Introduction – Best Inflatable Kayak
Finding the best Inflatable kayak is becoming more and more popular as a budget and convenience solution. There are many benefits to them aside from the obvious price tag and portability. Our team has dedicated over 40+ hours to provide you with the most up to date guide and recommendation for your inflatable kayak purchase, site back and enjoy!
Benefits Include: Light Enough to be Carried *Keeping and Storing your Kayak *Take your Kayak to Any and All Places *Versatility *Less Upkeep *Efficiency: Speed/Distance traveled per unit time *Turning and Tracking *Ease of loading *Strength and Robustness
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Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak
Thea Sea Eagle 330 is a great alternative to the advanced frame, it also offers the tandem option for those looking to bring someone along for the ride.
$279 From Sea Eagle
|A kayak we cant keep off the list as consistently one of the highest rated is the Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak for years Sea Eagle has been the go to inflatable kayak company boasting one of the largest inflatable kayak lines in the market. They hold their reputation up by giving us the 330. The 330 has a sleek white and blue design and the company boasts customer service that sets it apart from the competition. The 330 offers 500 pounds of max weight and a super sturdy polykrylar hull with heavy duty interior and great tracking that can be used anywhere including rapids where its been said to just bounce off rocks!|
|We cant have a budget kayak option without including the K1 Challenger Kayak. For many years this kayak has been the go to budget option for the student and recreational kayaker that just wants the minimum to get started and get on the water. This model offers a low profile design with lots of cargo space at the front and comes with a easy to use padel. The kayak is perfect for a beginner and holds up surprisingly well for an entry model. Tests have included dragging it on jagged rock beds with no punctures.||
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|For Tighter Budgets
Intex Challenger K1
The Intex Challenger K1 offers a good design and product with a fantastic price tag.
|The Advanced Frame Expedition Kayak has been a very popular choice for kayakers for years. The advanced elements company has been very known in the inflatable kayak space for years and they do the niche a great service with this model. For users used to previous models including the 10.5 solo and the Straight Edge this will feel like a huge improvement and easily become your favorite. The materials and design are of the utmost quality and the size can fit a larger male including a weight capacity up to 450 pounds! So weight capacity is not a consideration. The speed and tracking is second to none making it not feel like your average inflatable kayak and bringing us to make it our #1 choice!||
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Advanced Frame Expedition Kayak The Advanced Frame Expedition Kayak boasts great stability from its multichamber design and comfortable aluminum ribbed hull.
|Some times you just need a inflatable kayak that has all the features and a great price tag without sacrificing material and design. The Advanced Elements StraitEdge holds its own with built in aluminum inserts in the hull improving speed and tracking. It offers a self bialing setup and close ports if you choose to go on calm waters. The seats are adjustable and with a pump you could get this sucker set up in less than 15 minutes. A great choice!||Also Great
Advanced Elements StraitEdge
The Advanced Elements StraitEdge offers a competitive design on a kayak that holds its own even against strong elements and terrains
Best Inflatable Kayak Report Card 2017
Best Inflatable Kayak Brand Rankings
To come up with these best inflatable kayak brand rankings we scoured the internet on a research project to find the top companies for inflatable kayaks. We tried to determine from brand pages how many products were currently on the market as well as a list of the popular products. The popular products were determine to be “popular” if they had 10+ reviews, negative or positive from customers across the web(we realize this is not a scientific measure but it serves our purpose to give a rough estimate of popularity). Finally from the reviews we could find on products we added them all together and tried to get a running average from all products.
The Top Tier Players/ Companies In The Best Inflatable Kayak Business 2015
|BRAND||Avg Rating %||Official Products Found||Popular (3+ Reviews)|
Want to See Even More Kayaks?
- Click here for our Best Fishing Kayak Rankings
- Click here for our Top Tandem Kayak Rankings
- Check out More Detailed Reviews
How do I choose an inflatable Kayak?
Inflatables Kayas are great, whether you are an expert kayaker that rides on the ocean and any kind of river or a rookie who is taking his first steps/paddles. Inflatable Kayaks are easy to transport, if you have a car, and they store really easy. The best thing you can do is not buy a cheap one because they are not durable, and are difficult to paddle. The $100 to $300 inflatable Kayaks are a little bit better than pool toys, can’t track well and are deadly for use in open water and windy conditions.
With inflatable kayaks you get what you pay for. A cheap one will probably hold water, and may last through a season or two without any air leaks. When you pay for the best inflatable kayak you can find you get a boat that makes you fall in love with the sport. If you struggle paddling, you might come to the conclusion that kayaking isn´t for you. If you start with a better quality Kayak or the best inflatable kayak you can find, you will enjoy paddling for years to come.
So how can you determine which inflatable kayak that’s right for you? It’s easier than you might imagine. Just follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll soon be relaxing in a boat that was made for you:
1. Size matters.
Determine whether you need a kayak for one person, or two people. The best way to figure this out is to consider what you will be using the kayak for. If you just want to enjoy your kayak for solo trips then a one-seater would be enough. But if you enjoy the company of a companion, then a two-seater would be appropriate. Remember that a two-seater will be more compatible for boating trips. You can fit one passenger in a two-seater, but you can’t fit two passengers in a one-seater!
