Top 5 Inflatable Kayaks

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These are the inflatable kayaks chosen to be in the top five group. They were chosen for quality, stability, value, popularity, warranty and performance.

They are in no particular order as they each have their own unique features, uses, pros and cons.

For more detailed info click on the kayak names below to read our full detailed reviews…

Sea Eagle FastTrack

The FastTrack came on the market in April 2010 and quickly became extremely popular. It is similar in size to the Sea Eagle 380X except just slightly slimmer. However it has the added advantages of only weighing 31 lbs. and has a unique design that offers much more speed.

The FastTrack was my personal inflatable kayak of choice for several years until Sea Eagle came out with their RazorLite kayak.   Even though I now mainly paddle my RazorLite there are still many times when my FastTrack gets put to good use.

The FastTrack is great on flat water but can also handle some mild whitewater. It has several packages to choose from including a solo model, a 2-seater, a sailing package, an electric motor package, and a great fishing package.

There is also a larger family sized 3 person model now available too (the 465 FastTrack) which is great for families and long expeditions. Both the tandem and 3 person models have the ability to adjust the seats to be paddled solo if desired. It also comes with a great three year warranty. Read our full review.


Aire Lynx

If you are looking for an all day river adventure inflatable kayak, the Lynx is a phenomenal option. Weighing only thirty-two pounds and backed by a ten year warranty, it is quality through and through.

It can handle up to class IV rapids beautifully and comes with the option of a closed-cell floor for higher performance or an air-cell floor for lighter weight.

The Lynx has gained huge popularity for good reason, it not only performs but is solid and rugged. It comes in a solo version as well as a tandem version. Read our full review.


Sea Eagle RazorLite

The RazorLite hit the market in 2015 and in my opinion is the best solo inflatable kayak out there for fast flat water touring. It is totally unique from any other IK out there.

It is much sleeker in design with a narrow width of only 28″ (25″ at the waterline) for the solo model and 30″ wide for the tandem model. However what really makes it stand out is the fact that it is constructed with all drop-stitch technology.

What this means is that the RazorLite can hold much more air pressure and be inflated to a much higher PSI level than any other inflatable kayak. It can be inflated up to 10 PSI, whereas other IK’s normally only hold a max of up to 6 PSI and very often even less.

The higher air pressure creates a very rigid kayak. That along with the sleek straight design, the solid bow and stern molds, and the fact that the entire length of the kayak is in the water while paddling makes it a super performer.

It is not quite as stable as other inflatable kayaks but it is truly a pleasure to paddle and definitely my kayak of choice these days.

All of the Sea Eagle kayaks come with a 180-day guarantee and an awesome 3-year warranty.  Read our full review.

Sea Eagle RazorLite


Innova Helios

The Innova Helios EX has been extremely popular over the years for open water paddling and sea kayaking. There are many reasons the Helios is so popular including the fact that it only weighs 29 lbs. and rolls up really small into a backpack that is included in package.

It offers decent storage room and tracks along nicely, especially when using the optional rudder system. It will hold its own in wind and waves while ocean paddling.

It is ideal for someone who wants a kayak that is easy to manage, can be brought anywhere and is versatile enough to paddle well on the ocean as well as on lakes. There is a solo and tandem version available and they both come with a 2 year warranty. Read our full review.


NRS Outlaw

The Outlaw isn’t necessarily the best whitewater inflatable kayak out there but we believe it gives you a lot for your money and can suit a large variety of people.

For this reason the Outlaw really stands out. It is affordable, it is comfortable and stable and the design makes it an excellent performer.

This is the kayak that replaced the popular NRS Bandit that was discontinued in 2012. Although similar in size and shape, it has a few important differences worth exploring.

The Outlaw is very durable, comes with a 3-year warranty, can easily handle up to class IV rapids (especially if you add thigh straps and a foot brace) and comes in a solo or tandem version.  Read our full review.

