The 7 Best Inflatable Kayaks in Canada in 2024

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Inflatable kayaks are extremely convenient if you live in a condo or have limited storage space. While hard kayaks offer great performance, they’re not as easy to transport and store. Inflatable kayaks solve these problems and can offer similar performance if you choose the right model.

For that reason, inflatable kayaks have grown in popularity in recent years. They’re more convenient to transport, easier to store, and can be much more affordable to buy. In certain situations, they’re even safer to use.

Keep reading to learn more about inflatable kayaks and how to choose the right one for your summer adventures on the water.

Our Top Picks:

Why Get An Inflatable Kayak?

There are many advantages to opting for an inflatable kayak instead of a hard kayak. Since they’re inflatable, the main advantage is that they’re much easier to carry and store. While a standard hard kayak might require two people to transport it, an inflatable kayak can be carried solo in a bag. You also won’t need a vehicle to transport an inflatable kayak. For that reason, inflatable kayaks are a popular choice for people living in apartments or condos or people without access to a vehicle.

Another reason to opt for an inflatable kayak is that they’re generally more affordable to buy. Good quality hard kayaks can cost anywhere from $1,000 to well over $2,000, whereas inflatable kayaks are generally in the $150 to $1,000 range. Of course, the price will reflect the quality of what you’re buying.

The 7 Best Inflatable Kayaks in Canada in 2024

We’ve analyzed dozens of inflatable kayaks in Canada to provide you with a list of the best models to choose from. Here they are:

Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Inflatable Kayak

The Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 is our favourite single-seater inflatable kayak. While it’s a bit pricier than others on this list, its quality makes up for it. Some of the features that make it stand out from lower-quality inflatable kayaks are its rigid panels on the bow, its zippered storage pocket, and its rubber grip handles on each end. Its rigidity and durability are almost comparable to a hard kayak. 

The Lagoon 1 is made from a mix of rip-stop polyester and PVC tarpaulin. For safety purposes, it has two air chambers. It has a convenient zippered mesh pocket for storing your valuables (in a waterproof pouch, ideally). 

It weighs just 23 lbs, so carrying it is a breeze compared to a hard kayak. With its 250 lb maximum weight capacity, it also has a higher weight capacity than the other single-seater kayaks on this list. 

The only downside with the Lagoon 1 is that it doesn’t come with a hand pump or a paddle, so you’ll have to buy them separately. 

Why we like it

  • Excellent price/quality ratio 
  • Durable and very sturdy
  • Zippered storage pocket

What can be improved

  • Doesn’t come with an air pump or a paddle
  • Not ideal for rough waters

Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak

The K1 Challenger Inflatable Kayak is the most affordable single seater kayak on the market. Despite it’s low price point, it offers everything you need for leisurely kayaking in relatively calm waters. This means you can enjoy it on lakes, rivers, and even in the ocean, provided that there aren’t too many waves.

The K1 is lightweight and compact when folded, weighing just over 27 lbs. This makes it easy for most people to transport in the provided carrying case. However, getting everything to fit in the carrying case may be a challenge.

It has an inflatable seat that can be adjusted to your comfort level. It also has a cargo net at the front for convenient and secure storage. We recommend keeping your items in a dry bag as they will definitely get splashed.

The only downside is that the K1 has a low weight capacity of 220 lbs.

Why we like it

  • Very inexpensive
  • Come with everything you need
  • Lightweight at just 27 lbs

What can be improved

  • Not suitable for rough waters
  • Less durable than higher quality kayaks on this list

Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak

The Intex Excursion Pro is our favorite 2-seater inflatable kayak if you’re on a budget. With its high inflation capacity, the kayak provides excellent stability. It’s built from impact-resistant 3-ply PVC material, so it’s durable but not recommended for sharp rocky surfaces or rough waters.

When inflated, the Intex Excursion Pro’s rigidity is comparable to that of a hard kayak thanks to its high pressure inflation. It has some convenient storage space at the bow with hooks to keep your items secure.

While this is an excellent 2-seater kayak for all-around use, it’s particularly convenient for fishing. It has removable hooks on each side that can be used to hang fishing accessories or other tools. It’s also sturdy enough to stand up in, provided that the water is calm.

The kayak has a weight capacity of 400 lbs, so it’s suitable for two adults, depending on their weight. It comes with everything you need to get started: a pump, carrying case, and two paddles.

Why we like it

  • Lots of space for 2 paddlers
  • Comes with everything you need
  • Decent stability and performance

What can be improved

  • Might not be comfortable for day trips
  • Not sturdy enough to stand up in

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Hybrid Inflatable Kayak

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak is the most durable inflatable kayak on this list.  With its built-in aluminum frame and rigid panels, his kayak is more of a hybrid between a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak. Its rigidity allows for excellent tracking and advanced performance on the water. It’s also highly resistant to punctures, with 3 layers of material. 

