Removable skeg, Spray covers, Adjustable seats
SUPPLY PACKAGE
Carry bag, Pressure gauge
WEIGHT
35 lbs

What is an Inflatable Kayak

Kayaking has become more than just a sport. Nowadays it has evolved into a way of family recreation for people who adore water activities. A kayak ensures close vicinity to water and allows you to fully revel in water-based recreation. There are many different types of kayaks available on the market. But the most widespread one is an inflatable one. So why do people choose the inflatable type? The reason for this is that it is lightweight, portable and can be easily stored. Additionally, the inflatable kayaks are made of high-grade and durable materials that outweigh wooden and plastic models in quality. A wide variety of colors and styles allows you to choose the right model just for you. In this review, we've tried to specify all the key features you should note before purchasing an inflatable kayak. Thus, you'll be able to opt for the best one.

And if you're fond of fishing we'd recommend you to look through our reviews on fishing rods and fishfinders. With these units, your sportfishing would become even more fascinating.

What Features to Compare

Size and Type

There is a wide variety of types, shapes and colors of inflatable kayaks on the market nowadays. But before purchasing an inflatable boat you should consider what type of kayaking you will be doing. There are different types of inflatable boats that are meant for complete beginners while others are great for the advanced paddlers. The next question is the type of waters you'll be paddling in. The kayaks designed for whitewater will not fit for the oceans, ponds, and slow-moving rivers, and vice versa. In general, there are 5 main types of inflatable kayaks, and each one is meant for a specific use:

  • Sit-inside kayak. This traditional kayak type has an enclosed cockpit. It has high walls that keep water out of a kayak. Additionally, this type offers an ability to attach spray kit that will protect you from water ingress in a cold season. Perfect for whitewater kayaking
  • Sit-on-top kayak. This type has the same shape as the other models do, but instead of sitting inside a boat you sit on a molded-in depression on its top. Sit-on-top type is perfect for beginners and people who have difficulty riding traditional inflatable kayaks. These boats are generally made of plastic or fiberglass that makes sit-on-top kayaks perfect for use in any type of waters. However, they are not very comfortable for cool locations, although perfect for warm climates.
  • Canoe-style kayak. This boat features higher walls and deeper seats in comparison with other kayak's types. Additionally, paddlers use single-sided blades to manage a boat. This type of kayak can be used for fishing as owing to high walls and deep seats it gives you space for some equipment.
  • Open-style kayak. This model reminds canoe-style kayak, but it has lower walls. To manage a boat, paddlers use a traditional double-sided paddle. This kayak type is perfect for beginners and those who want to spend time on water sunbathing.
  • Self-bailing kayaks. This type is used for whitewater. It has numerous holes on the bottom of an inflatable boat that allow water to enter a kayak and pass it out. Such design ensures that the boat doesn't fill up.
  • Inflatable paddle boards. The newest form of a kayak. They are very rigid and its shape is similar to surfboards. The paddle boards allow the kayaker to stand up while paddling.

Also, you should consider whether you want to paddle solo, in tandem or you need an inflatable boat with both options. People who prefer paddling alone at their own speed should opt for a 1-man kayak. Tandem inflatable kayaks are great for paddling with your children or your significant other. There are also kayaks with various seating positions. You can easily remove or add an extra seat. This allows you to choose whether you want to paddle solo or with someone. As regards the size of a kayak, it depends on your needs only as it should fit your height. So, look at the design and leg room a kayak has because you should feel comfortable in an inflatable boat. Additionally, pay attention to the maximal load capacity of a kayak. Depending on this parameter, you will be aware of the number of people a kayak supports or the weight of paddling gear you can take with you.

Chambers' Design and Material

The parameter that determines durability and lifespan of a kayak is the quality of materials the chambers are made of. What is also important is the design and arrangement of the chambers. Generally, the kayaks are designed with multiple air chambers for added safety. So, if one chamber was punctured, other chambers stay inflated. Hence, such design guarantees leak-protection and allows you to reach the shore without leakage. For kayak's inflation and deflation, producers use a different valve configuration. Therefore, each valve is meant to quickly let the air out of a chamber or to hold it down reliably. We should also mention the valves that can be locked in so that the chambers wouldn't deflate accidently even during the most dynamic paddling. Additional outer covers on a hull or on a bottom also play a large part in kayak's durability and safety. They protect a boat from puncturing during a recreation on a water. So please, pay attention to all these features when purchasing an inflatable kayak as they provide your safety on a water.

