7 Best Inflatable Kayaks (and how to choose the right one)

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If you want to escape the crowded places and enjoy some fresh air, all you have to do is hop into your kayak and paddle your worries away.

However, you need a kayak first. That’s why we combed the internet and found the best inflatable kayaks on the UK market. These products have top reviews and are manufactured by reputable brands.

Plus, this article will teach you how to choose according to your needs. We’ll explain all about materials, designs, and inflatable kayak vs inflatable canoe. You’ll learn which kayak suits your needs so that you can pick the right model.

Read on. You’re minutes away from your dream kayak.

IN A HURRY?

But if you’re in a hurry, here are some of the most popular inflatable kayaks available on Amazon UK right now:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Intex K2 Challenger Kayak 2 Person Inflatable Canoe with Aluminum Oars and Hand Pump
  • A luxury and strong inflatable kayak
  • 3 air compartments with a quick-fill/deflate valve
  • Comes with welded paddle supports, an extra grip en and a grappling rope
SaleBestseller No. 2
INTEX Canoë Explorer K2 Kayak pour Deux Personnes avec Rames + Pompe
  • Usage en eau douce ou sur un lac
  • Design profilé pour faciliter le paysage
  • Assise et dossier gonflable amovibles et ajustables
Bestseller No. 3
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak 1 Man Inflatable Canoe with Aluminum Oars and Hand Pump
  • Challenger K1 One Person Kayak set is made from Intex "Super-Tough" vinyl which is a high molecular...
  • It is highly resistant to damage from abrasion, impact and sunlight. It also permits more air...
  • The K1 comes with 84" aluminum oars and a high-output hand pump. The hard plastic skegs on the...
Bestseller No. 4
Andes Red Inflatable/Blow Up Two Person Kayak/Canoe With Paddle Water Sports
  • INFLATABLE KAYAK - This 2 person inflatable kayak is perfect for lakes, beaches or rivers. The...
  • EASY TO INFLATE/DEFLATE - Foot pump included making it easy for you to inflate your kayak
  • DURABLE - Made from heavy duty PVC, a great though and durable kayak to have fun with. CE approved
SaleBestseller No. 5
Intex Explorer K2 Yellow 2 Person Inflatable Kayak with Aluminum Oars & Air Pump
  • US Coast Guard I.D
  • Removable skeg for directional stability
  • Sporty graphics for high visibility

Inflatable Kayak vs Canoe: what’s the difference?

Before choosing an inflatable kayak, you have to consider several issues such as size, use, materials, and your budget. You also have to learn the differences between an inflatable kayak and an inflatable canoe first.

Here’s the deal:

You can use inflatable canoes on the sea, canals, and rivers if the weather is calm. However, canoes aren’t that good for performance.

Inflatable canoes offer you increased stability and comfort, plus a lot of room for stretching. You also get plenty of space for your gear.

You may also like a canoe if you have children or if you’re mobility-challenged because you can get inside and out.

On the other hand, canoes ride high and allow water to seep inside. That means extra effort for paddling and taking out the water.

An inflatable kayak is easy to paddle because its sleek design withstands wind better. Kayaks don’t allow water inside, especially if you choose one with a closed cockpit.

Another advantage to inflatable kayaks is that you can take them out in various weather types. Besides, inflatable kayaks are faster.

So, here’s what you can remember:

Choose a canoe for relaxing out on the lake on a mild, wave-free day. Choose an inflatable kayak if you want speed and performance.

Best inflatable kayaks and canoes

With that in mind, let’s see some top products on the market:

Intex Challenger Review: best budget inflatable kayak

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak 1 Man Inflatable Canoe with Aluminum Oars and Hand Pump
  • Challenger K1 One Person Kayak set is made from Intex "Super-Tough" vinyl which is a high molecular...
  • It is highly resistant to damage from abrasion, impact and sunlight. It also permits more air...
  • The K1 comes with 84" aluminum oars and a high-output hand pump. The hard plastic skegs on the...

The Challenger K1 is a good choice if you’re riding solo. Although it has a low price tag, the kayak’s features are on par with higher-class boats.

For instance, the Intex so-called “Super Tough” material is a rugged vinyl. In case you didn’t know this, vinyl is high-molecular PVC. This specific Intex Super-Tough fabric is resistant to oil, gasoline, saltwater, and even sunlight.

We also recommend the Challenger because you can inflate it well until it’s very rigid. As a result, you’ll keep your balance, and you’ll be able to control this kayak sharply. You can also count on the hard plastic skegs for enhanced directional control.

