A quality rangefinder is going to have a dramatic impact on your golf game, your competitive shooting, your archery, your hunting, and so much more – so much of an...Continue Reading
- 5 Best Inflatable Kayaks
- #1 – Sea Eagle SE370K_P with Pro Package
- #2 – Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum paddles and High Output Air Pump
- #3 – Coleman Colorado™ 2-Person Fishing Kayak
- #4 – Advanced Elements AE1012-R
- #5 – AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak
- #6 – Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak
- #7 – Sea Eagle 330 with Pro Package
- #8 – Sevylor Coleman Big Basin™ 3-Person Kayak
- #9 – Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
- #10 – Advanced Elements FireFly Inflatable Kayak
- The types of Kayaks you should be aware of
It is common and quite natural to be confused while selecting an inflatable kayak. You only want one of the best inflatable kayaks for yourself but almost all of them seem tailored for your purpose. For example, you may be just heading out to the lake close by to kayak for now. But what if you wish to explore new terrain a few months later and include some class I whitewater rapids? Can you use the same kayak for both?
Let us help you sort through the bull and help you make a choice.
Solo or Tandem:
The first and most important factor that can define your choice is whether you are a lone wolf or socially inclined. In other terms, does your idea of kayaking involve one more person with you? Like say, a fishing trip on a kayak? Or do you prefer to kayak alone? You need to take into account that going tandem may mean paddling with the other person. There are kayaks with fixed seating areas, as well as ones adjustable and detachable seats which can be modified as per the requirements of the trip. So, if you are kayaking solo, then you can remove the extra seat and move one seat to the center. The other option is to sit in the rear and put some kind of weight in the front to adjust the balance. Planning to go kayaking with your kids or your furry friend? Go for the tandem variety.
The Water conditions:
Where do you intend to kayak? Is it a pond, an ocean or a river with whitewater? Kayaks made for calmer waters have a tracking fin on the underside, to allow the kayaker to exercise better control by preventing side drift. These do not work well in whitewater situations. Self-bailers, which are made for whitewater, are not the ideal choice for calm waters.
Do you like the typical sit-in kayak with an enclosure? Or do you like a more open design like the sit-on-top kayak? What about the weather conditions? Will there be heat or cold or rain? How tall are you? Does the sit-in kayak allow you to stretch your legs comfortably? Comfort is an often underweighted factor that may prove to be vital down the line.
What kind of gear will you be carrying in the kayak? How much weight will be needed for the gear and the two paddlers, in case of a tandem kayak? Check the carrying capacity of the kayak to further narrow down your choice.
Storage: Some models of the inflatable kayaks allow you to attach storage bags to the hull using clips. If you intend to carry a lot of gear and need additional storage space, then this might be a feature to look for. If you plan to go for long excursions or camping trips, then you may need more storage space. The other option is to opt for a tandem kayak and use the extra space for storage.
What is the size and the weight of the kayak that you are comfortable carrying around? Consider the possibility that you may have additional gear with you and maybe kayaking solo. You do not want to buy something that you cannot carry comfortably.
Last but not the least, how comfortable are you in setting up the kayak? If you are one of the impatient ones who likes to spend minimum time in the assembly and just wants to get on the water, then look for ones that can be inflated in as less as 5-10 minutes. On the other hand, if you like to prepare well (attachable parts) in exchange for some added features and benefits, then look for performance oriented models.
That’s about it. Consider these above points and you should be able to skim through the unwanted ones and zero down on the best inflatable kayak for your choice.
5 Best Inflatable Kayaks
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak
|Best for the price||$||11 ft||26 lbs||4.3|
Coleman Colorado™ 2-Person Fishing Kayak
|$$$||19 ft||41 lbs||4.4|
Advanced Elements AE1012-R Inflatable Kayak
|Best one-person inflatable kayak||$$$||15 ft||43 lbs||4.0|
Coleman Big Basin™
|Best three-person inflatable kayak||$$||24 ft||44 lbs||4.7|
Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak
|Best overall||$$||12 ft||32 lbs||4.9|
#1 – Sea Eagle SE370K_P with Pro Package
Type: Tandem Kayak
Ideal For: Beginners as well as seasoned kayakers looking for an inflatable tandem. Can be used in flat water, rivers and the ocean.
