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I’ve been taking to the water in kayaks for over 30 years since I was a kid, usually on holidays. We never had the space to store my kayak, so we always rented on the day for a few hours. Still, I’ve been lucky enough to paddle in some of the most beautiful places, from Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District, but more recently, Loch Ken in Scotland. Not forgetting some stunning local canals and local water parks, including Sale Water Park and Hollingworth Lake in Manchester.
Up until around 10 years ago, I had always rented rigid kayaks, but that was limited to holidays, and my local waters were only open at weekends to rent kayaks. That was when I decided to get my first inflatable kayak, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, to give inflatable kayaks a try. This was a game-changer for me! I could kayak whenever I wanted as they are so compact and easy to transport in the boot of my car. This was when I started to get serious about the best inflatable kayaks, and I even got my mother-in-law into kayaking. One trip out with me, and she had ordered her own off Amazon!
Since then, I’ve upgraded several times. More recently, my kids have caught the bug, so I invested in this Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak. What a Kayak this is for the price! You have to buy the paddles and pump separately, but what a beginner-friendly inflatable kayak it’s turned out to be; more on this below.
What I will say is that over the last 10 years, since I ordered my first inflatable kayak, they have evolved from simple inflatable kayaks to serious watercraft with double-skinned layers and extra durable PVC/Rubber materials that can take a beating, features previously only found on rigid kayaks. Just 10 years ago, I didn’t dare take my inflatable too close to overhanging trees for fear of getting a puncture, but that has since changed with these extra durable inflatable kayaks.
You can now paddle along rivers, lakes, canals and even at sea with an inflatable kayak just like you would with a rigid one. Some of these inflatable kayaks can compete with rigid kayaks in terms of performance and durability, yet inflatables have the extra advantages of convenience, portability and ease of storage.
Below are some of the best inflatable Kayaks I’ve tested which I have included in my review:
- ITIWIT 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak – My favourite inflatable kayak, amazing value and plenty of space, double-skinned and very durable.
- Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak – Another very impressive inflatable kayak, very well made and amazing seats with high backs, very comfortable to sit in.
- Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – A great beginner option for those looking to get a taste of kayaking, good value for the price.
- Aqua Marina Memba Leisure Drop Stitch Inflatable Kayak – A lovely kayak for those looking for a premium option. It is very stable, tracks well, has good seats which are not inflatable and is very well made and packs away easily with plenty of space in the bag, it comes with decent oars.
- Sevylor Inflatable Kayak Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe – A nice, more affordable alternative to the ITIWIT 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak.
Surprisingly, one of my favourite inflatable kayaks is this Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak. Now, this model is also available as a one-person and 1/2 person kayak, the same kayak. They have the same durable materials, just a different size. I choose the larger 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak as I have two kids, my 6-year-old rides with me, and my 13-year-old daughter usually uses her own kayak. However, if she ever wants to come out with me, there is still room for the three of us.
Also, getting the 2/3 person model means there is plenty of room for me and another person (usually my daughter) and plenty of space to relax and carry equipment if needed. If you are camping, for example, you can easily bring some camping gear. If it’s just for one person, I recommend getting the 1 person version as there is plenty of space. If you want the extra space or the option to bring a friend, then the 1/2 seater is the way to go. In terms of size, the 2-3 person is around 382cm (12.5ft) long, the 1-2 person is 340cm (11ft) long, and the 1 person is only 300cm (just under 10ft). The main advantage of going smaller is usually the folded-down size and weight, both when inflated and in the bag. The smaller they are, the easier they are to deal with and carry on your back.
My Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak is quite heavy, and the straps could be better, but I got myself a small foldable trolley, which makes moving it around so much easier.
These Iniwit inflatable kayaks are one of the best beginner-friendly kayaks you can get. They are good enough even for experienced users looking for a more affordable option. They are mid-range kayaks. When you compare these to the cheaper single-skin PVC kayaks such as the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak (still a great choice if you are just getting started) or similar. They’re just in a different boat, so to speak.
It’s the build quality that really sets them apart. The Itiwit inflatable kayaks are twin-skinned; they have an outer 100% polyester durable fabric and then a Polyvinyll Chloride inner (the inflatable part). There are 3 removable Polyvinyll inflatable tubes; you have one for the floor, and the two sides. Inflating is easy enough, and they have a well-designed valve system that does not let the air out when you remove the pump. They also have large removable screw-on caps over the value, which you can remove to deflate the kayak quickly after use.