What also sets the AdvancedFrame apart from others is its comfortable seat. Instead of an inflatable seat, it has a padded seat for extra support. The kayak is also highly stable and sturdy, with a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. Similar to the Lagoon 1, it doesn’t come with an oar or a hand pump

Overall, the AdvancedFrame kayak offers the best of both worlds: the look and performance of a hard-shell kayak with the convenience of an inflatable kayak. It’s easy to maneuver and slices through the water like a rigid kayak. 

Why we like it

  • Highly durable and rigid
  • High weight capacity of 300 lbs
  • Padded seat with excellent support

What can be improved

  • Heavier than most, weighing 36 lbs
  • Doesn’t come with an air pump or a paddle

Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak is basically the 2-seater version of the Intex K1 above. While it’s the most affordable 2-seater inflatable kayak on the market, it’s nonetheless a decent inflatable kayak in terms of performance and quality. The kayak’s second seat is removable, so the K2 actually doubles as a single seater kayak.

The K2 comes with a transport bag, an air pump, and two 86″ aluminum oars. The pump supplied is efficient and inflates the kayak in about 10 minutes. It weighs about 30 lbs so it’s easy to transport short distances.

The K2 is comfortable to sit in with its two inflatable seats. However, the back paddler may be limited in terms of leg space.

The main downside with the K2 is that it’s not the sturdiest kayak when used by two adults. This makes it not the best tandem inflatable kayak if you’re willing to invest in something better.

Why we like it

  • Very inexpensive
  • Come with everything you need
  • Inflates in just 10 minutes
  • Can be used by 1 or 2 people

What can be improved

  • Not sturdy when used by 2 adults
  • Less durable than higher quality kayaks on this list

Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak

The Hydro-Force Cove Champion is another single-seater inflatable kayak worth considering if you’re on a budget. While it’s not the best quality inflatable kayak on the market, it’s made from durable Inflata-Shield PVC that’s suitable for lakes, rivers, or the ocean. However, we wouldn’t recommend this kayak for rough waters. 

Compared to the Intex K1, the Hydro-Force has more of a curved shape that may be difficult to maneuver in rough waters. While it doesn’t come with a carrying case, it’s much lighter than the Intex K1, weighing just 17 lbs. You can essentially fold it up and carry it in any large bag. 

The Hydro-Force is also great for its storage compartments. Items can be stored inside the kayak or under a cargo net at the tip of the kayak. For easy transport, the kayak has a grab line to grab onto. It also has a removable fin to facilitate transport and storage. 

The kit comes with a double-sided paddle, an inflatable seat, an air pump, and a repair kit. Overall, if you’re looking for a beginner 1-person inflatable kayak for less than $200, the Hydro-Force is a decent choice.

Why we like it

  • Great value
  • Very lightweight at 17 lbs
  • Comfortable seat

What can be improved

  • Does not come with a carrying case
  • May be difficult to evenly inflate

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Fishing Kayak

The Sea Eagle 330 is the perfect kayak for fishing or camping. With comfortable seats and a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs, the Sea Eagle can comfortably sit two adults and a small child. It also has lots of storage space for small camping trips or day trips on the water.

The Sea Eagle comes with everything you need to hit the water: 2 paddles, 2 comfortable inflatable seats, a foot pump, a repair kit, and a carrying case. It’s easy to transport with two handles. It has two skegs for some decent tracking and speed.

The Sea Eagle is quick to inflate with the provided foot pump in just 6 minutes. It’s also quite lightweight for a 2-seater kayak, weighing just 26 lbs. Overall, the Sea Eagle 330 is an excellent tandem inflatable kayak if you need some extra space for a child or personal belonging. It’s also reasonably priced at just over $500.

Why we like it

  • High capacity of 500 lbs (2 adults + small child)
  • Comes with everything you need
  • Decent tracking and speed

What can be improved

  • Not suitable for rough waters
  • Sits higher in the water than others

The Benefits of Inflatable Kayaks

If you’re wondering why to choose an inflatable kayak over a hardshell kayak, here is a list of some advantages:

Lightweight & Compact

The main advantage that inflatable kayaks have over hard-shell kayaks is their weight and compactness. Hard shell kakaks can weigh anywhere from 30 to 80 lbs, whereas inflatable kayaks are generally between 15 and 40 lbs. Since inflatable kayaks can be deflated when not in use, you can simply fold them and tuck them away during the winter.

