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What Size Kayak Paddle Do I Need: A Detailed Guide

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Whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong kayak enthusiast, you’re probably wondering and asking, “What size kayak paddle do I need?”

A kayak paddle length can make or break your kayaking.

That may sound strange, but it is a fact because the paddles help the kayak navigate the water safely.

Their size can also determine your comfort while you paddle.

An incorrectly sized kayak paddle may put you at risk of having no control over your kayak.

Consequently, your fun adventure may take a U-turn, making you miserable in the middle of the water.

How Do You Pick a Kayak Paddle Size?

When it comes to picking the right kayak paddle size, you need to look at certain factors and use several methods.

Factors to Consider

The following are major deciding factors that can assist you in picking a perfect kayak paddle size:

Body Stature

Don’t misunderstand body stature as your height or weight; it’s your torso’s length.

Despite the equal height, one may feel absolutely fine while the other may be uncomfortable.

It’s because some people’s height is in the legs, while some have a torso.

As far as the paddle size is concerned, the size of the torso matters.

So, how do you measure your torso height?

  • Bend your head down and use your hands to touch the top vertebra where your shoulders meet the neck.
  • Now, find the bottom of your torso by measuring the lumbar region. Rest your hands on each of your hip bones with your thumb and index finger pointing backward.
  • Stand tall and ask someone to measure the distance from your top vertebrae and imaginary line across the lumbar region.
  • Many people tend to confuse that the torso length ends at the last vertebra. No, it’s certainly not the case; instead, it goes all the way to your lumbar region.

After taking the right measurement, you now know the right paddle size you need to get.

For a torso height of 22 inches, you require a paddle length of 180 cm.

On the other hand, for a torso height of 34 inches, you require a paddle length ranging from 230 to 250 cm.

Not only that, but you also need to take into account the high angle style or low angle style.

Kayak Design

It’s simple math that for a wider kayak, you require a longer paddle.

It’s because you need proper blade placement in the water.

Plus, it’s only possible when you have a longer paddle to reach beyond the gunwales of the kayak.

Not to mention that you need to maintain a proper paddling form.

How do you measure the kayak’s width? You need to take measurements at the widest point.

All of this is only possible if you opt for a longer paddle.

Obviously, you don’t want to bang your knuckles on the deck and put too much strain on your body.

You also don’t want too little or too much of the blades’ power to face the water.

That said, this discussion doesn’t end here. A shorter person in the broader boat requires the same length of the paddle as a taller person in a narrower kayak.

On the other hand, paddles in tandem kayaks are longer than those on solo kayaks.

Also, you need to consider the height of the seat surface with respect to the gunwales.

That’s why people with the same torso height may need different paddles if the seat height is different in each kayak.

Stroke Angle

What’s your preference regarding a high stroke? If you prefer this method, you bring the power face closer to the boat’s side in a less acute entry angle to the water.

Basically, in high-angle paddling, you paddle rigorously by making short and precise vertical movements.

In simple words, you use the water closest to the boat in quick motions.

What if you prefer a lower stroking angle used for causal kayaking in still bodies of water? 

In this case, you should put the shaft at a more acute angle to the water surface.

In this way, you require less stamina and strength by horizontally stroking the water.

So, the question here is, do you use the same paddle in the same kayak in the above two scenarios?

The answer is no. You will use a shorter paddle for a higher stroking angle and a longer paddle for a lower stroking angle.

In high-angle paddling, you use short shafts and wider blades that move smoother and faster than long blades.

Paddle Shaft Diameter

The diameter of the shaft is directly proportional to the size of your hands. Meaning the diameter should be smaller for smaller hands and vice versa.

You can also select between a straight shaft and a neutral bent shaft.

We all know that blisters are our worst opponent while kayaking and the leading cause is excess movement.

In the case of straight paddles, there is less contact between the hand and kayak paddle shaft.

On the contrary, a bent paddle shaft can rest comfortably in your hand with more contact.

Types of Kayak

Two of the most common types of kayaks are:

  • Recreational or Fishing Kayaks: These wider kayaks require a longer paddle to reach the water without leaning
  • Whitewater Kayaks: They are slimmer kayaks that require shorter paddles to control the speed in harsh conditions.

Paddle Material

Lightweight material allows you to handle a longer paddle without any fatigue.

That’s why paddle blade and shaft material should be lightweight yet sturdy.

That said, you can get a heavier blade that offers stronger stroke power, which means you can use a shorter paddle with a heavier blade.

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Methods to Help Choose the Right Size

Here are some ways on how to effectively choose the right paddle size for you:

On-Water Method

The best strategy to determine the ideal length is to board your kayak and get on the water.

Next, as a demo, use the proper techniques you’ll use with a test paddle.

The idea is to perform more reps to have an idea about the starting length of the paddle.

Consequently, you can try different lengths of paddles on your boat.

However, you should test a paddle using proper form, including:

  • Torso twist
  • Upright posture
  • Proper hand positioning
  • Good positioning
  • Sweeping stroke styles

Obviously, you can’t select a paddle based on a poor paddling form.

