Best Camping Kayaks That Are Inflatable

Published on

Inflatable kayaks may not be the first things you think of when it comes to the best camping kayaks. But they should be!

Let’s start by mentioning the article’s winner for the best camping kayak before we cover the different kayaks.

The Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl is the best camping kayak for people who are looking for an inflatable kayak that they can take anywhere with them, whether they are going on a day trip or on an extended expedition. 

It is a lightweight and compact kayak that can be inflated in less than ten minutes and be stored in a bag for those land treks. This is significantly easier than portaging a large 50-pound canoe over your head!

We’ve broken this article into three main sections for you: 

Best Camping Kayaks that Are Inflatable

If you are in a rush and want to know the best inflatable camping kayaks they are:

  1. Sea Eagle Razorlite 473 rl – (Speed Pick)
  2. Sea Eagle 420x – (Heavy Gear Pick)
  3. AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite AE1009 XE – (Enclosed Multi-Day Pick)
  4. AdvancedFrame Convertible AE1007 – (Cross-Over Pick)
  5. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak – (Budget Pick)

1. Sea Eagle Razorlite 473 rl – (Speed Pick)


  • Length: 15 feet 6 inches
  • Width: 2 feet 6 inches
  • Materials: Full Drop Stitch Technology-1000 Denier Reinforced PVC, Overlap seams
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 750 pounds

Why is it a Good Camping Pick?

The Sea Eagle 473l RazorLite kayak makes the list for its speed and high performance as a tandem inflatable kayak. If you’re looking for something quality that has increased on-water pace this is a great inflatable kayak to look at. 

Sea Eagle has a history of developing high-quality products, and the 473rl is no different. This exceptional inflatable kayak incorporates some of the industry’s most sought-after features as we will explain below. 

However be warned, the 473rl can be a complicated and challenging kayak for beginners at first. If this is your first inflatable kayak purchase you may want to practice using it during day paddles before progressing to camping.

On-Water Performance

The 473rl has a top speed of more than three knots and performance previously unimaginable in even the best blow-up kayaks. The 473rl is also ultra-durable, at only 38 pounds.

Sea Eagle has a unique curved design, making its hull both streamlined and sturdy. You’ll love the way the molded bow slices through waves like a missile.

The hull cutouts create extra lift for excellent handling too! The 473 RL has a narrow and streamlined hull design that is 2 feet and 6 inches wide. Making it the narrowest and most streamlined kayak on the list. 

Kayak Design

When you’re first examining the Sea Eagle 473rl, you’re likely to notice some very thin walls. Most inflatable kayaks feature more robust tube walls, but they opted for a different route in this series. It’s all about maximizing space and packing light.

The kayak comprises 100% drop-stitch construction and occupies a similar role as its Explorer and FastTrack ranges. The material is made of 1100 Decitex Reinforced PVC. This means that you get to go faster and smoother, on top of paddling a great-looking boat.

The chambers are created by sandwiching a couple of fabric layers together and connecting them with tensile threads to stop the walls from over-inflating. When the chambers are at their fullest, they’re physically blocked and unable to expand further. They build up pressure as they try to fill themselves up.


Our Sea Eagle kayaks come with everything you need. Whether it’s a tandem kayak for you and somebody else or your first time paddling, we got you covered! You’ll also have the convenience of our carry bag, which lets you take your new kayak from one point to the next without the added hassle.

The Sea Eagle Razorlite Pro Carbon package is perfect for anyone looking for a lightweight and versatile paddle. Not only do they have the AB50s, which allow you to do powerful strokes with a paddle that is feather light. If you are planning to paddle long distances it may be well worth it to upgrade to this package. 

What Customers Think

A growing body of people is joining in the trend of long-distance sea kayaking. In fact, nearly everyone we hear about who has paddled the 473rl raves about how much they enjoyed it!

More than a few newbie kayakers have expressed concern about the stability of the 473rl their first time out paddling, but they’ve all discovered that it really isn’t a factor once they find their rhythm. In addition, those who’ve had the 473rl for a few months now know it’s a great time on the water.


