11 Best Inflatable Kayaks: Your Buying Guide

best inflatable kayak

If you’re in the market for a new kayak, you ought to consider the benefits of an inflatable boat. Blow-up kayaks and canoes are, believe it or not, impressively durable and reliable and are of course extremely portable compared to traditional small watercraft.

We’ve tracked down an awesome array of inflatable kayaks so you can get on the water solo or with friends. Whatever your boating plans entail, there’s something here for you! Tight lines, fair winds and blue skies from all of us here at Heavy!

What Are The Best Inflatable Canoes & Kayaks?

intex inflatable kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Extra large cockpit
  • Super easy set up
  • Dog friendly
Price: $85.12 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
intex inflatable canoe Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Includes aluminum paddles and air pump
  • Highly affordable option
  • Yellow color is a good safety feature
Price: $156.38 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 400 pound weight capacity and 12 feet, 7 inches in length
  • Two different removable skegs and built-in rod holders
  • Impressively durable laminate PVC with polyester core
Price: $279.79 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Driftsun Rover 120 Inflatable White-Water Kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super abrasion and puncture resistant
  • Can handle up to class IV rapids
  • Action camera mount on the bow
Price: $799.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
driftsun inflatable canoe Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Tracking fin
  • Adjustable seats
  • Rear drain plug
Price: $599.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
sevylor inflatable coleman kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 470 pound weight limit
  • Includes a rod holder and paddle holder
  • One year limited warranty
Price: $447.39 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
sevylor inflatable kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Breaks down into a backpack carry system
  • Sit on top style
  • Lots of storage space
Price: $166.54 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Three layers of material
  • Can be set up for open or closed deck
  • Aluminum ribs reinforce the bow/stern
Price: $899.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
sevylor three person inflatable canoe Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Allows for 3 paddlers at a low cost!
  • 1 year limited warranty
  • Employs multiple air chambers
Price: $321.38 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Sevylor inflatable fishing canoe Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Seats can be arranged or removed
  • Very affordable tandem kayak
  • 90 day limited warranty
Price: $238.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Tube Pro TubeTracker Standard River Tube Kayak with Paddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lay out and relax!
  • Built in cup holder and paddle holder
  • Paddle included
Price: $134.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

    • Very affordable boat
    • Ease of set up and operation makes this a great inflatable kayak for the kids
    • Cargo net allows for some added gear storage
    • Super compact when broken down and only 27 pounds
    • Extra large cockpit makes for a spacious ride
    • Reviews insist the material is durable enough to bring along your dog without worrying about a puncture
    • Although this boat has a rudder, it’s not recommended for use in the open ocean or fast currents
    • Skeg fits loosely - be careful not to lose it
    • Although the cockpit is quite spacious, taller padders might find there's a lack of leg room

    Here’s a highly affordable boat from Intex for those looking for a minimalist option. The Challenger K1 is a great boat for the cost that’s super easy to assemble and operate.

    At just 27 pounds it’s about as simple as an inflatable kayak gets but also includes a few features to enhance your experience on the water.

    The cockpit is designed to give the paddler maximum space and there’s furthermore a cargo net on the bow for stashing some additional gear. Grab lines on either end of the kayak make jumping in and out of the boat easy and are also great for towing swimmers. The kids will love pulling each other around and wrestling over who has the helm.

    The inflatable I-beam floors ensure this boat has reasonable stability and also give the Challenger a 220-pound weight capacity. This boat isn’t for the open ocean or fast moving currents, but it’s great for exploring your local lakes and slow moving rivers with a packed lunch and a backpack full of gear. That being said, I have found a fair amount of videos online of people taking their Intex Challenger out into the surf. It may not be recommended, but if you’re feeling adventurous it is possible!

    Intex includes an 84-inch aluminum oar, a hi-output manual hand pump and a repair patch with this unit. It’s super easy for adults and kids alike to set up and operate which makes it the perfect summer family boat! Strap up your gear under the cargo net and get out there with the Challenger K1.

  2. 2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

    • Highly affordable option
    • Rated well for ease of transport at just 31 pounds!
    • Bright yellow color is a good safety feature in case you need to be located in an emergency
    • Includes a removable skeg for increased tracking if you’re paddling through some current or wind
    • Includes aluminum paddles and air pump
    • Lack of any extra features - this is a reliable, but bare bones option
    • Paddles might be short for you if you're a larger sized kayaker
    • This boat pushes water a bit like raft, yet is still able to track fairly well

    The Explorer K2 is a two-person model meant for smaller bodies of water like lakes and mild rivers.