When it comes to stability, it’s very stable; you don’t feel like it might tip over like you do some kayaks, and it’s a nice, smooth ride. The seats are not bad, but they are not the most comfortable seats I’ve sat in. That badge goes to my friends Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak (more on this further down). If I don’t fully inflate the seat, set the backrest straps further back, and sit slightly forward, I find it is much more comfortable. It also tracks really well, thanks to the 3 skegs.
The only downside is it doesn’t dry out as quick as a single-skin Kayaks, but it’s not a big deal. I turn it upside down, let gravity do its thing, and have a sponge and towel handy to wipe it down. Overall, I’ve been pleased with this kayak. You can sometimes find a good deal on these on eBay. I also recommend getting a double-action pump. With mine, it only takes about 5 minutes to inflate with the larger 2-3 person kayak. Thats goes for all kayaks. Double-action pumps are worth every penny as are a decent set of paddles!
If you are just getting started and looking for a more affordable option I still think this Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is an excellent value for money and hard to beat. I’ve had one of these for about 8 years now, and it’s still going. I kept it so friends or family can use it when we go away with them. It’s a single skin vinyl kayak, but it’s relatively decent quality and does the job.
It comes with everything you need and not for much over £100, including the oars and pump; all you need is your buoyancy aid jacket, and you’re good to go. What I would say is that the oars are not the best and may be worth upgrading at some point, but other than that, it’s a great entry-level model. Overall, it tracks well and dries fast and inflating isn’t too bad, but there are 5 parts to inflate. From experience, blow up valves 4 and 5 by mouth; if you use a pump, the air escapes before you get the cap on, but it only takes 4 or 5 puffs with the final chambers anyway.
If you’re looking at paying more for an inflatable kayak for quality, one that’s a little more premium and made to last then this Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak is worth considering. I’ve been out a handful of times with my friends Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak. First things first, the quality is instantly noticeable; it’s a heavy-duty material and single-skin design, but it has a drop-stitch floor. The drop stitch floor means the floor is much more solid/firm and more like a paddleboard floor. Plus, it was much easier to dry than my Itiwit. I was impressed by the ride; it was super smooth and easy to paddle, and the seats were amazing. The seats are so comfortable, much better than the ones on my Itiwit kayak. This is because they have high backs, but they are so comfortable sitting in and offer much more support for your back. They also have pockets on the back of the chairs, which is handy.
Overall, everything has been well thought out! It has a waterproof pocket on the kayak, pockets behind the backrest, a compact double action pump, and even the oars that separate into 3 pieces for transport and are made from lightweight aluminium with smooth nylon blades. Basiclly everything is decent quality, and it shows. I’ll soon upgrade to one of these once my youngest daughter can get her own kayak, and I’m riding solo or with friends again.
Before I get into the review, I would like to say that you should always prioritise safety and her are some tips.
Always wear a buoyancy aid. For me, this is super important. It’s not worth the risk, even if you’re a strong swimmer like me, especially if you take children out. I also always carry a throw rope to pull someone in if they fall out (yet to be used). This is usually on rivers or the sea, where someone can easily be separated from the kayak.
I always take a dry bag to keep everything dry, towels, spare clothes, etc. I also take a waterproof phone pouch thats goes around my neck. My phone is waterproof, but lakes and rivers can be very deep! Finally, take a good length of rope to tie your kayak up if you stop somewhere, such as on a canal, to get a drink.
I also recommend getting a British Canoeing membership, as it allows you to go on most rivers and canals in England (around 4,500km of waterways). It also comes with Public and Products Liability Insurance. I can’t imagine doing much damage in my inflatable kayak, but some private waters, such as my local Hollingworth Lake, ask for it, so it’s worth having for this and my peace of mind. Plus, it only costs around £47 a year.
Below you will find our reviews for the Top 6 models I would recommend.
Following this, you will find a buyer’s guide designed to help you decide which model would be best for you and what features you should look out for. So let’s get straight to it and see which inflatable kayaks are worth considering, starting with my favourite, the ITIWIT 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak.