Translation: K1 Challenger is best for use on the sea and rivers.

You can even take it out for longer trails because the backrests are comfy, and the cargo net lets you store additional equipment.

Plus, this kayak comes with everything you need in one pack: generously long 84-inch aluminium oars, pump, grab lines, and even a repair patch.

On the downside, the K1 Challenger’s maximum weight is 100 kg.

If you read the reviews, you’ll see that some people claim the kayak doesn’t support this much weight. These customers say the kayak slaps around too much, is tight, and unstable.

However, other customers have the solution: purchase a longer paddle and don’t swing it too much.

The other commonly mentioned disadvantage is that K1 Challenger is prone to rips. This kayak doesn’t withstand impacts, and so you can puncture it easily. So, our advice is to avoid rocky terrain if you want it to last longer.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to inflate
  • Easy to use
  • Resistant to oil, gasoline, saltwater, and sunlight
  • Comfortable
  • Room for extra equipment
  • Full package
Cons
  • Easy to puncture
  • It doesn’t support much weight

Check best price on Amazon UK

Aqua Marina Laxo Review: best for long-distance adventures on lakes and rivers

Laxo is another high-quality product from Aqua Marina. Just like Memba 330, it feels very professional and rugged. With its clear-cut lines and durable construction, Laxo is an excellent choice for rivers and lakes.

Just make sure you’re not navigating too shallow waters because rocks can scuff this kayak easily.

Besides, the Laxo is easy to handle for both beginners and more advanced kayakers because:

  • It features a V-shape bottom and top fin system. This combination of features ensures excellent tracking ability. Our only gripe with this system is that it’s relatively challenging to push the fins inside their slots – prepare your hammer!
  • It has a water splash guard
  • Its bottom floor is V-shape

Although this is a 2-person inflatable canoe, the Laxo series features three models between 285 and 380 cm. That means you can find the right kayak for one to three people and the necessary gear. And you have plenty of room for that gear.

That’s why we said Aqua Marina Laxo is best for long-distance adventures on lakes and rivers.

We know what you’re wondering: will this kayak withstand long journeys?

The answer is yes because Laxo features top construction and craftsmanship. Starting with the premium polyester hull to the cushiony seats, this kayak is made to last.

Besides, the Boston valves and rubber handles show Aqua Marina’s attention to detail. Even though these features are usually overlooked with cheaper products, Aqua Marina spared efforts in designing a full-on quality kayak.

Psst. Unlike Sevylor Unisex Adventure Plus, Laxo only needs about ten minutes to dry.

Pros
  • High-quality
  • Rugged
  • Durable
  • For rivers and lakes
  • Easy to handle
  • Excellent tracking ability
  • Plenty of room for that gear
  • Premium polyester hull
  • Easy to dry
Cons
  • Not for shallow waters
  • Difficult to push the fins inside their slots

Check best price on Amazon UK

Aqua Marina Memba 330 Professional Kayak: best professional 1 man kayak

Sale
Aqua Marina Memba 330 Professional 1 Person Drop stitch deck Kayak
4 Reviews
Aqua Marina Memba 330 Professional 1 Person Drop stitch deck Kayak
  • Durable ployester hull cover for long-lasting UV protection
  • Drop-stitch double wall fabric made floor of 7cm thickness
  • Premium adjustable kayak seat with high backrest, spongy cushion and multiple storage pockets

We recommend Aqua Marina Memba 330 to people willing to invest a bit more into a professional-like kayak. As you can see, this canoe looks and feels very rugged. As a result, you’ll enjoy its high performance and long life.

Just by looking at the materials, you get the sense of a premium, comfortable model. The thick floor is rugged and stable, but it’s also enhanced with drop-stitch construction. So, the 7-cm double-wall deck doesn’t wobble under your feet.

Bonus: it withstands impacts and shocks.

Aqua Marina spared no effort in building this kayak with cushiony comfort. The adjustable seat, for instance, is very spongy and ergonomic, too, because you can adjust it to your shape.

Besides, it has pockets galore so that you can pack everything you need.

Memba 330 is also a safe kayak. The water splash guard bow is convenient because it keeps the water out of the canoe – and your eyes. The eyes part is crucial if you’re a beginner learning the ropes of balance and tracking.

Speaking of that, Memba 330 has one of the best quality tracking systems on the market, thanks to its rugged fins.

Of course, Memba 330 comes with a complete package too. You get long paddles, a pump, a bungee cord, and more.

