What You Will Get Here
- Why Use an Inflatable Kayak?
- Types of Inflatable Kayak
- How Did We Pick the Best?
- Things to Consider While Buying Best Inflatable Kayak
- Our Top 12 Best Inflatable Kayak
- Best Overall: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
- Also Great: Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Tandem Kayak
- Best 3-Person Inflatable Kayak : Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak
- Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayak : Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
- Best for Beginners: Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak
- Best for White Water: Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak
- Best Inflatable Kayak for the Money: Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable K2 Kayak Set
- Best for Ocean: Hobie Mirage i11S Inflatable Kayak
- List of 4 other Inflatable Kayak We Reviewed
- Important Things to Know About Inflatable Kayaks
- Tips on Using Inflatable Kayaks
Why Use an Inflatable Kayak?
Many unenlightened people still see inflatable kayaks as pool toys. An inflatable kayak is a lightweight boat that has been constructed with tubes to hold pressurized air. The inflatable tubes have been used to make its sides, floor (with an underlying rigid structure), and bow. What makes inflatable kayak unique is their seat arrangements, easy dismantling, storage, and portability.
Generally, kayaks are designed for built to offer less paddling efforts. Many adventure freaks use inflatable kayaks for different purposes like fishing, lake paddling, whitewater rafting, paddling adventures, and expeditions. Let's share some benefits of using inflatable kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks might be lightweight but are rigid watercraft. Underneath the tubes are welded seams and I-beam constructions that increases the quality. Also, being lightweight, it's easy to be set up, and transported to the launch point by one person.
Inflatable kayaks are foldable, and vinyl tubes are better kayak materials because they hold up better after inflating with air. Simply deflate them and fold before storing in backpacks or duffel bags. There are ultra-light inflatable kayaks that weigh less than 7kg. You'll be amazed at their small sizes after deflating a 3-meter kayak.
Inflatable kayaks are puncture-resistant and strong; that's why they are versatile. Their versatility allows you to paddle with light-weight possessions like cooling boxes with drinks and bags. Apart from navigation, you can also use them for sea kayaking, white water rafting, fishing, or touring.
At launch points, a hand or an electric pump can inflate the kayak easily. However, it's not advisable to inflate the kayak, attach to or trailer or tie it up on the roof rack and drive to your launch point. Air resistance might damage this watercraft by using this method. Instead, get an efficient electric pump that can be connected to the car's D.C (direct current) port and inflate to save launch time.
Amazingly, owners of inflatable kayaks can take and use them anywhere. With a rigid kayak, paddle in remote locations or taking them along on a trip is easy. However, it's only a puncture-proof kayak that guarantees durability while using them on any water terrain.
Low Maintenance Cost
Most inflatable kayaks are sturdily designed and held with double-stitch finishing threads. High-quality kayaks are scratch-proof, and not prone to punctures. However, users must avoid sharp objects and rigid structures along water edges. Also, they should avoid collisions; rinse-off, clean and fold the inflatable kayak after use.
These inflatable water machines have more advantages than hard-body traditional boats. Usually, all these features can help buyers choose from our top 10 inflatable kayak products.
Types of Inflatable Kayak
Innovation has simplified the ease of using inflatable kayaks. Most modern inflatable kayaks come with different material strengths, size, shape, and color. However, in choosing any type, a kayak that allows you to paddle without hassles, and suit your needs is the best. Here are the types of inflatable kayaks in the marketplace.
The sit-on-top kayak offers enough space for onboard movement, casting, and access to water activity gears. This type is convenient for paddling on calm water. Simply, sit on top of the kayak, and worry less about cramping your legs, or resting your backrest for a better posture.
This design is how traditional kayaks appear, and it allows your lower body to stay inside the boat. It's more comfy, and tighter than sit-on-top kayaks, and has an enclosed cockpit. Sit-inside kayak is designed for white-water paddling and protects the users from the splashes of water.
These type of kayaks have higher walls, sides, deeper seats, and flat bottoms. They look like canoes with plenty of space for a maximum of three people and are ideal for fishing.
Self Bailing Kayaks
Usually, this type of kayak is made with low-quality materials and designed with ports (drains) at the bottom. These holes prevent flooding even when you paddle in shallow waters.
Usually, you'll find inflatable sup kayaks around beaches. While paddling these types of inflatable kayaks allow their paddles to stand straight.
How Did We Pick the Best?
In line with the story suggested in the introduction, you need to tell how we picked these products and what were our considerations and criteria that helped us prepare this list of choices. Also, mention that we spent a lot of time on web research, we tested our listed products by community-based usage and also consulted with experts. It's valuable to have an inflatable kayak that makes a delightful possession.
As a hobbyist with love for watercraft, I take recommendations from expert kayak manufacturers and forums before buying any model of inflatable kayaks. Also, working with our team of in-house watercraft engineers has helped me in knowing what makes a solo or tandem kayak great levels of performance.
In this inflatable kayak reviews, you'll understand how we chose our top products. Usually, before I recommend any inflatable kayak, our water sports' volunteers and engineers spend hours test-running and researching them. So, we can list some considerable features after testing the performance of our top 10 inflatable kayaks by subjecting them to community-based usage.
However, the results from our test crew don't prove any perfect condition of these products. Instead, there are top rated inflatable kayaks in this buying guide that have more features, and efficiency than other products. Novice water sports enthusiasts intending to buy inflatable kayaks should choose the specifications that meet their needs. Also, before buying any inflatable kayak, it should offer much value for money and gives enhanced performance.
Things to Consider While Buying Best Inflatable Kayak
Are you thinking of the next getaway family vacation on an island with ponds and shallow waters? Water sports and sea kayaking are fun-filled activities. Also, you can bring a pet along even if you choose to sail without another paddler. There is the 1 person inflatable kayak, and tandem kayaks with adjustable seats. However, these are factors to consider while searching for the best inflatable kayak.
- Fishing or recreation
Every activity requires a specific inflatable kayak boat, and the sit-on type is recommended for fishing expeditions. The sit-on kayak allows users to adjust sitting positions and stretch their backs. Also, the design gives space for accessing and casting your fishing gear. Alternatively, the canoe style kayak is spacious; it allows you to hold fishing gears and boxes for your catch.
- Where Are You Paddling
You need a canoe type of kayak with higher walls if you plan to paddle on turbulent waters. It’s a different type of inflatable kayak boat you’ll need for white water rafting or paddling near a bay. Also, paddling on flat lakes or choppy waters will require the sit-in kayaks. When paddling in a straight line, inflatable kayaks with high-end features need less correction.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) might not be eco-friendly, but it has great tear resistance. The PVC is widely used for inflatable kayak making because the material can withstand long periods of exposure to sunlight.
The exterior covers of inflatable kayaks are coated with Hypalon because this material is more UV-resistant. Usually, most inflatable boat manufacturers combine Hypalon and PVC materials to save production cost. They are more durable, abrasion-resistant, and eco-friendly than PVC materials.
A Nitrylon material is a mixture of nitrile and synthetic rubber. The weight of this material is heavier and more eco-friendly than Hypalon. Nitrylons are puncture-proof, tough, and durable.
Inflatable kayaks are more durable than hard-shell boats if they are properly maintained. You can use a well-maintained inflatable kayak for years without changing it. However, bad storage, the frequency of use, poor maintenance, and the strength of material determine the durability of inflatable kayaks.
Most inflatable kayaks have weights ranging from 25 to 45 lbs. Usually, bigger kayaks have more weight and leg space. Before buying an inflatable kayak, consider the weight of your gear if you use the boat for fishing. Don't forget that you will have to lift the watercraft and other accessories from the launch point to your vehicle after use. An ultra-light inflatable kayak is what you need for hiking and paddling.
Usually, most inflatable kayak manufacturers build their products to a maximum of 4 meters (14 feet). There will be instability when models of kayak boats are longer than four meters. The ideal length of inflatable kayaks should make them easy to flip over.
Self-bailing inflatable boats have drain plugs that allow paddlers to discharge water from the boat's compartment, and keep it dry. Usually, these kayaks are not built for sea kayaking, but shallow waters.
Weight and Seating Capacity
There's a 3 and 2-person inflatable kayak model that is often used for recreation, and watersport competitions. Before buying this type of kayak, check the product label to see the weight capacity and seat arrangement. Generally, inflatable kayaks have adjustable seats that allow space for your legs, and small equipment.
The most important inflatable kayak accessory is the pair of high-quality paddles. Other accessories like a handy repair kit, whistle, flashlights, first aid box, and navigation compass are must-haves. Also, an electric pump is used to set up the kayak at launch points.
Water performance of inflatable kayaks varies with prices. However, a budget is important while considering the features of your dream inflatable kayak. Normally, decent inflatable kayaks with high-end features cost at least $500.
Our Top 12 Best Inflatable Kayak
You can decide on the model of inflatable kayak that meets your need based on our comparisons of the top 12 best products. However, you can follow our reviews to know what makes a high-quality inflatable kayak. Our team of boat engineers has evaluated each of the top-rated inflatable kayaks based on the ease of paddling, stability, inflation, value, and portability.