Get your Kayak Game On the Best Inflatable Kayak
There’s a new Sheriff in town. His name is Inflatable Kayak and he’s here to make waves, literally. The days when inflatable Kayaks were the dwarfs of water sporting, being used as pool toys for kids only, are long gone.
Thanks to extensive research and constant improvements in construction, the best inflatable Kayak today is giving its hard-shelled counterparts a run for their money.
An inflatable Kayak uses no gas or oil. It is a lightweight ‘boat’ that has air chambers which when inflated acquires the streamlined shape of a floating device. When you’re finished, simply roll it up and stash it in a duffel bag or your car trunk till next time!
I must admit that the first time I heard ‘inflatable kayak’ I didn’t exactly go gaga! Don't we all know what happened to the Titanic? The material and time invested not-withstanding? It sank like a pebble!
The idea of pumping up a device in 10-minutes record time and getting myself afloat was therefore treated with utmost doubt. It’s okay to be skeptical, and I was…until my adventure-loving big brother dragged me to one of his paddling expeditions on an inflatable Kayak. It was incredible, to say the least, and in less than two weeks I bought my first blow-up Kayak.
Kayaking is a great recreational activity that doesn’t have to be the preserve of the adventure junkie only. With new models being unveiled every day the inflatable Kayak, in particular, has risen in popularity to be a ‘must-have’ water gear.
Each model comes with its unique design and performance. Whether you want to paddle your sunny afternoon away on pristine waters or take an adrenaline-packed cruise at the rapids near your home, there’s an inflatable Kayak out there made just for you.
Why you should love an inflatable kayak
A blow-up kayak is the way to go any day. Its advantages outweigh those of wooden, plastic, and foldable kayaks by far.
An inflatable kayaks’ biggest plus is its affordable pricing. If buying a hard-shelled boat would stretch your budget too much, you can still enjoy boating with inflatable kayak models. Owning an inflatable also comes with the extra advantage of low maintenance costs as compared to a hard-shelled/rigid kayak. On top of it, you don’t need to stress out about your tiny garage not being able to store a whole rigid kayak. An inflatable takes the least space.
Even when full of water, expect a blow up to maintain its calm and remain afloat. With a professional design, an inflatable is safe and reliable to use thanks to the skeg and high-quality paddles that make it track well.
Here are some of the notable advantages of inflatable kayaks in a nutshell:
You can easily store them in your car and bring them out, unfold and inflate in minutes whenever you need to.
If well-serviced, a good inflatable kayak made with the right design and material can last many years.
The material used in constructing inflatables (PVC, Hypalon, Nitrylon) makes them easier to bounce off rocks instead of smashing head-on.
There is a variety of kayak types broadly divided into expedition, fishing and ocean kayaks. If you get a model that can be used in a river or ocean the better for you!
- Easy to maintain and repair
The secret is leaving the kayak to dry before storing it. An occasional patch-work would do in case the material gets ripped.
- Ideal for beginners
Inflatable kayaks are easy to use for amateurs since they require little skill to maneuver.
5 Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews 2017
Intex Explorer K2
Stable, easy to handle
Intex Challenger K1
Smooth tracking, durable
Heavy weight capacity
1. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak - stable, easy to handle
This yellow sporty-looking kayak from Intex is the perfect choice for your water cruising. Even better is the fact that it can conveniently accommodate two persons. It is great for the lake or calmer rivers, and water sports enthusiasts will definitely love the ease and comfort it gives.
Constructed with rugged vinyl and an inflatable I-beam floor the Explorer provides superior stability.
The removable skeg helps with directional stability, and the inflatable seats have been designed for comfort with backrests. At just above hundred dollars, this piece of art has features that rival high-end kayaks.
The best thing about this kayak model is that it gives back for every dime it costs . Not only is it a tandem kayak but it also has quality features that set it apart from other models.
This kayak is robust due to its rugged vinyl construction. The inflatable I-beam floor assures the rigidity of the kayak and its removable skeg is a plus, as it provides directional stability.
The Boston valves on the sides of the kayak make the process of inflating and deflating very easy. Its 400lb weight makes it compact and easy to carry around.
