11 Best Inflatable Kayaks (2022)

Whether you’re shopping for your first inflatable kayak or looking to upgrade, the process can be overwhelming. In our review of the best inflatable kayaks for 2022, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, and found the Bote Deus Aero to be the best inflatable kayak of all the models we looked at. 

bote deus aero

The Bote Deus incorporates the latest technology with a streamlined design. The outcome is an exceptionally well crafted inflatable kayak that offers unbeatable performance. Coupled with a really solid build and the option to add on an array of accessories, you can take this boat out for a variety of adventures. 

Naturally, in testing different kayaks, other models stood out to me for more specific reasons as well. After I share with you why the Bote Deus Aero is our clear winner for the best inflatable kayak, we’ll take a closer look at other models that you may want to consider. 

This will be especially helpful for those looking for specific activities like white water rafting or fishing. Let’s get into it. 

Best Two Person Kayak – Sea Eagle 370

sea-eagle-370-inflatable

If comfort for long adventures is what you’re looking for, then this boat might be for you. The Sea Eagle 370 is extremely comfortable for friends or couples who enjoy going out on the water together. Fully inflated, the 370 measures out to 12 ft 6 inches long and 2 ft 10 inches wide. 

It features a really rigid but comfy I-beam floor, along with equally comfortable inflatable seats. And while there’s plenty of room for both riders to stretch out their legs, kayakers in the rear can even throw their feet over the sides if they want a little extra legroom. 

Because the 370 touts a carrying capacity of 650 lbs, you can also bring along a young child and park them in between both riders too. Have a furry friend instead? Bring them along for the ride and you’ll still find it to be a comfortable one.e.

Best Versatile Kayak – Bote Zeppelin Aero 

Bote Zeppelin aero

For some kayakers, being able to do different activities with your boat is the most important feature. The Bote Zeppelin Aero delivers on this because it can switch from an SUP to a kayak in seconds.

The top deck allows you to sit high when your boat is in a kayak configuration. Because you are sitting high, the Zeppelin Aero can work really well as a fishing kayak. When you remove the top deck, your inflatable kayak will instantly transform into an SUP.

There’s ample stability making it a great choice for those just getting started in the world of stand up paddle boarding. 

Best Inflatable Kayaks Compared 

Inflatable Kayak
# People
Sizes
Weight
Capacity
My rating
1. Bote Deus Aero
1. Bote Deus Aero
1
11′ x 33″ x 14″
41 lbs
300 lbs
4.8
2. Sea Eagle 3 Person
2. Sea Eagle 3 Person
3
12’6” x 34″
32 lbs
650 lbs
4.7
3. Bote Zeppelin Aero
3. Bote Zeppelin Aero
2
12’6″ x 38″ x 9″
41 lbs
600 lbs
4.6
4. Intex Explorer K2
4. Intex Explorer K2
2
10’3″ x 20″
35 lbs
400 lbs
4.6
5. Intex Challenger K1
5. Intex Challenger K1
1
9’ x 30″
23.9 lbs
220 lbs
4.6
6. Sea Eagle 380x
6. Sea Eagle 380x
3
12’6″ x 39″
40
750 lbs
4.6
7. Advanced Elements Convertible
7. Advanced Elements Convertible
2
15’ x 32” x 10”
56 lbs
550 lbs
4.5
8. Advanced Elements
8. Advanced Elements
1
10’5″ x 34″
36 lbs
n/a
4.5
9. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person
9. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person
2
10’ x 35” x 16”
27 lbs
450 lbs
4.5
10. Sevylor Quickpak K5
10. Sevylor Quickpak K5
1
10′ x 34″
20 lbs
n/a
4.5
11. Sea Eagle Razorlite
11. Sea Eagle Razorlite
1p / 2p
12’10 x 28″ / 15’6 x 30″
35 lbs / 45 lbs
500 lbs / 750 lbs
4.5

Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews

Ready to dive into the nitty-gritty? Let’s take a closer look at the specs of our favorite kayaks and whether or not they might be a good fit for you. 

1. Bote Deus Aero – Best Overall 

bote deus aero kayak

For some kayakers, versatility is a must in an inflatable kayak. That’s where the Bote Deus Aero comes in. This kayak hybrid transforms from a sit on top kayak to a stand up paddle board in a matter of seconds. All you have to do is remove the top deck. Plus, the comfort offered by the Bote Deus is unparalleled with other inflatable kayaks. 

