Back in the days, the best inflatable kayak you could find was a cheap floating toy for your kid to play around on the beach shore. Made with poor materials and not with the best design either, they were the last thing you wanted to sit on while paddling in remote rivers, fishing on a lake or on a multi-day expedition in the mountains.

But fortunately for outdoor lovers like you and me, those days are behind us. The advancement in technology allows the current manufacturers to build pretty solid inflatable kayaks with durable and resistant materials that you can take out for your outdoor activities.

The main advantages are clear: weight and packing size. Forget about carrying a heavy boat or having to buy roof racks to carry it on top of your car. A compact inflatable kayak can be carried even inside your backpack if you want it. 

Here at The Adventure Junkies, one of our goals is to make your life easier when choosing outdoor gear. There are tons of different manufacturers and models out there to choose from and making the best decision isn’t always easy. 

We’ve already told you how to choose the best handheld GPS, a good headlamp for camping and our favourite camping hammock. So let’s dive no into how to find the best inflatable kayak that suits your needs.

 

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. QUICK ANSWER

2. INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT REVIEWS

3. COMPARISON TABLE

4. HOW TO CHOOSE AN INFLATABLE KAYAK

5. TYPES OF INFLATABLE KAYAKS

 

 

 

 

THE BEST INFLATABLE KAYAK – QUICK ANSWER

  1. HOBIE MIRAGE I9S
  2. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R
  3. ADVANCED ELEMENTS LAGOON
  4. COLEMAN QUIKPAK K5
  5. RAVE SEA REBEL
  6. SEA EAGLE 420X
  7. INTEX CHALLENGER K1
  8. SEA EAGLE 330
  9. MAXXON TWO MAN SELF-BAILER

 

 

 

 

INFLATABLE KAYAK REVIEWS 

1. HOBIE MIRAGE i9S 


Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

The Hobie i9S is a top of the line inflatable kayak and the best choice if you’re looking for performance, commodity, versatility and lightweight. It obviously comes with a price tag, but you get what you pay for. This boat is very good and stable in both light surf bays and in the ocean, the steering and rudder are accurate and easy to use. It’s incredibly light and portable also it comes with a storage bag to travel with it. It’s simply one of the best inflatable kayaks out there.

 

 

 

2. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

The AE 1007-R Inflatable kayak is one of the best options on the market if you’re looking for an affordable and versatile boat to take fishing, lake paddling or whitewater rafting without deflating your wallet. It has a convertible seat deck that allows the boat to work both as solo kayak for whitewater or as a tandem for sea kayaking. It has a foldable aluminum frame which makes it portable and easy to transport. The only downside it’s heavier than the average inflatable kayak.

 

 

 

3. ADVANCED ELEMENTS LAGOON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

The Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 kayak is one of the best value options you can find on the market. It’s also one of the very few models built with a rigid bow and stern, landing plates and tracking fins which makes it very durable and resistant to punctures. For 350 bucks you can get an inflatable kayak that’s lightweight, durable and resistant. What else can you ask for?

 

 

 

4. COLEMAN QUIKPAK K5

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

The Coleman Quikpak K5 is a single inflatable boat built with a polyester bottom and laminated with PVC. It’s 10 feet long and 3 feet wide and can hold up to 250 pounds. This kayak comes with a handy “grab and go” backpack for storage and transport, and a spray skirt for protection. It also has a large storage area with multiple D-rings and bungee lacing. A great option if you’re not against its flashy orange color.

 

 

 

5. RAVE SEA REBEL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

The Rave Sea Rebel is a one-person sit-on-top inflatable kayak that comes with a collapsible aluminum paddle, hand pump, carrying bag, an adjustable backrest with a bottle holder and dry bag. Fitted with 3 bottom fins this kayak is very easy to use. At just 22 pounds it’s also one of the lightest options.  

 

 

 

6. SEA EAGLE 420x

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

The Sea Eagle 420x kayak is ideal for families, longer paddling trips, fishing or for those who want the convenience of a bigger boat. It can carry up to 850 pounds which makes it a great option for carrying a lot of gear, pets or people. As with the other Sea Eagle kayaks, the 420x is robust, strong and very versatile, being able to paddle up to class IV rapids. A great inflatable boat if you want performance, space and versatility.

 

 

 

7. INTEX CHALLENGER K1

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

 

The Intex Challenger K1 inflatable boat is the cheapest model of them all. You might think that for only $70 you won’t get much but this isn’t the case. This kayak maintains it’s convenience and portability while maintaining durability, affordability and safety. A fantastic option if you’re just getting into the paddling world and don’t want to fork out a lot of cash just yet.

 

 

 

8. SEA EAGLE 330

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

The Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak comes with inflatable spray skirts, two tandem seats, a foot pump and carry bag to store it. It’s a great option if you like fishing and whitewater rafting at the same time. It’s 134 inches long and 34 inches wide and weighs only 26 pounds. One person can take it out of the water easily and it takes about 6 minutes to pump it. A great double kayak for the intermediate paddlers with nice features and the guarantee of quality from Sea Eagle. 

 

 

 

9. MAXXON TWO MAN SELF-BAILER

Maxxon Two Man Self-Bailer kayak

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

The Maxxon 2-man self-bailer inflatable kayak is a durable boat ideal for a solo traveler taking a multi-day paddling adventure and is roomy enough for two people with some light gear for day excursions. This model can also handle whitewater paddling having the water evacuation holes open. And best of all, this kayak comes with a 5-year warranty.

