Kayaking is not just an easygoing and fun sport; it’s also one of the best activities for water babies who like to get reflective in calm waters. Whether you’re an expert or have recently taken to kayaking, an inflatable kayak is an excellent addition to your gear. However, purchasing a good inflatable kayak also comes with a whole lot of additional but essential accessories. But, did you also know that you can get the best inflatable kayak under 500 USD? Yes! There are tons of choices in the market today and you don’t even have to compromise on brand, looks, and additional accessories either.
So, why are inflatable kayaks so popular? To begin with, they’re getting better with time. Moreover, they’re also extremely portable and lightweight. In fact, even your kids shouldn’t have any trouble carrying this type of kayaks. Furthermore, they can be stored and kept just about anywhere in your house. Although, if you’re angling to be an expert, your purpose and need also matter. However, if you’re looking to indulge in some good, old-fashioned water fun, here are the best inflatable kayaks under 500.
How To Choose The Best Inflatable Kayaks?
Choosing inflatable kayaks, just like choosing a Beginners Surfboard, involves a lot of factors. Right from type and size to space, and comfort, you need to keep in mind certain considerations before buying inflatable kayaks under 500. So, what are these factors? Read on.
Are you a kayaking beginner? You might want to check out the Best Kayaks For Beginners.
Types of kayaks
- Canoe-style – An open-design kayak with higher walls. You use either single-sided blades or canoe paddlers for this kind of kayak.
- Sit-inside kayak – The most traditional of kayak designs. It has an enclosed cockpit that ensures that water doesn’t seep in.
- Sit-on-top kayaks – An open-design kayak that’s more appropriate for warmer waters and climates. But, you can expect a fair bit of water splashing.
- Self-bailing kayaks – These are ideal for whitewash waters who engage in rough water kayaking. In fact, the water comes in and goes back out, making sure that the boat doesn’t flip.
There are generally three types of materials used for inflatable kayaks, Nitrylon, Pennel Orca, and PVC. Also, it’s a mixture of the three materials many times, along with other materials. Nitrylon is heavy and used only limitedly, at least currently. Pennel Orca is usually used for the outer coating, but it’s quite costly. PVC is the commonest and most popular material, and a majority of inflatable kayaks are usually made of this. Nevertheless, all materials used are extremely hard-wearing and tough.
Deck space, weight capacity and storage
No matter whether you’re a kayaking beginner or an expert, you need to be able to move comfortably when you ride. So, there should be enough deck space to fit you and other important items, or your movement will be too restrictive. What’s more, you can’t go empty-handed and will need at least a few pieces of equipment. So, your kayak not only needs to have a place for storing them properly but also needs to be easily accessible. Some kayaks even feature storage spaces just beneath the armrests for accessibility.
Moreover, kayaks have varying weight capacities, and your need to make sure that yours isn’t too heavy. Lightweight inflatable kayaks under 500 are more popular and also recommended as they’re very portable and easy to carry around.
You’re going to be seated in the kayak for hours, so your seats should be extremely comfortable. Look for adjustable, foamed seats that have enough padding and leg space.
Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak is the best inflatable kayak under 500. This simple, ready-to-use inflatable kayak is ideal for slow-moving rivers and lakes. Moreover, it arrives with everything you need to just push off from the shore. The kayak features a sleek, fun, and sporty design for easy paddling. Plus, it comes in this fun bright green color that makes it highly visible in the water. Also, even when it’s exposed to sunlight, its coating doesn’t fade since it’s UV-resistant.
The kayak can also be deflated and inflated and installed easily, thanks to the Intex high-output pump. So, it’s also easy to repair or patch up when it gets punctured. Grab your partner and the two 86-inch aluminum paddles and head out into calm waters for a great water adventure. The best part? The kayak has a weight capacity of around 400 lbs.
- Vinyl coating is UV-resistant.
- Made from tough material.
- Can accommodate two people.
- Easy to maneuver.
