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How to find the Best Inflatable Kayak for Whitewater in 2021?

How to find the Best Inflatable Kayak for Whitewater in 2021?

A guide to the best inflatable kayaks for whitewater excursions

Hitting whitewater with a kayak is outrageously fun. However, you would never want to play around with an inappropriate kayak in water that presents a level of danger!

Any experienced whitewater kayaker will tell you that you need a whitewater kayak that can stand up to the abuses that rapids inflict on your boat, and what better than whitewater inflatable kayaks? 

The best inflatable kayaks for whitewater can be used for paddling down the rapids, maneuvering around large rocks, and performing crazy tricks. You also have the benefit of greater control, stability, and maneuverability with inflatable whitewater kayaks.

male paddler with an inflatable whitewater kayak - Poudre River below Mishiwaka, Colorado in early spring

Inflatable kayak for whitewater also provide other benefits. They are easy to carry and transport, quick to inflate and deflate in under 10 minutes, and you can even learn basic as well as advanced rafting skills. 

Inflatable whitewater rafts are made of high-quality material and are very durable and reliable. You can expect as much as 9-10 years of use from the best inflatable whitewater kayak!

Due to the demands of being on fast-moving water, getting the best whitewater inflatable kayak means getting the one that excels in some key areas.

In case you’re looking for an inflatable kayak for fishing, read here the full guide about the best inflatable fishing kayaks.

Here, in this guide, I will investigate those key areas and show you the 7 best inflatable whitewater kayaks available to help choose the perfect one for you. 

Overview: Best Inflatable Kayaks for Whitewater

NameImagePaddlersWeightRatingPrice
STAR Raven ISTAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak REI Co-op138 poundsGreat budget option!Check here
AIRE Tributary Tomcat SoloAIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak - Colorado Kayak140 lbsInsider's pickCheck here
STAR Raven II TandemSTAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak REI Co-op2
38 pounds
Affordable option for tandem kayakCheck here
AIRE Tributary Tomcat TandemAIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak - Colorado Kayak254 lbsEditor's pick for 2 people kayakCheck here
Sevylor Tahiti Plus 3-Person Kayaksevylor tahiti inflatable kayak 3 people326 lbsBudget option for 3-people kayakCheck here

Where to buy inflatable kayaks for whitewater?

If you have been thinking where to purchase inflatable whitewater rafts online from, I recommend you buy from REI.com or Colorado Kayak Supply.

REI.comREI.com has a strong focus on sustainability standards and has top-notch eco-friendly policies in place. That means that you find great sustainable travel and travel gear to choose from. Also, they are your go-to source for expert outdoor knowledge that you can trust. This is what makes them the best online store to purchase an inflatable kayak for whitewater. 

Check inflatable kayaks at REI.com
Colorado KayakColorado Kayak Supply is an e-commerce retailer specialized in premium quality paddle sports equipment and accessories. They also offer product reviews to buy the best gear. Even as a kayaking beginner, you can get ample paddle tips here. 

Check inflatable kayaks at Colorado Kayak

Best Inflatable Kayaks for Whitewater for 1 Person

Top Pick – NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak

The NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak is one of the most aggressive whitewater inflatable kayaks present on the market.

The NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak is equipped with integrated flat bags that keep you from getting submerged by crashing waves. Ideal for small paddlers.

Comfort

The NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak is one of the best whitewater kayaks for beginners as it has a blow and stern flotation chamber that functions as a back band and bulkhead, creating a comfortable and secure cockpit.

It also has thigh straps that lock you in for eddy turns, surfing, bracing, and even rolling. 

Inflation & Durability

The NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak is built with advanced formula PVC material using state-of-the-art seam welding technology making it resistant to abrasion, offering longevity, and air retention.

The top-quality Leadfield C7 ensures trouble-free inflation and deflation. 

Other features

The NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak has bow and stern handles that make it easy to carry to and from the water. It also includes a carry bag, pump, and repair kit. 

Highlights

  • Responsive, high-performance design
  • Inflatable bow and stern displacement chambers 
  • 4″ drop-stitch PVC floor insert inflates to a rigid 8-10 psi
  • 3-year retail warranty and 2-year commercial
  • Great outdoor gift idea for her

Insider’s Tip – AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak

If you are looking for a solid inflatable kayak for whitewater, the AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak is the one to pick.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak has high-performance AIRE cell technology combined with great design and an affordable price. 

Comfort

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak is very stable and the standard AIRE seat is quite comfortable making it the best whitewater kayak for beginners. It also has a quick self-bailing floor with mesh drain holes to quickly drain excess water. 

