A Guide To Buying The Best Inflatable Kayaks

A Guide To Buying The Best Inflatable Kayaks

There is something to be said for the simple joy of being out on the water, whether its lakes, rivers or the ocean. There is the pleasure of going places not easily reached.

There are many different ways to travel across water, and yet one of the simplest and easiest, would have to be the humble kayak. And what better way than with an inflatable kayak.

Man in an inflatable kayak.

Inflatable kayaks have many advantages over traditional kayaks. The three main advantages of inflatable kayaks over the traditional hard-shelled kayak are:

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    Lightweight – actually ridiculously lightweight when compared to their harder shelled brethren. In spite of being lightweight though, a good inflatable kayak can still carry a few hundred pounds of weight.
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    Easy to Store – being inflatable means that the space required to store an inflatable raft is significantly less than for the hard-shelled kayaks. Whether at a camp site or at home, the minimal space taken by a deflated kayak means that it can be easily and conveniently stored in a handy space, without too much effort.
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    Easy to Transport – being lightweight and compact means that an inflatable kayak can easily be carried, whether it is in a backpack or the boot of the car. A deflated kayak will easily fit into convenient storage space within a vehicle, along with any other camping gear or equipment.

If you are looking for the best inflatable kayak for the money, then you will see why our recommendations are the clear winners. After all value for money is important.

Best Two Person Inflatable Kayak

While there are many inflatable kayaks available on the market, some are better than others. Here are our picks for the best inflatable two person, and inflatable one person, kayaks available.

Winner – Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

When it comes to value for money you really cannot beat the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. At a pinch over ten feet long this kayak has been designed to carry two people; and has a maximum carrying weight of four hundred pounds.

Its width of three feet helps to provide it with stability, which is important to consider when carrying two people.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

source: intexcorp.com

Intex is a group of international companies, specializing in inflatable and water items, such as airbeds, pools and spas. With a proud history going back more than forty years, it is no surprise that the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak should easily be our choice for the best inflatable two-person kayak.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak has been designed to be comfortable for everyone. This is achieved using an adjustable, inflatable seat that comes complete with backrest. It comes with a removable skeg (underneath fin) providing stability for deeper waters, while easily removable when in shallower waters.

We especially like the fact that the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak comes in a bright yellow color, aiding its visibility, in the unlikely event of an emergency. It been designed for small bodies of water, such as lakes and mild rivers.

In our opinion, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is priced ridiculously low, making it remarkable value for the money, and no doubt explaining why this kayak wins the Amazon’s Choice in the kayak section.

When it comes to inflatable two-person kayaks, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is one of the best buys a person could make; it is obvious why this kayak is so popular amongst online shoppers.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak comes with two sturdy aluminum paddles. Being constructed from heavy duty vinyl, that is puncture resistant and having two separate air chambers, it is obvious that the designers have put care and thought into making this kayak safe.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak comes with a high-output air pump, and uses Boston valves, allowing it to be quickly inflated when required and just as easily deflated afterwards. When it comes to inflatable kayaks, speed of inflation and deflation are important. The designers of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak have taken this into consideration and designed it accordingly.

Amongst other design features that we like about the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is that the floor has be made with inflatable I-beams. These help to provide rigidity and support that may not be found in other inflatable kayaks.

Given that the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak has many positive features going for it; given that it is remarkably good value for money; and given that it has been certified compliant by the National Marine Manufacturers Association; it is easy to see why this kayak was our easy winner.


Runner Up – Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak

This kayak comes with two paddles, two deluxe inflatable seats, a foot pump, a carry bag and a repair kit.

While this inflatable kayak is more expensive than our winner, the Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak does come with more features and benefits to go with the increase in price tag.

Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

source: seaeagle.com

Sea Eagle Boats Inc was started back in 1968, as a family owned business and has its offices located on Long Island, New York. Celebrating their fiftieth year this year and specializing in inflatable boats, it is easy to understand why the Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak was our easy choice as runner-up in the best inflatable two-person kayak category.

The Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak comes with two 7’10” paddles, two inflatable deluxe seats, a foot pump, a carry bag and a repair kit. The kayak has the ability to carry up to 650 pounds of weight. This allows up to three people to be carried, or alternatively two people with a decent amount of gear.

The Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak has been certified compliant by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

It has decent length at 12’6”, yet is still able to be inflated in eight minutes, with the aid of the provided foot pump. There is definitely convenience in using a foot pump, rather than a hand pump.

