Family summer vacations near lakes or rivers brim with numerous possibilities for fun-filled water activities. One of the most productive and yet fun activities is kayaking! Gone are the days when you’d have to worry about strapping hard-shell kayaks to your 4×4. Today is the day and age of inflatable kayaks that can not only stay afloat in choppy waters but can also withstand all sorts of kinks and abrasions. This is why family inflatable kayaks are becoming very popular, which are ideal for everything from whitewater rafting to calm lake paddling.
As your children get older, it makes sense for them to have their own kayak beside you. However, when they’re young, you’ll need them in the kayak with you. You might even have a furry friend along. So, you need comfortable tandem inflatable kayaks that’ll fit in two of you and either one or two small kids, and maybe even Fido. To that end, here are the 13 best family inflatable kayaks that will certainly give their hard-shell brethren a run for their money.
How To Choose The Best Inflatable Kayaks For Families?
There are many things that you have to consider before going for a family kayak. Right from size to storage to leg length, there are a few fair numbers of aspects to run through. They’re listed below.
Family size and weight
You need to, first of all, consider the size of your family. The biggest inflatable kayak today can support a party of five – adults, that is. Moreover, kayaks come with removable and adjustable seats in case you expect more/lesser people on future trips. Even though kayaks weigh differently, inflatable ones are generally very portable. In fact, most of them come with a pump that can be used to inflate them back.
Kayak length and make
The longer the kayak, the better leg room it’ll offer everyone. The kayak’s length is also important because it lays out how stable it’ll be on the water. Usually, longer kayaks are more stable and prone to not flipping over when speedboats go by.
Furthermore, you need to also choose whether your family inflatable kayak will be a sit-in or sit-on-top one. The sit-on-top ones are more ideal for fishing trips and come with comfortable chairs for long hours sans backaches. On the other hand, the traditional, sit-in kayaks will get your kids excited as they can lean over and see fish in shallower waters. Moreover, they feature lots of leg space.
Destination and usage
The type of destination you wish to kayak in, without doubt, matters the most. That’s because there are a variety of inflatable kayak types that are more suited to different water bodies. For instance, lakes are cozier and more relaxed but will require good paddles for prodding on. Rivers, on the other hand, have stronger currents and need kayaks that can withstand the push and pull of the rough waters. You also have sea kayaks for shallower waters like those around Maldives or Fiji. They require much more balance.
No matter the size and type of kayak, storage space is something that’s universally important. Well-designed and spacious storage spaces allow you to store everything you need on-board, especially on overnight trips. Right from ice-boxes to store your catch to space for electronic devices, make sure that there’s storage for everything you need on the kayak.
Sea Eagle 465 FastTrack Inflatable Kayak
The Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack Inflatable Kayak is our first choice for the best family inflatable kayak. This sleek, three-seat, touring kayak is almost 3-feet wide and 15-feet long. So, it can comfortably hold three of you or be arranged to hold one of you and three children or two of you and two children. Since the seats are removable, they can be adjusted to suit your family’s needs. The FastTrack stays true and straight thanks to the large, removeable skeg at the back and the high-pressure, drop-stitch keel in the hull’s bow. Together, they avoid side-to-side movements that are common in other kayaks.
Weighing just 44 lbs (), the kayak’s rigid drop-stitch floor is what ensures the kayak’s stability. Thus, it offers peace of mind, especially if you have a young child. Overall, it’s best suited for open water like the shallow ocean waters or lakes. Moreover, it’s versatile enough to handle whitewater (up to class III rapids) too.
- Large, removeable skeg for improving speed.
- High-capacity self-bailing drain valves,
- Hull is resistant to saltwater and sun.
- 18 D-rings for securing seats.
- Some users reported that the keel spins in fast waters.
Sevylor Big Basin
If you’re a family of two adults and a child, then we’d recommend the Sevylor Big Basin. Best suited for calm lakes and waters, the kayak features a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin that offers protection from rips, tears, and punctures. The Big Basin is stable and tracks just like a traditional hard-shell kayak. Moreover, it features numerous air chambers for extra buoyancy, ensuring that it’ll stay afloat even if one chamber is flooded or damaged. Plus, the integrated rear and front splash guards and air-tight system will keep all three of you all dry and your baby happy! Despite weighing just 35 lbs, the kayak has a weight capacity of a whopping 490 lbs.
At a length of 12 feet, the kayak might feel cramped for three of you but is perfect for two of you and a child. What’s more, the double-threaded Boston Valves make deflating and inflating the kayak a nifty, painless task. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for family paddling trips.
- Integrated splash guards.
- Easy inflation/deflation.
- Guaranteed leak-proof.
- Unsuitable for sea or fast rivers.
Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak
Another excellent family inflatable kayak is the Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak. A good substitute for a typical rigid kayak, this one has adjustable and comfortable and adjustable seats ideal for day-long paddling excursions. There’s even a child seat in the middle, complete with leg rest for your little tot. The kayak is made from 600D polyester fabric, making it rip and tear-resistant. Even if you take the kayak near sharp oyster beds or shallow rocky water, then the durable and thick tarpaulin bottom protects it from tears and abrasions.
