Offshore kayaking presents unique challenges and risks.
At the same time, however, it offers unique rewards, like the chance to catch tuna or grouper. More importantly, it takes you places you never thought possible and gives you a new perspective on life.
So how do you reap the rewards and mitigate the risks?
In addition to learning how to kayak and taking appropriate precautions such as monitoring weather conditions, having the right kayak is essential.
See, not every kayak will perform well for offshore adventures, and this is particularly true if you’ll be kayaking in the ocean.
If you’re venturing into saltwater, you need a kayak that can survive the pressure of the tides, surf, and ocean floor.
The ideal kayaks for the ocean should be stable even in windy and wavy conditions. It should absorb the power of the waves and turn on a dime and ride waves into the beach.
And one of the best things about inflatable kayaks for the ocean is they can be used not only on the ocean but also on sea, river, and lakes without losing performance.
If you don’t have space, room, or a way of lugging the hardtop kayaks, an inflatable kayak for the ocean would be a great choice.
To help you select the best inflatable kayaks for the ocean, we’ve rounded up a list of the top 5 options in the market.
From the general use models to those specifically designed to support particular activities, you’ll find a model that suits the needs of your ocean kayaking.
|Market Size for Inflatable Kayaks||Multimillion USD|
|Market Segments||1 person, 2 person, 3 person|
|Leading Players||Advanced Element, Sevylor, Aqua Xtreme, Gumotex boats, Sea Eagle, Aquaglide, TRAK Kayaks|
|Geographical Regions||North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, Middle East and Africa|
Table of Contents
The Best Inflatable Kayaks for Ocean For The Money
#1 Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe - EDITOR'S CHOICE
We love the Sea Eagle for several reasons, but the sheer versatility is probably what won over our hearts.
This option works well for the salt waters and for taking the sea, rivers, streams, and even the whitewater rapids up to Class III.
It’s also quite a hardy kayak that will survive the hardship of ocean kayaking.
Features and Benefits
I was a bit skeptical about this kayak, specifically the claims about its durability.
However, after taking it out, I’m happy to report it works as advertised.
The heavy-duty material on this model shows no wear and tear signs even after being drug through the sand and beaches.
We’ve also landed roughly on rocky shores with absolutely no mishaps and even got stuck on tree stumps and managed to free ourselves without any damage to the boat.
Overall, the Sea Eagle is well-designed and seems like an option that will last for several seasons without requiring replacement.
Sea Eagle has a declared capacity of three, which is awesome, especially for those with a young family of three like mine.
However, I wouldn’t recommend riding three adults on the yak, as their comfort would be super tight.
I use it with my 7-year old son in the middle, and we fit fine, but as he gets older, I don’t think it will accommodate all three of us comfortably. But as of right now, it works great, and I can even bring my dog, when my better half isn’t available for a ride.
And if you’re worried about the weight capacity, the Eagle’s 650-pound capacity will accommodate everyone without risk of sinking.
Yet, it’s an ultra-light kayak, especially for the weight capacity. Weighing a measly 26 pounds, it feels light to carry. We also love how it deflates quickly and folds into a compact shape for easy storage.
Sea Eagle’s stability is excellent, and from the user’s reviews, the kayak isn’t tipped easily even in good size waves from boat traffic.
Riding the kayak relieves us anxiety about a capsize, which is a relief, especially for those who don’t know how to take a swim.
The hull is thicker than the rest of the kayak for greater stability and efficiency when taking on the waves.
Directional stability is also great, with little wandering from side to side.
However, all that stability comes at a cost- the hull on this option isn’t the most efficient. When you stop paddling, the yak comes to a halt quickly, and as a result, it takes a fair amount of effort to keep moving.
Not a deal-breaker, but if you’re used to sleeker hulls, which glide over the water with efficiency, you might require some elbow grease to get moving on the sea Eagle.
Comfort and Convenience
Sea Eagle has several comfort-enhancing features, but one we like the most is the I-Beam construction that gives the yak rigidity and support.
It’s nothing revolutionary, but the natural chines on the Sea Eagle’s floor help with the speed and tracking performance. It’s easier to paddle effortlessly for long distances on this kayak.
