Best Inflatable Kayaks for Camping

Best Inflatable Kayaks [2024 Buying Guide]

One of the rapidly-growing trends in the kayaking industry involves the use of inflatable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are simply kayaks that you can fill with air to enhance their portability and buoyancy. Every aspect of inflatable kayaks makes them a worth-while investment for your next outdoor camping adventure.

Choosing the right inflatable kayak involves considering various factors to ensure it meets your specific needs and preferences. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:

Type of Kayaking: Determine the type of kayaking you plan to do, such as recreational paddling, touring, whitewater, or fishing. Different inflatable kayaks are designed for various purposes.

Kayak Size: Consider the size of the kayak, including length and width. Longer kayaks generally track better and have higher speed, while wider kayaks offer more stability.

Weight Capacity: Check the weight capacity of the kayak to ensure it can comfortably support you and your gear. Factor in not just your body weight but also the weight of any additional equipment you plan to carry.

Inflation and Deflation Time: Look for kayaks that are easy to inflate and deflate. Quick inflation mechanisms, such as high-capacity hand pumps or electric pumps, can save you time and effort.

Material and Durability: Consider the material used in the construction of the kayak. High-quality, puncture-resistant materials like PVC or reinforced vinyl are preferable. Look for kayaks with multiple air chambers, so if one is punctured, the kayak remains buoyant.

Weight and Portability: Inflatable kayaks are known for their portability, but the weight can vary. If you plan on carrying the kayak to and from the water frequently, choose a lightweight model that is easy to transport when deflated.

Stability and Tracking: Stability is crucial, especially for beginners. Look for a kayak with a stable design. Additionally, good tracking (the ability to paddle in a straight line) is important for efficiency and ease of paddling.

Seats and Comfort: Consider the comfort of the kayak seats, as you may spend extended periods on the water. Adjustable and padded seats contribute to a more enjoyable paddling experience.

Storage and Accessories: Check for storage options, such as compartments or bungee cords, to secure your gear. Some inflatable kayaks come with additional accessories like paddle holders, fishing rod holders, and skegs (fins for tracking).

User Reviews: Read reviews from other users to get insights into the real-world performance of the kayak. Pay attention to any common issues or positive aspects highlighted by users.

Brand Reputation: Choose reputable brands with a history of producing reliable inflatable kayaks. Established brands often have better customer support and warranty policies.

Budget: Set a budget based on your preferences and needs. While it’s important to find a kayak that meets your criteria, there are options available at various price points.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an inflatable kayak that aligns with your kayaking goals and provides an enjoyable and safe experience on the water.

Best Inflatable Kayaks

Now that you know what to look for in an inflatable kayak, we’ll provide our complete review of the best inflatable kayaks available in the market today.

#1. Elkton Steelhead Angler Kayak

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak - Two-Person Angler Blow Up Kayak, Includes Paddles, Seats, Hard Mounting Points, Bungee Storage, Rigid Dropstitch Floor and Spray Guard

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Looking for a fishing kayak? The Elkton Steelhead Kayak is designed for a better fishing experience. It has a solid drop stitch which allows the rider to cast bait expertly. You can firmly stand on the floor as you cast the baits without risking tipping over into the water.

Key Features

  • Tough PVC build
  • Solid drop stitch floor
  • Bungee storage system
  • Self-bailing drainage plugs

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Easy to carry, set up, deploy, and even store
  • Tough 1000D reinforces PVC is ideal across all types of water
  • Front bungee offers ample storage room
  • Rigid mounting points can support various items, including navigational tools

Cons

  • It’s sometimes hard to keep the kayak straight

Our Verdict

The Elkton steelhead kayak is particularly designed for anglers. From the generous bungee storage to the strong fishing line mounting points, this kayak is more fun to fish with than the majority of others. Choose this vessel and enjoy the thrill of fishing from an inflatable kayak without undermining that kayaking experience.

#2. Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Kayak

Driftsun Almanor 146 Two Adult Plus one Child Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak with EVA Padded Seats with High Back Support, Includes Paddles, Pump, Child Seat

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If you like starting out immediately you get at the lake, the Driftsun Almanor Kayak would be an excellent start. It fully inflates in 10 minutes, significantly cutting down on the wait time. If you also happen to come by rapid waters, rest assured that this kayak will get through.