    Intex is a popular name in inflatable kayaks and canoes that’s very well reviewed by pleasure boaters, fishermen and explorers alike! Their boats are very affordable compared to a lot of other brands and hold up great against the regular strains of kayaking/canoeing. 

    This is the perfect inflatable canoe for those who are looking to simply get on the water and go. If you’re interested in a model boat that can handle some river rapids or open ocean, then you’ll want to keep reading through this list for something a bit more robust.

    The Explorer K2 has a 400-pound weight limit and includes two adjustable, inflatable seats. There’s a fair amount of space within the boat for bringing along gear at 20 by 36 by 123 inches. There are two separate air chambers for increased portability and for isolating air leaks in the event of a puncture. Intex even includes a removable skeg with this model to assist with directional stability. For an economically priced inflatable kayak, this bad boy tracks pretty well!

    This is about as simple as it gets – if you’re not planning to catch the big one or paddle through some rough surf then this boat will serve you wonderfully! No doubt a great value buy from Intex!

    VideoVideo related to intex explorer k2 kayak2018-10-10T08:28:19-04:00
  3. 3. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

    • 400 pound weight capacity and 12 feet, 7 inches in length
    • Included removable seats are well reviewed for comfort and Intex even includes one booster for smaller paddlers!
    • Impressively durable laminate PVC with polyester core
    • Removable/adjustable mounting bracket for accessory use (GPS, fish finders, fishing rod holders, etc.)
    • Bow and stern storage as well as stainless steel D-rings for more ger attachment points
    • Two different removable skegs for improved tracking in shallow and deep water
    • Two integrated rod holders
    • I-beam construction creates a nice and rigid floor
    • Paddles, high output pump, pressure gauge and carry bag included
    • Fairly expensive option - but you get what you pay for with this one
    • Although this is a great inflatable kayak for solo use, if you're paddling alone there are definitely more compact options in regards to portability
    • Almost 40 pounds

    The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is a particularly great option for those heavier folks or major gear heads who are interested in fishing from their inflatable kayak. This model features a high weight capacity, vast storage space and several additional features specific to enhancing your on-the-water angling experience.

    Intex recently sent me out an Excursion Pro to field test, and I can say first hand this is certainly one of the ultimate fishing inflatables when it comes to portability, cost, and overall quality. The included accessory bar mount, integrated rod holders, comfortable bucket seats, and stainless steel D-rings for additional gear attachment make this an impressively equipped boat for chasing fish.

    Perhaps the coolest feature of the Excursion Pro is the fact that Intex includes two different skegs for shallow and deep water. If you’re out in the open water it’s helpful to have a bit more depth on your directional skeg, but for shallow inlets, estuaries, swamps, and streams, it’s crucial not to draw too much water. Intex has thought of this and has made sure you can effectively chase fish wherever there’s water.

    The three-chamber, three-ply construction and I-Beam floor of the Excursion Pro make it remarkably tough for an inflatable vessel, while all the integrated hardware and included accessories are furthermore of solid quality. This boat feels like the real deal when you get it on the water – not your typical inflatable. 

    This vessel has a 400-pound weight capacity and measures 12 feet, 7 inches in length so there’s no shortage of space for two paddlers. Whether you’re a fisherman or not, this is a great boat for gearing up and exploring. The seats are furthermore removable so this is easily converted into a one-man kayak when you’re out there on your own!

    With paddles, a high output pump, pressure gauge and carry bag included, this is a stellar value buy no matter how you look at it. All in all, a fantastic inflatable kayak for the cost that will prove itself a winner for all sorts of on-the-water applications.

  4. 4. Driftsun Rover 120 Inflatable White-Water Kayak

    • Super durable inflatable that is remarkably abrasion and puncture resistant
    • Can handle up to class IV rapids
    • Removable, adjustable EVA padded seat
    • Solid behind the seat storage as well as D-rings for lashing down gear
    • Action camera mount on the bow
    • 300 pound weight capacity, and tough enough construction to bring along a dog!
    • Included two way pump, paddle and carry bag
    • Expensive option
    • One color option
    • Considering the quality of this kayak, you'll probably want to pair it with a better paddle

    The Driftsun Rover 120 Inflatable White-Water Kayak is a rapid-ready inflatable kayak option that’s built with impressive durability for the adventure paddler.

