The Best Inflatable Kayak of 2023: Top 12 Tough and Portable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks took the market by storm thanks to their compact and portable designs.  I’m not talking about large pool floats here. I’m talking real, durable, functional kayaks that you can inflate and deflate whenever you want! While they were once considered odd – and often ridiculed – novelties, in ...
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Sam OBrien

Founder, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Expert

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

Inflatable kayaks took the market by storm thanks to their compact and portable designs. 

I’m not talking about large pool floats here. I’m talking real, durable, functional kayaks that you can inflate and deflate whenever you want!

While they were once considered odd – and often ridiculed – novelties, in recent years technology has improved and inflatable kayaks have become the norm in the kayaking world. 

I know quite a few seasoned paddlers who decided to retire their hard-shells once they’ve found the best inflatable kayak – and today, I’ll help you pick one out, too!

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At A Glace: Our Best Inflatable Kayaks Top Pick

In A Rush? The Winner After 38 Hours Of Research:


Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame

Why is it better?

  • Features a multi-layer PVC hull with built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern 
  • Multiple air chambers for improved safety D-rings and deck lacing for storage 
  • Excellent stability thanks to the 32-inch, broad base Increased tracking performance 

Inflatable vs. Hard-Shell Kayaks: Which One’s Better? 

inflatable kayak on shallow rocky river

Before I start the second wave of the inflatable vs hard-shell war, let’s address the inflatable elephant in the room straight away:

Are inflatable kayaks any good? Are Inflatable kayaks safe? And, are Inflatable kayaks stable?

I’ll be the first to admit: 

As someone who’s only used a hard-shell, I was more than skeptical about the safety of inflatable kayaks. For the longest time, I considered them to be nothing more than glorified pool toys. 

Pop-up kayaks” – that’s what I called them. 

I’ll also be the first one to admit that I was wrong. Seriously wrong. 

Inflatable kayaks can be as robust, safe, puncture-resistant, and durable as their hard-shell counterparts – provided that you know how to choose the right one, that is. 

I mean, there must be a reason why Navy S.E.A.L. uses inflatable boats in the most challenging conditions. And, why ducky kayaks are so popular when whitewater kayaking. That pretty much says it all. 

There might’ve been a time when inflatable kayaks were, indeed, nothing but glorified pool toys. Things started looking up in recent years, though, with manufacturers taking note of kayaking trends and stepping up their game. 

I’m not saying that there aren’t any differences between the two; there most certainly are. However, depending on your needs, the benefits of getting the best inflatable kayak could potentially outweigh those of a hard-shell. 

On that note, let’s take a quick look at the advantages of inflatable kayaks

  • Lightweight construction that typically weighs around 25 to 30 pounds. 
  • While they are lighter, they can often carry 600 pounds, making them an excellent choice for kayak fishing.
  • A broader hull leads to improved stability. 
  • They take up less storage space as they typically deflate down to the size of an average duffel bag. 
  • Increased portability as a result of lightweight design and ultra-compact deflated size. 
  • Good quality inflatable kayaks are generally less expensive than hard-shell watercraft.
  • Inflatable kayaks are typically wider than hardshell kayaks and have thick, air-filled tubes that make them more stable and buoyant.

Choosing The Best Inflatable Kayak: Specs & Features To Consider 

Two girls in a large inflatable kayak on the river.

Before you can experience the best of what these inflatable kayaks have to offer, you first have to know how to choose one

So, let’s dig right in!

Weight & Seat Capacity: Single Or Tandem? 

Besides the actual type of an inflatable kayak, which determines where and how you’ll use it, you also get to choose the kayak’s weight and seating capacity. Single and tandem kayaks are the most common options, but don’t be surprised to see kayaks with up to three people on board. 

It may seem like an easy enough decision that comes down to one question:

Do you plan on kayaking solo, or will you be taking a friend – or your dog – along for the ride?

Budget-wise, a two-person kayak is often a much smarter choice than two single ones. But here are other factors to consider here, the most important one being the kayak’s weight limit. 

Don’t make any assumptions about the kayak’s capacity: 

Even if a specific model is advertised as a two-person watercraft, it’s the actual weight rating that determines whether it’ll be able to support two grown adults

You also have to think about how a two-person inflatable kayak will behave on the water when only one person is sitting in it. While you may be able to move the seat to the center position, maneuvering could be relatively tricky. 