Inflation & Durability

Made of heavy-duty PVC material with seam welding technology, the AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak is very durable. It is resistant to tear and abrasion.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak has high-quality Summit II valves that make inflation and deflation a breeze. 

Other features

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak is a stable inflatable whitewater raft great for paddling, but if you flip, there are handles on the underside that makes it easy to flip back upright.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak has 12 pairs of cargo loops for easy attachment, thigh straps, and other gear and accessories. 

Highlights

  • Bow and stern handle to easily carry.
  • D-rings on bow and stern for attaching gear or tethering to shore
  • Repair kit included.
  • One-year warranty

Budget Option – STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak

Stable, responsive, and efficient, the STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak gives you confidence on moving water and waves without slowing you down for extended tours. The self-bailing drop-stitch floor keeps you dry making it fun to paddle on any river. 

Comfort

The STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak offers a stable and comfortable position over water with its 4” drop-stitch PVC floor insert inflates.

The padded seat provides a strong and comfortable paddling position and is fordable. The STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak also has hook and loop fasteners that further keep the seat solidly positioned. 

Inflation & Durability

Inflating and deflating the STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak is trouble-free with top-quality Leadfield C7 valves. It is also quite durable and resistant to abrasion as it is made of advanced-formula PVC material with seam welding technology. 

Other features

The adjustable seat attaches to D-rings in the boat, making the STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak easy to set up, roll up, and store. The bow and stern handles make it easy to carry to and from the water.

The STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak also has 2 straps that hold the drop-stitch floor insert securely. 

Highlights

  • High-pressure drop-stitch floor
  • Bow and stern carry handles
  • 2 stern D-rings for rigging gear
  • Includes carry bag, pump, and repair kit

Best Inflatable Kayaks for WhiteWater for 2 People

Top Pick – STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak doubles your fun on the water. It has a self-bailing drop-stitch floor and two folding seats provide a stable and comfortable ride for two paddlers.

The sleek continuous curve tubes keep the STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak efficient and maneuverable. 

Comfort

The STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak has two folding padded folding seats that provide a strong and comfortable paddling position.

The 4″ drop-stitch PVC floor insert inflates to a rigid 8-10 psi that gives the paddlers a stable and comfortable position above the water. 

Inflation & Durability

The STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak is built with advanced-formula PVC material using state-of-the-art seam welding technology, which results in superior abrasion resistance, longevity, and air retention.

The top-quality Leafield C7 valves ensure trouble-free and easy inflation and deflation.

Other features

The STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable Kayak adjustable seats attach quickly to D-rings in the boat, making the kayak easy to set up, roll up, and store. The additional hook and loop fasteners attach to the floor to keep the seat solidly positioned.

Highlights

  • Bow and stern carry handles 
  • High-pressure drop-stitch floor
  • Includes carry bag, pump, and repair kit
  • 3 year retail limited warranty

Insider’s Tip – AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak is a highly affordable, quick self-bailing whitewater inflatable kayak that is great for two people wanting to do recreational whitewater paddling.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak is a great entry-level kayak with high-performance features.

Comfort

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak has three main air chambers for safety and two inflatable thwart seats for support and comfort. The seats also provide great back support and can be located where you want them. 

Inflation & Durability

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak is made of abrasion and tear-resistant PVC outer shell, with welded seams, and encloses the rugged vinyl AIRE cell inner bladder.

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak for whitewater is easy to inflate and deflate through its high-quality Summit II valves. 

Other features

The AIRE Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak has 18 pairs of cargo loops for easy attachment of dry bags, thigh straps, and other gear and accessories. This inflatable whitewater raft also has a sturdy bow and stern handles to easily carry it. 

Highlights

  • D-rings on bow and stern for attaching gear
  • Self-bailing floor
  • Repair kit included
  • One-year warranty

Budget Option – Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak

The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak is one of the most highly rated whitewater inflatable kayaks out there. It not only performs well but it looks great too and gives you a high amount of control on the water.

The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak is highly durable, lightweight, and portable as well as gives you a large range of agility when you are out there on the water. 

Comfort

The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak has adjustable EVA padded seats with high back support for comfortable maneuverability.

Inflation & Durability

The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak fully inflates to a full-sized kayak in less than 5 minutes. Made of reinforced layered PVC side tubes, heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin bottom provides durable protection from punctures. 

Other features

The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak has a rigid high-pressure drop stitch floor, removable flatwater tracking fin, and ample rocker profile deliver unmatched stability and control in rough and flat water. Suitable up to class III and IV rapids with 5 self-bailing ports. 

