Top 16 Best Whitewater Kayaks | 2021 Reviews (Aire, NRS)

Flo Farmer
Written by
Last update:

Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. It makes for an excellent summertime activity, but also is phenomenal fun in the winter, too, when the ice freezes over and you can take a kayak out onto the ice.

Kayak fishing, for example, is always a good time. It can be difficult, though, to choose the right kayak for your needs. There are many different aspects to consider, like what kind of environment you will be using it in most, what features and accessories best suit your needs, and many other factors.

Don’t worry. I’ve made the process simple for you. In this guide, you will find the best kayaks from some of the top manufacturers in the industry. You’ll be able to compare features, prices, and more between the different kayaks to find the right one for your needs.

Have a look at the guides below to find the best kayaks for your own use anytime soon.

NameCategoryProduct
Star Viper XL Inflatable KayakBest OverallStar Viper XL Inflatable Kayak
AIRE Outfitter II Inflatable KayakBudget PickAIRE Outfitter II Inflatable Kayak

1. Star Viper XL Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 9 / 10

Star Viper XL Inflatable Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Strong and sturdy with good tracking
  • Fits well on the roof rack of a car
  • Easy to inflate and to deflate
  • The weight capacity is respectable at 400 pounds
  • It’s still reasonably comfortable for a product at this price

Cons:

  • The seat isn’t wide enough for a larger user
  • The product doesn’t have a lot of initial stability
  • The fabric isn’t that easy to clean

The Star Viper 350 is an excellent choice for kayakers who want to take their sport to the next level. It’s a great value for the money.

2. AIRE Lynx 1 Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 7 / 10

AIRE Lynx 1 Inflatable Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to paddle
  • Lightweight
  • Ability to attach cameras
  • Ability to attach additional gear for a fishing or camping trip

Deflated size is larger than normal kayaks. Not easy to store in house or car.

The AIRE Lynx is an inflatable kayak that is designed for stable and comfortable use by a single kayaker. This is a rugged kayak with multiple air chambers that can handle scrapes and bumps when you’re getting on/off the water.

It weighs in at less than 27-pounds, even when it’s fully loaded with gear and a person. It’s fairly compact too, at only 55-inches long and 23.5-inches wide.

3. Star Raven I Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Star Raven I Inflatable Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Stable and durable
  • Has a universal fitting for the seats
  • Affordable price point

Cons:

  • Tends to go toward the left side which can make paddling a bit difficult
  • Had a hard time seating

This kayak is lightweight and easily transportable when deflated. It can be inflated in 5 minutes and is equipped with a protective carry jacket. It is an inflatable pleasure boat which features a Unique Deflation System. You can easily use the Star Raven I Inflatable Kayak to paddle down a lake, on a river or even in the bay.

The paddles are made from aluminum and are very lightweight. This kayak is suitable for up to 2 people. It has a maximum capacity of 475 pounds. This kayak is easy to assemble. The inflatable seats are comfortable and padded.

The kayak has a stable, wide body which helps to prevent it from tipping over. It has thick ball-bearing-reinforced hull for increased performance.

4. Dagger Mamba 8.6

Our rating: 6 / 10

Dagger Mamba 8.6

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Good for big/tall paddlers
  • Affordable
  • Good for beginners

The Dagger Mamba is a great choice if you want a whitewater kayak that you can keep for a long time. This is particularly true if you’ve got some bulk onboard.

It is meant to float you easily. The Cobra hatch is built to give you a way to lock in your gear.

The Dagger Mamba is roomy and big, making it a good option if you�d like to take a friend along on an expedition. The only caveat is that you will have to watch out for the weight capacity.

5. AIRE Outfitter II Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 5 / 10

AIRE Outfitter II Inflatable Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • The IK is made of a double PVC material
  • It comes with a double air chamber for maximum safety
  • It has padded footrests which provide you with comfort
  • It has a hard collapsible backrest for you
  • It has a waterproof seat that you can easily inflate and deflate with a hand pump
  • Has a boat style seat that makes paddling comfortable
  • You can easily deflate and store it as you can roll it up to become a small compact gear
  • It inflates fast and deflates even faster

Cons:

  • It has a narrow hull
  • Its paddle is not long enough for a tall person
  • Weight capacities: 250 lbs.

6. NRS Maverik 1 Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 5 / 10

NRS Maverik 1 Inflatable Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose inflatable kayak that can be utilized by kids as well as adults to enjoy kayaking and fishing, then the NRS is a good choice.

It’s a 14-foot kayak that can carry up to 300 lbs and features a set of two inflatable I-beam floors for added thickness and rigidity. It’s made of X-Ply fabric that can withstand rips or cuts, so you can expect that it will last for a very long time.

