Best Inflatable Kayak for Anglers and Recreational Use 

Best Inflatable Kayak

The best inflatable kayak is a model that’s durable, puncture resistant and one that offers excellent tracking. But not everyone is looking for the same features. An angler might want a smaller model that’s able to fit through small streams, so they can access hard to reach areas where the fish are really biting. Or they may want a bigger kayak that can handle hauling more gear, one with an extra seat or two so they can bring some fishing buddies along for the trip.

A kayaker who’s more interested in using their kayak as their morning workout may want a more streamlined kayak that’s designed for speed, while the family man may be searching for a stout, durable kayak that’s perfect for use on lakes and rivers.

Fortunately for you, we’ve done the research and have found the best kayaks in each category. Whether you want a three-person kayak, a tandem, a fishing kayak, or a budget-friendly model, we have something for everyone.

If you’re new to kayaking and don’t know what to look for in terms of specs and features, you’ll find our buying guide to be a useful tool that can educate you on what to look for and what makes an inflatable kayak the best in its class.

 

We have also included informative articles on our site designed to dig a little deeper in regard to what to wear when kayaking, how much does kayaking cost, and a great article on what is sea kayaking, designed to school the avid paddler on what they can expect when they head out to sea in their new inflatable model.

Our goal was to create a site that will educate our visitors on kayaking safety, features, and the type of quality they should expect in a top of the line model designed for ocean, bay or river kayaking.

We have even done some research on life vests in order to find a standout model that will work for any type of kayaker and that’s the Stearns Watersport Classic vest, which is specifically designed for padders so you’ll enjoy total range of motion with a life vest that’s comfortable to wear and offers top of the line life jacket technology in a slim, lightweight design.

Contents

Meet the Highest Rated Inflatable Kayak on the Market

After looking at dozens of top selling models of inflatable kayaks, we finally found the Razorlite. This is a popular kayak made by Sea Eagle and in terms of features, this kayak has it all. It’s so versatile it can be used for recreational kayaking, angling, whitewater kayaking and more. So, let’s take a closer look at this kayak and discuss why it landed at the top of the list as the best inflatable kayak around.

Comparison Chart

ProductStyleUseCostRating
Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable Kayak Review
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TandemRecreational$$$$$$$$****
Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak Review
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TandemTouring$$$$$****
Sea Eagle SE370KP Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle SE370KP Inflatable Kayak Review
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TandemRecreational$$$****
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak Review
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SoloRecreational$$$$$****
Saturn FK396 Pro-Angler Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Saturn FK396 Pro-Angler Inflatable Fishing Kayak Review
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TandemFishing$$$$$$$****
Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak Review
Sevylor Big Basin Three Person Kayak Review
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3 personTouring$$$$*****
Elkton Outdoors Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Elkton Outdoors Inflatable Fishing Kayak Review
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TandemTouring$$$*****
Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak Review
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TandemTouring$$$$$$$$$$*****
Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL Inflatable Kayak
Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL Inflatable Kayak
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TandemRecreational$$$$****
Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl Inflatable Kayak Review
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TandemRecreational/Touring$$$$$$$$$$*****
Intex Challenger K1Inflatable Kayak
Intex Challenger K1Inflatable Kayak Review
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SoloRecreational$*

Quick Summary

Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable Kayak:

A tough as nails kayak built for two, you’ll love the adjustable seats, excellent tracking and maneuvering, and the ability to take your kayak in both choppy and calm waters. Bottom line, this is a great buy for the angler or avid kayaker on a budget.

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Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak:

A budget-friendly tandem kayak that comes packed with all the features and accessories that a beginner needs, this model is built solid, very versatile, and a total steal for the price.

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Sea Eagle SE370KP Inflatable Kayak:

A large kayak built for two, this model provides plenty of legroom, two ergonomic seats, great handling, and a durable construction that allows this kayak to easily withstand heavy use.

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Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak:

A beautiful, compact, powerful solo kayak that’s designed for recreational use, the kayak’s reinforced construction, easy handling, and impressive maneuverability make it perfect for beginners and pros alike.

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Saturn FK396 Pro-Angler Inflatable Fishing Kayak:

Designed for the pro angler, this model by Saturn offers a different take on the traditional fishing kayak that will be a drawback for some and a huge selling point for others. Well-built and designed with puncture protection in mind, you can’t go wrong with this model, just as long as you prefer fishing in calmer waters.

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Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak:

A large, tough three-person kayak that handles well in rough water and flatwater conditions, this model can accommodate three average sized adults and plenty of gear. Versatile, affordable, and ready for action, you’ll love this feature packed model.

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Elkton Outdoors Inflatable Fishing Kayak:

A model that beat out every other inflatable fishing kayak on the market, this kayak is a must-have if you’re in need of a durable inflatable kayak that will take you anywhere you want to go.

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Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak:

Sea-ready, packing power, and loaded with features, this rugged beast can allow you to smoothly navigate through challenging water conditions, yet it’s also the perfect choice for recreational use on a calm lake or bay. A kayak designed to suit the needs of any type of kayaker, you’ll love what the 370x has to offer.

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Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL Inflatable Kayak:

A great family-friendly kayak that’s also priced affordably, this versatile model with the included removable jumper seat for kids, is the perfect choice for a day packed with family fun out on the river. However, the kayak isn’t recommended for rough water use.

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Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl Inflatable Kayak:

Fast, easy to maneuver, and a true pleasure to use, despite its large size, this inflatable kayak handles like a dream and is designed for both angling and recreational use.

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Intex Challenger K1Inflatable Kayak:

Built to last barely two months if you’re lucky, this inflatable solo kayak is what nightmares are made of. Equipped with defective air chambers, a low weight capacity, and a skeg that won’t stay in place, this kayak is anything but a good deal.

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Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl Inflatable Kayak Review-Best Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl Inflatable Kayak ReviewSea Eagle is a popular brand that’s known for their high-quality inflatable solo, tandem, and three-person kayaks. But they have really outdone themselves with their latest model, and it’s one that’s built for speed.

The Razorlite 473rl by Sea Eagle is a high-performance, high-speed inflatable kayak built for two. And it’s a top-selling model that should definitely be on your radar.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Razorlite is how incredibly thin the walls are. Most models tend to have wider tubes for support and stability, but this manufacturer chose to follow a different path. This is actually the first inflatable kayak that comes equipped with one hundred percent drop stitch hull construction. And the result? A kayak that’s sleeker, faster, and handles much better than other models of this size. The drop stitch chambers feature a couple of layers of fabric that have been joined with the help of thousands of high-tensile threads that are designed to prevent the walls of the kayak from airing up beyond a certain point. When the air chambers have inflated to their max volume, they’ll be prevented physically from inflating further, as the pressure builds up.