Inflatable Kayak Reviews
1. ITIWIT 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak
The Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak is I think the best inflatable kayak for most people. It’s not the cheapest but it’s definitely one of the best for the price and the build quality is very good. Although it has three adult seats which fit well into the kayak, the maximum load capacity is 230kg. I think it’s a good size for two adults and a child or one adult and two children or three teenagers (if you dare).
Alternatively, you can just remove one of the seats and have two adults and all of their gear for a weekend of kayaking and wild camping. Or even with just yourself for a meditative paddle around. I’ve tested it with two adults and a child and me and a child and it still tracks well and is easy to paddle.
There’s a whole range of possibilities with the Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak. Just be careful on the sea as it’s designed for recreational kayaking on flat, calm, protected water. I’ve used it on the sea a few times and its be stable but you do need to be aware of tides and the wind, Many a kayaker has been rescued at sea, so don’t become one of them.
This is a bright orange and grey kayak with a matching backpack that everything fits into as shown above. It even has a front pocket where you can slide your paddles in during transport. I actually have a small foldable trolley to which I attach my backpack which makes moving it around much easier as it is heavy to wear.
What I will mention is that it doesn’t come with a pump or paddles so these are extra on top of the price of the kayak. I’d recommend getting a double-action pump and some decent oars.
Unlike most kayaks that are single-skinned, this INIWIT has a double layer, the outer is 100% polyester and the inner inflatable parts are Polyvinyl chloride. The inner inflatable part can also be removed from the covers which means doing a deep clean is easy but also makes it easier to dry. What I usually do after each use is just place it upside down and let it dry. If I’m putting it away for winter or any length of time, I usually remove the inner parts and let them dry. Once it is completely dry it’s ready for storing and won’t get mouldy like they do if you put them away damp.
The kayak inflates in around 5-10 minutes using a double-action pump and how much energy I have at the time. The advantage of this kayak is that it only has 3 main chambers to inflate, the floor first, and then each side. You then inflate the seats. The good thing is that it’s all the inflatable chambers are inflated to 1.5psi so super easy to remember but it’s also printed clearly around the valves.
In terms of the ride, it’s very comfortable and you glide effortlessly through the (calm) water as the bow shape is patented by Itiwit for just that purpose. Overall, it’s just a really nice ride. The only downside is the seats could perhaps be more comfortable. I’ve found it I only inflate the seats partially and set the backrest straps as long as possible it’s more comfortable. I didn’t actually realise how comfortable the seats could be until I went out in my friend’s Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak. Those seats have a higher back and it made all the difference.
Let’s talk weight, it’s not too heavy but it’s certainly much easier to move around with two people if you each get a handle on each end. It has two more handles on the side that make it easy enough on my own but I wouldn’t say it’s light.
And while you’re gliding, you’re sitting in comfort. The seats are inflatable so you can have them soft or hard according to your preference as previously mentioned.
- Bright orange and grey inflatable kayak fits up to three people.
- Constructed from polyester fabric on the inside and polyvinyl chloride on the outside.
- Three raised inflatable adult seats.
- Double-skinned hull.
- Inflates in 10 minutes.
- Plenty of room for your gear if two people in the kayak.
- Maximum carry load of 230kg.
- Side stoppers and inflatable board for stability.
- Patented bow shape for best glide performance.
- Spare parts available online or at Decathlon dealer.
- Comes with matching backpack, a pump and a repair kit.
- Dimensions: 3.82m (length); 1.08m (width).
- Need to supply your own paddles and pump.
This Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak is a great choice for the first kayak for anyone wanting to get a feel for whether they like the sport but want to spend a little more for a more premium option.
It’s on the lower end of the price range for inflatable kayaks but it’s not the cheapest, however, it’s a great piece of kit and very well made. Being able to hold up to three people (up to 230kg in weight), lets you use it solo, with a partner or with your family. This is a versatile recreational kayak that won’t break the bank, even though you do need to buy the paddles and pump separately. I’ve had mine for a few years and it’s been amazing, well worth considering.
2. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a 2 person inflatable kayak and was the first inflatable kayak I bought some 8 years ago. I’ve used it alot on lakes in the Lake District, lochs in Scotland and even on the canal. It has a streamlined design, bright yellow in colour and sporty graphics that make the kayak highly visible in the water. I think it’s a great entry-level kayak for getting a taste for kayaking without dropping a few hundred pounds on a more premium model like my Iniwit touring kayak. Overall it’s been a great piece of kit but it’s not as durable as some of the more premium models so you do need to take a little more care.
