The 10 Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayaks of 2021

The Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayaks

Getting out on the water is great fun for the whole family, and kayaking with friends can make for memorable experiences and holidays. This got me thinking about what the best two-person inflatable kayak for family outings is.

There is a vast range of inflatable kayaks to choose from, beginning with entry-level at just over $100 right up to boats that cost thousands of dollars. Our favorite from this review, the Aqua Marina Steam 412, sits right in the mid-price range, around $500. It has enough features to keep a more experienced paddler happy and allow a beginner to growing with the boat before changing it for something more technical.

The 10 Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayaks:

Below we list and review the 10 best 2 person inflatable kayaks currently on the market.

1. Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable 2 Person Kayak

Pros

  • Rigid, durable construction
  • Floor insert for strength and tracking

Cons

  • Price
  • Paddles not included

Although this is at the top end of the price range in this review, the price is easily justified. Along with excellent build quality, it packs some fantastic features as standard.

The kayak sides are made from 1000D layered PVC, while the heavy-duty tarpaulin floor section is exceptionally resistant to damage. The floor is also reinforced with a removable rigid section, aiding stability and straight-line tracking. 

Both seats are held in place by straps attached to D-rings, giving superb strength and security. Adjustable footrests complete the comfortable, all-day paddling positions.

Multiple grab handles along upper surfaces make carrying the kayak easy, while the bow features a built-in adventure camera mounting point. 

The Driftsun Rover package is completed with a hand pump, carry bag, and removable skeg.

2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

Pros

  • Price
  • Paddles and pump included
  • Removable skeg

Cons

  • Shorter than comparable kayaks

This is the first of two Intex inflatable kayaks in this review, with both featuring at the bottom of the price range. Despite the apparent cost savings, the Explorer is a perfect inflatable for a beginner that wants to explore less challenging lakes and rivers.

There is undoubtedly less space than more expensive models, at just over ten feet in length, but you’ll still find ample storage areas in the bow and stern. 

The seats are inflatable for comfort and use straps to secure them in place. An inflatable ribbed floor section provides stability and directional control.

Included in the package are paddles, a pump, a storage bag, and a removable skeg. The Explorer is a great beginner package at an affordable price.

3. Intex Challenger Kayak Series

Pros

  • Price
  • Large bow storage area
  • Strong puncture-resistant vinyl

Cons

  • Only two inflatable compartments

Following on from the Explorer is the similarly priced Intex Challenger inflatable kayak. The Challenger is designed to look more sporty than the touring style of the Explorer, and it achieves this with a far more sleek, streamlined design.

The kayak feel is more enclosed, with the seating area featuring high sides and enclosed bow and stern storage areas. There are grab lines on both bow and stern, plus a large netted cargo area on the bow. 

Despite the low cost, the Challenger is built from robust and puncture-resistant vinyl and is designed to survive grounding on rocks and underwater vegetation. 

The Challenger is another excellent affordable inflatable kayak from Intex that is perfect for beginners and comes with everything you need to get on the water.

4. Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak

Pros

  • Easily and quickly converts to a single-seat configuration
  • Bungee storage on the bow and stern

Cons

  • Lacks features for the price
  • Paddles not included

Sitting at the lower end of the mid-price bracket, the Durango inflatable kayak offers a quality product at an affordable price. With a 1000D bottom and sides, plus an 840D fabric top cover, it is sturdy enough for almost challenge you throw at it.

When inflated, the bottom of the kayak is V-shaped to aid directional stability, plus there is a removable skeg for paddling in shallow waters.

Although this is a well-built kayak, it lacks a few features of similarly priced products, plus the paddles and pump are not included. 

If you are looking for a sturdy inflatable kayak that will give years of service, the Durango is a contender, but you’ll have to buy extra equipment before you can get on the water.

5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Pros

  • Large bow storage area
  • Six inflatable chambers for increased safety
  • Strong layered hull construction

Cons

  • Paddles not included

The Advanced Elements take on inflatable kayaks borrows innovations from rigid kayak technology using aluminum ribs in the bow and stern. This greatly improves the rigidity and tracking but also adds significantly to the overall weight. The Convertable model also has a distinct look, with the rear paddler at the very rear of the kayak and a very long bow area. 

