Inflatable Fishing Kayaks

The inflatable fishing kayak category has seen exponential growth in the past few years. We all went from thinking that they were only good for our kids to play in the pool to try one out. More times than not, we turned into believers who have already owned one (or more). But are they just pure hot air or are there solid foundations to think they are worth the purchase? We are about to find that out, and also include the best options in the market for you to choose from.

Are you ready to learn everything about inflatable fishing kayaks? Paddle on, because here we go!

What is an inflatable kayak?

Inflatable kayaks are the answer to a very common problem that most fishing-enthusiasts face: space. As you might know, a hardshell kayak is difficult to store and to carry around. Dimensions, weight, and fragility are some of the most common problems we have in this matter.

Inflatable kayaks utilize a different kind of technology to achieve the same result. Instead of having a rigid structure that we can´t fold or make any smaller in any way, you get a vessel that you can transport in the trunk of your car. Plus, since technology has come such a long way from the first attempts, these new vessels are trustworthy; some can even endure level 3 and 4 waters.

But what makes them so different from what they once were?

· The material – Instead of using thin layers of light material, like pool toys, newer inflatable kayaks use either PVC or any other woven fabric coated in heavy rubber. The outer layers on newer inflatable kayaks are usually puncture-resistant and can bounce back when you hit a rock.

· The separate inflation chambers – If you have an inflatable vessel built as one big chamber and you happen to have a puncture, the whole thing will become unusable in a heartbeat. On the other hand, when built using separate inflatable chamber technology, only the punctured chamber will deflate and the rest will keep you floating without any problems. You´ll make it to the shore completely dry and so will your gear.

· Airtight valves – These types of air valves will prevent the air to exit the vessel while you are on it. This means that once you inflate it, regardless of the weight you put on them, you´ll be floating without any risks of losing air through the valve, as it would happen on cheap water toys.

Finally, the inflatable kayak technology we can enjoy today was partially developed to fulfill military missions. Thus, the materials had to meet military specs, which need to endure extreme conditions.

The pros & cons of inflatable kayaks

Ever since the boom of inflatable kayaks appeared in the market, this question started lingering on the minds of most enthusiasts: which best, hardshell or inflatable? Well, the answer to that question is not simple or unique, both have pros and cons. Let´s take a look at the pros and cons of owning an inflatable kayak.


· Weight & size – These are the two most outstanding qualities of an inflatable kayak: they are much lighter and can be folded to fit into a backpack. If you compare that to a 55 pound Kevlar, fiberglass, or wood rigid structure, the difference is huge. You can say goodbye to those racks to take it with you on the roof of the car. Moreover, you can even add it to your backpack as you go on holiday and fly with it at no extra charge!

· Durability – You were not expecting to find this one here, right? Well, it is good news that the “drop stitch technology” arrived in the kayak world because it means that those interlocked fibers will make the kayak´s surface as hard as it gets. Furthermore, once inflated with air, the risks of a puncture or breakage are higher on traditional materials (AKA hardshell kayaks), because an inflatable kayak will simply bounce back. Check this amazing durability-test video to see this quality in action.

· Stability – This is another one that surprises most people. Well, the fact that you can inflate and deflate the kayak allows manufacturers to make the base wider without that being a transportation hassle for the owners. Thus, you can expect a wider base that will make your ride more stable in all situations.

· One-person carry – As you might know, carrying a hardshell kayak into the water is a two-people task (at least). Inflatable kayaks are so light-weight and easy to maneuver that you can do it on your own without much effort.


· Inflating and deflating – This can be a hassle for some people who are used to their hardshell vessels being ready to go. Also, having to deflate your kayak before heading back home after a long day of paddling might be annoying. That being said, none of these tasks comes any close to strapping a hardshell kayak to your roof. The one thing that most inflatable kayak owners mention is that they have a hard time drying and cleaning their vessels to get them ready for folding.

· Lightweight & control – For some not-so-experienced kayakers out there, the lightweight of inflatable kayaks might make them harder to control. Moreover, if you are going to use it to go fishing and standing on it rather than just sitting and paddling, you can find them a little harder to control than the hard shell models. That being said, with a little practice and some patience, you can surely master that ability.

Inflatable Kayak Review

We take our job very seriously, and hence, we went the extra mile for you and tried out the best models in the market. The result is that we narrowed the best options to only two and are bringing you a detailed review of each so you can make an informed decision.

Here we go!

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak

This model from Intex is a great vessel to fish from; it is sturdy, well-built, features many comfort additions, and is easy to carry, inflate, deflate, and store. But let´s rewind and start from the beginning. We tried this great inflatable fishing kayak and found it is a hit rather than a miss for what it is offered.

To begin with, the three-ply construction is completely puncture-proof and gives you the feeling you are paddling on a river raft. Moreover, the addition of a free pump and a removable pressure gauge make inflating this kayak to the right pressure a breeze.

Adding to that, the three-chamber construction ensures that, if something was to happen to either of the chambers, you and your gear can make it to the coast safe and sound with the other two. Furthermore, the I-Beam floor adds an extra portion of rigidity and balance to the vessel that is very welcome for us fishermen.

In that sense, this model of inflatable kayak features dual fishing rod holders and a mounting bracket so you can carry your cane and all the accessories you want very comfortably. Likewise, it also features stainless steel D-rings that help secure any bags and accessories when you are out on the water.

