Top 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks 2018

Model
Features
Intex Explorer K2



Read Our Review

  • Inflated size 312cm x 91cm x 51cm.
  • Includes a high-output pump and 84 inch aluminium oars.
  • Capacity 2 persons maximum weight 160kgs (350lbs).
  • Rugged vinyl construction.
Intex K1 Challenger


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  • Inflated size 274cm x 76cm x 38cm.
  • Includes a high-output pump and 84 inch aluminium oars.
  • Capacity 1 person.
Intex Challenger K2


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  • Inflated size 351cm x 76cm x 38cm).
  • Includes a high-output pump and 84 inch aluminium oars.
  • Capacity 2 persons maximum weight 160kgs (350lbs).
  • Rugged vinyl construction.
Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1


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  • Comes with enhanced backpack system for increased portability.
  • Seats are easy to adjust and remove, offering much comfort while paddling; integrated pressure gauge for accurate inflation.
  • Comes with a durable PVC hull, two PVC side chambers, floor chamber with i-beam construction for high stability and safety on the water.
  • Size inflated: 363 x 88 cm, weight: 12 kg, maximum load capacity: 200 kg
Intex Challenger K1


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    The Challenger K1 is made of firm vinyl and resistant to: sunlight, bumps, wear, gasoline, salt water and oil. .
  • Size (inflated): 274 x 76 x 38cm. Max weight: 100kg Includes a set of paddles Including pump.

Having fun in boats is a great way of getting out and about, and when you do it with a friend, you are guaranteed a fun time. The kayak has always been associated with exciting boating – whitewater rapids and other fun ventures – yet it can also be a great way of having fun on your local river or canal. Of course, we have to remind you of the safety aspects involved; boating can be dangerous if you are reckless and unprepared, so always wear the right gear and make sure you have the experience for the water you are tackling.

Now, one problem with boats is they tend to be bulky and need moving from one place to another. This means having a vehicle to tow them with, and a trailer to carry it on unless you are lucky enough to have your own mooring! However, there is a solution, and it’s the inflatable kayak. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, we’ve put together a list of the to 10 inflatable kayaks on the market right now, and even we were surprised that there are so many to choose from.

We were also surprised at the various different types and sizes available, and at the low cost of some of these boats. It pays to make sure that you buy one that is suitable for the sort of use you need or want it for – some are great for gentle use, others more robust – and that you also ensure you have one that is compact enough to be carried around when packed away.

So, it sounds like fun? We think so, but before we take a look at the top 10 best inflatable kayaks, let’s talk a bit more about what they are, why you need one, and how they came about.

 

Best Inflatable Kayaks

1: Intex Explorer K2


Our first choice is this model, the Intex Explorer K2. When we began researching our reviews, we discovered that there are a couple of leading brands in the inflatable kayak market; Intex is one, and we believe this simple and yet capable kayak to be a good starting point. It is made from very strong vinyl that will last a long time and stand up to rugged conditions and is a two-seat boat as most tend to be, with an inflated size of 312 x 91 x 51cm.

This one comes with a pair of 84” aluminium oars, which are perfect for beginners as well as for experienced kayakers, and it has its own high-output air pump, so you can inflate it very quickly indeed. Finished in an attractive and sporty yellow and black, you also get adjustable seats so anyone can use it, and it can handle a weight of up to 160kg. This is a very nice kayak from a known brand at a sensible price, and would be perfect for summer fun on the river.

Key Features
  • Strong vinyl
  • 84” oars
  • Quick inflation
  • Two-seat

2: Intex K1 Challenger


We stay with Intex for this entry, the K1 Challenger, which is a single-person kayak. It’s interesting to know that kayaking is an Olympic sport, and has been for many decades, and is also pursued as an extreme sport, with people attempting to kayak down serious rapids. That is not recommended with this boat, which is made from the same strong and durable vinyl that the model above uses, and is finished with a nice design that is very attractive.

You get the quick-inflate pump – and this one, like many, is fitted with what are known as ‘Boston valves’ which allow for fast deflation, too – and it measures 274x76x38cm when inflated. Otherwise, it folds down into a very compact package – weighing just 11kg – which is perfect for carrying around in the car. You get adjustable seating for one, and a pair of 84” aluminium oars, and if you are looking for a one-man kayak, this could well be the choice for you.

Key Features
  • One-man
  • Fast inflation
  • Boston valves
  • Oars supplied

3: Intex Challenger K2


This is another from the Intex range, and we have placed it here on our list as it is the bigger version of that reviewed above. This is a two-man inflatable kayak with all the features you would expect from such a boat. It is finished in a green and blue scheme that is familiar to the Challenger range, and it comes with adjustable inflatable seating, full buoyancy aids and a fast-inflating pump that will have you up and running in no time.