2. Sitting on top of the kayak.
If you’re a new kayaker, you may want to consider the sit-on-top inflatable kayak. In fact, the majority of inflatable kayaks are of the sit-on-top variety. This type of model is easier to control requires less expertise than decked kayaks need. Where are sit-on-top inflatable kayaks most effective? They’re perfect for calm lakes and rivers, sounds, near shorelines, and even whitewater! Remember the rule of “safety first” when choosing an inflatable kayak. Even if you’re really adventurous, it’s advisable that you master a sit-on-top inflatable raft first. It also can ease your fear of being upside down and under water while in your kayak.
3. The price is right?
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Today’s inflatable kayaks have become much more fordable since the 1980s. All Coleman inflatable kayaks are of the finest quality, like the sturdy Hair Straighteners. Nonetheless, their prices differ, based on how many people they seat, their features, etc. So before choosing an inflatable kayak, determine what your kayaking needs are, and most importantly, which ones are within your budget.
Inflatable Kayak Advantages:
- Portability — because they can deflate to fit into a closet, garage or a trunk.
- Affordability — a good inflatable kayak for about $500 can last for many years.
- Resistant — Inflatable kayaks may be made from new material like PVC, hypalon or nitrylon.
- Versatile — There are many styles: expedition, fishing and ocean kayaks. A good model can be used in a river or ocean as well.
- Easy to maintain – You can treat some kayaks with 303 Protectant for the sun. You simply need to wash off the grime and let them dry completely before storing them.
- Easy to repair – It´s easy to apply a patch if it gets a puncture, after that let it dry and get your kayak back in shape for use.
- Great for beginners — inflatable kayaks are easy to use for beginners. They’re easy to maneuver.
- Accessibility — Many people perceive it’s too expensive. With a good inflatable kayak and paddle you can get started for less than $800.
- Click Here to read a more detailed advantages of inflatable kayaks article.
Inflatable Kayak Materials
Hypalon® & Pennel Orca
This type of material was first created in 1940 and is registered to Dupont. The material is very durable and strong its a synthetic rubber and has another name (chlorosulfonated polyethylene (cp)). It is seen in only the highest quality kayaks. The fabric itself is known for being very durable against extreme weather, different chemicals, strong uv rays, different types of fungus’s and impacts.
Usually kayaks have a Hypalon coating on the exterior with the interior being polyestor. A drawback to the material is that it is not abrasion resistant like some PVC types and it can cost quite alot. On top of that the material is glued on by hand with overlapped seams, this is very labor intensive and increases the price of a kayak greatly however it makes them super durable and allows the manufacturer to provide warranties of up to 10 years.
In 2010 the USA plant for Hypalon was closed by Dupont so now NRS and different kayak companies go with the Pennel Orca type which is very similar to Hypalon and manufactured in France.
PVC is a material created from vinyl polymer plastic. It is not as strong against the elements and different stressed such as abrasions and UV rays compared to its Hypalon counterpart however the material is less costly and manufacturing processes allow it to be a very cost effective alternative.
When looking for a kayak a good rule of thumb is to look at the thickness of the fabric. It is measure in denier, a higher denier means that the kayak will be thicker and stronger.
This is a type of coating that was iintroducedby Innova a kayak manufacturer. It is a Nitrylon with a lamination of nitrile synthetic rubber and contains a natural rubber of the base. The materials is strong and more resistant than the more traditional PVC it is also said to be eco-friendly and green since it can be recycled. There is one negative however and that is that it is heavier however manufacturers only coat the outer hull with it to remedy this problem.
The performance and characteristics of a kayak is really determined by its hull size and shape. The fact is that long kayaks the size of 13 feet or over can glide and track easily, while the shorter ones can turn easier. The most important thing is the boats waterline length, which might be much shorter than the overall length.
While the wider boats have more stability in calm situations, the narrow boats are quicker and better with regards to the secondary stability, which is when the boat is leaning on its side. To see how easy it is to ride on the kayak, just try getting in and out the cockpit. The depth of a touring kayak from the hull to the decks top may be from 13 to 16 inches, while the sit-on-tops kayaks height is about 11-16 inches deep. Taller and bigger paddlers should make sure of the ample depth for having enough legroom and space. Besides providing more space, the taller sides also help to deflect water, but they can catch more wind that causing you to slow down.
The triangular metal plate under the stern that is called the skeg reduces the weather cocking effect of a boat in the wind. It improves tracking in cross-currents and crosswinds. To adjust it to different positions, you can use the hand lever or hand controls. Skeg is a popular feature for kayaking addicts, although its not easy for the beginners. There is also a rudder, a paddle that goes up, down, left, and right, which is attached to the kayaks stern top that is lowered using a hand lever into the water. The foot lever is used to turn easier, deciding the direction the rudder goes.