One of the top considerations when choosing a kayak is functionality. The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak scores very good marks in this area despite the budget price. This kayak is ideal for 2 people with a combined weight of up to 350 lbs max. (158kg) – 22kg less than the 2-3 person Iniwit which isn’t made.
It has a spacious seating area as shown above that provides enough freedom for movement. The seats are inflatable and easy to adjust to your desired position in order to achieve maximum comfort, which is also ensured by the backrest. The kayak includes two 86’’ aluminium oars which are quite functional, however, not adjustable and I think it’s worth upgrading but they do the job if your just getting started.
When taking kayak trips far from the shore, reliability is a must for any reasonable kayak. The 30 gauge vinyl material used on this kayak has the ability to withstand the usual bumps as well as children who jump in and out of your kayak on a consistent basis and mine had plenty of use.
The stability of the kayak is addressed by inflatable I-Beam floors whilst removable skegs ensure directional stability. Solo kayakers can use the extra seat as storage and help counterbalance weight to enhance stability.
The body has two separate air chambers to help the kayak remain buoyant just in case a puncture occurs. The chambers are located in the main hull and in the floor. A repair patch is included to help you fix any punctures that may occur during use.
When out with family for fun, safety is a top priority. The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is designed with safety in mind thanks to a durable construction that helps support the prerequisite weight in all water conditions. The kayak is well-balanced and that offers a great sense of security trying to move about the vessel or even standing in it. Basically, it’s super stable which is something it has going for it.
The kayak is genuinely hard to capsize and should it flip it’s lightweight and this allows one person to turn it back to an upright position with little effort. The hull is quite deep to prevent taking on the water in all except the worst water conditions. In addition, the dazzling yellow colour makes it easy to locate in tough weather conditions.
Last but not least, it comes with a manual hand pump to help inflate the kayak whenever you want to take it on the water. At the end of the day, the kayak is easy to deflate and carry using the supplied carry bag and pack away until the next trip.
- Comes with everything you need to get going – sturdy 86’’ aluminium oars, quick to inflate Boston valves, and a Hi-Output manual hand pump to get you out in no minutes.
- Easy to spot from other boats due to bright colour exterior combined with contrasting shades of the water. This makes you stay safe on the water.
- Offers plenty of space for two and leaves enough space for other items such as food, water, and extra gear.
- Provides users with maximum comfort and support thanks to the adjustable seats with backrests.
- Quite lightweight, making it ideal for one-person operation and going for solo trips, or when a partner gives up paddling. This ensures you won’t be left stranded in the middle of nowhere.
- Comes at a decent price which many find as an absolute bargain for the quality and functionality of the kayak.
- Paddles are not adjustable, so this kayak is hard for kids to maneuver around, it is also a little soft so looses energy when paddling, may be worth investing in a new set but fine for just playing around.
- Plastic connectors on the oars are susceptible to snapping, thus making storage a bit difficult.
- Does not fold down into a backpack so is not as portable as our best pick and as also fairly heavy.
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak scores points in two major areas relating to functionality, durability, safety and price. It’s designed for two passengers. However, it also encourages solo trips. Everything you need to get going is included as well as a repair kit for emergencies. The kayak is well-constructed for increased stability and reduced weight for ease of use.
Probably the biggest positive about the Intex Explorer K2 model is the price. This kayak offers great value for money in the long run, making it an ideal choice for beginners.
Of course, there are a few niggles with the Explorer K2. One is that the paddles are a little flimsy so you lose energy in the water, we would get some new more sturdy ones.
All in all, if you are on a budget, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is an excellent choice that would save you money to spend on other accessories. Great product for having some fun with at the local lake or taking on holiday.
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3. Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak
The Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayak is designed for those who have been kayaking for a while and looking for a more premium inflatable kayak with a drop-stitch floor for more stability. I have not personally owned one of these but my friend owns one and I’ve been out in it a handful of times in the Lake District. What a Kayak this is!
The one thing that really stood out with my limited use is how comfortable the seats are. The seats are not inflatable but cushioned but they have high backs which makes all the difference. The build quality of the hull and oars is also on another level. The downside is the price, it cost him upwards of £500 for the 2-person one but with everything considered its well worth the price especially when compared to kayaks that cost over £1000.