The hull is built from two layers of strong PVC tarpaulin material sandwiching a polyester inner fabric for added puncture security.

Optional extras include a detachable deck to keep you dry and a rigid inflatable floor to further increase strength and stability.

6. Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak

Pros

  • Open design for more space
  • Laminate reinforced base
  • Four fins to improve tracking

Cons

  • Paddles not included
  • Pump not included

The Airhead Montana is a mid-priced design that features a very open layout. Neither the bow nor stern offer covered storage areas, but this gives extra space for taller people, who might ordinarily find their legs cramped. There are bungee stretch nets both fore and aft for attaching your gear, but you will have to use dry bags.

The semi-rigid construction uses thick 840D PVC material and an I-frame floor for stability and tracking. 

Airhead designed the Montana model primarily for easy rivers and lakes, but could it handle moderate whitewater areas with an experienced paddler. 

Overall, this is a great first kayak at a reasonable price, but there are better options available.

7. Aqua Marina Steam 412

Pros

  • Self-bailing valves
  • A V-shape keel for directional stability

Cons

  • Paddles not included

Experienced paddlers that want to take the next step without breaking the bank could consider the versatile Steam inflatable kayak from Aqua Marine. Built from extremely strong and puncture-resistant PVC material, the Steam also features a drop stitched floor area. This means the floor can be inflated too much higher pressures, giving increased rigidity. 

If you want to try a little whitewater, there are two self-bailing valves on the floor. These should usually be kept closed when paddling on flat water, but allow the kayak to empty in rough conditions.

The seats are securely attached to the sides with strong straps, and both paddlers have a footrest for balance. 

With bungee strap storage fore and aft, and plenty of grab handles, the Steam would make an excellent expedition kayak.

8. STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Pros

  • Rigid, durable construction
  • Floor insert for strength and tracking

Cons

  • Price
  • Paddles not included

If you are looking for a high quality two-person inflatable kayak, then the Raven II from Star could be just right for you. Constructed from strong PVC materials, with premium seam welding, the Raven II will give you years of enjoyable paddling. 

Inflation and deflation is a straightforward process using the high-quality Leafield C7 valves, ensuring the kayak remains rigid at all times. Adding to the built-in strength is the rigid floor insert that can be inflated to 10psi. 

Both seats are attached using D-rings, making fitting, removing, and adjusting very simple compared to the velcro alternative used on cheaper kayaks.

A carry bag, foot pump, and repair kit complete the Raven II package, but paddles need to be bought separately.

9. STAR Paragon Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Pros

  • Strong construction
  • Rigid inserts for strength and tracking
  • Removable skeg

Cons

  • Price
  • Paddles not included

The Star Paragon is the most expensive inflatable kayak on the review but justifies the higher cost with quality materials and features. 

Inflatable kayaks can sometimes feel a little flimsy and lack straight-line stability. The Paragon overcomes this with rigid inserts in the bow and stern, plus a rigid floor insert for excellent straight-line tracking. This is an important point, as continually fighting to keep a kayak on a straight track is exceedingly tiring. Adding to the excellent tracking is a removable skeg fin, allowing you access to shallow water.

Another great feature of the Paragon is the solidly attached seats, complete with foot braces. Less expensive kayaks rely on velcro attachment for the seats, which can be unstable. Extra features include bow and stern storage with bungee cords.

10. Aqua Marina Laxo – 320 Leisure 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Pros

  • Strong construction
  • Includes paddles, pump, and extra fin

Cons

  • Low maximum weight

The Laxo 2 person inflatable from Aqua Marina is a stylish and well-built kayak that comes complete with everything you need to get out on the water. Along with two paddles, a foot pump, and a carry bag, there are also two detachable fins for straight-line stability. 

Inflating the Laxo is simple with the provided foot pump, and the three separate air chambers provide stability and safety. Should one of the sections deflate, you can still paddle back to shore.