Other kayak design considerations that you have to be careful of are weight capacity and limit for each boat. You should think of how much paddlers your boat will take and the weight you are going to carry. At one or both ends of touring kayaks, there are storage areas that are enclosed with a lid on the deck.
The hatch lids come in different types or variation with their own advantages and disadvantages.
-neoprene cover stretches over the hatch secured with straps and sometimes combined with hard outer cover
-plastic lid with a gasket attached to the deck and lid that closes with cargo straps
-toggled hatches with toggles and a gasket sealing a plastic lid-rubber hatch cover snaps to molded deck or the hatch ring
Aside from those kayak design considerations above, I also want to inform you of some of the things you should know for the hatch. After capsizing or during rough situation, you should carry a bilge pump, and replace the old gaskets when they worn. You should also use some small dry bags instead of one big bag. To add extra buoyancy whenever it is capsizing, you can also put the float bags in the hatches.
Inflatable Kayaks For Whitewater
There was a day when whitewater kayakers wouldn’t even consider using an inflatable kayak.However, things have changed. The whitewater inflatable kayaks that are manufactured today are highly rugged, extremely sturdy and
will rival the performance of a hard-shelled kayak. They also have the added convenience of being very portable and easily stored in small spaces.
Whitewater inflatable kayaks are perfect for someone that wants to take their kayak hiking, travelling or camping
as well as be able to store it in a closet or throw in the trunk of a car. They offer supreme convenience,
versatility and fun.
The most popular brands of whitewater inflatable kayaks are Aire, Innova, NRS, Advanced Elements and Sea Eagle. Below are the most popular models on the market right now.
Aire Force – This kayak is very popular for whitewater with up to class IV rapids. It is geared for the intermediate to advanced paddler that expects great performance and versatility from their kayak. It comes
with thigh straps, foot pedals and a phenomenal ten year warranty. It is also available in XL size for a person who wants or needs more room.
Tributary Tomcat – The Tomcat comes in a solo or tandem version. Tributary is Aire’s imported line of kayaks and will be much less money then the American made Aire products. They are a much more affordable
option for a person who is a recreational whitewater paddler and doesn’t mind sacrificing a little bit of the quality of the boat for a great price and still a great performance. The Tomcat comes with a one year warranty and
is great for paddlers of all levels.Innova Safari – The Safari is extremely light as it weighs only twenty-four pounds. This kayak is perfect for anyone who loves to travel and wants to easily be able to bring their inflatable kayak on an
airplane. It can handle up to class III rapids and is best suited for intermediate to advanced kayakers as it is fairly narrow and not completely stable. If you know how to handle a whitewater kayak, the Safari will not
NRS Bandit – The Bandit is really cool because it is an environmentally friendly kayak (it is PVC-free). This kayak is very light weight as it weighs only twenty-one pounds and can literally be taken anywhere
by any mode of transportation. It is not a high performer but will get the job done nicely on some nice river runs. It is very much suited for a smaller person. There is a tandem version that would be better for a taller person or
for two people.
Advanced Elements StraitEdge – The StraitEdge is a very stable kayak and will suit beginner to novice whitewater kayakers. It can handle a lot of different water conditions and track decently on open water. It
is light enough to be taken anywhere in the world and easy enough to handle for a person of any age.
Sea Eagle Explorer Kayaks – The Explorer kayaks are very popular. They are not your best performing whitewater kayak but what they offer is excellent versatility. They can handle heavy whitewater rapids
easily as well as be paddled easily on flat water or on the ocean. They are unbelievably rugged and stable as well as super comfortable. The Explorer kayaks come in three different sizes, the 340X, 380X or the 420X and can each
hold an unbelievable amount of gear. They will get you anywhere you need to go and come with a great three year warranty.
All of these whitewater inflatable kayaks are self-bailing, solid and great quality boats. Finding the right one for you will depend on what level of kayaker you are as well as your price range. They can vary greatly in price so it should not be hard to find one that is affordable and also suits your needs. An inflatable kayak is a great investment in some eco-friendly outdoor recreational fun.
Any moving water has some level of danger and consideration. Life jackets are essential and helmets should be considered. In an inflatable you are likely to swim rapids on occasion, that means your swimming skills and comfort in the water should be in a good level. You also should have a first aid kit and know basic water rescue skills.
It´s very important to get the best paddle you can: a heavy paddle, a paddle that’s too short, aluminum or a plastic paddle can really reduce your enjoyment. Look for a used wooden or fiberglass one — it will greatly improve your paddling experience.
All Kayaks are susceptible to leaks, that´s why a good patch kit with a full roll of waterproof duct tape is a must! Avoid rivers with lots of overhanging trees or wood in the water.
Go with an experienced group a couple of times first, or take an introductory course from a local instructor.
If your looking for the best inflatable kayak in terms of security we recommend the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable kayak it is more expensive but in our opinion is the best inflatable kayak out there today.
Good luck with your Inflatable Kayak, we hope you get the best inflatable kayak for your needs!