  • Sleek appearance
  • Excellent handling
  • Fast!
  • Tracks well
  • Comfortable seating
  • Good stability and weight capacity for its class
  • Fast and easy deployment
  • Tandem or solo


  • On the heavy side
  • Turning can be difficult for solo paddlers

2. Sea Eagle 420x (Heavy Gear Pick)


  • Length: 14 feet
  • Width: 3 feet 4 inches
  • Materials: 1000 Denier Reinforced Drop Stitch, Overlapping Seams
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 855 pounds

Why is it a Good Camping Pick?

The 420X console is generous in space and comfortably holds two adults and their gear. Whether you have one seat or two, more can be added if you have a child who gets on board.

Conversely, you can remove a seat and use it as a solo kayak if you want more space for camping gear like tents, sleeping bags, hammocks, and tarps. 

The bungee area is perfect for holding a dry bag. You can store plenty of gear under it, which will come in handy when you need something just out of reach.

The 420 is versatile and can be used for all kinds of adventures. Beginners to experts will have a blast navigating rivers, lakes, and bays in this kayak. 

This model is a perfect example of how the best kayaks can do everything. You can take it out for easy paddling or go on more difficult whitewater rapids. It’s one of the most durable inflatable kayaks out there. 

On-Water Performance

The 420X is one of the bigger inflatable kayaks offered, and as such, it takes more power to propel forward and turn corners than a smaller kayak. Therefore, if you plan to go off on your own, expect a workout, especially during windy conditions.

The two-person paddles are powerful enough to move along nicely. It’s not the fastest in its category, but it glides smoothly and efficiently through a wide range of water conditions.

It’s also slower to paddle solo as a lengthy kayak. This is a natural consequence of the wider less hydrodynamoic length. That being said, the 420x performs as expected for a full-sized kayak.

If you’re headed for whitewater river conditions, it’s a decent kayak but its long length will hamper your maneuverability. If you want maneuverability look at the 300x or 380x

Kayak Design

If you’ve used a competitor’s inflatable kayak, you’ll notice right away just how much stronger and more durable Sea Eagle kayaks are.

Sea Eagle has been in the business for over 50 years and their kayaks are high quality. The 420X model is composed of 1100 Decitex Reinforced PVC. Seams are quadruple overlapped for extra durability to absorb bumps and bruises.

This model is more expensive, but it’s worth it. They offer a lot of stability and deal well with different conditions.

You can also paddle with your furry friend worry-free! Their nails do absolutely nothing to the boat’s materials. 


Buyers have five different packages to choose from. Each has its specialty.

The standard, deluxe and advanced packages include accessories: the deluxe package comes with two paddles that come apart in four pieces and weigh 2.62lbs. All of the other packages come with two paddles that come apart in two parts, weighing 3.1lbs each.

Even though the AB43 paddles weigh a bit more, they are nicer than other paddles. They’re slightly longer, which is excellent for that wider kayak. The AB43 has aluminum shafts and swept-back blades, and feather adjustments too!

Featherweight paddles from the Pro Carbon Package weigh 2.41 lbs and come in two pieces. They’re better for power strokes. They provide a pleasant and lightweight texture that will help keep your endurance as you go for those lengthy paddles.  They have hydrofoil blades that make them very durable. They are all both flat and left/right-sided.

The 420X package comes with two standard seats. They are more comfortable than you might expect coming from an inflatable kayak.

The foot pump with this package works well for the two side chambers. The drop-stitch floor may need a SUP pump or an electric pump

What Customers Think

Customers report a kayak that can fold down to carry on airplanes, pop up for the water, and will easily fit the whole family. It does well in various water settings such as ocean bays, rivers, and lakes.

Additionally, reviews highlight that the best kayak with storage space holds a lot of gear in the front, back, and between seats. Finally, its tough material can stand up to dog nails and slide over flat surfaces.

