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Best Portable Kayaks of 2021

Portable kayaks represent some of the greatest innovations in kayak technology. And not just because the creativity behind them will blow your sprayskirt off. Portable kayaks have made kayaking accessible to many of us who, otherwise, simply couldn't store or transport a kayak. By breaking down those barriers and prerequisites to owning a traditional kayak, portable kayaks have allowed the apartment-dwelling, bicycle-riding or compact-car-owning (or even no car at all) paddlers to own, store, and transport a kayak with ease.

Types of Portable Kayaks

Within portable kayaks, you'll notice there are several types to consider-

  • Inflatable Kayaks - these boats can run the range from very inexpensive to high-end performance craft. They all rely on air chambers to create the structure for the kayak.
  • Folding Kayaks - these kayaks combine a frame with an outer skin to create kayaks that are high-performance and very portable. Overall, they tend to be the most expensive but also have great performance features. One man, Hannes Lindemann, even paddled solo across the Atlantic and then wrote a book, Alone at Sea.
  • Modular Kayaks - a relatively new innovation in kayaks, these boats are designed with multiple pieces and often-times the pieces fit within one another for easy transport. Some boats can also be configured to allow for one, two or even a 100-person kayak!

When a 17-year-old paddleboarder was swept out to sea, his survival depended on his cell phone and the voice on the other end of the line.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Portable Kayak

There are tons of things to consider when buying a portable kayak. Before you start shopping based on price and color, you first need to consider:

  • How, Where and With Whom you plan to paddle with?
  • Which type of portable kayak? Folding, inflatable, or modular?
  • Number of Seats - do you plan to paddle solo or is tandem or 3-person ideal? Don't forget that some modular kayaks and inflatables can be converted from solo to tandem.
  • There is no one size fits all. The best portable kayak for you will be different than the best one for the next paddler.
  • Read these portable kayak reviews - they are submitted by paddlers like you!
  • Try it before you buy it. Research is key, but nothing beats getting on water with a boat. Talk to friends, borrow a boat, and contact your local retailer for a demo.

The best portable kayak for you is going to be different than the next paddler. And that's okay. You have to factor in everything from your experience, planned water types, durations, budget, and preferences. So use this list as a starting point. Get some ideas, read some reviews, look through the entire kayak gear guide, maybe browse the message boards, talk to your local paddlesports retailer or paddling groups, and get out and try it before you buy it! And, of course, when you're done, be sure to help the next paddler in their search by submitting a review!

Your Review Matters

This list was based primarily on reviews from paddlers just like you. If you have paddled a portable kayak, be sure to submit a review to inform others and have a voice in how this list is made.



Best Portable Kayaks of 2021

Aerius II 545 Classic

17' 11"
Length
34"
Width (in)
74
Weight (lb)
$3,956
MSRP

The Aerius Classic is truly a classic design from Klepper. While it certainly won't make the list for least-expensive, it's a time-tested performance kayak that has often outlived its owners.

  • Significant storage capacity for extended trips on lakes, open rivers and the ocean.
  • Construction is a gray reinforced Hypalon® Hull with a water proof breathable Egyptian cotton deck
  • The hand crafted frame is triple dipped Ash and Birch
  • Assembly is effortless with Klepper's unique patented Snap Lock system
  • Structure: Folding
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Aerius II 545 Classic Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(20 Consumer Reviews)

Expedition boat for the forgotten corners of our planet

It’s funny to read some of the other reviews in this section. Mostly they are from old timers reminiscing about the good old days. I guess I might fit into the “old timer” de… read full review

The frame is circa 1955, the…

The frame is circa 1955, the skin is 20 years newer, and with lots of TLC and $400 for hardware, everything goes together just fine....working with the sails in a strong wind… read full review

I've used an Aerius II to…

I've used an Aerius II to kayak with the owner of Klepper Kayak company and several other persons in Alaska and off the coast of Yugoslavia. They performed great. I bought … read full review

