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Which Inflatable Kayak is Best for you?

Updated on May 28, 2014

Use this guide to choose an inflatable kayak to meet your needs

Check out information and actual user reviews for the most popular and best inflatable kayak on the market today.

Getting out on the open water is superb fun, great for family adventures, for fitness, and to help you simply get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

There are numerous types of kayak for all different purposes, though this page concentrates on inflatable kayaks, which of course, have the main advantage of being easier to move and store over solid kayaks.

There is a kayak for every person of any age, sex and ability so take a look below at what other inflatable kayak users had to say...and then choose the best kayak for you.

Photo credit: andydolman / Foter / CC BY

Reviews of Inflatable Kayaks

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package - "Stands the test of time..."

The two-person Sea Eagle 330 kayak is designed to be easy--easy to carry, inflate, paddle, deflate, and afford. Constructed of puncture-resistant, extra-thick K-80 polykrylar hull material, the craft weighs only 26 pounds, yet is sturdy enough to carry up to a 500-pound load. This inflatable kayak measures 34 inches wide by 11 feet, two inches long, with a roomy interior measuring 13 inches wide by nine feet, six inches long. The boat has nine-inch tubes, I-beam construction, and high-frequency welded seams, and is rated up to Class III whitewater.

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package

I cannot say enough good things about this kayak. I have owned mine since 2000 when I purchased it while living in Atlanta, GA. Inflation is simple, the bag properly stores everything you need, and the fit and finish of the boat are superb. In its time I have taken my Sea Eagle on calm lakes and rivers in the south numerous times without incident, but I have also tested it a fair amount. We have run it on Section III of the Chattooga in SC including Bull Sluice and also on the Nantahala including the Falls. While this is not the most demanding whitewater out there it is class II and III and I want to back up the mfr. claims that this boat can handle this water.

We have also had it in the Atlantic Ocean numerous times and it's a ton of fun to ride waves and crash if you're not careful. We now live in Indianapolis and take it on the White River during the warm months and it is holding up just fine. I can recommend that if you are interested in this boat to look into alternative paddles, as my personal kayak paddle does a much better job for me than the included paddles.

We also installed the skeg on the underside of the boat and have found that this improves the yaw of the boat considerably, although it is not a make or break addition. I hope this review helps anyone considering investing in one of these boats. Enjoy the water!

 

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak - "Perfect Inexpensive Kayak"

Challenger K1 Kayak is made of rugged SUPER-TOUGH vinyl made stronger for durability. High visibility graphics allow others to see you easily. The cockpit is designed for comfort and space and has an inflatable seat and backrest. US Coat Guard ID. Includes repair kit.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

My husband I enjoy kayaking and once we saw the prices of fiberglass kayaks, we hesitated to buy. I saw this inflatable kayak on Amazon and showed my husband who told me not to get it because they would puncture easily and blow away or fill up with water quickly- he could not have been any more wrong. After purchasing two, we took them on their maiden voyage today and both of us were very surprised; they were easy and quick to inflate and navigated perfectly in the water. The material of the kayak is very thick and durable and I am in the process of having all of our friends purchase this item as well.

 

Sevylor Pointer Inflatable 1-Person Kayak - "Great boat for the money..."

Offering the same high-performance features as a traditional kayak but in an inflatable body, the Sevylor Pointer one-person kayak is made for performance and reliability. The Pointer is made of durable 20-gauge PVC, with an ABS structural frame that sheds water beautifully. As a result, the Pointer gracefully glides through whitewater, with a whitewater spray cover and apron to protect your lower extremities. The kayak also includes such rugged construction details as a pointed, rigid bow and stern, a flat bottom design, and an extra-durable fabric-reinforced bottom and sides.

Sevylor Inflatable Pointer K1 Kayak
Sevylor Inflatable Pointer K1 Kayak

I bought two of these last year as an anniversary gift for myself and my husband. The kayaks are very sturdy and durable and they float well.

The only downside is that it is difficult to get them pumped REALLY REALLY full of air, once you pull the pump away quite a bit of air leaks out before you can really get the opening closed. Also, my husband had the problem that the one pump hole behind his seat came open once while he was on the river. Luckily the river was very low and he had the pump with him and was able to stop and pump it back up.

We have had a lot of fun in the water with this model of kayak and look forward to many more exciting and relaxing days on the water!

 

What type of kayak do you have?

What type of kayak do you have?

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Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak - "Fast but heavy..."

The AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak from Advanced Elements is a fifteen foot kayak that offers the versatility of solo or tandem paddling. Using the optional single or double decks, you can convert your AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak into a solo or tandem kayak in a matter of seconds. Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improve tracking while three layers of material offer ultimate puncture resistance. You'll stay comfortable on the water with the high support, adjustable padded seats. Easy to set up, just unfold, inflate, and attach the seats and you're ready to kayak.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

I bought a Convertible last year and used it twice, once on a lake and once on a river trip. It paddles fast and tracks straight and has plenty of leg and storage room with just me in it. The back seat was a little hard to recline in during lazy stretches of river but I got fairly comfortable. My chief complaints are the weight, around 60lbs, and the need to pull the floor out and the shell off to get it dried properly and then put it back together and deflate and fold it. But it's obviously a serious, heavy duty piece of equipment that should prove very durable and enjoyable if I don't throw out my back lugging it down to the water.

Edit--Two years and a dozen trips later and I'm still happy with this kayak. It's comfort and stability compared to canoes I float with make river trips doubly enjoyable as I fish out the gear floating downstream and ask how cold the water is while people right their canoes.

On a sandy shore I once removed the spreader bag and seats and put my sleeping bag inside for a cozy, though coffin-like, airbed

 

Sevylor Tahiti Classic Inflatable Kayak - "Sevylor by name only...not the Sevylor as I remember it..."

The same kayak that twice traversed the entire length of the Amazon River, the Sevylor Tahiti classic inflatable two-person kayak is ready for adventures the world over.

The Tahiti kayak was released in 1963 and maintains a similar build after all these years. The kayak is durably constructed of heavy-duty 26-gauge PVC, with two air chambers for security and a tubular I-beam floor for stability.

Sevylor Tahiti Classic Inflatable Kayak
Sevylor Tahiti Classic Inflatable Kayak

I have an "original" Classic K-79 and it is nearly indestructable. It has taken 15 years of hard river abuse, less than ideal storage situations, and rough transportation it is still going strong. These new "Classic" K-79's are a shadow of what they used to be. THIN and CHEAP is the name of the new Svylor product design strategy, thin to the point of pool floatie uselessness, and a total waste of your hard earned money. When a warm bit of sun hits the thin material, it stretches out and the tahiti starts to buckle and it feels like you are sinking, the new air valves are a joke and even the air pumps made by Sevylor do not fit snugly.

A 1/4 inch blackberry thorn ripped a 3 inch gash in a friends newly purchased K-79...a gash that is just large enough that the patch it came with will not cover it. Sevylor used to produce a quality reasonably priced product...not anymore. I would strongly advise against anyone buying this product, but sadly I cannot suggest an alternative for the price range.

If you are going to use this tahiti for floating in a pool, lake or very calm river then it might work ok for you. But if there is even the slightest chance it will come in contact with anything sharper than a smoothly rounded rock you might as well just light the $100 this thing is going to cost you on fire and save yourself some trouble.

 

Kayak Safety Gear

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package - "Excellent kayak - don't be misled by other review..."

The Sea Eagle 380x Explorer inflatable kayak is as tough as nails and as rugged as the men and women who ride in it. A handy mid-size kayak that holds two to three people and up to 750 pounds, the 380x lets you rocket fearlessly down Class IV rapids, traverse miles of wilderness rivers to remote camping spots, or fly fish on trout streams that other fishermen can't access. Even better for travelers, the kayak deflates and stores in a handy carrying bag, so you easily haul it along on a small plane to impossibly obscure fishing or camping sites. There's no better kayak for true adventurers than the Sea Eagle 380x.

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package
Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

I personally have owned this kayak for almost a year now and it is an excellent value in an inflatable kayak. It is tough as nails and extremely well built. To be fair, I have the "Deluxe" package, not the "Pro" - regardless, the actual kayak assembly is exactly the same. Go to the Sea Eagle website for full info on package differences. I've had alot of people show interest in my 380x, and I love it - highly recommended!!

 

What do you mainly use your kayak for?

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Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak

The Sea Eagle 380x Explorer inflatable kayak is as tough as nails and as rugged as the men and women who ride in it. A handy mid-size kayak that holds two to three people and up to 750 pounds, the 380x lets you rocket fearlessly down Class IV rapids, traverse miles of wilderness rivers to remote camping spots, or fly fish on trout streams that other fishermen can't access. Even better for travelers, the kayak deflates and stores in a handy carrying bag, so you easily haul it along on a small plane to impossibly obscure fishing or camping sites. There's no better kayak for true adventurers than the Sea Eagle 380x.

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package
Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

No user reviews are currently available...

 

Sevylor Tahiti Fishing/Hunting Inflatable Kayak - "Durable Boat easily inflates/deflates..."

A fishing-specific version of the kayak that twice traversed the entire length of the Amazon, the Sevylor Tahiti fishing/hunting inflatable two-person kayak is ready for adventures the world over. The Tahiti was released in 1963 and maintains a similar build after all these years. The kayak is durably constructed of heavy-duty 26-gauge PVC, with two air chambers for security and a tubular I-beam floor for stability.

