Inflatable Kayak Activity Ideas

Perhaps You are about to get an inflatable kayak and are thinking, yeah paddling around is nice but what other kayak activities can you do with this thing?

I’m about to show you all the possibilities that are available to you with your new inflatable kayak. Infact Inflatable Kayaks can do many things that hardshell kayaks can do!

Below is a custom curated list of specific inflatable kayaks that are best suited for the activities you desire doing! We also have a list of things that are more outside of the box but definitely worth exploring. 

Want a quick look at some guides? Let’s Get into it!

What Activities Can You Do with an Inflatable Kayak?

Below is a brief explanation per activity to give you a good idea of what you are about to get into!

Recreational Kayaking

This is your starter point if you are new to kayaking but it can be enjoyed by all types of paddlers. Recreational kayaking usually takes place in areas that have calm water. It’s a great family setting where you can enjoy all the peace and serenity that nature brings. 

Recreational kayaking can take place in a variety of different settings such as waterfront cities, lakes, calm ocean bays. The types of kayaks needed for these settings can range a great deal but more preference is put on stability as opposed to speed and tracking in this category.

Photo by Sea Eagle Japan Paddling the 370

Brands like Intex, Sea Eagle and lower end Advanced Elements and Aquaglide models are suitable for this kind of kayaking. 

Kayak Fishing

Inflatable kayaks and sharp hooks? Really?? Well my fishing friend inflatable kayaks have come a long way over the years and so have their materials. In Fact there are inflatable kayaks that are made specifically for fishing

Inflatable kayaks also possess a few advantages over their hardshell cousins. Because inflatable kayaks are made of air bladders they make less noise. Meaning when you place your paddle down the fish won’t be hearing a huge THUNK and swim off in the opposite direction. 

They also have better primary stability on the water making them easier to get seated in for beginners.

Good inflatable kayak models usually have a lot of cockpit room and are made of strong PVC or their bladders are covered with nylon covers. 

Good budget makes of inflatable kayaks include the Coleman Colorado, Intex excursion. For those more serious about their fishing needs there’s the Advanced Elements Straight Edge Angler, Hobie iTrek series, Aquaglide Blackfoot XL as well as the Sea Eagle FastTrack Angler 385FTA

Kayak Camping

This is a little bit of a generalist term but it can be gone about in a few ways. Type I being bringing an inflatable kayak with you for recreational use while you stay at a campsite. This is the more popular option that you see.

Type II, which is for more experienced paddlers, are multi day trips where you are taking your camping gear with you and paddle from one destination to the other. If you go the route of the second I highly advise that you go with an expert first. Do at least a year or two of trips with them before venturing out on your own to do this. 

Many inflatable kayaks can be Type I camping kayaks. For this you can look up recreational and lake kayak models. Type II multi Day trips involve more specialist kayaks that need to be longer and track well to cover a good amount of ground while paddling.

Such examples are the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Expedition and the 380X from Sea Eagle.

White Water Kayaking

white water kayaking

Many inflatable kayaks are durable enough to withstand white water. However you should be trained in this before setting foot in one! This includes doing training to understand the river as well as the conditions that lay ahead for you. 

In this activity maneuverability is the name of the game so getting a kayak that does not track as well will be an advantage in this playing field. Sea Eagle has a few models that can tackle these conditions well such as the 300x, 330 and 370 series have all been tested for up to Class III rapids. The AIRE Tributary and Star Raven are also really good white water makes. 

Lake Kayaking

If you are a beginner this is a great place to start your kayaking journey. Lake kayaking can entail many different types of paddling, from touring, fishing, camping and recreational varieties. A lot of it depends on how big the lake is!

For tackling bigger lakes like Lake Superior or Shuswap lake you definitely want to go on a calm day where the waves are calm and the wind is minimal starting out. Wind tends to bully inflatable kayaks more than hardshell varieties so keep that in mind!

Lake kayaking is too generic to really be able to say which inflatable kayaks are best for them. Stick to great brands like Sea Eagle, Advanced Elements, Aquaglide and you should have a good time!

Kayak Hunting

Inflatable kayaks are nice for this because you can sneak up on your prey with minimal noise. For these kinds of kayaks you want a similar setup to inflatable fishing kayaks. Only with these you may want the nylon covering as the tip of the gun can get a bit hot after multiple shots.

Truthfully hunters usually prefer hunting from hardshell kayaks because they track better but you could use an inflatable to get to and from your destination. 

Brands like Sevylor Colorado and Tahiti are a good choice because it has a nylon covering and has a lot of pockets and areas to place equipment. 

Kayak Touring

Kayak touring involves paddling longer distances at an increased speed as opposed to recreational kayaks. These are where more of the specialty kayaks come in.

While there is a bit of a speed difference between inflatable and hard shell kayaks there definitely are inflatable kayaks that are up to the task. For these kinds of kayaks the price tag goes up and above the $500 price range.

Photo By Advanced Elements Paddling the Expedition Kayak

Touring Kayaks have a narrower bow and stern and are meant to be used to cut through the water. So the more rigid the kayaks profile the better. 

Advanced Elements company philosophy is centered around kayak touring so models such as the Advanced Frame Convertible, Expedition and Air Fuson are up to the task. Others include the Sea Eagle Razorlite,the Aquaglide Deschutes, Navarro and Chelan inflatable kayaks also make ample touring kayak picks. 

Ocean Kayaking

Inflatable kayaks can tackle the ocean but you have to be more mindful of your environment in this body of water. Tides, wind and currents are all at play and you do not want to get stuck in some of these conditions. So my advice is to go out when it’s peak high or low tide

Photo Provided by Aqua Glide Paddling the Blackfoot

I’ve seen plenty of inflatable yakers unable to get back to their car because they do not have the proper watercraft for the job. Kayaks that have a touring profile are usually the best for these types of situations. Typically touring inflatable kayaks make the best ones to use for these conditions. See the above paragraph for good inflatable ocean kayak picks.

Snorkeling/ Scuba Diving

Inflatables are excellent for this type of activity..  IF you have an anchor. If not you might just have to wave bye bye to your kayak. This is because wind, currents and waves can easily push the kayak along at a fairly surprising pace. 

When looking for kayaks to use for snorkeling most inflatable kayaks will do if you are just going a little offshore. If you are going a bit further offshore you have to choose a bit more carefully. Ideally get a kayak that has a high maximum capacity and has a lot of cockpit room. 

Models that come to mind to me are the Advanced Elements Convertible and the Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl

Kayak Surfing

Kayak surfing? The heck is that? Well its exactly as it sounds! Inflatable kayaks are more than capable of surfing! While you definitely won’t be able to maneuver like the guys on the surf boards you can still amply catch some waves! 

Inflatable kayak surfing

You can do this with many models of inflatable kayaks although wider hulls are usually best for this activity.

Kayak Sailing

Yup you can sail with your kayak. Infact you don’t even need a specialized kayak to do it! There are add-ons you can purchase from Amazon that can make your inflatable kayak a makeshift sailboat. Or you can make your own!

Snow Kayaking

Something a Little Bit Different!

Is that even a thing? You bet it is! Most inflatable kayaks will work for this, all you need is a hill. Probably best that you keep the skegs off though 😉 . I can’t say this type of activity is too popular yet but it could catch on! 

So Which Do You Choose?

Now its up to you! Do you take it easy and go on a relaxing paddle with a lake or recreational kayak? Or do you want to kick things up a gear with some surfing and white water kayaking? 

Let me know on Facebook which you choose and why you choose it!