AdvancedFrame Sport

10' 5"
Length
32"
Width (in)
26
Weight (lb)
$449.99
MSRP

A highly-rated inflatable kayak that is a great choice for a first-time buyer. The lower cost makes it affordable for most paddlers. It's a great choice for protected waters and slow moving rivers. Advanced Elements offers a variety of models in the AdvancedFrame series including the AdvancedFrame Convertible that can be paddled solo or tandem.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • carrying duffel
  • Repair kit included.
  • folding seat

AdvancedFrame Sport Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(15 Consumer Reviews)

I originally posted a…

I originally posted a terrible product review here and I have to say that I was WRONG. The Customer service is Incredible. They were responsive and helpful. I am looking forw… read full review

I've wanted a kayak for years…

I've wanted a kayak for years and never bought one because i live in a condo and had nowhere to keep it and refused to by a blow up because they are sluggish in the water.adv… read full review

Excellent customer service…

Excellent customer service from Advanced Elements - answered my questions quickly before I bought. I needed an alternate kayak to my hard shell, and the inflatable DS model … read full review

Lynx II

by AIRE
12' 6"
Length
39"
Width (in)
43
Weight (lb)
$1,699
MSRP

Looking for a kayak that is up for whitewater adventure, then the Lynx II is your boat. Their tried and true design performs well on big water, creeks and local river sections. Lynx kayaks are all-around whitewater craft built for day-long outings and small extended trips. Paddle the Lynx II tandem or use its increased load capacity to gear up for longer trips, paddling solo.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Tube Diameter: 11.5"
  • Bow Rise x Stern Rise: 15"
  • Weight: 43
  • 2" Waterline: 91
  • Aire Chambers: 3
  • AIREcell Material: Urethane
  • Fabric Denier x Material Weight: 1100 x 24/27
  • Seam Construction: Welded
  • Valve: Leafield C7
  • Warranty: 10 Year No Fault

Lynx II Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(13 Consumer Reviews)

I have used/own several Aire…

I have used/own several Aire Inflatable kayaks for day use and multi-day float trips, e.g. the Escalante, Big Horn Canyon, and the Owyhee. My floating partner also used an A… read full review

The AIRE Lynx II is the most…

The AIRE Lynx II is the most versatile IK I have ever operated. More importantly though, is the warranty AND service I have experienced with this company. No one else can c… read full review

We bought 2 Lynx II…

We bought 2 Lynx II inflatable kayaks when our children were young. That was 20 years ago. They are still in use. People cannot believe they are that old. I have had to patch… read full review

The Mark II Package

17'
Length
36"
Width (in)
77–91
Weight (lb)
$5,235
Base MSRP

Long Haul Folding Kayaks may not be a household name but they are well known by paddlers interested in durable performance kayaks for challenging conditions. The Mark II offers stability in the roughest conditions and for beginner paddlers. From the local lake, to the Florida Everglades, to the fjords of Norway, to the icy waters around Antarctica, the Mark II can take you there.

  • Structure: Folding
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • You may choose a fabric deck of either our cotton (blue, red, olive, mint, or black) or the SeaMark material, (blue, red, burgundy, forest green or black).
  • All hulls are tailored to your specs. Some of the custom features available include: lifeline, extra D-rings, tie-downs, full set keep strips, bow and/or stern oval deck hatch, Zippered loading deck hatch bow and/or stern.