Review: The Sea Eagle 370K is a perfectly designed tandem kayak with a bevy of features that rival high-end commercial models. It has a carrying capacity of 3 people to maximum weight of 650 lbs. making it more than ideal for recreational tours as well as the occasional competitive event. There is ample room for gear and for your furry companion too.
Weighing just above 30 lbs., it is extremely easy to carry and store in your car.
It is made of thick 33 mil PolyKrylar material that will bounce right off any sharp edged rocks without puncturing it and dampening your trip. The floor is rigid I-Beam. It features lashed down inflatable spray skirts to keep the chill out in case the weather turns truant and self-bailing drain valves that makes it possible to use the kayak in all kinds of water.
Performance: The Sea Eagle 370 features two kegs on the underside which improves tracking and speed in calmer waters. However, on a windy day, it may be prone to side tracking. The response is fast and maneuvers are smooth.
Final Verdict: Versatile and complete value for money.
Type: Tandem Kayak
Ideal for: Beginners and seasoned kayakers. Can be used in lakes and mild rivers.
Review: The Intex Explorer K2 is a stylish and well-built inflatable tandem kayak with all the bells and whistles that one can dream of, in a cheap package. It is a tandem kayak for two people with a maximum carrying capacity of 150 lbs. Although a lot of customers have exceeded this by 100 lbs. at least without any problems whatsoever.
The bright yellow graphics on the side and the skirts along with the bold black markings make it visible from even a mile away. Not to mention that it looks insanely cool. It is made of tough and durable vinyl, with an I-beam floor. Included in the package are a removable skeg, 2 aluminum paddles (which can be dismantled into 3 pieces each), two adjustable seats with backrest, a repair kit and a dual action air pump. The complete kit weighs less than 35 pounds and fits easily into a carrying bag.
Performance: The Intex Explorer K2 offers excellent stability and buoyancy, even in choppy waters. The only caveat is that you may end up losing the skeg. It is recommended that you remove it if you plan to go to a river.
Final Verdict: It is no mean feat to pack in all the features of higher end models in an ingenious package. If you are a beginner looking for complete bang for your buck, this is the model you need.
#3 – Coleman Colorado™ 2-Person Fishing Kayak
Type: Tandem Kayak
Ideal For: Beginners, seasoned kayakers and hobby fishermen. Designed primarily to be used on lakes.
Review: If you are looking for an inflatable tandem to take to the lakes for fishing trips, then look no further. The Coleman Colorado is a beast and it has enough features to keep you safe and comfortable on even the longest fishing trips.
Made of 18-gauge rugged PVC, it is incredibly durable. The bottom is made of 1000D tarpaulin which may not last in whitewater, but is perfect for lakes. It comes with an 840D nylon cover that protects the inflatable portion from pointed edges and a possible puncture. It features dual air chambers. So in the rare event of one chamber getting punctured, the other chamber will stay inflated.
The double threaded Boston valves make inflation and deflation a breeze.
To allow an easy fishing experience, it comes with adjustable Berkley® rod holders and trolling motor fittings from Sevylor®. If you plan to kayak solo, the adjustable seats can be moved to accommodate gear for longer trips. It has a weight capacity of 470 lbs. which is more than sufficient for two people and some basic gear.
It offers excellent control and maneuverability even in choppy waters. Customers claim to have used it in 4 feet swells off the coast. May side track on extremely windy days.
Final Verdict: For the price, this is a feature rich inflatable fishing boat for two people. It is compact, portable, roomy and comfortable. Cannot ask for more.
#4 – Advanced Elements AE1012-R
Type: Solo Inflatable Kayak
Ideal for: Beginners and advanced kayakers looking for an inflatable sit in. Can be taken on lakes and mild rivers.
Review: If you have always been a hard-shell sit-in fanatic and could never get around to using inflatables, then you should definitely take a good look at the Advanced Elements AE1012-R. Because it comes perilously close to rivalling a hard-shell sit-in kayak in performance and beats it hands down with the price.
