Calmer water adventures don’t get any better than kayaking, which is one of the best ways to exploring gorgeous sights from the water. One such activity is fishing, and fishing from a kayak has a different ring to it than fishing from the shore. Kayak fishing can be muscle-flexing and blissfully serene in the same breath. This is why you need the best inflatable fishing kayaks on your side, such as the famed Challenger series from Intext that anglers simply seem to love. Inflatable kayaks can get you from zero to fishing in a matter of minutes; all you need to do is carry the craft down to the shore, inflate, and push off. What’s more, inflatable kayaks cost and weigh much, much less than their hardshell counterparts. Thus, you don’t have to take up fishing at a cost, whether in cash or in the storage kind.
Whether you’re a novice or an expert angler, a good fishing kayak goes a long way in ensuring a successful fishing session. To help you decide which craft to go with, we’ve put together a list of the best options available in the market, along with a handy guide that’ll help you narrow down your choices. To that end, here are the 13 best inflatable fishing kayaks out there, which includes the Challenger series too. Happy fishing!
How To Choose The Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks?
Types of kayaks
- Sit-on-top kayaks – This open-design kayak is more appropriate for warmer climates and waters, and is perfect for fishing, especially fly fishing.
- Sit-inside kayak – The traditional kayak design with an enclosed cockpit so that water doesn’t seep in. If you don’t want to get splashed with water, then this is what you go for.
- Canoe-style – These are open-style kayaks with higher walls, with which you use either canoe paddlers or single-sided blades.
Storage and weight capacity
Different kayaks have different weight capacities depending on their design as well as how many people can fit in. You need to make sure that your inflatable kayak is lightweight and easy to carry between the vehicle and the shore. Also, you need to check how quickly your craft inflates and deflates, and whether it comes with a pump or not. Secondly, you need to check the storage space on your craft. After all, you won’t go fishing empty-handed, will you? Moreover, the storage hatches not only need to be roomy but also easily accessible as well.
Comfort and deck space
No matter whether you’re a kayaking expert or a novice, you need to be able to sit as well as move comfortably when you ride and stop for fishing. Hence, the kayak deck needs to be spacious enough so that not only are you comfortable, but there’s also space for tying and accessing your gear. Finally, comfort is a critical factor when it comes to choosing a kayak; after all, you’re going to be sitting in the kayak for hours. So, go for kayaks with adjustable, padded seats with footrests and backrests.
When it comes to fishing kayaks, stability is a rather critical factor. Since fishing involves you moving all the time, the kayak should be stable enough to not have you going into the water all the time. we don’t think you want to topple into the water all the time. Ideally, the best fishing kayaks have large widths, no matter their lengths. Also, avoid kayaks with narrow, V-shaped hulls as they tend to tip over in case you intend to stand and fly-fish. Rather, go for hulls that are tunnel or flat-bottomed shaped.
Inflation and deflation time
Finally, you need to check how quickly your inflatable fishing kayak can be inflated or deflated. After all, you don’t want to spend an hour just readying your craft, do you? Most good kayaks cannot be inflated well without a foot or electric pump, so go for those that include them. Ideally speaking, the best kayaks take about 10-15 minutes to inflate.
Why use inflatable fishing kayaks?
Technically, there are four types of inflatable kayaks: dedicated flatwater, whitewater, expedition, and recreational. Except for whitewater, all other kayaks are excellent for day uses and even shorter overnight trips. Anglers prefer inflatable kayaks because they pack in numerous benefits. For instance, they can get you to remote fishing areas on various water bodies, something which hardshells and other kayaks cannot. Secondly, they can be packed down to a small size, which means you can even hike to remote or elevated bodies of water and then enjoy a fishing expedition. Plus, they’re lightweight, available in solo and tandem capacities, and come with a ton of extras for fishing.
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem Fishing Kayak
One of the best overall inflatable fishing kayaks on this list is the rugged-looking Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak. The stupendous tandem fishing kayak is also extremely durable, thanks to the 8-gauge PVC and 1000D tarpaulin construction. Thus, even if you’re fishing in rocky waters, the bottom surface of the kayak can withstand all kinds of abrasions, crapes, and damages. What’s more, the kayak has multiple air chambers and an airtight system build in general, which also makes it virtually unsinkable.