Some users decided to convert the foot pump into a hand pump to help speed up the inflation time of the kayak. 

The boat’s tall back seat stands out among boats of the same class. The kayak seems to handle flat water satisfactorily.


  • Great stability and durability
  • Excellent portability
  • Fast and easy deployment
  • Top of the line materials
  • Spacious
  • Impressive maneuverability


  • Carrying bag could be better
  • Weight capacity could be better for longer trips

3. AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite AE1009 – XE (Enclosed Multi-Day Pick)


  • Length:  12 feet 7 inches
  • Width: 3 feet 1 inch
  • Materials: Laminate PVC with a polyester core
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 400 pounds

Why is it a Good Camping Pick?

The AdvancedFrame AE1009-XE Kayak is excellent for beginners and more advanced kayakers alike. All sizes and shapes can enjoy it, as it has openings that work for taller and broader people, too. It also handles a diversity of kayak activities without letting anyone down.

The AE1009 can handle any body of water for leisure, fishing, and all other uses. This kayak is fantastic for all sorts of different adventures. It’s also built to handle extreme weather conditions, so you can take it in whatever situations come your way. Some Advanced Elements paddlers have used it on Arctic expeditions. 

On-Water Performance

The Advanced Elements AE1009-XE is a good tracking kayak that won’t stray from your chosen direction. It’s designed to have fixed skegs, a hard edge bow, stern, and drop-stitch flooring for easy turning.

Stability is just one of our favorite features of this kayak. There’s no need to worry about tipping over. As an enclosed kayak it can carry quite a lot of weight in a wide vanity of environments. 

This kayak is fast and efficient. It has a long, slender hull which means it cuts through waves with ease and has fewer drag problems, so you’re on the water more than you would be otherwise.

Kayak Design

The hard edge of the kayak makes it easy to fly through the water. This makes it faster than other kayaks without a hard edge. It also helps with tracking.

The AdvancedFrame AE1009-XE offers ample storage. Velcro holds the primary lid down, but right under that is a roll-top dry bag that will keep your gear safe and dry!

The Glued seams are not as durable or robust as welded seams provided by the Sea Eagle kayaks. The glue often reacts with chemicals or UV exposure degradation. However, the seams do not degrade faster than other kayak parts because they’re linked with the primary material. The main difference is that you won’t need to worry about repairing any leaks, as you will for non-welded seams.


The kayak has a drop-stitch floor, a rudder mount, and high-back lumbar seating as well as space to store your belongings. Best of all, you can customize it to fit your body’s needs! Ride it knowing that you’ll be supported and more comfortable than ever!

You will need to buy a paddle mount and pressure gauge for your kayak. I recommend the Advanced Elements double action hand pump with a pressure gauge.

The Advanced Tral Kayak Rudder Kit AE4005 add-on for the AE1009-XE attaches to an empty slot for a rudder system if you wish to steer your kayak using your feet.

The adjustable footpegs are a great touch. They are adjustable to almost all heights of paddlers to make sure that you have a comfortable seating position secured. 

What Customers Think

Customers absolutely love the AdvancedFrame AE1009-XE kayak. This model is equipped with impressive enclosed kayak features that set it apart from other competitors like Aqua Glide and Sea Eagle. 

The seat is durable and comfy, with features like the drop-stitch floor and lumbar support that make sitting long hours so much easier to manage. In my experience, I see these kayaks often sell out quickly so make sure you secure one before going on that maiden camping adventure. 


  • Feature rich deck options
  • Excellent construction
  • Great add-on accessory options
  • Good maneuverability and tracking


  • Slower than other options
  • Seating could be more comfortable

4. AdvancedFrame Convertible AE1007 (Cross-Over Pick)


  • Length:  13 feet
  • Width: 2 feet 8 inches
  • Materials: Drop Stitch with High-density Drop Stitch Core
  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 450 pounds

Why is it a Good Camping Pick?

You’ll forget you’re paddling an inflatable kayak when you get this convertible.