This is an extremely durable kayak that will take a beating without getting punctured. It has 3 layers of protection. A 30-gauge PVC main inflatable chamber, high density polyurethane-coated polyester inner cover and a PVC Tarpaulin with 1000 Denier Polyester outer layer. The bow provides superior tracking and the stern also doubles as a skeg in choppy waters.
The built-in aluminum ribs significantly improve the maneuverability. Assembling and takedown is ridiculously easy and the compact form factor allows you to pack it into your car and carry it with ease.
Performance: The Advanced Elements AE1012-R is exceptionally stable and tracks as good as a hard-shell on calm waters. It can even navigate through class-ii rapids without any problems. The only caveat is the absence of a spray skirt.
Final verdict: This is the transitional inflatable kayak for hard-shell lovers. Be ready to be amazed with the performance of the AE1012-R.
#5 – AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak
Type: Tandem Kayak
Ideal for: Recreational Kayakers. Can be used in lakes and mild whitewater
Review: If you are looking for a large roomy tandem inflatable kayak, then the AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana should top the list of probable. This 12 foot kayak is larger than most other models at this price point. It has a semi-rigid heavy gauge PVC construction with a triple layer skid-plate like reinforcement layer on the underside.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs. So if you are heading out for a weekender with lots of gear and luggage, this will get the job done. Even after you store the gear, there will still be plenty of room.
Despite the largish size, it is surprisingly light weight at 36.3 pounds. Assembly, dismantling and portability are as easy as they get.
The only possible downside is that you do not get a kit with paddles and an air pump and those have to be ordered separately.
Performance: The AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana is designed for lake use. But it can easily tide through mild to moderate whitewater. The speed, response and maneuvers are excellent and the boat remains steady as a rock.
Final Verdict: The AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana is perfect for people looking for some extra room in their kayaks without sacrificing on quality and cutting corners. The 12 foot size and the 500 lbs. carrying capacity make it perfect for longer excursions and tours.
#6 – Sevylor QuickPak Coverless Sit-On-Top Kayak
Type: Sit-on-top Single Kayak
Ideal For: Seasoned Kayakers or medium skilled kayakers. Perfect for lakes and calm water. May perform reasonably well in choppy waters.
Review: The Sevylor QuickPak Coverless is an apt choice for people who prefer a kayak that can be inflated and ready to go in the water in less than 5 minutes. It is also known as the ‘Five Minute Kayak’ by seasoned kayakers.
Despite the quick setup and the seemingly innocuous appearance, the Sevylor QuickPak Coverless is an extremely durable kayak that is made from PVC. It will take a few bumps and nicks in its stride without getting punctured.
It has two permanent skegs on the underside that may affect tracking, especially if you are a beginner. The front of the kayak tends to wiggle from side to side. But you can adjust your strokes to control the movement.
Being a sit-on-top, you can expect a wet ride, especially if the water is choppy. It wont be the smoothest ride on a windy day. But it has its perks. You can go out to the lake and lie on your back using it like a mattress.
There are a few bells and whistles thrown in, like a cargo net, a cup holder and an oar lock.
Performance: As long as it’s a lake with calm waters, the Sevylor Quickpack offers perfect control, stability and response. Take it to the ocean and you may or may not be able to control it as you’d expect to.
Final Verdict: For those who hate to squeeze into a cockpit to kayak, this Sevylor QuickPak Coverless sit-on-top offers a great choice to experience Kayaking. It is versatile, durable and comfortable.
#7 – Sea Eagle 330 with Pro Package
Type: Tandem Kayak for 2 people
Ideal for: Beginners as well as experts. Can be used on lakes, whitewater (Class III) and the ocean for fishing, yacht tending and skin diving.
Review: Labelled America’s most popular inflatable kayak, the Sea Eagle 330 is a powerhouse. This is the predecessor of the Sea Eagle 370, the only difference being the carrying capacity. The 370 can carry 150 lbs. more than this one.
The Sea Eagle 330 has a 500 lbs. capacity and features built-in Inflatable spray skirts and a self-bailing drain valve to keep the water out during whitewater excursions. The 33 mm polykrylar hull is almost impenetrable and it can easily withstand most sharp edges and rocks.
