Kayaking is an amazing outdoor experience, but for some, storing, transporting, and even just lifting the long and often heavy plastic kayak hull is impractical. Luckily for those of you with those concerns, there is a solution that lets you get in on the kayaking craze without all the considerations that go into owning a traditional kayak.

Inflatable kayaks are the best they have ever been, offering a full paddling experience at a lower cost and simpler ‘off-water’ logistics. Sit inside, Sit on Top, Tandem, and even fishing variants are available from Advanced Elements, meaning there isn’t a single type of on water experience you can’t get.

Let us walk you through a few examples to get you started on learning about this great alternative to the traditional kayak.

Sit Inside Solo

We’ll focus on Advanced Elements here and give you a few options to look at. First up is the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Inflatable Kayak. It’s 10 foot 5 inches long and 32 inches wide meaning that you’ll be both stable on the water while maintaining a decent speed. Your ability to track will be aided by a skeg tracking fin that comes with the kayak. Most impressively this kayak only weighs 26lbs! This means you could pack it up and get it to the best secluded mountain lakes better than just about any other boat on the market. It has a capacity of 250lbs, which means it can handle an average paddler and a little gear.

If you need a little more capacity, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak is available with the same length, width, and skeg, but a 300lbs capacity and a weight of 36lbs. Each of these can be inflated with any pump, be it foot bellow, hand pump, or electrics. Each of these can also be outfitted with an Advanced Elements Backbone making them more rigged, further improving their tracking. Alternatively there is an Ultralight version that brings the weight down to a miniscule 17.5 lbs. Think about that. You can carry a kayak around that’s the same weight as a small dog or a fat cat. Pretty impressive.

If you’re looking to make a more costal kayaking trip, the Advanced Elements AirFusion EVO Inflatable Kayak. Set up with a first of its kind fusion of aluminum alloy frame poles and high-pressure, dropstitch air tubes, this 13 foot long 24 inch wide kayak is ready to be the ultimate performance kayak in your inflatable fleet. Weighing only 32lbs and having a capacity of 235lbs, it’s perfect for your touring needs. Did I mention that it packs down to 35 x 21 x 9 inches? It’s small enough to pack up in your closet or attic when not in use.

Sit On Top Solo

We’ll start off the Sit On Tops with our lightest and most affordable kayak ever. Weighing in at just 4lbs is the Advanced Elements PackLite Inflatable Kayak. At 7 foot 10 inches, it’s not the fastest boat around, but at 35 inches wide, it is very stable. It features a 250lbs capacity and is ideal for smaller paddlers and children. It doesn’t have much in the way of features and lacks a dedicated seat, but at $179.96, it’s hard to say no.

If you need a little more heft to your SOT, then the Advanced Elements StraitEdge Inflatable Kayak might be right for you. It is 9 foot 8 inches long, 35 inches wide, and has a 300lbs capacity while only weighing 34lbs. It’s got enough space to even bring a small cooler with you while packing up small enough to fit easily in the trunk of your car.

If you’re the more adventurous type, the Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater Inflatable Kayak is made for you. It’s 9 and a half feet long and 32 inches wide with a 235lb capacity, while only weighing 34lbs. It’s hull is made of durable 840 Denier PVC Tarpaulin to take all the abuse that white water kayaking will throw at it. It also has a self-draining covered rear cargo hold for stashing your gear!

Tandem

First up is the Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak. It’s just over 11 feet long and 37 inches wide with a 400lb capacity and only weighs 31.5lbs making it an excellent tandem or solo kayak. It has adjustable paddle seats and a deep tracking fin, so you’ll be able to keep your kayak on course comfortably.

If you want the Sit Inside tandem experience, the Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Tandem Inflatable Kayak was made with you in mind. The bow and stern are designed to maintain their rigged form to help you cut through the water and a skeg tracking fin helps nail the tracking. At 12 foot long and 35 inches wide and a 350lbs capacity, this is designed with performance in mind and at 37lbs, it’s still lighter than most ultralight single rotomolded kayaks.

Last up is the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak. It’s the big brother of the AdvanceFrame we talked about back in the Sit On Top Section. This big boy is unique though in that is has deck options that allow you to convert it into a single or tandem sit inside design. Add to that its 15 foot long, 34 inch wide design with a massive 550lbs capacity while still only weighing 56lbs and you have an inflatable that can go toe to toe with hard shell kayak. With the addition of the Advanced Elements Backbone Advanced Frame Convertible – AFC there is no downside to going for this kayak.

Fishing

Here at ACK we know how popular fishing kayaks are and Advanced Elements isn’t one to be left out with both the Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Inflatable Kayak and the Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro Inflatable Kayak.

The StraitEdge Angler features a comfortable high back seat with rod holders built right into the back for easy access as well as a revolutionary removable mounting rail system that allows you to mount anything from rod holders to fish finders at the front of your kayak. Add to this the a printed ruler along the deck of the kayak and you have everything you need to get the best fish in places where other kayak anglers can’t even attempt to go. At 9 foot 5 inches wide, 35 inches wide, with a 300lbs capacity, and weighing in at 41lbs. It’s ready for your next fishing adventure.

If you want the ultimate in inflatable kayak fishing, there is the Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro Inflatable Kayak. Think of it as the big brother to the StraitEdge Angler. It is bigger at 10 and a half feet long and 38 and a half inches wide with a 400lbs capacity and still only weighing 45lbs, this is the beast of the inflatable world. It is even stable enough to stand and cast from! It has a AirFrame PRO seat with mesh paneling similar to the stadium seating in many hardshell angler kayaks and two of the accessory rail systems, one in the front and one in the back. If you’re serious about kayak angling, you owe it to yourself to give it a look.

Accessories

Wrapping up this post I want to give you a look at a few quick accessories that can really tie your inflatable purchase together. First off, you’ll want a good pump. A foot bellows style pump lets you use the biggest muscles in your body to fill up your kayak with minimal fatigue. Alternatively, a good hand pump can do the work quickly and come in double action styles which speed up your filling.

A quick step up is getting one with a gauge attached to monitor the pressure inside your inflatable at a glance. Advanced Elements also makes a single action pump designed to push the maximum amount of air in a single downstroke for high pressure output. If using your legs or arms sounds like too much work for you, there is also an electric option that plugs right into your car’s 12 volt lighter.

Advanced Elements also makes a 4 piece pack light paddle to compliment your ability to save space and keep your gear tight. It packs down to just 25 inches, unpacks to 230 cm, and can feather left and right up to 60 degrees.

If you want to keep paddling to a minimum, Advanced Elements has the RapidUp Sail ready to go. Designed to conform to the deck of your inflatable, this sail quickly deploys and stows to let you harvest the power of the all mighty wind. Let nature do the work for you!

Lastly is the Advanced Elements Accessory Frame System. This is the same system that can be found on the StraitEdge Angler series, but is sold standalone so that you can convert any of your kayaks into an angler version. That’s right, you can turn your favorite inflatable into a fishing machine with this kit and your favorite fishing accessories.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Inflatables are an affordable, lightweight option to get out on the water. Make sure to visit ACK.com and see the entire lineup of inflatable kayaks we have on offer!