Best Inflatable Kayak For Whitewater In 2020

If you are thinking about hitting whitewater with a kayak, inflatable kayaks are the best option. They can safely do all the daring tricks and twists that you want. However, before going on your adventures, you need to know about the best inflatable kayak for whitewater. Thus, we are here to ensure that you don’t waste your money on a horrible kayak.

Whitewater rafting is a very entertaining but a risky thing to do. So, you will need a kayak that ensures a safe experience. Hence, we are here to review the ten best inflatable kayaks that are just right for whitewater.

Before you start your shopping spree, let’s give you some information to help you with your buying process.

Inflatable kayaks are best for whitewater rafting because:

  • Inflatable kayaks are best because of their portability. You take it to the rafting spot in your car.
  • Manufacturers usually make inflatable kayaks with highly durable and top quality PVC. So, they provide abrasion resistance quality.
  • Inflatable kayaks are effortless to inflate and deflate. The process does not take more than ten minutes.
  • It does not take much space to store an inflatable kayak after deflating it. It’s suitable for any small home. 
  • Inflatable kayaks are steady and easy to maneuver around the rocks and obstacles. It ensures safe rafting.
  • Because of the air chambers, inflatable kayaks are more floatable than hard-shell kayaks.

Alternatively, hard-shell kayaks are very hard to move around. It can be problematic to take it to the water if you don’t live near the rafting spot. Additionally, it is pricey to repair a damaged hard-shell kayak. By contrast, inflatable kayaks do not get damaged easily, and they are more affordable than hard-shell kayaks.

Considering all the factors, it is obvious that inflatable kayaks are the best choice for whitewater. 

Our Top Picks

Driftsun Rover

Budget Friendly
  • Inflates in only 9 minutes
  • Highly durable
  • Heavy-duty floor, multiple air chambers

Solstice Flare

Our Best Pick
  • Light-weight and rigid construction
  • Compact, easy to transport and store
  • Adjustable foot positioning

Advanced Elements Sports

All-rounder
  • Light-weight and easy to transport
  • Supportive and comfortable seat
  • Spacious Cockpit

Undoubtedly, Driftsun Rover 220 inflatable whitewater kayak is one of the most popular and best-rated products in the market. It’s particularly made for whitewater rafting. Thus, it can handle any rocks and obstacles that you may face in the water. 

Though it’s made of high-quality reinforced PVC, it’s very light-weight. So, you can easily carry it around in a shoulder bag or in your car. Moreover, the heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin bottom can repel punctures and other damages.

This specially designed whitewater kayak has two comfortable adjustable seats and footrests. Additionally, it comes with a camera mount in the front, so that you can record your daring adventures. 

The Driftsun Rover 220 inflatable whitewater kayak has a rigid high-pressure drop stitch floor, ample rocker profile, and removable flat-water tracking fin. These features turn it into an incredibly stable kayak. Consequently, it can give you a safe and smooth journey, even in class III and IV whitewater rapids.

Despite being light-weight, this inflatable kayak is 12 feet long and has 600 pounds weight capacity. It inflates in less than 9 minutes, and when you are done with the kayak, you can pack it in a bag that comes with it. 

It is an adaptable inflatable whitewater kayak that can smoothly perform in both flat and rough water. 

Pros

  • Inflates in only 9 minutes
  • Light-weight and an excellent loading capacity
  • Highly durable
  • Heavy-duty floor, multiple air chambers

Cons

  • The quality of the footrest isn’t good enough

Sea Eagle 330 is an ideal choice if you want to take a friend with you on your whitewater exploration. Though it is exceptionally light-weight, it is a heavy-duty kayak that can carry up to 600 pounds.

The three-layered robust construction of this kayak makes it puncture resistant. Additionally, it features high-frequency welded seams and 10-years UV resistant coating for extra durability. The I-beam construction floor ensures a steady and safe maneuver.

Sea Eagle 330 has three air chambers that increase the buoyancy of this kayak. Because of the deluxe one-way valves, the inflation and deflation process is now easier than ever. You can inflate this just in 6 minutes! 

The length of Sea Eagle 330 is mostly famous for its excellent portability and quick inflation process. Moreover, the steady and simple to maneuver quality of this kayak make sure that anyone can paddle this. It is a beginner-friendly kayak that can run both in flat and whitewater. 

This kayak has earned the certification to explore the class III whitewater rapids. Additionally, you can get this kayak with ready-to-use configuration. It comes with its travel bag that you can use to store in your house without wasting much space. 

The Sea Eagle 330 is a versatile kayak, which is perfectly suitable for beginner and skilled kayakers.