Since the Coleman Colorado was designed for fishing, you’ll find all necessary and extra fishing accessories and attachments onboard the craft. To begin with, the well-designed Berkley rod holders allow for fishing in a hands-free manner. So, you can even take a break to catch a quick nap or grab a quick bite. In addition, the Sevylor trolling motor fittings allow attaching a motor and navigating through the waters for exploring more fishing opportunities. Finally, the craft even takes care of storage in the form of mesh pockets, which is indispensable for stashing snacks and beverages for an entire day of fishing.
- Convenient mesh storage pockets.
- Anti-sinking and anti-leaking.
- Can be used both tandem and solo for fishing.
- Durable and lightweight.
- Tracking can be better.
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
It’s impossible to complete a list of good inflatable kayaks and not have an Intex kayak on the list. behold the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, which is also amongst the Best Kayaks For Beginners. Costing just $100, you get your bang for the buck in this inflatable craft. To begin with. the kayak is made from heavy-duty vinyl with three discrete air chambers. Thus, it’s not just durable and rugged, but even leak-resistant and puncture-resistant. Thanks to the inflatable yet rigid I-beam floor, you can even stand up while casting your rod and bait. However, what you’ll really like about the craft’s safety is that it comes with a repair patch kit in case of damages during unforeseen punctures.
Despite being a tandem kayak, both you and your companion will be comfortable in the roomy seats with ample legroom and a backrest. Thanks to the removable skeg, the craft s easy to maneuver and direct as well. Finally, the included high-output pump and Boston valves help inflate and deflate the kayak within mere minutes.
- Tracks well with directional stability.
- The rigid floor helps stand up and fish.
- Quick inflation and deflation time.
- Lightweight and durable.
- Comfy seats.
- Slightly shallow for a sit-inside kayak.
Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak is not just amongst the best inflatable fishing kayaks but is also amongst the Best Inflatable Kayaks for Less Than $500. What we really like about the Challenger inflatable fishing kayak is that it’s ready to use, which means all you need to do is inflate it and you can push off from the shore immediately. The simple yet elegantly-designed craft sports a fun-looking rather vibrant green-colored design that allows it to be seen even in waters with fast-moving powered crafts. What’s more, the design doesn’t fade or peel off even when it’s exposed to both saltwater or the sun.
With the Intex high-output pump, the kayak can be inflated and deflated within minutes. Hence, it’s also very easy to patch up and repair when it gets punctured. With a weight capacity of 400 lbs, it’s no wonder that tandem anglers love this kayak. So, grab your companion and the high-quality aluminum paddles and head out to fishing sports for a successful session.
- Easy to maneuver.
- Durable and rugged.
- Vinyl coating is saltwater and UV-resistant.
- Unsuitable for whitewater, but when it comes to fishing, that’s not really a con.
Intex Dakota K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Dakota K2 might cost as much as $450, but not for nothing is it one of the Best Tandem Inflatable Kayaks. To begin with, the robust and durable kayak is made from heavy-duty vinyl that’s extremely resistant to leaks and punctures. The I-beam floor is rigid, thus helping you stand up and even fly-fish for casting the rod and bait. Plus, the kayak is virtually unsinkable due to its discrete and multiple air chamber constructions. What’s more, there’s a lot more to like about this kayak. Two people can fit easily into the comfortable seats, which are also adjustable. Plus, you get to enjoy lots of room to store and stow your gear, both at the front and back. That and a weight capacity of 400 lbs makes the Dakota very popular with angling duos.
Apart from the above, the kayak also has two skegs and two dry bags for storing clothes, sleeping bags, and the likes. Finally, the grab handles at the front and back make both transporting as well as storing it easy. The icing on the cake is the grab ropes, which are a blessing for climbing out of the water in case if the kayak tips over.
- Two dry bags and a carry bag included.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Huge storage and carrying capacity.
- Robust build.
Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak (CU)
With the Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak, you get an inflatable kayak for fishing that beautifully combines price, comfort, and capacity into one attractive package. The tandem fishing kayak features two removable and adjustable seats, both of which with a combined carrying capacity of 400 lbs. What’s more, the kayak even has a storage bag where you can collect your haul for the day. Despite being so affordably priced, the kayak is crafted from heavy-duty materials. At the same time, you even have access to a repair/patch kit for carrying out minor, immediate repairs.
Thanks to the air foot pump, the kayak can be inflated within a matter of minutes. When you want to pack it up, the Boston valve makes the craft easily deflatable, allowing it to be rolled into a compact package. Since it comes in a plethora of colors, the craft can be spotted from anywhere on the water in case of emergencies.