- Not good for whitewash water.
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
The Sevylor Quikpak K1 might be a single-person kayak, but it’s one of the easiest kayaks to set up. What’s more, if you’re a backpacker and a kayaker, then this kayak can be folded and fit right into your backpack! So, all you need to do is head to the water and unpack the kayak to have water fun in five minutes. It’s made of 21-gauge PVC with a waterproof polyurethane bottom, adding to its anti-tear and anti-rip properties. Also, it’s extremely strong and durable. The adjustable footrests and attached backrest and seat make your continued paddle rides both comfortable and endurable. It even comes with bungee space and a drink holder!
Multi-air chambers in the Sevylor Quikpak keep you safe and highly stable on light waters. Moreover, they also make sure that even if one chamber is punctured, the kayak will hold on and won’t sink immediately.
- Durable and stable.
- Very easy to inflate.
- Multiple air chambers.
- Extremely packable and portable.
- Can get bouncy in choppy waters or amidst strong winds.
Sea Eagle 370 3-Person Inflatable Sport Kayak
The river is your oyster on the Sea Eagle 370 3-Person Inflatable Sport Kayak, one of the best inflatable kayaks under 500. The brand is well-known for producing durable and tough inflatable kayaks that are ideal for even ocean adventures. This kayak is both saltwater and UV-resistant, so there’s literally no limit or where you take it to paddle. It also has useful spray shields that help keep your kit dry, a foot pump, and paddles, ensuring that you’re ready to hit the water anytime. If that wasn’t enough, then the kayak takes a maximum of 15 minutes to inflate.
One of the best parts about this kayak is its seating versatility. It can two-three people with its 650-lbs weight capacity, as compared to the usual 350-lbs weight capacity of regular two-person kayaks. Moreover, the kayak is even suited for class 3 whitewater thanks to its 30-mm thick K80 PVC hull that makes it anti-rip and anti-tear. The best part? You can even take the second seat out for more storage!
- Can be used even in class 5 rapids.
- More storage space.
- Very easy to carry and lightweight.
- Quick to deflate and inflate.
- Not as speedy as other rigid kayaks.
Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak
Another excellent inflatable kayak under 500 is the Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak. This kayak is longer and yet more lightweight than its K1 version, making it a great bet. It features a 24-gauge PVC build along with a 1,000D x 1,000D rugged tarpaulin bottom and a thick polyester cover making it extremely durable. Hence, it’s designed to handle choppier waters. It also has an innovative backpack system that folds out into the seat. And since this is a beginner’s kayak, it features a five-minute setup process. Now, what more could you want?
Overall this kayak is a fabulous choice if you like relaxed paddling on the water, but also crave for portability and suitability. Also, if you don’t want the hassle of carrying your things, then this kayak that can fit into your backpack is good for you.
- Lots of storage space.
- Comfortable even for tall people.
- Easy five-minute setup.
- Very portable.
- The free accessories aren’t all that great.
Intex Challenger K1 -1-Person Kayak
The Intex Challenger K1 is one of the best inflatable kayaks under 500 and is ideal if you want a comfortable yet nimble kayak for navigating rivers and lakes. It can easily accommodate a person who weighs up to 220 lbs and is very lightweight. This one-person kayak features a large and spacious cockpit for comfort and even has a beam floor for added stability. Moreover, it has a closed deck, like traditional kayaks, and you needn’t worry about water seeping in. The heavy vinyl material adds to the durability. It even has a cargo net in the front for storage ideal for holding the items in place. Plus, there are even grab lines on both ends for additional stability.
What’s more, the kayak can be carried around and transported easily, so portability is never an issue. Since it sports an eye-catching design, this kayak can be easily spotted from far-off in case of any emergencies. One of its biggest selling points, though, is that it can be installed and set up within as little as 10-15 minutes. Rounding up the features are the repair patch, a high-output manual hand pump, and an 84-inch aluminum oar.
- Good for cruising.
