Top 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks from Paddling Life


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Top 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks

This is our comprehensive guide to purchasing an inflatable kayak. We’re going to give you the full run down of all the advantages of an inflatable kayak, all the factors you should consider when choosing which one to purchase, where to paddle, and our Top 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks. We want you to be fully confident in your purchase, and fully stoked on your choice. We hope this guide can ensure exactly that. 

So, You Want to Buy an Inflatable Kayak?

Who wouldn’t… They can be used anywhere! The added mobility that they bring to your paddling life is totally worth the effort. Because yes, they need to be inflated and deflated, it’s work. We think that depending on your situation, its totally worth it. We’re not saying it’s for everyone, but if you think it might be for you… You might be right. If you want mobility that a hardshell kayak won’t offer you, this is your move. 

What Are the Advantages of Inflatable Kayaks?

If you’re on the go, have limited space, or want something you can hike into remote places… inflatable kayaks are for you! It’s a given that they weight less. Because of this benefit, inflatable kayaks inspire far more adventure than their hard-shelled counterparts. You don’t need a launch, or a kayak rack, or ratchet straps, and you certainly don’t have to worry about moving some heavy behemoth of a boat around. You simply deflate, fold her away, and you can carry her wherever you want to go. One of the greatest things about a kayak that you can deflate and take with you is that if you want to fly across the country, or the world for that matter… you can take your kayak with you. The inflatable kayak is the tool for the boundless adventurer. 

What Options Should Be Considered When Buying an Inflatable Kayak?


When considering inflatable kayaks many people assume that they are less durable than a classic hardshell kayak. However, inflatable kayaks can be extremely durable. There are a few primary types of materials used to make inflatable kayaks are PVC, Hypalon, Nitrylon, Neoprene, Polyethylene, and textiles. PVC is great for beginners, it is super lightweight, however it is sensitive, and can be damaged by UV rays, but don’t let that scare you! There are chemical treatments that can protect PVC from UV damage. Hypalon is noted for being resistant to damage from things like extreme temperatures, and UV Light. Nitrylon is the newest popular technology in inflatable kayak technology. Durability is pretty directly related thickness of the material, which is rated in denier. The higher that number is, the thicker and more puncture resistant the material is going to be. Keeping denier in mind when choosing your inflatable kayak is important. 


Weight is going to be a pretty serious factor in your inflatable kayak. Weight is going to seriously impact where you can paddle. The lighter the weight the bigger increase to your paddling options. PVC is the lightweight material option. However, when talking about the weight factor of inflatable kayaks, weight capacity also needs to be considered. This is a place where inflatable kayaks exceed that potential of hard shelled kayaks. Because they’re filled with air they have increased buoyancy, increasing their ability to bear weight. Depending on what you are planning to pack in your kayak with you this can be a huge bonus of inflatable kayaks. 


When it comes to the cost of Inflatable Kayaks prices range from $100 Walmart junk kayaks, to $1000+ top quality, high performance kayaks. The better and more durable the material an inflatable kayak is made of, typically the higher the price. There are great options that fall somewhere in the more mid-price range. However, reviews make pretty clear that spending more money means higher quality, better durability, and newer technology. 

Tandem VS Single: 

Deciding whether you want a tandem or a single inflatable kayak usually comes down to whether or not you typically paddle with someone else, or if you prefer to paddle alone. Tandems can be great, since they’re longer than can allow you to go faster, they also produce great conversation between you and your paddle buddy. On the other hand, tandem kayaks are heavier and far less portable, and if you don’t have a consistent partner to paddle they with can be super limiting. Ultimately the choice comes down to what your typical day of paddling looks like. 

Where Can I Paddle My Inflatable Kayak?

Kokopelli Rogue packraft Pearl Lake, COProbably the coolest thing about owning an inflatable kayak is that you can paddle it way more places than a hard shelled alternative. You can hike it in an alpine lake, or out to a secluded beach. You can also travel with your inflatable kayak! Opposed to renting kayaks on vacation, inflatable kayaks can be packed away and flown with you anywhere you go! Which we think is pretty rad. When looking for a place to paddle wherever you go, check out the Go Paddling App and our write up of all the ways to find places to paddle! (Link)

Paddling Life’s Top 10 Best Inflatable Kayaks

Star Viper Inflatable Kayak

MSRP $995

  • Creating a top-deck profile that makes the boat possible to roll
  • Creating a secure and comfortable cockpit for the paddler
  • Gives the paddler a stable and comfortable position above the water
  • Multiple D-rings on the bow and stern decks for rigging gear
  • Bow and stern handles make the Viper easy to carry to and from the water

Available at Amazon

Available at CKS Online

AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak

AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak

MSRP $869

  • The Tributary Tomcat Tandem inflatable kayak has been a best seller every year due to quality performance and an affordable price.
  • An AIRE kayak with high performance AIREcell technology combined with design and affordability.
  • Three air chamber design with Summit valves, backed by a one-year warranty.
  • Self bailing floor.

