Kayaking as a sport is gaining much popularity as people either desire to be out on the water, enjoying the atmosphere or to stay in shape. If you’ve bounced kayaking due to the bulkiness of the traditional ones and the difficulties in transporting them, you’re not alone and it is time to think about an inflatable kayak.
Inflatable kayaks long existed as floating toys for kids, made from poor materials, of poor design and quality. With the world’s change in the level of technology, manufacturers have found it quite easy to construct strong inflatable kayaks made from resistant and resilient materials that could withstand high rocks and sharp waters for outdoor activities.
An inflatable kayak is handy and compact. It can be folded to fit in a backpack, box or a small car. This is a substitute to other huge and weighty versions of kayaks. It is of lower cost maintenance; fixing a hole or puncture is easier and inexpensive, all that needs to be done is to glue a piece of fabric against the hole.
Advantages of inflatable kayaks
- It is portable and lightweight.
- It is easy to transport
- It does not take a longer time to inflate them.
Types of Inflatable kayaks
They usually include full-size kayak seats with comfortable backrests. They are mostly appropriate for paddling on calm waters. There is enough room to move and easier access to get in and out.
these are kayaks where the lower body sits in the boat. They are of a tighter fit and most appropriate for cold weather conditions but not as comfortable as sit-on-top kayaks.
these are known as stand up kayaks and are the newest forms. They are so rigid that they permit paddlers to stand up while paddling.
These kayaks are designed with potholes at the bottom to allow the passage of water in and out of the boat in order not to get flooded.
these are usually an inflatable 2 or 3 person kayak. They look like a wide canoe with higher walls and deeper seats. There is ample space for more paddlers, tools and moving around. It is very ideal for fishing.
Although, inflatable kayaks are made from durable materials but not all of them are made with the same degree of quality. There are a lot of manufacturers and models of inflatable kayaks, making the wrong choice can be devastating whereas searching for the right choice can be tiring and time consuming. Based on ratings and expert reviews, we have made a rundown of the best inflatable kayaks while having considered price, features, quality and consumer satisfaction.
Quick Answer: Best Inflatable Kayaks For 2018
Here is a list of the top inflatable kayaks for 2018
|Sevylor Tahiti Classic||Beginner||Double|
|Intex Challenger K1||Beginner||Single|
|Sea Eagle 380x||Professional||Double|
|Solstice Durango Kayak||Intermediate||Double|
|Sea Eagle 330 w/ Deluxe Package||Intermediate||Double|
|Sevylor Coleman Colorado||Professional||Double|
|Intex Explorer K2||Beginner||Double|
|Sea Eagle SE370K |
|Sevylor Coleman QuikPak K5||Beginner||Single|
|Rave Sea Rebel||Beginner||Single|
|Advanced Elements FireFly||Beginner||Single|
|Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame||Intermediate||Double|
|Hobie Mirage i9S||Professional||Single|
Top Inflatable KAYAK Review
Advanced Elements AE1012-R Advanced Frame
This kayak is a combination of a folding frame and inflatable model. It has built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern to allow owners save space and track better than other rigid kayaks. Setting it up is so simple, it only takes unfolding of the frame, inflating it and attaching the seat. This won’t take more that 15 minutes in total. Disassembling and deflating it is quite faster, it takes about 10 minutes.
The hull is made from three layers of a durable material and PVC tarapaulin for extreme puncture resistance which means even if it goes through rough water, scrape rocks and dangerous objects it won’t get punctured. The seams are welded and reinforced into the bow and stern to improve the tracking performance. For better performance, a backbone that’ll give the bottom a v-shape could be installed.
Its high support and flexible padded seat provides added comfort for hours of paddling. A mesh pocket is behind the seat and bungee straps in front to carry small items, a medium sized gear with a 300 pound capacity could be fitted behind the seat. There is a coaming area which helps in deflecting or preventing the entry of water that rises above the sides. A kayak skirt which stops excess water from leaking in could also be attached.
This kayak is wider than the average hard shell. With its extra width and the low center of gravity, it is highly impossible to tip over.
Length: 10.5 feet
Weight: 36 lbs
Maximum capacity: 300 lbs
Folded size: 30”X 17”X 10”
Accessories included :
- Repair kit
- Carrying duffel bag
- Owner’s manual
- Folding seat
- Tracking is very good compared to other hard shell kayaks.
- It takes up little space when folded.
- The small weight of the kayak makes it more comfortable.
- Easy to set up and disassemble.
- Low center of gravity which makes it stable.
- Carrying bag is too small as well as the absence of carrying straps on the bag.
- It must be left to dry before packing. The fabric can become moldy if it is packed damp.
- Not great for choppy waters.
- Tall people usually feel uncomfortable while riding the both.
Advanced Elements AE1012-R is designed for both beginners and experts. It is a perfect choice for short and long trips. You’d get the best out of kayaking with this brand. One good thing about this kayak is that it cost less than $600 ( as at 25th of August, 2018)
Sea Eagle 330
This is a perfect inflatable kayak for longer paddling trips or fishing. It offers tandem option for those looking forward to bringing someone and the gear along for a ride. The sea eagle company for years now has one of the largest inflatable lines in the market. The company has a 3 year warranty against manufacturing defects and a 180 day risk free trial period. It has a sleek blue and white design suitable for both professional and leisure use.