    Imagine a white-water raft and the abuse that sort of watercraft can handle, and then apply that same level of toughness to this inflatable kayak. The Rover 120 can handle class III and IV rapids, so whether or not you’re interested in paddling down any rough water this boat should be on your radar for amazing puncture and abrasion resistance.

    There’s a fair amount of storage space behind the adjustable, EVA padded seat as well as multiple D-rings for securing additional gear. The weight capacity is furthermore 300 pounds so you can bring along a lot of weight with this option. Some users even bring their dog along for the ride!

    There’s a removable skeg for some improved tracking when you want it, and a unique action camera mount on the bow for recording some gnarly footage. This is truly an adventure-ready inflatable kayak that’s up for essentially anything.

    Despite this boat’s remarkable toughness and innovative design, it still inflates and sets up in minutes and weighs just 22 pounds. There’s furthermore a carry bag, paddle and pump included which eases the pain of the higher price tag. 

    For those interested in the best of the best, the Rover 120 White-Water Kayak is one radical inflatable!

  5. 5. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

    • Built super durably with high quality materials to avoid tears/puncture
    • Design of the hull and bow as well as the inclusion of the rear tracking fin allow this boat to both track well and take on some rougher waters
    • Included adjustable seats provide some solid support and won’t ever pop on you!
    • Two cargo nets at the stern and bow for some extra gear storage
    • Rear drain plug simplifies draining and cleaning
    • There’s no grab lines around this boat
    • More expensive option
    • Must keep an eye on the loose fitting skeg

    Here’s another crowd favorite from Driftsun that’s ideal because of durability and ease of use. The Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak is an exceptionally portable double boat that sets up and breaks down in a jiff.

    This is an awesome boat for easy transport – when deflated it’s an impressive 26 by 16 by 8 inches. Despite its super compact size, while in use, the Voyager 2 provides more than enough space for two paddlers.

    I like that this inflatable kayak has a heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin bottom for some added durability as well as a 840D coated nylon oxford fabric top cover. This unit is truly rip, tear, and puncture-resistant and can really take a beating. The leak proof double-threaded Boston valves used in the design further enhance the toughness of this boat. The ruggedness of this canoe/kayak is what you’re paying for with this one.

    I personally prefer the included adjustable, EVA padded seats to the inflatable seats you often see included with blow-up boats because it’s one less component to potentially puncture. These seats are also adjustable and provide some reasonable support compared to a lot of other inflatable boats.

    There’s a cargo net on both the stern and bow of this unit so both paddlers can stash some gear. The spacious interior of this boat coupled with the added storage really allow you and a friend to sprawl out. This is a higher quality inflatable boat in terms of both durability and performance.

    The rear tracking fin and the inherent design of the hull and bow allow this inflatable to take on some rougher waters. This is a blowup boat that can handle some chop. All in all, the Voyager 2 is one tough, ocean-faring unit.

  6. 6. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

    • Has an impressive 470 pound weight limit and all sorts of storage space/pockets/clips for bringing along all your fishing gear
    • Includes a rod holder and paddle holder for each passenger to enable hands free fishing
    • Materials and construction are quite rugged — this is one tough boat
    • This inflatable can even be paired with a trolling motor if you really want to chase the big one
    • One year limited warranty
    • Very reasonably affordable considering all the included features here
    • Leak proof Boston air valves paired with the multiple air chamber design defends against punctures and leaks
    • Does not include paddles or a pump
    • Complaints about the plastic mounts on the boat rails getting in the way of paddling
    • Catches the wind quite a bit making it more difficult to paddle on big, open water

    Sevylor has built an awesome inflatable canoe specifically built for fishing with the Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak. Rod and paddle holders, an exceptionally rugged design and even a mount to secure a trolling motor, this boat has you covered on all your angling endeavors.

    The 8-gauge PVC construction paired with the 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover make this boat one tough vessel. This is a unit capable of getting knocked around out there. It’s geared towards lake fishing but the durability of the materials and design make this boat suitable for river use as well. Sevylor’s ‘Airtight System’ furthermore ensures you won’t spring any leaks.

    You gotta love the inclusion of Berkley’s Quick Set Adjustable Rod Holders with this model. You can troll around or set a bait off the bottom adding a whole lot to this boat’s fishing stats. Perhaps an even better feature for fishing, the paddle holders on either side of the vessel allow you to go hands-free with your paddle out of the way and focus on angling.