Not only is this kayak fitted with two seats, but it can be used as a tandem or solo vessel. The use of the vessel can be altered by removing one seat and repositioning yourself. Elevated decking options are available for purchase on this kayak.

The AdvancedFrame kayak offers nice glide once you get paddling in either tandem or a solo formation. It cruises more quickly over flat, calm water when paddled as a tandem. In addition, this model comes standard with different deck configurations.

Not many inflatable kayaks on the market offer tandem decking, but it is a nice feature. The added weight makes it an excellent purchase, as does the increased protection from harsh weather conditions.

On-Water Performance

If you have paddled before, you’ll notice that the Convertible is lower in the water and easy to maneuver.

It provides for a more traditional kayak feel, which for some, is essential. This can be good if you have never used an inflatable before and are not a big fan of being higher up in the water. Many people like the partially submerged feel as they feel they are more in control of the kayak. 

It has a very pointed bow and stern with a skeg which drastically changes the tracking of the kayak. If you want even more on-water performance you can opt for a backbone or drop-stitch floor that will improve the kayak’s on-water performance even more. 

While it’s not sea kayak fast, it is able to keep up to recreational hard shells, especially if you opt for the AdvancedFrame Elite package that has a drop-stitch floor that comes with it. 

Kayak Design

Our 1000 denier PVC tarpaulin is among the toughest on the market. The heavy-duty 30-gauge PVC main chamber is coated with high-density polyurethane, making it rugged and reliable. Featuring a high-quality polyester inner cover, this kayak can withstand the harshest of elements while providing unparalleled comfort with its included foam seats.

The back of the seat is at or slightly above your waist, which is far higher than I would like. I also found that it becomes uncomfortable over time.

Normally, kayaks for long trips and severe paddling offer a little more support. For short trips or recreational paddling, they’ll already do the trick.


Where this vessel lost some of its points was the fact that there were little in the way of accessories that are included with it. Many of the performance-enhancing accessories are separate. It comes with a

  • Carrying Duffel Bag
  • 2 Folding Seats
  • Repair Kit
  • Owner’s Manual

With the pump being sold separately. 🙁 

The bag is made of nylon and has durable handles that make it perfect for carrying the kayak. Although some have said it’s a bit awkward to carry because it’s not a backpack. 

In my opinion this is where inflatable kayaks should really look to SUP’s for inspiration. 

What Customers Think

Convertible kayaks are not the lightest inflatable kayaks in the market and can weigh up to 56 pounds.

If you want to take the Convertible out on your own, make sure you have a cart with wheels to get it down to the water. Two people will be no problem since it’s not heavy for them. But that weight can be troublesome for a single individual.

Advanced Elements has developed different materials or parts that make their kayaks lighter for years. The extra weight is worth it if you are looking for an enclosed model kayak. It’s a big kayak that comes with plenty of deck space.

An added benefit to the extra weight is the fact that the kayak is less suscetibal to being bullied by the wind.


  • Can be used for solo or tandem kayaking
  • Added aluminum rib support
  • Multi-layered materials for increased durability
  • Appropriate for rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Skeg can be detached


  • Paddles could be smoother
  • Heavy to carry

5. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak (Budget Pick)

intex excurison 2 people fishing


  • Length:  15 feet
  • Width: 2 feet 8 inches
  • Materials: Drop Stitch with High-density Drop Stitch Core
  • Weight: 52 pounds
  • Maximum Capacity: 550 pounds

Why is it a Good Camping Pick?

The Intex Excursion Pro is a solid budget kayak that can also be a great fishing boat. The boat has a very high level of comfort, maneuverability, and stability for its budget range.

It’s definition of a camping kayak is different than the above. I would use these kayaks more as a camping companion rather then a kayak where I would go on multi-day trips on. 

On-Water Performance

Now let’s talk about how maneuverable the boat is! The two skegs indeed make a difference, especially in shallow water. The smaller one functions in shallow waters while the other, longer skeg should be used when paddling in deeper areas of the water to get more tracking. 

