Getting started in kayaking can start on the right foot by choosing the best kayak for beginners. This is a great choice for recreational use because it’s easy to inflate and deflate, transport and use, and repair.
But beware as many kayaks for beginners aren’t exactly safe to use on flat water for extended periods, mainly because of their thin vinyl material.
You should be careful about considering the durability of the material, the sturdiness of its overall construction, and the safety features incorporated into the kayak.
Your choice can make the difference between a beginner continuing with and stopping on his kayaking adventures.
The best inflatable kayaks for beginners are usually light in weight, easy to handle on smooth waters, and quick to respond, even turn on a small radius.
Many have rigid to semi-rigid frames, oftentimes with stiffening bars running down the length of the floor, for greater performance.
Most, if not all, are made from PVC materials including tarpaulin and vinyl, which may or may not be treated with a special coating.
Table of Contents
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person
123 x 36 x 20 inches
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set
137.8 x 29.9 x 15 inches
Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
12.5 x 23.1 x 16.2 inches
Coleman Quikpak™ K1 1-Person Kayak
103 x 36 x 30 inches
Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak
34 x 19 x 11 inches
From these five top-rated inflatable kayaks, you will likely find the greatest kayak for beginners for yourself or for your family member, even as a gift to your friend.
I must say that these kayaks are also tested for their ease of assembly and disassembly, ease of use on water, and ease of repairs in case of punctures. The easier the kayak is to use, the more likely you will be encouraged to continue kayaking.
The more experienced kayakers of the group will want to keep a closer eye on the beginner for obvious reasons.
If you’re the beginner, you can take along a more experienced kayaker on your first trips just to learn the ropes. The two-person kayak means that you can either sit at the front or the back depending on the skills you want to learn.
Since this is an inflatable kayak, you shouldn’t have major issues setting it up either in your home first for testing and then on site.
You must read the instructions manual for the step-by-step guide first, inflate the kayak using the high-pressure manual pump, and inspect the kayak for damage.
The inflation and deflation process is a breeze, too, thanks to the two Boston valves – one valve each on each side of the kayak. You can easily pull the fully inflated kayak in and out of the water using the grab handle and grab line.
You don’t have to buy another paddle as there are already two 86-inch aluminum oars in the package. You will also get a pump, a carry bag, and a U.S. Coast Guard identification.
This is a great single-person kayak because it’s already a complete package. You will get the inflatable kayak itself as well as its accessories including an 84-inch aluminum oar and a high-output hand pump.
You can just inflate it on site, push it toward the water and start kayaking but be sure to wear your safety gear (e.g., life vest).
The Intex Challenger K1 kayak is made from sturdy and strong welded material suitable for use in smooth waters. As a beginner, you shouldn’t use it for use in rougher conditions, not even in the open sea in bad weather. This is a minor disadvantage since it can be used for recreational purposes in other areas.
You will find the cockpit a comfortable place for paddling and idling. Your rear has the benefit of firm cushion while you paddle for an hour and idle for another hour, for example. You can sit back on the backrest and relax while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Your fears of tipping over can be reduced, thanks to the semi-rigid I-beam floor. The I-beam construction adds stability to the kayak, a must for beginners.
You and your cargo should keep within the 220-pound weight limit for best performance although the kayak itself weighs in at 27.2 pounds, fully inflated.
Your cargo can be strapped down using the cargo net at the front. Be sure to balance your cargo so that the kayak can float well.
This has such an eye-catching design that you will likely consider it as the best kayak for beginners if only for this reason.
The high-visibility bright green color makes it easy for more experienced kayakers to spot the beginner, whether from the shore or while on the water. The sporty graphics add to its visual appeal.
If you’re the beginner, your basic paddling skills should be sufficient to smoothly push the kayak through the water. This can be attributed to the Challenger K2’s streamlined design from bow to stern as well as its smooth yet sturdy hull material.
The material is Intex’s trademark Super-Tough vinyl, which has been proven highly resistant against punctures and ultraviolet damage.
While it may look small, it can actually accommodate two kayakers in a comfortable manner, thanks to the roomy seats. You can pile on your gear, supplies, and equipment but stick to the 400-pound weight limit.
You may even plan for a weekend kayaking trip to get the hang of the sport while your gear can be stowed in its cargo compartment.
The Challenger K2 also has high responsiveness even with a beginner at the helm. You and your kayaking buddy can quickly paddle using the two 84-inch aluminum oars, which can withstand several uses before these have to be replaced.
Your kayaking trip can start as soon as possible since the kayak is self-contained, so to speak. You will find the high-capacity pump used for inflating and deflating the kayak as well as a repair path kit in the package.
While it isn’t suitable for use in rough waters, such as fast-moving rivers and rapids, you can enjoy it on calm waters including lakes, rivers and estuaries with ease. You will love the durability of the 21-gauge PVC on the kayak’s sides and the tarpaulin at the bottom.
You can rest easy with the knowledge that the kayak’s material has high puncture resistance although you shouldn’t take chances by careering down rapids with large jagged rocks.
The inflatable kayak’s backpack system has a clever design – the backpack turns into a seat with a backrest! You can sit back and relax after an hour of paddling, a feature that many hard-shell and inflatable kayaks lack.
Your paddling efficiency will also improve by experimenting with your foot position on the foot rest, as well as with your padding styles.
Even with a puncture, your kayak will stay afloat for a mile or so, thanks to the multiple air chambers. The valves are designed to let the air in after inflation and let it out after deflation.
Other features include a secure storage area, a cup holder, and carry handles for portability. The kayak comes with a paddle and hand pump.
This is a solid, sturdy and strong boat that relative to its price, you will get the best value for your money.
The Sea Eagle SE370K kayak can be set up within 10 minutes or so, thanks partly to the efficiency of the high-output foot pump. A few users say that they spent nearly 30 minutes inflating the kayak but most users attest to the ease with which it can be set up.
Tip: You can use a pressure gauge to get the right pressure level for inflation. You have to buy it although the foot pump already comes with the package.
Once inflated, you will find that it’s a surprisingly lightweight product – just 32 pounds. You can carry it from the shore to the water, with or without assistance depending on your strength.
When in the water, you will want to use the self-draining drain valve and one-way valves to keep water away from the cockpit. You will be less wet, too, thanks to the lashed-down inflatable spray skirts.
I must say that every single one of these products can take the award for being the top kayak for beginners because of the combination of durability, stability and maneuverability, as well as ease of set up, use and storage.
But since your needs and wants will be different from the rest of your fellow beginner kayakers, you will likely prefer one over the other.
You should buy the best kayak for beginners for your case now and start learning the basics of kayaking. Soon, you will understand why kayaking is among the most popular recreational activities among family and friends!