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Photo of two people paddling a yellow Intex Explorer inflatable kayak on a body of water. Credit: Intex

The Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2022

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Photo of two people paddling a yellow Intex Explorer inflatable kayak on a body of water. Credit: Intex

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Product image of Intex Explorer K2

Intex Explorer K2

For an inflatable kayak at an entry-level price, the Intex Explorer sets up quickly and delivers a great experience on still water. Read More

Pros

  • Great value
  • Includes a repair patch, oars, and pump

Cons

  • No footrests
  • Short in length
  • Issues with the seams
Product image of Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport

As a hybrid inflatable with an aluminum frame and ribs, the AdvancedFrame offers sturdiness as well as portability. Read More

Pros

  • Unique design with aluminum and inflatable parts
  • Large cockpit opening
  • Stable

Cons

  • No pump or paddle included
  • 1-year warranty
  • No footrests
Product image of Driftsun Voyager

Driftsun Voyager

A quick-to-set-up inflatable kayak with a solid bottom, the Driftsun Voyager is a stable entry-level kayak for two. Read More

Pros

  • Includes two paddles and a pump
  • Repair kit included
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Max weight of 400 lbs
  • Color might run
Product image of  Driftsun Almanor 110

Driftsun Almanor 110

At 11 feet long, the Almanor 110 offers a comfortable kayak for lake exploration with a decent carrying capacity. Read More

Pros

  • Includes a paddle and pump
  • Adjustable footrest and seat
  • Locking Boston valves

Cons

  • Narrow hip space
  • Not rated for white water
Product image of Intex Challenger K1

Intex Challenger K1

The Intex Challenger is an affordable, entry-level kayak in a size that’s easy to maneuver. Read More

Pros

  • Great value
  • Includes paddles and a pump
  • Easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Issues with seams
  • Max weight of 220 lbs
  • Not very stable

Kayaking is relaxing—a simple pleasure, paddling a boat out in nature. Before getting your kayak on any water, you need to get the kayak to the water, which is often less relaxing than paddling. If lifting 35 to 100 pounds overhead to the roof of a vehicle is outside your ability, you might assume kayak ownership isn’t for you. Perhaps storing the kayak is an issue; a small apartment and a large boat are a tough fit. If storage and portability are struggles for you, there are still a couple of options available.

Recently, folding kayaks have hit the market, and inflatable kayaks are also becoming more popular. Both offer easier transport and storage compared to a hard-shelled kayak. While the maintenance for all kayaks is similar in terms of drying off before storage, inflatable kayaks involve a bit more care during use to keep the kayak off rocks and other puncture risks.

Most inflatable kayaks are intended for flat water, with few rated for white-water use. In addition, while kayaks can be built for tandem or single paddlers, the weight capacity ranges depending on the style and manufacturer. If you picture paddling out with camping gear for an overnight stay, check the weight capacity before loading the boat. Finally, with any inflatable, checking the recommended pressure (psi) will help prevent damage to your kayak from overpressure.

To help you choose the right inflatable kayak, we dug through thousands of reviews for a variety of options available online. After examining the best (and worst) reviews, these are the best inflatable kayaks we found.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Intex Explorer K2
Intex Explorer K2

The Intex Explorer K2 offers a great entrypoint for beginners. With the convenience of an inflatable kayak, the K2 fits a 10-foot tandem boat into an easy-to-carry bag. Reviewers noted that the kayak was a bit shorter than others they’d used, but with proper paddling technique, it tracked straight and felt quick on the water. Some reviewers were unhappy with the seams, having them split early while in use or when removing it from the box.

While the Explorer K2 offers a great value, be sure to inspect the kayak on arrival. Reviewers had mixed experiences with the customer service; some found solutions quickly, whereas others were left frustrated. Several reviewers commented on the sturdiness and overall quality of the kayak, even when close to maximum recommended weight.

Pros

  • Great value

  • Includes a repair patch, oars, and pump

Cons

  • No footrests

  • Short in length

  • Issues with the seams

Product image of Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport

With a unique design combining the convenience of an inflatable with a sturdy aluminum bow and ribs, the AdvancedFrame Sport represents a step up from most inflatable kayaks.

Several reviewers mentioned purchasing a second AdvancedFrame after being pleased with their first one. The kayak is especially stable due to the width and addition of metal components. While some reviewers said it’s easy to assemble, other shoppers struggled with setup and mentioned watching tutorial videos to sort out the process. There is no pump or paddle included with this kayak.

Pros

  • Unique design with aluminum and inflatable parts

  • Large cockpit opening

  • Stable

Cons

  • No pump or paddle included

  • 1-year warranty

  • No footrests

Product image of Driftsun Voyager
Driftsun Voyager

This kayak offers seating for one to two paddlers, with adjustable seats and a shorter length of 10 feet, making it maneuverable even with only one passenger. Several users commented on the striking blue accents, though one mentioned that the color bled into the grey bottom. The Voyager is rated for 400 pounds—enough capacity for two people and some gear—with some reviewers noting it was comfortable for larger dogs, as well.