We are particularly impressed with the pressure scale gradations on the side of each section to help with ensuring that the kayak is pumped to the correct pressure (rather than under or over inflated). Having this useful, easy to use guide definitely will make it easy to inflate it correctly.

The Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak comes with lashed down inflatable spray skirts to reduce water getting into the inside of the kayak. There is also a self-bailing drain valve should water splash on board and you need to easily remove it.

The package has very detailed instructions available online for help with inflating and using it. The kayak has two skegs on the bottom of the kayak to help with stability, tracking and speed.

We are particularly impressed with the addition of a puncture repair kit. While a puncture is unlikely, having a repair kit is definitely a case of better safe than sorry.

It comes with two carry handles allowing for it to be easily carried. The hull is made from saltwater and sun resistant polykrylar, helping to ensure the longevity of this kayak.

When it comes to a complete package that is easy to use and good value for the money, the Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak is was an obvious choice for our runner-up.


Alternative – Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

When it comes to alternatives to our two previously mentioned kayaks, the Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is well worth considering.

It will be no surprise that our alternative should be by the same manufacturer as our winner. The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is 11’6” long and is made from strong vinyl for puncture and UV damage resistance.

The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is capable of carrying 400 pounds of weight, which will be adequate for most people. It comes with two 86-inch aluminum paddles, allowing two people to easily use this kayak.

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

source: intexcorp.com

The kayak comes with a high capacity pump and a patch repair kit, which would prove useful in the unlikely event of a puncture. The high capacity pump allows the kayak to be quickly inflated and deflated.

The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak comes in a bright green color with sporty graphics to help make the kayak more visible. It has the inflatable I-Beam floor to provide additional rigidity to the base of the kayak.

The use of Boston valves, like with our winning kayak, ensures that the Intex Challenger K2 Kayak can be quickly and easily inflated and also deflated afterwards. It comes with a removable skeg to provide additional stability and tracking when being used.

Overall while the Intex Challenger K2 Kayak does not quite match up to our winner or runner-up, it is still a worthy contender and well worth considering.


Best One Person Inflatable Kayak

Winner – Sevylor Quikpak K1 Inflatable Kayak

When it comes to inflatable kayaks suited for one person, the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak was our easy choice as a winner.

Sevylor was founded in 1948, specializing in water sport inflatables from the early days, when they discovered a process that allowed them to manufacture PVC goods, including the invention of the inflatable bathtub.

With their seventieth birthday this year, it is no wonder that our pick for the best one-person inflatable kayak, should be from this well established and reputable company.

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

source: coleman.com

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak can be quickly and easily setup in about five minutes, meaning that you will spend time on the water rather than getting ready. It is made from 21-gauge PVC, that leads to a strong durable kayak, that is well suited to use on lakes.

The use of a tarpaulin bottom helps to protect the kayak from possible punctures.

Like all good inflatable kayaks, the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak uses multiple chambers to allow each section to be quickly and easily filled. This has the added benefit of providing additional safety in the unlikely event of a puncture. It also uses the Airtight® system which is guaranteed not to leak.

The use of Double Lock™ valves, helps to ensure that the kayak will be easy to inflate and deflate after use.

We are impressed with the easy-to-carry backpack that the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak comes in, especially as it is converts into the seat. Talk about clever use of space and materials.

The seating comes with a backrest for comfort, as well as different foot rest positions to ensure that you have a comfortable time on the water.

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak comes with secure storage space, allowing you to easily store your essential items safely. There is even a cup holder, so that you can keep your drink conveniently close.

It comes with carry handles to ensure that you can easily get it into and out of water.

As it is always preferable, the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak has been certified compliant by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, allowing it to hold up to 400 pounds of weight. For a single person inflatable kayak, that is a lot of carrying capacity.

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak is a touch over eight and a half feet in length and has a hand pump and paddle included as part of the package.

When it comes to buying a one-person inflatable kayak, it will be obvious to many, why the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak is great value for the money from a company that can trace its history back seventy years.


Runner Up – Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak

The Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak is an obvious choice for our runner-up in the inflatable kayak category.

With an exterior length of 11’2” the Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak is capable of carrying up to 500 pounds of weight. In theory it could hold two adults, however there is really only the seating and space for one adult.

Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Sports Kayak Pro Solo Package

source: seaeagle.com

The Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak is made from 33 mil Polykrylar, ensuring that it is durable and hardy. The floor of the kayak uses I-Beam construction to help provide rigidity and stability.

The kayak is able to be inflated in up to six minutes, allowing for quick and efficient inflating, so that you are spending more time on the water.

The package comes with the inflatable kayak, as well as a four-part paddle, one deluxe seat and a carry bag. There is also a foot pump included to ensure a quick and energy efficient inflation of the kayak.

A repair kit is also included in the unlikely event that a puncture occurred.

We are impressed by the fact that Sea Eagle provides their standard three-year manufacturer’s warranty. It is always reassuring to know that a manufacturer is willing to stand behind their product.

When it comes to a runner-up the Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak was an obvious choice.


What To Consider When Choosing A Kayak

Construction Materials

The material that an inflatable kayak is made from is especially important. Ideally when choosing an inflatable kayak, you will want to know that it is made from a durable, hardwearing material.

The construction material should be sun, salt and UV resistant. While there are many possible options for construction material, you will want a common material that is known for its toughness. If plan on kayaking with your dog, make sure you research the material a lot and also travel with duct tape!

While some new polymers may sound impressive, less experience by manufacturers means that its long-term properties will be less well known.

Inflatable boat fabric.

Not only should the construction material be durable but it should also be lightweight and able to easily form leakproof seals.

A good inflatable kayak will be able to be carried to its location with a backpack carrier, hence the importance of a lightweight construction material. Just because a material is lightweight, does not mean that it must also be weak.

Clearly a material capable of forming good airtight seals is also important.

Weight

While the choice of construction material will have a significant impact upon the weight of the kayak, so too will factors such as design. Ultimately, the weight of the kayak will determine how easy it is to carry the kayak to its intended location and will have an impact on your level of use and enjoyment.

Ideally you will want a lightweight but strong inflatable kayak.

Size

While different kayaks are capable of supporting differing numbers of people, that does not mean that it will necessarily be suited to do so.

Some kayaks will easily support the weight of two people however they will lack the size and space to comfortably seat two people.

When considering an inflatable kayak, remember to consider the number of people that will be using it at any one time.

Also, while it might be tempting to say that bigger is better; don’t forget that bigger also means heavier.

Make sure to choose a size that is appropriate to your needs.

One Or Two Person

As you will already be aware there is a choice between one or two-person kayaks.

While some one-person kayaks are capable of carrying two people, it is far better to choose one that has been designed specifically for that purpose.

When choosing a kayak, make sure that you have given careful consideration to the number of people that will be using it.

With the additional size required for two people, comes extra weight, however that may be ideal for a tall person looking for a single person kayak.

As always consider what you will be using the kayak for and whether it needs to be for one or two people.

Two person kayak.

Time To Inflate

The time it takes to inflate a kayak is important. Some poor-quality inflatable kayaks can leave you with the impression that they have taken an eternity to inflate. The main disadvantage of taking time to inflate, is that you will spend less time on the water and are also less likely to use the kayak at appropriate times.

Ease Of Deflation

When you have finished with the kayak at the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is to spend excessive time, slowly deflating the kayak, as you are getting more and more tired.

For the sake of your energy and sanity, you will want to get a kayak that is easy to deflate, so that you can quickly and easily pack up at the end of the day.

Storing The Kayak Away

When the kayak is not being used, you would typically have it deflated and packed away in its carry bag (if it has one). One of the advantages of the inflatable kayak is its ability to be deflated and stored easily. There are however other accessories that may be included with your inflatable kayak.

An inflatable kayak will usually have paddles and a pump provided by the manufacturer. Removable seating can also often be included. While the kayak will readily deflate it is important to consider the amount of space that will also be taken up by the additional necessary accessories.

Many inflatable kayaks will have inflatable seats. In some cases, the paddles will also be capable of collapsing down into multiple parts. All of these features will work together to determine how much storage space will be required.

Woman carrying an inflatable kayak packed in a backpack.

The obvious advantage of inflatable kayaks over hard-shelled kayaks is their ability to be easily stored, however you may also need to consider how easily the accessories can be stored and transported.

Conclusion

When it comes to kayaks there are many advantages to be had using an inflatable kayak over a hard-shelled kayak.

If you are considering investing in an inflatable kayak, you won’t get better value for money than those mentioned here. Why not get one today and see what we mean?

Resources:
Wikipedia


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