If you have never owned an inflatable kayak before, it is important to understand that they are in fact watercraft, and not pool toys.
You can traverse the seas, rivers and lakes with inflatables just as you can do with hard side boats. Few inflatable kayaks can compete with hard side kayaks in terms of durability and performance, but inflatables have the distinct advantages of portability and ease of storage.
On the other hand, many inflatables will surprise you as they actually can be comparable to hard sides, many with glowing customer reviews of outstanding performance and rugged durability.
Once you have decided to purchase a blow up kayak, check out some inflatable kayak reviews. Get started with this 2016 list of the best inflatable kayaks according to our survey of enthusiasts who have purchased these boats.
1. Advanced Elements AE1012-R Advanced Frame Kayak
Perhaps the most highly rated REI inflatable kayak is actually a hybrid of a rigid convertible frame with a seven-chamber inflatable body. The 10 ft. 5 in. Advanced Elements Advanced Frame kayak can accommodate a 300 pound load, but only weighs 36 pounds when deflated.
Collapse the 30 x 17 x 10 inch frame to fit into a backpack or small storage space. You can purchase the AE Backbone accessory which installs inside the boat, attached to the bottom.
The backbone provides additional rigidity and control, making this inflatable comparable to just about any hardshell yak. Initial setup takes about 20 minutes, but once you get the hang of it, you can inflate all seven chambers in about 5 minutes.
Tear down is equally as fast. People who have purchased the AE Advanced Frame rave about the boat’s control and maneuverability on calm waters, however, as always, be mindful and cautious on rowdy ocean swells.
2. Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable with Pro Package
The #1 best selling fishing kayak on Amazon is the Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable with the Pro Package. Carry up to three friends and all your fishing gear in this durable inflatable.
The boat is self-bailing with one-way drain valves that continually expel water from the interior, a very desirable feature for maneuvering over whitewater and ocean surf.
This boat measures 12 ft. 6 in. and can accommodate a total weight of 650 pounds. The boat is very durable with a patented PolyKrylar hull capable of withstanding potential punctures from protruding sticks and K9 claws.
If you are looking for a sturdy, easy to handle sea kayak, this Sea Eagle is the perfect choice.
3. Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
If your purpose for purchasing a kayak is mainly for fishing, the Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is an excellent option.
Highly rated by those who purchased the product, this kayak is equipped with Berkeley Quick-Set rod holders and fittings for a Sevylor trolling motor. Paddle holders keep your paddles in place as you focus your attention on angling.
This kayak accommodates to people, up to 470 pounds in total. If you are a serious sport fisherman in search of a great Coleman inflatable kayak, this is the boat for you. This models is likely the best Coleman inflatable currently on the market.
4. Coleman Big Basin 3-Person Kayak
This kayak measures 12 ft. 3 in. when inflated and can hold a total weight of 490 pounds and can comfortably accommodate three passengers. Seats are adjustable and can be removed from the unit.
The 2 directional strakes and tracking fin keep the boat traveling in a straight line while paddling. This low profile kayak is an excellent choice for budget-minded consumers searching for a good value.
5. Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Sports Pro Solo Package
Note that even though this kayak is rated as a one-person craft, the boat can actually accommodate two passengers and a total cargo weight of 500 pounds!
This 11-footer is easy to navigate over calm lakes, whitewater and oceans with a Class III Whitewater rating. This kayak is an excellent choice for an inflatable sea kayak.
6. Intex 1 Person Challenger K1 Inflatable Kit
The economy kit is a great find for the price. It includes an 84 inch double-head aluminum paddle, a hand pump and repair materials. Just inflate the boat, load up your cruising cargo and hit the water!
This kayak can accommodate one person with a total weight capacity of 220 pounds.
7. Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Kayak Set
Designed mainly for calm waters and mild river cruising, the Explorer K2 comfortably accommodates two people, or you can remove one seat for a solo ride.
8. Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable with Pro Package
This larger craft can carry up to 650 pounds. That’s three individuals and some gear, too! The kayak ships with two double-blade aluminum paddles and everything you need to hit the water the day the boat is delivered.
9. Coleman Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
This boat differs from most inflatables as it is a sit-on model versus a sit-in model. This kayak is stored via a backpack system which quickly converts into the boat’s seat. Lightweight and easy to carry, this craft is great for campers, hikers and bikers.
10. Bestway Bolt X2 2-Person Kayak
The Bestway Bolt can accommodate two, however, the maximum weight allowance is 374 pounds. This kit includes the high volume pump, two double-blade aluminum oars and a carrying case.
If you are currently exploring your options for inflatable kayaks, several factors must be considered before you make your final decision.
What will be the main use of the boat? Will the kayak primarily be used for touring, fishing or for another purpose? Will the boat be used in calm lake waters, rough whitewater or will you traverse into open seas with the vessel?
In addition to these questions, cost and ease of setup are always important factors in the equation. Understanding the questions to ask and researching the available options will ensure that you find the best inflatable kayak and that you are content with your purchase for many years to come.