Key Features

  • Removable rear skeg
  • Closable self-bailing drain plugs
  • Strengthened PVC build
  • Has a rocker profile for navigating through rapids.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Reinforced PVC construction makes it adequate for all waters, durable, and lightweight in nature
  • Self-bailing drain plugs ensure the kayak can be in both still and rapid waters
  • The removable rear skeg allows the vessel to steer straight when paddling
  • Adjustable seats add to the overall kayaking experience
  • Rocker profile provides the needed stability when rowing through turbulent waters.

Cons

  • The removable skeg is not all that easily removable.

Our Verdict

If you occasionally kayak in different water bodies (ocean, lake, relatively white water, etc.), this is a perfect kayak for you. You can use the removable tracking fin in calmer waters such as the lake or take it out for rapid waters.

#3. Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R-P AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak - Pump Included - 15" - Red

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The Advanced Element Convertible Kayak combines the features of an inflatable kayak and a foldable kayak. It’s a seamless model built with lightweight rubber and aluminum, which eases portability. Its removable seats provide for comfortable back support while in water.

Key Features

  • PVC hull material that is lightweight and durable.
  • Multiple air chambers for optimum safety
  • 3-layer puncture-resistant material made of bungee racing
  • Drop-stitch technology floor that enhances kayak rigidity

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Adjustable and padded seats
  • Extremely stable and tracks better than any other inflatable kayak tested
  • Can be converted from a tandem kayak to a solo kayak
  • Durable construction system

Cons

  • This is an expensive inflatable kayak
  • It’s heavier than other inflatable kayaks
  • Its storage bag has short, difficult-to-adjust straps for a person for an average person.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a kayak that can serve you alone or with a friend on board, look no further than the Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak. The adjustable seats allow you to accommodate more luggage on solo mode or enhance comfort when paddling with your buddy.

#4. Driftsun Voyager Tandem Kayak

Driftsun Voyager Inflatable Kayak - 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Kayak, Includes 2 Aluminum Paddles, 2 Padded Seats, Double Action Pump and Travel Backpack

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The Driftsun Voyager is a high quality inflatable kayak, weighing approximately 27lbs. too, and ideal for two people. You can tell the portability by the way the package arrives- in a travel bag! What makes it really cool is the clever and convenient combinations of the features against the price.

Key Features

  • High-flow hand pump
  • Industrial-grade PVC tarpaulin on the bottom
  • Rocker profile
  • Adjustable padded seats
  • Tracking fin

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • The rocker design allows smooth gliding through calm waters
  • Tracking fin can be removed to move through moderate-white waters
  • Heavy-duty tarpaulin ensures the bottom is protected against punctures
  • It can be easily deflated and stored or transported
  • The double-acting pump can fill it in just five minutes

Cons

  • The kayak’s onboard storage is minimal

Our Verdict

If you like spending your lovely afternoons kayaking on the lake, then this kayak perfectly fits you. The luggage space has been reduced to increase the legroom for a crew of two. You do not need much luggage on such occasions, as much as you’d want to relax comfortably.

#5. Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak

Intex 68309EP Excursion Pro Inflatable 2 Person Vinyl Kayak with Aluminum Oars, Fishing Rod Holders, and High Output Pump for Rivers, Lakes, & Ocean

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Made from resilient PVC, the Intex Excursion Pro will survive the roughest impact from abrasion and resist UV from the sunlight better than most other PVC material inflatable kayaks. The mounting bracket allows you to attach a GPS system (or maybe a fish finder, a swivel fishing rod, etc.) so you can explore deeper waters.

Key Features

  • Tough 3-ply PVC construction
  • High-pressure inflation with spring-loaded valves
  • Removable skegs, floor footrests, and fishing rod holders
  • Adjustable seats
  • Removable mounting bracket

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • A high weight capacity of up to 400lbs.
  • Adjustable and removable mounting bracket provides attachment for other accessories.
  • Ample storage space in the stern with metal rings to attach bags
  • Strong PVC material, resistant to salt and petroleum products
  • Removable skegs allow usage in various water bodies
  • Extraordinarily comfortable and reliable seats

Cons

  • The oars supplied are not the best
  • Not very suitable in rapid waters

Our Verdict

With the 400-pound weight capacity and two-person sitting setup, this kayak best suits those looking to spend a relatively long time in the waters, perhaps with a mate. You can store quite a lot, thanks to the weight capacity and the high reliability of the vessels.