In a nutshell, selecting a kayak paddle size is more of a hit and trial method and requires practice and proper forms.

Quick-Pick Method

It’s essentially a precise on-shore method to determine the proper length of the paddle.

The first method is to hold your arms out, bend the elbows at right angles in a normal paddling position and grasp the paddle typically.

The rule of thumb is that your hands should be ⅔ of the way from the shaft’s center to the blade’s shoulder.

After selecting a suitable paddle, stand it in an upright position next to you.

All you need to do is extend your arm to hook your first finger joints over the paddle’s tip or top edge. 

If your fingers can’t reach the top, it means you need to choose a different length.

Conversely, if you can completely wrap the hand around the top edge, again select another size.

What Size Kayak Paddle Do I Need?

Generally speaking, a 230 cm kayak paddle is perfect for an average-sized and height kayaker.

It’s more or less a universal size for paddlers who use a relaxed- low-angle and smooth paddling.

On the other hand, if you want to go for aggressive paddling, you can opt for a 220 cm or 210 cm kayak paddle to enjoy a high-angle of paddling attack style.

These paddles come with stiffer blades than the average paddler.

Just note that the kayak paddle is normally measured in cm, not inches.

As such, to help make the conversion easy: 230 cm translates to 90.5 inches, 220 cm converts to 86.6 inches, and 210 cm measures 82.7 inches.

Also, kayak paddle sizing varies in size in increments of 10 cm or 2 inches.

Just as a precaution, don’t consider it a minor difference because it can result in thousands of strokes on an unwanted tiring kayaking route.

What Happens When You Use Too Long of a Paddle for Kayaking

If a kayak paddle is too long, you put extra effort while paddling. Consequently, you end up hurting your torso and shoulders.

Basically, you work harder to maintain the speed and to keep the kayak on the straight path.

You can also risk getting blisters due to the constant shifting of hand positions along the shaft to compensate for the long length.

On the other hand, a too-short paddle will scrape the kayak’s sides with each stroke.

Nonetheless, a low angle paddling requires you to be more relaxed and paddle slower.

In this particular case, you need a longer paddle to support a low angle.

It’s one of the most common forms of paddling. You also minimize shoulder fatigue.

Conclusion

Now, you know the answer to one of the most commonly asked questions about kayaking: “What size kayak paddle do I need?”

The size depends on several factors discussed above in great detail. It not only depends on the boat’s dimensions but also on your frame.

Still, it requires practice to fine-tune your paddling by experimenting with different paddles.

Once you are in the right form, you can easily determine a suitable kayak paddle length.

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Best Kayak for Beginners of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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Considering there are so many options of kayaks on the market, it can be frustrating to know which one is ideal for you.

That is especially if you are a beginner.

The best kayak for beginners isn’t the kind you would want to have a wild time in the waters.

These are meant to offer a safer and more stable time on lakes, slow-moving rivers, and calm seas.

Our team of experts tried and tested some kayaks and have settled on five that are perfect for any beginner.

Best Kayak for Beginners: A Review

1. Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak

The Intex Challenger K1 isn’t necessarily the one that comes to mind when you think of kayaks.

It is incredibly affordable, so you wouldn’t assume that it would be great to paddle.

However, upon trying out this inflatable kayak, we were left truly amazed at how durable it is and how much fun it was using it.

Review

There is a lot to unpack with the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, and we will talk about it in detail below.

  • Portable

This kayak may be one of the most portable kayaks on the market. It can fold up into less than a quarter of the size of the fully inflated kayak.

You can conveniently store the deflated kayak in a small bag provided by the brand itself. It is easy to carry too.

In addition to the kayak, the bag can also carry all the other equipment, including the paddle and pump.

When fully packed, the dimensions of the bag are 23” x 14” x 8”.

  • Construction

The Intex Challenger K1 is made with a welded vinyl construction.

While this is quite durable, we would recommend being careful around sharp objects and not dragging them over rocks and gravels.

The one-way valves are quite durable. They work perfectly fine and are easy to figure out too.

We also did not find any issues with inflating the Intex Challenger K1 or leakage.

  • Performance

Considering how reasonably priced this kayak is, you wouldn’t think that it would perform extremely well, but we have to say we were quite impressed.

We had no trouble keeping the Challenger paddle in a straight line.

Of course, you aren’t going to be breaking any speed records with it, but that’s not even important as a beginner.

You will truly appreciate how easy it is to paddle, the little effort needed to propel it forward, and how effortlessly and quickly it turns.

  • Comfort

The Intex kayak is quite comfortable to use and has ample legroom too. It can easily accommodate a person over six feet tall.

The inflatable seat is surprisingly quite comfortable, and even the back support was fairly decent.

The seat secures to a Velcro strip on the kayak’s floor, which also attaches to the floor’s D-ring.

The kayak has a width of 30”, which doesn’t require a lot of reach when paddling.

That means the Intex Challenger K1 would be ideal for kids too.

