6 Best Inflatable Kayaks Reviewed in 2020 - Review on Top Picks
There is no better way to spend your leisure time other than kayaking as you enjoy the water waves throughout the day. What’s more, is that you can find convenient and portable kayaks at an affordable cost. The inflatable kayaks are a better choice since they can be carried with much ease anywhere anytime. Forget the worries of leaks as the best inflatable kayaks have been designed with sturdy materials that can work well just like the hard-shelled types. Inflatable designs come at affordable prices, and there are no more excuses for not enjoying relaxation and exhilaration that come with kayaking.
Beginners can take full advantage of the flexibility and stress-free control of inflatable kayaks. Besides, even the expert kayakers are slowly going for inflatable kayaks because of the convenience and outstanding performance as a result of tremendous improvement in the construction. You only need to choose the best one that can accommodate the paddler and the gear comfortably. Here we have all the information you need to pick the top-rated inflatable kayaks with no disappointment in all water conditions. READ THROUGH this article and make the wisest choice ever!
- 1 Summary of the Best Inflatable Kayaks
- 1.1 What is an inflatable kayak?
- 1.2 Benefits of Best Inflatable Kayaks
- 1.3 Types of Best Inflatable Kayaks
- 1.4 Factors to Consider When Looking for the Best Inflatable Kayaks – Buyer’s Guide
- 2 Detailed Review of the 6 Best Inflatable Kayaks
- 2.1 1. Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
- 2.2 2. Intex Challenger K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak
- 2.3 3. Nordic VENJA Lifting Weightlifting Shoes
- 2.4 4. SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- 2.5 5. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
- 2.6 6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions on Best Inflatable Kayaks
Summary of the Best Inflatable Kayaks
Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
Intex Challenger K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak
Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Best Inflatable Sport Kayak
SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
Advanced Elements Frame Convertible best Inflatable Kayaks
What is an inflatable kayak?
This is a kayak that can be deflated and blowup as need be. Before use, you will have to inflate it, and after which, it is deflated for secure storage and transport. Inflatable kayaks are gaining popularity because of sturdy construction that has improved its performance, just like their hard-shells counterparts.
Benefits of Best Inflatable Kayaks
There are various benefits that make many paddlers go for blowup kayaks. These include:
The blowup kayaks can be deflated with ease to fit in a backpack or any bag for stress-free storage. This is unlike the hard-shelled kayaks that can stretch up to 10 feet, making storage and transport a hassle. Those paddlers that live in apartments with less space can still enjoy kayaking with inflatable types as they can even fit in a closet when deflated.
The blowup kayaks can be used anywhere anytime, as they are easy to carry. Even in an inaccessible place, they can be folded and put in a backpack for easy transport while walking. Some come with carrying bags or duffel bag that makes transportation easy. There is no limit as paddlers can bring their gear on trips, flights even to interior places.
Blowup boats are known to be stable and easy to control while paddling in any water condition. Due to their enhanced buoyancy and wideness, there are decreased chances of tipping over compared to hard-shelled types. They can withstand bumps and knocks and bounce off in case of collision, thus maintaining its stability.
Simplicity in setting up and repair
There is no worry about where and when to set-up the kayak. Since they are lightweight, you can easily set-up at the shoreline. As long as you have the pump and the small skills needed, the kayak can be inflated within a few minutes. Maintenance is also stress-free as most of them come with a repair kit that mends any punctures.
Considering your budget before buying a kayak is crucial. When you are on a tight budget, inflatable kayaks can save your day. They come at affordable prices while offering outstanding performance comparable to hard-shelled boats. Beginners can choose the blowup types as they are less expensive besides being reliable with balanced performance.
The ease of storing kayak almost anywhere in the car makes it possible to do it in safe places. Hard-shelled are usually put on top of the kayak, and they can easily be stolen since they are more exposed. There is less worry, and you can spend more time at the beach after kayaking with peace of mind since the kayak can be stacked safely inside the car.
Types of Best Inflatable Kayaks
Blowup kayaks come in different shapes and styles. The model chosen will differ depending on the intended use. The types to consider include:
This is a kayak type that features lower seats and higher sidewalls to avoid water getting in since they are not enclosed fully. They are canoe-shaped but use a double-sided paddle, which keeps it stable even in shaky waters. It is meant to sit one person, and spray cove can be installed to seal off the open deck completely.
