Fast Floaters: 12 Best Inflatable Kayaks

Oct 1, 2018

Category: Gear

Cutting through the turquoise waters and enjoying the sweeping backcountry is refreshing for the mind and spirit. It’s just you, your kayak, the open sea, and a breathtaking backdrop painted by nature. Of course, strapping a hardshell kayak on the roof rack of your off-road beast, making the drive to the isolated location, and taking the boat off the roof can be a laborious, time-consuming task — and then you have to make room to store your kayak when it’s not in use. That’s why investing in an inflatable kayak is a smart option, cutting down set-up time and storage space considerably.

Nothing can beat an old school hardshell kayak, but for those spontaneous escapes into the great outdoors, an inflatable kayak is far more convenient. It’s also a fantastic option if you’re going on a camping trip and need more storage space. Despite being portable and easier to store, there is still a concern for durability. In our search for reliable inflatable kayaks, we not only considered ease of transportation, but also the durability of the modern materials used to build these resilient floaters. We’ve compiled a collection of solo and multi-seat inflatable kayaks with unsinkable features fit for your next adventure.

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

With a streamlined design for easy paddling, the Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is a two-seat floater made for seafaring fun that can carry up to 400 pounds. Constructed with Intex’s rugged, puncture-resistant ‘Super-Tough’ vinyl, this inflatable kayak can rough it with ease. It’s also UV damage-resistant, allowing it to ferry you across the sea for many years of camping trips under the bright sun. Just in case there happens to be a tear, the kayak does come with a repair kit. Fill this kayak up using the high-capacity pump, grab the two 86-inch aluminum oars, and paddle away to the horizon.

Purchase: $168

Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak Pro

If comfort is your main focus, the Sea Eagle Inflatable 330 Kayak Pro will suit your needs well. It features two mobile, cozy deluxe seats with excellent back support to help you relax on the water. The 26-pound inflatable boat can hold up to 500 pounds and is suitable for Class III whitewater rafting. The boat also features an open and close drain valve, five deluxe one-way inflation/deflation valves, two skews for improved tracking and speed, a sun and saltwater resistant hull, and lashed down inflatable spray skirts. It’s also certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Pack it down to a fraction of its size when you’re traveling and inflate it in less than 10 minutes when you’re ready to cruise.

Purchase: $220

Airhead Montana Kayak

A spacious 12-foot inflatable kayak, Airhead’s Montana fits two adventurers. Designed for paddling through lakes and moderate white water rapids, this lightweight, compact boat is a formidable camping companion. It’s built with semi-rigid, heavy gauge PVC for reliable strength on the open sea. Weighing just 36.3 pounds, this vessel can haul up to 500 pounds, taking you on a smooth tour around some of the natural wonders of the world. It has two Boston valves for fast inflation and deflation, a threaded drain hole with a plug, three air chambers enclosed by tough 840-denier nylon with UV and water-resistant coatings, and a tubular I-beam floor for amazing comfort.

Purchase: $249

Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak

In five minutes, you can set up Sevylor’s Quickpak K5 Kayak and start your solo adventure while taking in Mother Nature’s artwork. This kayak’s 24-gauge PVC construction is tough enough for lakes, and the tarpaulin floor and polyester cover provide reliable protection from punctures. Its airtight system prevents potential leaks, however, it features multiple air chambers, allowing other chambers to stay inflated if one happens to be punctured. This inflatable boat also has D-rings for easy attachments, secure bungee storage areas, spray covers to block splashes, and double-lock valves. When you’re all done with your vessel adventure, the boat can turn into an easy-to-carry backpack, saving you tons of gear space in your off-roader.

Purchase: $288

Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

If your crew consists of a company of three, Sevylor’s Big Basin Kayak is right up your alley. When inflated, this boat is a little over 12 feet long and just over three feet wide, giving you and your crew plenty of room to paddle through the cool blue waters. Built with a smart multi-chamber inflation system, one puncture won’t sink your boat in case you hit a snag. For extra comfort, there are spray overs to help keep you dry and adjustable seats to help you kick back when you take a paddling break to enjoy the scenery. This inflatable boat is NMMA certified to hold up to 490 pounds.