  • Setup

Setting up the Intex Challenger the first time took us about 10 minutes, of which seven minutes were spent inflating it and the other three securing the seat, attaching the paddle, and sliding in the fin.

However, you will spend less time the more you do it.

The kayak comes with a small hand pump that is significantly smaller than the ones we’re used to, something we did not like.

Also, there isn’t a pressure gauge on this pump, so you will not know what air pressure you’re inflating it at.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to store and travel with
  • Lightweight
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Average hand pump
  • Not the most durable built

2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 has all the features typically needed in any standard fishing kayak.

The kayak is ideal for beginners and professionals since it provides comfort, stability, and safety.

Review

Below we will cover all the important features the Tamarack Angler 100 has to offer.

  • Comfort

What sets the Tamarack Angler Kayak apart from others on the market is how comfortable it is. You can use it all day long without feeling tired.

The kayak features multiple molded footrest positions that help fit in different sizes of paddlers.

There is also a padded seat with an adjustable padded backrest which offers superior comfort.

There are handles in the front and rear of the kayak, allowing you to transport it to and from the water easily.

  • Ideal for Fishing

Tamarack Angler 100 is the perfect fishing kayak since it comes with three fishing rod holders, making your fishing experience more convenient.

Out of these three rod holders, one is completely adjustable and swivels 360-degrees. The other two rod holders are flush mounted and located behind the seat.

All of these rod holders are rigid and sturdy and do not wobble.

Additionally, you can modify this fishing kayak by adding a transducer mount, adding more fishing rod holders, adding a kayak anchor, and any other extension you wish.

  • Storage Space

Since this is a fishing kayak, it has ample storage for all your fishing equipment and gears.

It features two sealed storage hatches, and these can conveniently store things you want to keep dry, such as GPS, your phone, and wallet.

There are straps provided on the front and rear to secure your bag tightly.

Along with this, there is more space on the deck that can carry things like a small fishing cooler, crate, fishing accessories, small or medium-sized tackle box, drinks, and other kayaking accessories.

  • Speed and Stability

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is an extremely stable kayak on water thanks to its hull design with chine rails and a wide beam.

This stability makes it the perfect fishing kayak since it won’t toss you in the water while you’re fishing or standing on the deck.

The deep hull also lets it move through the water with ease, enhancing its overall maneuverability.

As for the speed, it’s fast enough for fishing and recreational kayaking, but don’t expect to race in it.

  • Durability

This fishing kayak is made from blow-molded and UV-protected high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

This feature makes the kayak extremely durable, damage-resistant, and well protected from harsh UV rays.

  • Warranty

What’s impressive about the Tamarack Fishing Kayak is that the company offers a five-year warranty.

It is a huge span considering this is a budget-friendly kayak.

Pros:

  • Well-built
  • Ample storage space
  • Perfect for fishing
  • Excellent warranty

Cons:

  • Only one color
  • Does not come with paddles

3. Sea Eagle SE 370 Inflatable Kayak

The Sea Eagle SE 370 is an ideal inflatable kayak for professionals and beginners of all ages.

It is light enough to carry wherever you want and even small enough to pack in a bag and throw in the trunk of your car.

It is a brilliant option for those who love the water but do not want the hassles associated with carrying around an old-fashioned rigid-hull kayak.

Review

The Sea Eagle SE 370 Kayak is one of the most popular inflatable kayaks in the USA. Let’s find out what it has to offer.

  • Convenience

The first thing you will notice about the Sea Eagle SE 270 is its well-thought-out and convenient design.

The kayak can be deflated and fitted into a small over-the-shoulder carry bag.

You can comfortably place this bag in your car’s trunk or even take it along with you when you’re flying for a holiday.

This feature makes it an ideal option for people who have limited storage space.

  • Specifications

The Sea Eagle SE 370 can be carried by just one person with ease, as its hull weighs no more than 32 pounds.

You can inflate the kayak in under 10 minutes and put it in the water with minimal effort.

Even deflating the kayak is as easy as inflating it.

You will hit the water or the road long before any of your friends have finished loading or unloading their rigid hulls.

The kayak has a maximum carrying capacity of about 650 pounds, and when inflated, its length is more than 12 feet.

It can easily accommodate more people or gear. All in all, the kayak can handle three people in one go.

  • Additional Features

The Sea Eagle SE 370 comes with additional features like inflatable seats, carry handles, inflatable spray skirts, a drain valve, and two stabilizing skegs that significantly improve its speed and stability.

All of this makes this kayak as professional and convenient as any other traditional kayak on the market.

  • Rugged Construction

The Sea Eagle SE 370’s hull is made from 38 mil PVC (K80 PolyKrylar) that makes the kayak resistant to both sun and saltwater.

It provides excellent protection from abrasions and collisions.

The hull is inflated into three separate chambers: floor, port, and starboard walls.

This ensures that if there is a catastrophic rupture, it will not leave you struggling to stay afloat.