When the removable top deck is intact, you have a nice sit on top kayak that keeps you high and dry, featuring an open tail – allowing any water that enters the cockpit to trickle right out. 

As a kayak, you have a lot of accessory options including tie down points in the stern. These points allow you to strap on a cooler or the Brand’s iconic “Kula” as they call it. Store refreshing drinks and snacks to enjoy when you’re touring down a river or lake. 

The Bote Aero also offers superb tracking and performance. The plastic keel guard that runs halfway down the underside of the boat cuts through the water seamlessly. Paired with the detachable removable center fin and shorter side fins in the rear of the boat, you really have full control over the handling of your kayak.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the Bote Deus is the brand’s Aero Technology. Bote’s inflatable kayak offers supreme rigidity through its high quality drop stitch construction. Thousands of fibers connect the top of the board to the bottom, mimicking the feel of a hardshell kayak 

This drop stitch paired with a BVA  foam deck pad gives you comfort and stability. When you are using the boat as an SUP, you feel stable and secure because you’ll have fantastic grip under your feet. For kayakers new to the world of SUP, this foam deck along with the high rigid chambers gives you that added comfort and stability.

Other features that make this kayak standout include the comfortable grab handles and the front bungees for additional storage. There’s also the removable foot bar that gives you additional control while paddling. 

Added bells and whistles that we absolutely love include the cup holder feature and the quality built carrying bag that allows you to comfortably store and tote your kayak anywhere. Also read our Bote Deus Aero review.

Check Current Price

2. Sea Eagle 370 – Best Tandem Kayak

sea-eagle-370-inflatable

Want to hit the water with a buddy? The Sea Eagle 370 is a great inflatable kayak that comfortably sits two adults. Even then, there is still enough room that you can bring along a furry friend to hang out between you and your kayaking partner.

Sea Eagle is known for making tough and durable lightweight inflatable kayaks. The 370 is no exception. 

Fully inflated it only weighs 32 lb and packs down really nicely once you need to tote it around. Once out on the water, it measures out to 12 ft 6 inches long and 2 ft 10 inches wide. 

It’s built with a tough 38 mil polykrylar PVC construction that can handle rough surfaces like choppy waves. It also has a rigid inflatable I-beam base that helps with stability. The high pontoon sides and rigid construction allow you to take the 370 whitewater rafting up to class III rapids.

The Sea Eagle 370 two person kayak is a great whitewater kayak and recreational kayak for users who want to have fun on the water. While this versatile inflatable kayak can suit intermediate and experienced kayakers well, it is also good for beginners. There’s enough stability and comfort  to give new kayakers confidence in the water. Also read our Sea Eagle 370 Kayak Review.

Check Price

3. Bote Zeppelin Aero – Best Versatile Kayak 

bote zeppelin aero kayak

The Bote Zeppelin Aero is one of the most versatile kayaks if you are someone who enjoys a variety of water activities. The Zeppelin Aero’s unique construction allows it to go from calm lakes, to rivers, to ocean kayaking. Several features allow the Zeppelin to do this.

The first is the cut out holes on the bottom of the durable PVC hull. These self bailing holes allow any water that enters the cockpit to trickle right out. 

A really unique feature of the Zeppelin is that it’s technically a sit in kayak, but because you sit higher on the removable drop stitch inflatable seat, you won’t be sitting wet. 

The Zeppelin has plenty of space, measuring 12 and a half feet in length by 38 inches wide and has a carrying capacity of 600 lbs. While it comes with one inflatable seat, you can attach another seat if you want to do some tandem kayaking, and can bring along additional gear like Bote’s Kula for recreational touring out on calmer waters. 

What’s great about the Zeppelin is even with 2 seats, you still have enough space to move around. You don’t feel confined and you sit low in the kayak so there won’t be wind that you have to fight against. 

Plus with the narrow bow and rubber keel, you can cut through water pretty easily. Crashing waves on the ocean won’t throw you off balance and you’ll still feel full control as you paddle.

In true Bote fashion, there are additional fun accessories that make kayaking super enjoyable. There are attachment points at the front of the bow that allow you to strap on a GoPro or other compatible digital equipment.  