Purchase: $300

Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

In under five minutes, Driftsun’s kayak will inflate to full size with the use of the included deluxe high flow double action hand pump. Throw it in the backseat, carry it to the shore when you get to your location, and pump it up to be water-ready in no time. Weighing in at just 27 pounds, you can store this inflatable kayak in its carry bag and bring it to your campsite with ease. Made with a heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin bottom for puncture protection, double threaded Boston valves for leakage protection, and strong 840D coated nylon oxford fabric — which is rip and tear resistant — this inflatable kayak is built for adventures at sea. Even better, the Rocker profile design with a pointed nose entry performs well even on choppy waters.

Purchase: $420

Aquaglide Columbia XP One Inflatable Kayak

Built with an Aquaglide XP Floor and X-Beam technology, this inflatable kayak offers excellent sturdiness and stability, rivaling the performance of hardshell kayaks. It has a durable PVC Duratex hull construction and uses tough 600-denier polyester for UV protection, extending its life for plenty of adventures. Lining the boat’s gunwales are soft neoprene pads for extra comfort, as well as protection on the water. For easy boarding, there are molded handles positioned strategically around the kayak. While you’re out on the sea, you can enjoy the comfy seats with a high backrest, featuring a multi-adjustment system for personalized comfort.

Purchase: $500

Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak

To ensure excellent durability, the bow and stem of this kayak have an aluminum skeleton wrapped with three layers of material for superior puncture resistance. This 15-foot two-seater inflatable kayak only weighs a solid 52 pounds, yet it can hold a whopping 550 pounds. It also comes with high support, adjustable padded seats with three seat locations, an ‘Advanced Elements’ spring valve, integrated pressure relief valve, and D-ring tie downs. What sets this kayak apart from the rest is the ‘AdvancedFrame Convertible Conversion Decks’ system, allowing the kayak to be configured for a solo rider, one rider with a spacious open deck, or two riders.

Purchase: $700

Aire Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak

For those just learning how to kayak, Aire’s Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak is a perfect entry-level boat. It has an upturned bow and stern to deflect waves, allowing you to maneuver the boat easily, especially when the action is turned up a notch on the water. It’s built with a robust PVC outer shell that provides superior strength, airtight internal bladders for added safety, and a self-bailing mesh drainage system. For extra comfort, you can adjust the two inflatable backrests to give you and your passenger ample support.

Purchase: $799

NRS Pike Angler IK Inflatable Fishing Kayak

If you enjoy fishing and want your own personal, portable boat, the NRS Angler Pike Kayak will suit all your rod-reeling needs. Weighing in at just 35 pounds, you can take this floater to all of your favorite fishing holes without a sweat. Just under 13 feet long, this kayak has a Leafield C7 Fill and A7 pressure relief valves, PVC-coated drop-stitch floor fabric, one collapsible and adjustable seat, front bungee lacing, three ‘Scotty Mount’ attachment mounts, and 32 stainless steel D-rings. This kayak gives you the option to grab your gear and go fishing whenever you hear the call.

Purchase: $995

Advanced Elements AirFusion Evo Inflatable Kayak

Constructed with a hybrid aluminum frame, a high-pressure drop-stitch chamber design, and polyurethane skin, this sleek inflatable kayak can slice through the water effortlessly. It has a roll-top rear storage access hatch for all your gear essentials, a convenient spray skirt attachment, bungee deck lacing, rubber molded handles, and D-ring gear tie downs. Because of its tough polyurethane Tarpaulin, it paddles like a rigid hardshell boat. The maximum weight for this single-seat kayak is 235 pounds.

Purchase: $1,100

Hobie I9s Kayak

The compact 9-foot Hobie I9s kayak was made to rival rigid boats with its PVC-vinyl construction, 1000 Denier PVC hull design, and reinforced underside. This solo floater has a maximum capacity of 325 pounds and comes with the ‘MirageDrive 180,’ an efficient pedal kayak drive for those looking to use their legs to streak across the sea. The drop-stitch floor design allows for high inflation pressure with thousands of tiny threads binding the top and bottom layer of the kayak’s floor, counterbalancing air pressure at full inflation. If it gets windy, you can also transform this kayak into a mini sailboat with the optional sail kit.

Purchase: $2,349

The Ultimate Guide To Learning How To Kayak

Now that you’re all set with a sturdy and portable inflatable kayak, it’s time to deepen your knowledge on the outdoor activity. Check out the ultimate guide to learning how to kayak and paddle like a pro.

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