Splash guards with bungee cords for extra storage space are provided on the bow and stern.

Overall, the mid-priced Laxo is a superb choice for beginners and more experienced paddlers alike, with some great features. The only slight issue is the low maximum carrying weight.

Two Person Inflatable Kayak Buying Guide

Materials Used/Durability

Inflatable kayaks can have a tough life, and quality materials and construction methods must be used. Heavy denier PVC is standard, with 840D being about the minimum acceptable, but 1,000D giving better puncture resistance. Seams must be double stitched and heat welded for durability and to prevent leaks of air or water. On all but the cheapest inflatable kayaks, this is not generally an issue, but it’s essential to check.

Weight

Heavier materials for strength mean a heavier kayak when you have to portage your boat between watercourses or putting in and taking out of the water. Make sure there are plenty of grab handles. Some models include extra bracing for rigidity, which is excellent for straight-line stability in the water but could be a real strain when you are carrying it. Many of the two-person kayaks can be set up for use by a single paddler, and weight will definitely be an issue. 

Weight Limit

Manufacturers will specify a weight limit for the kayak, and it’s generally unsafe to exceed this. You will be putting an excessive strain on the kayak seams, plus it may be more susceptible to capsizing. 

Transport

One of the most significant advantages of inflatable kayaks is the ability to deflate them and transport them in the trunk of your car. No need for a roof rack or trailer to get out on the water, plus inflatables are usually lighter than inflatables, making them easier to move around.

Storage

Along with transportation, easy storage is also a benefit of being able to deflate your kayak. Rigid kayaks can take up a lot of space, whereas an inflatable can be stored in the corner of your garage. Most inflatable kayaks will come with a storage bag, which is perfect for long term storage in the garage. Just make sure the kayak is absolutely dry before you store it.

Price

There truly is a vast range of prices for inflatable kayaks. Even in this brief article, the cheapest is just over $100, and the most expensive is ten times more. Of course, you need to balance the price against the expected use of your kayak. If you just want to get out on the water with your family for an hour or two, the budget models will be perfectly adequate. On the other hand, if you are thinking of joining a club and doing some whitewater, then spending a little more would make sense.

Accessories

You may think that paddles are an essential part of a kayak, and you’d be right! However, you’ll see that many kayaks are sold without them. Dedicated paddlers will often have a favored brand of a paddle, so for them, the supplied paddles will just go to waste. If you need paddles, check the description carefully. Pumps are often the same, so again make sure it’s supplied if you need one.

FAQs

Who makes the best inflatable kayak?

That’s a tough question to answer. As we alluded to in the buyer’s guide, it depends on your intended use of the kayak. For a family fun couple of hours, the best is the cheapest that lasts for a few years, splashing about on the local lake. Why should they spend more? More experienced paddlers need something completely different, with different features. That said, Driftsun, Advanced Elements, Aqua Marine, and Star all have excellent kayaks in this review, and the Aqua Marine Steam 412 was our overall favorite.

Are inflatable kayaks worth buying?

Absolutely. When they first appeared, the materials and technology were still being developed, and a lot of them had problems with leaks. But the technology has moved on rapidly, and top-end inflatables can almost challenge rigid kayaks for performance. Plus, they have some significant advantages over rigid styles, such as easy transport and storage and lighter weight.

Can one person use a two-person kayak?

It is definitely possible, but it depends on the design and the skill of the paddler. Controlling a two-seat kayak by yourself is going to be more challenging work than with a friend. If you want a two-seat kayak for the extra space, then consider looking for the smaller models. You’ll find them more manageable both on and off the water.

Conclusion

The quality and range of inflatable kayaks have really improved over early examples. Top-end inflatables are now even being used in competitions, which was unheard of just a few years ago.

For a small amount of money, an inflatable kayak can get you and your family out and having a great time on the water. They are easy to store and transport, folding flat to fit in your trunk, and small enough to keep in the corner of your garage.

Pick your new inflatable kayak carefully, and it will give you years of enjoyment.

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Martin Parker
Written by
Martin Parker