With Summer on the edge of our doorways, we decided to get our hands on the latest and best inflatable kayaks. Having seen them flying off our department store shelves last year, we had a strict buying criteria i’m sure you’ll agree with:
- Must be affordable
- Must be structurally sound
- Must be made out of strong PVC/Vinyl
- Must fit up to 2 people
- Must have light and strong Oars
- Must have leg room
- Must be fun
So after our research we whittled down the best inflatable kayak to The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. Before we get into why, we’ll introduce a few others that almost made it and the one reason that held them back. (or jump the the best inflatable kayak review).
Whilst also placing 1st, Intex have made a place as third on our list for top inflatable kayaks, the reason is simple.
They produce reliable products, that you can trust to venture out onto open water.
The thought of going out on water can be terrifying, especially in something that could ‘snag’, ‘tear’ or ‘rupture’ at any time. So when you first hear inflatable kayak, your initial thoughts are “how safe is this really going to be?” And naturally this is where Intex comes in.
Achieving the ISO certificate (government official) in inflatable boats. And then receiving a second TUV approved (vehicle regulators) certificate in manufacturing. Meaning you can feel safe that this kayak has been tested to a ridiculous standard
The Intex comes with 2 aluminium oars, a convenient hand pump and of course a top inflatable kayak. The kayak is fashioned out of a scratch resistant vinyl, which protects you form the likes of stones and gravel.
As you can see from the photo’s there is plenty of room for two people to sit back, and somewhere for your legs to go. The net up front is tight enough that you can secure some items under there (clothes, food, water bottles) so if you’re smart you can really make what space you have around you work well.
What let this kayak down was it’s shape, kayaks are typically ‘thinner’ than the one listed above. This Intex inflatable kayak took on more of the shape of a canoe (which you can also buy an inflatable version). Now you may be wondering why that’s an issue?
Well kayaks are designed to be thinner to be faster, more agile and to make quicker turns. The movements in this where a lot slower and less rapid, which let the ‘kayak’ down. So if you’re after something that’s fast we’d advise to get the Intex Explorer (which is also slightly cheaper).
The Sevylor is a well constructed inflatable kayak, with a broad shape and plenty of room.
The seats are detachable and secured using belts. The blow up time is reasonable; all in all, it’s a secure structure.
And once you’re finished with it, it folds into a neat backpack. now you may see this as a bit of a gimmick, however when you consider the distance to anywhere with water, there tends to be some travel involved.
In fact we believe it’s one of the best features and we’re saddened no other manufacturer has took this up.
What let this kayak down was the fact it didn’t come with any oars (you have to buy them separately). And it’s noted the reach into the water with your oars is a lot further than our best inflatable kayak.
It prices a mere £25 more than our best inflatable kayak (which does come with oars and a pump as standard).
In terms of “how it handles”, It’s difficult for beginners to keep a straight line. However for the more skilled it’s easy to adjust to and more preferable, as turning is rapid, making it a more trustworthy kayak with obstacles in the water.
- It’s the Cheapest (best value for money)
- It’s ISO Accredited and TUV Approved – Very Structurally Sound and Safe
- Made From Vinyl – Best Scratch Resistant Material
- Will Seat 2 People
- Oars Made Out of Light Aluminium Metal
- More Than Enough Legroom – Space Left Over to Store Belongings
- Rapid– Which Makes it Extremely Fun
Usually we see expensive items and think to ourselves “hmmm that must be better than the other options I have”, Well this kayak blew us away and broke all expectations.
We’ll talk about the speed first. You’ll remember we spoke about how Intex’s Challenger had more of a canoe shape? As you know, the thinner anything is, the faster it is. You can see from the photo how smooth and sleek the shape of this kayak is – allowing you to float across the surface of the water with little to no effort at all.
With the strong aluminium oars you can power yourself across the water in lighting fast speed. Or if you prefer, you can separate the long paddles into two oars, allowing you to gently row yourself at a comfortable pace. Due to it’s shape, it allows you to slice your way into sharp corners, turn fast and keep you straight.
Our only reservation is you can build up blisters on your hands from the oars – so we would recommend you go easy with the paddling, or buy some gloves to protect your hands.
It should be noted that an entry price kayak typically costs £150 more than this kayak and will only fit one person. The best thing about an inflatable kayak is , well it’s inflatable. Which means that you don’t have to lug around a giant piece of plastic and get bullied by the wind.
You simply use the free hand pump that comes with the kayak, Inflate it within minutes (it pumps air on the down push and sucks more air in when resetting the stick- inflating the kayak in record speed). We would suggest you buy a large bag (the type that hikers use) to carry your kayak with you.
Whatever your choice is, we recommend you take your time to read these safety tips on kayaking in the ocean