The Zeppelin also features Bote’s unique MagnePod System. This magnetic feature allows you to secure your compatible Bote drinkware by simply setting it on the MagnePod. The magnetic pod is also great for keeping other magnetic accessories secured while you are out on the water. 

Other neat features you will find include the slide in rack receivers that are compatible with fishing gear. There’s also nifty velcro pedal straps that allow you to securely set down your paddle when it’s time to enjoy the water. Also read our Bote Zeppelin Aero review.

Check Price

4. Intex Explorer K2 2 Person Kayak 

intex expl k2

The Intex Explorer K2 is a great inflatable boat for kayakers who like hitting the water with a buddy. The K2 has some great features that lend well to rafting on lakes in mild rivers. 

For starters, the K2 has a really comfortable streamlined design that is rugged yet lightweight. While it’s built for two riders, it measures out to a nice 10 ft 3 inches by 3 ft so  there’s plenty of space if you use it as a solo kayak. You’ll lose some of that legroom when you bring along a buddy. But, the cockpit will still be spacious, and riders in the rear can easily swing their feet over the sides.

The base of the boat is made out of an inflatable I-beam floor. This floor is what gives the boat a nice rigidity. The two side chambers also offer a nice rigidity thanks to the durable vinyl construction.

This low profile boat offers a sit in construction, but the inflatable chairs help perch you up a little. This boost up can be especially nice for first time kayakers because it gives you a greater sense of stability on the water. Along with the chairs, the K2 offers a nice degree of comfort because you can adjust the chairs and the backrest.

Tracking and handling is also pretty great thanks to the removable skeg on the rear. You’ll have great directional stability when you’re paddling solo. If you’re touring down a calm lake or river, the grab lines on either end are a fun way to attach an inflatable tube too. 

Overall, this is a great boat if you’re looking to have fun on the water, but don’t  intend to get overly adventurous. With plenty of storage, a cockpit designed for comfort, and a durable construction, this is a great entry level or intermediate boat to paddle off in. Also read our Intex Explorer K2 review.

Check Price

5. Intex Challenger K1 

intex challenger k1

The Intex Challenger K1 is a really fun boat if you want to get out in the water and do a bit of touring and recreational kayaking. This inflatable kayak is great for solo paddlers who want to get up and go. It packs nicely, is lightweight, and measures out to only 9 ft by 2 ft 6 inches.

While the Challenger K1 intended for high rapids, the rugged I-being flooring gives you the needed stability to tackle light waves. The durable construction and inflatable seat with adjustable backrest also give you a greater sense of stability. 

Because this is a one seater, you have plenty of room to stretch out your feet in the cockpit. This level of comfort makes the Challenger K1 a great boat if you enjoy doing long distance paddling.

Bring along all your gear and secure it nicely on board with the wide cargo net on the front spray skirt. You’ll have no problem with tracking and paddling either, because there’s a removable skeg on the base. The included 86 inch aluminum paddle also gives you greater control because it’s lightweight with a comfortable grip.

The Challenger K1 is great as a tandem kayak too. There are grab lines on either end if you want a buddy to tag along for some tubing. Also read our Intex Challenger K1 kayak review.

Check Price

6. Sea Eagle 380x 

sea eagle 380x

If you are looking for adventure on the water, then the Sea Eagle 380x is a fantastic boat to go with. This inflatable kayak comes in four different models so that you can find the right fit for you. Each model offers extreme durability, rigidity, and comfort.

Fully inflated, the 380x measures out to 12 ft 6 inches by 3 ft 3 inches. While it can hold up to three people or 750 lbs, it’s really better suited for two paddlers and is best as a solo kayak. The 380x is made out of a tough 1000 denier reinforced material. This tough construction allows it to tackle white waves up to class IV. 

The base of the boat is also impressive thanks to the rugged drop stitch flooring. This high pressure flooring mimics a hard shell kayak in terms of performance. It also offers protection from rough surfaces you might hit while on the water. 

When you are white water rafting, the 16 self bailing drains on the floor of the boat have no problem removing water once it gets in. The removable floor and the self bailing drains make paddling and the cleaning and packing-up process a breeze.