You can also clean the hull easily. Simply take some water, soap, and rags to get it looking as good as new again.

The kayak also comes with a repair kit that will allow you to patch any minor tears or holes on the spot.

  • NMMA Certified

Like all of Sea Eagle’s inflatable kayaks, the SE 370 is also fully certified by NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) to comply with American Boats and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards.

This can provide you with peace of mind that this kayak has been tested to rigorous safety and quality standards.

Pros:

  • Strong construction
  • NMMA certified
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Can handle three people at a time

Con:

  • Tends to be unstable when more than two people use it

4. Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak

The Pelican Sentinel 100X is a lightweight sit-on-top kayak meant for single-person use.

The kayak comes from a reputed brand known for its high quality and durability.

It has a nice compact design which makes it easy to travel around with, making it a perfect choice if you are looking to use it on calm waters in good weather conditions.

This also makes it an ideal kayak for beginners.

Review

There are many features of the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak that you need to make a note of.

  • Specifications

With the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak, you can enjoy a relaxing paddle in a slow-moving river or a calm lake.

The kayak weighs only 43 pounds, making it one of the lightest kayaks on the market and easy to transport.

It is a few inches short of 10 feet and can handle a maximum capacity of about 275 pounds.

  • Stable Hull

The Pelican kayak benefits from having a twin-arched multi-chine hull.

That means it comes with two deep channels running along the length of the kayak’s underside.

This is quite beneficial as it helps create more stability, particularly when it is on flat water.

This hull design is also ideal if you are new to kayaking as it feels less tippy when you sit in it for the first time.

The hull has been engineered more for primary stability, making it a good option for flatwater recreational paddling on calm ocean bays, slow-moving rivers, and lakes.

  • Sit-On-Top

This is a sit-on-top kayak and is better suited to warm weather conditions since you will likely get splashed from paddle drips or riffles.

That said, the kayak does have scupper holes that allow the water to drain out of the deck without filling up the boat.

There is a spacious open deck that’s easy to get in and get out of, which is a beneficial feature if you are a beginner.

It also comes with molded footrests so that you can find the most comfortable seating position and stabilize yourself.

There is a padded backrest and a padded seat cushion on the seat, which provides additional comfort.

  • Ample Storage Space

Since the kayak comes with a maximum capacity of 275 pounds, it means that you can bring more than enough gear for a short camping trip.

The large rear tank with bungee cords ensures that you can secure your items well.

There is enough room to fit a cooler or even a fishing crate if you are looking to customize it for fishing.

There is a smaller storage area at the bow where you can store items like a dry bag.

You can also keep your bottle of water within arm’s reach, thanks to the molded cup holder in the front seat.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Ample storage space
  • Durable and long-lasting

Con:

  • Expensive

5. Oru Kayak Coast XT

The Oru Kayak is one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for an outdoor product.

The brand makes three models, the Bay ST, Beach LT, and Coast XT.

All of them use the same material but come in different sizes and meant for different uses.

Coast XT, the one we’re reviewing, is the biggest of the three.

The Arctic kayaks inspired its design with tons of internal storage and deck rigging. This boat is made to handle multi-day expeditions.

They raised a quarter of a million dollars through an Indiegogo campaign to update the Coast XT.

Review

Let’s shed some light on the features that the Oru Kayak has to offer.

  • Setup

The Coast XT will take no more than five minutes to set up.

The company pioneered the kayak’s origami-inspired, foldable structure so that you do not spend too much time setting it up.

Even though this is a foldable kayak, it is made keeping serious kayakers in mind.

This innovative fold-out kayak will remain stable even in harsh waters and can endure long expeditions.

It is designed for premium speed and handling.

  • Durability

Even though the kayak is small when folded, you don’t need to question its durability.

The company’s kayaks undergo extensive strength and durability testing.

It is rated at 20,000 folds and even exceeds the US Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements.

  • Warranty

The Coast XT is backed with an impressive 12-month warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with it.

  • Portability

Since you can fold this kayak into a small package, it can easily fit in the trunk of your car or the back of your closet.

You can also transport the kayak on bicycles or when you’re hiking.

  • Award-Winning Design

The Oru Coast XT Kayak has been featured on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Shark Tank, and Oprah Magazine.

Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Easy to set up
  • Impressive warranty
  • Award-winning design

Con:

  • Origami-inspired design; not everyone’s cup of tea

Which One Is the Best Kayak for Beginners?

These are possibly some of the best beginner kayaks on the market right now.

Each of them comes with unique features, and you can select any one of them without any hesitation.

However, our personal favorite is the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak.

Yes, it is indeed expensive, but it is worth every penny.

The kayak is built with durable materials meant to last for a long time. It is also compact and portable.

Lastly, even though it’s so compact, the kayak is extremely stable and can store a number of things with ease.

We highly recommend this kayak for you!

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Kayaks

Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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Looking for an enjoyable way to explore the waterways? Consider getting the best inflatable kayak.

Besides being affordable, it is often more lightweight and more portable than a hard-shell kayak.