The kayak also comes with deluxe seats, with nice back support and comfortable to sit in. You’ll save every moment paddling on this kayak.
#2 AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak - Premium Pick
Our second option, the Advanced Elements Kayak, is yet another practical and reliable watercraft.
We choose it as our runners because we feel it ticks several important boxes such as durability, ease of use, and fantastic performance.
Element Yak seems to have it all, especially for those who plan to take their adventures into the ocean.
But is it the right kayaks for you?
Features and Benefits
As a standard practice, we always start with the build quality because no matter how good a kayak is, no one wants to get stuck in the middle of the ocean because their yak popped or leaked.
Fortunately, for this option, durability is one less thing to worry about.
I treat mine like crap, and I’ve not run to any problems so far.
Some users have dragged it to the dock over some rock and logs without signs of wear and tear.
The kayak seems tough and will accommodate some pretty harsh landing, including beaches, rocky areas with barnacles, and wooded areas, too.
And when it comes to the water performance, it does take a beating, especially when there are some large waves, and not at one time does it break down.
As its name suggests, the Advanced Frame Convertible Kayak works well for two people but can be converted to a solo kayak.
When kayaking alone, I can remove one of the seats and move the other seat to the center for solo use.
Keep in mind that the kayak’s performance isn’t so good for a single person in the center as it’s too long for efficient paddling. It takes too much effort to get it going.
But when used as a tandem kayak, don’t expect so much space for gear.
Advanced Kayak is a tandem kayak capable of holding users comfortably.
I find the kayak the perfect pick for a couple and friends.
I can either use either kayak with my son/wife or take my dog with me.
I also love the fact that it comes with a generous weight capacity of 550 pounds, so it can comfortably accommodate my partner and me and still leave some extra capacity for my gear.
Advanced Elements Kayak is surprisingly stable, and I love that my son can stand up in the front and dive into the water without capsizing or making the board feel tippy,
The wide length also allows us to launch from the beach in small to moderate waves without any major problem.
It survives the windy, choppy ocean condition and even takes about 3 feet swells and white caps without tipping.
Tracking performance is also magnificent, and you’ll love how it moves with relatively little resistance. The skeg tracking fins offer directional control, allowing you, even beginners, to achieve a fairly straight path.
#3 Saturn Pro-Angler Kayak - Best for Anglers
Ocean kayaking is a popular option for fishing, and this kayak from Saturn is meant for just that.
It comes with several convenient features to promote easy angling even on high waters.
The kayak is also reliable, and like the other options on our list, it has everything you may need for ocean kayaking.
Features and Benefits
We have dragged this yak over rocks, sharpies, and even landed on rocky beaches with no problems.
Also, running aground on some submerged rocks even at full speed does little damage to the kayak.
The heavy-duty PVC construction on this model ensures it can survive anything the high seas throw at it.
It also features a double-PVC fabric on the floor and air tubes to prevent accidental puncture by fish hooks.
Our dog’s nails also do not harm the cover and won’t compromise the yak’s structural integrity.
Dedicated Fishing Kayak
The PVC cover isn’t the only feature that makes this kayak suitable for fishing.
Saturn package comes complete with two aluminum benches measuring 2.5′ long x 8″ wide, which I find handy mounting platforms for my angling essentials such as fish finders and rod holders.
The kayak is also spacious, enough to accommodate you and your partner, and still leave your gear extra space.
You can store your cooler for the extra space to ensure you fish don’t go bad and even hold some of your fishing essentials.
Along with the interiors space, this kayak also comes with 8-D rings for your gear to give you additional space.
Saturn weighs 43 pounds, which we feel isn’t so much for an option that can hold 700 pounds.
This kayak’s weight capacity can comfortably hold three people without sinking, though we recommend using it for two.
Paddling the Saturn Kayak is a delight as this watercraft doesn’t feel tippy.
It’s a sturdy option, and even when rocked by the waves, swells, and tide, it doesn’t rock as other yaks do.
I find the sturdiness quite a handy feature for this kayak as I can now cast my reel or even net without the risk of capsizing.
