Best Inflatable Sea Kayak in 2021 – [Guide & Reviews]

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.

best inflatable sea kayak

Pros And Cons Of Inflatable Sea Kayak

Inflatable kayaks have distinct pros and cons compared to their rigid counterparts. Make sure you judge every aspect before deciding on any certain type. This judgment should be based on several factors that we are gonna mention below. Please take a look.

Pros:

Lightweight

Inflatable kayaks are super lightweight which makes them a popular choice among people. Due to the materials used, a single person inflatable kayak weighs generally between 10 to 40 pounds while their hard-shell cousin weighs between 40-70 pounds depending on the varieties.

On the other hand, two-person inflatable kayaks or tandems weigh between 35-65 pounds and the rigid tandems weigh somewhere between 60-90 pounds. It is clear that the inflatable kayaks have an edge over the rigid kayaks in terms of weight. Choose the right model depending on your weight preference.

Compact Size

You don’t need an extra trailer to attach with your car to carry your kayak if you have an inflatable. This allows you to deflate the kayak really quickly and pack it inside a carry bag to take wherever you wanna go.

The compact size of the inflatable kayak comes in handy when you are willing to take it to some remote water where the terrain isn’t suitable for a car. Apart from that, you can easily store an inflatable kayak inside your shelf or closet and don’t need a big garage.

Unsinkable

Inflatable kayaks are better for beginners, especially those who wanna surf into the sea. As these kayaks have several air chambers inside them, it is pretty hard to sink an inflatable kayak. Even if you hit something hard or pointy and puncture somewhere on the kayak, the remaining air chambers will keep the kayak afloat while you paddle back to the shore for repair.

Lower Price

Inflatable kayaks are available out there at a lower price than rigid kayaks. It makes inflatable kayaks more accessible for beginners or those who just wanna buy an inflatable kayak for their hobbies. Who wants to spend a whole lot of bucks at the beginning?

Stability

Inflatable kayaks seem to have greater stability than rigid kayaks as they have a wider bottom than the rigid ones. If you inflate your kayak properly, it can withstand pretty large waves and bounce off small hurdles easily keeping you straight on the boat.

Durability

Inflatable kayaks are highly durable. Though they are very susceptible to puncture, modern inflatable kayaks are built to withstand heavy hits and won’t sink even if several punctures happen. It is wise to carry the repair kit coming with the kayak to wherever you go.

Versatility

If you aren’t a professional racer or something, you might not wanna buy a kayak for just one reason. You should go for a kayak that can accompany you in your relaxation as well as can be a camping tool while you are outing with your friends or family.

Inflatable kayaks are very versatile as they can be used in almost any way you want.

Cons:

Speed

No matter how good the inflatable kayaks are, there will always be latency in speed due to the nature of their build. Inflatable kayaks will gain less speed than rigid kayaks at any given time. But if you are buying an inflatable kayak just for chilling around, speed should not be a great factor to consider.

Preparation

Rigid kayaks can be directly put into the water while inflatable kayaks need some time for preparation. You will need any sort of pump to inflate all the chambers of the kayak. You will also need to monitor the air pressure for every compartment to make sure the kayak is fully inflated.

All these take some time but will compensate in the experience.

Wind and Waves

Rigid kayaks have a sharper hull to cut through the water easily and thus they can overcome any sort of adverse water and weather conditions which isn’t possible by inflatable kayaks due to their flatter bottom.

Though you will find some models with high performance in any condition, this is a major setback for inflatable kayaks.

Storage Preparation

As inflatable kayaks needed some extra time to launch, they will also need some more time to completely dry up and be ready to store. You have to fully dry your inflatable kayak before storing it to prevent the growth of mildew on the shelf.

If you are an occasional tourer, it shouldn’t be a great problem but if you love to travel frequently, it might be a headache.

Types Of Inflatable Kayak

You will find a lot of models out there but should know what type fits you right. It is better to take some time to consider things than repenting after you buy them. Here are a few types of inflatable kayaks that you need to check out.

Recreational

These types of kayaks are made for occasional tourists who just want to surf the water once or twice a year. As these people are mostly beginners, these types of kayaks are made to be highly stable and easy to paddle.

Fishing

Fishing kayaks are specially made targeting anglers who will need a lot of accessories on their boats. These kayaks have slip-resistant floors so that anglers can stand up easily to cast and reel, seats are specially designed for added comfort, fishing rod holders, and a lot of others to lessen your hassle on the sea.

Whitewater

This is the perfect type if you are buying an inflatable sea kayak which is built to give a sharp performance in rough water. But it needs to be shorter and usually have less storage space than other types.

Single Person

Single-person kayaks are pretty small in size and very lightweight to allow one person to paddle it all the way around.

Two Person

These types of kayaks have a seating arrangement for a maximum of two persons in case if you wanna take your partner for an outing.

Best Inflatable Sea Kayak Reviews

​​​​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.

​1.Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak With Pro Package

Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Sports Kayak

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 radio frequency 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 134×34-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.

Pros

  • It is rigid enough for sea kayaking
  • It is compact and easily fits into a small car
  • It is durable; does not easily tear, wear or fold in on itself
  • Guarantees strength and sturdiness when in open ocean conditions
  • Can comfortably fit two people when fully inflated or even a dog
  • You can comfortably carry your camping supplies without sinking

Cons

  • It is heavy, weighs about 40 lbs
  • You cannot attach a trolling motor to it

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2.Rave Sea Rebel Inflatable Kayak

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.