Usability

Almost all inflatable boats are rigged with different additional features and accessories that maximally simplify a kayak's control. In fact, various splices and pockets allow you to place some necessities on kayak's board and keep gear and snacks at hand. To avoid spray ingestion into the kayak, some models offer detachable spray skirts. However, if water fills the boat there is a special plug at the bottom of a hull that allows you to drain it. Some manufacturers have designed their kayaks with adjustable seats for comfortable paddling and excellent back support. The paddle holders, special areas for attaching trolling motors, carry handles and other helpful features are preferable in a kayak's design for comfortable transportation and relaxation on the water. And the additional accessories to the kayak will simplify the boat's maintenance and operation. So, a supply package may include a carrying bag, paddles, a manometer, a repairing kit and a pump. But remember that a supply package is different for each kayak.

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Sea Eagle SE-330

Type and Size

Sea Eagle 330 belongs to open style kayaks and is meant for tandem paddling. This inflatable boat is a perfect choice for advanced paddlers as well as people who are brand new to kayaking. It is rather maneuverable and literally impossible to sink. Owing to such characteristics, it is suitable for paddling in different types of water. The kayak's exterior dimensions, when inflated, are 11. 5 feet long by 2.28 feet wide. A size like this provides stability on both slow-moving rivers and up to Class III whitewater. As regards the interior size of the inflatable kayak, it is rather spacious, 9.5 feet long by 1.25 feet wide. Thus, a person of any height would feel comfortable sitting in this boat. Additionally, Sea Eagle weighs only 26 pounds and can hold up to 500 lbs. So, if you've decided to paddle solo, you'll be able to carry a boat to the water effortlessly.

Review of Sea Eagle SE-330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package

Chambers' Design and Material

The tandem inflatable kayak is designed with 3 separate chambers that are sealed together with high-frequency welding. It provides high reliability of seaming and increases the kayak's safety. The chambers are located according to the standard principle: port, starboard, and floor. This structure ensures stability on the water and allows you to gain the shore in case one of the chambers is punctured. Additionally, the kayak's hull is made of puncture-resistant 33 mil polykrylar material. Polykrylar is the artificial rubber that is valued for its elasticity, resistance to damage and to ultraviolet rays. Each air chamber is designed with its own one-way valve for inflation. These valves hold air down efficiently and allow for fast air letting out when needed.

Sea Eagle SE-330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package in the use

Usability

For added protection against water ingestion, the kayak is designed with 2 lashed down inflatable spray skirts. One is fixed at a bow, while the other one is attached to a stern. And yet, if water got to the boat you can drain it using a special self-bailing drain valve at the bottom of the kayak. There are also 2 molded skegs at the bottom for better water handling. Thus, you sail faster and with fewer efforts. Sea Eagle 330 comes with the deluxe package that includes 2 inflatable seats, 2 aluminum paddles, a foot pump, a carry bag and a repair kit. The manufacturer claims that with the help of the included foot pump the kayak is inflated in just 6 minutes. The boat can be easily stored anywhere as it requires only 5.08 х 3.4 х 1.5 feet when stowed.

VIDEO
2 perosn kayak reviews sea eagle 330 inflatable best kayak from sevylor
Sea Eagle SE-330
Sea Eagle SE-330
 

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

Type and Size

Coleman Colorado belongs to the open-style kayaks and fits 2 paddlers. The inflatable boat has a mid-size, it is 10.25' long by 3.25' wide. We should mention that such dimensions increase water drag and upon this let down the speed of a boat. Therefore, a great stability on the water is achieved. As regards the maximal load capacity, the tandem inflatable kayak supports up to 470 lbs. Hence, it is able to hold up not only you and the second paddler but also lots of equipment. All in all, this inflatable kayak is a perfect choice for calm repose and fishing on some picturesque lake.

