If you have considered bringing an inflatable kayak along on your travels there are a few things to consider…
- Inflation time
- Will you be kayaking solo or tandem?
- Type of water you will be kayaking in
It is a really fantastic idea to bring along an inflatable kayak and it allows you the convenience of stopping to kayak anywhere your travels take you. Often when renting kayaks you are limited to where you can go and for how long. Having an inflatable along for the ride means that you can hop into any river, lake or ocean and explore areas and scenery you would not have been able to see otherwise.
Weight of the Kayak
For traveling I would say the lighter the kayak the better. If the kayak is awkward or heavy to carry it will become a burden… especially if you are flying on an airplane. If you are traveling by car or RV then it is not such a big deal as you simply have to haul it out of the vehicle. A lighter kayak may not perform as well as many of the heavier ones (especially in wind) but I guarantee it will be much easier to travel with.
Size of the Kayak
Again consider how you will be traveling. If you are going by car, most inflatable kayaks will fit in the trunk with absolutely no problem. If you are going by airplane then size is going to matter. Many inflatable kayaks can be packed into a normal suitcase very easily but beware of the weight restrictions on the airplane. Usually if your suitcase is over 50 pounds you will have to pay extra. So obviously the smaller the kayak, the lighter it will be and the easier it will be for transport.
This is not such a big deal as most inflatable kayaks can be inflated in 10 minutes or less. However when traveling it is nice to have a kayak that sets up quick and easy.
Will you be Kayaking Solo or Tandem?
Although some love to travel solo, most travel in pairs. Decide whether you want to be able to have someone kayaking with you or will you be kayaking alone? Would you prefer to carry two lightweight solo inflatable kayaks or one slightly heavier tandem model?
Type of Water you will be Kayaking in
This is really important as not all inflatable kayaks are built to perform in the same types of water. Some will paddle best in whitewater while others are only suitable for calm flatwater. Ideally it is nice to have a kayak that will handle all types of water decently so that you have the option while traveling to try out whichever body of water appeals to you.
Which are the Best Inflatable Kayaks for Traveling?
The kayaks listed below are the lightest options and the most convenient for traveling. They are all super lightweight, compact and have very fast inflation times.
- Aire Force – Solo, whitewater, 26lbs., failry compact, 26 lbs., great for rapids class I – IV
- Airis Play – Solo, between 15 & 18 pounds and excellent for flatwater as well as calm rivers and oceans, comes with its own backpack.
- Airis Sport – Solo, 20 pounds, great for flatwater, calm rivers, and ocean surf, comes with its own backpack
- Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport – Solo, sporty, compact, flatwater paddling, 26 lbs.
- Advanced Elements Firefly – Solo, compact, 16 pounds, good for flatwater
- Advanced Elements Lagoon – Solo, best suited for flatwater lakes and bays, 23 lbs.
- Innova Helios – Solo, very portable, 24 – 29 lbs., great for flatwater, sea kayaking and slow rivers, comes with backpack
- Innova Sunny – Tandem but can also be converted for solo, 29 pounds, very fast, great for flatwater, calm rivers and oceans
- Innova Safari – Solo, 24 pounds, extremely popular whitewater kayak, good for up to class III rapids and ocean surf
- Innova Twist – Solo, only 16 lbs., comes with backpack, best suited for flatwater, small kayak but great quality
- NRS Bandit – Solo (also comes in a tandem version), 21 pounds, good for whitewater rapids up to class IV
- Sea Eagle 330 – Tandem but can be converted for solo as well, 26 pounds, good for flatwater, calm rivers and very calm oceans
If you feel you can handle a bit more weight then there are several other options that could work for traveling as well, especially other tandem kayak options.
Final thoughts on which are the best inflatable kayaks to travel with…
When traveling I would highly recommend going for an inflatable kayak that is easy to carry. If you are finding it difficult to carry on your own, then the kayak is going to become a burden instead of a great traveling accessory. Whichever you choose… happy traveling!
To compare the specs of each of the inflatable kayaks listed view our comprehensive Inflatable Kayak Comparison Chart.
OR check out our inflatable kayak reviews.