A tandem kayak is a great choice for dog owners who want to take their pooch with them. Your pup will be able to stretch out and sun themselves while still making room for your gear! If you have an extra small or timid pet, it might be best if they stayed close by in a single-person kayak.

Materials & Durability 

Inflatable kayaks don’t sound like the most durable option – or the safest one, for that matter. That’s what I thought, too. 

But as it turns out, the toughness and puncture-resistance of the materials used in the construction of inflatable kayaks can be pretty impressive – especially considering how lightweight and portable they are. 

Plus, they often feature multiple layers, air chambers, and air-tight valves for added security. 

There’s no reason to worry about them popping at a mere sight of a sharp rock. With the right choice of materials and quality construction, these things can take a beating. Although they aren’t completely puncture proof – but more will come with a material specific repair kit, and patching a leak is reasonably simple

There’s no reason to worry about them popping at the mere sight of a sharp rock. With the right choice of materials and quality construction, these things can take a beating.

Although they aren’t completely puncture-proof, there is no need to panic as most manufacturers include a material-specific repair kit. And, patching a leak is a reasonably simple task.

On that note, the three most commonly used materials that offer the right balance of toughness, puncture-resistance, and low weight are: 

  • PVC – Despite being a not-so-eco-friendly material, PVC – or polyvinyl chloride  – is the most common material for inflatables. It’s lightweight, easy to fold and manage, and doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s often bonded to another material, typically nylon, for extra strength and tear-resistance.  However, high temperatures, UV rays, and PVC don’t mix well. 
  • Nitrylon – A combination of synthetic nitrile rubber and 1200-denier polyester fiber – is a much more eco-friendly option. Moreover, it’s more robust, more reliable, and much more puncture- and abrasion-resistant than PVC.  Nitrylon is relatively heavy, though. It’s mostly used for the bottom and the sides, rather than the entire kayak. 
  • Hypalon – The most advanced – and most expensive – material out of the three, Hypalon is exceptionally durable, resistant to abrasions and UV rays, and retains its shape rather well. 

It’s used as the primary construction material only in high-end inflatable kayaks. Cheaper models may still feature Hypalon, but only as a PVC coating. 

Kayak’s Dimensions, Weight & Portability 

The number one reason many consider an inflatable over a hard-shell is the ability to pack up the kayak in a bag when you’re done paddling for the day. 

I mean, try tossing a 15-foot hard-shell kayak in the trunk for a quick trip to the beach. 

Yeah, it’s not happening. 

Don’t assume that, because they’re generally more portable than the hard-shell alternative, the kayak’s size and weight shouldn’t be a concern. I’d say that these factors become even more crucial when you’re choosing the best inflatable kayak: 

You know what to expect from a hard-shell already – but with inflatables, every foot, and pound counts. 

Length-wise, 10 to 12 feet is the average for inflatable kayaks – but you can go as short as 8 feet and, depending on what you need, as long as 15 feet. Shorter kayaks are generally more agile, while longer ones offer improved stability and a bit of extra room. 

A few inches won’t matter much, but two feet – or more – can make quite a difference. 

As for the kayak’s weight, 25 to 30 pounds is considered the average – but this is entirely up to you. 

How much weight are you comfortable carrying to and from the water? 

What About Necessary Extras? 

Inflatable kayaks usually come with everything you may need to get on the water – right out of the box. For instance, most models come with a pump, paddle, and a removable seat, which, in theory, is more than enough to get started. 

But there are a few more extras that may come in handy: 

  • Storage Compartments – Depending on how and where you’ll be using your kayak, storage space could potentially be a make-or-break feature. Most inflatable kayaks will feature storage compartments, either inside or on top, but you can always add cargo nets and gear loops. 
  • Carry Handles – Handles are one of those essential features that you don’t think much about until you need them. How else will you carry the kayak to and from the water, if not with handles? They can be located on the ends or the sides of the kayak; either way works fine. 
  • Carry Bag – Even if you end up with an inflatable kayak that doesn’t have handles, this is the one extra that you can’t go without, period. A carry bag with either handle or shoulder straps is non-negotiable, as it makes transportation more convenient and acts as storage for the kayak when it’s not in use. 
  • Detachable Skeg – Many inflatable kayaks will also feature a removable skeg – a piece of plastic that looks like a tiny fin, attaches to the bottom of your kayak, and helps you steer straight, regardless of the wind and currents. V-shaped hulls don’t need this type of stabilization, but flat-bottomed ones do. 