 

Review of Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Chambers' Design and Material

A thick tarpaulin bottom and a tough nylon cover of Coleman Colorado makes this kayak durable and ultraviolet-resistant. The whole boat's construction consists of 5 chambers: a port, a starboard, a floor and 2 inflatable seats. And 1000D tarpaulin bottom is strong enough to handle any pricks. We would like to mention that the manufacturer has equipped this boat with double-threaded Boston valves. They are known for robustness and allow for the kayak inflation/deflation almost in no time.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak in the use

Usability

This 2-person kayak can brighten your recreation as it comes with all required accessories for fishing. There are special Berkley® Quick Set Rod Holders where you can fix a fishing rod. Meanwhile, you can prepare some tackles or just give your hands a rest. Paddle holders on both kayak sides are meant for paddles fixing when they are not in use. Different pockets above deck are meant for storing your gears and necessities. But the most outstanding thing about Coleman Colorado is the fittings for a trolling motor. It is rather convenient as a motor really speeds up boating. The seats are adjustable and provide great back support. Thus, you'll definitely feel comfortable even after a long time of paddling. Coleman Colorado weighs only 40 lbs, allowing you to transport it effortlessly. Regarding the kayak's supply package, it comes with a pressure gauge and a carry bag. Other accessories are sold separately.

VIDEO
Testing the Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
Sevylor Coleman Colorado
Sevylor Coleman Colorado
 

Intex Explorer K2

Type and Size

Intex Explorer K2 is being marketed as a sports model. Thus, it is suitable for paddling in lakes, shallow rivers, oceans, and rapids. The kayak has a visually attractive striking yellow design with sporty graphics. Such design guarantees safety on the water as a luminous color can be easily seen from other boats. That's why Intex Explorer K2 is approved by US Coast Guard I.D. As regards the kayak's dimensions, it is 10.25 feet long by 3 feet wide. And the maximal load capacity is about 350 lbs, hence, it is ideally suitable for 2 paddlers. We should also mention that Intex Explorer K2 is rather spacious for a kayak. Here, you get enough space for 2 people and some extra space in the kayak rear for placing food or some equipment. We are sure that Intex Explorer K is a perfect inflatable kayak for fishing.

Review of Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

Chambers' Design and Material

The hull of Intex Explorer K2 is made of SUPER-TOUGH™ 30-guage vinyl. This material ensures ultraviolet resistance and greater chambers' elasticity. Therefore, the kayak is protected against inconspicuous punctures. But you should always remember that the allowable chambers pressure should never be exceeded. Intex Explorer K2 is engineered with 2 Boston valves for port and starboard chambers and a one-way valve for a bottom chamber. Such an engineering solution ensures quick and effortless inflation and deflation of the boat, while the chambers arrangement provides perfect stability on the water.

Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak in the use

Usability

Intex Explorer K2 is designed with comfort in mind. It offers adjustable backrests for the seats that give extra back support. Therefore, you'll feel comfortable even after long hours of paddling. Additionally, the seats are adjustable, too, and attached to the floor with Velcro strips. There are 2 locations where the seats can be fixed, and you may choose the one in accordance to your sitting habits. You can also use this 2-person kayak as a solo model - just remove one seat. To protect a kayak against water ingestion, the manufacturer has designed the boat with a tarpaulin at a bow and stern. As Intex Explorer K2 weighs only 32.1 lbs and has special grab lines and grab handles, even a teenager will be able to carry the inflatable kayak to the water. And what is important, you can use a kayak just out of the box as it comes with all required equipment for paddling. Here you've got 2 inflatable seats, a high-output pump, 2 aluminum paddles, a carry bag, and a repair patch. Just inflate the kayak and enjoy your recreation.