Comments

  1. Fran McHugh says:

    Hi Allison,
    Thanks for the informative forum. That said, my wife of 39 years and I still have a few questions…
    We have had a SE 380X for a few years, but have only had a handful of outings. We thought we’d like to be together in the boat, but when paddling we still can’t talk since I can’t hear her unless she turns most of the way around. I don’t know why we thought tandem would work since she doesn’t like to ride on a tandem bike and when we had motorcycles she needed her own as well. We got the bug after attending an all-day boating expo at Lake Pleasant in the Phoenix area and trying out canoes and kayaks, all hard-shell.

    Anyway… We are looking at inflatable singles for the same reasons we got the 380X in the first place, weight, storage, and transportation. We saw the AE Sport in the local REI and liked it and read a few reviews and it seemed like a good possibility. Then we read your comments on the Airis Sport and the questions started coming. The AE is cheaper even with the accessories included in the Airis package. However, there is a significant weight advantage with the Airis, which is worth a lot. If we read your comments correctly, it would seem that the Airis both tracks better and is faster. Is there a significant difference? The ads for the Airis REALLY stress its rigidity, obviating the need for the backbone. Is that your experience as well?

    Lastly, are there any other brands/models we should look at in the same price/quality range? It seems there are a lot of brands, though most seem to be lower-end. There doesn’t seem to be any place to see them side by side, much less to try them out – so any guidance you might provide would be greatly appreciated.

    fjm

    • The Airis Sport does track better than the AE Sport and I do find that it can paddle faster. They are quite different actually and have a different feel to them when kayaking. With the AE Sport you sit lower in the kayak and of course with the closed deck you have a little more protection from the elements. It’s a nice little kayak and overall paddles fairly well but I personally prefer the performance of the Airis Sport. With the Airis kayak you sit a little higher up which will feel different if you are used to a closed deck hard-shell kayak but it’s compact and super easy to paddle. The other kayak you might want to explore is the Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack solo version. It costs just slightly more than the Airis Sport but it paddles really well for a solo model and is a nice comfortable ride. Only downside is that it’s a little heavier than the AE Sport and the Airis Sport. Hope that helps, good luck!

  2. hi allison. was looking to buy an inflatable kayak. either the solstice durango or th se fast track.. manly for lake and bay paddling. i will be going with my 11 year old boy and a little dog. which would be the best choice in your opinion. thank you jeff

    • Hi Jeff, Personally I’d choose the SE FastTrack over the Solstice any day. I think it’s a much better kayak and ideal for lakes and bays. Perfect for your son and your dog.

  3. hi again.. one more question.. have you had the chance to try the OrU kayak? and if so what did you think?thanks again. jeff

    • I haven’t had the opportunity to try the Oru kayak. I’ve only tried a few folding kayaks. They were all a bit of a pain to put together but once assembled paddled nicely. The Oru kayak looks interesting and fairly unique.

  4. steve stroop says:

    my wife and I are interested in acquiring a tandem inflatable kayak and don’t know which models might be best for our needs.

    We have a pontoon boat on Smith Mountain Lake, VA. We would like to be able to inflate the kayak on our boat and launch from the boat (so entry and exit from boat to kayak and vise versa is important).

    We are both 61 and have been kayaking for about 4 years in two individual hard shell kayaks. We are less interested in speed and more for comfort of the ride.

    Do you have any suggestions on which models of kayaks might best fit our needs.

    Thanks

    Steve

    • Hi Steve, sorry for my late reply. The Sea Eagle FastTrack or Explorer would work well for you. Both are very easy to enter and exit from the boat. The Explorer is a little more stable than the FastTrack but both are quite comfortable… the seats are the same. The Aire Super Lynx would also work very well, great kayak, very comfortable and stable. The last one I would suggest if you are mostly on flat water is the Innova Sunny. It’s lightweight, very fast to inflate and paddles well. I don’t think it would be quite as stable to enter and exit as the other three mentioned but overall is a nice, comfortable ride. Hope that helps, good luck.