The two included seats are adjustable, with several reviewers noting there were several options for setting up seating. The included pump has a psi gauge, making it easy to achieve the right amount of pressure. Like other kayaks in this price range and size, the kayak is intended for flat-water use.

Pros

  • Includes two paddles and a pump

  • Repair kit included

  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Max weight of 400 lbs

  • Color might run

Product image of  Driftsun Almanor 110
Driftsun Almanor 110

The Driftsun Almanor 110 offers a reasonable trade-off between easy transportation and a manageable length for gliding on flat water. At 11 feet long and 23 pounds, the Almanor is neither the shortest nor the heaviest kayak, offering an effective length for exploring a lake or protected bay. Reviewers seemed pleased with the quality, noting that the bag had multiple handles for easy transportation from your vehicle to the shoreline; it’s also easy to inflate.

A couple of reviewers described it as narrow, with a total max width of 34 inches. One shopper in particular returned the kayak (without any hassle) because the handles and strap connectors were pressing into their hip area. Overall, customer service is supposed to be good about replacing the kayak when necessary. The Almanor is also available in a larger, tandem size with an extra child seat, but stock may be limited.

Pros

  • Includes a paddle and pump

  • Adjustable footrest and seat

  • Locking Boston valves

Cons

  • Narrow hip space

  • Not rated for white water

Product image of Intex Challenger K1
Intex Challenger K1

The Intex Challenger opens the world of kayaking to you for the cost of a fine steak dinner. Included in the set is the paddle and manual pump, as well as an inflatable wedge for the front, to help keep the bow up. The kayak is one of the smallest for sale, at nine feet in length, with a carrying capacity of 220 pounds. The short length can mean paddling is slow, since it won’t glide very far, and it might be less stable than a longer boat.

Reviewers were impressed by the value of the kit, saying that the quality of the kayak was far better than expected for the price. Some users had issues with seams failing, so open and inflate before the end of the return period. The carry bag is not particularly durable; one shopper compared the material to that of a reusable shopping bag.

Pros

  • Great value

  • Includes paddles and a pump

  • Easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Issues with seams

  • Max weight of 220 lbs

  • Not very stable

Product image of Intex Excursion Pro K2
Intex Excursion Pro K2

If you wince thinking about your inflatable kayak grinding against rocks and branches, the extra three-ply PVC and polyester material of the Excursion Pro will set your mind at ease. This kayak is designed for shallow water, with two skegs (one for deeper water, the second for shallow ponds and lakes) and tough construction to allow for higher air pressure. If shallow water makes you think of fishing, the Excursion Pro is right there with you, with fishing rod holders and an adjustable mounting bracket appropriate for fish finders and GPS units.

As one of the longer kayaks, at almost 13 feet, reviewers praised the extra stability and ease of paddling. A couple of shoppers noted that the rod holders point inward, making it difficult to use them, and preferred attaching rod holders to the accessory rail. With the 90-day warranty, reviewers stressed that checking the kayak right away was important—some found punctures and damaged seams out of the box.

Pros

  • Includes footrests, paddles, and a pump

  • Brackets for accessories

  • Includes an extra skeg

Cons

  • Short warranty

  • Reports of pump failure

Product image of Sea Eagle SE370
Sea Eagle SE370

A manufacturer with a recognizable brand name, the Sea Eagle offers a larger inflatable kayak with seats for two and extra weight capacity, allowing for extra gear or even a third passenger. The set also includes two paddles and a foot pump. Using dual skegs, the Sea Eagle boasts extra tracking and speed. Reviewers noticed that the boat felt very substantial and stable, with a bit more of a challenge to paddle if using with a single paddler.

Customer service is said to be responsive and send out repair parts quickly. Several reviews noted that a third person would be very limited in terms of leg room; expect to fit a child or a dog, rather than an adult. The SE 370 is the upgraded version of the Sea Eagle Deluxe, offering better seats and less weight overall. One user said the upgraded seats make a big difference in the comfort of this boat. The 370 is rated for class III rapids.

Pros

  • High weight capacity

  • Deluxe seats

  • Include paddles and a pump

Cons

  • Heavier kayak

  • No footrest

Product image of Sevylor Coleman Colorado
Sevylor Coleman Colorado

For some reviewers, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a favorite fishing boat with plenty of room for extra gear. Without a motor, however, several shoppers commented on how hard it was to paddle; the seats are positioned low in the boat, making rowing awkward. With the fittings for a trawler motor already on the boat and the paddles not included, the manufacturer seems to be hinting that it would be much better off with a motor.

Customer service appears to be a problem among reviewers. Some shoppers said they were able to get a replacement quickly when needed, while others have been frustrated by a lack of communication.

Pros

  • Large, stable design

  • Rod holders

  • Trolling motor fittings

Cons

  • Paddles and pump not included

  • Poor seat support

Meet the tester

Rebecca Boniface

Rebecca Boniface

Contributor

Rebecca Boniface is a certified PADI dive instructor, full-time nomad, and DIY enthusiast.

See all of Rebecca Boniface's reviews

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