Pros

  • Made of heavy-duty hull materiel
  • Outstanding portability
  • It is compact, light-weight yet heave-duty
  • Quick inflation and deflation process

Cons

  • Not quite ideal for paddling in adverse weather

If you are seeking a low-budget inflatable kayak but don’t want to compromise with the quality, you can choose Tributary Tomcat Solo. It is well-built, easy to lift, and hard-wearing. This kayak is suitable for both flat and whitewater exploration and provides a comfortable kayaking experience.

Tributary Tomcat Solo has a rugged 1000 denier PVC outer shell that makes it abrasion and puncture-resistant. Additionally, it contains three air chambers that ensure top-class safety. It has Summit II valves that make the inflation and deflation process quick and simple.

This inflatable kayak is incredibly steady and safe to use. While kayaking in whitewater, if you flip somehow, you can flip back with the help of the underside handles.

The self-bailing floor with mesh holes drains excess water quickly to avoid any troubles. In addition to that, the welded seams of this raft enfold the high-quality inner vinyl bladders. 

Tributary Tomcat Solo is well-known for its excellent loading ability. Despite being light-weight, it can carry up to 320 pounds. There are plenty of tie-down loops and has huge space for carryings as many gears and cargos as you want.

If you are an occasional kayaker, this raft is an excellent option for you. Moreover, it gives a wonderful service for its price.

Pros

  • Abrasion and puncture-resistant
  • Comfortable seats and has the tandem option
  • Easy to lift and great travel-friendly

Cons

  • Stitches may come loose after a heavy performance on rough whitewater rapids

Solstice Rogue is a convertible, heavy-duty, inflatable kayak made with 26G K80 material and radio frequency welded seams. The narrow design and shorter length allow you to run your kayak through the water smoothly.

This raft has two adjustable seats with rear spray and very comfortable for one or two kayakers. It features three inflatable chambers and an I-beam floor that ensures stability and an easy controlling system.

You can inflate in deflate Solstice Rogue because of the convenient Boston compression valves in it. The loading ability of the kayak is 360 pounds, and it weighs 26 pounds. Despite being light-weight, it is suitable for extremely bad weather.

Solstice Rogue is ideal for rough whitewater adventures. It is specially made for performing in untamed rivers and awry weathers. Additionally, it is very easy to lift and carry and does not take much space to store.

If you are an angler and want to go fishing with friends, this is the right kayak for you. It is one of the best whitewater rafts, which is also suitable for fishing trips. The lure has two flush-mounted rod holders, rear and front uni-track rail with tie-down system, stand-up leash, and non-slip standing pad. In addition to that, the lures come with a removable sonar and electronic pod. 

As this kayak is targeted for rough whitewater paddling, it is heavier and longer than other fishing rafts. In this kayak, the angler can enjoy 360 degrees coverage around it.

Pros

  • Hard-wearing, suitable for extreme condition
  • Unique fishing features
  • Comfortable and adjustable seats with spray covers

Cons

  • Does not have self-draining valves

The advanced element kayak is a heavy-duty kayak that comes with some outstanding additional features. It has the outer shell of rugged PVC Tarpaulin, but the inner bladders are made of lighter materials for double layer thickness. 

This kayak has a sleek and narrow design. Moreover, it is shorter in length. So, it can cut through the whitewater rapids quickly and effectively. It contains three inflatable chambers that give it first-rate stability and provides buoyancy to the raft. Additionally, it comes with a 12-inch rocker that makes it easy to maneuver.  

The advanced element kayak has self-draining valves that drain out the excess water automatically. Moreover, this kayak has got some brilliant additional features like hull abrasion rails, adjustable thigh straps, molded-grab handles, and adjustable footpegs. As this is a one-person kayak, it has only one adjustable seat. 

This kayak has a stern deck covering cargo where you can keep your gears and other stuff. As weighs 35lbs, it is not easy to transport and lift this raft. 

To conclude, the advanced element kayak is a rugged raft that swiftly cuts through class III whitewater rapids. 

Pros

  • Fast and easy to control
  • Stable and rugged
  • Comes with a bunch of extra features

Cons

  • Heavier than usual inflatable kayaks

Solstice flare is compact, light-weight, and easy to transport. The outer shell is made with 1000 Denier light-weight nylon and has a drop-stitched floor that ensures the rigidity of this kayak.

This kayak has a wider beam that gives it excellent stability, and the high rocker makes it easy to control. Additionally, it comes with a detachable skeg that makes sure that you can maneuver this raft without any trouble. 

Solstice Flare is a whitewater ready kayak that can handle the rough water with efficiency. Instead of self-draining valves, it has screw-type valves. The adjustable foot positioning makes your paddling more comfortable.

Though it is a one-person kayak, it comes with a longer waterline length. It is intended to be greatly resilient and effective against whitewater. The high-quality rockers ensure that you can go around the curves successfully without hitting any obstacles.

