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20 Best Portable Kayaks: Your Buyer’s Guide

Looking to get on the water this season but don’t have a transport system that can handle a heavy, cumbersome kayak?

Our list of the best portable kayaks has highlighted the lightest and lowest profile boats as well as some inflatable and foldable kayak options so you can get your vessel from A to B regardless of your muscle mass or vehicle design! Don’t let kayak size or weight hold you back with a new, easy to transport and store option from our top list!

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Portable Traditional Kayaks

There are plenty of traditional style, hard-bodied kayaks that are built a bit lighter and more compact than your standard kayak for improved portability. If you want a highly portable kayak, but are not interested in an inflatable or foldable option that you have to deploy and break down, then choosing a lighter weight, slightly shorter than you're used to boat is likely the go-to.

Some of our favorite boats that offer better than average portability include:

Kayaks For Kids

If you're shopping for a kiddo, or if you yourself are not a particularly heavy or lanky kayaker, don't rule out purchasing a kid's kayak - they can be a great solution to choosing a portable option.

Most kid's options are just slightly scaled-down versions of adult models, so check out our posts on the best kids kayaks and the best play boats for kids to see if there's anything there you like.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks have their pros and cons. They, of course, break down remarkably compact for easy transport, but don't always track as well as hard-bodied boats. They can also be a pain to clean off once broken down - sometimes requiring you to unpack the boat and hose it down at home.

That being said, inflatable kayaks have come a long way, and there are many options on the market that perform impressively well - some even rated for whitewater and more expedition type paddling. 

There are a few stellar options listed above, but be sure to check out our post on the best inflatable kayaks for our top picks!

Foldable Kayaks

Foldable kayaks have come a long way in recent years - impressive innovations have enabled some of the foldable options to break down remarkably compact, and then deploy into an impressively equipped boat.

Oru Kayak is the respected industry leader when it comes to the best quality boats, but they are certainly on the expensive end. The good news is, they're engineered to last and furthermore provide the closest paddling experience to a traditional kayak compared to other foldable kayak alternatives.

Some more budget foldable kayak options include:

Transporting and Storing Your Kayak

No matter what kind of kayak you decide on, you'll likely need a method of storing and transporting your vessel. While inflatable and foldable boats are easily stored on a garage shelf or rack and then slid into the backseat of your vehicle, hard-sided boats will require their own designated storage space.

Be sure to check out our top lists of the best kayak wall mounts, hoists, and other storage systems.  for some help deciding on the best storage method for your boat(s). Our list of the best portable garages highlights another stellar option for kayak storage and beyond.

Our top lists featuring the best kayak carts and trailers will help you to select an easy and convenient method for transporting your kayaks from A to B.