  5. Hi, have been reading up about the SeaEagle Fasttrack 385 and just wanted some advice. We want an inflatable kayak for 2 adults (5 ft 5 weighing 9 stone and 5 ft 11 weighing 13 stone) plus room for one smallish 11kilo dog to go out on rivers, lochs and paddle around the coast line (on gentle days) in the UK. Could anyone advise on whether the 385 or 465 would be the best bet? Hubby prefers the size of the 385 for general use but just worried it will be a bit cramped when we take the dog out with us! Also considering whether it would be better to both be in one kayak with the dog or have 2 kayaks. Open to any other suggestions but from what has been previously said, the SeaEagle looks pretty good. Many thanks in advance and all advice gratefully received as we are beginners to this and trying to find the best option.

    • I think you’d be fine with the 385. I’ve paddled it often with two adults plus dog as well as two adults plus 3 year old child. We were all fairly comfy. The dog could either sit in the middle, which would mean basically between the legs of the person in the back or more ideally up front where there is more room. The 465 is ideal with the extra length as the dog would have a space to himself and of course two kayaks would work especially if you want to bring extra gear along but I don’t think it’s totally necessary.

  6. Hi Allison, following on from my question yesterday, I have been looking at the Advanced Elements Convertible as I can see the spray deck as a bonus when we do not have the dog with us. Just wondered if you could also comment on how you feel this kayak compares to the Seaeagle 385 or 465?

    Many thanks

    • The spray deck is nice but I personally much prefer the Sea Eagle FastTrack over the AE Convertible. The Convertible is not a bad kayak but it’s heavy and takes much longer to put together. Plus the FastTrack paddles a little faster. However both are quite popular.

  7. Hello,

    I am interested in purchasing an inflatable kayak for traveling. I typically find myself renting them when I am away from home and would like something I can check on a plane. I usually paddle lakes, bays and the ocean (not the surf) so I do tend to encounter wind a lot. Currently I use an ocean sit-on-top kayak at home, which is heavy, but stable. I was hoping you might have a recommendation for me? Thank you.

    Nanci

    • Hi Nancy, there are lots of options, depends on what you want to spend. For traveling I would suggest going lighter of course. The kayak I use most often is the Sea Eagle 365 FastTrack and it would definitely suit your needs. I’ve traveled with it and it packs up well. Also take a look at the Innova Helios or the Airis Sport. Both are great for traveling… light weight and can easily be stored in a suitcase or their backpack carry bag.

  8. Allison & Jim,

    Been boating long enough to know eventually you’ll be stuck in a circumstance you’d rather not be in so I prefer the whitewater traits over the tracking. Comfort also a huge thing to survival. I’m stuck between the 380X and the Klickitat (for 2). Does the hard bottom help on the Klickitat please discuss pro’s/ cons. Which has better seats?

    • I haven’t reviewed the Klickitat but I’ve tried it a couple times. I liked the Klickitat but I personally much prefer the 380X, found it more comfortable and to perform better. The 380X also feels stronger and more rugged to me. The seats in the Klickitat were very comfortable but you sit up higher than you would in the 380X so depends on your personal preference there. 380X also has a hard bottom now as well. Both good kayaks.

  9. Maria Andrea Duque Guevara says:

    Good morning Allison,
    I’m writing you from Curitiba, Brazil.
    My partner, Rene and myself, just acquired a inflatable kayak Tribord IK100-2 NEW and I will be trilled to hear your review.
    We try it out in flat water on the Iguaću Park and on the La Madre River in the state of Santa Catarina.
    The opportunities here in he state of Paraná and in the neighboring state of Santa Catarina are endless to enjoy a kayak life.
    I’m very eager to learn about techniques and hopefully get better everyday.
    Thank you very much for your time and knowledge.
    Best regards from sunny Brazil!
    Andrea & Rene

    • Hi Andrea, kayaking in Brazil sounds absolutely wonderful! I had never heard of the Tribord IK100-2. I did a little research, it looks like a great kayak but I have a feeling it isn’t available in North America yet. Maybe one day down the road I’ll have an opportunity to review it. Enjoy and happy paddling!