Speaking of which, to move the kayak into a fishing position, a couple of free aluminum oars are included for you to paddle to where the best fish are. Although they are not the highest quality in the market, they are ready to take you as far as you need. Also, the adjustable footrests and the directional skeg (the package includes a longer one for deep waters and a small one for shallow waters) will help you paddle effortlessly. Indeed effortlessly and comfortably, since the pair of inflatable seats are easy to install and will help you fish in a relaxed position. A pro tip regarding the seats is that you don´t inflate them totally before installing, because it makes it much harder to fit them in in such a tight spot. Just inflate them half the way and take care of the rest once they are in place.

Speaking of inflating, the pump that comes included in the combo, as well as the carrying bag, are high quality, important accessories that will make your fishing life easier from day one.

With capacity for two people and up to 180kg (400 pounds), this is a great combo to go fishing carrying very little gear. The only thing to bear in mind is that it is a tad narrow and if you are a big, tall person, you might find yourself struggling to fit in the seat and move comfortably through the vessel.

If you are in the search for a very comfortable, high-quality, easy to use inflatable fishing kayak, this might be your best bet today.


· Pump, oars, bag, and pressure gauge included

· Sturdy, 3-ply construction

· 3-chamber construction

· Spring-loaded high-pressure valves allow quick inflation and deflation


· A tad narrow for tall, big people

· Aluminum oars are not top-quality


· 2-passenger, 180kg capacity

· Fishing rod holders

· Shallow and deep water skegs

· Inflatable seats

Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak

The first inflatable fishing kayak we reviewed was indeed an impressive vessel. This one coming up next is quite different but will fit the bill even better for some fishermen. Let´s go deep into the review of this Elkton model that is set to become an inflatable classic.

To begin with, the material that the company chose for the construction of the kayak is 18-gauge, rip, puncture, and hook resistant 1000D PVC. This is great news because, in the inflatable kayak world, it doesn´t get much sturdier than that. Furthermore, this sturdiness comes at no extra weight and this vessel is just as portable and handy as the previous one we reviewed above.

Speaking of handy, the mesh bag that the company included is among the most comfortable accessories I have ever experienced in an inflatable kayak and helps you keep things organized at all times. Plus, since the material is mesh, you can easily store there your wet clothes. Other high-quality accessories that deserve noting for this package are the multiple rod holders. You get with your purchase two full-motion rod holders that are great to point your rod wherever you like. You also get two vertical rod holders, and two angled rod holders so the two passengers of this inflatable fishing kayak can choose how to use them for convenience and comfort.

The comfort category is where, in my opinion, this kayak falls short. The seats are not inflatable, which is a plus upfront, but you end up falling a tad too low unless you´re super tall. Also, since they can´t be inflated, they are not the most comfortable for long hours of fishing. That being said, they are very easy to adjust and install with very minimal effort.

Speaking of effort, the included pump and the pair of oars are just right for getting the job done. Even if you have never done it before, you should be able to get it fully inflated and ready to go in about 10 minutes.

After you are done having fun, the included carry bag is very handy as well for easy transportation. Finally, the only thing that the company should double-check is the floor valve because it is not a Boston Valve like the rest.

If you are looking for a good inflatable fishing kayak with lots of options in a comfortable, easy to use package, then this might be it.


· Removable mesh storage compartment

· Multiple rod holders

· Included oars, pump, carrying bag, and skeg

· Super sturdy, 18-gauge, rip, puncture, and hook resistant 1000D PVC construction

· Ready to go in less than 10 minutes


· The floor valve is not a Boston Valve

· Seats are not inflatable or very comfortable


· Super rugged constructions

· All accessories included

· Easy to use and set up

Inflatable Kayak ultimate buying guide

Now that we´ve shown you which are the best two options in the market, it is time to go through the three things you should look for in an inflatable fishing kayak when you go shopping.

First, decide what you want it for

Before you go shopping or even look for it online, just sit and write down what you want your inflatable fishing kayak for. This is paramount to walk into any store with a clear instead of buying whatever you are offered. Decide on the capacity, the composition, the dimensions, and the accessories you need with it. For example, as a solo fisherman, you need to check on the room to store your gear, how comfortable the seat is, and the width so it won´t flip as you stand up to take that big fish out of the water.

Choose a sturdy build material

This is a very important aspect you shouldn´t overlook: the sturdier the material, the better it will keep up with your adventures. We have covered a couple of them with our reviewed kayaks, but this is the complete list:

· Nitrylon (extremely good for cold weather)

· Pennel Orca (very resistant to UV rays)

· PVC (extremely durable)

Since each kind of material has its own set of strengths, the kind of weather you´ll be using it at is going to be very important to make the decision. For example, if you live in a very cold place with still waters, then Nitrylon is great for you. On the other hand, a very hot spot with direct sunlight in summer will need a Pennel Orca kayak. Finally, PVC is the best for all conditions and especially if you are expecting some roughness along the way.

Check for warranty

You are going to buy an inflatable fishing kayak that needs to endure water, extreme weather, and, more importantly, has to keep you floating. Invest in the best brand you can and check for the warranty because such things as accessories, stitching, and other minor details might become big problems when on the water.

A pro tip in this regard is to buy it close to the season you´ll be using it to avoid warranty expiration. This is to say that if you plan to use it in summer, don´t buy it in January (or July, depending on where you are on the globe). If you have a one-year warranty and use it a couple of times in the summer, by the next summer you won´t be covered.


We´ve reached the end of the post and hopefully, by now, you have a good idea of what inflatable fishing kayaks are and what you should look for in them before buying one. We also went through the characteristics that make modern inflatable kayaks a great choice and even reviewed two outstanding models you should check out before making your decision.

Now you are prepared to start enjoying your fishing trips in a much more relaxed, effortless, fun way and make the most out of your favorite hobby. Make a wise choice and paddle onto happiness!

Happy (inflatable) kayaking!


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