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The Best Inflatable Kayaks Under $500 Of 2024 Helpful Guide

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Updated May 20th, 2024

best inflatable kayaks under $500

Kayaks have always been a great way to get away and explore new lakes and waterways. Inflatable kayaks are a great way to get on the water without the hassle of storing a large kayak. A good inflatable kayak doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

The 10 best inflatable kayaks under $500

  1. BEST OVERALL: NIXY Tahoe
  2. TOP PICK: Bluefin Scout
  3. BEST VALUE: Sea Eagle 330 Pro
  4. iRocker Inflatable Kayak
  5. Sea Eagle 370 Pro
  6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
  7. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
  8. Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak
  9. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
  10. Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

1 – NIXY Tahoe Inflatable Kayak

☆ Best Overall
NIXY Tahoe product image

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 39″
  • Weight – 33 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 people (400 lbs)
  • Hull construction – PVC with drop stitch floor

What we liked:

  • Comfortable seats with inflatable seat bottoms
  • Many accessory mounts and D-Rings for customizing
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Rigid drop stitch floor construction
  • Heavy duty feel
  • Includes 2 carbon shaft paddles
  • Triple action hand pump included
  • Uses standard H3 valves similar to inflatable SUPs
  • Velcro floor rails and many D-Rings give you lots of options for seat positions
  • Adjustable position footrests

What we didn’t like:

  • Everything doesn’t fit in the carry bag
  • Holes aren’t cleanly cut in the paddle shafts leaving some carbon splinters

Summary

The NIXY Tahoe Inflatable Kayak is the latest product from one of our favorite brands NIXY. NIXY is run by a couple of water sports enthusiasts. They design paddleboards and kayaks to be what they would want to use themselves to get maximum enjoyment from their time on the water. The Tahoe is priced a bit over $500 but it’s absolutely worth the stretch.

The Tahoe kayak has a drop stitch floor for extra stiffness. The 2 seats have more padding than what typically comes with any cheap kayak. They include a kayak version of their excellent G4 carbon fiber paddle.

The Tahoe has excellent tracking on the water and easily holds 2 adults. They threw in enough accessory mounts so you can use the Tahoe for any kind of adventure.

Review

See our review of the NIXY Tahoe inflatable kayak to learn more.

NIXY Tahoe tandem kayak

2 – Bluefin Scout

☆ Top Pick
Bluefin Scout product image

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 11″ x 35″
  • Weight – 25.3 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 1 person (330 lbs)
  • Hull construction – PVC

What we liked:

  • The seat has good back support and a comfortable inflatable bottom
  • The overall package is lightweight and easy to carry
  • The kayak is easy to turn and maneuver even for beginner paddlers

What we didn’t like:

  • The paddle uses SUP blades instead of kayak blades
  • It doesn’t feel as stiff as an inflatable kayak with drop stitch floor

Summary

The Bluefin Scout is a 1 person kayak from popular stand up paddleboard brand Bluefin. It is a 10’11” 1 person kayak with PVC construction. It comes complete with a seat, and aluminum paddle.

The Scout seat is much taller and more supportive than what the typical inflatable kayak comes with. It has an inflatable button for more cushion and support. It’s much more comfortable to sit on than most other inflatable kayak package seats.

The kayak comes with a padded bag and hand pump. The bag easily fits everything. It doesn’t have wheels. It does fit everything inside without a struggle.

The Scout is fun and easy to paddle. It is long enough to have decent glide and tracking. It’s short enough to still be easy to maneuver and turn. It has a removable fin that you can leave off for paddling in shallower or rocky waters.

The one downside to the Scout is the paddle blades. The paddle feels sturdy, which is good. The paddle uses SUP blades instead of kayak blades, which is bad. Given the price point, it should have had actual kayak shaped blades.

There is also a longer 2 person version of this kayak available called the Bluefin Ranger.

Review

See our review of the Bluefin Scout to learn more.