This kayak is a versatile one because you can use this both on flat and whitewater. If you are an angler, you can also use this for your fishing trips. Moreover, the longer waterline of this kayak allows you to paddle faster than usual. This raft is made with 3-ply PVC, which is light-weight yet maintains the rigidity of the kayak. The buoyancy of this kayak is outstanding, and you can paddle this kayak easily than any other raft.

According to some kayakers, Solstice flare is the best inflatable kayak for whitewater.

Pros

  • Light-weight and rigid construction
  • Compact, easy to transport and store
  • Adjustable foot positioning
  • Longer waterline for comfortable paddling

Cons

  • Does not have any self-draining valves

Advanced Elements Sports is another inflatable kayak from the Advanced Elements range. The hull material of this sporty inflatable kayak is polyurethane, and it weighs 26 pounds. Additionally, it has aluminum rib-frame technology that defines the bow and stern and makes your paddling faster.

Advanced Elements Sports kayak’s cockpit has got more than enough space for a solo kayaker. Moreover, it has a large opening for easy entry and exit processes. The built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern provide an increased paddling. Thus, giving it a sportier vibe and make your kayaking fun.

The construction of this recreational kayak is similar to hard shell kayaks. It is sturdy and heavy-duty yet very compact and easy to carry. The folding seat is very comfortable, so you can enjoy your kayaking as long as you want. And also, the seat is in a higher position than any other kayak seats. Thus, now you can put more power in your stroke to have a sporty experience.

If you are thriving for whitewater adventures, this is the best inflatable kayak for you. It is made to handle the rough rapids of whitewater, and it can handle any obstacles you may face the water. Additionally, it is rigid enough to give a top-class performance in any weather.

This sporty kayak gives a more rigid performance than any other inflatable kayaks. Though it is best for whitewater rafting, it can run into any water without giving any troubles. 

Pros

  • Heavy-duty and outstanding rigidity
  • Light-weight and easy to transport
  • Supportive and comfortable seat
  • Spacious Cockpit

Cons

  • No self Draining valves

Driftsun voyager is a whitewater ready kayak, and it is made out of heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin. Its light-weight design all ows you to lift and carry it single-handedly. While the rigid Tarpaulin PVC layer protects the bottom form puncture and damages, the 840D coated nylon oxford fabric cover on the top is rip and tear-resistant. 

It comes with pointed nose bow entry and rocker profile. These features allow it to perform wonderfully in both flat and rough whitewater. 

This kayak has a very simple and sleek, light-weight design. It weighs around 27 pounds, and the loading aptitude of this kayak is 450 pounds. Additionally, it comes with accessories like EVA padded seats with back support, a removable tracking skeg carry bag, a repair kit, and a deluxe double-action hand pump.

The Driftsun voyager is designed in a way that it can handle extremely bad weather and rough whitewater rapids. It has a rear plug that allows you to drain excess water from the kayak easily. 

The inflation and deflation process of this kayak is incredibly fast. With the help of the double-action deluxe hand pump, you can inflate it just in 5 minutes! Moreover, it is very compact and easy to fold kayak. 

If you are looking for the best inflatable kayak for whitewater, you can choose Driftsun Voyager.

Pros

  • Responsive Tracking features
  • Super-quick inflation and deflation system
  • It can handle class IV rapids

Cons

  • There isn’t much storage space

Technically, Sea Eagle SE370 is a bigger version of Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak. This kayak is big enough to carry three people. Thus, it is a perfect raft for a group outing and exploring the whitewater.

It weighs 32 pounds and an excellent weight capacity of 650 pounds. Despite being able to carry three people, it is light-weight and fits in a shoulder bag effortlessly. It takes only ten minutes to inflate this kayak.

The Sea Eagle SE370 offers many features such as drain valve, carry handle and inflatable spray skirts. Additionally, it has two stabilizing skegs that provide stability and increase speed.

This inflatable kayak is made of heavy-duty reinforced PVC and so, it is a rugged anti-abrasion and collision-resistant. Moreover, it is UV and salt water-resistant. It has three inflatable chambers so that it will stay afloat in rough whitewater rapids.

The bow and stern have a grab line to help you with lifting and transporting the kayak. Five deluxe one-way valves help you to pump the air effortlessly. Moreover, it makes sure that the air does not escape afterward. It also has open and close drain valves to drain the excess water without any trouble.

The Sea Eagle SE370 has earned NMMA certification, so you don’t have to be fretful this kayak’s safety and durability. It is the most popular kayak choice among the mass. They say that it is the best inflatable kayak for whitewater.

Pros

  • Beginner and budget-friendly
  • Heavy-duty construction and NMMA certified
  • Light-weight yet has an outstanding loading capacity
  • Two skegs and five deluxe one-way valves
  • Flexible yet rigid

Cons

  • Low-quality paddles
  • Not suitable for windy weather

The AIRE outfitter I am AIRE’s most stable inflatable kayak. This reputation has made it one of the most popular inflatable kayaks for whitewater. It is a huge and brawny inflatable kayak that can rule any rough rapids of whitewater.