- Easy to set up, inflate, deflate, and pack up.
- Adjustable, removable seats.
- Ample storage space.
- None, really.
Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
One of the most portable kayaks on this list is the Elkton Outdoors Cormorant Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak. Weighing just 27 lbs, the kayak inflates in less than 10 minutes from its compact, bag-sized shape into a full-size kayak. The cherry on top is that the kayak has a whopping weight capacity of 450 lbs. Made from 18-gauge rip-resistant 1000D PVC, the boat is virtually unsinkable. Apart from being adjustable, the comfy kayak seats also feature a ton of back support that makes even sitting and fishing for longer time periods a comfortable experience. Plus, you can even add cushions to make the seat even more comfortable and even increase the elevation.
However, that’s not all. The kayak has all the makings of an excellent fishing kayak, thanks to the two vertical as well as four trolling rod holders. What’s more, the double-sided oars and a double-action pump makes both paddling and fishing easy, as well as inflating and deflating the craft. Finally, three removable air chambers allow for quickly repairing any accidental rips or punctures.
- Comes with a ton of setup and accessories for fishing.
- Lightweight and durable.
- The tracking fin is removable.
- Virtually none.
Pyranha Fusion 2 (CU)
If you want a craft that you can fish from and also explore the thrills of gushing whitewater, then look no further than the versatile and lightweight Pyranha Fusion 2. Thanks to the moderate waterline, balanced rocker, and retractable skeg, the kayak works perfectly in whitewater. At the same time, it tracks well and moves speedily on flatwater, which makes it ideal for looking for new and unexplored fishing grounds. What’s more, the skeg slider is placed on the deck, which means you can easily access it right from where you’re sitting. That’s also why this kayak is unusually one of the few Best Crossover Kayaks that are also ideal for fishing.
Aside from that, the kayak bosts a roomy cockpit with adjustable outfitting making it extremely comfortable. Moreover, there’s also an expansive hatch for storage plus mounting points for holding fishing rods and gear. Rounidn gup the kayak’s features is the bungee rigging on the deck, which allows you to even attach extra gear if need be.
- Lots of storage.
- Adjustable straps and seats.
- Practically none.
Intex Excursion Pro
Not only is the Intex Excursion Pro an excellent inflatable fishing kayak, but it’s also amongst the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000. The craft features a robust and durable three-layered construction making it resistant to both abrasions, saltwater, and UV rays of the sun. Thanks to the three air chamber build, the craft is not prone to leaks or punctures, making it virtually unsinkable. You can settle yourself comfortably all day long in the bucket seats that boast adjustable floor-mounted footrests and ergonomic backs. So, you can fish to your heart’s content without your body aching in places. Even though it’s a tandem kayak, the extra seat can be removed if you want to go solo, opening up space for storage and legroom.
But what makes it a great fishing kayak? That’s the plethora of fishing-specific extras that the kayak has. To begin with, you’ll find two paddles and swiveling rod holders for placing fishing rods when you want to grab a quick bite or a nap. Furthermore, the adjustable mounting bracket allows you to easily install additional accessories such as GPS units and fish finding consoles. Rounding up the features is the roomy bow and stern storage space for your catch and gear.
- Adjustable and removable bucket seats.
- Easy and simple to use.
- Durable and stable.
- Integrated fishing rod holders.
- On the heavier side.
Oru Kayak Beach LT
What’s an inflatable kayak if it doesn’t feature on the list of Best Folding Kayaks too? That’s what the inventive and recreational Oru Kayak Beach LT promises, and then some. Due to their durability, quality, and compactness, Oru kayaks have always been very popular with anglers and fly fishermen. The Beach LT is one of their most popular models by an arm’s length, and it’s easy to see why. Firstly, the kayak boasts a ton of extra space in the cockpit for stashing everything from coolers to fishing gear and more. What’s more, the wide cockpit makes it extremely stable for fishing as well as tagging along with not-so-stable fishing companions such as kids or pets.
What will really make your day is how easy and quickly this kayak can go from box to boat – just five minutes! Plus, it comes with a 12-month guarantee from the brand, so that’s that. If you’re an urban adventurer, you don’t have to worry about storing the kayak because it can even fit into a car’s trunk when folded up. Finally, it features lots of storage space which is a pleasant surprise for folding kayaks.