The package includes two adjustable kayak seats, a foot pump, and a storage bag that neatly accommodates all the paraphernalia. (Two 8-foot AB30 paddles included in the pro version). It is large and roomy and there should be enough space for two adults and the gear.
Final Verdict: Along with the 370, this is one of the most versatile inflatable kayaks that you can buy in 2016. It is stylish, comfortable and can be taken from lakes to the oceans.
#8 – Sevylor Coleman Big Basin™ 3-Person Kayak
Type: Tandem kayak for 3 people
Ideal for: Beginners, advanced users and families looking for a spacious inflatable. Perfect for lake use and mild rivers.
Review: If you like to take your friends or your family kayaking, then this 3 person Kayak from Coleman will be a great buy. Featuring a rugged PVC construction with a tarpaulin bottom that keeps it puncture-proof, it will ensure that jagged edges or stones won’t leave you in the doldrums.
Multiple air chambers ensure that if one chamber is punctured, the other one still functions flawlessly. Featuring an air tight system that is guaranteed to prevent leaks, the Coleman Big Basin™ 3-Person Kayak is reliable for family excursions.
On the other hand, you can always adjust the three comfortable seats (with bottle holders) and use the extra space for storage. In case, you end up in the middle of the lake on a windy day, the spray cover ensures that you stay dry.
Performance: The built-in tracking fin ensures that the kayak tracks well even in choppy waters. On calm water, it is as stead as a rock and offers perfect maneuvers. It does not wobble or wiggle to the sides making it easier to control.
Final Verdict: This is the perfect kayak for a small family. It does not come with a pump or the paddles. But that’s not really a downside. For the price, it is absolutely worth it.
Type: Solo sit-in Kayak
Ideal for: Beginners and casual use for advanced users. Can be used on lakes and slow moving waters only.
Review: Intex pulls a rabbit out of their hat with the immensely popular Challenger K1. Featuring an extremely stylish design with bright colored graphics, it is constructed of durable welded material and vinyl fabric. The I-beam floor enhances the stability.
Even though the cockpit is made for one person only, there is enough room behind the seat to store some of your sundry details. For additional storage, there is a cargo net and grab lines on the end of the kayak.
The package also includes an 84-inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi-output manual hand pump, eliminating the need to buy a separate one. Weighing just under 28 pounds and with a carrying capacity of 220-pounds, this is near perfect for beginners.
Performance: It features two skegs on the underside. But tracking may not be as good as some of the higher priced models (which is to be expected at this price point). Stick to calmer waters and this should last for a long time without any problems.
Final Verdict: The Challenger may not be as versatile as the Explorer. But it has its good points. For beginners looking to learn the ropes as well as for casual users who like to head to the lake to paddle, this is a great option at an inexpensive price.
#10 – Advanced Elements FireFly Inflatable Kayak
Type: Solo Sit-in Kayak
Ideal for: Beginners and Casual users
Review: Advanced Elements are known for their range of quality inflatables and the Firefly rates among the best on offer from the company. It is a compact little powerhouse that will impress you with its tracking and the roomy cockpit.
Featuring built-in rigid panels that define the bow and stern, the tracking is excellent and so are the maneuvers. As long as it’s not very windy (more than 15 mph), you should be able to cruise through without any problems.
The bright yellow graphics are eye catching and visible easily while you are on the water.
It also features a rugged outer cover that keeps it secure from punctures. With twistlok valves and a high flow Spring valve, this is a grab and go kayak that will be ready in minutes. A landing plate ensures that the kayak remains protected during beaching.
Performance: The Firefly is a very comfortable and steady kayak making it an ideal choice for beginners. It is a tad wider than most other kayaks at this price point though. So, the paddle included in the pack may not be sufficient, especially if the waters are a bit choppy.
Final Verdict: Weighing under 16 pounds, this is one of the lightest solo kayaks in the market currently and it is easy to set up too. If you like to go solo to the lakes, look no further. This is a great choice.
If you find yourself on the fence and unable to decide which type of kayak to choose, then here are some of the important things to consider, that may help you further the decision making process.