3 – Sea Eagle 330 Pro

☆ Best Value
Sea Eagle 330 Pro product image

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ 2″ x 2′ 10″
  • Weight – 26 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 people (500 lbs)
  • Hull construction – 33 mil PolyKrylar (K80 PVC)

Summary

The SeaEagle 330 SE is an excellent value inflatable tandem kayak to get out on the water and to explore up to class 3 white water rapids. It is a very stable design and made of rugged enough material to withstand light bumps into rocks and other obstacles. It is smaller and lighter than the Sea Eagle 370 and easier to paddle solo while still being able to work as a tandem. It is constructed of 33mil PVC. The hull is made up of 3 air chambers. A left, right side and floor. It claims to be tough enough to handle dog claws. It comes as a complete package with 2 seats, paddles and pump.

What we liked:

  • Rugged PVC construction
  • Flatwater up to Class III whitewater usage
  • 500 lb capacity

What we didn’t like:

  • Cramped for 2 large adults
  • No foot rests

4 – iRocker Inflatable Kayak

iRocker inflatable kayak product image

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 37″
  • Weight – 32 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 person (441 lbs)
  • Hull construction – PVC with drop-stitch floor

What we liked:

  • Drop stitch floor for a more rigid feeling kayak
  • Very stable kayak that is almost hard to tip
  • Has plenty of fishing rod and action mounts to accessorizing
  • 2nd seat and paddle are available to convert it into a tandem

What we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t come with a pump
  • Paddle uses SUP shape blades instead of kayak shaped blades

Summary

The iRocker Inflatable Kayak is a new drop-stitch floor kayak from iRocker. iRocker is one of the most if not the most popular inflatable stand up paddleboard brand in the US. They took their experience making great peforming SUP boards and came out with an inflatable kayak. The kayak uses PVC construction with a drop-stitch floor. This makes the kayak very stiff and rigid compared to a kayak with a normal floor. This means faster speed and more stability on the water.

The kayak comes with 1 carbon shaft paddle and 1 inflatable seat. The seat has an inflatable back and cushion. You can tune the stiffness by adding more or less air. It is a much more comfortable seat than the standard inflatable kayak comes with. The paddle has a carbon shaft with nylon reinforced blades. One downside to the paddle is that they use SUP shaped blades instead of kayak shaped blades. The included bag has backpack straps and wheels making it easy to carry around.

On the water the iRocker kayak feels stiff and fast. It doesn’t feel like a squishy soft kayak like so many inflatables due. It is easy to turn. It doesn’t track as well as a rigid kayak which was one thing that surprised us. The removable fin helps but only works so well. The kayak is very stable and suitable for beginner or experienced kayakers.


5 – Sea Eagle 370 Pro

Sea Eagle 370 Pro product image

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 2′ 10″
  • Weight – 32 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 people (650 lbs)
  • Hull construction – 38 mil PolyKrylar (K80 PVC)

Summary

The SeaEagle 370 Pro is an excellent kayak to get out on the water and to explore up to class 3 white water rapids. It is a very stable design and made of rugged enough material to withstand bumping into rocks and other obstacles. This inflatable kayak is constructed of 38mil PVC. The hull is made up of 3 air chambers with removable spray skirts and 2 seats. It has a self bailing valve to get the water out. The Sea Eagle 370 Pro has plenty of room for 2 adult paddlers. It is very stable feeling and has a tendency to flex over and around waves rather than cutting through them.

What we liked:

  • 650 lb capacity
  • Flatwater up to Class III whitewater usage
  • Rugged 38 mil PVC construction

What we didn’t like:

  • Inflatable seats need more back support
  • Takes a long time to inflate and setup

6 – Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame product image

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 5″ x 2′ 8″
  • Weight – 36 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 1 person (300 lbs)
  • Hull construction – PVC Tarpaulin laminate material 

Summary

kayak designed for better on water performance than traditional inflatable kayaks. This kayak has aluminum inserts in the bow and stern to give it better shape and tracking. This is a kayak for someone who wants the performance of a rigid with the portability of an inflatable. The hull features a 3 layer vinyl polyester PVC laminate for toughness and durability. The floor is an inflatable I-Beam. There are 2 optional floors available to add more stiffness if that is desired. This kayak tracks well. Its performance on flat water is very similar to a rigid kayak even without the optional floors.