Many inflatable kayaks have low quality air valves, they crack and leak constantly. The 5 deluxe one-way air valves on sea eagle 330 are really dependable and easy to use, they do not let air escape after it has been pumped in. The enlarged valve opening speeds up the rate of inflation and deflation. It takes about 6 minutes to fully assemble and inflate. Sealing with the outer cover back on the valve makes it totally air tight. It comes with a A41 foot pump which is made out of ABS plastic, easy to use and very durable.
A lot of cheap inflatable kayaks end up without rear skegs which results into poor tracking and inability to paddle long distances. There is a double skeg setup at the rear of the kayak which greatly improves the paddling speed and its ability to track. You do not have to worry about running into rocks since the double skegs are made of a molded, strong unbreakable plastic.
Sea eagle 330 is made from the outer skin of a tough polykrylar which is resistant to scratches.
The seat is padded for additional comfort while paddling. It is of a 5 tube setup, the tubes are larger to increase speed and tracking. It also elevates the paddler and allows the mass of the weight to be borne by the floor rather than the side chambers.
Its carry bag is made out of long-lasting 440 denier nylon. It consists of a draw string and a strap for easy carrying over the shoulder.
Length: 11.32 feet
Weight: 26 pounds
Maximum capacity: 2 people or 500 pounds
With lots of amazing features and accessories, this kayak costs less than $1,000
Accessories included :
- Repair kit
- A41 foot pump
- 7”10 AB30 paddle
- Carry bag
- Deluxe inflatable kayak seat.
- Highly affordable.
- Well constructed.
- Easy to inflate and deflate.
Aire lynx II
It is one of the most expensive 2 person inflatable kayak. It is a top brand which is worth the price. With its length, it performs awesomely in class III rapids or lower. Anything above class III will make it difficult to turn and maneuver especially if you do not have the skill. This kayak is designed for long outings and small extended trips. It is built with 1300 denier, Ferrari patented precontraint PVC fabric, urethane bladders and 22 oz PVC coated polyester to guarantee reliable abrasion shield. It is built to last for a longer period.
It is stable, easy to control and manoeuvre under big and local waters. It gives beginners the ability to navigate water, features an improved self-bailing system to keep debris away and 3 sets of drainage holes for fast drainage; it drains water in less than 5 seconds; faster than other available inflatables’.
The redesigned Aire lynx II is a foot shorter and wider in order to make it less likely to tip over. Its front is 4” elevated above the rear to ride over waves.
It includes two adjustable and comfortable seats with rear pockets constructed to last with a durable PVC shell and radio frequency welded air cell. It is flexible enough to be used for a solo tour as the additional seat could be removed.
The thigh straps allow the paddler to be able to control the edge of the boat and make powerful strokes as more energy is being transferred into it.
Aire lynx II has 17 cargo loops shared between the front and back for attaching gear. The leafield B7 ensures that deflation and inflation are free of difficulties. It goes up in about 8 minutes.
Length: 12.6 feet
Weight: 39 pounds
Maximum capacity: 475 pounds
- Owner’s manual
- Thigh straps
- Two carrying handles
- Repair kit
- Drain holes
- Cargo hold
- It has the ability to function effectively in all kinds of water.
- Its compact design makes it easy to come in and out.
- Can be operated efficiently by both beginners and experts.
- It is stable and has comfortable seats.
- Comes with a 10 year warranty.
- Cannot perform efficiently above class III rapids.
- Decreased speed due to the wide design.
- The self bailing cut out allows debris to get trapped between the tubes and at the base of the kayak causing additional maintenance before deflating.
- Very expensive.
- Difficulty in locking hips especially for slimmer people due to the increased width.
- Limited color choices.
How to Choose The Best Inflatable kayak
Anyone can go kayaking on whitewater or oceans but how fully prepared you are will determine the extent to which you’ll enjoy your ride.
- Budget: one of the most important factors to consider is the budget. Inflatable kayaks range from $80 to $600 but the higher the price the better the quality.
- Your kayaking plan: this simply means you need to know what you intend to achieve with an inflatable kayak or a recreational Kayak. There are different models out there with different features for different activities. The kind of usage will determine what brand to opt in for. If you plan to frequently go for long trips, you’ll need a kayak with plenty of room and storage space.
You also need to consider if you’ll be in need of a single or tandem kayak. If you’re planning to bring a friend then you need a tandem kayak. Some tandem kayaks can be difficult to carry singlehandedly, ensure you also put into consideration the additional space and storage tandem kayaks have to offer.
- Materials : inflatable kayaks can be made from three kinds of materials and they are:
- Hypalon: this is largely used by most manufacturers as an exterior coating due to its durability and the ability to strongly resist ultraviolet rays and other environmental factors. Brands made of Hypalon are usually costly because it is the most expensive material.
- Nitrylon: this material is ecosystem friendly. It is stronger and more resistant to punctures. Brands made from nitrylon are usually heavier.
- PVC: this is generally used as a coating on nylon and polyester to make it stronger and resistant to wear and tear. PVC is not as resistant to high temperatures as Hypalon as ultraviolet rays could destroy it.
- Type of water you’ll be kayaking on: inflatable kayaks are designed for various rapid classes. A class I or II rated kayak is ideal for paddling on lakes and rivers. Whitewater kayaks are ideal for rougher waters.
- Storage and transport: inflatable kayaks are easy to store and carry, they do not take a lot of space unless it is a very large one. If you are coming with a lot of kayaking gear, then you need a large inflatable kayak.
There are used inflatable kayaks that are still in good conditions and brand new ones, some end up breaking down easily. Whichever it is that you’re going with, ensure that the brand has an excellent reputation and positive reviews so that you will get value for your money.