Our team at fastbreakplay.com knows the importance of a high-quality product, so we searched out the best rated inflatable kayak models for all purposes. From sea-worthy to white water inflatable kayaks, these models have excellent customer reviews and noteworthy features.
If you’re taking your first dip into water sports, an inflatable kayak is the perfect way to start. They are easy to transport when deflated and compact, are more forgiving than a hard-shell kayak in stability, and typically cost less than other models.
You can find inflatable kayaks from some of the most trusted names in paddling, such as NRS, AIRE, and Rocky Mountain Rafts. Even if you’re a veteran Class V kayaker who screams “church” more than an evangelist, having a solid IK in your arsenal is a worthy investment.
Our top pick: Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set with Aluminum Oars
For about $100, the Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak is nimble and lightweight enough to boof off a rock, and durable enough to avoid a puncture. Though an IK is not meant for Class III rivers or higher, this is the best inflatable kayak for whitewater. It comes with a collapsible aluminum paddle to find the best line and hold it steady. You can also bring it on trips easily, as one kayaker noted “It’s great to be able to just toss it in the trunk and take the inflatable kayak wherever we want.” This is also the best inflatable kayak for ocean paddling with calm waters, or a relaxing day on the lake.
The most affordable inflatable kayak: Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak Set
If you’re boofing on a budget, you can keep your costs under $100 with the Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak. It comes with a paddle, grab rope, and hand pump. There’s also plenty of storage space so you can bring drinks, snacks, or whatever you need to make your river day complete. It’s the best inflatable kayak under $100, and is a great way to get out on the water quickly. Take it from a reviewer, noting “I drive a small car, but I can deflate the kayak, haul it to the cove, and it just takes a few foot pumps for my adventure to begin.
The popular pick: Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
The only thing better than a day on the lake is a day fishing on the lake. Even if you’re not casting out, the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is the best 2-person inflatable kayak on the market. For about $400, you have elevated seating, three air chambers for enhanced balance, and durable three-ply laminate with a polyester core.
It’s definitely the best inflatable fishing kayak, with integrated fishing rod holders on the side to make your day on the water even more relaxing. Still hesitant about committing to a kayak when you’ve never bought one before? Hear it directly from a buyer: “This is an excellent start-up kit for anyone who is looking to get into kayaking, and it easily allows new owners to upgrade as they go.”
What to look for in inflatable kayaks
The number of air chambers can affect the balance of your IK. With more chambers comes more control over the kayak, and you will generally find a greater number of chambers on larger kayaks. When inflating, be sure to pump up each air chamber an equal amount. This will help you feel balanced in the water while still maintaining optimal buoyancy.
Let’s be real—you’re going into the water, so you’ll probably get a little wet. That doesn’t mean you need to spend your entire day sitting in the water. Elevated seating can help you avoid any water that finds its way into your boat. It can also make the ride more comfortable, as your legs and back will thank you later.
Regardless of how long you’re spending on the water, it’s always better when you can bring some snacks and drinks. Check to see how much storage your inflatable kayak has, and whether or not the storage area is waterproof. You have to put your car keys somewhere, and you probably won’t want to carry your phone the whole time.
Why trust us
Purchasing an inflatable kayak is a leap of faith. After all, this is supposed to keep you floating in the middle of a river or a lake, right? That’s why we scour the web for reviews, recommendations, and expert advice. We rely on the input of Physical Therapist Ignacio Suárez, Postural Reeducation Specialist.
When it comes to purchasing inflatable kayaks or rafts, you should always check that your height and weight match the recommendations. This will help you avoid straining your back while you paddle, and give you a more enjoyable ride. As always, trust your instinct and choose the inflatable kayak that you feel best matches the experience you are looking to create.