You can even chill in the lake with your friend for an entire day, but don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

#6. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: Includes Deluxe 86in Aluminum Oars and High-Output Pump – SuperStrong PVC – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity , Yellow

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With a maximum weight capacity of 400lbs, the Intex Explorer K2 is one of the most comfortable inflatable kayaks. It comes with an inflatable seat that can be adjusted to your desired comfort.

The kayak comes with light aluminum oars to reduce overall weight and improve portability and usability.

Key Features

  • Adjustable seat with backrest
  • A removable SKEG on the underside for stability
  • 3 independent air chambers
  • Vinyl puncture-resistant material
  • High-performance pump

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Comfortable adjustable seats
  • Very rigid and stable due to the inflatable I-section floor
  • Three separate air chambers for reliability
  • Puncture-resistant construction for durability

Cons

  • Not ideal for fishing
  • A smaller back seat means less comfort for the second rider.

Our Verdict

Regardless of the absence of a fishing rod holder, this kayak makes a great choice for those wishing to fish and enjoy kayaking in itself. The absence of the fishing rod holder makes it rather challenging to fish in, but that adds to the ultimate thrill, especially after gaining some experience. Interesting.

#7. Airhead Montana Two-Person Kayak

Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak , white, 12 ft

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Your next camping or vacationing experience should include some kayaking experience, in which case the Airhead Montana Two-Person Kayak would be an ideal option. The kayak is designed for calm and moderate rapid waters and is very light, guaranteeing effortless portability.

Key Features

  • Triple air chambers
  • UV resistant exterior coating
  • Neoprene elbow guards
  • Spray covers

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Double hull design improves durability
  • Good tracking on water hence better stability
  • Has storage facilities for your gear
  • Adjustable seats and elbow guards improve crew comfort

Cons

  • Somewhat absorbent, thus takes time to dry
  • Doesn’t come with a pump nor paddles

Our Verdict

Weighing a meager 27 pounds, this is an ideal inflatable kayak for a camping adventure. You can easily tuck away into your space-constrained camper van, or you could load it up in a backpack, and off you go.

It is certainly worth the attention of campers or anyone who may need to carry the kayak for a considerable distance to the point of use.

#8. Sevylor QuickPak K1 Kayak

Sevylor QuickPak K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak, Kayak Folds into Backpack with 5-Minute Setup, 21-Gauge PVC Construction; Hand Pump & Paddle Included

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This Sevylor QuickPak K1 sit-on-top style kayak is a great buy. It is extremely easy to setup so you can spend more time on the water. It also comes with an easy to carry backpack system that turns into the seat. Multiple air chamber design will allow you to stay afloat in case one chamber is punctured.

Key Features

  • Tough PVC construction
  • A tarpaulin material on the bottom part
  • Multi-chambered
  • Spray covers
  • Adjustable seat

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Has spray covers to keep splashing water at bay
  • The adjustable seats mean more comfort for the crew
  • The Boston valve allows fast inflation and deflation
  • Heavy-duty PVC material allows use even in rocky waterways
  • Multiple air chambers reduce the chance of the whole kayak deflating

Cons

  • Not ideal for more than one person

Our Verdict

You’ve been yearning to paddle with your mates across the lake or some waters you may have identified. If so, look no further than this 1-person kayak. It also makes a perfect fishing kayak, thanks to its sit-on-top style.

Other factor to consider in an inflatable kayak?

Inflatable kayaks were originally a standard size pool toy’ that didn’t put a lot into consideration. As technology keeps expanding, so do new ways of doing stuff, including having fun. The majority of kayak owners use them for not only paddling but also accessional fun fishing.

Self-bailing kayak

These kayaks are constructed with holes on the bottom to drain any water that splashes into the kayak. This is an ideal design if you expect a wet ride, something like white water rafting, and ocean use.

The absence of a tracking fin makes them unideal for lake kayaking, or flat waters. Water would also get in through the floor plugs unless these plugs can be closed.

Sit inside kayak

This probably an embodiment of the traditional kayak. The cockpit is enclosed to keep water out of the vessel. Sitting in such a kayak would be rewarding in the cold season or when you want to keep the cold water at bay. A spray skirt can also be attached to further protect against winds and splashing water.