How To Use An Inflatable Kayak: Do’s & Don’ts Of Inflatable Kayaking

2 Inflatable kayaks on the shore taiga rivers

Even if you’re a relatively experienced paddler, if you only ever used hard-shell ones, the chances are that you have a few questions about how to use an inflatable kayak

As much as it has its advantages, an inflatable kayak handles differently than a hard-shell one – and an adjustment period is unavoidable. I’d like you to keep two things in mind: 

One, we’ve all been there. 

And two, there’s no reason to worry; you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast. 

That said, here are a few do’s and don’ts that will hopefully make this adjustment period a bit easier: 


  • DO wear a life vest
  • DO practice inflating your kayak and make sure that each chamber features the right air pressure levels. Start with the floor section and go from there.
  • DO take the included pump and repair kit with you wherever you go. 
  • DO practice getting in and out of an inflatable kayak as quickly as possible.
  • DO adjust your paddling technique because inflatables aren’t as low-profile and move differently on the water than hard-shells.
  • DO load your kayak as evenly as possible. If not, it’s always better to keep the extra weight in the back rather than the front. 
  • DO stay relatively close to the shoreline.


  • DON’T drag an inflatable across gravel and rocks. 
  • DON’T leave your kayak sitting in direct sunlight for too long. 
  • DON’T fold up and store your inflatable before it’s dry, because it may develop mold and mildew. 

Best Inflatable Kayaks: Top 12 Inflatable Kayak Reviews & Recommendations

Best Budget Inflatable Kayak

Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak

The Challenger K1 – a 9-foot sit-inside kayak – is proof that Intex still has a leading position in the affordable inflating technologies market.

Constructed out of puncture-resistant vinyl and weighing 27.2 pounds, the Challenger features a rigid I-beam floor, two separate air chambers for safety, and an oversized adjustable seat with a backrest for comfort. 

It’s a single-person kayak and has an included front storage net for additional gear, but at a 220-pound capacity, you have to be sure not to overload it. 

The kayak comes with a detachable skeg, which helps with steering and maneuvering, and also includes a pump, a paddle, and repair patches. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-inside one-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 9 x 2.5 feet 
  • Weighs 27.2 pounds 
  • 220-pound capacity 
  • Vinyl construction 


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Great for beginners
  • Two-chamber vinyl hull construction 
  • A detachable skeg improves tracking
  • Plenty of storage space with a cargo net 
  • Pump, paddle, and repair patches included


  • The vinyl hull can get uncomfortably warm 
  • Carry bag feels like a cheap reusable grocery bag
  • The included paddle is poorly made

The Challenger K1 is an inexpensive option that offers incredible value, especially if you’re on a tight budget and need a fun and functional one-person kayak.

Best Budget Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 – 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

The Explorer K2 features a three-chamber design, a sturdy, puncture-resistant vinyl hull, and an I-beam floor for added rigidity. Plus, it’s NMMA-certified. There’s nothing mind-blowing about it – except maybe for the striking yellow color – but it’s far from cheap-feeling. 

Also, don’t let the low-profile design and 30-pound weight fool you. Considering that it boasts a 400-pound load capacity, this inflatable kayak is made for two.

While it may not be feature-rich, the Explorer K2 is still a highly functional option. You’ll find splash guards and grab lines on both ends, and two seats with adjustable backrests. A pump, two paddles, and a carry bag are included, too. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top two-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 10.25 x 3 feet 
  • Weighs 30.6 pounds 
  • 400-pound capacity 
  • Vinyl hull construction 


  • Low-profile vinyl hull with three chambers 
  • Spacious enough for two with a decent amount of legroom
  • Brightly colored for improved visibility 
  • Detachable skeg, pump, and aluminum paddles included 
  • NMMA-certified


  • The included carry bag is flimsy and poorly made 
  • It doesn’t steer well and is quite slow 
  • Doesn’t feature any dedicated storage space
  • Seats lack any back support

Although it’s only suitable for an occasional outing on calm waters, the Intex Explorer K2 could be the answer for a couple of kayakers on a budget. 

