Picking out the best inflatable fishing kayak can be a daunting prospect, but we’re here to streamline the process for you and showcase some of the best boats for a successful fishing trip.
Whether through price, stability, or overall durability, all of our picks manage to stand out among the slew of mediocre fishing boats that have flooded the market. When everything’s said and done, we guarantee you’ll be going home with a full net and an intact boat!
Be sure to read on until the end to learn everything you need to know before setting sail.
Quick Answer: Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks
10 Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks
There’s a lot to take into account when picking out inflatable fishing boats, so take a look at these 10 selections before making any impulsive purchases:
Weight: 38 lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 37″ | Max Capacity: 440 lbs
Feature: Tough 600 denier nylon cover | L-Beam floor | Heavy-duty D-ring | Detachable skeg | High pressure Boston valves
Very few inflatable fishing kayaks can measure up to the quality of Swimline’s products, as this budget specimen clearly demonstrates. Don’t be fooled by its plain-looking design – this tandem inflatable is anything but ordinary!
The boat is quick-drying and decently UV-resistant, thanks to the nylon cover and two nylon-coated seats. You can easily remove the skeg if need be, and the bottom is surprisingly sturdy for the money you’re paying.
Despite being a two-person kayak, Solstice manages to get away with a slightly below-average length of about 11 feet without compromising on durability or maneuverability. On top of that, once you deflate it, you can easily stuff this thing into your bag, or better yet, the carry bag that comes with it!
It should be noted that this boat only has a single drainage hole in the back, making it best-suited for river kayaking in stable weather. Either way, this makes for a great beginner-to-intermediate pick if you’re looking to buy something fancier down the line.
Weight: 52 lbs | Length: 15′ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 550 lbs
Features: Integrated pressure relief valve | Inflatable coaming | Durable double coated rip-stop fabric | Bungee deck lacing
This inflatable fishing kayak is one of Advanced Elements’ crowning achievements – you’ll come to know and love the red-and-grey design very quickly!
Although 15 feet should be more than long enough, you can open up a zipper at the front to give you a staggering 21 feet to work with. This is especially useful if you’re on the taller side, or if you’re still dipping your toes into kayaking, as having more room can help overcome the psychological barrier imposed by limited space.
It’s not very fair to compare inflatables to hardshell kayaks, but this bad boy’s sturdiness is frankly impressive. The drop-stitch floor amps up the pressure resistance and brings any unwanted wavering to a minimum, and the two coats of fabric offer more protection than you might expect.
Weight: 18 lbs | Length: 8′ 7″ | Width: 36″ | Max Capacity: 400 lbs
Features: 21-gauge PVC construction | Multiple air chambers | Double lock valves | Multi-position foot rest | Airtight system
Nobody likes the formality of getting their fishing kayak ready to go, but this one manages to make the process extremely quick and painless.
If you thought the Solstice was compact, wait until you’ve seen this miniature wonder in action. With a length of only about 8.5 feet, you might be tempted to leave this thing inflated when you’re done with it and stick it in a corner somewhere. None of this is to say you’ll be feeling cramped while using it, though, since the seat is adjustable and very comfortable.
The inflation chamber is made up of three compartments (two is the industry standard here), giving you an added safety net in emergency situations. We don’t expect you’ll be needing this, however, as the tarpaulin bottom and drain valves are more than enough to keep the boat afloat.
A kayak that can fit inside a bag is one thing, but the Sevylor Quikpak can be folded into a backpack in a matter of minutes. On top of that, it even comes with a pump to further streamline the already easy setup process.
Weight: 27 lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 35” | Max Capacity: 400 lbs
Features: Boston Valves | Removable Skeg | Padded high back seats | Corrosion resistant hardware | Easy carry handles | Bungee storage
Our list features plenty of amazing tandem inflatable kayaks, but the general consensus is that this is one of the very best you can hope to find.
Despite only being 10 feet long, this beauty can hold up to 450 pounds without a problem, and instead of the run-of-the-mill inflatable seating on most kayaks that forcibly prop you up, your body will comfortably sink into the EVA seats, making the paddling process that much more comfortable.
As far as inflatable boats go, the Driftsun Voyager is practically a tank compared to many of its competitors – the nylon fabric cover is extremely durable, and the tarpaulin bottom offers a level of puncture protection that’s second only to that of hardshell kayaks.
Besides the obligatory aluminum paddles. you’re also getting a tracking pin and a hand pump out of the deal, as well as a complimentary Driftsun bag to stuff this thing in when you’re done.
Weight: 39 lbs | Length: 12′ 7″ | Width: 37″ | Max Capacity: 400 lbs
Feature: Laminate PVC with polyester core | High pressure inflation | Removable and adjustable mounting bracket | High molecular PVC
It’s hard not to appreciate an inflatable fishing kayak that places such a strong emphasis on longevity the way the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak does.