The patented concave hull design allows the kayak to easily slice through the waves like you wouldn’t believe. The shape of the hull works to force air through, creating high-pressure pockets that force the kayak higher out of the water, resulting in drag reduction.

Made from one thousand deniers reinforced PVC, this kayak is super durable against punctures and abrasions. The material is also compatible with saltwater and it’s sun resistant. The overlapped seams further increase the kayak’s overall durability.

The hull consists of three chambers, each of which comes equipped with a recessed one-way valve. These valves are pretty large, which translates to a faster inflation time.

Featuring a self-bailing design this kayak is definitely sea-worthy.

Pros

The generous stern and bow spray skirts do an excellent job of keeping water out of the cockpit.

Two ergonomic carry handles make it easy to get this large kayak in and out of the water.

Kayakers reported that the Razorlite has a top speed of three knots.

Equipped with fourteen D-rings, there’s plenty of storage space you can use to securely store your gear.

The removable skeg works to improve the kayak’s tracking performance.

This kayak is just over fifteen and a half feet long.

In this package, you’ll get the removable skeg, two seats, a repair kit, footrest, carry bag, and hand pump.

Cons

This model comes with only a couple of open and close drain valves to suck out the water. However, many kayakers felt that this system sufficiently sucked out water when at sea or paddling through whitewater rapids.

This kayak lacks any type of built-in storage compartments.

The kayak isn’t specifically designed for angling, so you’ll need to purchase rod holders separately.

Conclusion

This is one kayak you won’t regret buying. Due to its size, many kayakers initially doubted the Razorlite’s performance, but its sheer speed and maneuverability will totally blow you away. With a higher weight capacity, this kayak can handle two average sized adults and a decent amount of gear.

This kayak is perfect for cruising, recreational paddling, fishing, and anything else you can dream up. We love its versatility, despite its large size, how it handles on the water and the roomy cockpit that allows you to kick back and relax out on the water.

This kayak is a great buy if you’re looking for a tandem inflatable kayak that will last season after season.

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Best Two Person Tandem Kayak

Shopping for a tandem kayak can be tricky for so many reasons. On one hand, you’re looking for a sturdy two-seater that can handle a lot of weight, and on the other, you’re looking for a fast, versatile kayak that’s highly adjustable, easy to maneuver, and one that features removable seats so you can enjoy solo kayaking trips as well. Often, you’ll get one or the other. Tandem kayaks are often difficult to maneuver when only one person is using it, mainly because these kayaks are much bigger than a standard solo kayak. Additionally, even if the kayak has what seems like a high weight capacity, with two passengers there usually isn’t much weight leftover to bring the gear you need.

The Sea Eagle model is a great choice if you’re looking for a more versatile tandem. It comes loaded with features, is very versatile, and offers excellent tracking as well.

Sea Eagle SE370KP Inflatable Kayak Review-Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle SE370KP Inflatable Kayak Review

The SE370KP inflatable kayak comes with two paddles, a foot pump, two inflatable seats, repair kit, and carry bag.

This kayak can hold up to two passengers and has a weight capacity of six hundred pounds.

It also features a self-bailing drain valve that works to efficiently get rid of the water, making this kayak a great choice for kayaking at sea and on fast-moving rivers.

This is a rugged, stable, comfortable kayak that offers great maneuverability.

The kayak’s self-bailing drain valve will allow you to get rid of excess water quickly. It’s also very versatile and perfect for all different water types.

Because of its excellent maneuverability, it’s a perfect choice for beginners.

Well-built, it’s extremely hard to puncture.

Despite the fact that it’s considered an entry-level kayak and one of Sea Eagle’s lower priced models, it still beats out other models of kayaks in this price range.

The kayak’s deluxe inflatable seats provide extra back support for taller riders. Plus, if you plan on spending several hours at a time paddling around, these seats have what it takes to keep you comfortable.

Weighing in at thirty-six pounds, for a tandem, this kayak is surprisingly light.

The free carrying bag will keep all of your gear together.

Easy to inflate, you can expect an average inflation time of just ten minutes.

The kayak itself is very simple to assemble and holds air well.

When fully inflated, the kayak measures in at a little over twelve and a half feet. The kayak’s I-beam floor offers extra stability and strength. The sides of the boat also inflate independently of the bottom.

The cockpit is large, coming in at ten feet, eight inches. It provides plenty of leg room for two passengers, with enough room left over for all your essential gear.

The kayak comes equipped with a couple of skegs, which are designed to improve control and tracking.

Pros

This kayak maneuvers well and is very responsive to quick turns.

This package comes with everything you need to get started.

For a tandem kayak, this model is very lightweight, so you can easily haul, transport it, and store it.

The seats are highly adjustable and can easily be moved around. If you want to paddle solo you can quickly remove one seat and adjust the remaining one.

While the kayak may not be the fastest in the water, it’s stable, comfortable, and super rugged. It also comes with a three-year product warranty, so you really have nothing to lose.

Considering it’s so lightweight, it’s perfect for travel.

This is a great package for the beginner and one that comes with all the gear you need to get started.

Cons

There were some complaints regarding the steel paddle clips which kayakers claim can rust easily.

In certain water conditions, when filled to capacity, the kayak tends to lack the type of maneuverability needed when you’re navigating in rough water.

This kayak should be used for flatwater only.

Conclusion

This Sea Eagle inflatable kayak is durable and cost-effective. A kayak that received plenty of positive feedback from beginners, it’s not designed to withstand rough water conditions, but it’s the perfect choice for the angler interested in trying their hand at kayak angling, or it’s a great model for recreational use. Because it lacks the type of maneuverability required to navigate whitewater conditions, we don’t recommend this model to seasoned kayakers. Overall, this kayak is a great buy and a model that’s designed to easily withstand heavy use.

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Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak Review-Runner up Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak ReviewIf you’re on a budget, you’ll have to weed through dozens of inflatable kayaks before you find one with a reputation for durability and decent tracking. So we were a little blown away by the Voyager’s performance and how equally well it handled both calm and choppy water conditions. While tracking, maneuverability and a solid design was clearly the focus of this Driftsun model, the manufacturer kept the price low by skimping on the storage space, which can be a deal breaker for some.

We felt that the lack of storage space was worth the compromise to get an inflatable kayak made with puncture resistant material and loaded with all of the accessories the beginner needs to get started.