The 380x offers great versatility too. When you’re done with your rapids and want some calm touring instead, secure the removable skeg for improved tracking. If you’re going at it alone and enjoy fishing and camping, you’ll have plenty of space to bring your gear on board. There are 24 D rings that will allow you to attach accessories and gear without fuss.

Speaking of added accessories, selecting one of the other packages will allow you to

swap out the seat so you can sit high. Sitting high will give you plenty of room to move around if you want to do other activities like river fishing. Also read our Sea Eagle 380x kayak review.

Check Price

7. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak (2 Person)

advanced elements convertible

The AdvancedFrame Convertible two person inflatable kayak is a great boat for kayakers who enjoy going out with a partner. It’s also a great kayak because of its quality construction and unique features.

The main feature of the AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak is its rigid bow and stern construction. There is an aluminum frame reinforcement that allows the kayak to cut through the water seamlessly. There’s also an aluminum frame in the stern that  performs the way a skeg would. This rear frame also gives the boat better tracking.

When it comes to the kayak itself, there’s a sturdy I-beam flooring that gives the boat a really nice rigid construction for improved stability.

The outside of the boat is equally durable. It’s made out of a triple layered polyester material that features a double PVC coating. Along with the welded seams, you can be sure that this inflatable will have a long life span.

You can attach the spray skirts if you are not using the boat as a tandem kayak. This will give you a really nice enclosed feeling if you are someone who enjoys having a low profile while on the water. This in turn will allow you to have greater control because you’ll be able to paddle much closer to the water too. 

Check Price

8. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak (1 Person)

advanced elements infl

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak is a great inflatable to go with if  you are someone who enjoys solo kayaking. This boat offers durability, great performance, and the same sporty feel that you would get out of a similarly designed hard shell kayak.

This solo kayak is unique because it features a built in aluminum rib. The aluminum frame allows the kayak to cut through the water and offers improved tracking. Unlike other touring inflatable kayaks, the nose of the Advanced Elements kayaks are incredibly narrow allowing it to glide through the water.

Fully inflated, this boat measures 10 ft 5 inches long with a 34 inch width. It’s a cozy-but-comfortable sit in kayak that is designed for kayakers who like that enclosed feeling. This kayak is ideally used for flat water kayaking and those who enjoy touring. 

The durability is another aspect where the AdvancedFrame stands out. Users will find an incredibly durable triple layer polyester material that has a double PVC coating. This construction will offer you ample protection from punctures or scratches. Also, the welded seams will ensure the longevity of your kayak.

Comfort and storage are other aspects that were well thought out with this kayak. There is a bungee deck and D rings that will allow you to tie down your gear. Also, the adjustable seat features a high back support so that you won’t get strained while you are out on the water. 

Check Price

9. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

driftsun voyager 2p

The Driftsun Voyager two person kayak is a great inflatable boat for beginner and intermediate kayakers. The main draw with this boat is that it’s super comfortable. 

Although it is on the shorter side, measuring out to 10 feet in length, and 35 inches wide, you have plenty of room to stretch out. Riders in the rear will find that it’s extremely comfortable to throw their legs over on either side when it’s time to relax in the water.

Kayakers will also find that the seats are very comfortable, thanks to the high back support and adjustable straps. It has a maximum capacity of 400 lb and has bungee cords on either side for you to bring along any additional gear. 

This kayak is made out of a tough 840D coated nylon oxford fabric and while it’s not reinforced with any additional material, it’s still pretty sturdy. This is a great boat to take out for recreational kayaking, and you’ll have some decent tracking with the narrow stern and quick release skegg. 

You don’t need extra bells and whistles for a boat like this, because it’s better suited for individuals who just want to relax on the water.

Check Price

10. Sevylor Quikpak K5

sevylor quickpak k5 kay

One of the most Innovative inflatable kayaks on the market is the Sevylor Quikpak K5. This inflatable kayak stands out amongst the competition because of its unique integrated backpack design. 

The backpack folds out into the kayak making the setup process that much easier. This integrated backpack design is also fantastic for kayakers who like to launch from hard to reach areas.

Fully inflated, the Quikpak K5 measures out to 10 ft by 2 ft 10 in and weighs only 20 lbs. This makes it a great inflatable for someone who is looking for something shorter and lightweight. 

Once it’s fully inflated, it features a really nice, comfortable sit in construction. There are three air chambers that offer durability and stability. The Quickpak is made out of a 24 gauge PVC construction that lends to this durability. 