The Scout model comes in a one-person or two-person kayak which is the model I’ve been lucky enough to travel in while the Ranger model is designed for one-person.
First up, the kayak is a camouflage blue colour that’s quite striking. The hull is strong and durable, made of three-ply PVC with a UV-resistant coating. It won’t fade, grow brittle or crack with use in the sunny summer months. The material used is a decent thickness but this adds to the durability. The base is drop-stitched for strength and stability which is why it’s quite expensive.
What it does come with is a decent dual-action pump (with ergonomic grip) for inflating the kayak in less than 10 minutes. It’s a decent little pump! This pump uses both the up and down action for the inflation action – two pumps of air in with one action. You can easily switch to a single action when you near the psi you need too which is useful.
The kayak seats are not inflatable, they are more of a soft padding but probably the most comfortable seat I’ve sat in on a kayak. Not only does this keep you from sitting in any water in the bottom of the kayak, it also lets you have a soft or firmer cushion under you. You can further customise your comfort on your seat as the support rods are removable. The side wing supports offer extra comfort, as does the soft neoprene back. There’s room for your sunglasses and water bottle in the rear mesh seat in front of you, or in your own seat if you’re paddling alone.
And as for the paddles that come with it, these are really good quality and fasten nicely to the side of the backpack when travelling which is super useful. Each paddle comes in three pieces with a lightweight aluminium shaft and nylon blade. Adjust the length to anything between 224cm and 251.5cm according to your arm length and preferred paddling style. You can adjust the blade head angle to one that works for you. The paddles have laser etched hand grips and quick-release clamps as well. Overall there a good set of paddles.
This makes them easy to hold and then detach from the kayak.
As I mentioned above, the Scout two-seater can be used by one or two adults. Even with two adults on the kayaking excursion, there’s a significant amount of storage for all the gear that a boat trip seems to need. At both the front and the rear of the boat you find a large cargo area (in the open) with detachable cargo bungee cords designed to hold down whatever packs and bags you store there.
In addition, at the front there’s a zippered mesh storage area for items you don’t mind getting wet. And in the same area, there’s a water resistant pocket for those small items you need to keep dry, perhaps your phone or iPad. It’s simply been well thought out! And, of course, you can also squish packs down at your feet.
All of this kayaking gear fits into a (included) backpack. The front pocket of the backpack is for the pump and there’s lots of padding on the pack so you can wear it comfortably.
- Camouflage blue dual person inflatable kayak.
- Hull is three-ply PVC with UV-resistant coating.
- Two inflatable adult seats.
- Fits into a backpack (included; matching).
- Inflates in less than 10 minutes.
- Two large cargo areas with detachable cargo bungee cords and zippered mesh storage area.
- Portage handles are neoprene.
- Water bottle holders in front of seats.
- Action camera mount on the bow of the kayak.
- Comes with two aluminium adjustable paddles and a dual action hand pump.
- Includes two kayak touring fins.
- Comes with a waterproof phone case.
- Dimensions: 3.55m (length); 91cm (width); and 36cm (depth)
Unpack the backpack containing the Bluefin Scout Inflatable Kayak and you have everything you need to go kayaking right away. This kayak is designed for people who are already familiar with kayaking and would like to customise parts of their kayak and paddling experience. It’s also suitable for those who take overnight or multi-day kayaking trips as there’s plenty of storage space for a tent, camping kit, food, etc. Overall for around £500, it’s an amazing piece of kit. If you’re looking at paying a little more for a decent kayak, this is well worth considering.
4. Aqua Marina Memba Leisure Drop Stitch Inflatable Kayak
The Aqua Marina Memba, Leisure Drop Stitch Inflatable Kayak comes in two models. The first model seats one person, and the second model seats two people. Both models are very similar – there’s 60cm (2ft) difference in their length – so I review them both here.
This grey and orange inflatable kayak fits into a grey backpack (included). The hull cover is made of durable polyester. This is a strong fabric and this version has UV-protection. This stops the colour from fading due to UV rays and prevents the hull from becoming brittle and cracking. The floor of the kayak is of drop-stitched double wall fabric. This method of construction inserts baffles between the two layers of fabrics to keep them apart and add stability to the boat.
