Choosing the Best Inflatable Kayak for Rivers – Top 4 Kayaks

Blow up kayaks also known as inflatable kayaks are becoming more and more in demand lately. Some people see kayaks as not only fun boats which is why manufacturers are doing their best in order to improve the materials and construction. In the present times, inflatable kayaks are used as an alternative to solid kayaks. In this article, you will know more about blow up kayaks as well as the 4 best inflatable kayak of rivers. Whether you are a beginner or professional paddler, these are the perfect kayaks for you.

best inflatable kayak for riversINTEX CHALLENGER Inflatable Kayak for Rivers Check Price
Intex 68310VM Dakota Inflatable Kayak for
Check Price
Lite-Rapid X2 Inflatable Kayak for Rivers Check Price
Intex Seahawk Inflatable Kayak for Rivers Check Price

What is an Inflatable Kayak?

A kayak is a paddleboat that is slim and is operated by double-blade paddle. Regular kayaks are equipped by a deck that serves as a cover in order to prevent the entry of water or waves. The paddler or the person who navigates the kayak sits in the driving position which is at the front. In addition to that, kayaks are also fast and very easy to operate because it is lightweight. Because of these features of a kayak, it is commonly used during water sports and other recreational activities. That being said, kayaks are suitable for anyone who finds fun in paddling fast and making long distances.

Inflatable kayaks are also called as air kayaks. They are usually made of PVC or woven fabric that is covered in rubber. In their first few years, the majority of people who are into kayak did not take them seriously and only thought of air kayaks as fun boats. The fact that it is inflatable, fragile, and not as hard and durable as solid kaya constituted to this kind of thinking. Aside from that, the kayak community thought that it is prone to damage and driving characteristics cannot be compared with that of a solid kayak. Fortunately, a lot has changed ever since they launched in the market. Currently, they are used for white water and touring.

Why Use the Best Inflatable Kayak for Rivers

Before we discuss the important factors to consider when looking for the best inflatable kayak for rivers, it is important to know why you should get one in the first place. The two primary reasons why you must get one are portability and storage.

I know someone who has a solid kayak at home, and he said he frequently used it at first because he is just close to the river. However, when he started transporting it to far places, he had a hard time setting it up in his vehicle. He said that he used to put the kayak on top of his car with foam blocks to support the boat. Most of the time, it did not work and it is hard to lift the kayak because it is too heavy. That was the time when realized the importance of having the best inflatable kayak for rivers.

With the best inflatable kayak for rivers, you will not have to worry about storage and transport. You can easily store it in your car or house no matter how small it. Take it with you anytime, anywhere.

What is great about an inflatable kayak is that you can use it for:

  • Whitewater
  • Fishing
  • Recreation
  • Camping

Benefit of Using Blow Up Kayaks

✔️ Lightweight

One of the best things about having the best inflatable kayak for rivers is that they are easy to bring anywhere because they are lightweight. Furthermore, even one person can carry it. This is the main advantage they have over solid kayaks.

✔️ Easy to store

Aside from inflatable kayaks being lightweight, they are easy to store even is small closets. They deflate in the size of a duffel bag, making them small small enough to place anywhere else.

✔️ Take it with you anywhere

With an inflatable kayak for rivers, you do not need to stick with the river that is closest to your home. You can take them anywhere since they deflate to a small size. In addition to that, you can also operate in in remote areas where bringing a huge solid kayak is impossible. Bring the kayak with you on a trip without roof rack or trailer.

✔️ Easier and faster to set up

While inflating the kayak takes a couple of minutes, it is still faster compared to taking a solid kayak off the roof of your vehicle. Inflating a kayak is going to be much easier if you use an electric pump. You will be able to use it in just a couple of minutes.

✔️ Maintenance and Upkeep

When it comes to taking care of your kayak, scratches and dings are popular in the past. Nevertheless, kayaks are susceptible to punctures so you have to be extra careful in order to avoid hard objects. Also, you can easily rinse of a rigid kayak while with an inflatable one, you still need to deflate it and pack away.

✔️ Security

Because an inflatable kayak is easily stored at the back of your car or trunk, you need to worry about stealing the kayak from your when you park your car. However, you just have to make sure to keep it with you at all time and be alert in case of any moment’s notice.

Things to consider when looking for the best inflatable kayak for rivers

*How are you going to use the kayak?

The first thing that you must ask yourself when looking for the best inflatable kayak for rivers is whether you are going to use it for fishing in the river of just for fun. This is because there are kayaks that are most suitable for fishing compared to other types of kayak. For instance, a sit on type kayak is the most suitable option because you can easily turn and move around when you are casting and going for your gear.

*When will you use the kayak?

You should also know if you are going to use it in slow-moving rivers or a calm one. In the event you live close to the ocean or bay, will you use it there? If yes, you will need a sit-inside kayak.

Since you are looking for an inflatable kayak for rivers, you need a type that is best for white water or calm waters.

*The height and weight of the paddler

The weight and height of the person who is going to use the paddler is also important. If you are tall and slightly heavy, then you will need bigger kayak. On the other hand, if you are of average size, then a standard-sized kayak is suitable.

*Kayak Seats

One of reasons why some people are having second thought on buying inflatable kayaks is because of the seats. However, it is no longer an issue these days. You will find several kayaks with durable seats that are comfortable to sit in. But of course, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Best Inflatable Kayak for Rivers – Our Top 4 Picks!