The Mark II Package Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(6 Consumer Reviews)

I bought a Mark II special (6…

I bought a Mark II special (6 inches longer the standard) three years ago, and finally got it into the water this year due to C-19. I have owned FOLBOTs for 30 years and Cond… read full review

My wife and I went out to…

My wife and I went out to Long Haul Kayaks to pick up our kayak and the experience exceeded our expectations in every way. For us, that is a very strong statement but one wel… read full review

Last spring I purchased a…

Last spring I purchased a Long Haul Stretch Mark 2 for my wife and I. It is a tandem folding kayak. At 17 feet 5 inches long and 34 inches at the beam, it is not a small kaya… read full review

FastTrack™ 465ft

15' 3"
Length
36"
Width (in)
38
Weight (lb)
$1,149
MSRP

Looking for a 3-person kayak or tandem with a bunch of gear? The The Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack™ combines all the features of it's smaller sister, the 385ft FastTrack™ with the ability to carry more cargo and/or paddlers.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem, 3+
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • NMMA Certified
  • 2 Open and close drain valves
  • Front & rear spray skirts with storage below and elastic rope lacing for additional storage above
  • Separate inner High Pressure Drop Stitch floor for greater rigidity
  • Large, removable, swept back skeg at rear to control yaw and improve speed
  • Outside drop stitch high pressure keel at bow for true tracking
  • 18 D-rings to secure seats and gear
  • State of the art NeedleKnife Keel
  • Bow and stern grab handles

FastTrack™ 465ft Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(6 Consumer Reviews)

Used it on a 18 km trip for family of 4 with 160 lbs of gear

I've had this kayak for a few years. It's used great to go fishing with my 2 kids (9 and 11). The kayak is quick and easy to inflate. My kids have no problems paddling it. … read full review

Ok I wrote my original review…

Ok I wrote my original review when I first bought the Sea Eagle Fast Track in 2013, well now it's 2015 and I am updating it. Still love this thing, we will throw it in t… read full review

We have had our 465 for 5…

We have had our 465 for 5 years. We mainly use it in Yellowstone National Park on Lake Yellowstone. We have had this boat in big water, flat water, and rivers and never felt … read full review

AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite

The higher-performance version of the AdvancedFrame Sport, the AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite is a hybrid of a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak, it incorporates our proven aluminum rib-frame technology in the bow and stern, and Drop-stitch technology in the floor, to provide paddling performance that rivals that of a hard-shell kayak.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • carrying duffel
  • Repair kit included.
  • folding seat

AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
(28 Consumer Reviews)

First timer, since I left…

First timer, since I left scouts. I bought this two years ago with the drop stitch floor. It has worked well and let me get comfortable and decide to move on. The setting of … read full review

I've owned the AE1009 kayak…

I've owned the AE1009 kayak for 2 years and have put in with it over a dozen times. This was my first kayak. It's stable and tracks pretty well despite it's 32" wide profile.… read full review

We have owned two of these…

We have owned two of these inflatables since 2007 and have used them many times in several diverse locations and conditions. They set up rather quickly, 15 minutes by myself … read full review

Explorer 380x

12' 6"
Length
39"
Width (in)
38
Weight (lb)
$1,049
MSRP

Tackle your adventures in tandem. The 380x is made to be ridden by one or two persons. Now you can do what others only dream of with our most versatile kayak series ever! Designed to tackle whitewater, open-water, and now down-wind sailing! Large enough for two but small enough for one! The 380x does it all!

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo, Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • NMMA Certified
  • 16 High Capacity Self-bailing Drain Valves
  • Large, Removable, Swept Back Skeg for Flatwater Touring
  • Front & Rear Spray Skirts with Carry Handles and bungee cords
  • Separate Drop Stitch floor for rigidity
  • 24 D-rings to secure seats and gear
  • One-Way Air Valves
  • Sea Eagle motormount receivers for optional motormount

Explorer 380x Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(32 Consumer Reviews)

We bought this product last…

We bought this product last year (2020) and have now taken it out about 25 times. We are thrilled. Some posters mentioned it did not come with a removable skeg and those must… read full review

Be nice if it came with…

Be nice if it came with optional skegs for hitting white water then calm water and still being able to track well. It also does not come with an air pressure gauge and I thin… read full review

I love this craft... I have…

I love this craft... I have 3 inflatables...I have a little hatchback and love the beach, lakes, and reservoirs. I work hard and on my days off when there is no rain I am ou… read full review

Martini GTX Tandem / Solo

The Martini GTX is a decked, take-apart, touring kayak with a roomy and comfortable cockpit to explore with and then take back home in the back of your car. Like the sit-on-top version, the Martini GTX features the innovative patented Snap-Tap solution. The Martini GTX is designed with both kids and adults in mind. Whether paddling, fishing or just relaxing, this comfortable, stable and strong high-performance kayak is the ideal choice for family fun on the water.

