Inflatable kayaks and canoes can offer accessible, portable paddling for use in bodies of water in and around the U.K. and abroad. Inflatable kayaks fold down easily into a portable carry case, making them the perfect accessory for U.K. holidays or continental trips.
With some kayaks large enough to seat as many as three passengers, they can offer the perfect accessory for an adventurous camping trip.
These are some of the best inflatable kayaks that money can buy with explanations of their features and what users love, so you can be sure you’ve got the best kayak for the type of canoeing that you’re doing.
Whether you’re looking for a kayak suitable for your family or you’re more of an independent solo padder these are the best kayaks for you to consider this summer.
Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
Here are the best inflatable kayaks that you can use as a pair, because paddling is more fun with a friend! All of the kayaks included in this list have two seats, making them the perfect type of kayak for exploring the waters around your home.
|Max Weight Capacity
|Intex K2 Explorer
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|313.94 cm x 91.44 cm x 54.86 cm
|32 x 34 x 15 cm
|Intex K2 Challenger Kayak
|350.52 cm x 76.2 cm x 38.1 cm
|76.2 x 38.1 x 15 cm
|Hydro Force Rapid Kayak (2023)
|100 cm x 325 cm x 100cm
|75 cm x 46 x 21 cm
|Hydro Force Rapid Kayak (2021)
|320.04 cm x 88 cm
|75 cm x 46 x 21 cm
|Itwit New 100 Inflatable Kayak
|340 cm x 103 cm
|67 cm x 44 x 30 cm
Why We Love these 2 Person Inflatable Kayaks
Intex K2 Explorer Kayak – The Intex Explorer kayak offers a durable, all in one inflatable kayak in a distinctive and eye catching colour, that includes most of what you need to get started on the water. The high sided design means the explorer kayak is versatile enough to use on tidal waters where choppiness can be factor. The kayak folds into a manageable size when deflated and comes in a handy carry case. The kayak includes; a pump to get your kayak inflated quickly, 2 x 218.44 cm aluminium oars, 2 x inflatable seats, a rear fin to attach for stability and streamlining and can support a maximum carrying capacity weight of 180 kg.
Intex K2 Challenger Kayak – The Intex Challenger kayak is the perfect inflatable kayak for beginners because of it’s highly durable vinyl material and easy grab lines at both ends. The low profile design of the challenger kayak makes it the perfect inflatable kayak for use on rivers and lakes. You can seat up to 2 passengers in the specially designed cockpit, each on an inflatable chair, with a maximum load weight of 180 kg. Included in the kit is; a pump for easy inflation, cargo net to keep your dry bag safe, 2 inflatable seats, rear fin for streamlining and 2 x aluminium oars.
Hydro Force Lite Kayak (2023) – The latest Hydro Force Lite Kayak is a lightweight and durable PVC inflatable kayak made from PVC. The design of the Hhydro Force is customised to help prevent water entering the kayak on choppy surfaces, making it the ideal kayak to use across all types of water. The kayak has easy carry handles to help you transport your inflated kayak easily to the water line. The kayak comes with everything you need to get started on the water including; 2 x aluminium oars, 2 inflatable seats, a pump, 2 fins for streamlining in the water and a sturdy carry case to help transport your kayak when it’s not inflated. The bright orange colour scheme will help keep you recognisable and easy to spot on the water. With a maximum passenger weight capacity of 180KG you’ll be able to explore with a partner too.
Hydro Force Lite Kayak (2021) – The 2021 Hydro Force Lite Kayak is one of the best inflatable kayaks even 2 years after it’s initial release. Both strong and durable but also very light, the kayak is one of the most portable inflatable kayaks available. The ultra lightweight design doesn’t make the kayak any less durable as it is sturdy enough to carry up to 160 kg of passengers in it’s two person cockpit. Each kayak includes; 2 inflatable seats, 2 x aluminium oars, a fin for streamlining, a hand pump for easy inflation and a handy carry bag for easy transportation of your kayak.
Itwit New 100 Inflatable Kayak – The Itwit 100 inflatable kayak is a firm favourite among beginner kayakers and the new model for 2023 brings some great additions. Folding neatly into a convenient backpack carry case, the Itwit is a contender for one of the most portable 2 person inflatable kayaks out there. With 2 comfort seats included and a repair kit the kayak is perfect for those who already have a set of paddles or are looking to expand their fleet of kayaks. Made from strong and durable PVC with comfortable polyester lining, the kayak is long and offers a stable ride due to it’s length. Paddles, buoyancy aids and the pump are sold separately, so you will want to factor this in to your purchase decision if you’re brand new to kayaking and would prefer an all in one package.