Ready for the drawbacks?

There aren’t many. Some customers note that the hand pump feels slightly cheap for the price, though they admit it does its job. Although they love the rigid floor, others dislike that it’s separate and difficult to align with the hull.

Pros
  • Rugged
  • High performance
  • Premium materials
  • Comfortable
  • Thick deck
  • Cushiony
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Quality tracking system
  • Complete package
Cons
  • The pump feels slightly cheap
  • The separate floor is somewhat tricky to align

Check best price on Amazon UK

Sevylor Unisex Adventure Plus Canadian Canoe: best for fishing

Sale
Sevylor Adventure Kit Inflatable Canoe
  • Sturdy two man kayak, ideal for lakes, fishing and sea shores; broad shape combines stability and...
  • Two person canoe comes with boston valves for easy inflation and fast deflation, manometer for...
  • The two inflatable kayak seats are easy to adjust and remove, offering much comfort while paddling....

The Sevylor Unisex Adventure Plus is the right choice if you want 2-3 people kayak for fishing. We recommend you to use this inflatable canoe on lakes or seashores because of its broad shape. You can understand how this wide construction is not excellent for piercing through rapid waters.

However, it’s excellent for prolonged stability and comfort – essential features when you’re fishing.

Other features render the Adventure Plus stable and safe too. The combination of I-beam construction and durable polyester defines a rugged kayak that’s easy to handle.

And here’s another advantage:

This two-person kayak is very easy to inflate and deflate. It takes minutes to get a functional boat instead of hassling with a problematic pump. The pressure-control manometer is also accurate so that you can control your kayak’s pressure carefully.

We also like the adjustable and removable seat kayaks. While these are very comfy for long hours of fishing, you can take them out if you want to stretch your legs or row standing.

Like with the other kayaks in this review, the Adventure Plus features a complete package, from aluminium paddles to a carry bag and repair set.

On the downside, we don’t think this kayak is best for three persons.

Firstly, it only has two seats.

Secondly, the maximum load capacity is just 165 kg. If you’re not considering all the fishing gear you need to carry; maybe this weight isn’t enough to support three grown people. However, it can comfortably fit a family of two slim parents and a child or a buff dad and two kids.

Here’s another significant drawback, if you’re reading this from the UK or another sun-challenged place on our Earth:

According to some customers, Adventure Plus takes a lot of time to dry – up to two days in full sunshine. But, if you’re not using it daily, you shouldn’t be too worried.

Pros
  • Easy to inflate
  • Well made
  • Roomy
  • Good quality
  • Back support
  • Best for adults and child
  • Durable
Cons
  • Not best for three grown people, though it’s advertised as such
  • It takes a long time to dry

Check best price on Amazon UK

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak: good value 2 man inflatable kayak

Sale
INTEX Canoë Explorer K2 Kayak pour Deux Personnes avec Rames + Pompe
  • Usage en eau douce ou sur un lac
  • Design profilé pour faciliter le paysage
  • Assise et dossier gonflable amovibles et ajustables

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is the best 2 man inflatable kayak if you want a value-for-money kayak that you can use right out of the bag. Just remember that the K2’s low profile makes it better for lakes and mild rivers, so nothing with big waves.

Plus, even though this is a 2-person kayak, you can easily reposition the chair so that you can paddle by yourself.

Here’s why you should choose this model:

It’s comfortable and stable because it has a spacious cockpit, plus an inflatable I-beam floor that keeps the kayak steady when you’re out on the water. Besides, you can adjust the inflatable seats to your size, and you can lean comfortably on their backrests. 

It’s easy to steer. The skeg underneath the platform acts like feathers on arrows. So this stabiliser will help you keep a steady direction when you’re paddling.

It comes with everything you need to get started. You get collapsible 86-inch oars, a pump, repair patch, and a carry bag. While some reviewers say the pump and carry bag are low quality, the important items included here are top-notch. So, you can always get another carry bag or pump considering the K2’s affordable price.

It’s made with quality materials. The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak has a vinyl construction that’s resistant to wear and tear, plus the paddles are aluminium. Aluminium is a strong material that doesn’t bend easily, but it’s also light so that you don’t need a lot of force to paddle.