This inflatable also features a tarpaulin bottom for added protection against rough scrapes on rocks and wood. Along with the tarpaulin bottom, on the top of the boat there’s a neat polyester cover that also protects against punctures and abrasions.

While the Sevylor Quikpak K5 is built relatively tough, it’s best suited for kayakers who want to do some light touring. There are nifty bungees on the back that allow you to secure your gear for long excursions. However, the Quikpak really performs best during shorter treks. Also read our Sevylor Quikpak k5 review.

Check Price

11. Sea Eagle Razorlite

sea eagle razorlite

If you enjoy recreational paddling at faster speeds, and want a really well built inflatable, then the Sea Eagle Razorlite might be for you. This is hands down one of the fastest inflatable kayak models reaching speeds of up to 6 mph. 

This beautifully crafted inflatable kayak is made out of  an impressive drop stitch construction. The three chambers reach an impressive 10 PSI giving you a really rigid boat that mimics a hard shell kayak.

The unique construction was designed specifically to give riders a lightweight, narrower kayak. It offers high performance for kayakers who are looking for speed, and improved tracking. True to its name, It features a razor sharp nose with a tapered construction that allows it to cut right through the water. 

Because it’s designed for touring, this is a relatively larger boat than many Inflatable kayaks. It measures out to a whopping 15 feet 6 inches by 2 ft 6 inches. While it is a lot longer and narrower than other inflatables, it does have a carrying capacity of 2 people. 

Both riders will find that they have ample space to stretch their legs out as they paddle. The ample space will also give you plenty of room to bring on a cooler, fishing gear, camping gear, and other gear to enjoy the water with. Plus, the adjustable seats will allow you to stay paddling for extended periods of time without getting uncomfortable. Also read our Sea Eagle Razorlite Review.

Check Price

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Inflatable Kayak  

Let’s take a look at some of the most important things you should consider when shopping for an inflatable kayak.

Inflatable Kayaks vs. Hardshell: Know the Difference

The main advantage an inflatable kayak has over a hardshell kayak is clearly the portability. Inflatables are easy to transport because they deflate, pack nicely, and fit snugly in the trunk of your car. 

Hardshell kayaks, on the other hand, have always been favored for their durability, and strength. If you routinely go out in rough waters where you hit jagged rocks, and overgrown bush, then it would make sense to stay in the world of hardshells. 

Even the best inflatable can sustain a puncture, but with traditional kayaks, you’ll probably only ever have to deal with minor scratches. Even so, inflatables will always come with a repair patch so that you can fix up any punctures they may sustain. 

Consider How You’ll be Using The Kayak

The first step in the process of looking for a great inflatable is considering how you want to use it. Kayakers who enjoy white water rafting will want to look for a very durable kayak that has multiple levels of protection on the hull. 

If you’re someone who enjoys recreational kayaking or touring, then you might want a boat like the Zeppelin Aero that will allow you to include attachments. Attachments like rod holders, cooler straps, and extra storage are also great features for those looking for fishing kayaks.  

Kayaks designed for touring and speed will often be longer and feature a narrow nose or keel guard. This will allow the boat to cut right through the water. More wider boats are typically intended for recreational use or whitewater kayaks.

Paying attention to features like this will allow you to make the best choice for your needs. Knowing which features you should avoid will also help you save in terms of price point too.

Types of Inflatable Kayaks

Over the years, inflatable kayaks have evolved to meet and in some cases exceed the performance of a hardshell kayak. Before you even consider what type of inflatable to purchase, you need to first consider what you need your inflatable kayak to do for you. 

Inflatable kayaks are built differently depending on the purpose they serve. If you enjoy a specific type of kayaking, then there’s an inflatable designed for that purpose. Let’s take a look at the different types of inflatable kayaks you might come across. 

What is a Hybrid Design?

Some kayaks like the Bote Deus Aero are what are considered hybrid designs. Hybrid designs simply mean that your boat can transform from a traditional kayak to a stand up paddle board. Some hybrids can even feature specific uses like kayak fishing.

If you’re someone who likes doing different types of activities like fishing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding, then you might want to look into a hybrid design.

