Inflatablekayakreview.com provides inflatable kayak reviews and reviews for other types of inflatable watercraft. Here you will find a comprehensive guide to help you determine what the best inflatable kayak is for you to purchase. Our goal is to help you make a smart and sound decision for you and/or your family. There are many factors in selecting a good kayak from price to ease of transport and therefore we have gathered all of the data for you in one location. The brands we have reviewed are Sea Eagle, Advanced Elements, Coleman and many more.
We try to focus on only the top kayaks to not waste your time reading long reviews for products we would not recommend for purchase. Please see our REVIEWS page to read our honest and unbiased reviews on each inflatable watercraft. You can also easily compare two or more inflatables versus one another. We hope you enjoy reading our inflatable kayak reviews.
Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2016
Kayaking is a sport that continues to grow in popularity. Each year, there are new and improved options when it comes to this fantastic outdoor adventure. Inflatables popularity has grown as opposed to the standard hard-shelled kayaks. With the constant improvements in the inflatables market, people have to do extensive research into discovering the best one for their next water adventure. Our goal is to make this chore a little easier by providing you with our picks for the top inflatable kayaks for 2016.
Best Inflatable Kayak
The Sea Eagle 330 is our pick as the best inflatable kayak for 2016. It has enough room on board for tandem riding and a weight capacity of 500 lbs. The interior of it when inflated is approximately 9’6” x 15”. It is light enough to carry easily down your favorite hiking trails at only 26 pounds. It works well in white water situations and is rated as a class III kayak. The total time to inflate and attach the seat is less than 10 minutes. This allows you to get in the water quickly. Click here to read our in depth review of the Sea Eagle 330 kayak.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak
If fishing is your preferred kayaking adventure, you should consider the Coleman Colorado inflatable. It is a two person inflatable fishing kayak that is rugged in design and durability. It has multiple air chambers so that you will not sink if you get a small puncture in your kayak. It is guaranteed not to leak around its air valves. There is a trolling motor add on, which will expand your fishing capabilities and it has paddle holders on board as well. Click here to read our in depth review of the Coleman Colorado fishing kayak.
Best Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Anyone who enjoys kayaking with a friend or loved one will enjoy the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak. It has built-in aluminum ribs to define the bow and stern. It also tracks very well. There are three layers of material to give you extreme protection against punctures. Padded seats ensure comfort for both you and your partner. You can also adjust the seat locations to make it easy for you to paddle in tandem or solo with ease. If it wasn’t for the Sea Eagle 330 this may have been our choice for best inflatable kayak. Click here to read our in depth review of the Advanced Frame Convertible kayak.
Best Whitewater Inflatable Kayak
When you want to go kayaking on white water, it is important to have an inflatable kayak that is up for the task. The Advanced Elements StraightEdge is that inflatable. It self-bails, has aluminum ribs, improved tracking, and it is made of heavy duty PVC tarpaulin material. This ensures that punctures are less likely to ruin your day out. It has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds and it folds up small enough to fit into a duffle bag. Click here to read our in depth review of the Advanced Elements StraitEdge kayak.
Best Inflatable Kayak for Beginners
Beginners need to feel confident and stable when they first get into an inflatable kayak. They do not need all the bells and whistles that some of the more advanced kayakers would want. That is where the Coleman QuikPak K1 comes in. It is a single person kayak that can be set up in as little as 5 minutes. It is ideal for lake use, but it has a tarpaulin bottom to protect it from punctures. If you do happen to run it too close to the shore and get a small puncture, there are multiple air chambers to ensure it does not deflate before you can get back to where you need to be. If you’re just starting out this may be the best inflatable kayak for you. Click here to read our in depth review of the Coleman QuikPak K1 kayak.
The Hobie Mirage i9S is our honorable mention. It is a 9ft single person inflatable kayak that gives you the power to steer using an integrated rudder system. There is also a sail mount, a large cargo area, and it comes with a paddle. There are easy carrying handles built in and it folds up to fit inside of a rolling travel bag. It has a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds. Click here to read our in depth review of the Hobie Mirage i9s kayak.
Inflatable Tandem Kayaks
Tandem kayaks are great for people who want to spend time out on the water with a loved one or friend. Things like bird watching and fishing are fun alone, but can be even more fun with someone else. If you’re specifically looking for a tandem fishing kayak I would recommend the Coleman Colorado. the Having someone to talk to or help with the paddling can be relaxing for many people.