As such, you can easily pack it and bring it with you on your travels.

In doing so, your inflatable kayak actually saves you money, as you don’t need to rent one at every destination.

If you’ve decided to get one, below are reviews of our top five picks.

Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews

1. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 is a fun and sporty kayak with a streamlined design offering easier paddling.

It has a brightly colored exterior with sporty graphics that makes it highly visible in the water.

Since it comes with two seats, this is an excellent choice for people looking to experience mild rivers and lakes with loved ones.

Best of all, you will find that it is compact, lightweight, and easy to assemble.

Product Highlights

The Intex Explorer K2 is a tandem kayak that closely resembles a banana, both in shape and color.

Made from rugged vinyl, this budget-friendly kayak has proven to be sturdy and long-lasting.

Unlike hard-shell options, it is compact, lightweight, and takes only a few minutes to assemble fully.

In terms of its specs, the kayak comes with three air chambers and standard directional skegs.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds, and it measures 123 by 36 by 20 inches.

There is an I-beam on the floor, providing the kayak with rigidity.

The detachable skeg gives it its stability, which is necessary for paddling in windy weather conditions.

As mentioned, it comes with two in-built inflatable seats.

You can adjust and align these seats to your body to get ultimate comfort.

To keep you safe and balanced, you will appreciate the addition of the handles located at each end of the kayak.

Since this is a complete kayaking set, you also get an air pump, two paddles, and a carry bag with your kayak.

Essentially, this means you won’t need to make any separate purchases if you pick the Intex Explorer K2.

Instead, you can go straight into the water and start paddling.

What We Like

We like how brightly colored this kayak is, as it can be helpful in emergencies.

The adjustable seats add more comfort when sitting in the kayak, making it easier to paddle.

Lastly, a repair kit comes in handy when you have to deal with unexpected damages.

What We Don’t Like

We found the kayak not being suitable for larger-bodied individuals. The paddles are also of average quality.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to assemble
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Lightweight at 30 pounds
  • Impressive weight capacity

Con:

  • Average quality paddles

2. Intex Challenger Kayak

When it comes to inflatable kayaks for those on a tight budget, Intex is the go-to brand.

We had to include another Intex product, as they know exactly what makes up a good inflatable kayak.

The Challenger is a single-person kayak that is easy to assemble and use.

It is one of the least expensive options you’ll find on the current market.

While it may not be fully advanced, it will keep you afloat and get you around in the water.

Product Highlights

The Intex Challenger is a durable and agile kayak made of a strong welded material.

It is brightly colored with eye-catching graphics all over that make it visible even if you are at a distance.

Its vibrant color is also an added safety feature in case you are in an emergency.

This kayak is ideal for slow-moving rivers or lakes, and its cockpit is designed for maximum space and comfort.

It also features an I-beam on the floor, which adds more stability.

Additionally, you will find an adjustable inflatable seat with a backrest that keeps you comfortable while paddling.

For those looking to store things, you can take advantage of the cargo net in the front.

There is also a grab line on both ends of the kayak.

The kayak comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, along with a repair patch and hi-output manual hand pump.

Measuring 108 by 30 by 15 inches and weighing only 27.2 pounds, the Challenger is more lightweight than the Explorer K2.

However, it has a lower maximum weight capacity at just 220 pounds.

What We Like

Like the previous Intex kayak, the Challenger is also built well and made from a durable material that will last a long time.

We like that there is a cargo net that allows you to store your belongings.

The I-beam is an excellent feature, too, providing the vessel with good stability.

Lastly, the adjustable seat adds to the overall comfort you feel as you paddle.

What We Don’t Like

The Challenger might not be the kayak you should be considering if you are a tall and well-built person.

Anyone over six feet will have a hard time using this kayak.

Pros:

  • Well-built
  • Comfortable seat
  • Lighter than the Explorer K2
  • Storage option

Con:

  • Not ideal for taller people
  • Can only carry 220 pounds max

3. Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak

Ocean or river, the Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion is a kayak that will work exceptionally well.

It is a full set complete with a pump, paddle, and patch.

More than anything, you will appreciate that it is easy and quick to set up.

You will also find the cockpit comfortably-sized and features an adjustable seat and a backrest for additional support.

This an easy-to-use and -store kayak that will bring out your inner explorer.

Product Highlights

The Hydro-Force Cove Champion is a single-person kayak that can comfortably accommodate a maximum weight of 220 pounds.

It comes complete with a durable, double-sided paddle, a heavy-duty repair patch, and an air hammer hand pump so you can quickly take it out into the water.

There is a wide-opening cockpit on this kayak that features an adjustable seat.

This seat boasts a backrest to offer extra lumbar support when kayaking for hours.

There are also removable fins, adding directional stability.

You will find a ton of storage areas for your adventure and travel equipment or necessities.

The kayak is extremely lightweight, and upon deflating, you can fold it down to a tiny size so that you can store or pack it easily.

Lastly, a wraparound grab rope surrounds the whole exterior of the kayak for more manageable transportation.