      • Maria Andrea Duque says:

        Hello Allison,
        Thanks for your reply.
        I´m sorry about my english I know it´s a bit rusty.
        I lived in Vancouver when I was a teenager and the lack of practice is showing…
        I think the Tribord brand is a French brand. Here is the link for you to look around.
        http://www.tribord.com/en
        Although my kayak doesn’t appear in the web catalogue. We bought it at the Decathlon store here in Curitiba.
        And you are right; here in Brazil the scenery is beautiful for outdoor sports.
        You are very welcome to come and visit.
        I´m just a beginner in the matter but it seems that I could be good at it and I really enjoy it. That’s why I would like to learn about paddling techniques.
        Question: How different is paddling from a rigid kayak to an inflatable one
        For me it comes very natural to do the bicycle paddling but I know that I´m using very small muscles from my biceps and I should be practicing the torso movement…but I don’t know if I´m doing it right.
        And what about the position of my legs. I sit in the front and Rene goes behind directing.
        Is there any where I can see some videos or tutorials specifically for inflatable kayaks.
        Well, for now that is all.
        Thanks a lot for the info! I really enjoy your website.
        Here in Brazil is Carnaval so it going to be a very festive couple of days.
        Obrigada garota!!!
        All the best and happy paddling for all of us.
        Maria Andrea

  10. Hi Alison ,
    I’m looking for an inflatable ( all rounder ) which can be used in lakes , rivers and occasionally whitewater’s / ocean . I have been researching and I have browsed through many kayaks and I’m overwhelmed with the number of options I have. Could you please suggest a few !
    Thanks
    – Monish

    • Do you know anything about the OK260 by boatstogo ?

      • No unfortunately I don’t know much about this kayak. It looks short and squat. Probably quite stable but it doesn’t look like a great performer to me. However without trying it, it’s hard to say. I’ll have to add it to my list to review one day.

    • Hi Monish, My favorite all rounder is the Sea Eagle Explorer kayak. The solo version is the 300X and the tandem version (which can also be converted for solo use) is the 380X. This kayak paddles well on most types of water and gives you a lot for your money. A couple other options are the Advanced Elements StraitEdge or the Tributary Strike. All three of these models are good for flat water or whitewater kayaking.

      • Your website is the best thing that has happened for inflatable kayak enthusiasts. I’m going with the Sea Eagle Explorer like you suggested . Will write a review too !
        Thank you very much !
        Wish you the best of luck !

  11. Hi experts!
    Trying to choose inflatable kayak for mostly lake and mild river use. Any experience with Chinook tandem? How about Chinook 2-3 person one, can I use it solo also? Does it glide and track well? Thanks, Ieva

    • Hi Leva, I have tried the Chinook Tandem but only briefly. I’m hoping to be able to do a full review on one soon. I liked it, it was comfortable and stable. Performance was decent and it tracked well. Overall the design seemed kind of basic but there wasn’t anything negative that stood out for me. It’s not the best IK out there but overall it’s a comfortable ride and it was easy to paddle. I believe you can paddle the Chinook Tandem solo as well. I think it would suit lakes and mild rivers just fine.

  12. Hi Allison, I want to thank you for taking the time to post your reviews and I think it is amazing how you have responded to all those seeking advice on an inflatable kayak. I was really torn in which way to turn, but your reviews have made it very clear that an inflatable will provide me with the durability, tracking, and paddling experience my wife and I can enjoy. Sounds like the Sea Eagle is what I have been looking for.
    Thanks so much!

    Greg

    • Thanks Greg, that is such a nice comment! I am so glad you have found the site helpful. Hope you enjoy your kayak, happy paddling!

