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The Best Kayaks Under $500 Of 2021 Helpful Guide

best kayak under $500

Kayaks have always been a great way to get away and explore new lakes and waterways. They give you a feeling of closeness to the water and nature. There is a huge variety of kayaks out there to serve any paddler’s needs whether it is for whitewater, fishing, or touring in both rigid and inflatable. If you are ready to enjoy some time on the water here are the best kayaks under $500 and buying guide.

Below are our top picks. Keep reading below for detailed reviews, kayak guide and FAQ.

Best Inflatable

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak

Best Hardshell Kayak

Old Town Vapor 10  Recreational Kayak

Best Tandem Kayak

Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe

The Top 5 Best Kayaks Under $500

We examined several of the most popular kayaks under $500 available today.  Here are our reviews of the 5 best options available now.  We considered ease of use, price, options, functionality, and customer reviews in our selections of the best kayaks under $500. We looked at both rigid and inflatable and single and tandem kayaks.

Best Inflatable

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak

  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improve tracking
  • 3 layers of material for extreme puncture resistance
  • PreAssembled at the factory. Simply unfold, inflate and attach the seat

Summary

The ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak is an innovative touring 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 great inflatable kayak for someone who really wants the performance of a rigid kayak with the portability of an inflatable. This kayaks performance earns it our place as best inflatable kayak under $500.

Note: This kayak does not include a pump or paddles so the actual cost will be higher than the initial kayak purchase price.

Hull Design and Construction

The hull features a 3 layer vinyl polyester PVC laminate for toughness and durability. The hull has 3 air chambers, 2 sides, and a floor. The floor is an inflatable I-Beam. There are 2 optional floors available to add more stiffness if that is desired. The bow and sterns feature rigid sections to improve on the water performance. There is an available optional drop-stitch floor that can be zipped in, in place of the I-Beam floor to give it a more rigid floor structure.

Setup Process

The setup process for this kayak is a bit more involved than others. There are 3 basic air chambers to inflate. There are 2 small deck cover chambers to inflate. There are 2 rigid plates to insert into the bow and stern as well. No air pump is included with this kayak so you will need to supply your own.

Going For A Paddle

This kayak is very spacious really tracks well. Its performance on flat water is very similar to a rigid kayak even without the optional floors. It is not meant for white water use which is another factor contributing to its ability to glide and track straight. It has stability on par with most rigid kayaks. The performance with the base floor is really good so it would be outstanding with the optional drop-stitch floor.

Putting It Away

Take down is simple. Remove the bow and stern stiffners and seats. Deflate the chambers. Fold and roll and put back into the carrying bag. The carrying bag could use to be a bit bigger. This kayak will fit back into the bag but it is a struggle.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable kayak
  • 1 molded foam seats
  • Carrying bag
  • Repair kit

Kayak Specifications

  • Length: 10 ft 5 in
  • Width: 2 ft 8 in
  • Weight: 36 lbs
  • Max capacity: 300 lbs
  • Skegs: 1
  • Stored Dimensions: 30 x 17 x 10 inches
  • Hull Construction: PVC Tarpaulin laminate material – 3 air chambers
What We Liked
 Excellent flat water speed and tracking
 Versatility with optional floors
 Rigid bow and stern sections for better performance
 High quality molded foam seats
 PVC nylon polyester laminate hull material
 Made by an American company with local American customer support

Best Hardshell

Old Town Vapor 10  Recreational Kayak

  • Perfect for anglers, sportsmen, and recreational paddlers alike, the Old Town Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak provide a comfortable ride.
  • An adjustable Comfort Flex seat and easy-grip thigh pads keep paddlers comfortable for a full day out on the water.
  • Packed with features, the Vapor 10 includes a molded-in cockpit tray with cup holder and a molded-in paddle rest

Summary

The Old Town Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak is an well thought out solo hardshell kayak that will be great for exploring local waterways. It has sturdy HDPE construction, a comfortable seat and well thought out features such as a storage well and paddle holders.

Hull Design and Construction

This kayak is made from durable HDPE. It has a molded-in day well in the stern for storing gear. An optional watertight cover is available. The seat foam is thick enough to be comfortable for a few hours paddling. There is a cup holder in the seat and also at the front of the cockpit. There are some paddle holders molded into the cockpit rim as well.