This is a tandem inflatable kayak that seats two people while leaving enough space for extra gears. They come in shapes of regular kayaks but open on top and can be used in hard-to-reach places. They use dedicated one-sided paddles with the walls and seats raised.
This type features an enclosed cockpit that will keep you dry even in rough waters. Sit-in can be attached to a spray kit to expel both wind and water. Hence, they are a perfect choice in cold weather because of keeping wind and liquid away. The bungee system is also classy because of extra space over paddlers’ feet to work with.
This type features an open cockpit where the paddler sits higher than any other type of kayak. You won’t feel trapped inside as the feet are not inside the hull getting in and out is quite easy. It uses the double-sided paddle, and since there is less sturdy, it is not suitable for beginners. Water can also get in quickly because of lower sidewalls and thus suitable to use them on still water and warm weather.
This type is ideal for whitewater adventures. It has holes at the bottom that allows the water to get in and out, thus preventing water from filling up on fast-moving rivers. However, in calm waters, the holes can be plugged in order to avoid water from getting in. they may not perform well in flat water due to lack of tracking fins.
These are the kayaks that function as gondolas and paddles stand while kayaking. It is the latest innovation that is ideal for expert paddlers. You will need to control it professionally to avoid tipping off or else ensure you know to swim in case of any eventualities.
Factors to Consider When Looking for the Best Inflatable Kayaks – Buyer’s Guide
The beauty with kayaks is that they can be used even in previously inaccessible areas. An inflatable kayak that does not compromise on performance and durability is definitely a preferred choice for most paddlers. These are the factors that will enable one to pick the best depending on their needs:
Number of paddlers
Whither to go for solo or tandem kayaks will rely on a number of people to use the kayak. If at one point in time you intend to tag someone alone, then tandem kayaks are the best. The good thing is that you can still paddle alone or take along your favorite canine friend. Multi-passenger kayaks are also suitable for families and can carry additional gear needed while paddling.
However, if planning to paddle alone, then one-passenger kayak is all that you need. Why invest more on tandem types when you are not going to need the extra seats and space? No reason, just ensure the solo kayaks have enough space for the gear needed during the trip.
Purpose of the kayak
Before you even think of purchasing a kayak, its use should be known clearly. Many paddlers buy one for various needs such as diving, fishing, racing, surfing, and simple leisure activities. Once you get an answer, then narrow down and get a kayak that serves your needs with proper gear attachments.
Nevertheless, you can pick a versatile kayak that will serve several purposes. For example, open kayaks can be used for simple leisure activities and diving. Some come attached with additional accessories such as those needed when fishing to make them more adaptable. The other thing to note is the water you intend to use kayak on. Calm water demands different kayak types that are used on the ocean.
Length and weight of the kayak
Kayaks come in various lengths and weights when inflated and when deflated. Typically, inflatable kayaks have a dimension of 22 feet. However, it can be as short as 10 feet or long as 16 feet. The medium size is more stable while still having enough room for two or one people and a pet. When in doubt, ask the kayak experts using an online platform or store representative to get dimensions that suit your needs.
Most kayaks are lightweight, but they vary in weight from one product to the other. You will want one that is easy to carry while walking and fits in the bag perfectly. Check the length and the size of a kayak when deflated so that it can fit in the storage bag perfectly. Note that some come with their kit and, therefore, no need to worry as all measurements are taken into consideration.
Weight and seating capacity
Inflatable kayaks have different weight capacities that range from 350-700 pounds. Your weight and that of the gear should guide you on the correct one to pick. Mostly solo kayaks have less weight capacity compared to tandem kayaks. The apparent reason, being multi-passenger boats are meant to carry more people and tools needed.
Despite not planning to go kayaking every day with someone, you might want to do so once in a while. The extra seat comes with the added advantage of being able to carry a friend along or a pet, and while not in use, you can put some gears and drinks cooler. Being with someone gives you a chance to share an excellent experience with a loved one.
Water conditions on kayaking location
You need to know the water conditions of your preferred kayaking area. Is it whitewater, calm lakes, ocean, coastal regions, or moving waters? Answering the question will help you pick a kayak that not only suits the situation but also have additional gears needed and specifications that will suit well.
