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How to Choose the Best Inflatable Kayak for Your Outdoor Adventure

No roof rack necessary!


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Kayaking is a water sport practically anyone can do, and with lake and river vacations becoming more popular than ever before, people are spending big bucks on water sport rentals. But renting can get pricey, especially if you plan on sneaking away from more than one weekend getaway (which is always a good idea!). That’s why it’s worth it to invest in the best inflatable kayak for your family.

Why inflatable? They’re easy to pack up for travel without needing a roof rack, truck, or trailer. Paired with a collapsable paddle, you can hike up to mountainous terrain and kayak against the current while taking in views as good as the photo on your computer’s wallpaper.

Here’s a wide range of the best inflatable kayaks on the internet, whether it’s for you and a partner or just yourself. Some are designed for slightly rougher waters, while others are perfect for fishing.

Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak

$429.99, L.L.Bean

Why we like it:

  • Easy to use: just unfold, inflate and attach the seats
  • High support, adjustable padded seats
  • 3 seat locations allow for paddling solo or tandem

Suitable for traveling, this inflatable kayak can be packed up and tossed in the back of your car or RV camper. It has three seat locations, but it’s best suited for two riders and some storage. The seats are adjustable and supportive in case the tide gets a bit rough. The kayak also features high sides to keep you dry and afloat. It also has a drain plug for easy deflation and cleaning.

Advance Elements AdvancedFrame Sport Inflatable Kayak

best inflatable kayak

$449.99, L.L.Bean

Why we like it:

  • Spring valve for easy inflation and deflation
  • Built-in storage compartment
  • Skeg fin allows straight tracking

Perfect for solo adventures, this advanced inflatable kayak has built-in storage compartments, so do you don’t need to leave your belongings on the shore. Its spring valve makes inflation and deflation a breeze. The attached skeg fin keeps you on track.

Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak with Oar and Hand Pump

best inflatable kayak

$259.95, Walmart

Why we like it:

  • Lightweight, compact and easy to assemble
  • An inflatable I-beam floor, a low-profile deck and high-buoyancy side chambers
  • NMMA certified U.S. Coast Guard I.D.

Made with rugged vinyl construction and built for performance, this one-man inflatable kayak is lightweight and easy to set up, simply using the hand pump that comes with the kayak, in no time you’re ready to go. The high-buoyancy sides allow for rough waters, and the removable skeg will keep you in control.

One reviewer wrote: “So easy to set up and so easy to use on the lake. Had so much fun. Only thing is that the instructions are not that great but I used YouTube to figure it out and once I got out there it was easy to figure it out. Still gave it 5 stars. My nephew now wants one.”

Aquaglide Deschutes 130 Inflatable Kayak

best inflatable kayak

$699.99, Dick’s Sporting Goods

Why we like it:

  • Duratex™ construction and EVA floor for rigidity and lightweight, efficient performance
  • Straight rocker and low profile in the water for superior speed
  • Molded handles for easing boarding and transport

Perfect for solo adventures — just use the D-rings to tie down gear, hop on in and grab onto the molded handles when the water gets choppy. This inflatable kayak is designed with a low profile, emphasizing the streamlined shape, paired with the removable fin, this helps pick up speed with full control as you paddle with the current.

Aquaglide Chinook 100 Inflatable Kayak

best inflatable kayak

$449.99, Dick’s Sporting Goods

Why we like it:

  • Duratex™ hull material blended with rugged 600d polyester for a long life and UV protection
  • Multiple accessory straps for stowing gear
  • Sturdy molded handles around kayak for easy boarding and transport

Accommodating up to two people, the fin system on this inflatable kayak ensures a comfortable and stable sail. The kayak itself uses XP Floor™ Technology for a stiff, durable PVC beam floor. For a relaxing ride when you’re paddling on calm waters, there’s a supportive backrest, a mesh storage pocket, plus a fishing rod holder integrated onto the kayak so you can catch some supper.

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