Easy to Transport

Since inflatable kayaks can be deflated and folded when not in use, they’re easy to transport without needing a shed or a vehicle with a roof rack. You also won’t have to worry about needing another person to help carry your kayak to the water.

More Affordable

Inflatable kayaks tend to be more affordable than hard shell kayaks. While a hard shell kayak can cost anywhere from $500 to upwards of $2,000, an inflatable kayak is generally in the $150 to $1,000 price range. If you want a kayak but your budget is limited, an inflatable kayak is an affordable alternative to a rigid kayak.

Can be More Durable

Believe it or not, hard shell kayaks can actually be more fragile than quality inflatable kayaks. This is because hard shell kayaks are more likely to crack or break if they collide with a rock or hard surface. Since they’re soft, inflatable kayaks are more likely to simply absorb the shock. However, inflatable kayaks are at risk of tears at the seams overtime if not properly maintained.

What to Consider When Choosing an Inflatable Kayak

Here are some factors to consider before buying an inflatable kayak. Ask yourself those questions to make sure you buy the best kayak to suit your needs.

How & Where You’ll Use it

Before buying an inflatable kayak, you should have an idea of how and where you’ll be using it. Will you be kayaking in the ocean, the lake, or down a river? Not all kayaks are designed for the same type of water. It’s also important to make sure that the kayak is suited for the activity you want to do. Are you looking to kayak peacefully on a calm lake, or slice quickly downstream?

All these questions should be answered before purchasing an inflatable kayak. This will help you find the type of kayak that best suits your needs. Generally speaking, recreational inflatable kayaks are best for all-around use. If you plan on kayaking all day at a higher speed, opt for a touring kayak instead. If you’ll be ripping through rapids, opt for a whitewater inflatable kayak.

Features & Accessories Provided

Inflatable kayaks vary in terms of their features and the accessories provided. Not all kayaks will have storage pockets or handles, for example. Most kayaks will come with a paddle and an air pump, but other brands prefer you buy them separately. Also, not all inflatable kayaks will come with a carrying case, which can be inconvenient for some people. It’s important to take a look at what’s included in your purchase.

Weight Capacity

Weight capacity almost always goes in hand with quality. Lower quality inflatable kayaks will have a weight capacity closer to 200 lbs, while higher quality kayaks will have a weight capacity closer to 300 lbs. If you weigh over 200 lbs, don’t forget to keep weight capacity in mind when choosing a kayak.

What Are The Different Types of Inflatable Kayaks?

There are a few different types of kayaks. Each type of kayak is designed specifically for how and where it’s intended to be used. For instance, a sea kayak is different from a recreational kayak typically seen on lakes. Here are a few types of kayaks commonly seen:

Recreational Inflatable Kayaks

Recreational inflatable kayaks are the most popular type of inflatable kayak. Typically measuring about 8 to 10 feet in length, they’re shorter than other types of inflatable kayaks. Recreational kayaks are suitable for flat waters such as lakes or calmer parts of oceans.

Touring Inflatable Kayak

Touring inflatable kayaks are designed for longer journeys on the water. For that reason, they will be thinner and longer, and able to reach higher speeds more efficiently. They will also often have more storage space than a recreation kayak.

Whitewater Inflatable Kayaks

Whitewater inflatable kayaks are the most durable. They are designed for ripping through rapids, so they will always be made from a durable material. The kayak has to be highly resistant to potential punctures from rocks or logs.

Fishing Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks for fishing are generally smaller in size, flatter, and designed for greater stability. The enhanced stability allows for stability when standing. Some fishing kayaks will even have space at the stern for a small motor.

Sit-In Vs. Sit-On Inflatable Kayaks

Most inflatable kayaks you see on the water will be sit-in kayaks. With a sit-in kayak, your legs are protected from the water. On the other hand, sit-on kayaks do not offer this protection. You can easily jump in and out of the kayak and your legs will not be enclosed in the kayak. Sit-on kayaks are most commonly used in tropical countries where the water is warmer.

What’s The Difference Between A Kayak And a Canoe?

Often confused with canoeing, kayaking is a completely different water sport. Contrary to popular belief, the difference is not in the number of rowers. These are actually two main differences, including the position of the rower(s) as well as the shape of the paddle.

In a canoe, the rower will either be seated on their knees with their legs bent back or sitting on a bench. In a kayak, the rower will always be seated with their legs extended forward. Also, the paddle of the kayak is double. There is a “blade” (part of the paddle that goes in the water) on each side of the paddle. The one on the canoe is simple. This implies that the rower must pass it to either side of the boat in order to move forward.

In a kayak, the rower simply dives each end of the paddle, one after the other. That being said, both activities are very enjoyable.

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