Best Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide Beginners Should Know

Choosing the best inflatable kayak is one of the first steps to make sure you have a safe kayaking experience. There are many things you need to consider such as its sizes, material, and construction. These factors are really important to ensure you have a good and safe trip.

In case you are looking for the best inflatable kayak, read on to learn more about what you should remember when choosing one.

Inflatable Kayak Definition And Benefits

Definition: An inflatable kayak is a general made of rubberized fabric or Hypalon. When deflated, it can be carried by hand. When you need to use the kayak, you have to inflate it with foot, hands or electrical pump.

There are several styles of inflatable kayaks such as self-bailing kayaks, sit on top kayaks or sit inside kayak, to name just a few.

Inflatable Kayak Definition And Benefits

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Benefits: Here are some benefits you can get when you own the best inflatable kayak:

  • First of all, it is very lightweight and portable. There is no rigid structure, and you can easily fold it into a smaller unit. That is why you can fit it into a tiny space behind your car and carry it around without any difficulty.
  • It is also very easy to store a kayak. You can deflate it and put it inside a backpack. It also fits in a small garage. There is no need to buy an expensive roof rack to store an inflatable kayak.
  • An inflatable kayak is quite durable. When it comes to contact with the hard surface, it will bounce off instead of breaking.
  • An inflatable kayak is also a great choice for a beginner as it is easy to maneuver.
  • Finally, you can use an inflatable kayak for a wide variety of kayak excursion types including fishing, rafting, and coastal exploring.

Check Out The Do’s And Don’ts

Here is  what you should do when you go kayaking with your inflatable kayak

  • If it is your first time going kayaking, you should go with other people, preferably someone who has experience in kayaking. Also, you should inform your family member or your friends about your trip, where you go and what time you intend to go back. If anything happens, they would know where to search for you as quickly as possible.
  • Always bring a repair kit and a pump. It is rare but still possible that your inflatable kayak gets deflated or punctured.
Always bring a repair kit and a pump

Image source: Decathlon

  • You have to check the condition of the kayak before setting it onto the water. It needs to be fully inflated. Never go into the water if your kayak is only filled with half of its capacity.
  • Moreover, you should place your tools and gear in a way that you can distribute their weight evenly along your kayak. Note that you need to include your weight as well.
  • Do bring some bottles of water with you. It is more important in case you go kayaking in the sea as drinking salt water can cause significant damage to your body. While you are on the tip, remember to drink water occasionally to keep your body well dehydrated all the time.
  • Finally, keep a radio phone with you all the time along with other signals and tools.

And here are all the things you should avoid at all cost

  • No matter how premium quality of the best inflatable kayak is, you shouldn’t come close to sharp objects or piles of rocks in the water. Your inflatable kayak can bounce back, but in a bad day, it might be punctured.
  • Don’t drag your kayak down when you bring it into the water as sharp objects on the way might cause damage to the kayak. You should carry the kayak and try your best to avoid any objects on your way.
  • Don’t disturb the wildlife of the place where you go kayaking. You can take pictures as much as you can. Nevertheless, you should avoid things such as dragging your legs into the water or throwing bottles away into undesignated spots.
  • Don’t bring beer or any alcoholic drink when you go kayaking. These kinds of the beverage can dehydrate your body quickly.
Don’t bring beer or any alcoholic drink when you go kayaking

Image source: Wikipedia

  • When you see big waves coming at you, don’t try to face off with them. Your inflatable kayak may overturn in this case. What you should do is turning your kayak sideways. This would help minimize the impact of these powerful waves.
  • Last but not least, you should not spend all of your energy paddings too hard in the beginning. Or else, you will become tired before you can finish your trip. And in case you want to rest, never sleep on your kayak.

Best Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide

Here are the most important factors that you need to consider when choosing a suitable kayak for your needs and preferences.


First, you need to think about your needs: whether you are going to buy a kayak for one person or 2 persons. If you prefer to have a solo trip, then the best inflatable kayak with one seat would be enough. However, if you want to bring a companion or a dog, you can consider purchasing a two-seater kayak.

Also, a two-seater kayak provides you more space. In case you have a lot of gears and tools, you can also think about having a two-seater kayak instead of one seat option.

Moreover, you should take into consideration your available storage option. If you don’t have a lot of space to store your kayak, go for a smaller alternative.


Like any other item you can buy on the market, you get what you pay for. Normally, the higher the price, the more premium quality the best inflatable kayak has. The price of an inflatable kayak also depends on the choice of space, materials and other options.

Thanks to its growing popularity, the price of an inflatable kayak is quite affordable. If you don’t use the kayak too often, you can opt for a cheaper one. However, if you intend to go kayaking frequently for a long time, go for the more expensive option as it tends to be more durable.