The Tahiti is also extremely comfortable thanks to the specially designed inflatable seats, which offer ample back support. And hunters will love the kayak's camo color, which ensures low visibility in grassy marshes. Other features include two spray covers for protection, an optional directional skeg for maximum control, and a leak-proof guarantee from Sevylor.

Sevylor Tahiti Fishing/Hunting Inflatable Kayak
Sevylor Tahiti Fishing/Hunting Inflatable Kayak

When I was looking for an inflatable boat I was looking for ease of inflating and deflating while I was camping. It is very easy to inflate and deflate. I would recommend buying an electric pump that also deflates as well.

Fishing can be a bit challenging at first because of the light weight which causes drift especially when fighting the fish, but after hours of practice you will learn the dynamics of the boat and it will become second nature. This boat is great for double kayaking with a friend.

 

Books about Kayaking

Whether you are just beginning to kayak or are a veteran, reading about the sport is a must to understand kayaking techniques, safety, and to find the best places to kayak.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak - "Great Recreational Kayak..."

A hybrid of a folding-frame kayak and an inflatable kayak, the AdvancedFrame kayak is built for performance and trackability. The hull includes built-in aluminum ribs that define the bow and stern to improve tracking. As a result, the kayak slices through the water like a knife, helping it rival the trackability of hard-shell kayaks. Long hours on the water feel like minutes thanks to the high-support, adjustable padded seat. Plus, the kayak is extremely tough, with three layers of double-coated ripstop material for added puncture resistance.

Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

Overall this kayak is a great purchase for someone looking for a first kayak to take on casual trips, or for a second kayak for those who might want to travel where they can't take their hardshell. Performance is on par with other hardshell recreational kayaks, but without the hassle of storage or transport. Highly recommended.

 

Sevylor Inflatable Sit-On-Top Kayak, 2-Person - "Good entry-level inflatable kayak..."

Portable, comfortable, stable, and durable -- the Sevylor Sit-On-Top Inflatable Kayak is a great choice for navigating your favorite waters and exploring new ones. The 2-Person Kayak measures 13 Feet1 Inch long by 3 Feet1 Inch wide, and holds up to 595 pounds. It Feets constructed of heavy-duty 25-gauge PVC, with dual-tracking fins for easier steering.

For storage, the Kayak features a recessed compartment with a secure cargo net. An 86 Inch aluminum paddle is included. Guaranteed not to leak, thanks to Sevylor Feets exclusive Airtight System, the kayak Feets Double-Lock Valves prevent accidental air loss and ensure quick, easy inflation and deflation. NMMA certified.

Sevylor Inflatable Sit-On-Top Kayak, 2-Person
Sevylor Inflatable Sit-On-Top Kayak, 2-Person

I purchased this so that I could take my girlfriend out on some nearby lakes. Set up was very easy, but I'd recommend using a manual air pump as opposed to an electronic one. After setting in the water, it took a few minutes to get used to paddling and steering. Since this is my first kayak, I believe any frustration I felt toward this one is due to my inexperience, as now that I've had more time with it on several occasions, I can honestly say that I love every minute of the experience, thanks in large part to the quality of this craft.

Recently, I went out on a large lake (Lake Martin in AL) and was pleasantly surprised to see how well the kayak handled waves created by other boats. It glides right over them with ease, mostly without altering your heading! Wonderful construction is to thank for that.

All in all, I believe anyone who has not experienced any other inflatable kayak will love this one since it is such an easy entry into hobby kayaking.

 

Do you have a single seat or tandem kayak?

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Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak - "A very cheap pool toy! A lawsuit waiting to happen!"

Cruise the local waterways in comfort without hauling along a full-size kayak with the Sevylor QuikPak K1 coverless sit-on-top inflatable kayak.

The QuikPak K1 sit-on-top kayak includes a dual-action hand pump for easy inflation.

Sevylor's inflatable kayaks and canoes contribute to people's wanderlust by slicing through lakes or whitewaters, letting boaters hunt for the day's catch or hidden waterways. The K1 kayak is one of Sevylor's grab-and-go kayaks, with an inflatable design that folds and stores in an integrated backpack storage system.

Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak
Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak

I bought this product in Overstock.com and it was awful.

Cons:

1- Extremely thin. So thin I left it inflated over night to verify if it had any air leaks... and next morning it just burst, not even touched it, it was just siting there and one of the compartments just burst. It is .21 gauges in the thicker section at the bottom. It should be at least .31 all over if it was to be something more or less durable and usable.

2- None of the pumps they sale this kayak with actually fits any of the valves of the kayak without modification. I had to cut in half one of the tips of pump hose to make it fit the smallest valves, and had to cut the base of another hose tip to make a permanent adaptation to make it fit the bigger valves.

3- It comes with 2 big valves that serve no good purpose at all. The only thing they are good for is for whenever you have an accident in the middle of a lake the kayak can lose all air in no time... all valves of the kayak should be like the three small valves it come with (it will look cheap as hell, but it is what it is) at least they would hold the air longer in case of an accident.