Going For A Paddle

The Old Town Vapor 10 paddles very well for a short solo kayak. The kayak is very stable and easy to paddle around. The tracking is surprisingly good for a short kayak. The kayak easily accommodates larger paddlers with plenty of buoyancy. The seat feels comfortable enough and the adjustable footrests make it easy to find a comfortable seating position.

What’s Included

  • Kayak
  • Molded foam seat

Kayak Specifications

  • Length: 10 ft 0 in
  • Width: 2 ft 7 in
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Max capacity: 325 lbs
  • Hull Construction: HDPE
What We Liked
 HDPE Construction
 Comfortable molded foam seat
 Paddle holders
 Stern well for gear storage
 Adjustable footrests

Best Tandem

Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe

  • 2 person/ 500-b capacity, weighs 26-lbs, Suitable for upto Class III whitewater
  • Great package for two includes SE330 Sport Kayak, 2 AB30 paddles, 2 seats, foot pump, repair kit, and carry bag
  • Lashed down inflatable spray skirts with storage underneath

Summary

The SeaEagle 330 Deluxe 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. This kayaks versatility to be a tandem rated for white water rafting and the ability to setup as a one man kayak earns it our pick as best tandem kayak under $500.

Hull Design and Construction

This inflatable kayak 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. The floor is made from an inflatable I-Beam for extra rigidity. It has removable inflatable spray skirts and 2 removable inflatable seats. It has a drain valve but it is not self-bailing. This kayak can be set up as a single kayak as well with only 1 seat.

Setup Process

Inflating this kayak involves filling the 3 hull chambers using the included floor pump. There are additional air chambers for the spray skirts and the seats. Most people can go from carry bag to on the water in less than 30 minutes.

Going For A Paddle

The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe has room for 2 adult paddlers. It’s weight limit is 500 lbs so if you are a couple of large people you may be better suited to the Sea Eagle 370. This hull has a tendency to ride over waves and flex rather than pushing through anything. This makes it feel a bit slower than a traditional rigid kayak. This is also gives it a stable feel for even novice paddlers to feel comfortable with going through rapids. Going through rapids up to class 3 feels like a breeze due to the stable nature of this kayak.

Putting It Away

Put away is simple. Open the 5 one way valves and deflate the air and then roll up the kayak into the included carrying bag. One should use caution with the paddles as the ends have sharp edges that can scratch and cut the hull material if your not careful how you pack it.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable kayak
  • 2 deluxe seats
  • 2 paddles
  • Foot pump
  • Carrying bag
  • Repair kit

Kayak Specifications

  • Length: 11 ft 2 in
  • Width: 2 ft 10 in
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Max capacity: 500 lbs
  • Skegs: 2
  • Stored Dimensions: 31 x 19 x 8 inches
  • Hull Construction: 33 mil PolyKrylar (K80 PVC) – 3 hull chambers
What We Liked
 500 lb capacity
 Flatwater up to Class III whitewater usage
 Only 26 lbs for carrying around
 Stable feel on the water
 Rugged PVC construction
 Complete package including 2 paddles, kayak, seats, pump and repair kit

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

  • Dimensions: Inflated Size 10 Feet 3 X 3 Feet X 1 Feet 8 Inch; Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 Pounds
  • Directional Stability: Removable SKEG for Directional Stability
  • Made for Smaller Bodies of Water: Explorer k2 is Made for Smaller Bodies of Water Including Lakes and Mild Rivers

Summary

The Intex Explorer K2 kayak represents a really good value for an inflatable tandem kayak. 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.

Hull Design and Construction

The hull is a 3 chambered design made of heavy duty vinyl. It has an inflatable I-Beam in the floor similar to other 3 chambered inflatable kayaks. It has one removable skeg to help with directional stability and gliding. The seats are inflatable.

Setup Process

Inflating this kayak involves filling the 3 hull chambers using the included hand pump. The valves are similar to what is found on pool toys and inflatables. The supplied hand pump works great for filling up the 3 chambers and seats quickly.

Going For A Paddle

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. It has good directional stability while paddling. It can tend to drift and spin a bit when coasting even with the skeg because of it’s short length.