Detailed review of Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

VIDEO
The New Intex Explorer K2 Two-Man Kayak
Intex Explorer K2
Intex Explorer K2
 

Advanced Elements AE1020-Y

Type and Size

Advanced Elements FireFly is the only classic model of kayaks on our shortlist. Its stern is fully enclosed with a 600 D polyester cover and the boat is suitable for 1 paddler only. The dimensions of the inflated kayak are 7.83 feet long by 2.91 feet wide. Such boat size is perfect for an adult of an average height. Additionally, the maximal load capacity FireFly offers is 250 lbs, hence, you can freely take some required gear onboard. Owing to the sit-inside design and an enclosed cockpit, the very model is suitable for paddling in any weather and season. As well as it is perfect for both kayaking in slow- and white water. So, if you are a rookie in kayaking, this model is surely for you.

Review of Advanced Elements AE1020-Y Inflatable Kayak

Chambers' Design and Material

Three air chambers are enclosed in a heavy-duty polyester cover. Such design ensures protection against puncturing the hull with branches, roots, and even ice. But the chambers location in Fire Fly differs from other models. Here, one chamber acts as the kayak bottom, while 2 others stand for inner and outer chambers of the hull. This way, the boat is protected from tipping over in case one chamber is punctured. Advanced Elements FireFly has 2 types of valves for inflating and deflating. There are patented Twistlok valves for inner and outer chambers and a high flow Spring valve for a bottom chamber.

Advanced Elements AE1020-Y Inflatable Kayak in the use

Usability

Can you imagine that this model weighs only 16 lbs? Even a child is able to carry the kayak to or out of the water. Additionally, Fire Fly has big and handy grab handles to simplify the boat's transportation. When deflated and stowed, Fire Fly requires 23" х 18" х 5" of free storage space and easily fits in a carry bag that comes with the purchase. For your convenience, the producer has designed the inflatable kayak with a mesh pocket and a deck lacing above deck. Thus, you can store there some necessities or fix the paddles when needed. Skeg tracking fin and rigid panels ensure the kayak's stability on water and easy control. As for the other items in the supply package, there is a repair kit to help you in case something extraordinary happens on the water. But you should remember that a paddle and a seat are bought separately.

Detailed review of Advanced Elements AE1020-Y Inflatable Kayak

VIDEO
Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak - CGTV Episode 36
Advanced Elements AE1020-Y
Advanced Elements AE1020-Y
 

Sevylor Big Basin

Type and Size

Sevylor Coleman Big Basin can hold up to 490 pounds and has rather a magnific size of 12.25 feet long by 3.08 feet wide. Such parameters make this inflatable kayak perfect for 3 paddlers, ferrying some gear or even taking your dog with you for water recreation. Its open-style design additionally maximizes comfort during paddling for all people onboard. What is important, the kayak's width ensures perfect stability on water and reduces water drag. Hence, you spend fewer efforts on paddling. Sevylor Coleman Big Basin is perfect for a family water recreation on calm lakes and rivers.

Review of Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

Chambers' Design and Material

The kayak's hull is made of heavy-duty PVC material and its bottom is covered with a rugged tarpaulin. The combination of these materials decreases the chance for a chamber puncturing with broken branches or roots while paddling close to the shore or through shallow water. Coleman Big Basin features multiple air chambers, you can be sure that you will still get to the shore safely in case you've punctured the kayak's bottom. For added safety on the water, the 3-person kayak offers the patented Airtight® System that reduces the likelihood of air leakage. Additionally, the kayak is equipped with the Boston valves for easy inflation and deflation. This type of valves retains pressure in the chambers perfectly. And when the need to let the air down arises they can be unscrewed without efforts.

Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak in the use

Usability

Sevylor Coleman Big Basin offers adjustable seats to ensure comfort when paddling. They provide great back support and it means that regardless of the time you spend on the water, you'll never grow tired. The kayak's bow and stern are partially covered with a tarpaulin that protects the interior of the boat against splashes and also keeps you dry. Special fabric loops on both sides of the 3-man inflatable kayak can be used for paddles fixing when you're resting, or for attaching any accessories you wish. In spite of rather a big size of Coleman Big Basin kayak, it weighs only 35 lbs and has special carrying handles, so it won't be a problem to carry it to the water. You should know that the kayak comes with a carry bag and a pressure gauge only. Other items such as paddles or a pump should be purchased separately.

Detailed review of Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

Sevylor Big Basin
Sevylor Big Basin