What we liked:

  • Excellent flat water speed and tracking
  • Versatility with optional floors
  • Rigid bow and stern sections for better performance
  • Made by an American company with local American customer support

What we didn’t like:

  • Could use more leg room for taller paddlers
  • Need to use the optional backbone for paddlers over 225 lbs
  • Does not include paddles or a pump

7 – Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

Intex Excursion Pro product image

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 7″ x 3′ 1″
  • Weight – 39 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 people (400 lbs)
  • Hull construction – 3 ply PVC laminate

Summary

The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is a great option for those wanting to get out do kayak fishing. It offers many fishing friendly options such as rod holders, gear tie-downs, and a bracket for mounting things such as a GPS. The laminate PVC hull makes it puncture resistant. It has removable footrests which is a feature not found on many inflatable kayaks. There was plenty of space for 2 adults in this kayak. This kayak is very stable feeling and tends to float over and flex across waves. It is a very stable platform from fishing from. It feels more stable then many rigid kayaks people have tried fishing from.

What we liked:

  • Mounting bracket for fishing accessories and 2 rod holders
  • 2 included skegs. 1 for deep and 1 for shallow water
  • Adjustable foot rests

What we didn’t like:

  • Included paddles are short
  • Long term durability

8 – Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak

Sevylor QuickPak K1 product image

Specifications

  • Size – 8′ 7″ x 3′ 0″
  • Weight – 19 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 1 person (400 lbs)
  • Hull construction – 21-gauge PVC

Summary

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak is an innovative inflatable one person kayak that includes a backpack that also functions as the carrying bag. The whole package including kayak, pump, paddle are all designed to fit into the carrying backpack to make this kayak really easy to carry around. At 19 lbs it is very light and portable. The kayak paddles okay. Tracking is not great since skegs are small and the kayak is not that stiff. The kayak claims a 400 lb weight limit. If you are on the heavier end of the weight scale the kayak will flex and bend quite a bit lifting the bow and stern out of the water making the tracking worse.

What we liked:

  • Carrying backpack that doubles as the kayak seat
  • Complete package including kayak, seat, paddle and pump
  • Molded foam seat that is part of the carrying back
  • Compact lightweight design

What we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t track as well as other kayaks
  • Paddle could be more rigid

9 – Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 product image

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 3″ x 3′ 10″
  • Weight – 35 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 people (400 lbs)
  • Hull construction – Heavy Duty Vinyl

Summary

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak represents a really good value for an inflatable tandem kayak. It is one of the most popular and low cost kayaks on Amazon. It has a 3 chambered vinyl hull with inflatable seats. It is really good for paddling around in sheltered waters like small lakes, bays and streams. It is a great low cost way to get out on the water. The Intex Explorer K2 has enough room for 2 adults. It has a weight limit of 400 lbs but many users say it works well for them even though they exceed that weight by quite a bit. The kayak feels stable and has a tendency to flex and float over waves.

What we liked:

  • Low cost
  • Stable on the water
  • Heavy Duty Vinyl construction
  • Self bailing design

What we didn’t like:

  • Only good for sheltered water like small lakes and bays
  • Intex customer service is not great if you have issues

10 – Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

Intex Challenger product image

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ 6″ x 2′ 6″
  • Weight – 33 lbs
  • Max Capacity – 2 people (400 lbs)
  • Hull construction – Heavy Duty Vinyl

Summary

The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is a great value for getting out on the water and having fun for a low cost. The Challenger has an innovative 2 chamber hull design of vinyl construction. Thanks to it’s skeg and adequate length it has good paddling and gliding ability. The hull is a 2 chambered design made of heavy duty vinyl. It has one large hull side chamber and a separate floor chamber. The Intex K2 can be a bit cramped for a larger adult paddler which goes along with it’s 400 lb weight limit. Once on the water it paddles and glides very well thanks to its length and skeg.

What we liked:

  • Very Low cost, High value
  • Stable easy to paddle design with decent glide
  • Single Chamber Hull with Inflatable I-Beam floor

What we didn’t like:

  • Good for calm flat water only
  • Durability of vinyl material

Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.

ryan@lowbudgetadventurer.com

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