Pros
  • Value for money
  • Good materials
  • Easy to inflate
  • Can be used immediately
  • Spacious
  • Stable
  • Easy to steer and to paddle
  • Useful extras included in the pack
Cons
  • Low-quality bag and pump
  • Can’t face high waves

Check best price on Amazon UK

Sevylor Riviera 2-Person Canadian Inflatable Kayak with Paddle: best budget 2 man kayak

Sevylor Riviera Two Person Kayak
581 Reviews
Sevylor Riviera Two Person Kayak
  • Sturdy two man kayak, ideal for lakes, fishing and sea shores; broad shape combines stability and...
  • Canoe comes with enhanced backpack system for increased portability, you can simply wear the canoe...
  • The two inflatable kayak seats are easy to adjust and remove, offering much comfort while paddling;...

The Sevylor Riviera 2-Person Canadian Inflatable kayak is a sturdy, stable, and comfortable boat. It can hold two people, but you can also convert it to a one-man kayak.

The Sevylor Riviera is best for paddling on the lakes or near seashores, but you can also use it for fishing. This model is ideal if you’re hiking to and fro the water thanks to its backpack system and low weight.

Here’s why you should choose it:

It’s user-friendly. You can inflate it safely thanks to the Boston two-way inflation valves and built-in pressure gauge. Besides, this kayak is compact and portable because you can transform it into a backpack. And, although it weighs just about 8kg, it can support up to 180 kg total.

It’s comfortable. The Sevylor Riviera has a wide shape so you get lots of space. Besides, you can adjust the two seats to your shape so that you can maintain a correct posture while paddling. Speaking of that, the collapsible aluminium paddles are easy to use because they’re light and have a comfy grip.

It’s safe and stable. The I-beam floor doesn’t wobble when you’re on the water, plus you get two independent side chambers that increase the overall stability. Don’t forget the pressure gauge that lets you measure pressure when you’re inflating this kayak.

It’s made with quality PVC. This construction explains the overall low weight but increased weight that the Sevylor Riviera can support. PVC is a durable, resistant type of vinyl that can be patched easily with the included repair kit. The only disadvantage is that it’s not UV-resistant so that you may need to get a UV spray if you want to use your kayak a lot in sunny weather.

Pros
  • Easy to inflate
  • You can transform it into a backpack
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comfy seats
  • Wide
  • Three chambers
  • Stable and safe
  • Quality materials
Cons
  • Not that good for big waves
  • You need UV spray for sunny weather

Check best price on Amazon UK

Sevylor Unisex Adventure Plus 2-3 Man Canadian Canoe 

Sale
Sevylor Adventure Plus Inflatable Canoe
188 Reviews
Sevylor Adventure Plus Inflatable Canoe
  • Sturdy kayak for two adults and one child, ideal for lakes, fishing and sea shores, broad shape...
  • Canoe comes with boston valves for easy inflation and fast deflation, manometer for pressure control...
  • The two inflatable kayak seats are easy to adjust and remove, offering much comfort while paddling

Sevylor Unisex Adventure Plus is the best inflatable canoe you can find at an affordable price. This Sevylor model has many of the same characteristics as the Sevylor Riviera, but they have different designs.

That means they have different uses. Here’s why:

Sevylor says that both the Riviera and the Adventure Plus are best for lakes, seashores, and fishing. However, you can notice the Riviera is a kayak, which means it has a less open design that can face waves a little better.

So, even if you can use both models at sea, for example, Adventure Plus is best for calmer weather than the Riviera.

There’s more.

Another difference is that the Adventure Plus is 4kg heavier than the Riviera, but it can support less weight. So, even though you can transform it into a three-person boat, it only supports 165 kg.

From that perspective, Sevylor Riviera is the best 3 man inflatable kayak.

Here’s why you can consider the Adventure Plus:

It’s broad and comfortable. This inflatable canoe is wide and has plenty of space for your feet and gear. Moreover, the seats are plush, adjustable, and cosy too for long hours fishing.

It’s safe and stable. The Sevylor Adventure Plus has an I-beam floor that’s very rigid, plus two side chambers that prevent the canoe from wobbling. The fin also acts as a stabilizer, and you have a boat repair set included in the package.

It’s easy to inflate. The two Boston valves allow quick inflation and deflation. You can also use the added manometer to gauge the pressure and make sure your canoe can face the waves.

It’s made with durable PVC. PVC can withstand a lot of hardship even though it’s a cheap-ish material. Just remember that UV spray if you’re taking your canoe out in a lot of sunshine. 

Check best price on Amazon UK

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying a kayak isn’t easy. Although you read about the best models on the market, you might still be left with some unanswered questions.

Here’s what most people are asking online:

Is An Inflatable Kayak Worth It? 

