The best inflatable sea kayak, also known as a touring kayak, can be used in open ocean settings as well as on bays, lakes and rivers with calm waters.
The boat may be small in comparison with other watercrafts but it’s designed for seaworthiness, too, with features like a durable and stable hull, cargo hold, and spray deck, among others.
Keep in mind that sea kayaks aren’t as maneuverable as their whitewater counterparts. But these are designed for higher cruising speed, greater comfort for longer trips, and better control in straight-line paddling, as well as greater cargo capacity.
These attributes are crucial for success in sea kayaking trips because of their longer durations. You can spend as much as a few days, even a few weeks, on the open sea and nearby shores, thus, the features.
You will find inflatable sea kayaks suitable for use by one to three people with sufficient cargo space for your gear, supplies, and equipment.
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With dozens of seaworthy inflatable kayaks in the market, you will likely be confused about the best choice, especially as every manufacturer claims to offer it. Here are five of the best touring kayaks so far, many of which I actually owned and tested while the others were culled from dozens of customer reviews.
This may seem like a blow-up toy for kids at first glance but it isn’t once you know its features.
The Sea Eagle 330 has a 33-milimmeter thick polykrylar hull chosen for its sturdiness and strength in open ocean conditions.
The I-beam construction coupled with the radiofrequency welded seams add to its overall rigidity, an essential feature in seaworthy inflatable kayaks.
You don’t want your kayak to fold in on itself, break apart at the seams, or get a hole on the floor from your weight while you’re away from shore.
You may have your life vests on but your camping supplies can sink with an inferior kayak – and the Sea Eagle 330 isn’t one.
This is a versatile kayak for two reasons. First, you can go on solo trips or on tandem trips, thanks to its two-person capacity. You may even just bring your dog along without worrying about his claws puncturing the thick hull material.
Second, you can take it on your fishing, skin diving and whitewater rafting trips. You have the assurance that the tough hull material can withstand the rigors of a Class III rapid, too.
You and your buddy can comfortably fit in the Sea Eagle 330 when it’s fully inflated to its 134x34-inch wide dimensions. But storage space isn’t a problem since it can fit into its storage bag and into your car easily.
But a trolling motor cannot be attached to it. This is a minor con when you’re planning to stick close to shore anyway.
This is designed for use in calm and rough waters. You can easily paddle with it on the still waters of lakes, streams and bays to the waves in open seas and mild rapids in rivers.
You must, nonetheless, be sure to use it during good weather conditions since it isn’t designed for extreme conditions, such as Class III rapids.
The Rave Sea Rebel has earned rave reviews, too, for its durability. You can test the heavy-duty nylon cover with its sturdy PVC tarpaulin floor as soon as the package arrives at your doorstep.
Your novice paddling efforts will be rewarded with slick gliding over water, a must when you’re on a straight-line path.
But this inflatable kayak is also favored by veteran kayakers because of its easy handling and control even when moderate waves are present. You can turn on a dime, so to speak, while also enjoying a smooth and stable ride in tracking mode.
You can easily get in and out of the kayak, too, without fear of tipping over. This is true for inflating and deflating, too. Just use the foot pump that came with the package, pump away for 5 minutes or so, and push or pull the fully inflated kayak into the water.
You can deflate it within 5 minutes, too, before folding and storing it in its carry bag. Other notable features include a water bottle holder and a sturdy paddles. You will even love its bright yellow color because of its high visibility from the shore.
You can then use it in open water, whitewater, and calm waters although the overall feel (i.e., control, handling and tracking) will be different in each situation.
For the challenges of open ocean and whitewater rafting, the rapid self-bailing valves come in handy. You can rely on these valves to keep you as dry as possible in flat and rough waters.
You should close them in flat waters and open them in rough waters, which will drain water as quickly as it enters your kayak. The Sea Eagle 300x’s versatility in use also comes from its large removable skeg located in the kayak’s rear center.
You can install or remove it depending on your kayaking plans – install it to reduce swinging from side to side in flat water, remove it to eliminate an obstruction during your whitewater adventure.
You will find, too, that the fin improves the kayak’s tracking ability during extended flat water trips. Your whitewater adventures will be safer, too, with the modular rigid drop-stitch floor, which sits on top of the kayak’s outer floor.
Basically, it provides a super-rigid, high-pressure surface for a more responsive paddling performance and a better bounce response off logs, rocks and other objects in the water.
The Blue Wave Sports Nomad is suitable for novice and veteran kayakers who want the benefits of both hard-shell and inflatable sea kayaks.
The durability of hard-shell kayaks can be rivaled by the sturdiness and strength of the 24-gauge reinforced PVC material used for the hull and air chambers.
The I-beam inflatable floor adds to the semi-rigidity of the kayak, a must when gliding on open ocean.
The three air chambers are strengthened by anti-leak welding technology, too. With two of the air chambers in the hull, the entire kayak will still float even when one air chamber has one or two punctures in it.
You can make quick work of inflating and deflating the seaworthy kayak, thanks to the portable high-pressure pump included in the package. Your work will be made faster with the over sized pressure valve designed with a double locking airtight seal.
Paddling is a joy, too, because of the two lightweight yet sturdy 87-inch long oars. These have aluminum tubes with reinforced polypropylene blades for easy slicing through the water.
In case of rips and punctures, be sure to use the repair kit included in the package. The repair should hold for at least a year when properly applied.
You and your copilot will stay comfortable even during extended trips, thanks to the inflatable seats and foot rests. You can store the deflated kayak in its own rip-resistant polyethylene bag, which can be stowed in your car’s trunk or in the garage.
Your total weight – you and your friends as well as your cargos – should be within the 855-pound limit for better handling.
You may even use it for extended fishing expeditions, such as a few weeks’ worth of camping and fishing, since the kayak has enough room for you and a trophy fish. You can even place a large animal (wild game) on it.
The Sea Eagle 420X’s durability comes from its 1,000-denier, polyester-supported, high-pressure fabric, which was then electronically welded at the seams for added strength under rough conditions.
You may or may not subject it to torture testing, such as pounding it with a claw hammer or screwdriver, since the manufacturer has already done it – and the results are impressive. Many users agree that it’s a crocodile hull, indeed.
You can ride it in the open ocean or down Class IV rapids, raging rivers, and remote locations. Most of the kayaks here can only be safely used in Class III rapids but the 420X will step up your game.
You will also love the four extra-large convertible drains for use in both dry and wet conditions. Other notable features include spray skirts, handholds and tie-down points, two double-ended paddles, and two kayak seats. The foot pump and repair kit are also included in the package.
If you ask me which one is the best inflatable sea kayak, I’d say it’s the Sea Eagle 420x Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package because of its durable material and construction, useful features, and versatile uses.
But you have to decide which kayak is the best for your current needs and wants, which will be different from mine.
Whatever kayak you choose, you have the guarantee that it also meets the standards of durability, portability, and maneuverability, as well as ample storage space, practical accessories, and useful features. Choose one now and start your kayaking journey on flat and rough waters!