Pros

  • It gives a smooth and stable ride
  • It is made of a very durable material
  • The bright yellow color makes it visible for safety
  • Comes with study paddles and a water bottle holder
  • Takes a shorter time to inflate and deflate it, about 5 minutes
  • It is pretty easy to operate and control it even on moderate waves

Cons

  • Cannot withstand extreme weather conditions
  • It is only ideal for calm, still, shallow waters

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3.Sea Eagle 300x Inflatable Explorer Kayak

This is touted as the top inflatable sea kayak under the Sea Eagle brand– or at least, one of the best.

The kayak was designed to combine the durability, stability and buoyancy of the Explorer series as well as the maneuverability of a whitewater kayak.

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.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Tracks so well
  • It is super rigid
  • Bounces off objects in the water easily
  • Has a high paddling performance response
  • It is versatile, can be used in open water, calm waters and whitewater

Cons

  • It is heavy
  • A motor mount cannot be added

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4.Blue Wave Sports Nomad 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

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.

Pros

  • It is portable
  • Easy paddling
  • Comes with a repair kit
  • Comfortable for long trips
  • Easy to deflate and inflate
  • It has three air chambers to prevent leakage

Cons

  • It is semi-rigid
  • The foot pump is difficult to use

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5.Sea Eagle 420x Inflatable Kayak With Deluxe Package

This is the largest inflatable kayak in Sea Eagle’s Explorer series. You can bring along one or two friends on your trip without worrying about the kayak becoming too cramped.

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.

Pros

  • Portable and compact
  • The kayak is versatile in use
  • Very strong, rigid and durable
  • It is wind and wave-resistant
  • Can be used for longer expeditions
  • Big and spacious enough for 3 people

Cons

  • For a newbie, the set up can be a bit challenging
  • It does not come with a skeg so you might need to purchase one

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Things To Consider When Buying ​Best Inflatable Sea Kayak

How do you choose a quality inflatable sea kayak? You need to consider some important things before you purchase. Check out these buying tips.

The Type Of Waters That You Will Be Paddling In

Different vessels are specially designed to meet different needs in terms of the types of water to paddle. If paddling in whitewater, you will need a tough kayak while still calm waters will require a normal standard kayak.

How Often You Will Be Kayaking?

If you are looking for a vessel to use just once or twice during the summer vacations then it will be different from one looking for a vessel for frequent every weekend use.

Weight

How much weight can the kayak handle? Whether a solo ride, two or three person ride, the weight a kayak can take in maters. There are some which can take on more weight than others.

Portability

The greatest advantage of inflatable sea kayaks is the fact that they are lightweight and portable however some tend to be more portable than others.

How well they can maneuver. Depending on the type of paddling, some kayaks are great for straight ahead tracking while others can be turned easily. If going for white waters you will need one that maneuvers easily that is why they are shorter.

Passenger Capacity

There are solo ride kayaks and there are two-person rides that are ideal for couples. There are also big enough to accommodate a small family of three. Whatever your capacity is, it determines which inflatable kayak to go for. You can even share with a pet if you so wish. Take note of the passenger’s weight though.

Kayak Accessories

There are models that will come with accessories such as a foot pump, a repair kit, paddles and PFD’s and there are models that you will have to purchase the accessories separately.

Extra Tips For Sea Kayaking

Seas can be unpredictable, so is the condition of any beginner kayaker facing a big wave. You will be safer when you follow these pro tips from veterans in this sport. Take care of a few things while you are venturing onto the seas.

  • If you are a beginner kayaker, always stay close to the shore. Keep the shore within your eyesight so that you can quickly get back in case of any difficulty.
  • Secure your position on the boat with a safety rope or something so that you don’t get thrown into the whitewater.
  • Be aware of the rip current. If you are surfing in the tidal areas, rip current can pull you back strongly and you can get lost anytime.
  • Wear bright clothes and bright colored life jackets so that you get noticed from far. It will also be helpful to locate you in case if you are in danger.
  • Tie your essentials like the paddle, fishing rod, etc. to the boat so that you don’t lose them with the hit of the waves.
  • Don’t face bigger waves from sides. Let them come in straight towards you and get bumped over if you don’t wanna get tipped over.
  • Stay awake and be careful to look for any unwanted wave motion, sharp or pointy particle, etc. so that you don’t puncture the boat.
  • In case of an emergency, don’t panic. Stay as calm as possible and call for help. Try to pinpoint your location so that rescuers find you quickly.
  • For extra safety, you should carry the following gears along with you while kayaking in the seas:
  • Always have a repair kit with you on the boat because you don’t know when you will need it. Repair kits usually come from the boat manufacturer but if you need any extra kit, make sure you collect before the journey and all the tools are okay to use. It is also important to know how to repair a puncture or handle other repairs with those tools.
  • If you aren’t careful, you can lose your paddle or it can break mid-sea. Always have an extra paddle and secure them to the boat with the help of a paddle leash.
  • Carrying a mobile phone can be helpful but often you might go out of the network. So, radio is a must-have if you go deeper. It will help you communicate with the shore as well as call the rescuers if there is an emergency.
  • Tiny boats like kayaks aren’t often seen by other sailors. Carry a whistle or foghorn with you so that you can blow it to draw the attention of others coming to your path.
  • Always have a pressure gauge on the boat so that you can monitor the air pressure when it is necessary. Running into the water with a kayak that doesn’t have enough pressure can slower your speed and can damage the outer body of the kayak.

Final Verdict

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!

Barry Robinson
 

Hi. This is Barry J. Robinson. I love to fishing, kayaking and blogging. I start fishing & kayaking when I was at the age of 18. I love to write about my fishing & kayaking review and parts review. Regularly writing about fishing and kayaking for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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