The Driftsun Almanor comes with a carry bag, a removeable skeg, a high-volume inflation pump, and two aluminum paddles. Plus, the kayak has lot of storage in the front, along with bungee storage at the top. If that wasn’t enough, then the stern has space for gear storage too. Rounding up everything is the side-mounted paddle holders ideal if you want to give your arms some rest.
- Comes with a high-volume inflation pump and removable skeg.
- Has a child seat for your little one.
- Durable, robust, and rip and tear-resistant.
- Practically none.
Sea Eagle Inflatable 420X Explorer
If you want to go all out and splurge, then the Sea Eagle Inflatable 420X Explorer is the kayak for your family. At a price of $1,349, it’s one of the priciest kayaks ever! Measuring 14 feet in length, the kayak has a weight capacity of a whopping 650 lbs and can hold three people. Its 1000D reinforced exterior lends it multiple layers that make it strong, stable, and puncture-resistant. Moreover, the multiple air chambers keep it afloat and allow you to go to deeper ends without fearing a puncture. Finally, it features a rigid drop-stitch floor that is both waterproof and robust enough to resist any poke or shock.
The kayak, which has a class IV whitewater rating, can be inflated in a mere nine minutes thanks to the included foot pump. What’s more, the kayak even has a large center skeg that’s removable without having to deflate or inflate the raft. While it improves the kayak’s tracking, you can even remove it while kayaking to avoid yawing.
- Removable skeg for good tracking.
- 1000D reinforced material for excellent durability.
- Great maneuverability.
- Very stable.
- Super expensive.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak is one of the best family inflatable kayaks. It’s an excellent choice for a tandem kayak without all the additional weight, and has a whopping capacity of up to 550 lbs! If that wasn’t enough, it packs down to just 52 lbs into a convenient carry bag, making for one of the most versatile kayaks ever. Plus, it’s pre-assembled, so all you need to do is unfold, inflate, and attach the adjustable padded seats. When it’s inflated, it has a whole boatload of positives – pun intended. The three-layered build is puncture resistant and has three paddle positions. Moreover, the in-built aluminum ribs on the stern and bow improve tracking.
The kayak also comes with six chambers, a skeg tracking fin, rip-stop fabric, molded low-profile rubber handles, and an integrated pressure relief valve. Finally, the deck lacing and the D-ring tie-downs are ideal for both transporting the kayak and storing the gear.
- Weight capacity of up to 550 lbs.
- Seats are adjustable and comfortable.
- Three-seat configuration perfect for the family.
- Portable and lightweight.
- Can be time-consuming to dry out, clean, and deflate.
Aire Lynx II (CU)
Another excellent family kayak is the Lynx II from AIRE, which has a weight capacity of a whopping 475 lbs! Even though it has two seats, it might just be one of the best small family kayaks ever, especially if you have a tiny tot. This is particularly good since the seats are fully adjustable. Moreover, if you’re all about long-distance whitewater or river kayaking, then there cannot be a more ideal kayak than this. The hull is made for rapid response and fast movement and even has three self-bailing drain holes allowing you to focus on paddling. What’s more, the kayak excels in durability too. Both the floor and outer tubes are designed from a 2D outer PVC fabric and have airtight welded seams for additional strength.
If you’re taking the kayak out overnight, then the large-sized backrest storage pockets of the clip points and both seats are perfect. Even though it’s expensive, the brand name combined with a spectacular 10-year manufacturer’s warranty makes this kayak worth every cent.
- Steers well and is stable.
- Superior stability.
- Fast speed hull.
- A decade-long no-fault manufacturer’s warranty.
- Very expensive.
Driftsun Rover 220 Tandem Kayak
The Driftsun Rover 220 Tandem Kayak is the perfect lightweight and minimized kayak for two of you and a child or even one of you and two children, and a dog! Despite being a tandem kayak, it features a maximum weight capacity of a huge 600 lbs. So, it’s no surprise that it’s very popular with small families. A rigid, high-pressure drop-stitched bottom, a rough vinyl finish, and a removable skeg keep the kayak sturdy. Besides being durable and lightweight, it can be fully inflated in less than ten minutes. Since it’s designed as a traditional river runner, the kayak can handle even class IV rapids with speed and control.
Apart from all this, the Driftsun Rover comes with a whole lot of extras. These include a front action camera mount, self-bailing ports, and tie-down points. Finally, it also comes with adjustable aluminum kayak paddles, a double-action hand pump, a rear tracking find, a repair kit, and a travel bag. Overall, it’s an excellent inflatable family kayak.
- Durable and lightweight.
- Can fully inflate in 10 minutes.
- The flat-water tracking fin is removable.
Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak is the perfect kayak if you’re a single adult with two young children, or one kid and Fido. If you’re kayaking for the first time, then this is the ideal craft that costs just about $100. So, it’ll suit your budget sans skimping on features. Fairly lightweight at 31 lbs, the inflatable kayak has a weight capacity of up to 400 lbs. One of its standout features is its wide beam, which offers high tracking ability and stability too. The seats offer superior lumbar support, adding comfort while you’re on the water.