Measuring 351x76x38cm when ready for action, the Challenger K2 is a great sports boat and makes an excellent choice for beginners. Like all boats from Intex, it’s ISO rated – that’s the industry standard – as an inflatable boat, so you know you are getting quality. Let the air out via the fast-action Boston valves and you have a compact package measuring just 32x51x49cm, plus the two 84” aluminium oars, and a boat suitable for two people with a combined weight of up to 160kg. A decent inflatable kayak at a sensible price, and well worth a second look.

Key Features
  • two-man
  • fast pump
  • Boston valves
  • twin oars

4: Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1


As we said earlier, it is clear there are two main brands in the inflatable kayak market; Sevylor, from whose range this boat comes, is the second one. They have a wide range of impressive and top-quality inflatable kayaks, and this one is slightly different in that it is a ‘2+2’ boat; that is, it fits three people, two adults and a child, when the extra seat is fitted. It measures 363x88cm inflated and can carry up to 200kg, so is a very capable boat.

This one comes with a design that includes special buoyancy chambers, and hence is very stable, and is a cut above many others in terms of quality. It has Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation – although you do not get a pump with it – and you also have to add your own oars. When deflated, it is a very compact package that will take up little space, and while you need to add the accessories, we think this is a quality item and it comes from a respected brand.

Key Features
  • 2+1 seats
  • Boston valves
  • Buoyancy chambers
  • No oars included

5: Intex Challenger K1


Back to Intex for this one, another model from the impressive and very popular – not to mention sensibly priced – Challenger range of boats. This is a single-seat model, perhaps best intended for sporting use, that comes with the adjustable seating and buoyancy that you expect from the brand. This one is made from the same strong and durable vinyl that the range is used to, and is finished in a nice design that is very attractive.

You get the quick-inflate pump – and this one, like many, is fitted with what are known as ‘Boston valves’ which allow for fast deflation, too – and it measures 274x76x38cm when inflated. Otherwise, it folds down into a very compact package – weighing just 11kg – which is perfect for carrying around in the car. You get adjustable seating for one, and a pair of 84” aluminium oars, and if you are looking for a one-man kayak, this could well be the choice for you.

Key Features
  • Intex brand
  • single seat
  • Twin oars supplied
  • Pump supplied

6: Sevylor Riviera 2-Person


Another from the quality Sevylor range, this one is a Canadian Canoe-style kayak. It comes with seating for two, which is adjustable, plus the usual buoyancy aids that the brand offers, and is finished in a nice blue design that is very fitting. The broader shape of this one is designed to add stability, so it is perfect for fishing on lakes, and it also offers excellent streamlining for ease of paddling.

It measures 315x84m when inflated, and has special buoyancy aids in the floor for added stability, and you also get a single paddle with this one. What is clever about this design is that, when deflated using the Boston valves, it folds into a very neat backpack, so is easy to carry around. Although you don’t get a pump with this one, it does come with an integrated pressure gauge so you can see if you have inflated it properly, and it is a quality item all-round that would make for good holiday fun or fishing adventures.

Key Features
  • Two-man
  • Pressure gauge
  • Boston valves
  • One paddle supplied

7: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak 2-man


We come back, inevitably, to Intex for this entry, and it’s a very nice 2-person kayak with all the features you would expect from the Intex brand. It is made from very strong vinyl that will last a long time and stand up to rugged conditions, with an inflated size of 312x91x51cm, and it deflates quickly to a very compact size that makes it easy to move around when you need to take it to your destination. It’s light, too, weighing in at just 16kg.

This one comes with a pair of 84” aluminium oars, which are perfect for beginners as well as for experiences kayakers, and it has its own high-output air pump, so you can inflate it very quickly indeed. Finished in an attractive and sporty yellow and black, you also get adjustable seats so anyone can use it, and it can handle weight of up to 160kg. This is a very nice kayak from a known brand at a sensible price, and is ideal for lakes and rivers that are not fast-flowing.

Key Features
  • Strong vinyl
  • 84” oars
  • Quick inflation
  • Two-seat

8: Sevylor Adventure Plus


Between the two main brands – Intex and Sevylor – it is the latter that appears to offer the higher quality models, and also the higher-priced ones. This Canadian Canoe kayak, which seats two adults and a child, is an example of why this brand is so highly regarded, and is a very impressive boat all-round. It’s finished in a workmanlike but neat green, and is very much suitable for use on lakes and rivers, and also for sporting use in more rugged situations.

This one comes with the usual quick-inflation Boston valves, also great for fast deflation, as well as adjustable seating – you can choose from two or three persons – and is easy to carry thanks to being light and also having fitted handles. As with most from this brand you do not get a pump and nor do they supply paddles, but it is a quality boat and it does come with the very clever and effective buoyancy system that Sevylor is known for, so is certainly one for the shortlist.

Key Features
  • Two-man
  • No oars
  • No pump

9: Advanced Elements Unisex


It’s fair to say that if you want the ultimate in inflatable kayaks, this is probably it. It is the only one on our list that is not from the two main brands – it is by Advanced Elements, who have a wide range of top quality boats and equipment – and it is very impressive indeed. This is more of a permanent boat than any of the others – it is pre-assembled in the factory and includes aluminium ribs around which the inflatable parts are bound – and is a very serious piece of kit. Indeed, if you are an experienced kayaker looking for a new boat, we recommend you check this one out.