A useful feature of this kayak is the multiple carry handles for portaging. These handles are made of a soft rubber that doesn’t dig into your hands as you carry the kayak. The handles are on the sides of the kayak and on the front and the back.
The kayak seats are not inflatable as in other models in this review. Here you have a spongy seat cushion and a curved high back to the seat. The curve in the back supports the sides of your body as you paddle along. You can store gear on the surfaces at the front and back of the kayak, under the bungee cords. There are no extra storage compartments or pockets for your bits and pieces.
I like the Velcro paddle holder on the side of the kayak. This helps the paddle stay with the boat. However, if you’re a vigorous paddler, you might pull the paddle away from the security of the Velcro.
- Grey and orange inflatable kayak that seats one or two people (choose from drop-down menu).
- Designed for calm and protected water.
- Fits into (included) grey backpack.
- Comes with double-action pump and includes paddles and kayak fins.
- Hull cover is made of durable and UV-protected polyester.
- Floor is of drop-stitched double wall fabric.
- Multiple rubber carry handles for portage.
- Kayak seat is adjustable with a spongy cushion and high back.
- Cargo bungee cord to hold your gear on bow and stern.
- Seat(s) held in place by multiple heavy duty strap buckles.
- Velcro paddle holder on the side.
- Fits into carry bag (included).
If you’re going to paddle in calm and enclosed water with a friend or by yourself, the Aqua Marina Memba is a good choice of kayak and a good alternative to the Bluefin Scout and Ranger Inflatable Kayaks at a similar price. It comes with everything you need to go off on your adventure. There’s not a great deal of storage on the kayak, but enough for a day trip or an overnighter if you’re used to roughing it. This is a kayak that’s easy to portage due to the multi-handles on the structure.
5. Sevylor Inflatable Kayak Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe
Similar to the Sevylor Inflatable Riviera in terms of construction, the Sevylor Inflatable Kayak Tahiti Plus – 2+1 man Canadian Canoe has allowed the creation of an extra seat so as to carry 3 passengers, (2 adults and a child) and can be easily converted to a 2 or 3 person kayak when needed. Sevylor has also given this kayak a broad shape to help with stability and increase comfort when out on the water. The kayak specifically measures 363 x 88 cm in its inflated state, meaning it’s 1 1/2 feet longer than the Riviera version, and it weighs 11.7kg so can still be easily transported by wearing it as a backpack.
The maximum carrying capacity is an impressive 200kg (440lbs) and the kayak is known to be the perfect vessel for family kayaking as it carries 2 adults and 1 child as we have already mentioned. With this idea in mind, Sevylor incorporated 3 independent chambers onto this kayak for purpose of safety and stability. Large inflatable side chambers stabilise the vessel whilst the inflatable I-Beam floor chamber makes the base a bit more rigid. The seats are also very supportive and comfortable due to their backrests.
The construction material is PVC and just like the other PVC products from Sevylor, the Tahiti Plus is equipped with a Sevytest pressure gauge to help in accurate inflation. A red bar on this gauge lets know whether to increase or reduce the air, so you can always be confident of the canoe you are taking out onto the water.
The kayak inflation itself is quite a breeze, thanks to the two-way Boston valves that allow you to control the air going in and leaving the chambers. Inflation simply requires you to unscrew the top cap and inserting the pump through the valve. The inflation time is estimated to be just under 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes for some. Once you are done pumping in the air, return a valve to prevent leakage and you’ll be set for your trip. Later on, deflate the kayak by unscrewing the entire valve.
After deflating the canoe, simply roll it into the spray deck and it converts into a nice backpack that you can easily transport on your shoulders. This kind of portability is unmatched and we highly commend Sevylor for the creativity.
- Provides an extra space for a third passenger (child). This makes for a great kayak to go out with friends and family.
- Offers unrivalled portability due to its backpack system. The kayak deflates, rolls back and transforms to an easy-to-carry backpack, eliminating the need of an extra carry bag. Watch the product video on amazon to see this in action,
- Equipped with a Sevytest pressure gauge for accurate inflation. Furthermore, the kayak inflates in less than 10 minutes.
- Has a great carrying capacity of 200kg (440 lbs).
- Seats are not quite as supportive as expected and they slide about when wet.