The outfitter comes with a low seat position, which provides a lower center of gravity. Thus, it has become the most stable inflatable kayak for whitewater. It’s made with a combination of 1100 Denier reinforced PVC and urethane air cells and so it is wear and tear ressistance.

This kayak has a large tube diameter and comes with 12 sets of cargo loops. Additionally, it has a comfortable cheetah chair with cargo pocket and great storage capacity. The loading capacity of this kayak is 400 pounds and weighs 36 pounds. It is suitable for carrying a great amount of cargo.

The Outfitter I is one of the most popular and heavy-duty kayaks available in the market. This kayak is mostly used by professional outfitters, as the name suggests.

Pros

  • Extremely stably and hard-wearing
  • Excellent rigidity
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Does not provide many additional features

Why should we choose inflatable kayaks over hard-shell kayaks?

There are numerous reasons that you should select inflatable kayaks over hard shell kayaks. The reasons are:

1. Buoyancy of the kayak

Inflatable kayaks are more buoyant than hard-shell kayaks and that helps the kayak to handle the drops very well. Inflatable kayaks have multiple air chambers and so, they are likely to stay afloat while hard-shell kayaks can sink easily.

2: Portability

The inflatable kayaks are extremely portable and light-weight. They are compact, easy to lift and carry and do not take much storage space. By contrast, hard-shell kayaks take huge storage space. It is very hard to take a hard-shell kayak to the water if you don’t live near the paddling spot.

3. Cost

Inflatable kayaks are more budget-friendly comparing to hard-shell kayaks. If a hard-shell kayak gets damaged, it takes a fortune to repair it. On the other hand, most of the inflatable kayaks can smoothly go around the curves and avoid obstacles due to its buoyancy. Hence, you can save a huge amount of maintenance money.

4. Comfort and space

Inflatable kayaks are more comfortable than hard-shell kayaks. Some inflatable kayaks come with features like adjustable seats with back support and adjustable footrests. You can’t have them in hard-shell kayaks. In a convertible inflatable kayak, you can remove a seat and make a huge space for your gears and cargo. It is another thing you can’t do in a hard-shell kayak. Considering these factors above, inflatable kayaks seem to be the smartest choice.

Inflatable Kayaks for whitewater Buying Guide:

There are some issues that you need to think about before buying an inflatable kayak. They are:

1. Puncture resistance:

All the inflatable kayaks have the risk of getting punctured, especially in whitewater. So, make sure that your inflatable kayak is made of high-quality, rugged materials. Some inflatable kayaks have three-layered protection of hard-wearing materials. You should get a kayak that guarantees excellent puncture and abrasion resistance.

2. Drops:

You should avoid drops while paddling an inflatable kayak. They tend to flip and get damaged from high drops.

3. Inflation Time

Some kayaks have quick inflation and deflations system. And Some kayaks will inflate in 5-6 minutes; some will take 40-50 minutes. So, choose a kayak that inflates and deflates in less amount of time without any trouble.

4. Weight and portability

Always buy a light-weight inflatable kayak. Because a heavy kayak will give you a severe back pain every time, you lift it. So get a light-weight and compact kayak that you can carry in a shoulder bag and fit that in your car trunk. 

5. Air chamber

If you are seeking an inflatable kayak for whitewater adventure, you should buy a kayak that has multiple air chambers. Otherwise, your kayak will not be flexible enough. Most importantly, air chambers make your kayak stay afloat in the rough water and give it buoyancy. They also help to increase the rigidity of the kayak and enhance its performance.

6: Internal Bracing:

Internal bracing aids in increasing the rigidity of the hull and quick inflation. If your favorite whitewater rivers have sharp obstacles and curves, buy an inflatable kayak that has internal bracing. 

7. Short and wide design

Choose a kayak that has is short and a wide cockpit. The broad design of the kayak provides stability. And if the kayak is short, it can effortlessly go around curves and avoid obstacles like logs and sharp rocks,

8. Durability

It is obvious that you want good use of money, and for that reason, you need to get an inflatable kayak that will last a long period. Choose kayaks with high-quality materials that can handle the constant rock hitting while you are kayaking in whitewater.

In Conclusion:

Whitewater kayaking is fun yet a dangerous activity. For this reason, you need to get the best inflatable kayak for whitewater. And for doing that, you have to explore some options that are available in the market.

Inflatable kayaks are the best option for whitewater paddling. They can efficiently handle the curves, obstacles, drops, and the vigorous rapids of white water. Additionally, they are more budget-friendly and low-maintenance than hard-shell kayaks.

Just get yourself a top-quality inflatable kayak that has excellent stability and maneuver system. Therefore, you can enjoy the wild ride of whitewater kayaking. 

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