4- They claim the valves are "dual lock" valves leakage proved guarantied... not even them buy that. The valves are just like the valves of any pool toy, but you push them down and they are supposed to lock from inside (which is very weak and easy to unlock by accident)

5- The bottom of the kayak shows many bumps that lack aerodynamics, so (even when I didn't get the chance to use it at all) it clearly collaborate the reviews several customers gave it that it is not very water worthy and it is very slow kayaking (impossible to use in any river with some water current)

6- It came with a defective valve that didn't lock from inside and it had an air leak.

7- It is not worthy of $90, no way... the most expensive cheapest pool toy ever... it is more like a $40 - $50 product (and I may be pushing it too much) it is just a product manufactured to be used 4 - 5 times before it just becomes useless.

8 - Never, ever, dare to hop on that thing and raft any far away from shore, and always use a life vest. It can easily deflate well under a minute.

Pros:

1- Great customer service.

2- It looks more or less cool.

3- A great idea poorly designed and worst manufactured.

 

Waterpoof gear for kayaking...

When carrying equipment in a kayak, you will want to be sure it stays dry. There are some great products that help keep items like food and even laptops waterproof as you are going down the rapids.

Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package - "Amazing for the money..."

Race down the river or cruise a mirror-smooth lake at dawn in the Sea Eagle Sport kayak. It holds up to 500 pounds, but weighs only 26. Easily portable, it carries two adults and gear, but can be transported and used by one adult alone. You can even bring your dog out on the water--the rugged PolyKrylar hull is tough enough to withstand dog paws and claws. The SE370 packs down to fit in a storage bag, but has cargo space for camping gear and other supplies. It can be used for paddling, fishing, yacht tending, or skin diving. You can even take it on the river as it can handle whitewater up to class III.

Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package
Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

I bought SE370 Pro Inflatable Kayak that has the upgraded seat from a competitor. Took it to the local lake during a camping trip. Easy to put together. Kids loved it as well as me! I solo'd it to do some fishing.

Kids teamed up to paddle around the lake. OF course, we all used life jackets at all times! It tracked beautifully and was easy to maneuver. It was easy , as well, to deflate. Be sure to wipe it dry before storing it away. The included storage bag held everything, pump, kayak and paddles. It is quite sturdy and has a nice carrying strap. Buy it and enjoy !!!

 

Sevylor Inflatable Colorado Hunting and Fishing Canoe, 2-Person - "The best canoe ever?"

Combining the stability, maneuverability, and seaworthiness of a kayak with the comfort, looks, and styling of a traditional North American canoe, the Sevylor Colorado hunting and fishing canoe is ideally suited for rough waters, lakes, ocean fishing, and diving. The Colorado is equipped with a raised bow and stern, with a design that's as close in shape, comfort, and styling to the North American Indian canoe as an inflatable boat can get. As a result, you and a friend will look and feel authentic as you cruise down the waterway. Construction-wise, the boat features a double-hull build made of durable 18-gauge PVC, along with a 420D nylon cover and a rugged, fabric-reinforced bottom.

Sevylor Inflatable Colorado Hunting and Fishing Canoe, 2-Person
Sevylor Inflatable Colorado Hunting and Fishing Canoe, 2-Person

The canoe is light and easy to inflate, this canoe gets me my wife our 3yr old daughter and our 70lb chocolate lab around any lake no problem, its easy to carry with 1 person or 2, it comes with a patch kit but i dont think i will ever need it unless im really careless with it. You wont be disapointed...

 

NRS Bandit I Inflatable Kayak on the Salmon River

Inflatable Kayak Repair Kit

Eventually, you will need to patch your kayak, there are many kayak repair kits available just make sure you get the right size patch and if color matters a color to match your kayak.

Used Inflatable Kayaks

Finding a used inflatable kayak is sometimes cheaper than buying a new one. You will have to weigh the cost of repairing a used one with the warranty in a new one. eBay has a lot of great deals for new and used inflatable kayaks.

Best Inflatable Kayak Guide Review Info

Please note - The best inflatable kayak reviews above are real user reviews written by owners of the product in question. These reviews were originally posted on the Amazon.com website where they can be viewed.

Best Inflatable Kayak Guide Guestbook - Please comment below...

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Nice lens! You must really be an adventurous person.

    • profile image

      longlakelifestyle 3 years ago

      I prefer a solid kayak than an inflatable one especially if I want my children to be safe.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      What fun it would be to have one of these.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have seen more and more of these on the river lately

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      I didn't know there are inflatable kayaks. Live and learn...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thanks for the info

    • WalkOnWater LM profile image

      WalkOnWater LM 4 years ago

      Great guide! Love the Advanced Elements kayak in particular, great design.

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