- Instructions are pathetic, so beginner kayakers may have a hard time setting up the kayak.
The Sevylor Inflatable Kayak Tahiti Plus – 2+1 person Canadian Canoe is specifically designed for two adults and 1 child, however, three people can still be good as far as they don’t weigh more than the recommended capacity.
Just like our best pick, we really like the backpack system of this kayak, which comes into play after deflating the kayak ready for going home. The pressure gauge is incredibly useful whilst a boat repair is also included.
This version has a few niggles, especially concerning the seats. We found concerns that they don’t offer enough support for some people, however, it is evident that there are lots of customers who have purchased this model and not had the same complaints but it is worth thinking about.
All in all, the Sevylor Inflatable Kayak Tahiti Plus – 2+1 is a perfect choice for enjoying leisure time and adventures with friends and family and is a great alternative for someone looking for a 3 seat vessel.
It is a great alternative to our ‘Best Pick’ and would probably rank them the same with the number of seats being the deciding factor of which to invest in.
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Inflatable Kayak Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’ve decided to get an inflatable kayak, considering the right factors prior to the actual purchase will ensure you pick the right boat that suits your needs.
At this point, we’ll guide you to your right kayak by looking at the most important considerations. Before then, here are the general benefits you’ll enjoy out of your kayak:
Advantages of inflatable kayaks
- Portability – due to the fact that they can deflate to fit into a car boot, small cupboard or garage.
- Versatility – kayaks come in many styles; fishing, expedition and ocean kayaks. A decent version can be used in rivers, lakes and the sea shore.
- Easy maintenance – kayaks simply need washing off the grime and letting them dry well before storing.
- Easy repair – if it gets a puncture, it is easy to apply a patch and let it dry for some time, eventually getting it back in shape for use. The only downside is seams cannot usually be fixed properly.
- Affordability – a good inflatable kayak goes for about £100 – £150 and can last for a few years if looked after correctly and not misused.
- Easy to use – inflatable kayaks are easy to manoeuver even for beginners but always check it has a skeg or can be fitted with one.
Questions to ask yourself before purchasing an inflatable kayak
What kind of kayaking will you be doing?
The first thing you need to know is what kind of paddling you will be doing and how often you will be doing it. There are various types of inflatable kayaks that are intended for beginners to those for more experienced paddlers. Choosing the right kayak will ensure you have a great time out on the water and a more rewarding experience. Having a general idea of how often you will be kayaking will determine the quality of kayak you want to buy. Remember not all models are recommended for use on the sea so check first to ensure it can be used on the sea if you plan to do so.
What weather conditions will you be kayaking in?
If you intend to paddle during the winter months, stormy weather or winds, consider a kayak with a spray skirt alternative. This kit usually attaches to the cockpit of the kayak and extends onto your chest, allowing you to keep out spray, wind and some of the cold. Most inflatable kayaks don’t have this feature though.
If you will be kayaking in lots of sun or during the summer months, you’ll want something a bit more open and one that allows you to easily slide into the water to cool off when temperatures are on the higher end.
What kind of water conditions will you be paddling in?
Some kayaks are designed to be used on calm lakes, others on whitewater, and some on the open ocean. What works for mild waters will not work best for turbulent waters. Most manufacturers will tell you where the specific model will work best and where it shouldn’t be used.
Solo, tandem or convertible?
Do you plan on having a companion for most of your trips? If so, a tandem inflatable kayak is what you need. If you want do go solo, then there are many one-person boats available. The good thing about going solo is that you get to explore that small cove that a partner would rather pass. However, a tandem (double kayak) is certainly faster and more stable than a solo option.
Whilst you can paddle an inflatable tandem on your own, it can be difficult to manoeuver due to the fact that you will not be sitting in the centre of the kayak. On this regard, a tandem-solo convertible is a perfect choice, specifically designed to address the issue of paddling alone by allowing you to shift the position of the seats.
Weight and portability
Inflatable kayaks are great alternatives to traditional hard-shelled kayaks since they offer convenient portability, they are relatively lightweight and perfect for travelling. Even though they are fairly lightweight, the actual weight can vary considerably within the inflatable kayaks themselves. Keep in mind that you’ll need to consider your personal weight as well as how much gear you plan to take with you. This is because inflatable kayaks have a weight limit and you’ll not want to overload the boat.
