Are you one of the many people who, when asked about inflatable kayaks, immediately think of something that more often resembles a small raft or a child’s pool? Do you realize that inflatable kayaks come in varieties ranging from a single seater up to a five person expedition kayak? No matter what the seating capacity, you can select an inflatable kayak that is perfect for fishing, camping, and whitewater or just relaxing on the water. You can not only select a seating capacity but you have choices when it comes to cargo storage. You can find inflatable kayaks with from one to four or more rod holders designed into the kayak. Forget the kiddie pool vision, think kayaks that can do anything a rigid kayak can do with the convenience of being carried in a duffle bag not a kayak cart.

Choosing the Best Inflatable Kayak

Before choosing an inflatable kayak, you must first determine how many will be in the kayak, what you are going to use it for, how much gear and cargo you are going to carry with you, how you are going to transport and carry the kayak, and finally, how much you want to pay for the kayak. This is true for finding the best sit on top kayak, inflatable or not.

  • Number of Passengers – Do you want to paddle around alone on your kayak, or do you want to take one or more people with you? It is difficult to paddle a tandem kayak when you are the only passenger but there are inflatable kayaks that convert from tandem sit on top kayak to a solo. This may be the perfect kayak if you sometimes will ride with someone who will paddle with you while at other times you will be paddling by yourself. Even if you are the only person in the kayak, you can still kayak with people riding in their own kayaks. If you are planning to go out camping with a few friends, it may be better to get one of the five seat expedition inflatable kayaks to help carry all the gear.
  • Use – If you expect to use your kayak in areas with a lot of wind, waves or current, you will want to look at the higher performance inflatables. Multi-person kayaks are great for camping and fishing expeditions. You all ride and paddle together and all the gear fits on board. You may not be able to carry the larger camping gear in solo kayaks but it will all fit in a five person kayak.
  • Capacity – How much gear do you want to take with you? What type of gear do you want to carry? Does it need to stay dry? Inflatable kayaks have a wide variety of cargo capacities in each seating size. The more weight you carry, the more stable the kayak design. But you will be required to paddle harder since bigger kayaks are not as fast as smaller kayaks.
  • Transportation – While an inflatable kayak will generally be easier to transport and store than a rigid kayak, it does not necessarily translate to being easy or light. Inflatable kayaks come in a variety of designs and some of them are lighter than others. Inflatable kayaks can be too heavy to carry by you. If you are going to paddle by yourself, consider how you will get the kayak to the water by yourself.
  • Cost – Inflatable kayaks come in a wide range of prices. You should think about the above considerations prior to looking at prices. Once you know what you want in an inflatable kayak, you will be in a much better position to select one that you can afford and which will serve your needs for years to come.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

This kayak is also NMMA certified and also has an I-beam construction floor. Despite the rigidity that an I-beam floor provides, this inflatable can be set up and ready to put on the water in under 10 minutes. You will want to take this kayak on your next camping trip. It can hold all of your fishing and camping gear. Some reviewers report that they have been able to take this kayak out skin diving.

When packed in its storage bag, it can be slung over your shoulder using its shoulder strap. You will not be able to tip this kayak even if you have your dog or friend in the kayak with you. We have so much trust in this kayak that we featured it on our guide, best beginner kayak.

Intex Explorer K2 kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 kayak is a low-profile inflatable tandem kayak. The inflatable seats are adjustable and have wonderful backrests. The yellow color helps this kayak receive a United States Coast Guard visibility rating in spite of the low profile. Despite being a tandem kayak, you can also use this as a solo kayak. You will need to store your gear in front of you to balance out where the second person would sit. Otherwise you will have the bow out of the water due to a weigh imbalance. This is not a problem provided you properly load the kayak.

This is not a kayak to take on rough water. It is not designed for this. When stored in its pack, along with the included paddles, it only weights 29 pounds. You will be able to adjust these seats even when out in the middle of the lake thanks to the sturdy hook and loop connections. The inflatable seats are very comfortable.

If you are looking for an inflatable kayak to take out on the lake or down a calm river and want to take a buddy with you, the Intex Explorer K2 kayak is well worth looking at.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

The Advanced Elements AE1007-R Convertible Inflatable kayak has built-in aluminium ribs that define the bow and stern. These ribs help this kayak track much better than some other inflatable kayaks. There are 3 layers of material making up the hull of this kayak. Three layers make it much tougher to puncture and less likely that a puncture will sink the Advanced Elements AE1007-R Convertible Inflatable kayak.

This kayak is convertible. This means that you have the option to make this either a tandem or a solo kayak. You can get both a single deck and a two person deck. The decks are sold separately. When you purchase the basic kayak, there is no deck included. You do get two seats. This allows you the flexibility to add the optional decks at a later time.

Whether you purchase either optional deck or just go with the standard inflatable seats, the Advanced Elements AE1007-R Convertible Inflatable kayak paddles fast and tracks straight. You will not be able to recline the rear seat, but you will still be comfortable for hours. This is a very nice kayak, if you are after a sit-on-top kayak like this read our review on the Hobie Mirage Revolution 13.

Intex Seahawk 4 Boat Set

The Intex Seahawk 4 Boat Set is designed for a relaxing day on the lake. It is great for both recreational boating or as a fishing kayak. The hull is 30-gauge PVC vinyl which means it resists the abrasion and impacts that occur when out on the lake or in still rivers. Rocks and branches will not easily puncture this inflatable kayak.

There are two rod holders in the rear of the kayak. This may not be adequate for all uses since this kayak can hold up to 4 people. There are two air chambers. If one chamber should puncture, the other chamber will keep this kayak floating long enough for you to get to shore and patch the kayak with the included patch kit.

Another benefit of the PVC construction is that it will not be affected by the gasoline and oil that accumulates in the water when it is used by motorized watercraft. Whether you take this kayak out with one other person or with three others, you will have a relaxing day. There is plenty of room for all the fish you will catch.

Intex Excursion 5 Boat Set

The Intex Excursion 5 Boat Set is a five person inflatable kayak. There are three separate air chambers that not only help keep it floating should you puncture the hull, but also provide extra buoyancy. The third, auxiliary air chamber provides extra rigidity to the floor of the kayak. Two of the air chambers have quick-fill, fast-deflate Boston valves.

The Intex Excursion 5 is United States Coast Guard approved for visibility and durability. The kayak weighs 57.6 pounds but can carry whopping 1,000-pounds. There is a motor mount fitting on this kayak, allowing you to add a 1.5 HP motor if you decide to not use only the paddles to get you out on the lake or out to your camping site. We recommend you read out list of the Best kayak paddles if you are thinking some new paddles.

The Intex Excursion 5 is not designed for rough water. This is a kayak that is best used on lakes and on still rivers. The kayak, when stored in its carry bag can fit in the back seat or trunk of most cars. You can get it inflated or deflated in about 15 minutes. Best suggestion – find four friends and take this kayak out for a fishing/camping trip.