Never buy a “too good to be true” kayak because a cheap inflatable kayak will not be safe for you at all.


There are three main types of material available on the market, which are PVC, nitryl on and Hypalon® & Pennel Orca.

  • PVC: It is cheaper than other types of the . On the other hand, it does not provide good protection against the sun rays or abrasions.
  • Nitrylon: This type of material is relatively new. It is strong and provides good resistance. But it is quite heavy.
Nitrylon inflatable kayak

Image source: Inflatable Kayaks & Packrafts –

  • Hypalon® & Pennel Orca: This material is very strong and durable. Nevertheless, a Hypalon® & Pennel Orca inflatable kayak is more expensive than other types. It is also not abrasion resistant.

Besides the types of material, you also need to look at the thickness of it as well, which is denoted in denier. The higher number of denier means that the material is thicker, hence, more durable.


When considering the design of the best inflatable kayak, there are three areas you need to look at:

  • Do you want your kayak to be long or short? While a longer kayak will help kayakers to glide as well as tracking easily, a short kayak will allow you to turn easier.
  • Do you want your kayak to be narrow or wide? Regarding a wide kayak, it would provide you with a lot of stability. However, a narrow kayak is better in term of secondary stability- or put it in another word, when the kayak leans on the sides.
  • Do you want taller or shorter sides? A taller side means that you have more room for your legs. However, you need to trade off as a taller side will catch more wind, preventing you from moving quickly.

Security Consideration

Also, when you buy a kayak, you should also look for these items to make sure you have the safest trip. These items include life jackets, helmets, and first aid kit. Since inflatable kayaks are more vulnerable to punctures, always bring a good patch kid with waterproof duct tape. Some of these items are included with your inflatable kayak.

Security Consideration

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Types of Water

This will decide which class of rapids you need to look at in a kayak. In case you often go in calm and slow kind of water (Such as lakes and slow rivers), you can look for the best inflatable kayak with the class I or II rapids. Provided that you want to go kayaking on rougher water, consider buying one which is made specifically for whitewater.

What Do You Plan To Do On The Water

You also need to take into consideration your purpose to choose the best inflatable kayak. If you want to go for a long trip, make sure that the seat and leg room can provide as much comfort as possible. In case you go fishing with a lot of gear and equipment, check how much space a kayak has before deciding.


There are also other great features you can consider. For example, you can consider purchasing an air gauge to make sure that your inflatable kayak is always at its best condition. Some items such as a spray kit and waterproof bags can help keep your clothes and equipment dry all the time.

Top 3 Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews

In case you are looking for one model of the best inflatable kayak, read our review on the best three products on the market.

1.Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

This kayak is the excellent choice provided that you are searching for the best inflatable kayak.  It is made of 18 gauge PVC, 1000 D tarpaulin bottom and 840 D nylon in the body. It features Berkeley Quick-Set rod holders, paddle holders, and fittings as well as the iconic Sevylor trolling motor. The weight limit of this kayak is 470 pounds. The dimensions of this kayak when deflated are 10x9x3 inches.


  • First of all, the materials and all parts of this inflatable kayak are very durable. They can stand well against the harmfulness of the sun rays and salt.
  • It also has a great abrasion resistance and can bounce back off rocks well.
  • Moreover, this kayak is spacious with convenient mesh storage space to put a lot of your belongings.
  • There are a lot of D-rings for your safety and security.
  • With its lightweight and compact size when deflated, it is portable and easy to store in a tiny backpack.
  • It takes just a few minutes to set up.


  • It is mainly suitable to use in calm water such as lakes and closed rivers. The air valves, as well as the tracking performance, are not the best on the market.
  • When you buy the product from the company, you will get a warranty for only one year.
  • Also, the pump and paddles are not included in the package.

2.Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak

This one seat kayak has the weight capacity of 300 but only weighs 36 pounds when you deflate it. The most significant feature of this kayak is that it comes with a rigid bow and stern. It also features multi chambers with aluminum ribbed hull. There is also a spring valve Twistlok™ valves that can be used with all types of pumps. Its frames are made of aluminum with PVC coated polyester on the body.

The dimensions of this kayak when deflated 30 x 17 x 10 inches.


  • This type of inflatable kayak offers great stability and comfort. The design of the backbone also helps you to have a lot of rigidity and control.
  • This boat also offers great maneuverability on calm waters.
  • It is very compact and portable. After deflating the kayak, you can store them in a small backpack or put it in the back of your car. It is also very lightweight, allowing you to carry it around without any difficulty.


  • It takes quite a long time to set up the kayak. In case you use a hand pump, it will take you 20 minutes to fully set up the kayak.
  • It gives you more control and maneuverability on calm waters rather than rough waters.