The kayak comes with a seat, which is removable and can be used to store up to 26 lbs of gear. The nesting D-rings on the front provide multiple tie-down points for anything you may need to carry with you.

7. Dagger Nomad 8.6 Medium

Our rating: 4 / 10

Dagger Nomad 8.6 Medium

Check Price on Amazon

If you're just getting into whitewater kayaking, the Dagger Nomad is a great kayak to start with. It is a great kayak for the price, and it works well for a beginner.

The kayak is easy to maneuver over rocks and down small rapids.

The Dagger Nomad is great for both beginners and intermediate kayakers.

8. AIRE Super Lynx Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 2 / 10

AIRE Super Lynx Inflatable Kayak

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Good quality at an affordable price
  • Lightweight
  • The air chambers can be filled on land
  • The maximum capacity is 300 lbs
  • Versatile
  • You can inflate this boat in less than two minutes

Cons:

  • Maximum capacity is 300 lbs
  • Seems fragile
  • The material doesn’t breathe well
  • Options for color are limited

If you’re looking for an inflatable kayak that’s fast and highly versatile, then you’ll love the Aire Super-Lynx. It’s crafted from a rugged PVC material with a heavy-duty 210D nylon cover. This material makes the kayak feel sturdy and maintain its shape during transport.

This kayak has a moderate length of 9 ft and can take a weight of 300 pounds as there are six air chambers. You can inflate the kayak in just a few minutes, so you can get on the water faster!

The Aire Super-Lynx offers a moderate level of storage and comes with a dry-storage hold and side cargo netting. This feature will help you bring fishing gear, a change of clothes, and other necessities with you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best inflatable kayak for Whitewater?

If you plan on whitewater kayaking, you’ll want to have one of the best inflatable kayaks for your needs. An inflatable kayak is a great option for whitewater kayaking for many reasons. First of all, they’re small and ultralight, making them ideal for backpacking or camping. They also pack down small, making them easy to stow in a vehicle or even your trunk so you can take them to remote destinations. Finally, if you want to go on a multi-day trip, you can easily fit them inside your pack.

What is the best whitewater kayak?

Every kayaker will have an opinion as to what makes the best whitewater kayak. Largely, it comes down to personal preference: what you need the kayak for, what you like the feel of, and budget considerations will all play a role in the decision. The best whitewater kayak depends on what your most important performance factors are!

Kayaks can have different designs and features that make them better suited for different conditions and activities. Each has a different design that benefits it in certain areas. The top whitewater kayak for you is the one that addresses the features you think are most important to you and the types of conditions you’ll use it in.

Different kayaks have the primary purpose to be well-suited for certain water types, from large rivers to small, choppy creeks. You should strongly consider what types of waters you plan to paddle most and what features will be most valuable to you.

What is the best beginner whitewater kayak?

First things first: there is no such thing. Whitewater kayaking is a complicated sport which requires practise and the right equipment to succeed. The best beginner kayak can be completely different than the beginner kayak that suits a newbie in the sport 15 years later. Nevertheless, there are a few points to keep in mind while quizzing potential buyers:

Buying a whitewater kayak requires careful planning. You need to consider the location, the frequency and the purpose of your paddling. Furthermore, your level in the sport is also important. Before you approach a dealer, think about how much experience you already have as a kayaker, can you swim? Are you going to use the kayak in a team or on your own? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then getting into whitewater kayaking might prove to be more troublesome than it is worth.

What's the best inflatable kayak?

We detailed in our inflatable kayak buying guide that there are several advantages to inflatable kayaks, they are lightweight, portable, sturdy, easy to set up and inflate and to store, and can also pack large and small. But with those advantages there are some disadvantages that you must consider before you purchase an inflatable kayak. You want to purchase products that are safe and durable and that won’t cost too much to repair when needed. Something that will last you a long time. You also want your inflatable kayak to have ease of use and comfort, all without sacrificing performance.

Conclusion

The advent of modern waterproof clothing and advanced technology such as paddle floats and inflatable cockpits has meant that white water kayaking has become more accessible.

One of the best ways to learn the sport is to go white water kayaking on rivers that are only mildly disturbed. If you’re visiting a more adventurous region, you may be offered the opportunity to try a more demanding river with bigger and more forceful rapids.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Star Viper XL Inflatable KayakBest OverallStar Viper XL Inflatable Kayak
AIRE Outfitter II Inflatable KayakBudget PickAIRE Outfitter II Inflatable Kayak