The company provided paddles are not of the best quality, and you might have to buy an extra pair.
The skeg occasionally snaps off in the middle of the ride; you gotta look out for that.
- Value for money
- Stability Assured
- Easy to handle
- Low-quality paddles
- Removable skeg
2. Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak - spacious, comfortable
Are you looking for a pocket-friendly water companion for the best kayaking experience? Look no further. The Challenger K1 is the sturdy, convenient and cost-effective friend you need.
It measures 30 x15 x108 inches (W x H x D) and as long as you are lighter than 220 pounds you won’t have to worry about weight. The well durable welded material used for the kayak's construction makes sure it does not puncture easily in collisions.
The package includes an 84-inch aluminum oar, high-output hand pump, and repair patch to save you the hassle of purchasing these products separately.
The cockpit is spacious and provides enough leg space for your feet. The backrest tagged with the inflatable seat also makes sure that your back enjoys the ride just like the rest of your body.
The kayak has grab lines on both ends to tag on when carrying it. When deflated it fits in any trunk; no roof rack required!
This set comes with a cargo net to pack up the extra gear you bring along.
The seams at the edge of the craft may rub across your body as you paddle which is a tad uncomfortable.
Even though the rudder should come off when folding the kayak to easen storage, it also tends to do so even while you’re in the water. This is inconvenient.
- Spacious and comfortable
- Easy Carrying
- Storage space
- Uncomfortable seams
- Removable rudder
3. Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak - smooth tracking, durable
There’s something special about this product from Advanced Elements. If you are willing to spend a little more, you will get the extra pudding.
It is a fifteen-foot kayak that can be paddled solo or tandem. With the optional single or double decks, you can convert your kayak into a solo or tandem in a matter of seconds.
This new design also incorporates aluminum ribs to specify the bow and stern. It is manufactured with three layers of material, making it capable of resisting punctures well. 550 pounds is the maximum weight capacity for this kayak.It includes a carry bag, a handy repair kit ,2 folding seats and an owner’s manual. What more? The red and gray color scheme is so cool it will definitely raise eyebrows.
This Convertible Kayak boasts excellent tracking and I concur. The built-in aluminum rib of bows and sterns is responsible for this.
Stable and robust is how to define this beast. Your repair kit will also help you maintain its long life span.
Because it is assembled at the factory, you need only 10 minutes to inflate this kayak before its up and floating.
This inflatable kayak requires extra muscle to carry. It is considerably heavier than other inflatables at 52lbs.
One major downside of this bargain is that it does not come with any of the extras that accompany other models. You will have to buy your own paddles and a pump to get started.
- Smooth Tracking
- Fast Set-Up
- No extras includes
4. Airhead Inflatable Kayak - sturdy, portable
Comfort is one word to define the Airhead TK-2 Performance Kayak. The manufacturers of this kayak had user-friendliness on their memo when coming up with its design.
Each seat is inflatable and is complimented with a forward adjustable foot brace. That is not the end. The neoprene elbow guards on the kayak’s port and starboard sides ensure further comfort.
The Airhead TK-2 also has strong grab lines for easy handling, and a threaded drain plug to enable quick and easy drainage. Storage is no problem with this inflatable as each seat back includes a mesh pocket.
The Airhead TK-2 kayak is 12 feet in length and offers much more space than the 10ft models. It has foot braces and the seats have a backrest for you and company.
This kayak is made with PVC that is semi-rigid and heavy gauge. The weight capacity is 500 lbs. The hardware is made of stainless steel as well as nylon.
Weighing only 30 lbs. this kayak can fit the car trunk or a duffle bag. You can also store it at home, even when space is minimal. There are nylon straps to fasten it when deflated.
These necessities aren’t included with the purchase, and you may have to buy them separately, which adds to costs.
- Space and comfort
- No storage bag, paddle or pump
5. Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak - heavy weight capacity
The Sea Eagle is a show-stopper. For family fun or a kayaking session with your dog, this is the kayak for you.
