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A hard-shelled, rigid kayak can be quite an investment, not only when it comes to your budget, but also on how to store it. Luckily, inflatable kayaks make transport and storage extremely easy. Plus, with top construction and rip-stop material, these kayaks will last numerous seasons on the water. We’ve got the best inflatable kayaks to keep you cruising on the lake and river all year long.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Sea Eagle 330
For a reliable and lightweight kayak that can take on class III whitewater rapids, choose the Sea Eagle 330. The two-person inflatable kayak is 11-feet long with a roomy nine-foot interior and comes with an inflatable rear and front seat, as well as a spray skirt and a self-bailing drain valve. Plus, the carry load is 500 pounds, which means you can fit two adults and plenty of gear for a multi-night kayaking trip. And don’t worry about pulling it up onto a rocky beach — the Sea Eagle 330 is made from a durable and puncture-resistant, extra thick K80 PolyKrylar material and has a grab line on both ends. The kayak comes with two oars, a foot pump and a 26-inch x 48-inch carry bag. It weighs 26 pounds when not inflated.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Intex Challenger K2
The Intex Challenger K2 is a two-person kayak that is heavier than the Sea Eagle 330 (it weighs 33.57 pounds when not inflated), but is longer and has a cargo net for hauling gear. The kayak is 11.5 feet long and holds up to 400 pounds of weight. It’s has a fast and sleek design to get you cruising along the lake or river with a removable skeg fin. There are removable and adjustable inflatable seats, as well as a grab line on both ends to haul the boat in and out of the water. Plus, the kayak is made from a puncture resistant and UV-damage resistant vinyl, so you can get years and years on the water. The kayak comes with two 86-inch aluminum oars, a high output hand pump and a repair patch kit.
Best Budget: Intex Challenger K1
The small Intex Challenger K1 is a perfect size for one person to explore calm waters, whether it's a lake or a lazy river. And at a low price point, the kayak is ideal for beginners who are new to paddling and want a reliable ride. It comes in a bright green color at nine-feet long and weighs 25 pounds when not inflated. Because of the smaller size and load (220-pound carry capacity), the sporty kayak can cruise through water with stability and agility. It comes with a cargo net for gear storage and has grab lines on both ends. The kayak comes with one 86-inch aluminum oar, a high output hand pump and a repair patch kit.
Best Splurge: Advanced Elements AE1007-R Convertible Inflatable Kayak
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame kayak is a boat like no other. It’s both inflatable, but also convertible and more akin to a hardshell kayak. The 15-foot boat easily changes to seat one or two paddlers, but can also be adjusted to have an open deck or a closed deck. Plus, the front and back have built-in aluminum ribs to glide you quickly and easily through the water, much like a rigid kayak. The boat has a cargo net in front for gear storage, as well as a three-layer outer construction for puncture resistance and durability on even the rockiest of beaches. Because of the larger size and solid structure, the boat can hold 550 pounds. The kayak does not come with oars or an air pump. Included accessories are a carry duffle bag and a repair kit. It weighs 52 pounds when not inflated.
Best Two-Person Budget: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
With the Intex Explorer K2 kayak, you’ll get an inflatable kayak that will get out on the lake quickly and easily, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a hard-shelled, hard-to-transport kayak. The 10-foot kayak uses puncture-resistant vinyl in a bright yellow color for high visibility. It comes with two inflatable seats and has both front and back handles and grab lines. There is also a removable skeg to keep you tracking in the right direction in calm waters. When not inflated, the kayak weighs just 31 pounds to carry. When inflated, it can hold up to 400 pounds of weight. The kayak comes with two 86-inch aluminum oars, a high output hand pump and a repair patch kit.
Best Three-Person Kayak: Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak
Sometimes you don’t want a big boat, but you still want a vessel to glide through the water with your whole party. The Sevylor Big Basin is a three-person kayak that's still inflatable and portable. Users say that two adults fit extremely comfortably in the kayak; three adults might be a bit tight (but it's possible). It is 12-feet long with a dual-protected base to keep punctures at bay. The boat also comes with three adjustable seats that you can move as you please, as well as spray covers to keep riders at least slightly dry. When inflated, it can hold up to 490 pounds of weight. The kayak does not come with oars or an air pump. Included accessories include a carry bag and pressure gauge. It weighs around 45 pounds when not inflated.
Best Basic: Airhead Montana Performance Kayak
For a smaller kayak that has just the essentials, choose the Airhead Montana Performance Kayak. The single-person kayak weighs only 27 pounds when not inflated and is nine-feet, nine-inches long. It durable enough to last many seasons on the lake or river because of an 840-denier nylon construction. Plus, it’s comfortable enough for an all day ride — stash any gear or snacks in the front cargo area. This boat can also cruise nicely through moderate whitewater or track easily on calm water with four bottom fins. The seats are moveable and the front and back of boat come with spray covers and grab handles. When inflated, it can hold up to 300 pounds of weight.