The Voyager inflatable kayak by Driftsun is highly maneuverable and compact, featuring a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom for added durability and protection against punctures. The kayak also features an eight hundred and forty denier nylon oxford top cover that’s tear and rip resistant.

For increased speed and tracking performance, the kayak’s pointed nose entry combined with the rocker profile allows you to take the kayak in both calm and choppy water conditions.  The removable tracking fin and V-shaped hull further increase the kayak’s tracking activities and performance out on the water.

Equipped with Boston valves that are double-threaded, the kayak can be quickly inflated in under five minutes.

Additionally, the kayak only weighs in at twenty-seven pounds, making it easy for one kayaker to handle.

This model comes with two heavily EVA padded seats, each of which is equipped with high-back support.

This package includes a travel bag, patch kit, tracking fin, hand pump, two lightweight aluminum paddles, and two removable seats.

This inflatable kayak can be used for solo or tandem paddling.

The max weight limit comes in at four hundred and fifty pounds.

The Voyager is a great choice for any kayaker who’s searching for a tandem inflatable kayak they can use in a wide range of water conditions.

This is a touring kayak designed with maneuverability in mind. It doesn’t come equipped with a storage compartment, which means you can expect the gear you bring to take up plenty of floor space. This can be a big downside for anglers who usually haul a lot of gear.

Pros

This set comes with everything you need to get started, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

The kayak’s removable fin provides excellent tracking.

One seat can be easily removed for solo use.

The heavy-duty construction allows this kayak to easily handle rougher water conditions.

The seats are highly adjustable and removable.

The removable skeg works well to keep the kayak tracking true.

Even during solo use, the kayak is easy to handle and maneuver.

Cons

There were some complaints that the kayak doesn’t provide much storage space for gear, which can be a problem if you’re carrying a passenger.

This kayak can handle a fast-moving river or flatwater just fine, but it’s not designed for ocean use.

There were some complaints regarding the quality of the included paddles, which is common with stock kayaking paddles. Fortunately, this issue is easily solved with an upgrade.

Conclusion

This is a budget-friendly tandem that can handle both flatwater and a fast-moving river. While it may not offer enough storage space that a higher priced tandem can, for the price, we still felt that this kayak was a total steal. For an inflatable kayak package that’s designed for beginners, you’ll get a well-built kayak that will last for several years to come.

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Best Inflatable Kayak for Whitewater

Out on the river, it can be just as challenging as kayaking at sea if you’re dealing with strong currents. Other times, it can be as easygoing or as gentle as a calm lake. When you’re paddling on a river, you need a versatile kayak that can handle both types of water conditions. This model by Advanced Elements is a consumer favorite and for a number of good reasons. Tough, durable, and built to last, you’ll quickly see why this tandem is the perfect choice for river use.

Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable Kayak Review-Best for Rivers

Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable Kayak ReviewThis inflatable kayak by Advanced Elements is designed for recreational use and day touring. While the kayak is designed for a wide range of water conditions, it performs best on calmer waters. It has a class lll rapid rating, which means it can handle choppy water conditions, but it’s not recommended for use in whitewater rapids.

Built tough, the kayak features built-in aluminum ribs on the stern and bow for improved tracking. With a puncture-resistant design, consisting of electronically welded seams and three layers of six hundred deniers, polyester laminate, and diamond ripstop material, this is one tough kayak.

It comes with two removable seats that are highly adjustable for ultimate comfort. The seats themselves can be placed in three positions so you can use the kayak as a tandem or remove one seat and head out for a day of fishing alone.

The kayak has a weight capacity of five hundred and fifty pounds. It comes with a skeg for improved tracking, patch repair kit, room for storage located in the back of the kayak, and rubber handles that make it much easier to get the kayak in and out of the water.

If you need more room, you can take advantage of the D-ring tie downs.

For added convenience, you can use the carry duffel bag.

The aluminum rib bow and stern allow the kayak to handle just as well as a rigid model.

The kayak features a total of seven inflation chambers that consist of five-twist lock valves and two military valves. Most kayakers reported that inflation is quick and simple, taking about ten minutes.

Pros

The aluminum bow and stern allow the kayak to track well in slightly choppy waters.

Tough and fast, this is a great kayak to use for fitness training.

The perfect kayak for day paddling.

The seats are comfortable and highly adjustable.

A faster inflation and deflation time allows you to set up or break down the kayak in minutes.

Even when fully inflated, the kayak offers a nice amount of flex, making it easy to maneuver.

The kayak’s performance is on par with a rigid kayak.

Cons

This package doesn’t come with a paddle or pump.

Many anglers who purchased this kayak for ocean fishing complained that the storage was very limited.

The kayak may be too small for users over six feet tall.

Conclusion

This inflatable kayak by Advanced Element is a great alternative to a hard shell model, thanks to its variety of innovative features. The aluminum rib stern ad bow provides the kayak with an improved tracking performance, making it one of the better tracking models on the market.

This kayak is ideal for use in flatwater conditions such as calm rivers, lakes, and large ponds. However, you can still use this kayak in the ocean, in calm water conditions.

If storage space is a priority for you, because you often bring along a lot of fishing gear, then this model may not be a good choice, although you can tow a cooler to save on space.

A great model for both beginners and experienced kayakers, you’ll enjoy ultimate maneuverability, excellent tracking, adjustable seating, and an inflatable kayak that’s built tough and able a large variety of water conditions.

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Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak Review-Runner Up for Best for Rivers

Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak ReviewThis inflatable kayak by Advanced Elements combines the best features of a rigid and inflatable kayak. It comes with the patented aluminum rib setup for the stern and bow, which works to significantly reinforce durability.

It also features double-coated ripstop fabric complete with three layers of material which helps to prevent scrapes, cuts, leaks, and punctures. Additionally, each model goes through pressure testing and an inflation inspecting process. This quality assurance testing can give consumers peace of mind that they’re buying a high-quality inflatable kayak that’s designed to last.

It offers a compact size when deflated and fast and easy setup, making this kayak a great choice for camping and travel.

Many anglers reported that this kayak is best suited for inland waters. While it can handle a bit of current, you’ll want to avoid coastal ocean waters and rapid waters.

Paddling in a calm sea is fine, just as long as you’re willing to work against the current. You should avoid shallow, rocky rivers. While this model is definitely built tough, respecting the kayak’s limitations is important.

The kayak features an eye-catching design that’s highly visible. The kayak’s main chamber is made out of sturdy thirty-gauge PVC that’s protected by polyester and coated with polyurethane on one of the layers, with an outer layer made out of tough one thousand denier polyester PVC tarpaulin. While it’s not totally waterproof, the outer layer is water resistant and dries pretty quickly. The kayak’s welded seams do an impressive job of guarding against leaks.