Although the boat is standard in terms of weight (around 45 pounds when deflated), it can comfortably hold up to 400 pounds, making it ideal for bringing home a decent-sized haul, even with a second person on board. On top of that, the PVC and polyester build makes it hard to put a dent in the boat even if you tried.
You can use this boat in any body of water and feel safe no matter the depth thanks to the double skeg rig. On top of that, the kayak has a number of minors, but much-appreciated features, such as adjustable seats and a mounting bracket to hold a bit of extra gear.
Although this is more of a peripheral feature, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible pump that comes with the boat, as this thing’s output is so good you’ll probably find some other uses for it outside of inflating your kayak.
Weight: 40 lbs | Length: 10′ 10″ | Width: 39″ | Max Capacity: 400 lbs
Feature: Rigid dropstitch floor | Front bow spray shield | Halkey Roberts locking valve | Ample bow and stern storage | Bow, stern, and side carry handles
If you’re reading this, chances are you just want a reliable fishing boat and don’t particularly care about making the kayaking big leagues. If so, this quality inflatable kayak might be just what you’re looking for.
Coming in at a standard 10 feet, this kayak manages to make you feel extremely comfortable, courtesy of the ample legroom, EVA seat, and adjustable footrests. Add to that the abundance of storage space and double fishing rod mount setup, and you’ve got yourself a boat that’ll help you reel it in big!
Whereas the average fishing boat can be a bit vulnerable to rocking-induced water leaks, the sturdy bottom features extremely efficient ports, and the PVC coating gives the boat some impressive durability.
As an added bonus, the fact that this thing has a front and back skeg gives it above-average tracking. In case you get caught in nasty weather and want to make it back home quickly, the kayak can be deflated in no time at all, and pumping it doesn’t take much longer either.
Weight: 32 lbs | Length: 12′ 6″ | Width: 34″ | Max Capacity: 650 lbs
Feature: Lightweight and portable | Self-bailing drain valve | 3 deluxe one-way valves | Lashed-down inflatable spray skirts | L-beam construction floor
This inflatable fishing kayak is different in that it can easily sit up to 3 people, and it has a weight capacity of about 650 pounds.
Despite all this, the boat hardly weighs more than your average kayak, so you can easily stuff this in a bag like you would any other inflatable. Also, the back support on the seats is some of the best we’ve come across, and between the two skegs and two paddles that come with the boat, the steering is as good as it gets for a kayak of its kind.
Besides offering great general protection, the PVC construction lets you use this boat for hours on end without fear of damage or deflation.
Finally, this is one of the most affordable fishing kayaks on the market, which is especially impressive when you consider the additional accouterments that come with it – aside from the bag, you also get a pretty nifty foot pump.
Weight: 52 lbs | Length: 15′ | Width: 36″ | Max Capacity: 400 lbs
Feature: 2 highback kayak seats | High-pressure drop-stitch floo | Rigid keel inserts at the bow and stern | Bungee deck rigging | Removable fin
The devil is in the details when it comes to picking the best inflatable fishing boats, and NRS’ products never fail to deliver.
This is one of the longer kayaks on our list (at around 15 feet), which is certainly a good thing when you’re dealing with a tandem boat. The drop-stitch floor is practically impervious to punctures, and the PVC coating and mesh seats are incredibly resistant to the elements.
It’s hard to complain about touches like the folding seats and feet rests too, and in case you decide to venture out solo, you can remove one of the seats to shift the weight of the boat accordingly.
It should be noted that this boat is a bit on the heftier side as far as inflatables go, but nevertheless, you can pump up and deflate it in a matter of minutes using the pump that comes with the set. Besides, the added weight should serve as a good indicator of how sturdy the build is!
Weight: 24 lbs | Length: 9′ | Width: 30″ | Max Capacity: 220 lbs
Feature: Heavy duty puncture-resistant vinyl | 2 Seperate air chambers | Inflatable I-beam floor | Boston valves
We can’t say enough good things about the Intex inflatable fishing kayaks, so we had to include a second one on our list.
Lightweight and built for speed, this boat is a stylish cruiser that offers way more than what the generous price might have you believe. Despite being only 9 feet in length, the kayak’s comfortable seating is one of Intex’s very finest, and you can fit a surprising amount of gear under that large cargo net.
The vinyl construction is a big part of the reason why this boat is so light, and the good news is that it’s still very resistant to punctures and other forms of damage. Also, the I-Beam floors will give you some secure footing if you need to readjust your position and pull a big one in.
The only real drawback to this thing is that it’s not well-suited for heavier paddlers, as it can only really support up to 220 pounds. With that said, the boat is an amazing pick for beginner fishermen who aren’t looking to spend too much time out on the water.