 

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE: FIND THE BEST INFLATABLE KAYAK FOR YOU

PICTURE
KAYAK
LEVEL
No PAX
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
KAYAK
LEVEL
No PAX
PRICE
RATING
Hobie Mirage i9S
Professional
Single
$$$$
5.0
Advanced Elements AE1007-R
Intermediate
Single & Double
$$
4.6
Advanced Elements Lagoon
Beginner
Single
$
4.5
Coleman QuikPak K5
Beginner
Single
$$
4.4
Rave Sea Rebel
Beginner
Single
$
4.4
Sea Eagle 420x
Professional
Double
$$$
4.3
Intex Challenger K1
Beginner
Single
$
4.0
Sea Eagle 330
Intermediate
Double
$
4.2
Maxxon Two Man Self-Bailer
Maxxon Two Man Self-Bailer
Professional
Double
$$$
4.0

 

 

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE AN INFLATABLE KAYAK

1. PRICE

Your budget will be one of the most important factors when choosing an inflatable kayak. With all the different models and manufacturers out there competition is fierce. Although you can find inflatable kayaks for as low as 80 bucks, a decent model will cost you between $200 and $600.

 

2. USAGE

Together with price, how you plan to use your kayak is important. Are you going to use your kayak for whitewater paddling, fishing or sea kayaking? Are you looking for a single or double kayak? Every activity requires completely different features so before you dig into the specifics I recommend you to get this one sorted first.

 

3. MATERIALS

There are 3 types of materials used to build inflatable kayaks.

PVC: This material is normally used as coating on polyester or nylon to increase the strength and tear resistance. It’s cheap, durable, easy to patch and comes in many different colors. But PVC isn’t as resistant to chemicals and high temperatures as Hypalon and UV rays can damage it a lot. These days there’s a big controversy over the harmful effects PVC has on the environment.  

HYPALON: It’s the chosen material by many inflatable boat manufacturers as an exterior coating. It’s the most durable choice available and resists UV rays and environmental factors better than any other. The downside is performance comes at a cost and hypalon is also the most expensive material.

NITRYLON: Some manufacturers have begun phasing out the use of PVC and using Nitrylon instead as it’s a more eco-friendly material. It’s also stronger and more resistant to punctures than PVC, but it’s heavier.

 

4. WEIGHT

If you plan on hiking with your kayak into the wilderness then weight is crucial. The lighter models weigh around 17 pounds (7 kg), but the average weight of a fully deflated kayak is around 30 pounds (13 kg). For ultra-light solutions check Alpacka rafts, specifically designed for hiking & paddling trips.

 

5. LENGTH

Most models aren’t longer than 14 feet (4 meters) as the boat would be very unstable and that’s the last thing you want when you’re in the water. Even with the best inflatable kayak it’s easier to flip over, so keep length in mind.

 

6. STORAGE

How much gear are you going to bring paddling? The best inflatable kayak to carry lots of things is a canoe-type kayak, especially if you’ll be using it on your own without a tandem paddler. Sit-inside kayaks also allow you to clip on additional storage around both hulls which can also be handy.

 

 

VIDEO: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHEAP & EXPENSIVE INFLATABLE KAYAKS

 

 

 

 

TYPES OF INFLATABLE KAYAKS AVAILABLE

These days you can find inflatable kayaks of any shape, color and size. Depending on the specific use and where you plan to paddle, there are different types to better suit your needs. Generally speaking, there are 5 types of inflatable kayaks:

 

1. SIT-ON-TOP KAYAKS

This is the best and most comfy model for paddling on calm water. Forget about getting into a hole, cramping your legs and think about how old you’ve become because your back hurts as hell as you paddle. With these type of kayaks you sit “on top of it”, normally on a full size seat with a proper back rest and you can change your position as much as you want.

 

2. SIT-IN KAYAKS

The traditional type of kayak where the lower body sits inside the boat. The fit is tighter, not as comfy as the sit-on-tops, but it’s a better design for paddling in choppy waters or white-water paddling.

 

3. CANOE TYPE

These kayaks are normally very flat on the bottom, with higher walls and plenty of space to move around and carry supplies. It’s the best type for fishing as it can carry 2 o 3 people, a cooler full of beers and all the equipment you need.

 

4. SUP KAYAKS

The new sensation at many beaches around the world. These models are rigid enough that allow the paddles to stand up while paddling. You’ve probably seen these. And yes, there are also inflatable models available.

 

5. SELF-BAILING KAYAKS

These are the cheapy models you can find at most of the general stores. They’re designed with lower quality materials and have potholes in the base so it doesn’t get flooded. These kayaks are made to have fun in shallow waters but not a good option for sea kayak or river adventures.

 

Best Inflatable Kayaks – Best Kayaking Gear Articles – Kayak Accessories and Gadgets – Kayak Products and Ideas for Men and Women – Packing Lists for Kayaking Trips

About The Author

Adventure Junkie
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Antonio is the co-founder of The Adventure Junkies. Addicted to adventure travel and unexpected plans. He's on a personal mission to help you get out there and do stuff. His favourite adventures have been cycling the Peruvian Andes, hiking through Fiordland in New Zealand, camping in Antarctica, diving with hammerheads and kayaking with Orcas in San Juan islands. He's been exploring the world full-time since 2013.

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