Best 3 Person Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle SE370 Pro 3-Person Kayak

The Sea Eagle SE370 may not be the lightest inflatable kayak at 32 pounds, but it has the highest cargo-carrying capacity out of the bunch – a whopping 650 pounds! 

This self-bailing kayak’s hull is made out of 38-mil PolyKrylar (K80 PVC) – tough enough even in the roughest of conditions – with an I-beam floor construction for extra rigidity. Plus, all the seams are welded, so there’s virtually no chance of leaks. 

It’s no wonder that the SE370 is NMMA-certified and rated for Class III rapids, making it suitable for whitewater paddling. These features also make it an exceptional inflatable sea kayak. What’s more, it behaves just as well in calm waters; two molded skegs ensure exceptional tracking. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top three-person inflatable kayak
  • Measures 12.5 x 2.8 feet 
  • Weighs 32 pounds 
  • 650-pound capacity 
  • K80 PVC hull construction


  • Holds two to three people comfortably 
  • Self-bailing, NMMA-certified and rated for Class III white waters
  • I-beam adds floor rigidity 
  • High weight capacity
  • Two skegs improve tracking and speed 
  • Includes a carry bag, two paddles, and a pump 


  • Not as fast or maneuverable with only one person in it 
  • The paddles could be longer given the kayak’s width
  • Bulky and relatively heavy

Considering the overall construction, spaciousness, and 650-pound load capacity, the Sea Eagle 370 could be the go-to choice for big guys, families, and paddlers with pets.

You can learn more about the brand – and check out my Sea Eagle Kayak reviews – here.

Best Sit-On-Top Inflatable Kayak

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

If you prefer sit-on-top kayaks, the Sevylor Quikpak K-1 is a complete kayaking kit for a single person – even though it has a 400-pound weight capacity. 

It’s made from 21-gauge PVC with a tarpaulin bottom for puncture resistance – a part of Airtight System’s no-leak guarantee – and a three-chamber design as an added security measure. 

Also, Quikpak takes the cake in terms of portability and convenience: 

Every part of the backpack system turns into a functioning piece of your kayak, while the bag itself becomes the seat. Once you’re done, everything folds back into a bag that weighs no more than 18 pounds! 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top one-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 8.6 x 3 feet 
  • Weighs 18 pounds 
  • 400-pound capacity  
  • 21-gauge PVC with tarpaulin reinforcement


  • Tough, puncture-resistant exterior with a no-leak guarantee
  • Three-chamber design for enhanced safety
  • Includes a pump, collapsible paddle, and a multi-position footrest
  • Front cargo net and a cup holder 
  • Inflates and deflates quickly


  • The paddle feels rather cheap and poorly made 
  • It doesn’t track well, and there’s a lot of side-to-side movements 
  • Feels a bit slow at times

I can’t get over the fact that Quikpak K1 folds into an 18-pound backpack, paddle, and all! It’s, hands down, the most convenient option for solo travelers or those looking for a cheap portable kayak for recreational paddling.

Overall Best Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame

The Advanced Elements’ AdvancedFrame is a hybrid of sorts: 

A combination of an inflatable and a folding-frame kayak utilizes integrated aluminum ribs in the bow and stern combined with puncture-resistant three-layer PVC construction. 

Plus, it features multiple air chambers, which further contributes to the kayak’s safety. 

At 36 pounds, the 10.4-foot long AdvancedFrame is not precisely the definition of “lightweight,” but the strength and durability are worth the extra pounds. It has a 300-pound capacity and plenty of storage space on board, including the bungee deck rigging, which is a nice touch for extended trips. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-inside one-person inflatable kayak
  • Measures 10.4 x 2.7 feet 
  • Weighs 36 pounds 
  • 300-pound capacity 
  • PVC hull construction and aluminum frame


  • Hybrid design combines three-layer PVC and aluminum ribs 
  • Onboard storage and 300-pound capacity 
  • Seven air chambers 
  • Adjustable padded seat offers comfort and support 
  • Exceptional stability and tracking 


  • Doesn’t come with any additional equipment 
  • It’s hard to dry off the kayak, especially the interior
  • The kayak may feel sluggish in choppy waters There are cheaper options that offer a bit more

A folding-frame and an inflatable hybrid, the AdvancedFrame offers the best of both worlds. The durability and handling of traditional hardshell kayaks and portability of a quality inflatable kayak!  There is very little not to like about this inflatable boat – the ideal partner for trekking or camping trips. 