And when reeling, it doesn’t tilt in a single direction, even if your catch is big.
Tracking performance is equally excellent, with the single removable in at the bottom helping with directional maneuverability.
It’s easier even for beginners to achieve a fairly straight line while paddling and avoid any obstacles on their way.
#4 ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge Angler - Best for Speed
Fourth, our list of the best inflatable kayaks for the ocean is the Strait Edge Angler, yet another watercraft from Advanced Elements.
Like its sibling we had looked at earlier, this kayak ticks the boxes for the best ocean kayak features.
It’s a perfect option for kayaking, though we feel its dimensions also point out to a kayak that can easily achieve speed while maintaining stability.
Let’s see what this model has in store for us:
Features and Benefits
The build quality of this kayak goes beyond ocean use.
It’s also rated for class 3 rivers, and true to word, I am super rugged and durable.
I’ve taken it to class 3 rapids, rivers, & lakes, which doesn’t skimp on the performance.
The multi-layered material, added abrasion pads and multiple air chambers provide maximum durability for the most aggressive conditions.
It also handles the saltwater activities like a champ, an ol’ veteran, and the swell wakes, and rapids almost nothing with this yak.
StraitEdge Angler won’t win you any racing competition, but it’ll emerge as a winner when placed against other competing inflatables.
Part of this is the shallow bow and stern landing plates that let you paddle full speed without being obstructed by the friction.
Of course, they aren’t any speedier than hardtops of the same class, but their shorter dimension and hull design mean they can achieve more speed with less effort.
For this, I find them as the perfect watercraft for those who need a kayak for touring or covering long distances.
Now, it’s easy to think that the speed and shorter stature comes at the expense of stability. We also thought so, but to our surprise, this yak doesn’t compromise on the stability.
Strait Edge, sporting two outer chambers, offers un-waivered stability and will help maintain the kayak in an upright condition in almost any condition.
I’ve survived 3 feet wakes and swells in the ocean on this kayak, and not at even one time did I feel that I was going to tip or capsize.
And when riding on the class 3 rapids, you won’t even feel any bumps. You also don’t have to do any paddling at all, thanks to the wonderful stability. Instead, you only feel as if you’re riding on a huge air cushion.
The comfort of this kayak is also top-notch, and every second on this boot is a delight.
First, it’s an open-top design, so I can sit in it however I wish, whether feet forward, over the side, Indian style, or simply lay on it.
It also has a generous weight capacity of 300 pounds, and for the big users like, it makes for a fun day in the ocean.
#5 Intex Explorer K2 Kayak- 2 Person - Budget Option
One of the reasons why we picked the K2 is the price.
If you feel you’re a bit low on pockets and can’t afford some of our previously reviewed items, the K2 would be a great pick.
It’s not the most performance-oriented option but will do just fine for the casual weekend fun.
Features and Benefits
Let’s first shed some light on the durability and build quality.
Contrary to what you would imagine for a budget pick, this option isn’t flimsy.
It’s a solid choice, with the beefed-up vinyl exterior helping the boat conquer pierce waves in lakes and rivers.
While its construction may not necessarily be the best out there, it defeats most of its opponents, especially considering its available price.
And lastly, it comes with vibrant yellow color, and while it might not be the best hue for me, its visibility certainly touches the heights.
Intex doesn’t cut corners when it comes to comfort.
The seats on this option are well built, and we love how we can adjust them according to height and size anytime.
This way, it becomes easier, especially for a tall guy like me, to find a better resting position inside the kayak.
And given the kayak is quite a spacious option, it gives me the freedom of movement and plenty of wiggle room. I no longer have to feel like I’m restricted in the kayak.
Performance for this kayak is quite decent, and while it comes nowhere close to some of our premium picks, it is sufficient for casual riders and beginners.
For starters, it has more stability and doesn’t rock back and forth on the water.
It also doesn’t feel tippy even on the choppy waters, and we love how it handles the wakes and swells of the ocean.
The windy conditions also have no major effect on the kayaks’ stability as it stays upright and stable, regardless of the condition.
