When my daughter asked me about the best inflatable kayak out there, I had visions of her paddling a half-blown up the dinghy, full of water, on the lake as a child. But if you have read my fishing kayak guide, inflatable kayaks have come a long way since then and are perfect for storing, transporting, and cost!
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Inflatable Kayak for Sale in 2021
No more will you find thin plastic, ripping if a toe nail caught the plastic or if it was dragged across the rocks. These inflatable kayaks are built for durability.
- 1 The Ultimate Guide to the Best Inflatable Kayak for Sale in 2021
- 2 The Best Inflatable Kayak for us!
- 3 The Best Inflatable Kayaks Comparison Chart
- 4 The Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews for 2021
- 5 A Note on Inflatable Kayaks
The best reason to use an inflatable kayak is storage in my opinion. It can fit in the trunk of your car, it doesn’t take up any space in the garage ( compared to a traditional kayak ) and is super lightweight! With technological advancements since my daughter was a child, I was eager to find the best kayak for her paddles on the lake this summer!
The second reason I started researching for her was that a top-rated inflatable kayak is much cheaper than a traditional kayak.
I researched a bunch of inflatable kayaks ( and an inflatable canoe too ) and have summarized my findings below. I took factors as weight, size, features and price when making my assessment, as well as reading verified purchase reviews.
The Best Inflatable Kayak for us!
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As you can likely tell from the photos, we settled on the Intex Challenger K1 based on quite a few factors. First, it was the best cheap inflatable kayak. While my daughter wanted to get on the water, she did not want to break the bank, she wanted something she would be able to use in the summer and put away with ease in the winter. When we compared the rest on the chart below, this one worked the best for her! If you want to check it out, you can click the button below.
The Best Inflatable Kayaks Comparison Chart
The Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews for 2021
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
This two person inflatable kayak, Intel Explorer K2 is made of heavy-duty puncture resistant vinyl. It comes with 86” aluminum oars, a pump and a repair kit. It has two separate air chambers, and inflatable I-beam floor for rigidity and boston valves for quick inflation and deflation. The seats on the Intel Explorer K2 tandem inflatable kayak has removable and adjustable seats, which are inflatable. This kayak also has grab lines on both the front and back of the boat and a removable skeg for directional stability.
The Intel Explorer K2 Kayak was designed with sport and fun in mind when you want to paddle on small bodies of water. It is not designed for ocean kayaking. Its bright yellow colour makes it highly visible on the water and if you plan on a swim, reentry into the kayak is quite easy. It features a light and compact design and is easy to inflate with the high-output pump.
- lightweight and portable
- comfortable inflatable seats
- directional stability with removable keg
- high visibility yellow colour
- comes with 86” aluminum oars, high-output pump and repair kit
- boston valves on the front and back for easy inflation and deflation
Length 10’ 3” (3.12m)
Width 36” (91cm)
Inflated Height 1’8”
Weight 31 lbs
Capacity 2 persons
Maximum Weight 400 lbs (180 kg)
Some things to note: Some of the reviews online say that he skeg can come off and get lost. This is a quick fix to ensure that does not happen.
Intex Challenger K1
The Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak is another one by Intex. It is a one person, inexpensive kayak and great for those who want to get out on the water and have some fun but do not need a hard shelled kayak, nor have the room or desire to store one.It is made of the same heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl as other kayaks from Intex and has similar qualities as well: two air chambers, boston valves for quick inflation and deflation, I-beam floor that inflates for rigidity and a paddle, pump and repair kit
Similar to the inflatable explorer by Intex, the Challenger K1 has grab lines on each side, an inflatable and removable seat, and a removable skeg. It also has a cargo net in the front. It is a low profile inflatable kayak and is perfect for a paddle out on the lake on a nice day. Its colour makes it highly visible and it is designed for comfort. No you may not win a race with this inflatable one person kayak, but it is ideal for a comfortable day out on the water.
When I started researching for my daughter, she wanted to be able to get out on the lake and search out all of the secret spots that you cannot access from parking lots or hiking in. Having an inflatable kayak that she can throw into the back of her SUV is ideal for her situation. She can drop it out, inflate it in about 5 minutes and off to the water she goes. The cargo net means her stuff is stored (she also has this dry bag, I will not embarrass her with an incident involving a phone in the lake). This kayak also made my list of the best kayaks for kids.