Available at CKS Online

Sea Eagle 385FT FastTrack Deluxe Solo Inflatable Kayak 12’6″

MSRP $980.94

  • Front & rear spray skirts with storage below and elastic rope lacing for additional storage above
  • Separate inner High Pressure Drop Stitch floor for greater rigidity / Hull material resistant to sun & saltwater
  • Exterior 12’6″ x 36″ / Weight: 32 lbs. / Capacity: 3 Persons or 635 lbs. / Inflation Time: 7 minutes / Whitewater Rating: Suitable up to Class II
  • 1,000 denier woven base cloth gives tremendous strength and the PVC coating on both sides creates a waterproof, air-tight seal
  • Ride in style with this Deluxe Solo Package. Featuring the inflatable Deluxe Kayak Seat, kayak carry bag, four part packable AB30 paddle, skeg and repair kit.

Shop Now

Kokopelli Recon Inflatable Kayak

MSRP $899.00

  • Hull Material: [sidewall] 1000D reinforced PVC , 1000D reinforced PVC
  • Length: 7ft 6in
  • Width: 3ft 1in
  • Rocker: [front] 3in, [rear] 2in
  • Rolled Size: 22 x 12in

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Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

MSRP $349.00

  • Comfortable for Anyone: Kayak Includes an Adjustable Inflatable Seat With Backrest; Cockpit Designed for Comfort and Space
  • Dimensions: Inflated Size 10 Feet 3 X 3 Feet X 1 Feet 8 Inch; Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 Pounds
  • Directional Stability: Removable SKEG for Directional Stability
  • Increased Visibility: In Case of Emergency, Bright Yellow Color Helps Visibility
  • Made for Smaller Bodies of Water: Explorer k2 is Made for Smaller Bodies of Water Including Lakes and Mild Rivers

Shop Now

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AirFusion Evo Inflatable Kayak

MSRP $1199

  • Hybrid aluminum frame and high pressure drop-stitch air chamber design
  • Inflatable coaming for spray skirt attachment
  • Roll-top rear storage access hatch
  • Portable – no roof rack needed! pack in the trunk of your car or fly it to remote destinations
  • Carrying duffel bag w/shoulder straps included

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Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak

MSRP $500.00

  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 24-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover provide durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
  • Spray covers block splashes to help keep you dry
  • D-Rings are an easy way to attach other equipment

Shop Now

Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak

  • TAKE SUMMER TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Drift along the lake, river, or ocean in the Hydo-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak. Perfect for adventures and exploring the open water! It comfortably seats 1 passenger with a weight limit of 220lbs.
  • COMPLETE SET: This kayak set comes with everything you need to get you out on the water fast! A durable, double-sided paddle, air hammer hand pump, and a heavy-duty repair patch are included.
  • RIDE COMFORTABLY: The wide-opening cockpit features an adjustable seat with a backrest for extra lumbar support! There’s also plenty of storage areas for travel and adventure equipment or necessities.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT KAYAK: Because the kayak is inflatable, it can be deflated and folded up into compact size making it convenient for travel or storage purposes. The removable fins add directional stability and easy storage.
  • TIE IT UP: The wraparound grab rope surrounds the entire exterior of the kayak for easy transport. It also gives you the ability to tie up to a dock or an anchored spot.

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Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

MSRP $226.25

  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Tarpaulin bottom provides durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
  • Backrest lets you lean back and enjoy the ride
  • Multi-position foot rest lets you find your most comfortable position

Shop Now

AQUAGLIDE Navarro 110 Convertible Inflatable Kayak with Drop Stitch Floor

MSRP $74

  • TOURING BOAT: Navarro is equipped to handle the unknown. With industry leading drop stitched floors, zip on decks, & Hex Shell covered pontoons, this durable lightweight inflatable handles it all
  • TOURING BOAT: Navarro is equipped to handle the unknown. With industry leading drop stitched floors, zip on decks, & Hex Shell covered pontoons, this durable lightweight inflatable handles it all
  • BUILT TO PERFORM: Features quick release fin, drain plug, Velcro seat and footrest adjustment system, zip open dry compartments for storage, accessory strap, paddle keeper, molded handle and D ring
  • SPECIFICS: L 11’4″ x W 34″ (L 345cm x W 86cm). Weight: 28 lbs. Capacity: 250 lbs. (113 kg) – 1 Person. Includes: Kayak, seat and storage bag. Warranty: 1-Year Limited
  • AQUAGLIDE: Our passion for water sports drives us to engineer some of the best boating technologies available so you get the performance you want combined with the hassle-free portability you need

Available at Amazon

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