What is the best inflatable kayak to buy for under $500? There’s more than one answer to this question. The answer depends on you and what your specific needs are. There are a few things you need to consider:
There are different styles, for example, sit-on-top vs. sit-inside. How many seats do you need? Are you wanting a tandem kayak with two seats? Or do you only need one seat? What’s your planned water environment and activities? Paddling in a lake, bay, ocean surf or even a small pond?
So considering all the different features and the needs of different people it’s hard to designate any one inflatable kayak as being the best for under $500. For instance a big guy might need a higher load capacity compared to a smaller person. Below you will find a few of what we think are the best choices in different styles (sit-on-top and sit inside), tandem 2 person and solo kayaks, different water environments (lakes, bays, ocean surf, rivers) and examples of the best inflatable kayaks for big, small and all people in between.
Short reviews of our recommended choices under $500
AIRHEAD AHTK-2 Montana Performance 2 Person Kayak
The Airhead AHTK-2 Montana is one of the highest quality models on the list. Made from heavy gauge PVC it’s also one of the most durable. As you can see in the image this is a tandem 2 person kayak. It’s designed for paddling in lakes and moderate white rivers. It’s lightweight at 36 lbs with a carrying capacity of 500 pounds. This model is a great deal at it’s current price of $310. The Airhead AHTK-2 Montana has received a number of positive reviews and high rating from customers. Read what they say.
Advanced Elements FireFly Inflatable Kayak
If you are a beginner looking for an affordable introduction to the sport before upgrading to a more expensive model (if you decide to) the Advanced Elements FireFly is an excellent choice. Of course there are both pro’s and con’s to this model. First with the good. Affordable price $219. Stability it’s a hard on to flip over. This is an exteremly stable kayak. And it’s lightweight, portable and since it’s an inflatable not much storage space is need. The con’s go like this. although is does have good tracking (stays straight and easy to change directions) it does lack speed. If you want to take long trips or take it on a camping expedition down a river there is no space to store supplies. This is a recreational kayak built for light paddling on a lake or slow moving river. There are a number of people who have reviewed and rated the Advanced Elements positively. Read more here.
Rave Sea Rebel Inflatable Kayak
This is a good example of an affordable sit-on-top inflatable kayak built for one person (Price: $160). Air pump and adjustable seat included the Rave Sea Rebel excels in the virtues of comfort and easy set-up. It’s also quite lightweight and portable weighing only around 19 pounds. Recommended water environments: lake, river and stream paddling. It’s also quite versatile in that it can be used for simple relaxation on the water, transversing lakes and stream with a little more speed and could be used as a sit-on-top fishing kayak. Definitely not a professional or advanced preforming kayak but holds great value when considering it is priced under $200. The one con we will point out about this low-priced kayak is it doesn’t possess a high load capacity. If your over 200 lbs. don’t buy it.