And if you need more directional stability, you’ll appreciate the removable skeg that helps with better tracking and maneuverability.
With the help of two separate air compartments, you don’t need to worry in case you come across a hole, which by the way, is hard to come by.
You’ll also love the grab handles that offer you a tighter grip on the kayak, which docking.
Best Inflatable Kayaks for Ocean Buying Guide
The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting inflatable kayaks for the ocean is the location of use, portability, stability, durability, and storage options.
We shall go into details on the factors to consider when selecting a kayak or ocean shortly;
Factors to Consider When Selecting Inflatable Kayaks for Ocean
When choosing a kayak, you need to consider where you’ll mostly be using it for ocean adventures.
While ocean waters can be calm, not every kayak is suitable for the ocean waters.
Sometimes, the ocean can get wild, so you also have to pick an option that can withstand rough and open water easily.
The yak for the ocean should be easy to transport.
It should deflate easily and should allow easy folding.
When folded, it should also take a compact size and dimension, one that is easy to stash in your car’s trunk.
Finally, it should also be lightweight, and though there’re fewer backpacking inflatables, it should be easy to lug to your car or at the beach.
You want to stay afloat while kayaking, so you would want to pick an option that offers the greatest stability.
Your choice of kayak shouldn’t feel tippy and should put you at risk of sinking.
A great thing with the stable kayaks is they’re both comfortable and easy to use.
The perfect kayaks shouldn’t also have any sway, even on choppy waters.
The last thing you want with your kayaks is only using them for a handful of trips.
Inflatables for the ocean should be designed from reliable fabric that lasts for several seasons.
It should be hard to puncture and survive the rocks, logs, or other obstacles you may encounter in the ocean.
Choice of Materials
The choice of materials used on an inflatable for the ocean is crucial to the watercraft’s durability and reliability.
PVC is one of the popular materials used on inflatables, and we love it because it’s durable and doesn’t wear out easily. However, it tends to break down if exposed to the sun for extended periods.
Hypalon is yet another common material for kayaks and probably the most abrasion-resistant materials on the market. It will survive a collision with rocks or other obstacles without signs of wear. However, it’s an expensive material, and the price of the kayak reflects this.
Finally, we’ve nylon, yet another durable material, but lighter than Hypalon.
However, it’s always good to keep in mind that regardless of the materials used, it’s too easy for a puncture to occur, so always have a repair kit with you.
A kayak’s capacity refers to the number of people or pets you can bring along with you. It also includes the amount and volume of gear your inflatable can hold.
When choosing a kayak, consider how many people you want to bring along, and more importantly, the gear’s weight. Often, we see people failing to account for their gear or pets when considering their kayak’ weight capacity.
Also, understand that seating capacity is different from maximum weight capacity. Just because a kayak says it can hold three people doesn’t necessarily mean it can comfortably accommodate all three people.
How much you can afford to spend on an inflatable kayak is essential.
Before making a purchase, you need to set a budget ahead and know that you can pay anywhere from $200 up to $1,000 for a decent model.
And like all things in life, you get what you pay for. Often, the kayak quality directly relates to the price. The premium options are made from quality materials and are more likely to last than the cheaper options.
How much compartments and size of storage you need depends on how much gear you intend to bring and the type of kayaking you’ll perform.
For instance, if you’re planning for quick day trips, you don’t need much storage. On the other hand, however, if you’ll be going on a fishing expedition, then you need a yak with plenty of storage for your cooler and fishing accessories.
The overall length of a kayak determines how stable a kayak is.
You’ll generally want to avoid anything longer than 14 inches for ocean kayaks as those lengths are unstable.
The length of your kayaks is also determined by how tall or short you are, as shorter kayaks, as stable as they are, may not be comfortable for taller guys.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our list consists of some fantastic optics, but we feel the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe stand out from the rest.
It’s a heavy-duty and reliable option that will survive the ocean’s harshness and take on the waves and other obstacles like a champ.
Tracking performance is decent and will make it easier for beginners to move the kayak in a fairly straight line.
It comes at a cost, though, but we feel it’s worth every penny.