3.Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

It is a two-seater kayak with the weight capacity of 650 lbs. It is made from PVC with two inflatable PVE seats. This kayak can be inflated in 8 minutes to the size of 12’6″x34″. It features two carry handles, one self-bailing drain valve, five deluxe one-way vales and two skegs for tracking and speeding. Besides, there are three chambers at the floor, port, and starboard.


  • First of all, this kayak is very lightweight with huge weight capacity so you can carry up to 3 people and a lot of gear on it.
  • Maneuvering on the water with this kayak is also very easy thanks to its smart and innovative design.
  • With a patented Polykrylar hull, it has a great resistance against sharp objects, and you don’t have to worry much about punctures.
  • The seats are padded so is;s very comfortable to sit on it for a long time not to mention the huge space room for your most comfort.
  • With its effective drainage system, this kayak can repel water from inside the boat very well, keeping you and your gear as much dry as possible.
  • The product offers three years of warranty with 180-day risk free trial. Also, there is a pump, paddles and repair kit included in the package.


  • It takes quite a long time to inflate, nearly 10 minutes.
  • The carrying bag that comes along with the kayak is quite difficult to put the kayak and bring it around.


In case you still have some questions about inflatable kayak and kayaking, scroll down to read for more.

What type of kayak should I consider?

Normally, a kayak that works well on calm lakes and rivers will not be as good in whitewater. Therefore, you need to decide beforehand which areas you often go kayaking in the future, whether it is a calm river or open one.

Also, you need to take into consideration your level of kayaking as well. There are specific models of best inflatable kayak for beginners and experts for you to choose accordingly.

Do I need the self-bailing option?

A self-baling option helps get the water out of the kayak. If you often go kayaking in calm areas, you might not need the self-bailing option.

Do I need the self-bailing option

Image source: Forrest McCarthy

However, it is quite helpful for whitewater kayaking.

Is canoe type paddle better than enclosed type of inflatable kayak?

Regarding efficiency and effectiveness of padding, these types of kayaks are relatively the same. The choice of whether you should use a canoe typed paddle, or enclosed kayak depends on your personal preferences.

How much time do I need to set up an inflatable kayak?

It depends on the models. Normally, it would take you from 5 to 10 minutes to pump up the kayak to its full capacity.

If you use an electrical pump, it will take you less time than when you use a hand pump.

Why should I dry an inflatable kayak?

After you go back from your kayaking trip, it is very important that you clean your kayak right away. Also, if you store your inflatable kayak in a place for a long time, make sure you take it out and clean it on a regular basis.

Cleaning and drying your inflatable kayak will help prevent mold and mildew from developing. Mold and mildew will cause significant damage to the appearance of the kayak as well as the material. That is why you should avoid them by making sure your inflatable kayak is always clean and dry.

In the end, cleaning and drying your kayak will make it last longer.

How should I clean my inflatable kayak?

When you finish your trip, remember to clean your kayak right away when you get home. This take is of utmost importance especially when you went in saltwater. Salt along with sun rays will damage the material of your kayak severely.

How should I clean my inflatable kayak

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To begin with, remove all of the features that come with the boat including storage bags, your tools, and seats. Then you can use an inflatable kayak cleaner and a bucket of lukewarm water to wash your kayak. Also, use a clean cloth to wipe out the entire kayak.  Finally, you can rinse off the kayak to get rid of any salt and debris left.

You can do it when it is fully inflated so that you can easily see a dirty spot and clean it.

How should I dry my inflatable kayak?

After cleaning your inflatable kayak, make sure it is fully dry before you fold it and store it away.

Turn the kayak upside down so that water can get out of the kayak. Also, you can use a dry clean cloth to wipe down the kayak. Doing so will help a lot in speeding up the drying process.

What health benefits can I get from kayaking?

There are several benefits that kayaking can bring to your health. It helps you build muscles, especially ones around your triceps, forearms, and back. You will also burn a lot of calories in the process of kayaking, helping you to lose a few pounds. Scientists have shown that for one hour of moderate kayaking, one person can lose up to 300 calories.

The condition of your lungs and hear will be improved, and you will see your stamina enhance over time.


Overall, the best inflatable kayak has a lot of great benefits such as its portability, its light weight, its durability and its ease of control. That is the reason why you can find a lot of kayaks for kayakers of different levels to use in all types of water. The most important features that you need to consider in the best inflatable kayak including its size, price, material, and design, to name just a few.

I hope that with all of the information above, you would be able to choose the best inflatable kayak for your journey. As long as you put a lot of thoughts into choosing and working with one, you will surely have a lot of fun and enjoyment ahead.