Our #1 Choice

OUR TOP PICK: INTEX Challenger Kayak Series
best inflatable kayak for rivers

Product Name: INTEXT Challenger Kayak Series

Product Description: For the best inflatable kayak for rivers, we highly recommend this Intex Challenger Kayak Series. It is made with durable welded materials with classy graphics to ensure your safety on the moving river or the lake. Another great thing about this kayak is that the cargo nets allows you to store extra equipment and tools. Furthermore, it Comes with 84 inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi output manual hand pump; Rugged vinyl construction.

Availability: InStock

  • Stability
  • Quality
  • Comfort
  • Value for money


Have a fun and memorable time in the river with this Intex Challenger Series. It is made with heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl, has 2 separate chambers, and inflatable I-beam floor for rigidity. Best of all, it has Boston valves for quick inflation/deflation



Easy to inflate and deflate 

Cargo net for extra gear 

220 pound maximum capacity



None so far


INTEX 68310VM Dakota Inflatable Kayak for Rivers

best inflatable kayak for rivers

Product description:

If you are looking for a two-person sit on the inflatable kayak for rivers that is heavy, we recommend this INTEX DAKOTA K2 2 Person Vinyl Inflatable Kayak for Rivers. The package includes 1 pump, 2 paddles, and has 180kg maximum capacity. In addition to that, it is also certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association using ABYC Standards.

What is great about this kayak is that it has grab handles on both ends, short skeg for quick and easy turns, and long skeg for straight-line trafficking. While the seats of a kayak is one of the main concerns, the inflatable seats of this kayak have backrests. Furthermore, it is also removable and adjustable.

The package comes with 86in (2.18m) paddles, 2 dry bags with carrying strap, and a carry bag for easy transport and storage. The kayak claims to survive wear and tear as it is made with heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl. Not only that, it also has three separate chambers, an inflatable I-beam floor for rigidity. and a Boston valve for quick inflation/deflation.

Have a fun and memorable outdoor experience with this kayak by Intex. You will everything you need since package come with aluminum oars, air pump, and carry bags. Take it with you anytime in the river, lakes, even the coast. Easily glide through the water because of the 86 inch long oars, thanks to the long and short kegs of this kayak.

  • Heavy-duty
  • Boston valves for instant inflation
  • Adjustable seats with backrests
  • Long and short skeg
  • The inflatable kayak can be too bulky

Lite-Rapid X2 Inflatable Kayak for Rivers

best inflatable kayak for rivers

Product description:

Lite-Rapid X2 Inflatable Kayak Boat Raft with 2 Aluminum Oars come with a comfortable cockpits with two inflatable seats. The seats are cushioned with back rests for added comfort. The dimensions of this product are 10’6” x 35” (3.21 m x 88 cm) which makes it a perfect size for two adults.

This inflatable kayak for rivers has a maximum weight capacity of 160 kg and is made with durable PVC material. For hassle-free re-entry you just have to get a rope with built-in grommets.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then this Lite-Rapid X2 Kayak is perfect for you and a must have in your home. Not only it is able to carry two adults or 160kg, but you will not also have a problem with deflating and inflating. This is makes it easier to bring in every adventure. This kayak is perfect for rivers, lakes, and even on creeks.

Another great thing about this kayak is the directional stability with the help of the middle fin. Furthermore, the form-fitted construction keeps the water from entering the cockpit. There is also a grab rope that allows you to instantly re enter the boat from the water.

  • Made with sturdy PVC material
  • The inflatable seats have cushioned back seats
  • Grab rope with built-in grommets
  • Can be too bulky

INTEX Seahawk Inflatable Kayak for Rivers

Product description:

Inflating and deflating is never a problem with this Intex Seahawk Inflatable Kayak with 2 quick-fill Boston valves. This two-person boat has 1 pump, 2 oars, has a maximum capacity of 240 kg, and 2 fishing rod holders. On top of that, it is also certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association using ABYC standards.

What you pay is what you get with this two=person boat. It is heavy duty puncture-resistant vinyl, has 3 separate chambers, boston valves for easy inflation and deflation, and inflatable I-beam for rigidity, and a repair patch. You will have all that you need with this boat.

For added intex motor bracket and trolling motor, a motor mount fittings are included. Furthermore, for comfort and rigidity, the floor is inflatable. The all around grab line is for easy boarding and handling and the motor mount fittings has maxium horsepower of 1.5

  • Repair patch included
  • 3 separate air chambers
  • Heavy duty
  • Inflatable floor
  • none so far

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are inflatable kayaks worth my money?

A: What is great about buying inflatable kayak is that it is lightweight, easy to store, carry, durable, and reliable. There are inflatable kayaks that are just as good as solid kayaks when it comes to performance and durability. They are worth it especially as the inflatable technology is continuously improving and innovating.

Q: Can you use an inflatable kayak in the ocean?

A: People think that inflatable kayaks are fragile when in fact they are incredibly durable. In the present times, manufacturers of inflatable kayaks are able to develop kayak that can withstand tough conditions. You can use them on flat rivers or even on the ocean.

Q: How long do Inflatable Kayaks Last?

A: Most inflatable kayaks made with high quality materials in order to survive tough conditions. Depending on the materials used and proper maintenance, you can expect most of kayaks to last somewhere between 6-10 years.

Q: Are inflatable kayaks hard to paddle?

A: In general, inflatable kayaks offer more benefits than solid ones. They are lightweight, easy to store, and transport. Aside from that, they are now made tougher and safer compared to older models of kayak.

Final Words

That is for the 4 best inflatable kayak for rivers. I hope this short buying guide and reviews was helpful in looking for the best kayak that suits your needs. You do not need to worry for the above-mentioned kayak’s durability as they are made to endure tough conditions. What do you think of these items? Comment down below.

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