This one measures 460cm x 82cm when ready for use and can hold three people up to 250kg max, it is streamlined and lined with three layers for added protection, and while it does not come equipped with a pump or with paddles it is a great boat with many fine features. It is heavier than most at more than 20kg, but we can forgive that for what is a very impressive kayak that stands out among the crowd.

Key Features
  • Top quality
  • Three-man
  • Triple layer

10: Sevylor Colorado 2-Man


Our final choice takes us back to Sevylor, and it’s a typically good-quality two-man Canadian style kayak that is very nicely made. This one has a reinforced polyester hull that gives it extra strength and durability, and is very nicely finished in a neat black and yellow scheme. It measures 331cm x 88cm when ready for use, and comes with the buoyancy aids in the sides and base that the brand is known for. It is streamlined and wide, so great for lakes and slow rivers.

This one comes with the very helpful Boston valves, but no pump, and it is also supplied without paddles, but anyone who already rows a kayak will have his or her own choice of personal paddles. The seats are fully adjustable and removeable, and it is an easy boat to get around in. It can carry up to 200kg in weight, and comes with a handy carry-bag for when it is not in use, and all in all is a very decent boat from one of the top brands in the business.

Key Features
  • Quality boat
  • 2-man
  • Polyester hull
  • No paddles and no pump supplied

That’s our list of the top 10 best inflatable kayaks for you, and we reckon we have covered all the bases, so which is for you? Before we give you our verdict, here’s a run-down of the important features to look for.

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Important Features to Consider

If you are looking to buy a kayak you probably have a use for it in mind already; it could be you want one for sporting fun, or you want to use it for fishing on lakes, or you may just want a cheap inflatable boat to put in the back of the car for family fun on holiday or day trips. There is something for everyone on our list, so here’s a quick look at some of the features to consider:

One or Two-person – or, in fact, three! Are you looking for a boat for solo adventures, or do you need one you can paddle with a friend, partner, or take a child along? The list includes models that offer all of these, so feel free to check them out.

Intex or Sevylor – apart from one of the above, all are from one of these two brands. To sum up, Intex has a great choice of very decent, sensibly-priced boats that may be perfect for beginners or for light, fun use, while Sevylor’s models tend to be a little more serious and upmarket. The Advanced Elements boat is another thing entirely.

Accessories – some of the above come with a pump and with paddles; some come with neither, but all are equipped with the desired Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation.

Ease of Carrying – part of the point of an inflatable kayak is that it can be deflated and carried around easily; some are more compact than others, and at least one can be set down to backpack size, so if portability is your thing, look carefully.

Usage – finally, it’s perhaps fair to say that most of the boats on this list are for light river and lake use, rather than serious sporting usage, so choose very carefully if you are looking for something more exciting!

How It Works

Let’s get something sorted before we go on: a kayak and a canoe are different things! There are similarities, but there are also distinctions. Some of our choices are a sort of mixture of the two, so you get the benefits of both types of boat. So, what is a kayak?

When you take to the water in your inflatable kayak you are continuing a tradition of rowing a simple, agile boat that was first invented by the Inuit, the eskimo people of the Arctic regions, thousands of years ago. The difference is that while they used driftwood and sometimes whale skeletons, lined with the skin of seals and other animals, to build their kayak, you get the benefit of modern materials and an inflatable boat that can be ready to use very quickly.

You may be using your kayak to go fishing – the Inuit used these boats primarily for this and for hunting, and it translates as ‘hunter’s boat’ – or for fun, but you are emulating those ancient people who were resourceful and inventive in the use of materials that lay around them.

An inflatable kayak, then, is a ready-made boat that is cheap to buy, compact to take from place to place, and great fun, and one that you will find makes that little extra something when you go on holiday or for a family day out. So, let’s have a look at our list of the top 10 best inflatable kayaks on the market right now, and see if we can find the right one for you.

Let’s Sum It Up!

An inflatable kayak is a great fun item, and one that you may want for fishing or other use, but which is for you?

If you want a one-person boat for fun on the river, you have a choice of two models from Intex; these are both perfectly capable for fun and enjoyment, but not perhaps useable for serious sporting pursuits. They are also surprisingly affordable. For two-person usage, just about any of the boats on the lust are suitable, but there is something of a greater quality about those in the Sevylor range, including those that can carry a child and two adults.

For a sensibly priced two-man kayak, we recommend you check out the last one on the list – the Sevylor Colorado – as it is a quality item that comes at a sensible price, although you will need to supply your own pump and paddles. If you really want to push the boat out, pardon the pun, there is no doubt that the Advanced Elements boat is a very high-quality, serious boat.

That’s our verdict for you, and we hope we’ve helped find the best inflatable kayak for you!