Cheap Inflatable Kayak Problems

If you are looking for an inflatable kayak and trying to keep the cost down there are several cheap inflatable kayaks on the market ranging in price from under $100 up to $500. I wouldn’t consider anything over five hundred to be a cheap inflatable kayak.

Some cheap kayaks are better than others, but there are some common problems to be aware of when spending very little on an inflatable kayak.

Common Cheap Inflatable Kayak Problems

Usually a cheaper inflatable kayak will be constructed with cheaper materials. The materials will not likely be as tough and not usually have as many layers as higher quality inflatable kayaks do. Therefore they tend to be weaker and more susceptible to problems.

These cheaper materials can cause several problems:

  1. The possibility of tearing the material easily.
  2. Sagging in the middle of the inflatable kayak when sitting – especially with a heavier person.
  3. Poor performance, lack of tracking, harder to paddle.

Besides the cheaper materials they usually are not constructed as well. The kayak may have been manufactured overseas and the quality questionable. Consequently sometimes there is a problem with seams coming apart and material unraveling.

Another very common problem with cheap inflatable kayaks is their lack of performance. Rarely will you find a really cheap kayak that actually delivers. It will usually not have very good tracking and often can get easily blown by the wind.

The worst problem you might see with a cheap inflatable kayak is air leakage. The last thing that any kayaker wants while paddling an inflatable kayak is to be losing air. A rigid inflatable kayak will always provide for a better ride. Air leakage causes sagging and will make the kayak very difficult to paddle. Usually the air leakage is cause by cheap valves. This is definitely something to watch for.

Should You Purchase a Cheap Inflatable Kayak?

Sure absolutely. If you only have a certain amount of money to spend and you want an inflatable kayak to be able to get out and enjoy the water on nice days then by all means go for a cheap inflatable kayak.

Be aware of the problems listed above and decide exactly what your priorities are for an inflatable kayak. A cheap inflatable kayak can be a great way for brand new kayakers to experience paddling for the first time and they also can be great to take traveling.

There are plenty of cheaper inflatable kayaks that do offer great quality. Do the research, read the reviews and make an informed choice. If you are purchasing an inflatable kayak from a reputable kayak manufacturer you will not likely have many problems. If your expectations aren’t too high, then a cheap inflatable kayak will still provide you with many days of paddling pleasure.

Please see our inflatable kayak reviews for more detailed kayak information.


  1. derek murphy says:

    New to IFK and would like to say find the whole experience rewarding great for fitness, i bought a sevylor svx200 copy called a pathfinder and find it tracks fairly well, they can be bought on ebay reasonably 200- 250 euro my friend has the svx and their is no apparent difference in performance.Thanks for this great site and thanks for your realisation that newcomers need all the help and support they can get, Simple advice can save your life as i to discovered in our freezing waters on the irish coast .

    • Hi Derek, Thanks for your comment. I love to hear about new inflatable kayak users and I agree kayaking is fantastic exercise. Here’s to many happy paddling experiences!!
      Cheers, Allison

  2. No apparent difference?! I just bought a copy of SVX200 under the name “Wild Adventure K2 Explorer” on ebay from wildworld1001. Homemade style kayak. My sample happened to be locally sealed across one of the floor seams by a fortuitous drop of manufacturing glue. When the kayak was inflated first time, the air pressure tore one side up. Do you think this has happened immediately? No, it took 4 days. Fortunately, all this time the kayak was lying in my basement waiting for a weekend joy. So, cheaper kayak is a Monte Carlo – you may have good luck, or …very rough luck. Second, the cheaper kayak sellers ask for more money in you want to replace, even the reasons of the replacement are manufacturing defects. Third, less time for happy paddling.

    • This seems to be a reoccurring issue with the“Wild Adventure K2 Explorer”. I too purchased this kayak on ebay from wildworld 1001 and it has a similar manufacturer’s defect. It actually performed fairly well before it started leaking air after a few times in the water. Beware trying to find bargains on ebay, as the seller may not stand behind the product if you have problems. The pathfinder may be a better product, also in the $300 range, but as the article says, research before you buy. They are great fun when they’re not leaking air. Thanks for the article and the site, it’s a good resourse.

  3. There are lots of sevylor copys ranging from blow up toys to reasonable renditions of the real thing they are all made in china and quite frankly sevylor are no more than a copy of decent inflatable kayaks themselves .The company red star marine sell pathfinders and stand over them with the usual warranty ,I only made a comment about my particular copy which has been on many a spear fishing trip full of gear with 2 adult divers for the last year twice a week and no problems .I never set out to discommode or mislead any one into buying a pathfinder ,and feel the authors of this site done a good job describing sevylors faults and good points without insinuating they were to be bought by the impecunious or a bargain hunter on ebay . I feel my comments and the feelings of a disgruntled ebay bargain hunter purchasing a wildwood k2 whatever being interlinked are impalpable .

  4. hi ,
    I have own my inflatable kayak for 6 years and despite being cheap I have never had any problem with it until last week end. we had a great time with the kids fishing and paddling around but when it was time to go home, as usual I removed the air valves the air came out as usual but I folded the kayak I noticed there was a pocket of air which wont deflate making very bulky for transport. we capsized the kayak for cleaning while in the water. did we trigged some safety anti sinking device ? the manufacturer s guide doesn t refer to any such thing. tried re inflating it but same problem occurs. any idea?

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