- Excellent space and legroom.
- Great quality of construction.
- Easy to assemble and disassemble.
- A bit hard to navigate for some people.
Sea Eagle 330 Sport
The Sea Eagle 330 Sport is identical in almost every way to its 370 Sport counterpart, except that it’s one foot shorter. This two-person kayak can even be turned into a single-person one by adjusting the seats. If you’re slightly shorter than usual, then this kayak is perfect since the legroom won’t suit a tall person. That said, the 330 is not only portable and lightweight, but also costs a little less than the 370, and that too with the same features and construction.
The only catch is that you might have to make more of an effort to keep it on track during particularly windy days. However, if you’re going to be using it more for paddling with the family on flat water lakes, then you absolutely get your money’s worth with this inflatable kayak. It’s also a great option for going from the shore to a larger boat.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Two-person kayak, but can be turned into a one-person one.
- Takes effort to keep stable in windy weather.
Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
At $450, the Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 is the most expensive inflatable kayak under 500. However, the brand name and the plethora of added features absolutely justifies the price of this inflatable kayak. To begin with, it’s made from puncture-resistant, heavy-duty vinyl. Secondly, it has an I-beam in the floor panel for additional rigidity. And if that wasn’t enough, then it even has three separate air chambers. And from the on, the features just don’t seem to stop! The kayak boasts space for two paddlers, complete with adjustable seats and rear and front storage areas both. Moreover, the grab handles at the front and back make portaging easy, especially since the kayak weighs all of 31 lbs. Finally, there are grab ropes along both sides in case you find yourself in the water.
The kayak even has two skegs, a short one for quick turns in challenging waters, and a long skeg for straight-line stability in calm waters. Since the weight capacity of the Dakota K2 is 400 lbs, there’s a lot of space for you and another paddler, as well as storage space. Rounding off everything you could possibly need are two dry bags. It’s no wonder that the Intex Dakota K2 is worth every cent.
- Small and large skegs supplied.
- Try dry bags and a carry bag included.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Huge carrying and storage capacity.
- Strong construction
Solstice by Swimline Durango Inflatable Kayak
The Solstice by Swimline Durango is another excellent inflatable kayak. The extremely durable and sturdy kayak is made from 22-gauge K-80 PVC, complete with a 1,000 Denier sturdy nylon bottom and an 840 Denier nylon top cover. While it features two seats, it can be transformed into a one-seat kayak with a humongous carrying capacity. What’s more, the bucket seats are covered with cushy nylon and are easily adjustable. So, it’s the ideal kayak for long, solo expeditions.
The kayak also features in-built bungees and storage areas both at the front and rear. Moreover, there’s plenty of room behind the rear paddler’s seat as well as front and rear undercover storage. Aside from a rear detachable skeg, the kayak even features a V-shaped bottom for assistance with directional stability.
- A very sturdy base.
- An electric motor can be attached,
- Durable, robust construction.
- Lots of storage for camping gear.
- Doesn’t include paddles or a pump.
Bestway Hydro-Force 2-Person Inflatable Kayak (404)
The Bestway Hydro-Force 2-Person Kayak is one of the best inflatable kayaks under 500 that’s designed for two people. With a maximum carrying capacity of 400 lbs, this kayak is part of the brand’s premium lineup. Its best feature perhaps is the durable vinyl construction that’s resistant to not only saltwater but also oil and UV light. That said, it’s also quick to inflate and deflate due to the presence of a valve, and you’ll be out on the water quickly within a matter of minutes. Once deflated, the kayak folds down to a size small enough for easy storing and transporting.
Moreover, D-rings on both sides of the kayak near the rear and front are perfect for strapping on your camping gear. The hydrodynamic and streamlined design of the hull enables the kayak to cut smoothly across the calm water. Adding to the directional stability is a removable keel fin along the center of the hull. It’s also supplied with two lightweight aluminum reinforced paddles and can be used to explore challenging waters too.