For instance, if you are kayaking in calm waters, a sit on top types will work well since, in such a condition, it will not let a lot of water in, thus maintaining the stability of the boat. However, a sit-in kayak will be best for whitewater because of its enclosed cabin. Less water getting in prevents the kayak from sinking, which is common to the sit-on-top used in the same conditions.
To paddle well, you will need to sit or stand comfortably in a kayak. Consider your height and weight to get a kayak that you will comfortably fit. The feet should also rest well such that you do not have to bend them unnecessarily. You might measure your length while seated to know the dimensions of the kayak that can comfortably accommodate you and the required tools.
The ease of getting in and out should also be comfortable for you. Rough waters can cause the kayak to tip-off, and therefore, the vessel bought should have a lower center of gravity. Learn how to enter the kayak after swimming to avoid any challenges that may occur. For instance, sit-on-top is usually known to have ease of getting in and out.
High vs. low pressure
To inflate a high-pressure kayak, you will need 3-6 PSI. High-pressure vessels feature drop-stitch build with a connection of top and bottom by countless tiny threads. The boats, therefore, have increased performance due to a rigid platform and ability to work well in a challenging environment. They are more expensive due to the intricate design that makes them more robust and durable.
Low-pressure kayaks, on the other hand, require only 1-2 PSI to inflate fully. The watercraft shape is kept even by I-beams, and the kayaks have PVC ladders floors. This simple design makes them an affordable option though they may not perform as well in harsher conditions compared to high pressured kayaks. Check your budget and choose one that meets your needs.
Ease of inflating
The time it takes to blow up, the kayak should be considered alongside the performance expected. Pump-up and go kayaks can be raised in 5-10 minutes and is suitable for paddlers that are in a hurry to go into the water. However, it may not perform well, like the kayaks that take time to inflate fully.
If you want kayaks that perform well even in harsh conditions, than those that take time to blow up are the best-more air should be pumped in in cold season while less in hot days since there will be more expansion throughout the kayaking journey.
The material used in making the kayak needs to be sturdy and durable. You do not want to risk your life and that of loved ones by investing in cheap kayaks made of poor-quality fabric. The fabric should easily fold when deflated for secure storage and transport. The common materials used include:
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
This is a durable plastic that is commonly used because of their ease and less cost in production. They can be made more flexible and softer, depending on the need. PVCs are easy to patch; however, they may be affected by extreme temperatures, sunlight, and abrasion. You need to spay with UV protectant when using it on sunny days.
This is a synthetic rubber that features most in foldable and inflatable boats. Hypalon can withstand extreme temperatures, chemicals, and UV rays. Compared to other materials, Hypalon lasts longer, and most comes with a 5-10 year warranty. Nonetheless, they come at increased prices despite the fact that it is glued rather than welded to prevent water from getting in for extended periods.
This is a great choice when it comes to protecting the environment since it is non-pollutant. Nitrylon is the most innovative and easy to patch more than PVC. It is also stronger and can resist punctures and abrasions. The cold water does not affect their performance but can be too heavy to carry around. More often, they are used for exterior chambers of the kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks come well-accessorized to avoid any further expense that paddles can incur. You should ensure it is well-packaged to make to more affordable options. Some of the items to check to include:
- An inflating pump with a fin system
- Two double-sided paddles with more seats
- Removable skegs
- Rod holders for fishing kayaks
- Life vest that equals the seat number
Detailed Review of the 6 Best Inflatable Kayaks
Here we analyze each of the top-rated blowup kayaks so you can pick one that suits your needs. Go through them and click the links for more information and current pricing.
1. Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
Explorer K2 is easy to paddle a kayak that can accommodate two people of 400 pounds maximum weight. The streamlined design makes it suitable for recreational activities with directional stability from removable skegs. Beginners can use it stress-free due to two paddles included with ease of controlling it. Comfort is assured through adjustable seats with backrest together with a spacious cockpit.
In case of any emergency, you can paddle safely to the shore due to three distinct chambers put in place. Furthermore, the kayak is bright yellow in color; thus, an emergency team can locate it in case of disaster. Inflate and deflate it quickly through Boston valves using a pump that comes with the package and paddle in small water bodies like a pro!
2. Intex Challenger K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak
Challenger K1 is a durable inflatable kayak made of sturdy vinyl puncture-resistant material. It can comfortably accommodate one person with a maximum weight of 220 pounds. If you weigh less than this, the other important tools can be put inconveniently. The spacious cockpit maximizes comfort with the I-beam floor, making it rigid for added stability. Comfort is further enhanced through adjustable seats with backrest.