  • Structure: Modular
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo, Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Ergonomically designed seat, backrest and foot braces
  • Integrated rudder and easily adjustable rudder pedals

Martini GTX Tandem / Solo Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(2 Consumer Reviews)

Love this tandem kayak that…

Love this tandem kayak that can be also used as single. I used it in ocean as well and its very stable as its 3 modules connected together with straps and snap/lock system.… read full review

I love that I can store this…

I love that I can store this in my basement and that it fits in the back of my Ford Escape for transport. It tracks in the water like a dream! It fits together in just a few … read full review

Twist 1

8' 6"
Length
31"
Width (in)
16
Weight (lb)
discontinued

This Product Has Been Discontinued

TWIST N 1 is a popular kayak made of Nitrilon Light material. This material is lightweight (the weight of the single version is only 16 lbs). Its advantages are easy washability, resistance and long lifetime. TWIST N has removable seats with a backrest for a comfortable dry ride. The kayak is very stable and a small kayaker as well as an XXL person can fit in comfortably. TWIST is suitable for sheltered waters, estuaries, harbours, lakes and calm rivers. Thanks to its low weight and easy packing you can take it with you in a small backpack wherever you wish.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Versatile footrests
  • Comfortable inflatable seat with backrest
  • Rubber ropes for fixation of baggage
  • Safety grab handles in the bow and stern
  • Fixture for tracking fin
  • Tracking fin
  • Twist valves
  • Push-push valves
  • Pressure relief valve in the bottom of the boat
  • Repair kit
  • Cleaning sponge
  • Fabric transport bag

Twist 1 Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(8 Consumer Reviews)

EASY TO USE, GREAT FUN, GREAT…

EASY TO USE, GREAT FUN, GREAT VALUE

After a lot of research I…

After a lot of research I bought a Twist 1 for my wife for our trip to Hawaii. It's light weight and the compact design makes it excellent for traveling, and on the water it … read full review

Love this Kayak! I have a…

Love this Kayak! I have a Honda Civic with no car roof rack so this is super convenient. I actually keep the Innova Kayak in my trunk because I use it so often in the summer!

Bay ST

12'
Length
25"
Width (in)
28
Weight (lb)
$1,599
MSRP

The original Oru Kayak that's withstood the test of time. Launched on Kickstarter, sold by retailers around the world, and in the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Stable enough for beginners, while fast and sporty for expert kayakers. Plenty of room to stash gear for day trips and short camping excursions. Transforming it from box to boat takes just a few minutes.

  • Structure: Folding
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • Comfortable foam seat and fully-adjustable backrest
  • Easy-to-close watertight seams
  • 2 rubber deck straps for extra gear
  • Easy-to-adjust footrest
  • Reinforced cockpit for easy entry
  • Pair of bulkheads for extra rigidity
  • Simple and intuitive strap and buckle closure system
  • Fits standard spray skirts (size medium)

Bay ST Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
(41 Consumer Reviews)

Very much like the kayak but…

Very much like the kayak but the customer service appears to be non-existant. The float bag was missing with my shipment and I've been unable to contact ORU via phone, email,… read full review

Wow - took it out on the…

Wow - took it out on the water for first time today - wide part of the Potomac River with 5-10 knot gusts. Assembling it for the second time took me 10 - 15 minutes - next ti… read full review