The kayak’s stern also works as a skeg, further improving maneuverability.

This model also features a moderately sized storage compartment designed to securely hold all your important gear.

On the floor of the kayak, you’ll find an integrated pressure release valve that will allow you to adjust the level of air pressure as you go. The kayak’s performance and maneuverability can be negatively affected if it’s been overinflated.

Pros

The included tracking fin makes navigating the kayak easy for beginners.

Neoprene paddle guards work to protect the body of the kayak against basic wear and tear as you paddle.

Due to the built-in seat, users can comfortably paddle around for hours.

This kayak handles just like a hard shell kayak, but with the added advantage of portability.

This model comes with a total of seven air chambers.

Many riders reported that the included pump provides fast and efficient inflation in as little as ten minutes.

When deflated and folded, the kayak makes a compact package at thirty inches by seventeen inches by ten inches.

Weighing just thirty-six pounds, this lightweight kayak is easy to transport and store.

The kayak offers a length of ten feet, five inches.

Much faster than other models of solo kayaks in this price range.

Cons

Because this is a sit-in, taller kayakers found it difficult to tuck their legs inside.

The kayak must be laid out for at least an hour to dry out, otherwise, mold will quickly grow.

Kayakers taller than six feet may not find this model very comfortable.

Conclusion

The Advanced Frame kayak glides well, thanks to the reinforced stern and bow, skeg, and hard edges. You’ll be able to cruise along in the water at about three knots, which is better than average for an inflatable kayak. However, you should be prepared to limit yourself to just calm waters and steer clear of rough waters at all costs. Offering an excellent reinforced design, tough material, and better than average maneuvering, this is the perfect kayak for general recreational use or fishing on a calm lake.

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Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Fishing kayaks are designed with the angler in mind. They tend to offer more comfortable seating, a wide variety of rod holders, and excellent durability. They also often offer a higher weight capacity and come with more storage options, so you can bring along all the gear you need and find a safe place to store your catch of the day.

This model by Elkton Outdoors is packed with features, offers a rugged design, and handles well in a variety of water conditions.

Elkton Outdoors Inflatable Fishing Kayak Review-Best Fishing Kayak

Elkton Outdoors Inflatable Fishing Kayak ReviewThis model is considered the most durable, rugged and safe inflatable fishing kayak on the market to date, this ten-footer by Elkton Outdoors is a great tandem fishing kayak that allows you to expertly navigate the waters and make it to those normally hard to reach fishing holes that are teeming with fish.

This package comes with all the fishing accessories you’ll need for your next trip, including four trolling and two vertical rod holders, two highly adjustable seats, two double-sided oars, carry bag for easy transport, patch kit, and foot pump.

This angling kayak easily outperforms higher priced hard-shell models, which is why we were so excited to take a closer look and see what this popular kayak has to offer.

The kayak has a reputation for inflating quickly, going from completely flat to fully inflated in under five minutes.

At ten feet in length, the kayak offers plenty of room to bring a buddy and all your essential fishing gear, plus, this model is said to track well even when it’s filled to capacity.

The kayak itself is made out of eighteen-gauge PVC tarpaulin, with a heavy-duty nylon cover.

This model can handle sea fishing, rapids, bays, rivers, lakes, ponds, and more.

In the event of a puncture, this model is said to be incredibly easy to repair. It comes equipped with a total of three removable air chambers. This allows the angler to diagnose and repair the kayak easily and quickly in the event of a tear or puncture.

Pros

This package comes packed with must-have angling features including six top of the line rod holders, two adjustable seats, pump, and oars, so you’ll have everything you need to get started fishing ASAP.

You’ll love how easy this kayak is to transport and use, yet it’s still able to provide anglers with much-needed peace of mind that normally only comes when fishing with a hard shell kayak. You won’t need to worry about tears or punctures with a kayak that’s packed with safety features and a durable design.

Because it’s an inflatable model, when fully deflated and rolled up, transporting this kayak is a breeze. Due to its compact size, storage will no longer be a problem.

This model comes with a high weight capacity of four hundred and fifty pounds.

Cons

While this kayak is tear resistant, obviously it’s not tear-proof. This means we don’t recommend kayaking in certain areas where sharp rocks or debris can pose a threat.

The included instructions were very brief and vague, which can be a problem for the newbie.

Conclusion

This kayak is the perfect option for anglers who are short on space at home and in need of a kayak that’s easy to store and transport. While it’s designed for angling use, it also works well for recreational kayakers. Since a serious tear is a possibility, it’s not a great choice for use in rocky waters.

Perfect for anglers or kayakers looking for a dependable kayak for recreational use, this model comes packed with a wide variety of fishing and safety features that make using this model a true pleasure. While it’s true that this kayak does have some limitations in terms of where you can paddle, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another fishing kayak that can stand up to this Elkton Outdoors inflatable kayak’s performance.

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Saturn FK396 Pro-Angler Inflatable Fishing Kayak Review-Runner Up Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Saturn FK396 Pro-Angler Inflatable Fishing Kayak ReviewSaturn has a slightly different approach to the inflatable angling kayak design. Replacing standard kayak seats with removable benches and focusing more on durability than functionality in challenging water conditions, some anglers will appreciate this deviation in design, while others will continue their search for a more versatile model.

Highly portable, easy to store, this angling kayak is a must-have for the beginner or pro angler. If you simply don’t have the room to store or the means to haul a traditional kayak, then this inflatable model can be the perfect solution that can meet any angler’s fishing needs.

Made from heavy-duty D-Tex PVC, this is one tough kayak. The floor of the boat is made out of a high-pressure air deck that’s incredibly rigid when fully inflated. However, when the kayak is deflated, it can easily be rolled up for storage.

On top of the air floor, tubes, and between the benches two layers of PVC fabric have been added for extra protection against hook accidents.

The tubes are rigid and offer ultimate buoyancy, making this kayak so stable that you can stand up when casting or hauling in your catch.

The kayak comes with a couple of aluminum benches that are removable. They can be used for mounting a variety of hardware including a GPS unit, rod holders, dive flags, video camera, fish finder, and much more.

This kayak is very versatile, which is what makes it such a popular model with anglers and recreational paddlers alike. The angler can sit directly on one of the benches using a canoe or kayak paddle. Or you can add some comfortable foldable chairs that connect directly into the benches. Some anglers opt to remove the benches and use traditional kayak seats instead.

Pros

Due to the boat’s high buoyancy oversized tubes, and narrow profile, paddling this kayak is a breeze.