Best 1 Person Inflatable Kayak
Single person inflatable kayaks are a great way to explore waterways near your home or on a holiday. Here are the best single seat inflatable kayaks that can set you up to explore the rivers, lakes and seas near you.
|Max Weight Capacity
|Aqua Spirit Inflatable Kayak
|55 x 30 x 80 cm
|Aquatec Hudson Kayak
|Aquatec Ottowa Pro Kayak
|Itwit 100 1 Person Touring Kayak
|62 cm x 44 cm
Why We Love these 1 Person Inflatable Kayaks
Aqua Spirit Inflatable Kayak – The Aqua Spirit Inflatable kayak offers a lightweight yet durable, high performance kayak. The new design of the Aqua Spirit kayak, updated for 2023, has many features only commonly found on high performance kayaks. Even better, the kayak itself folds neatly away into a convenient carry case backpack that means the kayak is easy to transport. Even better, the kayak includes many features and accessories that you might not find on competitor kayaks. For example, you’ll get a footrest, waterproof phone case, removable centre fins, adjustable aluminium paddles and a hand pump to inflate your kayak to around 8PSI.
Aquatec Hudson Inflatable Kayak – The Aquatec Hudson kayak is the perfect beginner kayak for any individual. The PVC kayak is quick to inflate with the included pump and includes clever valve technology to prevent over inflation once you hit 18 PSI of pressure. Included as part of the kit is a detachable seat, collapsible paddle, pump and carry bag for when your kayak is deflated and ready for transportation.
Aquatec Ottowa Inflatable Kayak – The Aquatec Ottowa inflatable kayak is the perfect kayak for advanced kayakers who want the added portability that an inflatable kayak offers. User reviews reference the high quality feel of the kayak and the stability that the kayak offers on both tidal and fresh water. Included in the pack is a comfortable padded chair, pump for inflation, collapsible paddle and convenient carry bag.
Itwit 100 1 Person Touring Kayak – The Itwit 1 person touring kayak is a perfect kayak for beginners looking for a great value inflatable kayak to get started with. It folds down into a handy, portable backpack and looks stylish in an eye catching yellow finish. The kayak itself weighs just 11 kg helping portability remain high. The kayak is sold without a pump or paddles so you’ll need to factor the cost of these into your budget if you’re looking to buy this as your first kayak.
What is the Best Inflatable Kayak?
The best inflatable kayak is one that offers enough space and weight support for you and the number of passengers you wish to take with you.
If you’re a beginner, then we would struggle to find a better option than the Intex K2 Explorer kayak which we have found to be easy to use, durable, reliable and easy to inflate and deflate.
After numerous voyages, our Intex kayak still inflates and assembles quickly and is sturdy and high sided enough to use at sea.
It has all the kit included too, unlike some kayaks, the Intex Explorer comes with 2 x paddles, a hand pump, 2 seats, rear stability fin, a carry case and a repair kit.
Best 3+ Passenger Inflatables
|Hydro Force Light Rapid Inflatable Kayak – 2023
|381 cm x 99 cm
|75 x 46 x 21 cm
|Hydro Force Light Rapid Inflatable Kayak – 2021
|381 cm x 99 cm
|75 x 46 x 21 cm
|CO-Z Inflatable Kayak
|300 cm x 150 cm
|106 x 61 x 31 cm
|Aqua Marina Tomahawk
|Drop Stitch PVC
|478 cm x 88 cm
|106 x 61 x 31 cm
|Itwit 100 2/3 Person Kayak
|382 cm x 108 cm
|73 x 44 x 33 cm
Why We Love these 3 Person or more Inflatable Kayaks
2023 Hydro Force Light Rapid – This is the perfect, tough, durable and large kayak for families and larger groups hoping to get out on the water to explore. Included in the pack with the 2023 version of the hydro force light rapid inflatable kayak are; comfortable seats, kayak paddles, aluminium paddles, a pump to inflate your kayak and 2 fins for stability and streamlining. The kayak features a rigid floor that means the kayak is even more stable and rigid, helping you to enjoy your trips on the water even more. You’ll be able to carry up to three comfortably because the kayak can carry up to 250kg safely.
2021 Hydro Force Light Rapid – The 2021 edition of the hydro force light rapid kayak is a great kayak for those who need seating for three people but still want the portability of an inflatable vessel. It weighs only 14.8 kg and it inflates quickly with the included pump. With three comfort seats, stability fins and grab handles either end this boat will allow you to easily enter the water, board the boat and be on your way to your chosen destination. When you’re done, you can drain any water quickly through the drainage valve and release air easily to fold the kayak down for transportation home.
Co-Z Inflatable Kayak Zodiac Style Boat – The Co-Z inflatable kayak offers a different shape and experience for you and your passengers. The large size makes the kayak perfect for fishing, exploring and even surfing. The boat is highly durable and sturdy meaning you can venture over the sea, rivers and lakes.
Aqua Marina Tomahawk 3 Person Inflatable Kayak – The Aqua Marina Tomahawk inflatable kayak gives the look and feel of a traditional “Canadian” style dugout canoe as well as the benefits of stability and rigidity because of it’s double walled, drop stitch PVC fabric design. The kayak is so sturdy it can carry as many as 3 people (weighing up to 260 kg) making it the perfect vessel to explore remote locations. With extra high sides, a long hull and high performance fins the kayak is both stable and fast through the water. The three air chambers can be inflated to a high pressure 10 psi. Paddles aren’t included in the price, but you do get a pump included, along with seating and a carry case. If you’re after the highest quality premium model, then the Aqua Marina Tomahawk is the best inflatable kayak money can buy.