We also found that the paddles were made of aluminum, which is not as durable as the rest of the kayak. If you want to paddle greater distances with this kayak its recommended you get a decent kayak paddle. 

Kayak Design

The kayak is not as durable as the above 4 kayaks mentioned. This is because of its budget range. Taking care of this boat will extend its lifespan. You should avoid unnecessary, rough use to prevent wear and tear on the kayak.

Kayaks are built for stability, but even then, a small weight change can make the boat tip over. The Excursion Pro avoids being unstable at 400lbs of load, making it sturdy enough for two people, a dog or some gear.


While its included accessories are not in the same league as the above you do get a good amount for what you pay for!

The kayak comes with standard accessories like the pump, pressure gauge, and two foldable paddles packed in their small bag. Overall, the accessories were added with saving space in mind.

All these accessories allow you to get to the water and test her out without having to make extra stops. All you need of course is a life vest. 

What Customers Think

The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is a new model from the manufacturer, so it has changed quite a bit from the previous models. But its differences are not only in design but also in functionality.

It’s distinguished for being super simple to put together. You’ll have it inflated and out on the water in seconds. The high-pressure valves allow for quick and easy inflation that won’t take long at all. Each section will be filled with air within seconds.

Additionally, the pressure gauge will notify you when it arrives at the desired amount.


  • Added holders for fishing poles
  • Improved tracking due to skeg options
  • Well-packaged with all essential tools and accessories


  • Slower than other options

What to Look for in an Inflatable Camping Kayak

Inflatable kayaks are ideal for those who want to go kayaking but don’t have the space or money to buy a hard-shell kayak. Additionally, they’re great for those who want to take their kayak with them on trips and vacations.

Many different inflatable kayaks are available on the market, so it can be challenging to know which one is best for you. Here are a few considerations when looking for an inflatable kayak:

  • Durability: How durable is the material? Is it puncture-resistant?
  • Weight: How heavy is the inflatable kayak?
  • Size: How big is the inflatable kayak?
  • Comfort: How does it feel to sit and paddle in for hours or days at a time?

You Get What You pay for

Inflatable kayaks are an excellent option for those who want the best kayak for camping. They are lightweight, convenient to transport and store, and inflated in just a few minutes.

There are many qualities of inflatable kayaks on the market, with many not being suitable for kayak camping. For example, these may include lower weight capacity or adequate storage space. Inflatable kayaks like Intex K2 Explorer or Challenger make decent camping companions, but not expedition camping vessels

Inflatable kayaks are not always suitable for multi-day kayak camping. They are made of vinyl and are in the 200 dollars and under range.

Where Are You Paddling

Welcome to the adventurous world of kayaking! When you head out, it’s good to know what conditions are like beforehand. We’ve covered nearby lakes and rivers as well as sea-faring kayaking spots. 

In any case having some knowledge about the water ways you will be tackling is crucial. Take a few kayak camping classes first to make sure you are fully prepared for your expedition. 

Gear Storage

Gear is a vital part of any kayaking excursion. You need to make sure that you have the right stuff. Here a little snippet from this more detailed guide

  • Dry Bags:It will keep your clothes and other items dry in case of a leak or if you capsize. 
  • PFD: These save lives, use it!
  • Food: Pack accordingly
  • Bow Line: for tying your kayak off
  • Tent: You need to sleep somewhere right?
  • Sleeping Bag: preferably a 3 season one. 
  • A portable stove: is also necessary to cook food and boil water while on land.
  • water purifier: will ensure that you are drinking safe water throughout your adventure, and 
  • comfortable clothes: are necessary to keep you warm and dry.

High Weight Capacity

The maximum load of a kayak is determined by the weight of the kayak, your paddles, and any gear you may have in your possession when the vessel is full. This does not include any additional items that are not attached to or inside of the kayak itself.