    There’s even a mount for securing a Sevylor trolling motor to the stern of this unit, and some customer reviews insist you can modify this inflatable to receive various brand trolling motors.

    This boat has an impressive weight capacity of 470 pounds – that’s a lot of gear! Mesh pockets, D-rings and seat pockets all add up to a lot of equipment storage and organization potential. There’s no need to leave anything behind with this one!

  7. 7. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

    • This unit breaks down into a backpack carry system for super simple transport and storage
    • Sit on top style is great for enhanced visibility on the water as well as for taking in the sun
    • Cargo net, built in cup holder and space on the stern add up to a solid amount of gear storage
    • One of the best value single person inflatable kayaks around - this unit is super affordable!
    • Not recommended for faster moving current or choppy waters
    • Sit on top style means you're going to get wet
    • Strapping on the included seat might be in the way of your paddle stroke - fortunately reviews insist you don't need it

    The Quikpak K1 Kayak simplifies bringing a boat down to the water more than you could imagine. This whole boat breaks down and collapses into a backpack carry system so you can literally throw this unit over your shoulders when transporting it!

    This is a sit on top style boat, so you’ll be a bit higher up on the water than a lot of other units. If you’re fishing or you’re someone who enjoys viewing what’s underneath the water around you, you’ll appreciate the added visibility a little extra height provides. Keep in mind you will get a bit wetter and be more exposed to the wind and sun in this style boat.

    The 21-gauge PVC construction and tarpaulin bottom is built rugged, but Sevylor still recommends this inflatable kayak for use on still water like lakes and ponds. It’s a tough little boat, just not up for battling the high seas or intense river rapids. Multiple air chambers make isolating any potential leaks a whole lot easier and also ensure you’ll stay afloat in the event of an on the water puncture.

    A gear net on the bow, cup holder between the legs and some added space on the stern all add up to some solid storage space for the solo paddler. The backrest and seat system also maximize deck space while providing you with a cozy seat to lean into. This is a very well thought out and designed boat for single person use.

    For the price, this is an excellent value buy from Sevylor that will be the envy of all your friends. Durability, adequate storage space and comfortable seating all in a super compact package that you can wear as a backpack – now that’s sweet!

  8. 8. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

    • Three layers of material make this one tough boat — good luck puncturing this one
    • Aluminum ribs reinforce the bow and stern and enhance tracking to make this boat feel more like a traditional kayak than an inflatable
    • Three different seat locations allow for setup as a solo or tandem boat
    • Super supportive seat allow you to paddle comfortably all day long
    • You can switch this unit between and open and closed deck
    • Comes pre-assembled in a duffel bag so all set up requires is unfolding and inflating
    • Looks and feels like a traditional tandem kayak but can fit in the back of a sedan
    • Definitely an expensive option, but you get what you pay for with this one!
    • Does not come with pump or paddles
    • A bit more intensive to inflate than a lot of other options

    Here’s a top quality boat for the inflatable enthusiast. The AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak from Advanced Elements is one neat vessel that incorporates aluminum ribs into the hull for enhanced durability and also to make it feel like a traditional kayak rather than an inflatable.

    There’s just a bit more set up involved with this one, but this boat comes together and behaves like a high quality, standard style tandem kayak.

    This is a large vessel at 15 feet long. There are multiple seat configurations so you can actually use this boat as a single or tandem. It can also be switched between an open and closed deck in moments — pretty impressive stuff.

    There’s not one, but three layers of material that make up the body of this boat. Coupled with the aluminum ribs, this inflatable kayak is nearly indestructible. The price tag is by no means low on this one, but considering the highly versatile and rugged design, it’s well worth the cost.

    The whole boat comes pre-assembled — all set up requires is unfolding and inflating and then attaching the seats. The entire unit fits into a 52-pound duffel type bag and is transported with ease. This is truly a top quality kayak that can fit in the back seat of a regular sedan. If you like the design and style of this vessel but think 15 feet is a bit big for you, it’s also offered as a single size. No doubt a versatile and brilliantly designed watercraft from Advanced Elements.