Best Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak

When you think “convertible,” style, speed, and performance are probably the first things to come to mind – and the AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak offers all three: 

This hybrid kayak cuts through water almost as well as a hard-shell, combining high-quality, triple-layer PVC hull and structural integrity of built-in bow and stern aluminum ribs. 

It has six separate air chambers for added safety, and the 32-inch base contributes to the stability, making it pretty much impossible to flip. 

The 52-pound weight makes it the heaviest in my round-up, but the 550-pound capacity, bungee deck rigging, dry storage compartment, and general sturdiness make up for it. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-inside two-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 15 x 2.7 feet 
  • Weighs 52 pounds 
  • 550-pound capacity 
  • PVC hull construction and aluminum ribs


  • Integrated bow and stern aluminum ribs 
  • Converts to single or tandem, open or closed deck
  • Features a skeg for improved tracking 
  • Six air chambers 
  • Multiple onboard storage options 


  • The 52-pound weight may affect the kayak’s portability 
  • It’s not the most budget-friendly inflatable out there 
  • It doesn’t come with a footrest

The Convertible is a tandem kayak by default but can turn it into a “solo,” either open or closed-decked. It’s hard not to be mind-blown by such versatility!

Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak

This inflatable option by Elkton Outdoors is an outstanding alternative to the more traditional fishing kayaks. 

Constructed out of 1000-denier reinforced layered PVC, the Steelhead makes for a surprisingly rigid fishing platform. It’s a bit heavier at 40 pounds, but I’m willing to let it slide, considering that it does offer a 400-pound capacity and plenty of storage space, including a large bungee cargo area. 

Furthermore, it features firm plastic cones on the front and rear tips, three-chamber design, and a drop-stitch floor for added structural integrity, which makes it possible to move around – and even stand up – when needed. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top one-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 10.8 x 3.3 feet 
  • Weighs 40 pounds 
  • 400-pound capacity 
  • 1000-denier layered reinforced PVC hull construction


  • Bungee cargo area and bow and stern storage 
  • Self-bailing ports 
  • Features two skegs for improved tracking
  • Great build quality 
  • Five mounting points for rod holders and other equipment 


  • It’s expensive compared to other options
  • The included manual doesn’t say anything about hard mounting points
  • The initial set-up may be confusing for first-time users

The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead is not your average inflatable fishing kayak. It’s a well-constructed, dependable, feature-rich fishing and touring platform rated for Class III waters! 

Best Inflatable Kayak for White Water

Driftsun Rover 120/220

The adventure-ready Driftsun Rover 120/220 is the go-to inflatable for white water kayaking: 

The reinforced, layered 1000-denier PVC and drop-stitch bottom give this 12.5-foot two-person kayak a heavy-duty feel while still keeping its weight at a comfortable 28 pounds. 

The traditional river rocker profile allows the Driftsun to navigate Class IV whitewater rapid with exceptional speed and control, with seven included self-bailing drain plugs to ensure quick-and-easy draining. The Rover 120/220 navigates flat waters with equal ease thanks to the detachable skeg.

Plus, this double inflatable kayak has a massive 600-pound capacity and includes an action camera mount, adjustable footrests and EVA-padded seats for comfort, and corrosion-resistant hardware. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top two-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 12.5 x 3.2 feet 
  • Weighs 28 pounds 
  • 600-pound capacity 
  • 1000-denier reinforced layered PVC hull construction 


  • Super tough, suitable for Class III and IV rapids 
  • A traditional river rocker profile
  • Features seven self-bailing drain valves 
  • Detachable skeg for flatwater tracking 
  • Action camera mount in the front
  • Excellent handling and control
  • Adjustable footrests and EVA-padded seats


  • It’s costly for an inflatable kayak
  • There isn’t much cargo space other than tie-downs
  • It’s known to catch the wind when it’s blowing hard

Featuring thoughtful design and premium quality in every aspect of its construction, the Driftsun Rover is a versatile and rugged white water kayak made for thrill-seeking adventures.

Best Inflatable Kayak For Families

Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

Spacious and comfortable, the Sevylor Big Basin is ideal for a family day out on the water, cruising the local waterways or soaking up the sunshine on a coastal exploration. 