Itwit 100 2 or 3 Person Inflatable Kayak – A budget kayak option for those looking to take as many as three passengers on kayak excursions, the Itwit kayak is easy to transport in it’s carry case, lightweight and durable thanks to the PVC construction. Like with most Decathlon kayaks, the Itwit 100 isn’t sold with paddles so you’ll need to make sure you purchase some if you want to make good progress on the water. For beginners looking for a large, good value 3 seater kayak, the Itwit is a strong contender for the best purchase.
The Best Buoyancy Aids for your Kayak
You won’t want to venture out on the water without an effective buoyancy aid to keep you safe in case of any accidents or emergencies.
These are among the best buoyancy aids for people of any size and weight, you can get to help keep you afloat while enjoying your inflatable kayak.
|Helly Hansen Buoyancy Aid Rider Vest
|60 x 40 x 30cm
|Helly Hansen Sport 2 Buoyancy Aid
|60 x 40 x 40 cm
|up to 90 kg
|Leader Accessories Buoyancy Aid
|50 x 46 x 40 cm
|Nookie Rockhopper Buoyancy Aid
|107 – 120 cm in size L
Helly Hansen Buoyancy Aid Rider Vest – This Helly Hansen unisex buoyancy aid has a classic design that’s stylish yet comfortable. Safety certified, the buoyancy aid can be used for a variety of different types of watersports including; jet skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking or even swimming and snorkelling. Available in yellow, bright red, deep red or black there’s likely to be a perfect colour combination to suit your preference.
Helly Hansen Sport 2 Buoyancy Aid – slightly cheaper than the rider vest buoyancy aid, the Helly Hansen sport 2 is an effective safety certified buoyancy jacket for use during a variety of water sports and water based activities. Suitable for activities like yachting, surfing, paddle boarding this Helly Hansen flotation aid will provide the buoyancy you need to help keep you safe during your kayaking trip.
Leader Accessories Buoyancy Aid – One of the bestselling buoyancy aids available, the Leader Accessories buoyancy aid is an easy to use polyester filled buoyancy vest available in a range of colours and sizes. Choose your vest in yellow, red, white or black in the best size for you. Offering reliable buoyancy for people weighing more than 90kg in the XL size, the vest offers a great value way to help keep you safe while kayaking and canoeing.
Nookie Rockhopper Buoyancy Aid – the Nookie Rockhopper Buoyancy Aid is by far the best buoyancy aid money can buy. It features a hydration pouch to help keep you hydrated out on the water, Internal pockets with dividers to help keep your items safe and organised on your trip and mesh pockets front and back for emergency flares and kit should you need them. The floatation is handled by a nylon coated Cordura 500 shell. with UKCA and EU approved materials.
Inflatable Kayak FAQs
Where can you use an inflatable kayak?
You can take and use your inflatable kayak on most rivers and lakes that are large enough in the U.K. to support them. Be aware that to use an inflatable kayak on most U.K. waterways you will need a rivers and waterways licence. This is available from British canoeing and costs around £47 per year.
You can also use inflatable kayaks on the sea without a licence but be sure to familiarise yourself with coastal access where you intend to travel and ensure that you take all necessary precautions to keep yourself safe while venturing out onto the sea.
Many regions across the UK offer self launch access to private lakes and rivers for people to enjoy a day out on the water, like the Cotswold Waterpark in the Cotswolds. This can be a good way to familiarise yourself with your craft before venturing into the sea or rivers.
Can you take a dog in an inflatable kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are designed to be sturdy enough for as many as three passengers so, depending on the size and weight of your pet and the size and passenger capacity of your kayak, taking your dog along for the ride shouldn’t be a problem.
It might make sense to make sure your dog can swim, your dog gets used to your inflatable kayak on land and you can practice boarding with your dog so you can get used to the best order for you and your dog to board your kayak in to ensure stability is maintained even when you’re on the water.
How to Store an Inflatable Kayak
Effective storage for your inflatable kayak is critical to prolonging the life of your vessel. To keep your kayak in the best condition, ensure that you;
- thoroughly hose down and clean your kayak before putting it away (ensure all sand, debris and mud is removed)
- dry your kayak to help prevent deterioration
- fold your kayak and put it in the included carry case or backpack that most kayaks come with
- If you can, it also makes sense to store the kayak in a hard shell container with smooth edges so that any falling objects where you store the kayak don’t puncture or damage the material.
Can you repair an inflatable kayak?
Many inflatable kayaks ship with puncture repair kits so that you can patch any tears or punctures to the material. We’d always recommend checking the manufacturer specifications for repair and maintenance advice before returning to the water in a kayak that has suffered damage or puncture.
You should always make sure that your kayak holds air and is free from air leaks or escaping air from valves before venturing out on the water.
Ben at BestCampingProducts.co.uk once camped out in a storm under a bivouac fashioned from Canadian Canoes and tarpulin next to the raging river Wye because a fellow camping family forgot their tent on canoe and camping trip. Mental scars now eased, Ben still enjoys roughing it on a wild camping trip, mountain exploration with tent packed up or summer getaways to campsites conveniently located next to beaches.