The kayak is designed for ocean fishing, or on slow-moving rivers, lakes, and bays.

Made from heavy-duty D-Tex for high-strength and equipped with PVC fabric coating on both sides for ultimate durability.

The boat’s high-pressure air deck floor features two layers of reinforced fabric.

The removable aluminum benches are perfect for mounting gear.

The kayak comes with a total of eight heavy-duty D-rings you can use to secure traditional kayak seats.

In the back and front of the kayak, you’ll find a huge rope and handles.

This package includes a spare air valve, kayak paddle, carry bag, and repair kit.

Cons

This kayak is not a self-bailer, which means it’s not suitable for rough ocean or whitewater use.

The kayak doesn’t come with traditional kayak seats, although you can purchase a pair from the manufacturer.

While marketed as a pro-angler fishing kayak, we were disappointed that this model didn’t come with scupper holes, which makes it inappropriate for rough water use.

Conclusion

This kayak received some mixed feedback from anglers. Whether or not this is the right fishing kayak for you will heavily depend on where you prefer to fish. If you enjoy fighting the waves to enjoy some rough water fishing at sea, then this kayak isn’t the best choice. Additionally, it can’t handle whitewater conditions either. It’s built solid and handles well even in choppy water conditions, but because this isn’t a self-bailing model, you could run into serious trouble if you used it in challenging water conditions.

Overall, it works well with any type of flatwater. The lack of seats is another drawback for some, while other anglers appreciate the leg room and removable bench design.

Bottom line, this is a great kayak to take out on a calm river or lake to enjoy a long day of fishing, but if you’re looking for a rough sea-ready inflatable kayak, your search will continue.

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Top Cheap Inflatable Kayak

The old saying you get what you pay for is often true, but there are some exceptions. We took the challenge of finding the best kayak under $500 and came across the Chinook by Aquaglide. This is a great kayak for both beginners and seasoned paddlers and it has a lot to offer in terms of durability and tracking. It’s the perfect choice for the kayaker on a budget in need of a reliable model that can withstand heavy use.

Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL Inflatable Kayak-Best Cheap Kayak Under $500

Aquaglide Chinook XP Tandem XL Inflatable KayakThe Chinook XP is the best cheap kayak under $500 that you’ll find. It’s perfect for recreational use and offers a spacious design that makes it a very family friendly option. This model is marketed as an all-purpose kayak, which means you can take it both fishing and paddling down a calm river, but it’s not quite sea-worthy.

The kayak features grade Duratex hull material that’s blended with a six hundred denier polyester. So, while the boat isn’t exactly tough enough to handle potentially rocky waters, it should work just fine for flatwater use.

The floor of the kayak consists of 1PSI PVC i-beam construction for increased durability.

The rear and front splash guards work to deflect water, so everyone will stay warm and dry.

Also included is a removable tracking fin designed to improve both tracking and maneuverability.

Foam-based adjustable seats come equipped with a higher than average backrest designed to provide the best support, so you can remain comfortable as you paddle down a river. The back of each of the seats also provides plenty of storage space in the form of large mesh pockets.

On the floor of the kayak, the Velcro strip system will allow you to move the seats around, so it will accommodate kayakers of varying heights. One of the seats can also be removed if you prefer to try a solo adventure.  There is a third seat called the jumper seat, which is perfect for children.

Other features include Velcro paddle holders, molded carry handles, Boston inflation valves, a large carry bag with straps, two removable footrests, and the bungee deck lacing system.

The boat measures in at just a little over twelve and a half feet, with a width of thirty-seven inches.

The weight capacity comes in at five hundred and fifty pounds, with a width of thirty-seven inches.

The kayak itself weighs just thirty-four pounds, but the package can go up to forty-one pounds if the seats are in the carry bag.

Pros

This is an all-purpose tandem kayak that’s best suited for recreational use.

The removable jumper seat allows you to bring along your child and securely strap them in for a safe paddling adventure.

The cockpit is described as comfortable and roomy, with adequate storage space.

The two adult sized seats feature tall ergonomic backrests that help to minimize discomfort as you paddle.

The mesh storage pouches on the backs of each seat allow you to store your gear securely, while still allowing you to access them quickly.

The four molded transport handles make it easy to get the kayak in and out of the water.

Accessory straps located on the bow also allow you to securely stow gear and provide easy accessibility.

The high-performance fin features a unique fast release setup.

This kayak is perfect for families or anglers who like to pack heavy.

Cons

This kayak by Aquaglide package doesn’t include a pump or paddles, which is a downside for kayakers on a budget.

This is not a self-bailing kayak, which is why we don’t recommend it for ocean or whitewater use.

Some kayakers complained that this model takes about twenty minutes to inflate and several hours to dry.

Conclusion

The Chinook is a very family-friendly kayak designed purely for recreational use. It can also be used for fishing, just don’t expect to take it to sea or on a fast-moving river. Offering decent durability, a fin designed for optimal tracking, and a jumper seat that’s perfect for kids, this is a great package for the family on a tight budget.

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Best Inflatable Kayak for Ocean Use

If you’ve never kayaked in the ocean, then the idea of actually doing so can be pretty intimidating. But with the right kayak and the proper safety gear, you can enjoy an afternoon at sea that’s full of challenging waves, crystalline waters, and a durable kayak that can get you there and back safely. The 380x by Sea Eagle is just the kayak for the job. You’ll love how it handles, all the free accessories it comes with, but mainly, you’ll appreciate how safe you feel in it, even when paddling against waves and other challenging water conditions.

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak Review- Best Inflatable Kayak for Ocean Use

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak ReviewYou won’t come across another sea kayak in this price range that can do what the 380x can. In fact, you won’t have much luck finding this type of versatility even in a higher priced model. A rugged design combined with features that can improve tracking, maneuverability, and user comfort, this kayak is the total package.

The 380x by Sea Eagle comes with a ton of gear, including two seats, two paddles, carry bag, foot pump, two stow bags, and a swept back skeg.

It features a max weight of seven hundred and fifty pounds, which is pretty impressive. Despite it’s higher than average max weight, it weighs in at just thirty-six pounds, so it’s super easy to transport and store.

Built with one thousand denier high-pressure fabric that’s polyester supported, this kayak is designed to take a beating.

Hands down, this is the best ocean kayak out there. Equipped with four huge drains, you’ll be able to drain out water as you paddle through waves or a rushing current. Many ocean kayakers have reported that it can easily make its way through big waves without bending, so you know this kayak is a beast.