Its heavy-duty and durable PVC construction, along with tarpaulin bottom, provide a robust base that is capable of standing up to the knocks and bumps of life on the lake or river.   12.3 feet long and weighing in at just over 40 pounds, it’s the heaviest kayak in this round up.  But it’s still lighter than the average small hardshell kayak.  And you can’t argue with its NMMA certified high capacity load of 490 pounds. 

Like most inflatable kayaks in the Sevylor product range, the Big Basin is multiple chambered, providing peace of mind that a puncture wont prematurely end your family kayak trip.  Coupled with Boston valves, the kayak can be inflated and on the water within a matter of minutes. And, deflated is equally quick. 

Although you’re a better person than me if you manage to fold the kayak back into the included backpack – feel it needs to be a few inches wider.

The adjustable seats, while comfortable for short trips, lack support in the lumbar region.  If you plan to take the Big Basin touring then replacing the seats might be a cheap and a wise upgrade. And you will also need to grab paddles for each kayaker – as they are not included.

Being an inflatable kayak, storage is on the limited side, restricted to a small amount of space behind the rear seat and under the front spray cover.

Technical Specs 

  • 3-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 12.3 x 3.1 feet 
  • Weighs 41 pounds 
  • 490-pound capacity 
  • Heavy-duty PVC construction with tarpaulin bottom


  • Spacious and comfortable for 3 padders
  • Multiple chamber design for puncture resistance 
  • NMMA certified capacity of up to 490 pounds 
  • Twin skegs for improve tracking and speed 
  • Quick to inflate and deflate 


  • Seat backrests would benefit from more support and padding.
  • Storage bag is little small and bit flimsy 
  • Does Not include any paddles
  • Little bit expensive when compared to competitors models

Sevylor Big Basin is a well thought out family friendly kayak that offers space and comfort for fun pack days out on the water – it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular 3 person kayaks on the market. 

Best 2 Person Travel Kayak

Airhead Montana 2

The Airhead Montana 2 is go-anywhere, do anything type of kayak – more study than a mountain goat and as tough as old boots.

It’s hard not to like the Montana 2; built with 3 air chambers, each with a Boston valve, covered in reinforced 840-denier nylon with a UV and water resistant protective coating.  

12.3 feet in length there is plenty of room to comfortably seat 2 paddlers. And the 39 inch beam in width ensures stability even in the roughest of water.  Topped off by a tubular I-beam floor coupled with 4 fins which provide excellent buoyancy and top notch tracking.  

Plus, it has a respectable 500-pound capacity and includes built in footrests, Neoprene elbow guards, corrosion-resistant stainless steel hardware and a pair of grab handles for easy carrying or portage between river obstacles 

Although there are plenty of reports of people river running in the AIrhead Montana 2, it isn’t officially rated for whitewater – so please keep that in mind. Personally, I would not use it in water conditions graded greater than Class 2. 

Money wise, the Montana 2 is a mid-point priced inflatable kayak – this can be seen in places with build quality and finish. These are not show stopping issues but something to be aware of. Lastly, it’s a shame that it doesn’t have a high pressure floor – but for this price you would be hard pushed to find a better piece of equipment. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top two-person inflatable kayak 
  • Measures 12x 3.2 feet 
  • Weighs 36.3 pounds 
  • 500-pound capacity 
  • Multi-air chambers with rugged 840-denier nylon cover


  • Lightweight and spacious, a good travel kayak choice
  • Tough puncture resistance design with multiple air chambers
  • Leak free Boston valves for quick inflation 
  • Stable with low drag and  good tracking
  • Corrosion restaurant stainless steel hardware 


  • Built quality could be better in place 
  • On board storage is limited
  • Not rated for whitewater kayaking

In all, the Airhead Montana is a durable and reliable inflatable tandem kayak that will easily beat any competition at this price point.

Best Inflatable Kayak for Solo Paddlers

Sevylor Quikpak K5

Looking for a quick to set up inflatable kayak – well the Sevylor Quikpak K5 has you covered

The Quikpak K5 is a single person sit-in inflatable kayak made from 24 gauge PVC, with a tarpaulin bottom and puncture protective polyester cover.  Highly portable, weighing in at slightly over 23 pounds, with a capacity of 250 pounds – which is a tad on the low side, so you will need to pack light.

The double locking Boston valves, along with the multiple air chamber design, prove an puncture resistant system that not only ensures there aren’t any leaks but allows for rapid inflation and deflation.  