Another good reason to own an inflatable tandem kayak is safety. Some people like to kayak in remote areas that could dangerous if an accident occurred. It is always better to have a partner in these cases. You never know what could happen out on the water so kayaking with others could save your life.
Tandem kayaks tend to be larger and a little heavier to accommodate the extra passenger weight. So if you plan to also use it alone making sure you are comfortable carrying the overall weight by yourself. Some inflatable kayaks such as the Innova Sunny, come with a carry backpack which makes it easier to transport if you plan on kayaking in more remote areas that a car cannot access.
Please see our top inflatable tandem kayak list here.
Inflatable Fishing Kayaks
Fishing from a kayak is a great experience. You can quietly get into remote areas that many motor boats cannot access.
Due to their weight you can launch your kayak from just about anywhere. You can hike into remote areas with your inflatable on your back, blow it up and then get in the water. You’ll get a nice workout hiking to your location and paddling out on the water. It may not seem like much but a day out on the water can really be good for your health.
Fishing kayaks are also easier and cheaper to maintain compared to many boats. You won’t need to buy gas or oil for your kayak. There aren’t many parts that can break which can be costly. Many of the fishing kayaks come with rod holders, adjustable seats, extra storage and more. So while they may be smaller than many boats you still have some nice features.
Please see our top inflatable fishing kayak list here.
Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide Tips
Taking the plunge into the world of kayaking is exciting. Imagining yourself paddling through the pristine waters, immersing yourself in the wonders of the nature, finding yourself in adventures of one kind or another. It can be considered a sport, hobby, or work-out routine depending on whether you are interested in recreation or leisure. Many people enjoy the solitude of kayaking while others enjoy the comradery that comes when you row with a partner. Maybe you just want to bring your dog! Perhaps you will add camping, hiking, fishing to your itinerary. What types of water will you take your kayak? There are many factors to keep in mind when purchasing your inflatable boat. The following is a list of important things to consider when looking to buy a new inflatable kayak that will meet your needs.
Single or Tandem Kayak
Will you be kayaking alone or with a partner? Inflatable kayaks offer many options here from one seat to three seat options. Many tandem inflatable kayaks are easy to maneuver and transport alone as well as with a partner, so keep that in mind if you need versatility. Even those who often paddle in solitude appreciate the extra space and storage that a tandem kayak offers. Pay attention to weight capacity for each inflatable boat you look at as well. You will want to be sure that even with two people, that you also have enough room for supplies. If you consider yourself larger than average, you will want to pay close attention to leg room, and the size of the cockpit in the tandem inflatable kayaks.
Once you have decided on a single or tandem kayak, the next thing to consider is the size and weight. How much storage space do you need and what sort of vehicle will you use to transport the kayak? Most inflatables fit nicely into the trunk of even small vehicles when deflated. Scan the specs for the weight of the kayak when it is packed away for transport so that you can plan for hikes into more remote areas if you choose. If you plan to go solo you want to make sure that your kayak is able to be transported by you alone without too much trouble. Many inflatable boats are designed to fold into a backpack with padded shoulder straps for the ultimate comfort in transport.
What Types of Water Are You Kayaking On
Most kayak manufacturers will specify the class of rapids the kayak is built for. If you are going to be paddling on lakes and slow rivers, you will be fine with a kayak rated for class I or II rapids. If you plan to take on rougher waters you will want to get an inflatable kayak built specifically to handle white-water. The kayaks constructed with I-beam floors are going to offer more stability (less tipping). Pay attention to the materials that the kayaks are constructed from. Depending on the water terrain, you may need more durability and puncture resistance. If you frequent large, open bodies of water you will look for inflatable kayaks that are designed with multiple air chambers so that if you do experience a puncture, you’ll still be able to paddle to safety. Reading reviews from other customers is a great way to get a true feel for what each inflatable kayak can handle based on the personal experience of others.
What Do You Plan to Do on the Water
Will you be out all day and need plenty of room for provisions? If you plan day long trips on a sea kayak, consider the design of the seats. Inflatable seats offer comfort and supportive seat backs as an added feature that serves well for long trips. Also important for longer trips is storage space. Storage space usually comes in the form of D-rings for clipping extra cargo, mesh pockets, and a bungee laced deck. Behind the seat storage is very convenient for the things you want to be able to reach from the cockpit. Are you going to be fishing? There are lots of wonderful options designed exclusively for the angler like rod holders, extra stability, low visibility, and trolling motor fittings. Are the kids coming along with you? Some kayaks are better than others for stability for kids who like to move around a little more and even jump on and off for quick swimming ventures. Again, I-beam floors are recommended for those who will be getting in and out of the inflatable kayak during their ventures.