The bright green color comes in handy during an emergency situation. It can be spotted from a distance with two separate chambers, even allowing you to get to the show in case one is punctured. Inflation and deflation are also done effortlessly due to quality Boston valves. Extra gear can be kept in cargo net attached to the boat. The high-output pump and repair kit s included for stress-free usage!
3. Nordic VENJA Lifting Weightlifting Shoes
Sea Eagle 370 pro allows you to spend time in waters with two other people. It can accommodate up to 650 pounds making it possible to carry all the necessary required gears. The rugged polykrylar hull makes it possible to take canine friends without fear of paws punctures. When deflated, the kayak weighs only 32 pounds, thus easy to carry it anywhere at any time.
The I-beam floor makes the vessel rigid for enhanced stability with comfort ensured through deluxe seats that have a backrest. Inflation and deflation are also quite easy due to 3-superior one-way valves. Better speed and tracking are further achieved as a result of two bottom skegs. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or expert 370 pro kayaks allow you to take sports kayak to the next level!
4. SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
If you want to paddle while standing, then SereneLife Inflatable Kayak is the best choice. The top is soft and anti-slip, which makes it possible for beginners to paddle with confidence as well. You need to take turns since the kayak can only accommodate one person at a go. There is no limit on who can use the boat as the design allows children, youths, and adults to paddle comfortably.
In case of a fall, you are well protected with a well-cushioned top that absorbs all the shock leaving you injury-free. The kayak is well accessorized with everything you need on the water. You get a package of an inflatable paddle boat, storage bag, safety leash, manual pump, foldable paddle, and three bottom panel fins. Get one and go glide with confidence like a sea creature with this superior standup paddleboard.
5. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
Quick Pak K1 is a sit-on-top kayak that can be set up in 5 minutes, ready to explore more in the waters. The inflation and deflation are also done stress-free through double lock valves. Tarpaulin bottom and 21-gauge PVC construction further makes the kayak durable and suitable for lake use. Safety is ensured through multiple air chambers and a leak-proof airtight system. Get one and carry it anywhere anytime for a wonderful experience in the waters.
6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Advanced Frame inflatable kayaks give you a versatile option that can be paddled solo or tandem. The vessel is pre-assembled; thus, setting up takes only a few minutes, leaving you with much time to spend time in the water. Construction feature 3-ply fabric; thus, puncture-resistant for long-lasting services. You can comfortably paddle all day long as seats can be adjusted accordingly. Buy one and enjoy the versatility Advanced Frame kayak brings!
Frequently Asked Questions on Best Inflatable Kayaks
Q: How easy is it to inflate a kayak?
The ease of inflating a kayak depends on the way you are doing it. You can either use a hand, foot, or electric pump. The hand pumps can be so tiring, especially for paddlers with upper body or back issues. The foot pumps inflate quickly and are easy to operate. However, the most effective is the electric pump though the kayaks rarely come with this type. You can invest in one that works with the kayak valve so as to go into the water faster and enjoy more time paddling.
Q: Do inflatable kayaks last long?
How durable blowup kayaks is a concern to many paddles. However, with innovative technology used, inflatable kayaks lasted long and performed well, just like the traditional types. The materials used, such as PVC, are of high-quality and can even withstand scratches from your canine friend. In addition, the ability to store and carry them conveniently decreases the change of then getting a puncture while not in use.
Q: How do I detect a leak in blowup kayaks?
When you realize that the kayak is somewhat deflated, it is recommended to check for any leaks. Bubbles on any part of the vessel are a clear indication of the damaged place. First, take it to the shoreline and take time to look around the boat keenly for any bubbles. If there are none, flip it over and do the same on the bottom. If there is a leak, you will surely detect it. However, note that the kayak can look deflated in cold weather as air condenses, and pumping in more air resolves the issue.
Paddling in an inflatable kayak is the best way to enjoy time in the water without breaking the bank. The blowup types have been designed with sturdy materials allowing it to last for long, just like the hard-shelled boats. You only need to pick one from our list following the buyer’s guide for the best experience ever. Choosing the best inflatable kayaks lets you explore any water body without limit. Click the links and buy one today for a beautiful trip like no other!