Indeed, inflatable kayaks are easy to transport compared to conventional rigid kayaks. If you want to be able to carry your water gear in a backpack or even on a plane, then take into consideration the packed size and weight. If you’ll be paddling alone or in the case of a solo inflatable kayak, weight can also be an issue since you’ll need to get the kayak in and out of the water by yourself. Make sure you get something that you can manage.
Some kayaks manoeuvre better than others. Some are awesome at following straight ahead whilst others are incredible at turning effectively. Generally, a shorter vessel manoeuver easily whilst a longer kayak tracks better. Beginner kayaks are usually shorter and broader to give starters an easy time on the water. Advanced paddlers will want a longer, narrower kayak, which allows them to pick up higher speeds and enjoy great tracking.
Inflatable kayak material
- Hypalon and Pennel Orca -This synthetic rubber is also known as chlorosulfonated polyethylene (cp). The material is extremely durable and sturdy. It’s only common in the highest quality inflatable kayaks. The fabric is known stand up to harsh weather, strong UV rays, various chemicals, and impacts. Kayaks have usually a Hypalon coating on the outside with the inside being polyester. The major drawback to this material is that it’s not quite abrasion resistant as some types of PVC and it’s quite expensive. In addition, this material is usually glued on by hand with overlapped seams, a process that is labour intensive and further increases the cost of the inflatable kayak significantly. However, it makes the final product extremely durable and the manufacturer feels confident to provide warranties of up to 10 years.
- PVC – This material is made from vinyl polymer plastic. It’s not as tough against elements as fellow Hypalon, however, it’s inexpensive and the manufacturing processes allows it to be a cost-effective option. As a general rule, pay attention to the thickness of the fabric, which is measured in deniers. A higher denier means that the boat will be thicker and sturdier.
- Nitrylon – First introduced by Innova kayak manufacturer, this material has a lamination of nitrile synthetic rubber and contains a natural rubber on the base. It is stronger and more resistant to the conventional PVC and is also known to be eco-friendly since it can be recycled. However, this material is heavy and so manufacturers only use it as a coating on the hull to remedy the problem.
The general performance of a kayak is usually dictated by its hull size and shape. Wider boats provide more stability in mild situations while narrow kayaks are faster and superior with regards to subservient stability, which is when the kayak is leaning to one side.
If you are big and tall, make sure the kayak has ample depth in order to have enough space and legroom. Taller sides will help deflect water and catch more wind that may cause you to slow down.
Skeges under the stern minimises the weather cocking effect of a kayak in the wind and improves tracking in crosswinds and cross-currents. There is usually a hand lever or hand control that allows you to adjust the skeg to a different position. Kayaking addicts love this feature, however, it’s not easy for starters.
Another important feature is the rudder, a paddle that’s attached to the stern top, and is lowered into the water using a hand lever. A foot lever is used to move it up, down, right, and left, depending on the direction you want it to go.
There are storage spaces on one or both ends of an inflatable kayak and they’re usually enclosed with a lid on the deck. The storage compartments should be carefully considered based on how much gear you plan to be taking out with you.
Set up time
Inflatable kayaks can easily be set up in less than 10 minutes, simply pump up the air chambers and you are ready to go. Some performance-oriented kayaks may take a bit longer since they have more chambers to inflate. If you’ll be out in the cold weather, make sure to pump the kayak slightly more since the chill will make the air contract. If out in hot weather, do the opposite. We also wish to make one point about inflatables – never leave a fully inflated kayak in the hot sun, release some considerable pressure.
Inflatable kayaks are usually affordable, however, the price varies from model to model based on the design and intended purpose. The price of an inflatable, however, should not be a top priority. We found a good model that would set you back £100 to £150 with some larger 3 person models costing £300-£500.
Inflatable kayaks are great recreational equipment for water activities. However, the experience can only be much rewarding if you’re sailing in the best inflatable kayak.
The most important considerations when choosing a kayak include the kind of activity you plan to do, the waters you’ll be kayaking in, and whether solo or tandem option. Then you need to decide on a budget. For me, the Itiwit 100 2/3 Person Touring Inflatable Kayak offers the best value for money even though it’s a mid-range model. I’ve just been so impressed with it although the Bluefin inflatable kayaks are amazing.
Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API