This design choice gives you the ability to tie the kayak up to an anchored spot or a dock.

What We Like

The Hydro-Force Cove Champion is a well-built kayak that takes only a few minutes to be fully ready.

You will like that it has an adjustable seat with a backrest, offering you phenomenal support and comfort.

There is ample storage space for your things, too.

What We Don’t Like

The sides of the kayak have two separate air chambers.

This means if you haven’t filled the air properly, it can completely throw the kayak off balance.

Pros:

  • Highly comfortable seat
  • Ample storage space
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Weighs less than 20 pounds

Cons:

  • Can get off-balanced if not filled with air properly
  • Only 165-pound max capacity

4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak

The Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak is a 15-foot kayak featuring an open-deck design.

It can go from an open to a closed deck in a matter of seconds.

It combines a rigid bow and stern rib frame and the versatility of solo or tandem seating positions with interchangeable decks.

Product Highlights

This Advanced Elements kayak is an easy-to-use and straightforward vessel that arrives pre-assembled.

All you need to do is unfold, inflate, and attach the seats, and you’re good to go.

When folded, its size goes down to 35 by 21 by 12 inches, making it easy to carry.

The maximum weight capacity is an impressive 550 pounds, though the weight of the kayak itself is 52 pounds.

The kayak boasts three layers of materials that ensure exceptional puncture resistance.

There are two detachable inflatable seats with three seat locations on the kayak.

As such, you can either use it as a solo kayak or a tandem kayak.

These seats are highly padded, adjustable, and have phenomenal support, providing the kayaker with ample comfort for hours of paddling.

What We Like

We like how well this kayak is built and that the whole setup process is quick and simple.

The three-layered materials do a great job of protecting the kayak from damage.

The fact that it has a massive 550-pound maximum load capacity is also an impressive feature.

What We Don’t Like

At 52 pounds, this isn’t the lightest kayak on the market. Compared to its counterparts, this is a bit pricier, too.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t puncture easily
  • Can handle a lot of weight
  • Easy to set up and maneuver
  • Use as a solo or tandem kayak

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Slightly heavy

5. Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle kayaks are quite similar to Intex kayaks in that they have a sun-resistant and durable construction.

Even so, it is still a very light kayak, weighing just under 26 pounds.

Product Highlights

Made from durable molded plastic, the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe can carry a maximum weight of 650 pounds.

At 7 feet and 10 inches long, not only can it carry massive weights but also hold your onboard essentials.

It features two molded skegs that protect the kayak from getting damaged by rocks that appear out of nowhere.

The integral five-tube I-beam floor keeps it stable.

What’s more, this design choice helps you speed up when you wish to and stop when you want to take a break.

From its molded plastic construction to its impressive design, you can trust that this kayak can stand the test of time.

What We Like

One of the best things about this kayak is that it can hold up to three people.

For its size, you will find that it is still easy to haul because it is so lightweight.

Even though it’s so big, it can be inflated or deflated in under 10 minutes.

What We Don’t Like

The downside of this kayak is that it is not the most stable in windy conditions.

Pros:

  • Can carry up to three people
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Comes with two movable seats
  • Includes paddles, carry bag, and a pump

Con:

  • Not very stable in windy conditions

Buyer’s Guide

Any one of these best inflatable kayaks is sure to bring you and your family lots of fun.

Still, if you have never used one before, we understand how deciding on just one can be challenging.

To make your purchase easier, here are the most critical factors you would want to keep in mind:

1. Type of Water You’ll Use It in

The type of kayak you pick depends on the kind of kayaking you want to try doing.

There are different types of inflatable kayaks, and some can withstand even the roughest of waters.

Beginner or professional, if you enjoy whitewater kayaking, you will need to find an inflatable kayak for white waters.

If you prefer kayaking on ponds or lakes, get a kayak that can track straighter and can deal with wind and waves.

2. Seating Capacity

Next, choose whether to get a single-person kayak or a tandem kayak.

Trying to maneuver a tandem kayak by yourself can be quite tricky. Hence, if you’re going to go out by yourself, we recommend choosing a single-person kayak.

That said, if you have children or wish to go with your partners, you will get a ton of value by selecting a tandem kayak.

3. Weight

It would help if you also consider the weight of the kayak before you choose one.

A heavier kayak could be challenging to maneuver when you are in the water and even more difficult to transport between bodies of water.

On the other hand, a heavier kayak may be beneficial to handle strong winds than lighter inflatable kayaks.

If you are looking for one you can transport easily, a lighter one will definitely be the better choice.

4. Length

Longer kayaks have the advantage of tracking straighter in the waves and winds, but they have a hard time turning.

Preferably, choose this type of length if you like kayaking in lakes and ponds.

Shorter kayaks are great if you are looking for the most maneuverability.

5. Sit-on-Top or Sit-In

Inflatable kayaks most often come in one of two kinds with regards to their sitting position.

Sit-on-top kayaks position the kayaker above the water and will typically feature comfortable chairs.

