8 best inflatable kayaks for exploring rivers, lakes and seas

8 best inflatable kayaks for exploring rivers, lakes and seas
から 2 person to solo, these are the best inflatable kayaks for exploring in, available from Amazon, 十種競技, Camping World and more

The popularity of inflatable kayaks is growing in the UK as more people discover that they can enjoy the freedom that kayaking can provide without having to worry about wrestling with roof racks and the storage solutions that come with owning a hard shell, or rigid, カヤック.

Having said that, an inferior inflatable kayak will only cause you problems if it’s been made from cheap materials with little thought for its construction – the integrity of the kayak is likely to be compromised easily, and tears will occur as soon as it comes up against its first ripple in the sea or hidden branch in a river.

A good inflatable kayak should be stable and track well in the water, keeping to the line you want it to go in no matter how hard you’re paddling and staying on course in wind, even though they are much lighter in weight than hard shells.

They should be made from tough materials or be multi-layered so that they’re robust, while being easy to transport to the water’s edge and store away afterwards.

Other necessities are quick inflation/deflation and being easy to dry, as you’ll be packing them away rather than storing them, so you don’t want a craft with lots of hard-to-reach areas that will remain wet in storage and start to cause problems with mould etc.


We tested our kayaks in the river and on the sea, which is probably the toughest environment they can face, looking for a nice, glide; a comfortable ride and no air escape, which would, 明らかに, be disastrous.

Here are the ones that didn’t leave us feeling deflated.

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The best inflatable kayaks for 2021 です:

Aqua marina memba-330

ベスト: 全体

We really liked the way this single-person kayak was constructed with a double walled drop stitch floor that felt very sturdy underfoot and was able to stand up to plenty of punishment on the water. It also gave the kayak excellent rigidity, which translated to fantastic water performance, especially when combined with the sleek hull design and dual fins underneath the craft.

ザ・ 330 tracked incredibly well and it closely resembled a rigid kayak, which is one of the biggest compliments that an inflatable can get. With good cargo space, excellent inflation and deflation times and a huge storage bag, which makes the 330 an absolute dream to put to bed once you’ve had your fun with it, this is a premium boat that’s worth every penny.

Decathlon itiwit strenfit X500

ベスト: For solo touring

After some stability issues with the first iteration of the X500, Decathlon have made some design tweaks and come up with a much more stable single-person tourer that takes just three minutes to inflate. Once it’s up, you’d struggle to tell the difference between the X500 and a rigid unless you give the hull the tap test with a paddle. The four inflation chambers are a good safety feature because it means if one chamber is compromised you can still paddle for dry ground, however this was one of the toughest kayaks on test and would be difficult to damage. The fact that it’s made using dropstitch means that it’s stiffer, and so the paddling characteristics of the kayak were excellent and it tracked really well. 一日の終わりに, the X500 packs down easily into the backpack, which is comfortable to carry and distributes the 18kg of weight effectively. More stock is expected soon.

Decathlon itiwit touring kayak

ベスト: For duo touring

Another touring model, but this time you can get up to three passengers on board, which adds to the fun. In the sea, it was robust enough to get through some small breakers and beyond to easy paddling, which is where its excellent tracking comes into play and it stayed true even with some wind. The seats are very comfortable and inflation/deflation was quick and effortless, leaving you more time and energy to enjoy the kayak.

Sevylor Madison

ベスト: For kayaking with kids

A two-person boat that took just under five minutes to get fully inflated, this kayak boasts two comfortable seats that can be adjusted according to the height of the kayaker. If it’s just one of you in the boat, there are handy floor markers to tell you where to position the seat, which is a nice touch. On the water, the boat performs really well and glides over calm waters and if you’re paddling with a smaller child the fact that the Madison’s sides inflate high means that they will sit nice and deep in the boat, so there’s no chance of them getting an unexpected dunking. The kayak was easy to dry out and we had no problems getting air in and out.

Sevylor Hudson

ベスト: For beginners

The Hudson took less than 10 minutes to inflate with the hand pump and after hours in the water there was no flooding or air loss, just a stress-free paddling experience. There’s good back support from comfortable seats and the tarpaulin shell meant that the boat was very durable and coped well with close encounters with rocks and riverbanks. Deflation was similarly quick, just five minutes, although it was easier to dry when inflated. The 18kg kayak is easy to portage with front, side and rear handles and it is packed back down well into the supplied pack.

This three-person kayak was ready to go in around six minutes and its broad profile made it feel ultra stable even in the sea, making it a really good confidence building boat for anyone who’s new to kayaking inflatable crafts.

Intex explorer K2 kayak

ベスト: For backpacking adventures

On first glance, this may resemble one of those banana boats that get pulled behind a speedboat in the Balearics, but as the name suggests, this is a two-person craft that’s built for something a little more adventurous.

Inflated and ready in eight minutes, the K2 reacted well to paddling, but is more manoeuvrable when there’s just one person in the boat, rather than two. The two inflatable spray decks at the front and rear (or stern and bow, if you prefer) were fit for purpose and did a good job of stopping the kayak taking on water. Deflation was quick and the drying process was straightforward, packing down nice and small into the transport bag, making it ideal for a larger litre rucksack if you’re adventuring.

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Intex challenger K2

ベスト: For sea touring

It took us 10 minutes to inflate the two-person Challenger with the provided hand pump, and the seats are easy to attach with Velcro fixings at the floor making them stable and comfortable when the boat is out on the water.

A large front-facing cargo net offers up some good storage, which means this could be more of a touring kayak and you could easily fit a couple of backpacking tents in there if you were feeling particularly adventurous, or just a daypack and some hikers if you weren’t straying too far. Easily carried to the water, the boat was fast but needed some concentrated paddling to track true in the line that we wanted, so a more experienced pair of hands on the paddle in the back seat might be required. Deflation was quick and the kayak packed down with ease.

Aqua marina laxo 380

ベスト: For rivers and lakes

Another well-constructed, easily inflated kayak from Aqua Marina, これ replicated the rigidity of hardshell kayaks, especially when it comes to the floor so that we didn’t feel like the boat was going to curl up like a banana as soon as we stepped on board.

The construction of the kayak also meant that it was easy to handle and very quick in a straight line so you can cover distance with very little effort making it a good kayak for exploring inland waters. The kayak dried out in about ten minutes, which was one of the quickest times to test.

評決: Inflatable kayaks

Quite simply, インクルード Aqua marina memba-330 was the inflatable that gave us the closest experience to paddling a rigid kayak, with the added benefits of easy portability and simple storage, at a cracking price.


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