  9. 9. Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

    • Allows three people to comfortably get on the water together!
    • Employs multiple air chambers
    • 1 year limited warranty
    • Includes an optional skeg for increased tracking ability
    • Reasonably priced considering how much boat you’re getting!
    • Has three seats, but only has a 490 pound weight limit
    • This boat lacks storage space
    • Does not include paddles or pump

    The Big Basin 3-Person Kayak from Sevylor allows you and two buddies to all pile in and get on the water at a reasonable cost.

    This is a simple but reliable boat you can trust for some fun on the lake with your pals with a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom for increased puncture resistance. There are multiple air chambers with this unit to simplify locating leaks and making repairs. Make sure to tighten up to Boston valves really snug when using this boat – some customer reviews claim they experienced slow leakage until they realized the valves were simply a bit loose.

    The three seats are conveniently adjustable so everyone on board can find their comfort zone. Unless you’re all Olympic level paddlers who are capable of stroking in perfect unison, it will likely be easiest to have the front and back passengers do the paddling while the center seat kicks back and relaxes.

    This is a tough boat, but its design is definitely more for leisure than sport. It’s a lake or pond vessel that shouldn’t be tested in particularly rough waters but is great for exploring with friends. My one real complaint is that there’s a lack of gear storage on this unit.

    With three people on board you might struggle to find space for everyone’s stuff! Despite the lack of fancy features, Sevylor has still built an awesome three-man boat for summer fun with the Big Basin!

  10. 10. Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish Kayak

    • Seats can be arranged or removed allowing for different seating or lounging configurations
    • Very affordable tandem kayak
    • Three separate air chambers
    • 90 day limited warranty
    • Lacks any real storage space or features for fishing
    • Paddles and pump not included
    • Seats although removable and arrangable are low in quality and don't provide much support

    The Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish Kayak is a minimalist choice of boat for the budget buyer, which means it lacks special features.

    It’s referred to as a ‘Hunt and Fish’ kayak but there’s no rod holders or even added gear storage. This is a solid boat that will hold up just fine – where it really excels is its low price tag.

    What you see is what you get with this one. There are three separate air chambers for inflation – including the seats. The 21 gauge PVC construction is rugged enough to be considered a tough boat, but don’t go racing down any river rapids with this one, it’s designed for still water use.

    One feature that is pretty neat with the Tahiti is that you can reconfigure and remove the seats. This means if you want to pop out the seating, anchor the vessel and lay out for a nap you’re good to go. There are even some hand lines on the bow and stern for when you want to jump in the water and cool off!

    Perhaps not the most advanced inflatable kayak, yet still a solid choice of boat that comes at a righteous price!

  11. 11. Tube Pro TubeTracker Standard River Tube Kayak with Paddle

    • Lay out and relax!
    • Built in cup holder and paddle holder
    • Super easy to inflate and transport
    • Plastic fins for better tracking and steering
    • Paddle included
    • Fairly expensive
    • Not particularly tough against abrasion and puncture, be careful with this one
    • No real cargo space

    This inflatable kayak option from our list of the best river floating tubes allows you to lay out and relax while still giving you the option to navigate your inflatable as a real functioning kayak.

    The TubeTracker Standard River Tube Kayak is the ultimate choice for relaxation if you’re looking for an inflatable to lounge, rather than explore in. This unit is 60 inches long and 40 inches wide, so there’s plenty of room for any sized solo paddler. A single Boston valve controls air input and outflow – a reliable system for an inflatable kayak of this nature. 

    The TubeTracker Standard River Tube Kayak is built from extra heavy duty, 30-gauge vinyl. It’s not delicate by any means, but it’s also not particularly tough against abrasion and puncture so be sure to keep this kayak away from any obstacles or water hazards.

    A paddle holder and cup holder are also built into the design. There is no real cargo space with this one, but Tube Pro has really come up with a fun and functional vessel none the less. For an option that doubles as a killer relaxation station and kayak, this inflatable is truly a great value.

Inflatable Kayak Durability

The puncture-resistant vinyls and other materials used for the construction of these kayaks hold up fine against the wear and tear of regular boating and are furthermore easily repairable if things do go wrong. Most inflatable kayaks are built with separate air chambers these days so you can easily isolate, locate and patch any air leaks.

Inflatable Kayak Portability

You gotta love the simplicity of bringing your inflatable kayak or canoe right to the water's edge in a compact carry case and setting up for a day on the water. Most of the boats we chose for our top list set up and break down in minutes and will fit inside just about any vehicle.

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