Putting It Away

Putting away is a relatively simple process. The valves are not one way valves and require you to hold them open while deflating the air chambers which can be a bit frustrating. An electric pump can greatly speed up both the inflation and deflation for this kayak.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable kayak
  • 2 inflatable seats
  • 2 paddles
  • Hand pump
  • Carrying bag
  • Repair kit

Kayak Specifications

  • Length: 10 ft 3 in
  • Width: 3 ft 10 in
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Max capacity: 400 lbs
  • Skegs: 1 removeable
  • Stored Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 11 inches
  • Hull Construction: Heavy Duty Vinyl – 3 air chambers
What We Liked
 Low cost, High value
 Stable on the water
 Inflatable I-Beam floor
 Heavy Duty Vinyl construction
 Self bailing design
 Good for sheltered water, lakes and bays.

Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak

  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use

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.

This is a great kayak for someone without much storage space and who needs to use a bus or other public transportation to get to the water or if you want a kayak that is easy to take along on a trip.

Hull Design and Construction

The hull is made from PVC and has 5 air chambers. 2 main hull chambers, 2 small floor air chambers and a seat back air chamber. The hull has quick fill air valves making inflation easy and quick. This is a sit on design kayak and there are multi-position footrests in the floor air chambers. The carrying backpack functions as an adjustable molded foam seat. There are 2 skegs built into the bottom to help with tracking.

Setup Process

Setup for this kayak is very easy and fast. You unfold the kayak hull out of the backpack. Inflate the air chambers using the included dual action hand pump. You mount the backpack as the seat. There is a bungee tie-down storage area so you have someplace to put the air pump while using the kayak. The whole setup process takes about 5 minutes.

Going For A Paddle

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 kayak paddles okay. Tracking is not great since skegs are small and the kayak is not that stiff. The kayak is not very rigid so it will feel like it is bending over and around every wave. 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. The highlight of this kayak is portability and for that it is great. It won’t paddle as well as a hardshell kayak or an inflatable kayak that has more structure to it or removable skegs.

Putting It Away

Putting away is very quick. After drying out you can have this kayak back in its carrying bag in 5-10 minutes. Take off the seat. Deflate the air chambers. Put the kayak back into the carrying bag. Store the pump and paddle into the bag and your ready to go.

What’s Included

  • Inflatable kayak
  • 1 paddle
  • Carrying backpack that doubles as the seat
  • Dual action handpump

Kayak Specifications

  • Length: 8 ft 7 in
  • Width: 3 ft 0 in
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Max capacity: 400 lbs
  • Stored Dimensions: Fits in included backpack
  • Hull Construction: 21-gauge PVC construction – 5 air chambers – 2 hull, 2 floor, 1 seat
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
 Collapsable 2 piece paddle

kayak mountain lake

How To Choose The Best Kayaks Under $500 – Buying Guide

Kayaks are a great way to explore new out of the way waterways.  They are great for exploring new places, drifting along a stream, just generally getting away from it all. They are a perfect way to experience nature and wildlife without the noise of an engine to scare it away.

There are several things to consider when choosing a kayak. Where do you plan on using it? Will you want to take it through any white water? How about going fishing? How much weight do you need it to carry? Do you want to kayak with a friend or family member? Where will you store this kayak? How will you transport it to the water from where you live? I’ve answered all of these questions for you in the section below.

Inflatable Or Rigid Kayak

There are 2 main types of kayak construction. Rigid and inflatable. Rigid is the traditional kayak that you see most of the time made of some form of plastic, wood or fiberglass. Inflatable kayaks are what they sound like. They are some form of rubber, plastic or cloth material that you inflate to use and roll up for storage.

Rigid Kayak

Rigid or hardshell kayaks are typically made from plastic, wood or fiberglass. Plastic (HDPE) being the most common. The advantages of a rigid kayak are that it is ready to go when you want to use it. You don’t need to spend time inflating it. Just drop it in the water and go.

Rigid kayaks give you more control. They don’t flex like an inflatable so they are more precise and can track better. They can cut through or go over waves. They don’t flex and conform to the wave.

Hardshell kayaks require more maintenance then inflatables. Scratches and gouges are a lot more difficult to repair. You can’t just slap on a repair patch. You can drop an inflatable kayak with little to know damage no matter how high you let it go from. If you drop a rigid kayak you will very likely damage it.

Hard shell kayaks also don’t have air valves that can wear out and they are more resilient to long term sunlight exposure. You can leave a hard shell kayak sitting outside in the sun for years and still use it. You can’t do this with an inflatable.

Transportation and storage are the biggest drawbacks for a rigid hardshell kayak. Almost anyone has some space in the close or basement to store an inflatable. Not everyone has a garage or large area to store a rigid kayak. You have to have a car with a roof rack or trailer to transport a rigid kayak. With an inflatable you can just toss it in the trunk or back seat in it’s carry bag.

Inflatable Kayaks

An inflatable kayak solves the transportation problem by making it into something you can carry throw in the trunk of your car and keep it at home in your closet, basement or garage.  This makes them a lot more convenient than a traditional rigid kayak.

Inflatable kayaks are an ideal solution for anyone living in an apartment or home without a garage and who doesn’t have access to a car or truck with a roof rack or trailer hitch or have a place to store a fishing boat.

Inflatable have air valves that can wear out over time. Some are replaceable. Some are not. Some inflatables also have replaceable air bladders instead of built in air chambers.

UV rays can degrade almost any inflatable over time. It is important to find a storage place for them out of the sun.

Inflatable kayaks are more flexible and may not handle with the control that a rigid kayak can have. That is a trade off to the design. An inflatable kayak with drop-stitch construction may be almost as rigid as a hard shell but you’ll pay a lot of money for it too.

Kayak Materials

Inflatable and rigid hardshell kayaks are constructed very differently. Rigid kayaks are molded into shape. Inflatable kayaks are made of soft panels that are heat welded, glued or stitched together.

Materials – Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable tandem kayaks can be made out of several different materials. PVC is the most common. PVC is a lightweight durable plastic material that is commonly used in many marine inflatables.  PVC is a good choice for inflatable SUP construction because it can be easily thermobonded into the hull shape and the core.  PVC is typically used in the form of a laminate for extra strength and abbrasion resistance compared to a single layer.

PVC can be constructed in what is known as “Drop Stitch” that creates a very rigid thin structure after inflation. Dropstitch is ideal for floors and hulls of touring kayaks where a long rigid kayak is desired.

The downsides to PVC is that it is UV sensitive and will degrade over time if left out in the sun too much. It is less abrasion resistant than other materials.

Vinyl can be used for kayaks. Vinyl is one of the feed components of PVC. Vinyl by itself is a more stretchy, less durable material than PVC. It is only used in very inexpensive kayaks. Vinyl kayaks are still a very good value. They will not last as long as a PVC or Hypalon kayak.

Hypalon is another material choice. Hypalon must be glued instead of heat welded making it much more expensive to manufacture than PVC. Hypalon has superior UV resistance and abbradion resistance compared to PVC. Most military or coastguard inflatable boats are made from Hypalon.

What does 1100 Denier mean? Most PVC materials are backed with a polyester or nylon laminate material. 1100 Denier refers to the material weight. Most kayaks use a backing material between 900 and 1300 Denier. For more information click here.

For more information on inflatable kayak materials click here.

Materials – Rigid Kayak

Most kayaks targeted at the beginner market will be made of roto-molded polyethylene or HDPE. In this process a plastic powder material is put into a mold which is then heated and spun until the powder melts into the shape of the kayak. It is then cooled and it’s finished. Roto-molded kayaks are heavy. They are durable and can take some punches against rocks and stops. If you do manage to crack the hull or get a whole polyethylene is not easy to repair because few adhesives stick to it.

A more expensive molding process can be used called thermoforming. In this process the plastic material is formed into sheets that are then put onto a model. With thermoforming the sheets can be several layers that are set for different strength and appearance characteristics. They are lighter than roto-molded kayaks but heavier than fiberglass kayaks. Thermoformed kayaks are generally as durable as roto-molded or fiberglass kayaks. They can be repaired fairly easily.

The most expensive hardshell rigid construction is molded fiberglass or carbon fiber. This will give you the lightest and most rigid kayak but it will be the most expensive as well. Fiberglass can be repaired using resin and glass cloth.

Weight of Kayaks

Most kayaks weigh between 25 and 80 lbs.  There is a lot of variation in kayak lengths and construction. A tandem hardshell kayak will weigh much more than an inflatable one man kayak. One person can easily carry a 25 pound kayak by themselves. A 50-60 lb carry bag will get heavy quickly. A tandem hardshell kayak is very difficult to carry alone. In general an inflatable kayak will be lighter than a hardshell rigid kayak.   

Length

Most kayaks tend to be between 9 feet and 14 feet long.  Longer length kayaks glide and track better so are preferred if your going to be kayaking long distances. A shorter kayak will be able to spin and maneuver easier. A longer kayak will also be heavier if carrying weight becomes a concern.

Weight Capacity 

Most kayaks have a weight capacity between 300 to 600 lbs. Some can go higher. You should consider how heavy you and your paddling partner are and how much gear you want to carry when selecting a kayak.

Kayak Packages

A lot of kayaks are sold in a package that includes accessories such as paddles.  If the kayak is inflatable it will usually come with a pump and carrying case as well but not always.  Most will include a small repair kit as well. If your just starting out it can be easier to find a package deal then to find all the parts individually. Most hardshell kayaks do not come as packages so you will have to buy a paddle separately.

Kayak packages may include the following items:

  • Hand pump if – Dual Action Preferred
  • Carrying Case
  • Paddle – Adjustable Length Preferred
  • Repair Kit
  • Accessories such as rod holders or mounting bars

Types Of Kayaks

There are several types of kayaks available. Lets look at a few of them.

Fishing

Fishing kayaks are similar to recreational kayaks. They are meant to have a stable hull shape to be easy to fish from and they should have some fishing rod holders and holders for other accessories. Frequently they may have drop stitch floors to make standing easier and various seat options such as benches or swivel seats.

Recreational

This is the most common type of kayak. They are designed to be stable and easy to paddle. They are meant to be easy to use and comfortable. They are usually 12 feet or less in length. Because they are focused on stability they don’t go through waves great and won’t track in a straight line really well.

Touring

Touring kayaks are long and narrow. They are meant to have really good tracking and speed. Stability can be sacrificed to make a hull shape that moves through the water easier. They are longer, typically 15 feet or longer.

Sea or Ocean

Sea or Ocean kayaks are designed to be better at handling waves and surf. They typically have more rocker shape (raised bow and stern) and a v-shaped hull profile. These allow them to cut through waves easier. This will make it a bit less table when not moving compared to a more square profile that a recreational kayak will have.

Whitewater

Kayaks meant for whitewater usage will have hull shapes with more rocker to allow them to spin and manuever easier. Whitewater kayaks may have self bailing design or valves to keep them from filling with water. They should be built with heavier material so they don’t easily puncture or cut on any underwater obstacles such as rocks or branches.

Tandem

Tandem kayaks are kayaks that sit 2 people. There are also triple or more kayaks that can seat more people.

For more information on kayak types look here.

How to use a kayak

Below is a quick video showing the basics of how to paddle a kayak.

How to fish from a kayak

Below is a video with some tips on fishing from a kayak.

Click here for some good tips on kayak fishing for beginners.

Kayak FAQ

kayaks on the beach

Q: How Much Do Kayaks Cost?

A kayak package (kayak, paddle, pump, etc..) can run anywhere from $250 to well above $2000.  There are value options at the low end of the scale that are great for getting on the water and messing around at the local pond, lake, or stream.  The price can vary a lot depending on whether it is inflatable or rigid, single or tandem kayak, and how many options such as rod holders the kayak has. Inflatable Kayaks with drop stitch rigid floors for standing tend to cost quite a bit more.

Q: How do I transport a kayak?

If you have an inflatable kayak you can just toss it in the trunk or back seat of your car or truck. If you have a rigid hardshell kayak then you’ll either need a roof rack with pads or a trailer. Some people with pickups or big SUV’s just tie in down hanging out of the pickup box or out the back of the SUV.

Q: What should I take with me on the kayak?

Here is a list of a few handy to have items on your kayak.

  • Safety gear – A PFD, whistle, light, first aid kit
  • Sun protection – sun block
  • Rain coat
  • A small anchor and line
  • Lunch or snacks
  • Drinking water
  • A radio

Q: Do I need To Have Someone Else Along To Use A Tandem Kayak?

No. You can use most tandem kayaks with just one person. Some have adjustable removable seats that can be set up for just a single paddler. If they aren’t then you can still paddle and control the kayak by yourself from the rear seat. Tandem kayaks are incredibly versatile because they can be used by 1 or 2 people and sometimes 3.

Q: How Do I Inflate a kayak?

You hook up a handpump to the kayak and pump it up to the specified pressure.  Most pumps have a pressure meter on them so you can tell how much air to put into it. Dual action pumps (They pump air in on the up and down stroke) make pumping up your kayak a lot faster.  The below video shows an example of how to inflate and set up a typical inflatable fishing kayak.

Q: Do I need To Wear A PFD While Using A Kayak?

That one is up to you and what you are comfortable with. I personally almost always wear one. If it’s really really calm and hot out I might take not where it but I will always have it with me. The laws for PFD’s and kayaks vary from state to state. Many require that you at least have a US Coast Guard approved type 3 PFD with you. To real more about PFD’s and kayaks click here.

Q: How Do I Get Back Into A Kayak In Deep Water?

If you’ve ever rented a kayak somewhere, they can feel pretty difficult to get in and out of. With a little practice you can self rescue yourself in deep water. The best thing to do is go out on a nice warm day with warm water and practice getting in and out of the kayak in a comfortable place near the shore. The below video shows how to get back into a kayak in deep water.

Q: How Do I Choose A Kayak?

Choose a kayak based on what you would like to do with the kayak and how much weight you need to carry. Choose a kayak with a weight capacity high enough for you and any gear you want to take with you. If you want to kayak with a partner make sure you consider their weight also.

Do you want to go fishing? If so you should look for a kayak that has fishing rod holders and other fishing accessories.

Do you want to go through any rapids? If so pick a kayak with a white water rafting rating.

Do you want to paddle long distances? If so you might want to look at a touring kayak.

Do you want to kayak with a friend or family member? If so you might want to consider a tandem kayak.

Q: What kind of fishing rod should I use fishing from a kayak?

Choose a fishing rod that is at least half the length of your kayak if it’s a solo kayak. If it’s a tandem choose one that is longer than the distance from the seat to the front or back of the kayak.

Q: How Long Do Kayaks Last?

If well cared for a hardshell or inflatable kayak can last for many years.  The key is keeping it dry and clean and out of UV light when not in use. 

Q: Are Inflatable Kayaks Durable?

An inflatable kayak can be more durable than a rigid kayak because they can bump into rocks or branches without getting a permanent dent.  They can be cut if you hit them hard enough with a sharp enough object.  They are much more durable to small impacts.  If properly cared for the PVC or Hypalon material can last for many years. 

Q: How Do I Find A Leak In My Inflatable Kayak?

If you have a leak in your kayak, the easiest way to find it is to inflate the kayak and hold it underwater and then look for where air is bubbling out. If you inflate the kayak onshore and then put it into cold water, the kayak will appear to lose air as it cools down.  Changes in temperature from the water to air can make the kayak feel like it has gained or lost air pressure during the day even when it hasn’t.   

Q: How Do I Patch An Inflatable Kayak?

Use a repair kit designed for a PVC or Hypalon inflatable.  Most Inflatable kayaks come with a repair kit for patching small holes or cracks. The general process is applying adhesive sealant around the crack or hole and covering with a piece of patching material and let dry.   

Q: How do I repair a rigid hardshell kayak?

It really depends on what materiel the kayak is made from.  HDPE kayaks which are the most common are also the most difficult. You will need to melt new material into the crack to weld it shut. The video below shows a process for repairing your HDPE roto molded kayak.

Q: How To Dry An Inflatable Kayak?

You can let your kayak air dry if you have enough time.  It’s best to wipe it down with a towel after cleaning it and then let it air dry. If you are short on time you can towel dry it and take it home to dry. Unfold and unroll it at home to allow it to finish drying.  If it is a windy day remember to secure the SUP board as they can blow away.  Kayaks with a fabric cover over inflatable air bladders can get water trapped between the layers. Examine your kayak closely for where water might collect.

Q: How To Clean A Kayak?

The best thing to use for cleaning and inflatable kayak is fresh water.  Always hose the kayak down with freshwater after using it in saltwater.  Saltwater can degrade the PVC material and seams of an inflatable kayak over time.  If more is needed you can use a biodegradable cleaner meant for PVC or Hypalon inflatable boats or for a rigid use any cleaner like you would use for washing your car.  Rinse with freshwater again after using cleaner before putting it away.

Q: How To Fold An Inflatable Kayak?

Folding an inflatable kayak is super easy.  You simply deflate it.  Most will want you to fold the 2 sides in, and then roll it up. You want to avoid having the creases of your fold fall along seams as that puts added stress on them in storage. Your inflatable kayak will come with instructions on how to fold and roll it properly for storage.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water.  I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions.  I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.

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