Expert Buying Guide
Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide
If you're reading this then it's likely you're ready to take the plunge and buy an inflatable kayak! It can be a little daunting trying to figure out which inflatable kayak is going to suit your needs best. There are so many brands and styles to choose from, making the right choice can be overwhelming. In this buying guide we will discuss how to determine which inflatable kayak will suit you best and get you on the water safely.
Before you start comparison shopping, you'll want to ask yourself a few simple questions…
- Do you want to kayak with someone in the boat with you? Will you bring a paddle partner, a child, a dog?
- Where do you want to kayak? Lakes, rivers, ocean, calm bays?
- How experienced are you?
- What is most important to you? Speed or stability? Price or durability?
Your answers to these questions can help you narrow down which blow up kayak is best for you.
- Are you thinking about paddling solo?
- Will you be camping from your kayak and need room for all of your multi-day gear?
- Perhaps you want to bring a friend along?
- What if that friend may or may not paddle but lets you do all the work?
If you are bringing a passenger but not a paddler (lots of gear, a child, a pet, a diva/divo) then you'll want a tandem inflatable kayak that paddles well with only one person doing all the work! Many tandem kayaks allow for multiple seating configurations, so you can move or remove the seats in order to fit your dog or your dry bags. These are the types of scenarios to be considered when choosing the inflatable kayak that's perfect for you or your family.
Another important consideration is your own weight and size. You'll find maximum weight and paddler height capacities in the Technical Specifications on each kayak page.
|What/who are you bringing?
|Seat upgrades for comfort
|Doggie life jacket
|Child life jacket (PFD)
|My paddling partner(s)
|Tandem: 2-person or 3-person
Whitewater or Flatwater
Just like finding the best tool for a job, you'll want to make sure that you pick the right inflatable kayak for where you are planning to paddle. Are you ready to take on huge whitewater swells or your local fast moving river? You'll want a whitewater kayak that features a hull design with better edging to maximize your maneuverability. Whitewater inflatable kayaks usually have higher sides to help keep you in the kayak and stable for bigger drops.
Or maybe you are dreaming of kayaking the open ocean, glossy flatwater bays, or your favorite lake? There is a flatwater kayak just for you! These can be long and narrow to cover distance or shorter and wider for stability.
Not sure where you'll find your niche? A crossover kayak can also be a good starting point if you want to experiment on both flatwater and whitewater.
And if you are a kayak fisherman, there are even some inflatable kayaks designed specifically for fishing, with rod holders and extra room for your tacklebox or decked out milk crate. Tight lines, anglers!
How much kayaking experience do you have? If you are just starting your kayaking adventures then you will probably be looking for a simple recreational kayak to get you out and comfortable on the water. You'll want an inflatable kayak that you can improve your paddling skills with, at a reasonable price. Try shopping our selection by price if this is the most important factor for you.
If you are a more experienced boater, you may be looking to push your limits and test your skills. Maybe you are looking to "go big" or maybe you're looking for a faster, sleeker kayak to get you from point a to point b with ease? If you know you'll be using your inflatable kayak for years to come, a more durable kayak with a longer warranty may be worth the price.
As you're rating your own kayaking experience, you'll also want to be thinking about what's more important to you, speed or stability.
Stability: If you are a novice or beginner then you will want a kayak that is more stable and forgiving with better balance so you don't need to focus all of your energy on staying upright. A wider inflatable kayak will help you feel more stable on flatwater while a whitewater inflatable kayak with thicker tubes and a more upturned bow and stern will help you feel secure and in control as you punch through those big waves.
Speed: Thinner kayaks with a more pronounced shape to the bottom or a skeg (a dropdown fin on the stern or rear of the boat) track well on flatwater and are better designed for speed, while a longer length will help with stability and speed as long as you don't extend your body too far over the side of the kayak.
Other things to consider...
It's called a blow up kayak for a reason! You will need a pump to inflate your kayak. Some inflatable kayaks (or IKs) are low pressure while others are made to be blown up to a higher PSI. Those kayaks will be listed as having "drop stitch technology". If a pump is not included with your kayak, make sure the pump you select has valve adapters to fit the valves on your IK. Make it easy on your arms: you can use an electric pump to do the bulk of the inflation and finish off with a manual pump, like a K-pump. Some "top-off pumps" can even be taken along with you to be used when needed, if the cold water compresses the air inside your kayak and you need to boost the PSI.
Some IKs come with a storage bag or stow bag, but some do not. To protect your blow up kayak consider getting a storage bag for the off season to keep the spiders and critters from moving in. And you can even use some storage bags for travel so you won't need to rent a kayak on your next vacation.
And last but not least, don't forget your lifejacket! No matter how experienced you are, most bodies of water do require some form of flotation devices for your safety. Coastguard, Fish and Wildlife, and Park Rangers all want you to have a fun and safe day on the water. No matter who goes out with you, there's a perfectly fitting PFD for your entire family… men, women, children, and even your dog!
If you need any further assistance, we're available via phone, email, or chat - and we're excited to help.
Stay safe and happy paddling!
Enjoy Portability & Versatility With Our Blow-Up Inflatable Kayaks!
While our hardshell and folding kayaks are excellent choices, you must work hard to beat the portability and versatility an inflatable kayak provides! These make it easier to enjoy the water without overpacking, saving space for more kayak clothing, accessories, and food.
Storing them is a breeze because an inflatable kayak can easily be deflated when not in use. Just place the boat back in its box and put it on a shelf - a blow-up kayak won’t take up much space.
They are also super lightweight, making them easy to transport. You will also love how much more affordable these blow-up inflatable kayak options are than a hardshell boat.
Purchase your perfect blow-up kayak right here at Outdoorplay today!
Why Buy Your Next Blow-Up Inflatable Kayaks At Outdoorplay?
When buying an inflatable kayak, we have many choices, from 1-person to 2-person kayaks! You’ll find the top brands in the industry, like Advanced Elements, AIRE, AquaGlide, Sea Eagle, and more, at unbeatable prices - all backed up by our fantastic customer support team. Shop now or reach out - we’re here to help you find the perfect watercraft for your needs!
Most of them even come with a handy traveling bag, which can be used as a backpack or duffle bag when not storing the boat.
You may be under the impression that because these are inflatable, they are less durable than other types. But that is not the case. These blow-up kayaks are made super durable with a rigid, puncture-resistant material.
We offer free shipping on these boats and a price match guarantee - helping you get the boat you want for the best price possible. All of this is backed up with our money-back guarantee - so you can shop confidently today!
Find Inflatable Kayaks For 2 Person or 1 Person
Whether you prefer a gentle day of paddling across a calm body of water or you want to challenge yourself with some white-water rapids, we have choices for you! Many of our boats are even two (2) or 3-seaters:
With all kinds of sizes ranging from 8’ to 16’, every color you can imagine, and all sorts of weight ratings - you don’t have to compromise when you shop here!