Using the included hand pump, the K5 is easily inflated and on the water in less than 5 minutes.  

Although the Quikpak K5 includes a paddle, it really isn’t up to the job. The blades are quite flimsy and flex too much in the water. The shaft joints seem poorly made, in fact we managed to break one when putting the paddle together.  My advice is to invest in a better paddle – a small price to pay for such a portable and versatile kayak.  

The kayak comes with a removable skeg, to help tracking on the water. Spray covers keep you dry and the deck free of water. D-rings tie-towns, for attaching other equipment, with bungee storage at the bow and stern.

Technical Specs 

  • Single-person inflatable sit-in kayak
  • Measures 10 x 2.10 feet 
  • Weighs 23 pounds 
  • 250-pound capacity 
  • PVC construction, tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover


  • Lightweight and highly portable 
  • Leak free Boston valves for an air tight system
  • Included paddle, hand pump and backpack
  • Removable skeg for flatwater tracking 
  • Budget friendly  


  • Paddle isn’t the greatest
  • Limited storage space other than the bungee tie-downs
  • Weight capacity is a tad restrictive

If you are a beginner kayaker looking for a budget friendly, lightweight kayak which is easy to store and transport then you can’t go far wrong with the Sevylor Quikpak K5 – just buy a better paddle!

Best Inflatable Tandem Fishing Kayak

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a rough and tough fishing machine; made of thick-gauge PVC, coupled with a 1000D tarpaulin base and 840D nylon cover. It’s multiple air chamber design offers some resilience from punctures, and means you will stay afloat should the unforeseeable happen whilst out on the water.

10.75 foot long with a 39-inch beam width it provides plenty of space and a good level of stability. However, due to the lack of a rigid drop stitched floor, standing up to fish in this inflatable kayak isn’t going to be an option – well, not unless you fancy getting wet.

It’s 470-pound capacity is typical for this size of tandem inflatable and should be enough room for the average angling pair. However if you’re two bigger guys with lots of equipment, or plan to take the Colorado on a kayak camping trip, then you may struggle.

As inflatable kayaks come the Colorado is well equipped – with adjustable Berkley Quick Set rod holders for a hands-free fishing experience – mesh storage pockets and D-ring tie-downs – built in handles making it easy to carry and integrated paddle holders – though paddles are not included. 

Word of warning, the fishing rod holders seem poorly located and tend to interfere with paddling – but this is an issue that could be easily fixed with a simple DIY modification

The Colorado’s bonus feature is the built-in mounting spot for a trolling motor. Meaning you can take a break from paddling and transform the Colorado into a fully functioning motorized kayak. 

Technical Specs 

  • Inflatable tandem fishing kayak
  • Measures 10.75 x 3.25 feet 
  • Weighs 40 pounds 
  • 18-gauge PVC construction with 1000D PVC Tarpaulin base
  • 470-pound capacity 


  • A lightweight and portable tandem kayak
  • Comfortably seats two people
  • Built in mounting spot for a trolling motor
  • Multiple air chambers for safety
  • Extra large beam width improves stability


  • 470-pounds might not be suitable for larger paddlers or camping gear
  • Hand pump and paddles not included
  • Location of rod holders obstructs paddling 
  • Not suitable as a stand up fishing platform

Sevylor Coleman Colorado is an excellent entry-level tandem inflatable fishing kayak for angling duos searching for something portable, lightweight and budget friendly.

Conclusion – Best Inflatable Kayaks

Handsome male kayaker paddling the best inflatable kayak

I’m not going to lie; taking these inflatables for a test ride was tons of fun! 

More importantly, though, it gave me a chance to assess their strengths and weaknesses and determine which model deserved the title of the best inflatable kayak

On that note, my vote goes to the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame.

The hybrid construction that falls somewhere between an inflatable and a folding frame kayak is not only a unique but mind-blowingly sturdy design. The AdvancedFrame’s advanced frame – it’s a lousy pun, I know – takes the structural integrity of an inflatable kayak to a whole new level. 

The kayak’s handling and tracking – a common problem with inflatables – are more than satisfactory thanks to this well thought out design. 

And with a 300-pound capacity, onboard storage space, and an adjustable padded seat, it’s roomy and comfy enough for extended trips!

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Sam OBrien

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

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