- Easy to paddle, so ideal for fishing.
- Wide cockpit for more storage and easy access.
- Wider craft, so more stable.
- Paddles aren’t included.
Advanced Elements StraitEdge 2 Kayak
What kayak can you possibly use if you want to follow up your class III rapids adventure with a fishing expedition? Your answer is the Advanced Elements StraitEdge Kayak which, for a price of $650, offers you everything you’ll ever need from a kayak. Firstly, you can use this kayak in both flatwater and whitewater, which is a huge plus-point. Thanks to the bungee deck lacing, you have lots of room to tie up and keep your gear secured as well as easily accessible. What’s more, the fishing rods can be easily placed in the in-built rod holders so you can enjoy fishing hands-free to give your arms a bit of rest or even grab a bite.
Going further, the steel D-rings are perfect for attaching the drift anchor. With the included repair kit, you can patch up any leaks quickly in the face of unforeseen circumstances. You can stay comfortable in the kayak all day long due to the ergonomic backs and fold it up and stash it in the included duffel bag for quick carry.
- Drains water quickly on its own.
- Adjustable seats.
- Robust, strong build.
- Spacious storage.
- None, really.
Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak
Many good fishing kayaks that can also paddle in whitewater cost an arm and a leg, but the Airhead Montana Tandem Inflatable Kayak is an exception. It costs all of $450, making it one of the Best Fishing Kayaks Under 700. Measuring nine feet in length, the kayak’s semi-rigid PVC build makes it rugged and durable to be used even in rocky, shallow waters. Thanks to the rigid tubular I-beam floor, you can even stand up and fish with ease, especially when it comes to casting the rod and bait. Since the kayak is very portable and lightweight, it’s also easy to inflate and deflate and can be done in a matter of minutes.
The kayak does great on comfort too, what with the back support, adjustable footrests, and the ergonomic seat. With a three-chamber airtight build, it’s no surprise that it stays steady on the water and is resistant to punctures, tears, and rips. Rounding up its features are the six D-rings, carrying handles at both ends, threaded drain plug and hold, and spray covers for preventing water from splashing about.
- Strong and durable, and yet comfortable.
- Quick to inflate and deflate.
- Good performance and tracking.
- The pump and paddles aren’t included.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak ticks all the boxes for being an excellent, all-round fishing kayak. Firstly, it has a rather robust and durable three-layered build that makes it resistant to both leaks and rips of any kind. Hence, even if you’re away from the shore, you can depend on this craft to get you back to the shore to safety. If you love tandem kayaking, then this kayak has one of the highest tandem capacities of 550 lbs. This means that you can even tag along with all the gear that you want. If that wasn’t enough, it can be packed down in a super-small carry bag that weighs all of 52 lbs in its folded form. So, you don’t have to haul a huge weight between the vehicle and the shore.
The kayak comes pre-assembled, which means you only need to unfold it, inflate it, and attach the two padded and very comfortable adjustable seats to push off. Tracking performance is excellent due to the in-built aluminum ribs on the bow and stern. The skeg tracking fin improves both stability and directional abilities, while the integrated pressure relief valve helps you stay afloat safely. Rounding up the features is the D-ring tie-downs and deck lacing that are ideal for tying extra gear.
- Durable and lightweight.
- The comfortable seats are padded, removable, and adjustable.
- Slightly time-consuming to clean and dry out.
Intex Challenger K1
Are you the solo traveler who loves to angle on their own? Then look no further than the Intex Challenger K1 inflatable fishing kayak. Sitting atop the list of best inflatable fishing kayaks, the comfortable, yet lightweight and nimble kayak sports a spacious cockpit. At the same time, it also boasts a rigid I-beam floor that not only provides stability but also allows you to stand up on the craft for fishing. Thanks to the closed deck, water doesn’t fill up in the craft. Moreover, the grab lines on both ends of the kayak allow you to climb out of the water in case you tip over. Plus, they’re dead helpful in transporting the kayak.
Besides its eye-catching design and vibrant color, the kayak also comes with a repair patch kit, a manual hand pump, and an aluminum oar. It can be inflated and deflated within 10-15 minutes, and packs down to a very small size too, making it extremely portable. Finally, the frontal cargo net is ideal for storage.
- Durable and lightweight.
- Very comfortable.
- Features many fishing and other extras,
- Easy to inflate and deflate.