9 Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2020
By now you’ve learned beginner techniques but do you know the different types of kayaks. An inflatable kayak offers the versatility, portability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of setting up, every paddler looks for when looking for a great day on the water. This is the way we like to do our fishing. That is why we can help you find the best inflatable kayak to fit your needs.
Inflatable kayaks do not just have to be used for fishing. They can also be used to float down a river, get a nice workout on your nearest lake, or to simply just go for a paddle. The best part is that these kayaks are more durable than they used to be and because of that they have a much longer lifespan.
Best Inflatable Kayaks
Solo Inflatable Kayak
When you are just going to be fishing in your kayak then you want an Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro Inflatable Kayak. It takes inflatable fishing to the next level! It has a wide beam and Drop-stitch floor technology that allows you to feel confident standing up or bringing in big catches. This Advanced Elements StraitEdge Inflatable Kayak contains multi-layer material and 5 air chambers which provide maximum durability for aggressive conditions.
The 5 chambers allow you protection and keep you floating even if a chamber gets punctured. I always say, “The more chambers the better” that way you are not stuck swimming in open water. With their Accessory Frame System, you are able to add aftermarket 1″ rail-mounts you can customize your kayak with rod holders, a fish finder, or other equipment.
Its AirFrame PRO™ seat with mesh paneling provides real support and comfort for long days on the water. With additional features such as stainless steel d-rings, bungee deck lacing for abundant gear storage, paddle holders, and patented aluminum rib-frame technology, for superior tracking and performance, there’s nothing left to do but reel in that monster catch!
The AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite is one of the newest inflatable kayak designs. It is a hybrid of a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak, the Expedition incorporates proven aluminum rib-frame technology in the bow and stern, and Drop-stitch technology in the floor, to provide paddling performance that rivals that of a hard-shell kayak.
These two working together to deliver optimal paddling performance, the aluminum ribs form a shape that cuts through the water while the Drop-stitch floor provides unparalleled rigidity in an inflatable and creates hull chine. The Expedition Elite is one of the longest 1-person kayaks you will find so it offers plenty of storage space for any adventure you take.
When you choose the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame you are choosing a kayak that is a combination of a folding kayak and an inflatable kayak. It utilizes its built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern to slice through the water like a knife and rivals the trackability of hard-shell kayaks. It uses extremely durable materials in 3-layer construction and features many high-end components. Also, has 7 chambers and its a kayak that has one of the highest numbers of chambers available and if you have read my other reviews you know how we like having many chambers. If 1 gets punctured then the other 6 will keep you afloat so you can get back to shore to repair the puncture.
There is plenty of onboard storage room, sets up in a few minutes, and is compact enough to take along on weekend adventures. It sets up in just a few minutes and is compact enough to take along on a weekend adventure. For even more convenience, this Advanced Elements kayak easily folds up to dimensions of 30” x 17” x 10”.
The only con in our minds is the 300 pounds maximum weight capacity. That is one of the lowest numbers you will find but this is not a major factor, just will cut down on how much storage you can take on-board with you.
Tandem Inflatable Kayaks
The Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Tandem kayak is a compact and durable recreational inflatable kayak equipped with several unique features that make it perfect for fun on the water! With a multi-layer construction, multiple grab handles, bungee deck lacing, high back seats, a pointed bow with rocker, and a tracking fin for enhanced performance, the Island Voyage™ 2 is ready for your next adventure. Whether you are floating rivers or paddling lakes, you will appreciate the quality in this stable recreational kayak.
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak is a 15′ kayak that like the Chinook XP Two, it can be paddled solo or tandem. It offers an open deck design, you can easily enter and exit the boat or utilize the optional single or double decks to convert your AdvancedFrame Convertible from an open deck to a closed deck kayak in a matter of seconds. The AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak also has the advantage of being designed with the combination of having the hard-shell kayak shell as well as the advantages of an inflatable kayak. It can be folded up and stored away or made easier to tow.
Inflatable Kayak Buyer’s Guide
Why fish using an inflatable kayak?
The major positives of using an inflatable kayak are its portability and cost-effectiveness. When it comes to portability you can carry or tow these kayaks easily because you will not need to strap it down onto the roof of your car or have a trailer.
You can easily carry your inflatable fishing kayak around in a bag and stow away in the trunk of your car for whenever you need it.
How to choose the best inflatable fishing kayak?
When buying a new kayak there are a few things you should research first. The most important factors to consider are size and stability. First, you need to determine if you are going to use your kayak on the ocean or a lake. The reason you need to know this is because the longer and wider a kayak is, the more stable it is but you cannot paddle large kayaks through waves as easily as you could one with smaller, narrower prows. So inflatable kayaks for lakes are built with larger dimensions so it is sturdier and ocean fishing kayaks need to be able to maneuver easier so they are smaller.
Also, when purchasing a kayak for fishing then you need one that has as large of a surface area as possible. This is because the more length and width the hull has the more stability your kayak will have because the last thing you want is to be reeling in a monster fish and your kayak tips over.
So your kayak’s inner dimensions are very important for multiple reasons. You also need to consider how much gear you will carry with you. Your kayak will give you enough room to store equipment and/or supplies but you will need to consider a kayak’s maximum weight limit when choosing to be sure your kayak can hold everything including you and possibly another rider.
Another factor you need to consider is what type of water you will be paddling in. This determination will help you decide the amount of durability and protection you need your inflatable kayak to have. The reason you need to consider the water you will be on is that ocean’s waves are rougher on a kayak than a lake would be. If you are going to be on the ocean then it would be a good idea to pick a kayak with a self-bailing design. This type of design has holes in the bottom of the kayak that allows water that comes into your boat to flow out of the holes.
Once you decide on the type of water you will be rowing on then you need to determine what type of geological features the body of water has. Determining this helps you decide on how much protection is needed on the bottom of your kayak. If the lake you are paddling on has shallow waters and rocky areas then you will need more durability on the bottom. It’s important to find a kayak that is made with a durable PVC, Hypalon, or Nitrylon outer shell. You can always buy extra rubstrips and bumpers to guard your kayak against further abrasions or tears.
Lastly, a small feature that really does not have to be given much thought into is rod holders. Most inflatable fishing kayaks will have a basic version of these but some kayaks have an upgraded version of rod holders. There is not much benefit to having the better rod holders other than just make reeling in a fish easier but in my opinion, it is definitely worth the extra money.
Inflatable Kayak Vs Hard-Shell Kayak
This is a question I get asked about most when it comes to kayaks. They both have their pros and cons but I normally lean towards inflatable kayaks when I’m choosing for myself. First off, if you are on a budget then inflatable versions are way cheaper. The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is the cheapest inflatable kayak costing as much as $200 cheaper than other inflatable kayaks. That is because it is a combination of an inflatable kayak and a folding kayak. Although pricing can be swayed on extra features and such you will still pay a lot less for inflatable kayaks than for rigid kayaks.
Another advantage to inflatables is the portability. If you live in an area where you can’t store a hard shell kayak or don’t have the proper rack on top of your vehicle to tow one then you will want to choose an inflatable kayak.
One of the main advantages of hard-shell kayaks is their maneuverability. Its superior handling is one reason major enthusiasts prefer a rigid shell. Don’t let this debate get you down because it is a hard decision because there is a third option. The third option is a folding kayak. These kayaks give you the best of both worlds. It gives you the handling and sturdy frame of a hard-shell kayak but gives the portability of packing down to the size of an inflatable. The downside to folding kayaks is that they can be more expensive than the other two models but is definitely worth the money. If you need more help choosing a kayak then be sure to read our guide on how to choose a kayak.