Hybrid designs will typically run a little higher in terms of price point, but you’ll find the versatility you want. Some of the best hybrid designs will also give you the option to include different attachments. This will allow you to custom tailor your boat to your specific needs.

Recreations Inflatable Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are comfortable, inflatable boats. They are great if you  just want to get out on the water for some light touring. Recreational kayaks work best in slow moving water and light rapids like Class I and Class II waves.

If you are just getting started on the water, then a recreational kayak can be a good entry  level boat to start with. Inflatable recreational kayaks tend to be on the shorter side, usually under 12 foot. They also tend to be wider with higher pontoon chambers for added support and stability. 

Sport Inflatable Kayaks

Kayakers who enjoy getting on the water for sport might be more interested in looking at sport specific inflatable kayaks. Some of the most popular sports kayaks include fishing kayaks and inflatable kayaks designed for white water rafting.

Kayaks designed for white rapids will typically have a short yet wide design. Because they’re meant to go with the flow of the water, they usually won’t have a tracking fin either.  

These types of kayaks are also built to be tough. Some use innovative drop stitch  technology, but almost always you’ll find an additional durable protective cover. This protective cover might be made out of a thick reinforced material, or heavy duty PVC material. Inflatables designed for white rapids like the Sea Eagle 370 might also feature a rigid I-beam flooring.

Inflatable kayaks meant for fishing will focus more on accessories and features. You might find attachments that allow you to hook in fishing rods – like the Bote Zeppelin’s slide in rack receiver. 

Much like the Zeppelin, you’ll also find that fishing kayaks tend to be longer and a bit wider. These wider dimensions provide  plenty of space to  move around. The wider design also gives you more room for fishing gear like a tackle box and cooler. 

Sit In Kayaks vs. Sit on Top Inflatable Kayaks

The type of seating a kayak offers is one of the main ways kayaks can differ from one another. Sit in kayaks and sit on top kayaks are two configurations you will typically find. Some kayaks like the Bote Zeppelin allow you to play with both depending on how you adjust the seat. 

As the name suggests, a sit in kayak requires a user to sit inside the boat whereas a sit-on-top kayak like the Bote Dues has a sort of elevated deck where the rider sits on top of. Both types of kayaks have their pros and cons, and choosing the one for you really depends on your needs. 

Benefits of a Sit in Kayak

With a sit in kayak, the rider is a bit more sheltered inside the boat. There’s almost this feeling of being confined in the boat because you don’t have as much space to move around as you would with a kayak that says high. 

A sit in kayak has plenty of great benefits though. These types of kayaks shelter your body from the wind because you are sitting lower. This in turn gives you a little bit better performance because you won’t have the wind throwing you around as you would if you were sitting on top.  

Because you’re closer to the water, you also feel a greater sense of control while paddling. Sit in kayaks are best suited for choppy waters because they’ll often have a narrow V shaped bow that allows you to cut through the water, avoiding exaggerated bounce when you crash into waves. 

Benefits of a Sit on Top Kayak

Sit on top kayak configurations can be a great option to go with if you will be doing more touring than sport kayaking. Sit on top configurations like the Bote Zepplin give you plenty of room to move around. You won’t feel confined in the cockpit and you’ll have an easier time getting in and out of the boat if you take a dip in the water.

These types of  kayaks will often have a self bailing deck as well. And while water may get into the cockpit, you’ll stay relatively dry because you are sitting high. A downside to sit on top configurations is that you might pick up more wind. This might make it harder to paddle, cutting into your speed. 

Also, you might feel more of the waves than you would if you were in a sit in model. However, sit on top kayaks are really great for nervous first time kayakers because you won’t feel constrained or confined.

Consider Your Portability and Storage Needs

One of the main reasons people opt for inflatable kayaks is their ease of use. Unlike a hard shell kayak that requires a roof rack or a truck to tow, inflatables require no needed equipment. Other than drying and packing them, they offer virtually no fuss when you transport them from your home to the water. 

Almost all Inflatables will come with some sort of travel pack. Some of the best inflatable kayaks offer backpack style carry bags so you can easily get your kayak to your destination. Models like the Sevylor Quikpak K5 offer neat backpack designs that make transport a breeze. 

Just because you have an inflatable kayak doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the perks of a hard shell kayak either. For example, inflatable kayaks offer plenty of storage solutions. In fact, many Inflatables offer more storage capacity than your traditional hard shell. 