- Affordable for a two-person kayak.
- Comfy seats.
- Lots of room.
- The construction isn’t as durable as some other kayaks.
Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set (CU)
If you’re looking for a kayak that combines capacity, comfort, and price, then look no further than the Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set. This fishing kayak features two inflatable, adjustable seats as well as a storage bag for putting your catch and other items. It has a maximum carrying capacity of 400 lbs and can fit in people of almost any body type. Overall, the kayak is ideal for calm rivers or lakes.
Made from heavy-duty materials, the kayak also comes with a patch or repair kit and an air foot pump for easy inflation. Once you’re done, the kayak is easily deflatable via the Boston valve and can be rolled for packable, compact storage. It also comes in a variety of fo bright colors that make it easy for you to be spotted from anywhere in case of emergencies. So, if you want a value-for-money tandem fishing kayak, then you can’t go wrong with the Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak.
- Ample storage space.
- Adjustable seats.
- Easy to set up and pack.
- Not exactly suited for rough river kayaking.
Intex Excursion Pro Recreational Kayak
There’s a reason why there are so many Intex products on this list, and that’s because they make such excellent kayaks. And the Intex Excursion Pro Recreational Kayak is one of the best inflatable kayaks under 500. While this one is designed for advanced paddlers, it works perfectly for a recreational kayak as well. It scores highly on ease of inflation and deflation, and durability and stability as well. The kayak is made from a laminate PVC with a polyester core and is highly resistant to sunlight, impact, and abrasion damage. It also comes with two removable skews for shallow and deep water and two adjustable bucket seats. If that wasn’t enough it also has two integrated recessed fishing rod holders and two floor-mounted footrests. And although it’s a tandem kayak, you can easily remove a seat to make it a single-person one.
Another fantastic feature is the storage space on both stern and bow sides, plus the presence of the stainless steel D rings for tying your gear. Finally, the kayak has a superb total weight capacity of 400 lbs.
- Stable and durable.
- Easy to use.
- Integrated D rings and rod holders.
- Removable bucket seats.
- It’s the heaviest inflatable kayak in the Intex lineup.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak (CU)
Ocean Kayak has been a well-loved brand for kayaks for many years now. And you’ll be very pleased with the performance of the Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak. This solid one-person recreational kayak boasts exceptional stability even when the waters are less calm. This is thanks to the Tri-form hull and the wide base at the bottom. Moreover, the seat is cushy and adjustable in four ways. Plus, the well-positioned footrests ensure all-day comfort paddling.
The kayak does excellently on storage too. It features stern tank storage that has enough room for all your possible essentials. Moreover, the kayak weighs only 43 lbs and still measures 9 feet (2.7 meters) long. So, it’s very portable and can be carried easily using the flush side handles. Moreover, it comes with a weight capacity of 275-325 lbs with a lifetime warranty on the hull!
- Lifetime hull warranty.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Front and rear bungees.
- Lots of storage.
- Weight restrictions are a bit less.
Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Tandem Kayak
Finally, we’ve saved the best for the last. The Driftsun Voyager 2-Person Inflatable Tandem Kayak is the best inflatable kayak under 500. The kayak can inflate to a full-sized one in less than five minutes thanks to the included double-action hand pump. When deflated, the kayak fits into one extremely portable carry bag. At 27 lbs, the lightweight kayak is a dream to handle, even if it’s just you. It comes with two comfy padded EVA seats, a rear tracking fin, high-quality aluminum paddles with ergonomic grip handles. The kayak features a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom that makes it resistant to punctures and provides stability. Moreover, the robust 840D-coated nylon oxford top cover is both tear and rip-resistant.
The pointed nose entry and rocker profile allow you to hold your own even in choppy waters, while the padded seats are ideal for hours of comfortable cruising. If you’re looking for a kayak that comes with literally everything included, then this is the one.
- Comes with a whole lot of included accessories.
- Tear-resistant and durable.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Padded seats.