While there’s no shortage of inflatable kayaks on the market these days, there is a shortage of sea-worthy models. Since this Sea Eagle model can handle pretty much any type of water conditions, you can enjoy paddling around in the ocean, rivers, bays, and lakes.

If you want a kayak that allows you to paddle in whitewater, you need a kayak that’s rated to handle intense water conditions. With this Sea Eagle kayak, look no further. While there are certainly other models of inflatable kayaks that can handle whitewater conditions, they’re usually priced much higher. This kayak can actually handle class lll whitewater, but don’t even try attempting to paddle in those conditions with a cheaper kayak.

Pros

This model comes with a three-year warranty, which will give kayakers confidence in this type of major purchase.

This kayak is made of the same type and quality of material that most heavy-duty whitewater rafts are made of.

The kayak’s tough material allows it to withstand nasty encounters with downed trees, rocks, gravel bars, and much more.

The high weight capacity allows you to bring along a passenger and as much gear as you need.

Cons

When used as a solo kayak, some people felt that the kayak was difficult to navigate, especially if you’re hauling a lot of gear.

Because of its larger size, you can expect an average inflation time of twenty minutes.

Considering its size, we were disappointed that the manufacturer didn’t include any built-in storage, such as a dry compartment which can be used to keep phones and other personal items dry.

This model only comes with a total of six D-rings, however, the manufacturer offers plenty of accessories including a D-ring bungee system so you can easily accessorize based on your kayaking needs.

Conclusion

The 380x is the best choice for ocean kayaking, but it’s versatility allows you to do so much more with it than just visiting your favorite fishing hole. It’s also priced much less than competing models but offers the same type of quality without a major hit to your wallet. So, if you’re on a tight budget and you can only afford one boat to meet all of your family’s entertainment needs, this is it.

Portable, tough, versatile and easy to maneuver, this kayak is ideal for anyone who wants a kayak they can take in any type of water conditions, whether it’s for recreational use or fishing. By far, this is the best inflatable kayak designed for multipurpose use.

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Sevylor Big Basin Three Person Kayak Review-Best 3 Person Kayak

Sevylor Big Basin Three Person Kayak ReviewYou’ll find several great models of solo and tandem inflatable kayaks on the market, but the best 3-person inflatable kayak is pretty rare, and if you have a large family, then a model equipped to handle three riders is a must-have in order to enjoy some safe family fun out on the water or an action-packed fishing trip.

The Big Basin by Sevylor is made out of heavy-duty PVC, with a tarpaulin bottom that adds much-needed protection against punctures. This is one tough kayak that can easily handle flatwater and rough waters like a pro.

The large air chamber system ensures that the kayak will remain afloat until you get to shore, in the event of a large tear. Combined with the kayak’s Airtight system, this is one of the safest models of inflatable kayaks on the market.

The kayak’s weight capacity comes in at just under five hundred pounds, so it’ll work well for three average sized adults, or two average sized adults and plenty of fishing gear.

Measuring in at a little over twelve feet in length and three feet wide, this kayak is pretty roomy, and it’s a great option for taller kayakers who need plenty of legroom. But despite its massive size, this kayak weighs just thirty-five pounds.

The sides of the kayak are made out of tough PVC for extreme durability.

The leak-free design provided by the patented Airtight system will give you much-needed peace of mind when you’re paddling through rough waters.

The kayak also comes with spray covers, which will definitely come in handy when you’re at sea or battling a current on a fast-moving river. These covers will keep you and your passengers nice and dry.

Deflation and inflation is simple, thanks to the double-threaded Boston valves. The kayak also comes with a pressure gauge, which ensures optimal air pressure at all times.

Pros

The included backpack makes storing and carrying this kayak a breeze, especially if you plan to travel with it.

The kayak’s seats are removable and highly adjustable. Take out one seat for extra room to store your gear, or remove two and you can enjoy a nice solo trip out on the water.

This model comes with a one-year product warranty.

A three-person kayak is much longer than a solo or tandem kayak, but despite its length, most kayakers reported that it tracks very well. In fact, some users claim it tracks much better than hard shell kayaks of this size.

Offers excellent stability, even in white water conditions.

Cons

This kayak doesn’t come with paddles or a pump. For the price, we felt these accessories should have been included in the package.

There were some reports that this kayak doesn’t perform well in the ocean, stating it’s a better fit for rivers and lakes. However, we felt it performed well at sea, although, we don’t recommend using the kayak as a solo in the ocean because it’s less maneuverable when manned by only one person.

A kayak of this size can be difficult to dry out. While a small solo kayak can take a few hours, you’ll want to leave this kayak out overnight.

Conclusion

The Big Basin three-person touring kayak is one of the largest models of inflatable kayaks on the market. The fact that three average-sized adults can easily ride in it, and there’s still room to spare for gear, makes this a popular option for large families or the angler who wants to bring along a couple of fishing buddies.

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Intex Challenger K1Inflatable Kayak Review-Buyer Beware

Intex Challenger K1Inflatable Kayak ReviewThe Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayak is made out of welded material and equipped with a cargo net you can use to store all your gear. The durable I-beam floors work to add stability and comfort, while the cockpit offers more leg room for taller kayakers.

This is a solo kayak with a weight capacity of two hundred and twenty pounds and the kayak itself weighs just twenty-seven pounds.

This package comes with one aluminum paddle, hand pump, and repair kit.

While these basic features give unknowing consumers the impression that this is a solid, reliable kayak, unfortunately, we came across several issues that make this kayak an accident waiting to happen.

This is a kayak that’s pretty popular, but only because it’s priced so low. We did a little digging and here’s what we came up with:

The kayak is very lightweight and lacks the type of stability that can give the kayaker any indication that it can handle any type of current. Wind is a major issue, with many reports that the kayak easily flips on moderately windy days.

It also has a reputation for inflating unevenly from left to right. This makes it feel as though the paddler is going to fall right out of the boat. It also seems as though the air chambers are defective.

While the manufacturer claims that this kayak has a weight capacity of two hundred and twenty pounds, many kayakers claim that it struggles in the water with riders just over one hundred and sixty pounds. This lower than average weight capacity is a huge drawback for most kayakers, especially those who want to bring along fishing gear.

Other users reported that the skeg falls off every time, making it completely useless.

Conclusion

This Intex inflatable is the worst model we came across. While it’s priced very low, it’s not worth the purchase considering most kayakers reported it lasted barely two months. Difficult to steer, uncomfortable to paddle in, and designed with defective air chambers that will make the kayak lean to one side, take our advice and avoid this model at all costs.