These kayaks are mostly less streamlined, tend to be more comfortable, and are ideal for activities such as fishing and hunting.

Sit-in kayaks, on the other hand, place the kayaker inside and enclosed in the kayak.

These kayaks go much faster, are more streamlined but not as comfortable.

6. Paddle Rest/Paddle Holder

While most inflatable kayaks come with a paddle rest or paddle holder, some don’t.

Obviously, it would be better to choose one that has a paddle rest.

You do not want to be holding your paddles throughout the time you are kayaking, right?

7. Storage Compartments

Depending on how you intend to use your kayak, storage space can be an important feature.

Kayaks with storage compartments will often come with a waterproof section and areas that can strap on packs and more.

Make sure you check out the features of the compartment before you settle on a kayak.

8.Extra Features

Kayaks can come with several additional features, such as seating features, fishing attachments, and a plethora of other extras.

If you know exactly what you will be using your kayak for, look for those features as they can be quite important.

Inflatable Kayak FAQs

1. Are inflatable kayaks any good?

Depending on your usage and preferences, you’ll find that inflatable kayaks can be good investments.

After all, these tend to be hard-wearing, stable, and robust.

At the same time, they are portable and lightweight, making them much easier to manage than their hard-shell counterparts.

2. How long does an inflatable kayak last?

An inflatable kayak can easily last anywhere between five and 10 years.

However, that still depends on how you are using it and how well you take care of it.

3. Are inflatable kayaks hard to paddle?

Since these tend to be so lightweight, inflatable kayaks are pretty easy to paddle.

Still, this only applies to calmer waters.

If you are using an inflatable kayak in rougher conditions, it will be more difficult to paddle.

4. Do alligators attack inflatable kayaks?

Yes, alligators can attack inflatable kayaks.

While we can’t exactly say how often, in most cases, the odds of it attacking your kayak are relatively low.

If you are kayaking in places where alligators are native, there is a higher chance of that happening.

5. Do I need a license for an inflatable kayak?

For most states, no, you do not need a license for an inflatable kayak if you will use it only in the sea.

However, some states may require you to register your inflatable kayak.

It’s best to check with officials before you use your kayak.

What Is the Best Inflatable Kayak to Buy?

Our personal favorite is the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, which has the perfect combination of great features and price.

It is well built using durable materials, easy to set up and compact, and is suitable for lakes and calm rivers.

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Intex Inflatable Kayak Review

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Inflatable kayaks are a brilliant alternative to traditional kayaks.

They are easy to transport, compact, and are almost always cheaper than their fiberglass or plastic counterparts.

There is no shortage of inflatable kayaks on the market, and picking one among so many options can be a daunting task.

From these options, those that stand out, especially for being budget-friendly, are Intex kayaks.

This Intex inflatable kayak review is a low-cost, two-person kayak perfect for a leisurely day on the water.

Intex Inflatable Kayak Review

Intex is a California-based brand that has been in business for more than 20 years.

Throughout the years, it has grown to sell its products in more than 100 countries.

Other than the inflatable raft, Intex manufactures several different kinds of inflatable products, too, such as pools, toys, air beds, and more.

A great thing about this brand is that it provides good customer support for all its products.

You can also purchase any replacement parts on their website.

For this review, we’ll be taking a close look at Intex’s Explorer K2.

Who Is the Intex Inflatable Kayak For?

Those who have never used an inflatable kayak before often tend to shy away from it.

Let us assure you that you will have a great time on the water with the Intex Explorer K2.

Below, we will list the reasons why this kayak might be a good pick for you.

  • Those with Limited Storage Space

Unlike traditional hard-shell kayaks, you can deflate the Explorer K2 easily and store it in a bag.

You can then throw it in the back of your closet or the trunk of your car.

It is important for folks who live in smaller spaces, as storing a hard-shell kayak is practically impossible for them.

  • Those Who Enjoy Frequent Trips

Anyone who has used a traditional kayak knows how difficult it is to get it on top of the car during trips.

Thankfully, this isn’t going to be a concern anymore with the Explorer K2.

It is incredibly light and compact that you can carry it by hand if you’re flying somewhere.

It is definitely a suitable product if you want to explore foreign waterways.

  • Those Looking for a More Practical Kayak Than Hard-Shells

When you actually have to use it, you’ll find that it takes less time pulling it out and inflating it.

This is especially true if you compare the process with taking out a hard-shell kayak in the water.

  • Those on a Budget

The Intex Explorer K2, and most other inflatable kayaks, are much cheaper than a hard-shell kayak.

As such, they are perfect for anyone on a tight budget and beginners who aren’t sure yet if they’d like this activity.

What’s Included?

When you purchase the Intex Explorer K2, it will come to you neatly in a small cardboard box.

The box contains a zippered carry bag where you’ll find the kayak and some extras:

  • Air pump
  • Paddles
  • Two single-piece seats with Velcro fitting
  • The fin you’ll place at the bottom of the kayak
  • A user manual
  • The deflated kayak itself

We like how easy it is to unpack everything and how quickly we can set the whole thing up.