Bought the Oru Bay used for…

Bought the Oru Bay used for a $700 because I have a tailwheel airplane in Alaska and it gives me opportunities to go places where there aren't roads. I love kayaking and hav… read full review
12' 6"
Length
34"
Width (in)
32
Weight (lb)
$329
MSRP

The Sea Eagle 370 is the SE-330's big sister. Only 6 lbs. heavier (32 lbs.) with a larger carrying capacity of 3 people or 650 lbs. You can take along enough gear for that long weekend fishing trip, camping adventure or river running voyage. Form and function make the Sea Eagle 370 America's second most popular inflatable kayak.

This affordable inflatable sport kayak is as lightweight and portable as it gets, yet still remarkably stable and durable.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem, 3+
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • NMMA Certified
  • Open and close drain valve
  • Five deluxe one-way valves
  • Lashed down inflatable spray skirts
  • I-beam construction floor
  • 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking & speed
  • Sun & saltwater resistant hull material

SE-370 Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(30 Consumer Reviews)

I have had mine since 2013…

I have had mine since 2013 and have used it 20 plus times. It is still in good shape. I rinse it each time I put it away. I have the deluxe seats which are comfortable. I rec… read full review

Recently bought a sea eagle…

Recently bought a sea eagle 370 pro . For my wife and grandson. Read a lot of reviews most all were very positive about the boat. After receiving it was really impressed by t… read full review

I have gone up and down with…

I have gone up and down with my feelings about this boat, initially resenting how easy is punctures on rocky rivers. The company rep told me that it has been successfully use… read full review

Tomcat Tandem

12' 6"
Length
38.5"
Width (in)
44
Weight (lb)
$899
MSRP

A bigger tandem version of the Tomcat, this stable inflatable shares the same durable construction and design features, but offers more paddling options. It comes standard with two inflatable seats to tackle whitewater with a friend, but can also be paddled solo and the extra load capacity filled with gear. It features bow and stern dodgers, a mesh drain system, improved shape, flip handles, welded seams and bow/stern d-rings.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Tomcat Tandem Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(9 Consumer Reviews)

Fantastic Inflatable. Sturdy…

Fantastic Inflatable. Sturdy construction, easily inflated, good quality valves. Back-rest only seats might need upgrading, but certainly functional. I'm a big guy, and pr… read full review

Great beginner-intermediate…

Great beginner-intermediate inflatable kayak. Big enough for single with gear, or double (with little gear). Solid construction, semi-comfortable inflatable triangular seat… read full review

I've been paddling this model…

I've been paddling this model for 5 years now after 15 years of class 4-5 hard shell boating. I've been down the Grand twice in it as a solo setup and it was very good. Proba… read full review

TRAK 2.0

16'
Length
22.5"
Width (in)
42
Weight (lb)
$3,599
MSRP

TRAK Kayaks has developed an innovative style of folding kayak where the rocker of the frame can be adjusted to improve performance for long-distance or rapid turns.

At the time of publication, these boats are backordered to December 2021.

  • Structure: Folding
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • Some Available Options Include:
  • TRAK 2.0 Sea Sock (Box-end for more room + frame clips)
  • Flexhaul Backpack Harness
  • Adjustable Hip Pads
  • Rough Water Thigh Braces
  • Expedition Grade Gear Floatation Bags

TRAK 2.0 Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
(9 Consumer Reviews)

Yes, as noted in other…

Yes, as noted in other reviews, there was some huge hiccups in production and communication. I actually didn't think communication was that bad. I think there was only one em… read full review

Yes, production was late…

Yes, production was late (very late). Yes, the communication wasn't always good (in some cases non-existent). Yes, I wondered if I was ever going to get it (purchased through… read full review

Got my Trak out for the first…

Got my Trak out for the first time yesterday. This boat is amazing in engineering, assembly and most of all paddling. Assembly time is down to about 35 minutes after my third… read full review

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