Certain extras are truly necessities like the paddles, air pumps, PFD’s, and repair kits. Depending on which kayak you decide to go with, some of these items are not included. Look for high quality paddles and dual action air pumps. You may or may not like to purchase an air gauge to be sure that you are inflating your kayak to the perfect level. If you are planning to paddle in rougher waters or cooler temperatures you may want to look into a spray skirt and some kind of waterproof storage. A storage bag is a nice added feature for those looking at inflatable kayaks as a practical purchase for small living spaces and easy transport. Consider whether or not the inflatable boat includes a warranty of any kind just in case you encounter any issues.
After reading through this article you should have your checklist in front of you and be ready to find the inflatable kayak that best suits your needs. There are so many choices on the market that you can practically customize to your kayaking experience. Many offer features that allow for versatility from sport to leisure and will accommodate different family members. Think about what you hope to gain from your paddling experience and goodluck!
Advantages of an Inflatable Kayak
Inflatable watercrafts are convenient, easy to use and lightweight. An inflatable kayak is generally cheaper than hard shelled kayaks which is good for beginners. There are inflatables with plenty of room for cargo and they can track as well as some hard shell kayaks. Many people do not think of durability and toughness when considering inflatable kayaks but many can navigate whitewater and oceans.
Many inflatable kayaks are extremely durable since they are designed for heavy duty whitewater rapids and ocean touring. Those models which are recommended for Class IV whitewater rapids have the ability to endure obstacles along the way. The inflatable boats that are rated for Class III whitewater rapids are almost nearly as durable since the softer material practically bounces off of obstacles. Hard shell kayaks that strike rocks or hit docks are prone to extensive damage. The hulls are like shock absorbers.
Even when full of water, many of these kayaks remain stable and afloat. Compared to other types of kayaks, inflatables are the most buoyant since they are basically comprised of blown up internal compartments. They are also very safe to use because they are difficult to tip over. The inflatables with flatter bottoms are very stable compared to hard shelled kayaks. The double floor feature of certain inflatables makes it nearly impossible to puncture.
Many of these watercraft have the performance benefits of hardshell ones without the bulk. Many track well and are easy to paddle. In contrast to other kayaks, the inflatable ones are easy to transport. They only need to be deflated, folded, dried and then packed up. Likewise, inflatables do not take up too much space and only need enough space for storage when deflated. Though many have room for tons of gear, they can be packed into the size of a small carrying bag. They can be easily transported in the trunk of a car (no roof rack needed). From there they are carried like a suitcase or backpack to the edge of the water where it is then inflated and launched. Inflation takes normally range from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the model and pump.
Many of these kayaks also have excellent capacity. Whether for day trips or long expeditions, they can carry a lot of gear. The price of inflatable kayaks make them more appealing than some hard shelled kayaks. Compared to canoes and hardshell kayaks, inflatables are more convenient to transport and store. They also can be easier on the wallet.
Regardless of which brand of kayak you are occupied with, you should first choose how it will be used. Some inflatable kayaks are intended to be adaptable and utilized for certain conditions, albeit most are particularly similar to their hardshell partners.
Kayaks can vary by length, width, weight, load limit, costs, and kind of water that they are most appropriate for. Inflatable kayaks are the ideal option to hardshell kayaks, which can be exceptionally difficult to store. Inflatable kayaks are lightweight and can deflate to fit in the storage compartment of any car. Inflatable kayaks are the smart and reasonable choice for anybody beginning the hobby. They also come in many styles depending on the type of water you plan to paddle in, much like their hardshell partners.
How to Repair an Inflatable Kayak
Inflatables are great because they are easy to transport and store compared to hard shelled kayaks. Unfortunately inflatables can be punctured while out on the water. Hard shelled kayaks also carry a risk of being damaged but will likely require a greater impact.
Depending on where you store your inflatable it could also become damaged by rodents and/or other things. Most of these kayaks come with a repair kit and you should always bring one along with you if you plan to be out on the water for longer period of time or in secluded locations. Below is a very informative video on how to repair your inflatable watercraft in case it does get damaged.