On-Water Performance

The environment largely determines the performance of a kayak. For example, if you take your whitewater kayak to flat water, its lack of tracking will cause a less challenging and more frustrating experience.

When purchasing a good kayak for camping, you’ll want to consider how you will use it to make the best choice. A touring or tandem kayak would be suited for calm water, while a sea kayak would work best in areas with more waves.

Comfortable Seating

Kayak camping trips often last a few days, so it’s crucial to find a kayak that is comfortable for you and suited for extended sessions of paddling.

The most important thing is to find a kayak that suits your body size and shape, as some kayaks for camping may be too short or too long for your body type. Once you have found the right length, it’s best to find a kayak that has three different sitting positions.

If you’re heavier than most people, it would be wise to look for a kayak with adjustable seats and footplates. This will significantly increase the kayak’s stability and reduce any friction when paddling down the body of water


Below are common FAQ’s that we get asked by inflatable kayak owners.

How Do You Pack an Inflatable Kayak for Camping?

Watch this great how-to video to learn about the best packing and space management practices for the best camping kayak. It also has a good checklist for when you’re setting up camp!

How Do You Prepare for an Overnight Kayak Trip?

First, you’ll need the right equipment. Bring your tent, sleeping bag, and a stove. You should also carry a water filter and some food.

Make sure you have the right clothes for camping. Choose comfortable clothes that are easy to move in and protect you from the sun and insects.

A dry bag is a waterproof bag. Use it to store clothes and other items. It’s usually made of a durable material like nylon or polyester.

A kayak repair kit is a must-have for every kayaker. It is not just about maintaining your kayak but also your safety. A kayak repair kit can be used to fix a cracked hole from an unexpected rock or any other damage that might occur.

The outdoor water filter is a device that removes contaminants from water. It’s used outdoors, where there are no other sources of clean drinking water.

It can be used to remove chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and parasites from the contaminated source. It’s small and lightweight, so it can be taken on long hikes or camping trips without adding too much weight to your pack.

One downside is that cooking food can be tricky while camping. A two-burner stove is perfect for camping because it can be sturdy and compact. It also cooks food quickly without taking up too much space in your car or campsite.

What Can I Do To Get the Most Out of Kayaking?

Kayaking means exploring the world and enjoying nature. But before you go kayaking, there are some things that you need to take care of.

First, you need to know the route you are going to take. You should also know the weight capacity of your kayak so that you don’t overload it with too much weight. Additionally, be sure you have enough food and water for your trip.

Dry bags keep your belongings dry and safe from the elements. Be sure to keep your deck clean by keeping the water out of the boat.

How Dangerous is Kayaking?

is kayaking dangerous?

When you think of how dangerous kayaking can be, it’s no surprise that precautions are necessary. Hypothermia, dehydration, and weirs pose considerable risks to your health and safety.

So is kayaking dangerous?, yes, kayaking is dangerous. But, you can take precautions and prepare by going through safety processes. Every adventure is both dangerous and fun, so is river kayaking. If you plan to go kayaking, don’t forget to have done all the necessary research beforehand!

So What’s the Best Inflatable Camping Kayak?

The best camping kayak is the Sea Eagle Razorlite 473rl. While it’s not perfect for beginners, no other kayak offers the performance, speed, and comprehensive features and accessories that this one does.

However, there are a few other exciting options that we’ve covered. Here’s your best camping kayak recap:

  • Greater stability means sacrificing speed
  • Quality of materials means durability and performance
  • Weight capacity includes you, your company, and all of your gear
  • Planning your camping trip means establishing the type of body of water and how long you’ll be there.
  • Kayaking can be dangerous, but that’s what makes it an adventure! Get prepared, and have fun

Got any inflatable kayaks that you like to use for camping? Tell us on our Facebook page!

Photo of author
Hey, there! My name is Derek and I have been around kayaks and canoes all my life. The last 5 years I recently turned my attention to inflatable kayaks and my world has been a lot more portable since! When I'm not kayaking I like to watch motorsports, play hockey and work on this site!