Highlights

  • Adjustable EVA padded seats
  • Plentiful tie-down points
  • 5 self-bailing ports
  • Includes deluxe double action hand pump, rear tracking fin, and travel bag

Best Inflatable Kayaks for WhiteWater for 3 People

Budget Option – Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe Inflatable Sea Kayak

The Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe Inflatable Sea Kayak is a large inflatable kayak for whitewater rafting from Sevylor which is ideal for people looking for more surface when they are navigating through that rushing water.

The Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe Inflatable Sea Kayak comfortably fits 3 people for a great kayaking adventure and is very budget-friendly. 

Comfort

The Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe Inflatable Sea Kayak is surprisingly stable and tracks nearly like a traditional hard shell kayak. It has three adjustable seats that provide a comfortable position to all three paddlers.

Inflation & Durability

With the Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe Inflatable Sea Kayak, you don’t have to worry about durability. It is made of high-quality PVC material with added reinforcements to make sure it doesn’t get damaged while on the water.

The double-threaded Boston Valves allows fast and easy inflation and deflation.

Other elements’ features

The Sevylor Tahiti Plus 2+1 Man Canadian Canoe Inflatable Sea Kayak is divided into multiple air chambers which guarantee that even if one of them starts losing air, you still remain safe.

The spray covers at the bow and stern repel water splash and keep the cockpit dry.

Highlights

  • D-rings on the hull
  • Sevylor Airtight System guarantees no leaks
  • NMMA certified
  • Includes carry bag and pressure gauge

Insider’s Pick – Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak

If you are looking for a reliable portable kayak that’s perfectly suited for 3 people, the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak might be the best option.

Whether you are looking for a whitewater kayak or just want to paddle on a tranquil lake, the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe is your go-to kayak.

Comfort

The Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak can fit up to 3 people and can easily carry up to 650 pounds of cargo and people. It’s thus perfect if you want to go on a multi-day kayak excursion. With friends or as a couple…or why not, bring your pet? 

Inflation & Durability

The Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak is incredibly durable which will make your whitewater kayak experience extremely enjoyable and worry-free. The hull is very resistant, even to the claws of your pet.

Inflation is quick and convenient since the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak comes with a dedicated foot paddle. And this in a record-time of 6 minutes!

Other elements’ features

The Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak comes with a handy carry bag and 2 inflatable, removable seats since it has a 3 person capacity. The rear rope and valves make it extremely easy to carry.

The Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak comes with a foot pump and 2 paddles.

Highlights

  • Covered front and rear storage
  • 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking
  • Just 32 lbs! Which makes it extremely easy to carry
  • Durable floor to bring your pet

Buying Guide: What to look out for when buying an inflatable kayak for whitewater?

Before you rush out and do some shopping, let me talk a little about what you need to look for in whitewater inflatable kayaks to make your adventure safe and fun. 

Scupper Holes

The kayak must be self-bailing. When rafting on super high rapids the water will pour into the kayak no matter the skill of the paddler. So, when shopping for an inflatable whitewater kayak, ensure that it is one that drains and dries super-fast.

Portability

Portability is another important factor to consider when buying a whitewater inflatable kayak. Being portability means you can easily carry it to the shore as well as easily fit into your car’s trunk. 

Short & Wide Design

The best design for inflatable whitewater kayaks is one that is short and wide. Such a design will require you to put less effort into steering the kayak since the moving water helps to propel the kayak.  

Material 

The material of inflatable kayaks is a fair key to their success and popularity. The fabric needs to be durable enough to not pop at the sight of sharp rock, but light enough to pack down and transport without the use of a trailer.


Short FAQ about Inflatable Whitewater Kayaks

Are Inflatable Whitewater Kayaks Safe?

Inflatable whitewater kayaks are a lot safer than many people think but it’s still important to know your inflatable kayak safety tips to ensure that you are as secure as possible when you’re out there. 

Why Should I Get A Blow-Up Whitewater Kayak?

Blow-up whitewater kayaks are incredibly portable and easy to take from one place to another. Also, it is well constructed and made with high-quality materials for extra durability.

What is the best inflatable kayak under $500?

There are various inflatable whitewater kayaks that you can get for under $500. Some of the kayaks that will give you quite a bit for money and perform decently are the Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak, the Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Whitewater Kayak, the STAR Raven I Inflatable Kayak, and the NRS STAR Viper Whitewater Inflatable Kayak to name a few. 



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Amy

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

This is so helpful, thank you! I have a paddleboard and want a kayak, so an inflatable one is the only way I can fit it :P

Paulina

Monday 21st of September 2020

Many thanks for your kind comment! Oh I want a paddleboard too!! :) Safe travels!