When you’re shopping for the best inflatable kayak for yourself, consider your storage needs. If you’re going fishing, aim for a kayak that will allow you to transport your gear comfortably. Recreational riders might look for a boat like the Bote Aero that allows you to tack on a cooler for leisurely rafting too. 

Consider Your Inflatable Kayak Length

The length of your kayak is another important feature to consider.. 

Kayaks designed for sport will often be shorter and narrower, reaching lengths of about 11 to 12 feet. Recreational and touring kayaks can vary in length but will typically be anywhere from 12 feet to 14 feet.

The passenger capacity will also determine the length of the kayak.Typically, if you have a two seater, it will be longer than your average inflatable kayak. Some inflatable models like the Intex Explorer K2 do a good job of maintaining an average length while providing ample space for two passengers.

As a general rule, the longer and narrower the kayak, the faster it will go.  If speed is something that is important to you, consider the length of your inflatable and what type of use it was designed for.

Why Tracking, Speed, and Handling are Important

Whether you want to go out fishing, enjoy the water, or do some intense white water rafting, it’s important to understand tracking, speed, and handling.

The way a kayak tracks refers to how straight the kayak moves when you paddle. The better tracking a kayak has, the more you stay the course in the direction you paddle. 

Longer kayaks like the Sea Eagle Razorlite will typically have better tracking. This is because they have a narrow bow, move faster, and glide further with every stroke you take.

The fins, or skegs, on the bottom rear of your kayak play a role in your kayak’s tracking too. A large center fin helps to keep your kayak straight, especially in windy conditions. Some boats will also include side fins that help with the stability of the boat too.

When it comes to speed, you really want to consider how you use your kayak. Recreational and touring kayaks are meant to go fast, so you’ll want a boat that is narrower and able to reach high speeds. Depending on the size of your boat, this might mean several skegs in the rear.

Skegs and speed will also play a role in your boat’s handling. If your boat can cut through the water easily, paddling will be more streamlined, requiring less effort. However, For white speed and skegs are not features you want to pay attention to if you are white water rafting. Rough rapids will move your boat along, and a skeg might throw your boat off course.  

Consider Self-Bailing Kayaks

A feature that you have to have on a whitewater kayak is drainage holes. Drainage holes, or self bailing holes, allow water that enters your boat to easily drain out. When your white water rafting and your boat takes on a lot of water, you need these holes there to keep your boat from capsizing.

You might also want to consider a self bailing kayak if you plan to take your boat out onto the ocean. You might encounter waves that crash into your cockpit and self bailing holes will help get rid of this collected water. 

If your kayak does have self-bailing holes, consider the seat configuration. If you have a sit in kayak, then you’re probably going to be sitting wet throughout the duration of your kayaking.  

What makes the BOTE Deus Aero a great self-bailing kayak is that you sit high and the water trickles through the back of the boat instead of holes in the cockpit.

Personalize with Kayak Accessories

The mark of a great inflatable kayak is accessories. When you can accessorize your kayak to meet your specific needs, you can really create an inflatable designed for you. 

Brands like Sea Sagle and Bote do a phenomenal job offering a variety of accessories for you to choose from. Some popular accessories to consider include fishing racks, coolers, and drinkware attachments.

Even if your boat does not come with a lot of accessory options, look for ways to incorporate accessories. For example, if your boat has several D-ring attachments or adjustable straps, this can be a way for you to personalize your boat.

How Much Should You Spend on an Inflatable Kayak?

The price point is an important factor to consider when you’re looking at an inflatable kayak. However, as with all purchases, you want to shop for what you need – not necessarily for what’s the most expensive. 

If you are a first time kayaker and you purchase an expert level inflatable kayak like the Bote Deus, then you may not get the most from your purchase. Mainly because the features of the boat may be too complex for you to understand.

When considering what a good price point is for you, you first need to consider your needs. Decide whether you need a recreational, touring, or sports gear kayak. Also consider your capacity requirements. Do you need a one seater, or will you be bringing along a furry friend? 

Included accessories are another component to consider. If your inflatable kayak comes with a rod rack for fishing gear, but you’re not a fisherman, then that might not be the best kayak for you.