Weight: 70 lbs | Length: 14′ | Width: 51.6″ | Max Capacity: 770 lbs
Feature: Same heavy-duty 1,100 Denier PVC | All seams are Heat Welded | 2 air chambers per side-tube | seams are quadruple overlap for maximum strength
If you don’t know the first thing about fishing kayaks, beauties like these are likely the first thing that springs to mind when you think of inflatable boats.
The PVC and polyester build will keep this boat alive and kicking for years on end, while the heat-welded seams provide maximum resistance to both moisture and scorching heat. Although the wooden seating isn’t quite as cushy as some of our other picks, the boat can easily fit 3 people and support up to 770 pounds. If you want to get creative, you could also remove the middle seat and free up some more room for yourself and another person.
The floor of the boat was built with rough waters in mind, so you should have no trouble getting up and moving around if you need to. If the waters aren’t too well-suited for paddling on a given day, you can stick a motor in the back and watch this kayak fly.
Key Considerations for Buying an Inflatable Kayak
There are a few things you may want to think about before committing to a particular fishing kayak – here are some of them:
As far as build quality goes, it should go without saying that most inflatable fishing kayaks can’t really measure up to a traditional fishing boat as far as construction and longevity are concerned. With that said, if you’re smart with your material choices, chances are you won’t be replacing your inflatable any time soon.
If you’re gunning for speed, PVC might just be the way to go, since boats made of synthetic polymers tend to be light as a feather. Another advantage is that PVC boats tend to be the cheapest, making them a good pick if you don’t really plan on fishing all too often.
The catch here is that overt exposure to extreme sunlight might result in some damage over time, although you can largely get around this with protectant spray – the average spray won’t set you back more than $20.
For a slightly safer (albeit more expensive) choice, consider investing in a Hypalon boat instead. On top of the mandatory water resistance that PVC also provides you with, Hypalon is very UV-resistant and makes a boat’s construction much sturdier as a whole.
As you can tell from our list, a deflated fishing kayak can weigh anywhere from 20-or-so pounds to upwards of 50 if it’s a two-or-three-seater. Neither of these weight brackets is particularly cumbersome, though, and when you consider that most kayaks come with a carrying bag, minor differences in weight generally shouldn’t be of much concern.
Kayaks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there are a couple of factors worth keeping in mind before buying one.
If you plan on fishing with friends, you’ll obviously want as much space in your boat as you can get. The longest kayaks can reach up to 15 or 16 feet, and they tend to have extra removable seats. On the other hand, solo fishermen should probably stick to smaller kayaks, if only to save a few hundred dollars and the headache of getting it out of the water when you’re done.
Another factor to consider here is the body of water. If you’re kayaking in a river (especially a winding one), it’s much easier to make sharp turns with a tinier kayak. On the other hand, if you want to fish in a lake, longer kayaks travel faster in a straight line.
Although more and more quality inflatable kayaks keep coming out with each passing year, we can’t, in good conscience, advise you to use one in rapids or other rough waters. Many of the options we outlined for you are among the safest picks for whitewater and still lake fishing trips, but at the end of the day, even the best-constructed plastic boat can only handle so much.
Should You Get an Inflatable or Traditional Fishing Kayak?
You could make a strong case for both inflatable and hard-shell kayaks being better, and we’d like to double down on that – the best choice depends on what it is you’re hoping to get out of it.
If you don’t know the first thing about fishing and aren’t even sure if you want to keep at it, dishing out a solid chunk of money for a traditional kayak might be a bad financial move. Although there are definitely pricey inflatables out there, a quality hard-shell is likely to be heavier on the pocket.
As far as the boats themselves go, inflatable kayaks tend to be a lot more comfortable, since the seats tend to be made of mesh or vinyl. Inflatables are also much lighter and can fit in your average bag or trunk, as opposed to hard-shells, which generally need to be tied to the roof of your car for you to take them anywhere.
The main benefit of using traditional kayaks is that they’re understandably sturdier and easier to maneuver (due in no small part to the fact that they generally come with better paddles), but these differences don’t matter quite as much if you’re dealing with still waters.
Inflatable Fishing Kayaks FAQs
If you still have some questions about inflatable fishing kayaks, check out these FAQs for more information.
Inflatable kayaks are a lot more stable than many people give them credit for. As we stated above, if the weather & water conditions are mild, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
It would have to depend on how far you intend to go. You generally can, but you’d be wise to use a sturdier kayak with plenty of scupper holes to drain more water in emergency situations.
Inflatable kayaks are, in fact, the best choice for a beginner fisherman and/or kayaker – they’re extremely portable, easy to prep, and can hold a surprising amount of weight.
And that’s that for the 10 best inflatable fishing kayaks available in 2023. We realize it may be a lot to take in, but we hope you learned a thing or two and found the perfect boat for your upcoming fishing trip!
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