It has double inflatable seats meaning you can use it as a solo or tandem kayak. The multi-purposeful Sea Eagle can be used for paddling, fishing, yacht tending, or as a platform for deep-diving.
The main feature of this kayak is its PolyKrylar hull. This material enables it to ride Class 3 rapids, a setting even the most robust of hard shell kayaks fail to survive. The PolyKrylar hull is resistant to pressure; your dog’s paws won’t leave any ugly marks on it.
You don’t have to lose your breathe paddling on this kayak. Two molded skegs provide great tracking, therefore, minimizing your paddling effort. Remarkably durable, this lightweight kayak is a convenient choice for any paddler
The deluxe package includes double oars, carrying bag, pressure gauge and a repair kit. Other extras include lashed down inflatable spray skirts and a bow and stern grab line. Talk about getting what you pay for.
Carry along all your camping gear and supplies you'll need because this inflatable has more than enough storage space.
650 pounds is no mean figure. The Sea eagle despite weighing only 32 can hold a lot of weight.This is impressive compared to other kayaks.
Although it's called a sea eagle, its performance in the sea is quite poor. It may not be able to take in the high winds and waves.
- Lots of Extras.
- Enough Cargo Space.
- Heavy Weight Capacity
How to choose the best Inflatable Kayak
- Solo, Tandem, and Convertible
Solo - If you are a sucker for solitude then you will find the solo Kayak more suitable for you. It is easy to use and has one inflatable seat.
Tandem - This type of Kayak allows more than one person on board. It makes for the ideal pick if you like company or are still learning the ropes of Kayaking.
Convertible - These kayaks can be converted from solo to tandem very easily. If you plan on kayaking alone and with a friend or pet occasionally, you will want to invest in this type of kayak.
What types of water will you be maneuvering?
Most kayak manufacturers are clear on the class of rapids a certain inflatable kayak is built for. For calm waters such as lakes and slow rivers, you will be okay with a kayak rated for class I or II rapids.
If you plan to take the fun up a notch and experience rougher waters, an inflatable kayak specified for white-waters will serve your needs better.(class III or IV). Always keep these factors in mind before you take the cheapest offer dangling before your eyes.
- Storage space
This factor borders on the size of your kayak. In case you’re going fishing or on a long day at sea with your partner you’ll need to bring a lot of gear, snacks and maybe a beer cooler.
You will, therefore, want an inflatable kayak that provides enough storage space. Open type canoe-kayaks give maximum storage space while sit-inside kayaks allow you to clip on additional storage around both hulls.
- Money matters
There's no rush to break the bank just to get your inflatable Kayak of choice. For incredibly low prices you can start off with a fairly affordable Kayak. Different models come with different price tags as you will see in the reviews below.
While it’s not necessary to deflate your pocket over a Kayak, remember that quality and durability should come first. If it means paying extra for a Kayak that will not tear or puncture at the slightest provocation then why not?
To wrap it up
For many watersport enthusiasts, going on a kayaking trip is the most exciting recreational activity out there. It's fun and adventurous, you experience the wonders of nature, and you can do it all solo or with friends and family.
A good inflatable is just the tool for every kayaking expedition because it's easy to transport and does not take up much space.
Forget to add a roof rack on your car like you would with a boat or hard-hulled kayak.With a compact inflatable kayak; you are well on your way to the time of your life.
After in-depth research and comparisons on my part, I came to the informed decision that the Intex Explorer K2 is the best inflatable kayak to buy. I took that to the bank by acquiring one from Amazon. Not only is the Explorer K2 a product of a reputable manufacturer such as Intex but its good quality features speaks for itself.
I particularly love the reliable and comfortable seats that are attached to the floor of my Kayak with sturdy Velcro strips. Its quick inflation and deflation capability saves me precious time and thanks to the thick vinyl material, my kayak is as good as new two years later.
Since I live in a studio apartment, the fact that I can store my kayak in a backpack makes it very convenient. Being an extrovert, I enjoy tagging along my friends (one at a time) to an afternoon at the lake. The moments are always priceless…
Keep your needs in view and get a kayak that fits your pocket. It’s the best you can do. Summer is coming!