Yes, an inflatable kayak is worth it if you choose a quality model that fits your needs.

Here’s the first thing to do: consider the kayak’s materials.

A plastic kayak made from vinyl or PVC, which is also a type of vinyl btw, is durable and easy to patch although it’s an affordable material. However, it’s not that resistant against UV rays.

Hypalon kayaks are more durable and can withstand a variety of issues, such as UV rays, mildew, and fungus. The problem is that these kayaks are more expensive and can’t be patched because they’re glued. 

If you want a kayak for adverse weather and rocky terrain, consider a Nitrylon inflatable boat. This material resists punctures and abrasions, as well as cold weather. Nitrylon is easy to patch too, but it’s a heavy material which makes paddling and turning increasingly difficult.

As such, the best value-for-money choice for the recreational paddler is a vinyl/ PVC kayak.

Are They Safe And Stable?

The best inflatable kayaks are safe and stable, whereas low-quality kayaks aren’t. 

So, check if your kayak has the following characteristics that add stability:

  • Rugged I-beam floor
  • Side chambers
  • Skeg
  • Pressure gauge

You should also choose the model you need depending on the weather and environment. For instance, the best inflatable sea kayak has to face winds, tide, and currents. That’s why you need to get a kayak with a skeg or rudder.

If you want to use your kayak on rivers, you want a stable and sturdy kayak that you can turn easily. That’s why your kayak has to be shorter.

Also, remember that canoes offer increased stability, but they’re best for lakes.

Can One Person Use A Two Person Inflatable Kayak?

One person can use a two-person inflatable kayak. However, you have to choose a model that lets you reposition the chairs so that you can paddle alone. Consider the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak or Sevylor Riviera 2-Person Canadian Inflatable Kayak if you’re interested in turning your two-people kayak into a one-person kayak.

Main Things To Look Out For

Before buying a kayak, you have to consider these factors:

Where You’re Buying It

We all know that buying online is very convenient, but you have to make sure the website is safe. Look at things like warranty, user reviews before making your purchase to ensure you’re buying a quality item. Pictures are a must too.

Next, look at return options. Some products can be excellent, just not best for your needs. So, especially if you have special needs or requests, you need to try – and return – the kayak.

Materials

The most common inflatable kayak material is PVC. This material is an affordable type of plastic with a long life span, and it’s easy to repair. Remember, though, that rugged kayaks are manufactured with multiple PVC layers.

Also, PVC doesn’t withstand very cold or hot temperature, sun rays, or chemicals.

If you need those features, consider a Pennel Orca kayak. This material is a rugged sort of rubber used as a coating for some inflatable kayaks. On the downside, Pennel Orca is heavier and costs more than PVC.

Resistance

Cheaper kayaks are usually more prone to punctures, but expensive ones can rip as well. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the place where you can use your inflatable canoes.

If you read our reviews, you noticed how we like to point out if a specific kayak works in shallow waters or not. So, take that into account before buying the right canoe.

Also, there’s a massive temptation after inflating your kayak: to drag it around the shore until you reach the water. That can be fine if you’re on a sand beach, but not so much if you’re on sharp pebbles.

Safety

Inflatable kayaks are usually safe, but:

  • Choose one that fits your weight and size
  • Don’t use inflatable kayaks for whitewater unless that’s what they’re made for
  • Make sure your kayak can storm inclement weather, wind, and tides
  • Wear a PFD and whistle

Stability

If you want a stable kayak, choose a wider one. However, keep in mind that a broad construction is best for seas, lakes, and fishing.

If you need a kayak for rapid waters, you’ll need one with a slimmer profile. In this case, the kayak will be less stable, but it will be faster.

Tracking Ability

Inflatable kayaks can track pretty well, too, although they lack rudders. However, not all tracking systems are created equal.

So, check how many fins they have and how rigid these are. Also, judge a kayak’s tracking system in the context of its size, shape and deck rigidity.

Extras

The features above define your kayak’s functionality, but the user experience is also significant. So choose a model that’s:

  • Easy to get in and out of
  • Easy to inflate and deflate – remember that larger kayaks take more to inflate
  • Comfortable
  • Fit for your purposes, such as fishing, taking your dog for a ride, or using it with other people
  • Portable

In Conclusion 

If you want to make a good choice, you have to consider your needs first. Analyse your kayak’s feature through the lens of your purpose, and you’ll get the right model.

This article taught you how to choose according to your needs because we discussed the models above in terms of their benefits to you.

 

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