Best Inflatable Kayaks At Walmart For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

The type of inflatable kayaks found at Walmart are a great choice for cottagers, families, beach-goers and anglers who want to have fun on the water but don’t have access to abundant storage space. Buying a blow-up kayak from Walmart is also a great way to get into paddling without breaking your budget, since most models are available for well under $500.

Searching “inflatable kayak Walmart” yields many options for a variety of recreational paddling pursuits. You’ll find single and tandem models for cruising the beach, enjoying hot summer days with your kids, or targeting trophy fish that are unattainable for those in larger boats.

Remember, just like other cheap kayaks, blow-up kayaks at Walmart offer limited paddling performance and they may be uncomfortable for longer outings. Experienced kayakers know that a low price often means a less refined paddling experience in terms of the kayak’s paddling speed, maneuverability, handling and safety features, as well as comfort elements like seating.

Shopping at Walmart also has limitations: don’t expect much expertise in Walmart sales staff when it comes to answering questions and providing guidance on a blow-up kayak purchase. If you want to invest in paddling, shop somewhere else! But if you’re looking for a casual-use kayak that can be stored in a closet, then an inflatable kayak from Walmart is a fantastic choice.

Our review of blow-up kayaks at Walmart will provide you with the knowledge you need to find the best kayak for your paddling plans.

Top picks: Best inflatable kayaks at Walmart for 2023

The following inflatable kayaks at Walmart have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Walmart inflatable kayaks here.

Shop inflatable kayaks at Walmart

Walmart sells a wide variety of recreational kayaks, including inflatable models. Inflatables are constructed of durable PVC rubber (like whitewater rafts) and can be inflated and set up in minutes with a foot pump or compressor. Inflatable kayaks are perfect for apartment dwellers or those with limited storage space; after deflation, your Walmart blow-up kayak fits in a duffel that can be stored in a closet or a corner of the garage when you’re not paddling.

Besides being easy to transport and store, inflatable kayaks at Walmart are safe and comfortable to paddle. Blow-up kayaks are open-decked, meaning there’s no enclosed cockpit to make you feel claustrophobic while paddling. Unlike some sit-inside kayaks, inflatable kayaks are easy to enter and exit and many Walmart models feature wide, flat bottoms for supreme initial stability. Seats are usually built into an inflatable kayak’s hull, with an added backrest for lumbar support.

While many inflatable kayaks perform capably in easy-to-moderate whitewater rapids, they are less seaworthy on expanses of open water, since their large hulls are subject to getting blown around in the wind, making boat control more difficult. Furthermore, like all open-deck kayaks, blow-up Walmart kayaks can be cold and wet to paddle in windy, wavy and rainy conditions.

Check The Weather
  • Plan for changing weather conditions. Prepare for the worst case.
  • Don’t forget to check tide, currents, or river levels.

The price is right if you’re looking for a kayak that stores in a closet and is fun to use in warm conditions on sheltered lakes or at the beach, but look at hard-shell, sit-inside kayaks if you want something with better paddling performance (and ideally shop at an outdoors store or paddlesports retailer).

Inflatable kayaks offer a lot of versatility in design. Many are available as two-person kayaks; such an arrangement is ideal for a parent and child or two small adults. Most two-person kayaks are designed to also be paddled solo, with movable seats. There are also many inflatable fishing kayaks available. Anglers love the extremely shallow draft of blow-up kayaks, which literally ride on a cushion of air through the “skinniest” water—perfect for targeting trophy fish in locations where bigger boats can’t get to.

And don’t worry, inflatable kayaks are plenty tough to withstand abrasion and contact with fish hooks. They’re built with redundant air chambers to keep you floating even in the unlikely event of a puncture.

The selection of inflatable Walmart kayaks varies considerably between locations in Canada and the U.S. The links below will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you’ll find every Walmart kayak on the market, including specs, prices and reviews, to offer an unbiased view on what’s available from this retailer.


Shopping for a used inflatable Walmart kayak?

Finding used inflatable Walmart kayaks is easy on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Walmart blow-up kayaks offer great value in beginner kayaks for family fun—and many options are available in different styles and from a variety of manufacturers. No doubt Walmart sells thousands of blow-up kayaks each year and many end up on the used market.

