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The 5 best inflatable kayaks: Hit the water this summer
What is the best inflatable kayak? ZDNet chose the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak. We researched and compared pricing, reviews, and features such as weight capacity and kayak length to determine the top inflatable kayak as well as some other honorable mentions.
Kayaking is a great way to explore a river, lake, or ocean and has become a popular outdoor activity. You can kayak solo or can be in a two-person kayak to paddle down a river together.
Regular hard-shell kayaks can cost between $300-$1,000, but you must also have a place to store them. However, if you have limited space or want to travel easier without the need for a roof rack, an inflatable kayak is a great option that still lets you explore the waters at your leisure.
We've rounded up the best inflatable kayaks available on the market that make it easy to hit the water and adventure this summer.
Features: Weighs 36 lbs | 300 lbs weight capacity | 10 ft. 5 in.
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak is our top pick, thanks to its sturdy build and comfortable seat. It features an aluminum frame reinforced stern meant to increase the tracking performance and allow the kayak to slide gracefully through the water.
The kayak is made from durable triple-layer polyester material with double PVC coating for puncture resistance and welded seams for longer life. A high support, adjustable padded seat makes it easy to find the proper position for comfort and paddling.
Features: Weighs 35 lbs | 400 lbs weight capacity | 11 ft. 6 in.
If you're looking to spend less than $150, this inflatable kayak by Intex is a great option and happens to be the #1 best-seller on Amazon for touring kayaks. It includes two paddles, a pump, and a carrying bag, so you'll have everything you need to get into the water. The kayak also has a removable seat that lets you make the kayak a two-person or a one-person, depending on your needs.
Features: Weighs 32 lbs | 650 lbs capacity | 12 ft. 6 in.
Those specifically looking for a quality two-person kayak should check out the Sea Eagle Portable Sport kayak. At 12 feet long and a 650 lbs weight capacity, it's plenty big and sturdy enough to fit two paddlers and their gear. There are two rear skegs (just like a surfboard) for enhanced tracking and speed.
Plus, this kayak is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association for safety and construction standards.
Largest weight capacity
Seats could use more support
You sit high on the kayak, which some paddlers may not like
Those looking for a high-end inflatable kayak with unbeatable features should look to Bote's Zeppelin Aero kayak. It's built with three-chamber construction and a recessed deck for a lower center of gravity, so the paddler stays high and dry.
It also has standout features like Velcro paddle straps, a self-draining cockpit, and it can secure drinks magnetically directly onto the kayak with compatible Bote Magnepod accessories.
Features: Weighs 24 lbs | 220 lbs weight capacity | 9 ft. 10 in.
The most lightweight option on this list is the TAHE Beach LP1 inflatable kayak at just 24 lbs. It also has three air chambers for stability and three removable fins for customized tracking and control. A backpack that easily fits the kayak when folded up, repair kit, pump, and 4-piece-take-apart paddle come with the kayak. This kayak is best suited for up to intermediate paddlers for recreational use.
Paddle that comes with it isn't the best, but you can swap it for your preferred paddle
The best inflatable kayak is the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak since it is reinforced with an aluminum frame, making it a durable and stable option. It also has an adjustable padded seat with lots of support.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
10 ft. 5 in.
11 ft. 6 in.
12 ft. 6 in.
Bote Zeppelin Aero 10′ Classic Seafoam
TAHE Beach LP1
9 ft. 10 in.
Which inflatable kayak is right for you?
While any of these inflatable kayaks are great options, it ultimately comes down to if you want a one- or two-seater, what kind of weight capacity you need, if you want any accessories, and what price you're willing to spend.
Choose this inflatable kayak...
If you want...
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
The best overall option.
A budget-friendly inflatable kayak that's under $150.
A two-person inflatable kayak.
Bote Zeppelin Aero 10' Classic Seafoam
A high-end inflatable kayak with unique features.
TAHE Beach LP1
A lightweight and portable inflatable kayak.
How did we choose these inflatable kayaks?
We chose these inflatable kayaks after extensive research. We compared factors like pricing, reviews (both good and bad), different features that make each inflatable kayak stand out, and weights/weight capacities of each kayak.
Are inflatable kayaks stable?
Although the "inflatable" term may throw you off, inflatable kayaks are still very much stable. This is because most are constructed with highly durable PVC, which is like the material that lifeboats and whitewater rafts are made from. Be sure to look for kayaks made from 3-ply construction or thick vinyl.
How long will an inflatable kayak last?
With proper care, inflatable kayaks should last you about five years. Be sure you store them properly and are careful not to puncture the kayak. If you do happen to puncture it, most kayaks come with a repair kit to easily patch up any holes.
Are there alternative inflatable kayaks worth considering?