Also consider the type of water you’ll be rafting on. Flatwater can handle a simply constructed hull. But, if you’ll be rafting on light rapids, then you may need a haul with a removable skeg or an I-beam construction. 

Knowing your needs will allow you to understand what you are paying for when you’re shopping around for a kayak. When you understand this, you’ll be able to  gauge how much a kayak should cost. Just because a kayak is expensive does not mean it is the right kayak for you.

FAQ: How to Find the Best Inflatable Kayak

How long should an inflatable kayak stay inflated?

Your inflatable kayak should stay inflated the entire time you are out on the water. If you are noticing that your boat is losing air, you may have a puncture in one of the chambers. If you launch your boat out in cold water, you might notice that half an hour in, your boat has softened a bit. This is completely normal.

Are inflatable kayaks safe?

Yes. Inflatable kayaks are very safe, and the more durable they are the safer they will be. Many inflatables come with multiple air chambers. These multiple air chambers work as a safety net for you. If one chamber experiences a puncture, then you will still have enough additional inflated chambers to help get you back to shore.

Will my inflatable kayak pop?

Well built inflatable kayaks can be extremely resistant to punctures. Even if you scrape against rocks or rough surfaces, your inflatable will likely not pop. When setting up your inflatable it’s important to follow PSI inflation recommendations. Over inflating your kayak is the main reason why your inflatable kayak would pop, if it ever does.

Are inflatable kayaks better than hardshell kayaks?

Inflatable kayaks can be great alternatives for hard shell kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are easy to transport and do not require a roof rack or truck bed. Inflatable kayaks are also really easy to set up too.

You won’t miss out on traditional features found on a hard shell either. More advanced inflatable kayaks come with great accessories including foot pedals, rudders, and waterproof storage compartments.

Are inflatable kayaks good for white water rafting?

Inflatable kayaks are very good for white water rafting. The inflated chambers will give you a nice bounce while you are rafting, decreasing the possibility of injury.

It’s important to consider what type of rapids your inflatable is designed for too. Some inflatable kayaks are meant for low class rapids like I or II while others are specifically built for class IV rapids.

Can I use my inflatable kayak in the ocean?

Some inflatable kayaks are specifically designed for ocean and sea use. Typically, you will find that these kayaks have self bailing holes to help you get rid of any water that crashes into your cockpit. Having a really stable kayak will also help you on the rough waves.

Can I bring my dog with me on an inflatable kayak?

Yes. Some of the best inflatable kayaks offer enough cockpit room to bring along a furry friend. Recreational inflatable kayaks will typically be wider offering more space for your dog. Kayak and paddleboard hybrids can be great inflatable kayaks to look at if you are shopping around for a kayak for you and your pet.

Read more about whether you can bring your dog in an inflatable kayak.

What can I use to clean my inflatable kayak?

Whenever you finish using your kayak on the water, you always want to clean it before you store it away. Clean your inflatable kayak with  Freshwater then dry it off with a towel. Allow it to completely air dry before you fold it back up and pack it away. If you have tough mud stains on your kayak, you can use soap and water to remove them.

Is it bad to leave an inflatable kayak inflated?

When you are finished using your inflatable, it’s important to always clean it off using freshwater and then deflate it. You should never store an inflatable boat fully inflated. This could increase the risk of your boat accidentally getting punctured by surrounding items.

How long do inflatable kayaks last?

A well built, well cared for inflatable should last you several years. Some inflatables are specifically designed to last you season after season because of their careful construction.  By cleaning off your inflatable and storing it properly, you can help elongate the life of your kayak.

Read more about how durable inflatable kayaks are.

Can one person use a two person inflatable kayak?

Inflatable kayaks can be designed for one or two people. If there is a kayak model that you like but is designed for one person, chances are, a tandem kayak exists for that model too. Oftentimes, an inflatable tandem kayak has enough space in the cockpit that you can even bring along a furry friend too.

Conclusion

Features like versatility, stability, and quality construction are some of the main components that make up the best inflatable kayak. The Bote Dues Aero has all these features and more. 

We hope that our extensive review of the Bote Dues Aero and other kayaks in its class have helped you narrow down your search for an inflatable kayak. 

Click here if you’re ready to get your hands on your own Deus Aero. 

Already own one? Let us know in the comments section below what your thoughts are with this boat or any others on our list.