Your first step in making a good investment is to research the specific attributes of the make and model you’re considering; our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is the ideal place to start. Once you’ve found a contender, consider the following advice to make a good purchase:

Examine the overall condition of the inflatable Walmart kayak. Most important is to make sure it actually holds air and doesn’t leak. Check the valves to ensure they are functional and look closely at the entire boat for abrasion, wear and extreme sun fading, all of which can compromise an inflatable kayak’s ability to stay inflated.

Walmart blow-up kayaks often feature barebones outfitting. Take a close look at comfort features like the seat (is it padded and supportive for your body?). Inflatable kayaks often have seats integrated with the air tubes in the hull. Is this comfortable enough for you? Foot rests are critical to give you purchase on the kayak to paddle efficiently and are often absent in blow-up Walmart kayaks; if they’re present, make sure they’re functional and not damaged by grit or sand.

Outfitting is the critical interface between the paddler and kayak, including the seat, back support, thigh rests and footrests. Often these features lack refinement in budget-priced Walmart kayaks. Examine these parts individually and consider how well they work together as a whole—the easiest way to achieve this is by sitting in the boat (and ideally paddling it) to make sure it feels comfortable. Think about how long you’ll be sitting in the kayak. If it’s uncomfortable in a quick test, how will it feel after an hour?

Outfitting often comes down to personal preference; there’s no one-size-fits-all. One of the drawbacks of a cheaper, general-purpose Walmart blow-up kayak is substandard outfitting. Take a close look and consider investing in a more expensive kayak if you plan on more serious paddling. Accessories are key elements of fishing kayaks; if you want to do some kayak angling make sure you examine features like rod holders and live wells.

The only way to fully appreciate the comfort and performance of a kayak is to try it before committing to a purchase. Arrange a meeting place with the seller that allows you to take a few moments on the water. Bring your usual paddle and dress in what you plan to wear while paddling.

Wear A Life Jacket
  • Everyone, even strong swimmers, needs to wear a life jacket at all times when on the water. It is extremely difficult to put a life jacket on once you fall into the water. Even a light wind can blow any paddlecraft away from you, faster than you can swim.
  • Buy (and wear) a comfortable Type 3 or S life jacket specifically designed for paddlesports.

In general (that is, before Covid-19 put a premium on outdoor equipment) the typical starting point for a used Walmart kayak in moderate condition was about half its retail price. All that’s changed in the wake of boat shortages brought on by the pandemic, but you can use it as a starting point in haggling a price.

If you’re offered a PFD as part of a used kayak sale make sure it’s in good shape, fits properly and is Coast Guard approved for the location you’ll be paddling.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

Walmart inflatable kayak buying guide

Buying an inflatable kayak at a box store like Walmart is like taking a leap of faith. The selection is enormous and you won’t have a chance to try a potential match before you buy it (“try before you buy” is always our number one tip). Given these realities, our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is the best place to start.

First, determine your intended uses for the blow-up Walmart kayak (such as family recreation, river paddling or kayak fishing) and then use our reviews to come up with a short list of options for models that meet your needs. Second, take a critical look at outfitting—that is, the kayak’s seat, back support and other critical comfort items—to gauge whether or not it will work for you.

Before you open your wallet, try to find friends or acquaintances (aka Guinea pigs) who are willing to share their inflatable Walmart kayak with you for an outing or two. Paddle in the type of location most relevant to you. There’s no substitute for real-world experience for a prospective buyer. Not only will this provide you with a first-hand feel of what’s available in inflatable Walmart kayaks; paddling also allows you to appreciate how different kayak design elements fit your body and perform.

Box stores like Walmart will never offer the same expertise as a dedicated paddlesports retailer—or even that of larger outdoor chains like Dick’s, Cabela’s or Bass Pro. If you’re serious about paddling and want to develop your skills and invest in a hobby, you may be better off shopping elsewhere. As mentioned earlier, Walmart kayaks are cheap choices for those who plan on paddling sporadically—and only in benign conditions.

Know The Local Hazards
  • Check navigation charts before you launch.
  • Check with those who have local knowledge of man-made and natural hazards, e.g. low-head dams; sweepers, strainers and undercuts; tides and currents; and rocks and shoals.

Walmart inflatable kayak reviews

It’s always a good idea to read reviews before you purchase a new kayak—but particularly when you’ll be unable to paddle the boat before making your purchase. Read our expert reviews below to help you narrow down the best inflatable kayak from Walmart for your needs.

 

0/5 (0 Reviews)