  13. Richard Taylor says:

    Hi Allison,
    I have a lot of interests in the outdoors and not sure I need another one, but as of late have become interested in having an inflatable kayak. First of all, I don’t want to dive in spending a lot of money. If I use it a lot the first year or two then I could consider a more expensive boat that meets my needs. Which leads me to say that I have a few varying needs. Most importantly, it has to be light, store and travel small, and be easy to set up. I live in Colorado so small mountain lakes and reservoirs for a little exploring, exercise, and fishing would be primary use. However, we have some great rivers with wide range of challenges. Not a fan of big white water so Class 1 & 2 rapids could be expected. Maybe a Class 3.
    My wife would probably join me on occasion and we have friends who share the same interest. I was thinking of buying two Sea Eagle 330s with the deluxe two seat option. I’m guessing I will be the main user with a lot of solo paddling. And if two of us are out we can each paddle our own boat. On the occasion when there are four of us we just have to get used to the smaller, tighter confines of the 330. The other option would be to buy the Sea Eagle 380, but might be overkill if it is being used primarily as a solo boat.
    Interested in your thoughts on this. Perhaps you could suggest another brand and model that might work as well.

    • Hi Richard, The SE 330 is a great starter kayak if you don’t want to spend too much right away. The 380 is a much better kayak and far more durable, however of course it costs more as well. There is a solo 380X model that is quite fun. I have friends who have the 330 and use it often to paddle on lakes and rivers and they love it. I think for the money either the 330 or 370 gives a lot compared to other models. Another couple to consider would be the Airis Play or Sport. They are a little higher priced but extremely light and portable and would suit your needs. However they are solo kayaks only. I think honestly the SE 330 or even the 370 is a great way to go initially. Just keep in mind there are much better inflatable kayaks if you wanted to invest more down the road.

  14. Gary Todd says:

    Is there any advice on which type of canoe would be suitable for a large heavy male? I hate Sevylor as Ive had very bad experiences with them.

    • I’m not a big fan of Sevylor either. The Sea Eagle 380X or 420X are great. They are solid and can hold 750-850 lbs. so they can be loaded right up… and they are very comfortable. They can also be paddled kayak or canoe style. If you are looking for a more traditional style canoe as opposed to a kayak the Innova Vagabond is a good one. It’s a little pricier but it is very well made and can hold over 500 lbs. with no flex. It is in a whole different class than the Sevylor canoe. Hope that helps.

  15. Hi Allison. I’m looking at getting an inflatable kayak for use on the lake and Missouri River. I’m not very experienced with kayaks yet so am wondering if the Sea Eagle 300x would be a good option for me or do you have an idea for better options? Thanks.

    • Hi Cindy, The 300X is a great river kayak. It is super stable and can easily handle some whitewater or chop. It tracks fairly well but it’s not that fast. However it is easy to paddle and maneuver. I think a lot of the Missouri River is calm flat water… is that right? You could probably even get away with a sleeker faster kayak such as the Sea Eagle RazorLite if you wanted more speed. However it does cost a bit more than the 300X. If speed isn’t a big factor then I think the 300X is a great choice!

  16. Anatoliy says:

    I have just tried RazorLite 473rl
    https://youtu.be/TePTD9YI3a0

    Very positive first impression!

  17. How about Advanced Elements Kayaks? Air Fusion Elite, Advanced Frame Convertible or Advanced Frame?
    Thanks

    • All good kayaks but aren’t my favorite for various reasons. The Adv Frame solo and Convertible are quite popular but I personally find them a bit heavy and slow in the water. Also setup takes quite a bit longer. The Air Fusion is a pretty cool kayak, narrow and faster however the aluminum poles make it less portable and much slower for setup. Looks nice once setup though.