Apart from the above, the Explorer K2 even has air chambers and abrasion pads for additional durability. So, even if the chambers are punctured, the kayak stays sturdy on the water. Additionally, it comes with a removable skeg which only augments the stability of its directional capabilities in ponds and lakes.
- Comes with paddles and an air pump.
- Excellent tracking abilities and stability.
- Unsuitable for rough waters.
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak is another excellent family inflatable kayak. It features two comfortable yet adjustable seats that are roomy enough for you with one or two children. The kayak features an 18-gauge PVC build and an 840-D nylon cover. Hence, it’s protected against any rips, tears, or punctures that might occur. The mesh storage pockets are great for storing small stuff, while the rod holders are great for resting your arms for a bit.
The highlight of the NMMA-certified kayak is its signature Airtight System with numerous air compartments and a double-walled build. What’s more, if you’re looking for more power, then Sevylor even sells a trolling motor separately, in case you planned to take it out to sea for fishing.
- Easy to set up.
- Excellent for hands-free fishing.
- Airtight system is resistant to rips and punctures.
- Some users reported issues after warranty expires.
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
If you’re looking for a two-person kayak for you and your kid, then the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak with a maximum weight capacity of 400 lbs is perfect. The kayak features a removable skeg and a mounting bracket both, making for an excellent customizable inflatable device. For instance, you can stack a lot of extra accessories on the adjustable mounting bracket, like fishing gear or GPS systems. Moreover, the removable skegs allow adjusting the kayak’s tracking abilities depending on the kind of water you’re on. Thanks to the kayak’s high-pressure inflation, it boasts maximum stability. Moreover, the loaded valves allow for easy inflation and deflation.
What makes the kayak great is the comfortable seats, D-ring attachment points, and is three-ply PVC build that makes ir rip-resistant. Additionally, the three air chambers for safety render it perfect for shallow waters.
- Great value.
- Mounting bracket.
- D-ring attachments.
- Legroom might be less for taller people.
Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe Inflatable Sport Kayak
One of the best family inflatable kayaks for you and one or two children, or even you, a kid, and your dog is the Sea Eagle 330. Ideal for overnight trips, leisurely kayaking, and whitewater paddling, this kayak comes with lots of cargo space for carrying weight up to 500 lbs! All this, while the kayak itself weighs a mere 26 lbs and can be packed down into a drawstring bag that’ll easily fit into your luggage. How cool is that!
The kayak features a hull made of puncture-resistant, extra-thick, and durable K-80 polykrylar material. If you’re a beginner, especially, then you’ll like it for its stable I-Bean build and wide base. Moreover, the double skeg offers tracking better than any other inflatable kayak out there. If you want to take it out on rough waters, then the self-bailing drain valve is one useful feature. Overall, if you’re looking for a family adventure, then this well-priced inflatable kayak is your ride.
- A three-year warranty.
- Reasonably priced.
- Very stable and wide.
- Lack of storage pockets.
Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak
If you have two young kids and need a good kayak to maneuver yourself, then look no further than the Driftsun Voyager Tandem Inflatable Kayak. It’s one of the best inflatable kayaks for all-around use on streams, rivers, and lakes. Featuring a compact and superbly lightweight design, the kayak’s upper is constructed from rip-resistant 840D nylon-coated oxford fabric that’s abrasion-resistant too. Its hull, on the other hand, is of heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin fabric that’s both lightweight and keeps your kayak from puncturing.
Perhaps the kayak’s most defining feature is the V-shaped hull. That, combined with the side tubes, removable tracking skeg, and raised bow offer better stability and steering both. So, even if you were to take the kayak out on windy days, it could withstand it. Moreover, the kayak comes with a slew of accessories, including comfy padded seats, aluminum paddles, and a removable rear tracking skeg. What’s more, you’ll also find a hand pump and a patch repair kit, all of which will ball up in one convenient travel bag. The best part? The inflation/deflation takes all of five minutes.
- Included accessories.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Very quick to inflate/deflate.
- Lacks storage space.
Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak
One of the best all-around family inflatable kayaks is the Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak Pro, which is a top choice with families. The 12-feet-long kayak is made of welded PVC and is this extremely durable and stable. Even deflated, it weighs just 32 lbs and has a weight capacity of 650 lbs. In fact, it’s one of the few kayaks that’ll fit two of you and two kids sans going over the weight limit! Don’t want to leave your four-legged friend at home? They can come on board too, for the rugged hull can withstand even the sharpest of things and avoid puncturing or tearing. At less than $400, this value-for-money kayak offers the best bang for your buck.
The Sea Eagle SE370 comes with everything you need – a small patch/repair kit, a foot pump for easy inflation, comfy seats, paddles, and even a carrying case. Thus, you don’t need to buy anything, save the kayak, before going on a family kayaking trip!
- Included foot pump is a godsend for easy inflation.
- Can fit in a family of three/four easily.
- Extremely stable and durable.
- Isn’t suitable for choppy waters.