Length 9’ (2.74m)
Width 2’6” (76cm)
Weight 23 lbs
Capacity 1 persons
Maximum Weight 220 lbs (100 kg)
Here is a youtube video of the Intex Challenger in action. I will need to get my daughter to share a video next time she goes out!
Intex Challenger K2
the Challenger K2 tandem Inflatable kayak
The Challenger K2 is a tandem kayak and features a lot of the same things I have mentioned about about the K1. The reason I took a look at the K2 is that at 6’2” I was not sure that the K1 would give me enough space to be comfortable.
Weight 34 lbs
Capacity 2 persons
Maximum Weight 400 lbs (180 Kg)
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1 person
The Sevylor Quickpak is another inexpensive inflatable kayak for one person. It is made of rugged 21 gauge PVC and has multiple air chambers. Included with your purchase is a hand pump and paddle. It has a unique backpack carry feature in which the seat converts into a backpack to carry the kayak. Make sure it is fully deflated to get it back into the backpack! It has front and back carry handles and a storage area in the front. Multi position food rests make it ideal for various heights. There is a handy cup holder to keep your beverages close by.
As with other inflatable kayaks, the Sevylor Quickpak K1 is ideal for calm waters and will be tough to manoeuvre in strong winds or currents. It is comfortable and transports great. It will pump up in less than 10 minutes and you will be out on the water to enjoy your day! After your paddle, the pump will also deflate the kayak. If you do not want to play around getting it back into the backpack, you can get a storage bag like this one.
Rated for 400 lbs
Weight 18 lbs
Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2 person
This inflatable kayak gets a mention because I am a fisherman after all. While I did not buy it for my daughter, it might be something you want to consider if the added features of an inflatable fishing kayak appeal to you. The rest of my fishing kayak reviews can be seen here
Lets be honest here, this is actually a canoe, but I felt that it was a great inflatable to be included in the list. I also really like the 2 person model from Sevylor. This boat comes with 18 gauge PVC, thick tarpaulin bottom and nylon cover. It has a rod holder, trolling motor fittings if you want a motorized kayak, storage pockets, an adjustable seat, and is 9’9″ when inflated. It weighs about 30 lbs and has a 470lb capacity. With this high capacity you can add quite a bit of gear, or a dog, or a cooler without having problems.
If you plan on doing some fishing while you are out for a paddle, and do not have the space or some way to transport a traditional kayak or canoe, this two person inflatable kayak would be a great option for your days on the lake. It is still quite inexpensive compared to hard shelled fishing kayaks so it is a great choice for someone on a budget.
Holds up to 470 lbs
SE330 Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak Solo Package
The Sea Eagle Inflatable One person kayak is designed for the river paddler. It weighs 26 lbs and is built tough. It can hold two people (or one person and a dog) and is rated for 500 lbs. This kayak inflates in less than 10 minutes with a pump and has three chambers (port, starboard and floor). It is made of 33 mil Polykrylar (K80 PVC) and has an inflatable I-beam construction for stability and 2 skegs. It is suitable for white water kayaking up to Class III
Weight 26 lbs 12 kg
Length 340 cm
Width 86 cm
max weight 500 lbs
Sea Eagle VIDEO
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A Note on Inflatable Kayaks
These are not meant for whitewater kayaking or packing your gear for a few days. They are a great option for enjoying the lake on a summer’s day and they were exactly what my daughter was looking for for transportability and storage since she lives in an apartment and does not have roof racks on her car.
These kayaks cannot be compared to the hard shelled ones, so if you are not sure if a hard shell or inflatable kayak is for you, check out my guide on the best fishing kayaks. You will find, that not all of them are full of bells and whistles and make great recreational kayaks for those of you, like me, who like to get out on the water whenever I can!
While there is a repair kit with most inflatable kayaks, I suggest some vinyl glue and a good storage bag.
Make sure you get a good kayaking life vest. You do not want to be the one the Coast Guard needs to come rescue, regardless of your swimming ability. While I gave my daughter crap for taking her’s off for the photos, she was smart enough to have it with her.
Do not to expect to get from A to B quickly or face winds or currents with these kayaks. They are great inexpensive kayaks and suit those who want a recreational vehicle without the hassle of storing a hard shell kayak. With that comes the hassle of setting them up and blowing them up. Which for my daughter was not an issue at all. She was headed to the lake for the day and wanted something to cruise around on. It made an inflatable kayak an ideal choice for her.
The first time you get out on the water you will realize that inflatable kayaks will respond quickly to paddling and the nose of the kayak can tend to turn left and right.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any looming questions? Let me know in the comments!