Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by Ecorf

Kayaking is a common trend in recent times, and the reasons for the growing adoption are not surprising. There is a need to exercise the body, and having some time off with nature seems a pleasant way to do that. That is the reason why many people are passionate about getting into the rivers with their favorite boats.

Yet, it doesn’t come as easy as that. It is important to choose the best kayaks for rivers. For many potential kayakers, this can be a herculean task, because they may miss out some details when selecting one. Hence, it is imperative to go through our guide to arrive at the best decision. We aim to make the process a walkover for you by handpicking the best boats that are available in the market.

If you’re ready, join us as we walk over to the banks and take a surf across the waters. Read further to discover all you need to know about inflatable kayaks.

How to Choose the Best Inflatable Kayaks

Gone are the days when inflatable kayaks were mere pool toys that are fancied for the floating capabilities. They have to some extent, taken the place of traditional boats. The recent dramatic strides in technology revolved the entire use cases of the boat and made it applicable in varieties of places.

Before planning your next kayaking trip either for recreational fun or for some specialized watercraft, you need to consider certain factors. These would help you discover the best inflatable kayaks for rivers without beating around the bush.

  • Size

While the boat can be used in many scenarios, it is also ideal to consider the size before buying one. As a rule of thumb, many kayakers prefer to go for tandem kayaks that are reputed for the expansiveness and flexibility.

You may also want to consider other options like the longer and shorter models, depending on your floating needs.

  • Type of Kayaking

Have you decided on the type of floating you want to embark on? Do you intend to paddle on rivers ocean bays, or lakes? These would determine the type of kayak you should choose.

Most times, kayakers prefer going with the touring and whitewater kayaks. Other options are canoe-kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks, and fishing kayaks. So, you may consider that if you are given to that area.

  • Construction Material

Inflatable kayaks are constructed with three materials, which are Nitrylon that is eco-friendly and usable on cold weather. The PVC construction material is reputed for the resistance, while the Hypalon material is efficient even in strong weather and chemical conditions.

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

  • Portability

The fact that the boat is inflatable doesn’t translate to its portability. It is worth mentioning that some inflatable kayaks for rivers are heavy. Hence, you may want to choose one that is portable and has a backpack for easy carriage.

  • Price

We saved the best for the last! Price plays an important role in the selection of the best inflatable kayaks for rivers. Therefore, you should have this in mind while considering the other options.

Advantages of the Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Kayaking isn’t just about the fun of floating on water. There are more health benefits attached to the activity, and we highlight these below.

The first advantage of using the boat is that it enhances stability. This is facilitated by the extra width and pontoon that make the boat wide enough to contain you and your gears.

The boat is also suitable for people that have disabilities or any other health concern that limits their ability to lift things. The implication is that such users would take advantage of the deflation to fold the boat to and from the river.

The other most important benefit is the stress-free paddling. Inflatable kayaks have higher seating depths, extra width, and larger sizes that ensure you have seamless paddling.


Frequently Asked Questions about Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Do you have any concerns about the boat? You are not alone on this because many other kayakers that are looking at buying or using inflatable kayaks have the same concerns. You don’t have to worry because we have got you covered.

Read some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the best inflatable kayaks for rivers and get insight into some of the concerns you have about the boat.

  • Are Inflatable Kayaks Stable?

The boats are stable. The pontoon-like sides make this more powerful and cut down on the chances of tipping.

  • What Materials Do they Use?

Inflatable kayaks are made of three materials, which are Polyurethane, Hypalon, and PVC.

  • What Happens If I Get a Leak?

A leak cannot be ruled out of the boat. When it happens, you either have the option of fixing it yourself (if it’s something you can handle) or consider taking it to an inflatable kayak dealer or contacting the manufacturer for repairs.

  • Can the Boat Be Used for Fishing?

Yes, it can! Many inflatable kayakers are fishers’ favorite because of the portability.

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

  • Are Inflatable Kayaks Hard to Maintain?