Call it a penchant for the outdoors or a growing fascination towards an activity with ample scope for entertainment, (with fitness perks thrown in for good measure) Kayaking is rising in popularity. And it doesn’t seem like a passing fad either.
Everybody from wired businessmen looking for some solitude on the weekend, to the family looking for a fun social activity is taking a liking for a paddle and a kayak. And it’s not without reason either. Kayaking is a very rewarding activity.
Once you hone your skills, you are looking at approximately 400 calories burnt an hour. Club that with one of the most vigorous upper body workouts for core strengthening.
For people more interested in meandering in an idyllic surrounding, Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore uncharted turf. There are lakes and rivers with a broad range of geographical diversity that Kayakers of all skill levels can enjoy. You can choose to paddle through tranquil waters or dive nose-down a set of choppy whitewater rapids.
Whatever your reason for taking to the waters, you’d be glad to know that there are irrefutable benefits on offer.
The types of Kayaks you should be aware of
If the interest in Kayaking was kindled due to an article you read or a casual conversation with a friend who’s pursuing it as a hobby, then there are a few things you must know before you go all out and invest in one.
There are three different types of Kayaks that are available.
Hard-shell Kayaks: When someone mentions the word ‘Kayak’, most people picture the hard-shell or the rigid Kayak. Typically made of wood, but also available in
plastic, fiberglasss and composite materials, these are the traditional boats that come with a few benefits but also have a lot of pitfalls. They are expensive, heavy, not portable (you’ll need a roof rack in your car) and will require frequent upkeep. Having said that, they are extremely sturdy and if you are an adrenaline junky who sleeps through rough white rapids (Class III and above), then these are usually your best bet.
Collapsible Kayaks: Collapsible or folding kayaks are the most expensivebut also the most versatile models that completely collapse when not in use. It consists of a stretchable waterproof fabric that is stretched over the frame, which is typically made of wood, aluminum and plastic. Folding Kayaks are extremely durable and are virtually unsinkable due to their ingenious design.
Inflatable Kayaks: If you are looking to dip your toes in Kayaking or are looking for an ideal beginners Kayak that offers enough features to take it to the next level, then inflatable kayaks are the right choice for you. A lot of people are thrown off by the name and compare it with the inflatable paddle boats that are used in swimming pools. You couldn’t be more wrong. With the technology advancing by leaps and bounds over the years, inflatable kayaks today are lightweight, extremely rugged and some models offer features that are on par with hard-shell ones.
With a wide range of varieties to choose from, you can easily find one that best fits into your idea of kayaking.Irrespective of whether you wish to paddle solo or in tandem, in a pool or in an ocean, navigate through choppy whitewater or run a wave, there is an inflatable kayak for you.
Let us help you navigate through some of the styles and understand some of the jargon that you may come across in the world of inflatables.
- Sit-on top kayaks: As the name suggests, this is a kayak with an open design, typically preferred by people who feel claustrophobic with the conventional design of a kayak. It is also preferred in warmer climates. Since you are sitting on an open platform on top of the kayak, the center weight is slightly above the water level. You can expect more splashes, but with a flat bottom or one or two keels at best, sit-on top kayaks are incredibly stable and almost impossible to tip over.
- Sit-inside kayaks: These are the conventional kayaks where the kayaker sits in a cockpit with the legs stretched straight ahead. The center weight is below water level or at water level and they are extremely stable. The provision to attach a spray skirt which repels water and wind, makes this one of the most popular types of inflatable kayaks.
- Self-Bailing kayaks: If you fancy speeding down whitewater rapids, maneuvering yourself around obstacles, then you need a self-bailing inflatable. These are specifically designed for whitewater situations and contain numerous ports (holes) in the underside. Water flows in and out of these ports, so that the boat doesn’t get filled up. Quite naturally, you can expect to be dripping from head to toe. If you are using a self-bailing kayak in calm waters, you should look for a model that has plugs which can close the ports or else water will fill in the boat.
Those are the best inflatable kayaks in the market in 2017. We hope you enjoyed reading our guidelines and browsing through the list. Happy kayaking!