In fact, you’d be able to inflate the kayak in under 10 minutes.

Additionally, Intex offers a 90-day warranty on the Explorer K2.

Overview of the Features

The Intex Explorer K2 is an inflatable tandem kayak that looks a lot like a banana.

This kayak is the real deal. It comes at a great price point and is as efficient as a high-end inflatable kayak.

Made from rugged vinyl, you will find that it is highly durable and sturdy.

Unlike hard-shell kayaks, it is compact, lightweight, and takes just a few minutes to assemble fully.

There are plenty of features in this small package, so let’s shed some light on all of them.

  • Long-Lasting Build

The Intex Explorer K2 features a vinyl exterior that makes it highly durable.

You will find that it is capable of paddling over debris and getting pushed off of rocks.

Basically, the kayak is an impressive heavy-duty and super-tough 30-gauge vinyl over a 1,200-denier nylon shell.

The problem is, the overall construction of the paddle seems to be too flimsy.

While it will work fine in extremely calm waters, we wouldn’t recommend using it anywhere other than that, especially in rougher waters.

You can always consider purchasing a separate pair of paddles since this kayak is so inexpensive.

  • Safe and Practical Design

It is a known fact that inflatable kayaks have a bad rap for being unreliable and flimsy.

However, this won’t be something you will complain about with the Intex Explorer K2.

This is a well-designed kayak, and its structure involves two completely separate air compartments.

While this does not mean that the kayak is not sink-proof, you are definitely safer.

Even if the kayak does end up getting ripped or gets a hole in the vinyl, it will not burst suddenly.

This feature is essential, as it will give you time to head towards the shore before you are completely soaked.

An I-beam also runs down the center, which does a great job of keeping the kayak rigid and stable, even if two people are sitting in it.

  • Ease of Use

Since the Intex Explorer K2 is easy to maneuver and paddle, it is ideal if you are looking to explore small lakes and calm rivers.

The kayak’s removable skeg further gives you the option for increased directional stability.

We must stress, though, that the kayak isn’t ideal in windy conditions or rough waters.

In these conditions, it becomes challenging to keep it in a straight line.

Even with the skeg support, winds can easily impact this inflatable kayak’s buoyant nature.

That said, the kayak is still quite hard to tip over and remains impressively stable.

If you do end up capsizing or decide to step out of the kayak to take a swim, you’ll find that it is effortless to get back on.

It is an ideal option for light paddlers or beginners who aren’t looking to make any serious maneuvers.

  • Value for Money

In addition to Intex Explorer K2’s light and compact build, you will appreciate just how budget-friendly it is.

Considering how many features it has, the Explorer K2 remains significantly cheaper than hard-shell kayaks.

It also comes with an air pump and two paddles, making it a great option for those on a tight budget.

There is no doubt that a fiberglass kayak has significantly better quality than an inflatable kayak.

Yet, if you don’t have thousands to spend on one, you’ll be better off with an inflatable kayak.

Pros:

  • Comes with extras
  • Very inexpensive
  • Low and stable
  • Easy to set up
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Does not tip over easily

Cons:

  • The paddles are of average quality
  • Not ideal for rough waters or bad weathers

How to Make the Most Out of It

It is clear that the Intex Explorer K2 has a lot to offer.

The problem is, all of these features can be confusing to decipher for folks who have never used an inflatable kayak before.

To help you out, here is a video you can use as a reference.

It will help you master how to use the Explorer K2 by showing you everything you will get to enjoy if you do buy it.

Alternatives

The Intex Explorer K2 is everything you would want in an inflatable kayak, and it comes at an affordable price, too.

Yet, like most other kayaks, there are some downsides to it, too.

For that reason, we felt it would be best to provide you with some good alternatives.

1. Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish Kayak

The Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish kayak comes in a similar price range as the one from Intex.

However, instead of just for leisure, it is designed to cater to those who want to hunt or fish from their kayak.

It can hold more weight in comparison and also features splash covers to keep you dry.

This Sevylor kayak also comes with a carry bag so that you can easily travel with it.

2. Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak

The Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Kayak is another excellent alternative to the Intex Explorer K2.

Quality-wise, it is a significantly better option than most inflatable kayaks on the market.

It has aluminum ribs that give it more structure and stability and also make it easier to maneuver.

You will also find that it comes with multiple layers of material, making punctures less likely.

Quickly, you will realize that it moves like a traditional hard-shell kayak and is easier to paddle straight as you ride it.

The biggest drawback is that it is significantly more expensive.

Is the Intex Inflatable Kayak Worth It?

We hope our detailed Intex Inflatable Kayak review has provided you with all the information you were looking for.

If you ask us, we think that the Explorer K2 is a decent lake-worthy kayak.

It comes with everything at a great price point and provides you with the perfect amount of fun and access.

Best of all, it is exceptionally lightweight.

After deflating it, you can simply roll it up and throw it in the trunk of your car.

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