The kayaks are easy to care for. All you need do is hosing it with fresh water, and using mild environmental-friendly products to clean it. Afterward, you can dry it under the sun/dry with a towel, deflate, and roll it up into the bag for storage ahead of future use.

The 5 Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Now that we have looked at the basics, it is time to consider the top five (5) inflatable kayaks in the market. If you’re looking at getting the boat for your next kayaking trip, then you need to read the products on the list to arrive at an informed decision.

This inflatable kayak is one the most used and favorite of kayakers. The boat is the definition of portability with a weight of less than 25lbs and 18lbs for the paddleboard.

It is also reputed for the maneuverability that allows you to turn to different angles when floating. Besides, the backpack allows for easy carriage, which is one feature that kayakers look for when choosing the best inflatable kayaks for rivers.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • The board feels like a solid board when inflated
  • Has additional features, including a convertible paddle, a pump seat, and ankle leash
  • Glides quickly


  • The seat is not quite as comfortable as a standard kayak
  • Doesn’t have the power to inflate the entire boat

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Do you cherish some time with nature? It is true that you may need to be alone on the rivers, but having company wouldn’t hurt either. That is why this inflatable kayak for rivers is the best pick for you.

The dual occupancy that allows you to bring a companion is commendable just as the quick inflation and deflation ensure that you pump and deflate the boat before and after use. The kayak also has dual air chambers, which ensure that the boat would still be active even when one of the chambers is damaged.


  • Heavy-duty Puncture Resistant Vinyl
  • Made for smaller bodies of water, including mild rivers and lakes
  • 2 inflatable seats with adjustable backrests for comfort


  • Does not have the maneuverability of a regular kayak
  • Some users complained that it does not track well

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Here is yet another inflatable kayak for rivers that are designed to facilitate easy floating. It comes with a built-in rear drain plug for easy draining and cleaning. This is in addition to the high-back supportive backrests for comfort.

You would also love the pointed bow with rocker for optimum performance, and the high-volume side tubes that enhance stability.


  • Durable
  • 3 chambers
  • Foldable
  • Removable deep tracking fin for excellent performance


  • The skeg does not work on rivers
  • All kinds of dirt seem to stick unusually to the boat

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

This boat is the definition of convenience. It has enough space that is capable of holding 500 pounds. Also, it is lightweight, which makes it attractive to paddlers that don’t like dealing with weight.

This 12-foot travel inflatable does not only allow you to bring company but can be applied to many use cases, including camping, exploring remote areas, and vacationing.


  • Front and back spray covers
  • The stainless steel and nylon hardware ensure it does not corrode
  • Water-resistant coatings
  • Designed for moderate whitewater and lakes


  • A bit slow
  • Does not track straight too well

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

This inflatable kayak is sturdy and can fit into a variety of uses, including solo paddling and camping. The dual and sizeable seats assure comfort for you and your partner. Besides, the easy carry handles help you and your partner to take the boat to and from the banks of the river.

The kayak also has quick inflation and backs it up with a lightweight design that makes it easy to be carried by two persons without feeling the weight.


  • 2 Aluminum Paddles
  • Maneuverable
  • Inflates quickly
  • Included Double Action Pump


  • A little short for two people
  • Users complained about the ripped seam

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Final Thoughts on the Best Inflatable Kayaks for Rivers

Kayakers are looking for the best boat in the market and the inflatable kayak is the perfect option because of the lightweight design, maneuverability, and compact nature. With this in your garage, you are certain of a hitch-free kayaking trip.

Now that we have reviewed the top five (5) inflatable kayaks, we would recommend the Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Aluminum Output Kayak for a number of reasons. The first is the heavy-duty puncture that keeps the boat away from punctures and keeps it afloat even in the event of a leak. We are also pleased with the adaptability to different waters, including lakes and rivers.

So, what do you think of our review? Do you have some suggestions to make or have a comment about the inflatable kayaks on the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.