However, if you have lots of luggage, you may experience a hard time loading your gear into the kayak while on the move.

Sit on top kayak

As the name suggests, this open design kayak requires the crew to sit on top. The main advantage is that getting in and out of the kayak is extremely easy, and claustrophobics can finally be at peace inside a sit-on-top kayak. The kayak also makes a perfect choice in warmer waters and offers a good range for fishing.

It may be easy to get into the kayak, but the chances of tipping over are higher because of the raised center of gravity. Without a spray deck, you should expect more water to splash in.

Canoe-style kayak

A canoe-style kayak utilizes single-sided blades, just like a canoe, instead of the double-sided peddle normally used on kayaks. It would be hard to paddle on both sides due to the relatively higher walls and a deeper seat.

If you have some considerable luggage, this kayak provides you with room for all that. Besides, you have more space to move around within the vessel, making fishing quite enjoyable from the kayak. The bigger storage room can also hold a relatively big catch.

Open-style kayak

This design lies somewhere between a canoe-style and a sit-on-top design kayak. The kayak’s sidewalls are higher than in a sit-on-top design, but the seats are lower than in the canoe-style design.

The open style is great for people seeking easy entry and exit from a rather open design kayak. Some variants also come with spray decks to prevent water from getting in.

Pack-Rafts

These are lightweight inflatable rafts that hardly weigh above 10 pounds. If you plan to kayak in a rather remote area, this may be a perfect solution for you since you can roll up the craft into a backpack to the remote site.

Inflatable Kayaks – FAQs

Here we will answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding inflatable kayaks.

Do inflatable kayaks puncture easily?

A good quality kayak should not puncture easily. This however doesn’t mean that the kayaks don’t puncture; if mishandled, they could puncture faster than you expected.

With the right care and maintenance, your kayak can serve you for many years without necessarily tearing or puncturing. If the inflatable kayak punctures, repairing it is quite easy.

Can you fish in an inflatable kayak?

Ultimately all inflatable kayaks are designed with fishing-friendly properties. Although there are models of inflatable kayaks that are specifically designed for fishing, the normal models also do a pretty good job when it comes to fishing.

They are versatile and may be used in different locations such as rivers, ponds, lakes, or even sheltered oceans.

How to store your inflatable kayak?

Inflatable kayaks can be store either inflated or deflated. It’s recommended that if you have enough space, you’d better store it inflated. Additionally, if you’ll be using your kayak regularly, the best way to store it is when inflated.

A kayak stored in the inflated state must be laid in the original position as it would be in the water. Deflating an inflatable kayak may also be done before storage. This allows it to fit into the storage bag originally purchased with the kayak.

Whether inflated or folded, be sure to store your inflatable kayak in a cool dry place. Additionally, avoid putting other materials on the kayak because the extra weight can cause damage.

How to clean your inflatable kayak?

Like many other tools, cleaning is an important maintenance procedure that enhances durability and functionality. For inflatable kayaks, the cleaning process is quite simple. Get water into a hose or in a bucket and wash off any dirt, including sand, debris, algae, or any residue that has accumulated on the kayak.

Using mild soap solution or inflatable kayak cleanser and a soft piece of cloth, wash off grease and any remaining stains/dirt. Rinse the inflatable kayak thoroughly with clean water and then place it in a shade to dry.

Note that the inflatable kayak must not be dried in direct sunlight.

How to repair your inflatable kayak?

Should your inflatable kayak puncture or have an air leak, you should start by locating the leak/puncture. You do so by applying soapy water to the kayak while in the inflated state. This should be done in a quiet place so that you can see bubbles popping on the affected area.

If you’ve already located the area that needs attention, deflate the kayak and begin the repair process. Depending on the size of the puncture, you may need to use glue alone or add a material (from the kayak) to seal the puncture.

Begin by cleaning the area and then dry it using a dry piece of cloth. If the puncture is small, apply glue to seal. Be sure to use glue that is thick enough not to get into the kayak’s inside. For larger punctures, get a patch from the extra kayak material, apply glue on it and stick it on the affected area.

Allow it to dry for at least thirty minutes before you can inflate it halfway and apply more glue to the area. Finally, allow it to sit for approximately 24 hours for complete curing.

Final Words…

We hope you enjoyed this comprehensive guide to the best inflatable kayaks available right now. If you did enjoy it, we think you may find these articles interesting as well: