If you’re thinking of going beyond lakes and rivers with your kayak, you are in the right place – we’re going to review the best inflatable kayaks for ocean adventures. As attractive as the idea of ocean kayaking is, you’d be better off being well-prepared to ensure your safety. One of the essential preparations for ocean kayaking is choosing the perfect inflatable kayak with all the features you need.
Features of Ocean Inflatable Kayaks
Since the ocean has bigger waves and higher acidity saltwater, you will have to pick the best inflatable kayak for that situation. There are three features that indicate an inflatable kayak is ready for an ocean adventure.
High-Pressure Air Floor
If you ever want to make it through the rough waves of the ocean, a high-pressure air floor is necessary. Drop-stitch air floors can handle a high air pressure that can make your floor as rigid as hard-shell boats. This rigidity is what makes your inflatable kayak able to take ocean waves – without it, you’re going to have an awful experience.
Self-Bailing Drain Holes
Sometimes when you’re browsing for an inflatable kayak, you’d stumble across a self-bailing feature. Self-bailing in an inflatable kayak means that the kayak has several strategically positioned holes to drain water that gets onto the deck.
These holes allow the water to gradually drain out of your inflatable kayak without you having to do anything, hence the ‘self-bailing’ label. Self-bailing holes are essential for ocean kayaking since the waves can cause a whole lot of water to splash onto your kayak. And when it comes to ocean kayaking, you won’t have much free time to drain the water manually.
Long and Wide Kayak
Larger inflatable ocean kayaks are the best options to explore the ocean because they are more stable than smaller ones. A longer kayak can handle ocean waves without folding – they ride the waves even if you crash into it head-on. A wider kayak offers better stability, which is very helpful, especially in rough waters.
Tips for a Safe Ocean Kayaking
While ocean kayaking is not an extremely dangerous sport, it still has some risks that you should try to avoid for your safety. The unpredictability of the ocean waves will not tolerate your inexperience with kayaking. In other words: you should be an experienced kayaker before you go ocean kayaking.
With that said, these are several tips to prepare yourself for the risks of ocean kayaking.
- Get a paddle leash to ensure you don’t lose it in the middle of the ocean.
- Tether yourself to your kayak with an ankle leash.
- Train yourself to reenter your kayak from the water in case of tipping and dumping water.
- Don’t go out too far from the shore
- Wear thigh straps to lock yourself to your kayak
- Spare some time researching the currents, tides, and rip currents in your area.
For more detailed information, you may also check out Ocean Kayak’s article on basic safety tips for ocean kayaking.
The Best Inflatable Ocean Kayak Review
Here are our recommendations for the best inflatable kayak for ocean kayaking.
1. Driftsun Almanor 110 Inflatable Kayak
The Driftsun Almanor is a great recreational kayak that can handle mild waves for your ocean adventures. This ocean inflatable kayak is a one-seater with a massive size of 11 feet long and 34 inches wide, making it a very stable and comfortable boat. The Almanor can carry up to 300 pounds, which should be more than enough for one passenger plus gears.
It offers a tight cockpit that provides better bracing and maneuverability, which is suitable for mild-waved shorelines. The boat itself is only 23 pounds, so dumping and reentering should be very easy. The Almanor also sports a 3-air chamber construction, which provides a layer of safety if you ever punctured one of the air chambers.
The Almanor ocean inflatable kayak also has an adjustable seat, adjustable footrest, a removable skeg, splash guard, and corrosion-resistant hardware. However, it doesn’t have self-bailing holes, making it a viable option for a mild ocean that doesn’t have large waves.
2. Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion
The Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion is an affordable one-person inflatable kayak for ocean adventures that offers quite a package. The Cove Champion is on the smaller side at 9 feet in length and 220 pounds carrying capacity for an inflatable ocean kayak.
This ocean inflatable kayak is made with PVC material that features a wrap-around grab rope for an easier reenter in dumping and capsizing. Since the kayak itself is pretty tiny, there isn’t that much space in the cockpit. However, you get bungee rope storage at the bow and stern to store your belongings.
The kayak comes with an adjustable seat with a backrest, collapsible paddle, repair kit, and an air hammer hand pump. The Cove Champion also comes with a fin for better directional stability. The fin is removable, so you can pop them off when you want to deflate the boat and store it.
3. Flydem Hydro-Force Inflatable Ocean Kayak
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The Flydem Hydro-Force is another excellent No products found. adventure that you should consider. It is a two-seater kayak made from rugged laminate PVC and polyester core, meaning it has plenty of support and rigidity to tackle mild to average waves.
You will also get two life jackets, a pump, and a pair of paddles in the retail package – no other tool is required to get started. If you decide to take the Flydem Hydro-Force into the ocean, it’s best to carry a third-party repair kit in case of emergency.
Since this kayak is a sit-inside boat, it is very comfortable to use even in the ocean. The V-shape skeleton also makes the Flydem Hydro-Force very easy to steer and maneuver while you’re out paddling in the sea.
4. Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Ocean Kayak
The Driftsun Rover 220 is another excellent choice for an inflatable ocean kayak that sports a tandem paddling design and eight self-bailing holes. The boat is the largest on our list at 12 feet 5 inches in length and 38 inches in width. The Rover 220 can hold up to 600 pounds of weight, a solid capacity for a tandem boat.
The Rover 220 has side tubes made of 1000D reinforced and layered PVC that can inflate up to a rigid 3 PSI. The rigid drop-stitch floor inflates to an even more rigid 6 PSI, making the Rover 220 a solid contender for the best tandem inflatable kayak for ocean adventures.
Since the Rover 220 isn’t a thin-profiled inflatable kayak, it’s not recommended to use in oceans with large waves. However, you shouldn’t be concerned about the durability of this boat since it is rated to handle class III and class IV rapids.
5. Intex Dakota K2 Inflatable Ocean Kayak
The Intex Dakota K2 is another entry on our list of the best inflatable ocean kayaks that you should consider next. It is a two-seater boat that can carry up to 400 pounds of weight, making it much smaller than other inflatable tandem kayaks.
While the Dakota K2 doesn’t have the most rugged build on the list, it offers a complete retail package that contains a carrying bag, adjustable seats, a double-quick hand pump, a pair of dry bags, paddles, and a couple of fins for shallow/deep water.
The puncture-resistant vinyl and inflatable i-beam floor offer a comfortable paddling experience in rivers, lakes, and mild oceans. But we’d recommend avoiding large waves with this specific inflatable ocean kayak.
Choosing the right inflatable ocean kayak is tricky because you’ll need particular features to keep you safe while out exploring. We’ve curated this list to help you pick the best inflatable kayak for ocean adventures, and we hope it can help you make the best decision.