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Inflatable Kayaks

Top Picks

How we choose: The best inflatable kayaks highlighted here were selected based on 14 reviews of 11 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a inflatable kayak that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Advanced Elements Lagoon1

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This inflatable folding kayak is portable on buses and inside SmartCars and by small people. A very dependable recreational kayak, well-made with a terrific warranty. Available from the manufacturer, some stores, and West Marine stores and website.

Reasons to Buy

  • I can carry all my gear, boat and all, everywhere.
  • Tough materials in a good design
  • Affordable but not flimsy
  • Good customer service and online discussion forum

Reasons to Avoid

  • Recreational boat is not a high-speed 20-ft sea kayak
  • This is a real boat and it can get you far away from shore when a storm blows in
  • Small for carrying camping gear; get the Expedition model instead

The Lagoon is my favourite kayak of the several different boats I own. I've used an older version of the Lagoon for eight years without it failing. It's still a reliable, convenient recreational kayak. Here's a photo of me using it for the first time, in 2006. This 9'6" kayak is very stable, very confidence-building, very responsive to the paddler's moves. Hundreds of times it's been inflated and used, then deflated and put away. I've banged it into docks, run it up onto rocky beaches, and waves shuffled me across barnacled rocks without any damage beyond a few light scratches on the outside of the outer hull.

Read more: Advanced Elements Lagoon1 review (1)

Sea Eagle Explorer 380x Pro Package

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Extremely versatile, portable, easy to use "water SUV" that is perfect for any type of adventure one could imagine.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very stable; almost impossible to tip over
  • Lightweight (the lightest in its category)
  • Huge buoyancy (750 lbs/340 kg)
  • Maneuverable; easy handling
  • Very rugged

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the fastest kayak out there
  • No splash protection
  • Not the most convenient to portage

This review is for the Sea Eagle Explorer 380X Pro package. The major difference between Pro and Deluxe is the seats: I like Pro seats much better but for more information look it up at the manufacturer website. I've been using this kayak for three seasons now and the fourth season is approaching. The quality of the kayak itself is fairly good: the body/hull is intact and holds up well but some accessories that came with the kayak had been replaced during the warranty period. Specifically, paddles and the foot pump are the weakest links.

Read more: Sea Eagle Explorer 380x Pro Package review (1)

Sea Eagle Sport 370

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

Very good for flat water, but challenging for fishing.

Reasons to Buy

  • Portability
  • Size
  • Price

Reasons to Avoid

  • Difficult to customize

UPDATE 8/28/16: Took the SE370 down Bear River in Colfax, Calif., for some low key white water. She stood up just fine, bounced off rocks and made the requisite hard turns to avoid bad spills. Came to a screeching halt at one point when we didn't clear a big rock. The kayak stopped dead, I went flying forward, and the seat pulled loose (but didn't leave the boat). I got settled back down, bounced the boat free and I was off again. No damage to the kayak at all. Overall, an excellent experience on my first experience with any kind of white water.  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I bought this kayak for fishing at my local reservoir.

Read more: Sea Eagle Sport 370 reviews (2)


user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

This kayak is bomb proof!

Reasons to Buy

  • Strength
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Absolutely not one con!

My Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team is equipped with four of these inflatable kayaks. We keep two of them inflated and ready to go at a moment's notice and the other two are stored in bags on the second water rescue truck. They are used, abused but they keep right on keeping on. We take them out at least once a week 52 weeks of the year and have had them in service for over two years now with only one minor puncture wound — and that came as a result of us participating in an REI river cleanup hauling all sorts of glass and other detritus out of the river.

Read more: NRS MaverIK II reviews (2)

ZRay Drift 14'

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This kayak holds two people and or 485 pounds. It deflates into its own backpack.

Reasons to Buy

  • The price was great. I bought it for around $600.
  • It comes with everything you need, including a pump.
  • It tracks pretty good because it has a removable keel.
  • It is a drop-stitch design kayak and you put 8 psi into it.

Reasons to Avoid

  • It takes a while to pump it up. I wish it had a better pump.

I bought this kayak from Costco last year to go fishing on the lakes. It came all folded up in a backpack. It took me a few tries to get it set up right, but once it was set up, it was great. I am 340 pounds and this kayak will carry me, my fishing equipment, and camping gear. What I like about it is that when I am done with it, I just deflate it and store it away. I don't need a kayak carrier on my truck. This kayak has special valves that you turn your pump nozzle into and it is sealed.

Read more: ZRay Drift 14' review (1)

Tributary Tomcat Tandem

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

Overall a good inflatable kayak and fun to use.

Reasons to Buy

  • Length and depth
  • Can replace the inner tube if it gets a hole

Reasons to Avoid

  • Hard to dry out at the self bailer section
  • Seats are not the most comfortable
  • I don't like the valve style

I like the length of this kayak—plenty of leg space for both people. I don't like the valve covers very well. I prefer the kind on the NRS Outlaw II.  I also prefer the seat valves on the Outlaw II over the ones on the Tomcat. This is a fun kayak and is good in both calm and white water. I don't like how water catches in the front and the back of the self bailer when you are done and want to dry it out. When I get home I have to unroll it and let it dry out completely because you can not dry out the self bailing sections with a towel. The Outlaw II is much easier to dry and and put away.   I do like that the Tomcat is deeper and longer than the Outlaw II. I like the seats better on the Outlaw II because they are more comfortable.

Read more: Tributary Tomcat Tandem reviews (2)

More Reviews of Inflatable Kayaks

Trailspace reviewers have shared 14 reviews of 11 different inflatable kayaks.

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Other Types of Kayaks

Find more kayaks reviewed in these related categories:

Recreational Kayaks

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

Touring Kayaks

+4 more types

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