Kayaking is a great way to spend time exploring the water on the ocean, lake, river or even the community pond. The only problem is storing and transporting a massive hard shell style kayak. Over the last few years the inflatable kayak has come along ways and are a great alternative to the old standard. In this weekly gear guide we are going to break down the best inflatable kayaks for your next adventure. We will cover everything you need to know and look for when purchasing an inflatable kayak as well as give our top 50 recommendations.
What are Inflatable Kayaks?
Inflatable kayaks are multi-layered PVC or Hypalon boats with air channels to help you stay a float on the water. They are very similar in design to hard shell kayaks from with all of the same features and functionality. The only difference is they are inflatable and able to be packed to and from the water with ease. Inflatable kayaks have the same performance abilities as traditional hard shell kayaks at a fraction of the total weight.
In an inflatable kayak, you can get to and from the water without the hassle of boat storage or roof racks. All you need to do is pull up, roll out your kayak, pump it up and get on the water for a day of fun.
50 Most Popular Inflatable Kayaks
Below is a list of the 50 most popular inflatable kayaks on Online Outdoor Outlet. We offer single, double and triple rider inflatable kayaks at the best prices.
Best Inflatable Kayak Brands
1 Person Inflatable Kayak
One person Inflatable Kayaks are a great budget friendly way to get out and explore. If you are just looking to get into kayaking this is our favorite option. They will teach you everything you need to know from paddling techniques to kayak safety. Single person Kayaks are easy to maneuver in the water and give you the freedom to go anywhere your mind desires. Most 1 person inflatable kayaks will range in price from $150 – $500 depending on brand and quality of materials. You will want to look for a package style kayak to help get you started with everything you need.
If you are more of an expert you may be looking for an adventure style inflatable kayak. These are usually more expensive and built to last. If you are looking for one of these style kayaks make sure you look at the quality of materials and warranty of the kayak. These adventure style inflatable kayaks will cost you upwards of $1000 so be ready to pay.
2 Person Inflatable Kayak
Two person inflatable kayaks or often referred to as tandem kayaks are the most popular. Tandem Kayaks are stable and usually quick with two people paddling. In the case where you are a single rider they offer extra storage for your gear or even your fur babies. For the most part they are affordable ranging from $200 to $500 depending on brand and accessories. Storing and transporting your two person kayak is extremely easy as they deflate down to a size any person should be able to carry to and from the water.
When looking for the best two person kayak there are a few things to be watching for. A quality inflatable kayak for 2 people will be portable, easy to set up and handle well on the water. They will also be made out of Hypalon which is a strong rubber synthetic style material designed for kayaks and paddleboards. PVC is another option, but they struggles when exposed to sunlight and chemicals.
3 Person Inflatable Kayak
Three person Inflatable kayaks are not as popular at single or double kayaks, but for those people who want to take their furry friend or even carry extra gear they can be a great option. When looking for a 3 person inflatable kayak there are a few things you want to keep in mind such as carry weight, stability and quality of materials. The 2 big one for us are the carry weight and stability of the kayak. The more weight you add to the kayak the lower it sits in the water creating an opportunity for capsizing. Make sure you check the max load of the inflatable kayak before you make a purchase. Most of the 3 person kayaks we see will hold 2 adults and a small child, pet or extra gear. Stability is the other item to pay attention two. With a 3 person inflatable kayak you add additional length to the kayak and in most cases the manufacture dose not and any addition width to help with stability. Always pay attention to length and width of a 3 person kayak to make sure you are getting the best option for you.
Types of Inflatable Kayaks
We categorized inflatable kayaks in to four different categories by usage rate/purpose, materials and price. Even with all of the tech advancements for inflatable kayaks one thing is always true, better kayaks will always cost more money. Below are the three different types of inflatable Kayaks.
Limited Use Inflatable Kayaks
- Single Layer of Vinyl Material Construction
- Great for light recreational paddling
- Cheapest inflatable kayak option ranging between $80 and $250
The first type of kayak is Limited Use inflatable kayaks. They are the best way to learn kayaking they are usually cheap and a great entry level choice. The best news is there are hundreds of options to chose from. Often times these are made from cheaper materials so don’t expect them to be the best or last for years and years. You get what you pay for.
Limited use Inflatable kayaks are usually light weight and easy to store and carry to and from the water. This makes them a great option for kids as well. They are fun for trips to community ponds and floating the river, but always know the quality of your gear and never push it past its limits. After you have gotten your feet wet with a limited use inflatable kayak it is time to grow into the next category.
Below are a few of our recommendations for entry level limited use inflatable kayaks.
Hobby Inflatable Kayaks
- Made from single layer vinyl material wrapped in fabric
- Suitable for heavy recreational use
- Mid-range inflatable kayak option ranging between $300 and $700
The second type of kayaks are Hobby Inflatable Kayaks. These are the mid category for quality and price. These inflatable kayaks are designed to help the kayaker push the limits. They are built to last and the quality is a large jump over entry level kayaks. Most of the time they are made from a single layer vinyl material that will stand up to rocks and offers a lot of durability against sun damage. Below are a few of our recommendations for hobby inflatable Kayaks.
Adventure Inflatable Kayaks
- Made from thick PVC or Hypalon
- Can handle any adventure
- High-end inflatable kayak option costing $800 or more
The third type of kayaks are Adventure Inflatable Kayaks. These are built to last and by far the most superior in durability, performance, and design. The materials used are similar to life-saving boats, so you know that these inflatable kayaks will keep up with any adventure you throw at it. Adventure inflatable kayaks are a great option for the person who has a lot of experience and spend all of their free time out on the water. These are for the die hard kayakers who don’t mind spending over $1000 on an inflatable kayak.
Below are a few of our recommendations for adventure inflatable Kayaks.
Fishing Inflatable Kayaks
- Made from thick PVC or Hypalon
- Can handle any adventure
- High-end inflatable fishing kayak option costing $1000 or more
The forth type of kayaks are Inflatable Kayaks. These are categorized based on their unique ability to fish from. Now you can fish from any inflatable kayak, but these are the kayaks with one purpose… to catch more fish. Inflatable Kayaks for fishing are build tough and will usually be between $500 and $1000. The quality and features of fishing kayaks goes up with they price. It is important to look for a fishing kayak with lots of storage for your gear and built to be stable. Having a stable inflatable kayak for fishing is very important due to the random sudden movements trying to catch fish. Below are a few of our recommendations for inflatable fishing Kayaks.View All Inflatable Kayaks
Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe?
One of the last things we want to talk about is inflatable kayak safety. We get asked all the time and honestly the answer is yes. Inflatable kayaks are safe if you maintain them and use them with the right amount of caution. Even though they are built much better and use better materials they are not indestructible. You need to use caution while paddling to stay clear of anything that my pop you kayak. Most inflatable kayaks are not built for rough water like rapids or big waves. You will need to read your owners guide book and follow their instructions to stay safe. If you do all of this there should be no problem with safety in you new inflatable kayak.
Final Thoughts on the Best Inflatable Kayaks
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best inflatable kayaks for your next adventure. Leave us a comment below letting us know how you think we did with the inflatable kayak referrals. Did we miss your favorite I-Kayak? chair?
As always thanks for taking the time to check out our outdoor gear guide. At Online Outdoor Outlet we are here to help you escape to the outdoors with the best gear to paddle on. Having one of the best inflatable kayaks will make your next adventure more relaxing and more fun. Hopefully, this guide helped you find the a new kayak. Please share this post with your friends and family before you leave us. As they say, the more, the merrier! Happy Adventuring!
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