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Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide

Inflatable kayaks are usually referred to as soft shell kayaks, while plastic and glass kayaks are called hard shell kayaks. Most models of inflatable kayaks will fall under two classes: general recreation and ocean/whitewater. General recreation models will include expedition and fishing models. Different styles will feature different types of reinforcements depending on use. Additionally, most models of whitewater/ocean kayaks are self-bailing, designed to quickly drain the water when you’re kayaking in choppy waters.

But knowing what type of kayak you need isn’t always easy, especially if you’re looking for a more versatile model.

When you’re shopping around for the best inflatable kayak, there are several factors you’ll need to consider, including construction, materials used, and size. These factors can be crucial to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable kayaking experience.

Inflatable kayaks are typically made out of a rubberized material, such as Hypalon. When they’re deflated, they can easily be rolled up for easier transport. When you want to use the kayak, you can inflate it quickly using an electric pump or a manual hand or foot pump.

Inflatable kayaks are available in a variety of styles including sit on top, sit-in, and self-bailing, just to name a few.

Inflatable kayaks are a perfect choice if you’re short on space or looking for a kayak that’s highly portable. With an inflatable kayak, you don’t have to deal with a rigid structure. These kayaks can be easily folded down so they’ll fit in your trunk. They’re also much easier to store. Some models even come with their own backpacks, for ultimate portability.

Many people mistakenly believe that inflatable kayaks aren’t very durable. But just like a top of the line raft, when one of these kayaks comes into contact with a hard or sharp surface, it will bounce right off of it.

However, inflatable kayaks aren’t infallible, which is why we recommend always bringing along a small hand pump and a repair kit in the event of a serious puncture.

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a solid kayak designed to fit your needs.

Solo or Tandem?

First is size. Are you looking for a kayak designed for one or two people? If you prefer kayaking solo, then a one-seater should be enough. However, if you plan to bring along a passenger, the family dog, or even if you’re known for bringing along a lot of gear on your fishing trips, a tandem will be the best choice.

It’s probably obvious that a tandem is much larger than a solo kayak. They tend to offer a lot more space on the inside and outside. However, the extra size tends to effect the kayak’s performance on the water.

With a tandem, there’s going to be extra weight which can be helpful at times, and a big downside in certain conditions. Out on the water, the extra weight can be beneficial, but not when it comes to storage or transport. The extra weight can help the kayak to track better, which is a common issue with most inflatable models. Inflating the kayak can take several minutes longer, but the kayak can also hold more weight. A higher weight capacity can be a major benefit for larger kayakers. Many paddlers will opt for a tandem kayak simply for the extra storage space and higher weight capacity.

Additionally, most types of tandem inflatable kayaks can be easily converted into a solo kayak, thanks to removable seats.

For some, while the tandem kayak can offer more storage space, paddling with the extra weight can make maneuvering more difficult.

Material Options

Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide

There are a few main types of materials to choose from including Hypalon, nitrylon, and PVC. Each of these materials has their advantages and disadvantages and many kayakers have opposing views on which type is the best. Each of these materials is used because they’re extremely durable and rugged, although some are more durable than others.

Hypalon: This type of material is very durable and strong. These kayaks are usually more expensive than Nitrylon and not abrasion resistant. Patented by Dupont, this synthetic rubber offers excellent UV resistance.

Pros

Hypalon is also very resistant to certain types of environmental factors including fungus and mildew.

It’s often the top choice for many kayak manufacturers because of it’s increased durability.

Cons 

More expensive than any other type of material used for inflatable kayaks

It’s also glued together instead of welded.

PVC: Kayaks made out of PVC are usually the cheaper option, however, they’re not abrasion resistant and are vulnerable to sun damage.

Pros

PVC coated kayaks made from this type of material often come in more color options compared to neoprene coated material.

PVC can also last a long time.

PVC is very easy to patch and can be easily welded.

When used as a coating on nylon or polyester, it works to increase puncture resistance and increases strength.

Cons 

Unfortunately, PVC isn’t as resistant to chemicals, temperatures, sunlight, and abrasions as Hypalon.

UV rays can damage PVC, so you’ll need to use a UV protectant spray.

Nitrylon: Nitrylon is a relatively new type of material used on inflatable kayaks. This material is very heavy and abrasion resistant. Some manufacturers have begun phasing out the use of PVC because there’s a lot of controversy regarding the effects it has on the environment. Nitrylon is said to be much more environmentally friendly.

Pros 

Abrasion and puncture resistant

Much tougher than PVC

It performs well in cold weather

Patching nitrylon is a breeze.

Cons 

This material is very heavy, which is why it’s mainly used on the kayak’s outer chambers where you can expect most of the wear and tear to occur.

Besides the types of material used, you also need to consider the material’s thickness as well, which is measured in denier. The higher denier number, the thicker the material. Thicker material translates to a more durable inflatable kayak.

Style

Sit-in kayaks are the most common type and they’re often recommended for kayakers who want to take their kayak camping, traveling, or for recreational paddling. This style features an enclosed cockpit that prevents water from getting inside, which works to keep the rider dry while increasing the kayak’s maneuverability and speed.

These kayaks are often long and narrow, which makes them easy to navigate and allows them to handle rougher waters.

Sit on top kayaks are longer and wider than a traditional kayak, which makes them a good choice for fishing and other types of activities that require stability. Most types of sit on top kayaks are stable enough to stand on and can come equipped with fishing rod holders and extra storage compartments that will allow you to haul more gear.

Self-bailing kayaks are commonly used in whitewater situations. They feature a number of ports, which are located in the bottom of the kayak. In rough, choppy waters the ports allow water to enter and pass back out quickly, preventing the kayak from filling up. If you’re paddling across calmer waters, you can use porthole plugs to prevent water from entering the kayak. Self-bailing kayaks don’t come equipped with tracking fins, which can make them poor performers in flat water.

While you can use pretty much any style of inflatable kayak for fishing, models specifically designed for angling are often the best option because they’re more stable, allowing you to easily move around on board to access fishing gear or when you’re casting. They also come equipped with several built-in rod holders, which no angler should be without.

For angling kayaks, stability and size will be the most important considerations. A wider, longer kayak offers more stability. Yet, you won’t be able to quickly or easily slice through the water like you would with a smaller kayak. Generally, inflatable angling kayaks designed for fishing on large ponds and lakes are more stable, while fishing kayaks designed for ocean use focus more on maneuverability.

When you’re shopping for an angling kayak, look for one that offers a bigger surface area. Having a wide, long hull provides adequate stability. The last thing you’ll want is your kayak capsizing when you’re struggling to haul in your catch.

Air Chamber Setup

A multiple air chamber system is important because they can keep the kayak afloat in the event of a puncture, allowing you to get safely back to shore. A kayak with a multiple air chamber system makes an inflatable kayak virtually unsinkable. Ideally, you’ll want a model with a minimum of three air chambers and excellent valves.

Hull

Obviously, the width and length of a kayak aren’t the only factors you should consider. The hull design can also affect a kayak’s performance. Models with a slightly rounded or flat hull offer great initial stability, making them highly maneuverable.  This style of hull is perfect for rivers or lakes and beginner kayak users who are in need of a highly stable model.

An inflatable kayak will commonly have a V-shape hull that allows the kayak to easily slice through the water, increasing the kayak’s capacity and speed.

Low Pressure versus High Pressure Kayaks

Low pressure: These models usually can be inflated from one to two pounds per square inch. These kayaks often have PVC floor bladders with long welded seams that run the length of the kayak.

High pressure: More expensive models can be inflated up to six pounds per square inch and feature drop stitch technology. A drop stitch design consists of thousands of tiny threads used to connect the bottom and top layers, resulting in a stronger link that can handle higher inflation pressure. The result? You’ll get a more rigid paddling platform.

Kayak Weight Capacity

A kayak’s weight capacity is important, especially if you’re looking for a fishing kayak that can handle hauling a lot of gear. Before you buy, check out a kayak’s weight capacity, which should clearly be listed on a kayak’s spec sheet. You’ll need to take into account your weight, passenger weight, and the weight of your gear.

The weight of the kayak itself can also be important, especially if you plan to take it along on hikes or when you’re camping. Lightweight inflatable kayaks can weigh around sixteen pounds, but the average weight for a fully deflated kayak is closer to thirty pounds.

Storing and Transporting

Overall, the size of an angling kayak is important, however, the size of the kayak when it’s deflated and folded can also be a factor. Usually, most inflatable models can fold down for storage in a backpack or duffel bag. However, if you don’t have much space at home or in your trunk to store a kayak, then the folded dimensions can be a factor in your decision-making process.

Kayak Length

Most kayaks aren’t much longer than fourteen feet. Just remember, the longer the kayak the less stable it is. Even the best model can easily flip over.

Storage Needs

How much gear do you plan on bringing along? You’ll find that most models will offer basic storage in the form of bungee cord tie systems. However, bigger kayaks, typically tandems, will come with built-in storage compartments that are designed to keep your gear dry while you paddle along.

Kayak Water Conditions

Inflatable Kayak Accessories

A kayak isn’t necessarily categorized by water type, however, it’s still helpful to consider the type of water conditions you expect to paddle in based on what you intend to use the kayak for before you buy.

In terms of your local lake, you should go with a recreational sit on top model. If you’re talking whitecaps, then a recreational kayak can be easily overmatched.

On the coast, there are strong currents, high winds, tides, and waves, all of which will come into play, so we recommend a sit-in touring kayak with a skeg or rudder. However, if you live in a warmer climate where you can go for a swim, or you plan on a kayaking adventure in mildly choppy waters, then a sit on top recreational model will be just fine.

A short recreational sit on top or sit-in kayak will work for paddling on a calm river. Most models usually have a skeg. This type of setup can help you to turn responsively and track more efficiently. A short kayak with a rudder is another great option, however, rudders are more commonly found on longer kayaks.

Why You’ll Love an Inflatable Kayak

These days, an inflatable kayak no longer closely resembles a large pool toy. In fact, manufacturers have taken great strides in terms of advanced features and improved stability. These advancements have transformed the kayak into a well-rounded, great performing boat that can even outperform some models of hard shell kayaks.

Because of these changes in design and quality, more and more paddlers are moving towards inflatable models and forgoing hard shell kayaks that simply take up too much space and can be a hassle to haul and transport. Because they’re so versatile they can even allow you to access spots that a traditional hard shell can’t.

But before you buy an inflatable model, you need to do your homework to ensure that the kayak you end up with will last for more than a season or two.

Now, let’s look at the top reasons most hard-shell kayakers make the switch to inflatable kayaks.

Storage and transportation: Unlike a hard-shell kayak, inflatable models can be deflated and stored in just a few minutes. There’s no need for a boat trailer or a kayak rack. Instead, most models of inflatable kayaks will come with their own carrying bags, complete with straps so you can wear it on your back. In terms of storage, even a three-person kayak can be folded up and placed in a small closet when not in use, taking up as little room as possible. This space-saving design will be important to apartment dwellers and homeowners who are short on space.

When you need to transport it, just toss it in your trunk or the backseat of your car.

Durability: Most models of kayaks now feature a type of puncture resistant construction that makes them even more durable than whitewater rafts. This allows the paddler to take their kayak wherever they want to go, whether it’s the sea, a river, or a bay. This type of durability allows the kayak to withstand plenty of abuse and it will last for a longer period of time.

Budget-friendly: Obviously, inflatable kayaks cost much less than a hard-shelled kayak or boat. This is especially important for people who are searching for a budget-friendly model for recreational purposes. While they may not be able to afford a traditional boat, there are several models of tandem or three-person kayaks out there that are designed to work with any budget.

Stellar performance: Depending on the model you purchase, performance can vary. However, many newer models are excellent performers, and can track impressively well, with some models reaching speeds that are much higher compared to inflatable kayaks of the past.

Lightweight design: While even larger sized inflatable kayaks can seat up tothree passengers, most models don’t weight more than forty pounds tops. Additionally, one person can easily manage hauling a solo or tandem kayak in and out of the water on their own.

Remember, there are some models that will be much heavier than others. Heavier kayaks are usually made from heavy-duty materials that are much thicker and more resistant to tears and punctures, while lighter kayaks are more prone to damage but are definitely highly portable, making them a better choice for solo use.

However, even heavier inflatable kayaks won’t require the use of a truck, SUV, or a roof rack to transport them. They often come in a small compact package that can easily fit in your car.

Versatile: Inflatable kayaks can be used in various types of water, for recreational paddling or fishing. They’re stable and safe and can be used in cold or warm weather, for countless hours of entertainment on the river, in the ocean, or at the local lake.

Final Thoughts

We hope our reviews of the top ten best inflatable kayaks on the market has helped you to choose a model that’s right for you based on where you intend to kayak, what type of kayaking you prefer, and whether you’d enjoy bringing along the family or heading out on the river solo. These models all have something special to offer, so we’re confident you can find a model that offers only the best quality and a kayak you can use for many seasons to come.