  18. Kate kirby says:

    Hi, I’m thinking about getting my grandson and myself IK’s. Could you give me suggestions on solid one for beginners? Thanks

    • Hi Kate, If you don’t want to invest too much right away, the Sea Eagle 330 or 370 are great for beginners. I personally prefer the SE 370 as I think it performs a little better than the 330 but both are solid, well made, easy to paddle and maneuver and light and portable. Plus they come with a 3-year warranty and 180 day guarantee, meaning you can return them at any point within 180 days if you aren’t happy with them. I think they offer great value for the money. You both may eventually grow out of them as your paddling skills advance but they’re great starter kayaks and a lot of fun to use.

  19. Mark Fraser says:

    Hi Alison this site is superb many thanks for all the helpful advice and comments .I am keen to purchase an IK and was recommended Sea Eagle by family in Australia who rave about them.I am currently torn between a Fastrack and Razorlight .I live on the river Severn in Worcs and primarily want a fast sleek boat for lakes and rivers , mostly flat water ,but would also like the option to use it on some choppier rivers and inland coastal waters. Your thoughts on how the razorlight performs in these conditions would be greatly appreciated . Thanks in ant.

    • I own both the FT and the RL and both are awesome kayaks. I prefer paddling the RL on flat water. It is much sleeker and definitely goes faster and cuts through the water really well. It is not as stable as the FT so in choppier conditions it does take more focus and control but I’ve never felt uncomfortable in it and I’ve had it in heavy ocean winds and on choppy moving rivers. That being said if you prefer extra stability, the FT will give you that and still paddle very well, it is quite versatile. My choice would be the RazorLite if you are mostly going to be paddling on flat water.

  20. connie kousman says:

    Hi, Allison,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful inflatable kayak reviews. Our Cornish (NH) Laides Canoe and Kayak Club is considering inflatables as options to the hardshell kayaks that are becoming difficult to load and lift, and I am referring our members to your great website. Our members range in age from 50 to 78, and are looking for something pretty lightweight, easy to carry, stable in wakes, wind and chop when need be, and quick and easy to inflate. Although I am most interested in the Helios 1, your great review of the Airis Sport tells me that this might also be a good option. Any suggestions you might have re.kayaks to consider would be appreciated by all of our members.
    You are a wonderful resource, and your reviews are the best ever. I hope you will write a book sometime, because there’s nothing out there comparable to the comprehensive information you share on your website.
    Thanks again,
    Connie (If you got this message twice, our server is experiencing technical problems this evening)

    • Hi Connie, Thank you for your nice words! So great to hear you are finding the site helpful! I think you have picked the two best options as far as portability and ease of use go. Both the Innova Helios and the Airis Sport are light weight, easy to carry, fast to inflate and stable. Both also paddle fairly well. The Airis Tandem is also a great option for someone who wants a little more room and versatility. I have a friend in my own kayaking club who switched from a hard shell to the Airis Tandem. She uses it as a solo kayak mostly and loves it but also has the option of adding the second seat and paddling with a friend or family member if needed.

      I own the Airis Sport myself and love zipping around in that thing… it is extremely portable and fun – but not much storage space. If anyone wants a little extra speed the Sea Eagle RazorLite is my personal IK of choice. It is not quite as stable as the others but you get used to it quickly and tracks extremely well and paddles fast. It is also one of the fastest to inflate and also the most rigid. The Airis kayaks have a slightly different feel than the others as they are more of a sit-on-top style. Some people love them and actually find them easier to paddle. I personally prefer sitting lower in the kayak but both are equally as comfortable. Just something to be aware of.

      I love hearing of kayaking clubs – especially all women groups, which is what mine is as well. There have been several ladies in my group who have switched over to inflatables kayaks… For the same reason that they were getting tired of loading and lifting hard shell kayaks onto the roof of their vehicles. A good inflatable kayak is very rigid and strong and paddles well. I find that those of us who use inflatables are set up and ready to hit the water just as quickly as those who are unloading their hard shells. Being able to transport the kayaks in the trunk of our vehicles makes life so much easier. Let me know if you have any other questions, I am happy to help!

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