The Top 3 Best Fishing Kayaks in 2022 That You Can Transport with Your Car
Updated: May 9, 2022
Fishing kayaks – some people love them, some don’t. I am somewhere in the middle. I love the increased access to any body of water that you get with a fishing kayak, but I don’t love the extra work of transporting it and having to limit what I take onboard so I don't sink, or knock everything into the water by accident. Also, if you don’t have a fishing kayak with pedal drive, or a trolling motor – paddling can really get in the way of fishing.
Despite these challenges, a kayak gives you the ability to get to less heavily pressured fishing spots, which is a GAME CHANGER – believe me, whether you are fishing for stripers in the estuaries, bays and rivers, or fishing for largemouth in a pond, INCREASED ACCESS WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR CATCH-RATE.
To that end, while there are a ton of choices out there to wade through, picking to invest in the wrong one will leave you scratching your head about what the fuss is about. Let me help you cut through the BS – based on my own personal experience, here are the top 3 fishing kayaks available now as of April 2022 that you can transport with relative ease even if you don't have a truck, SUV, or kayak trailer! I drive a small hatchback, and these were a piece of cake for me to load, unload, set-up, launch, land, break-down, etc. solo.
FUN FACT: Did you know that kayaks were originally developed by at least 4,000 years ago by indigenous people living in the Arctic, who used the boats to hunt big game, like seal and penguins, on freezing and treacherous coastal waters including the North Atlantic, Bering Sea and North Pacific oceans. Pretty badass if you ask me.
Snapshot: 3 Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks that Fit in a Car
Rating Score (out of 10)
brilliant design means easy transport, simple set-up, solid-feel of rigid kayak
light but strong, can hold up to 600 lbs
$1,295 (rival) $1,195 (challenger)
comfortable ride, solid value, great stability
Don't forget to wear your Personal Flotation Device when you are on the water! In many places, it's required by law. If you are looking for one that serves as a great PFD and fishing vest - this Onyx Kayak Fishing Jacket is awesome, it's United States Coast Guard Approved and on a big sale right now (nearly 30% off as of 4/19):
Before we dive into each model, just a quick note to let you know about this awesome sale on a Newport NK180 Kayak Trolling Kit with a 24V Brushless Motor & mount that will mount on your inflatable kayak! It's 150 dollars off right now (as of today - not sure how long this promotion will last, so grab it while you can - it comes with a 2 yr warranty & Amazon support for free). If you want to take it up a notch, this is THE choice if you are looking to increase your range and catch more fish, effortlessly. Regardless of your level of experience, the NK-180 offers an efficient, powerful motor in a durable package.
The Bote Deus Aero Kayak is an awesome lightweight, versatile, inflatable kayak/paddleboard that works great as a simple, uncomplicated fishing vessel, although it isn’t marketed as a fishing kayak. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of more expensive, larger, heavier and harder to transport options out there, but it shines as an easily transportable, relatively inexpensive way to explore and access the less pressured parts of your local fishing holes. For that purpose, this beauty is a beast!
The Bote Deus has an open hull and is wide – meaning you can load up a decent amount of fishing gear and that it’s stable, making it great for kayakers of all experience levels.
Here’s the skinny (NOTE – I’m not a paddleboarder, so even though this is a hybrid that can be converted into a paddleboard as well, that did not factor into my assessment. I tried to fish off of one and promptly fell into 50 degree water in front of an amused group of kids...so that was that)
It fits in a backpack that you can easily load into your car’s trunk. No need to load a 70 pound kayak on top of your vehicle, tie it down, transport it, unload it, etc.
Once you get where your going, you can unpack it, inflate it and get it in the water QUICKLY – It goes from travel bag to an 11 ft. sit-on-top kayak in a matter of minutes thanks to AeroULTRA construction;
It’s stable and easy to maneuver – the 4-chamber construction and 10 in. removable center fin provide stability while cutting through wake; side fins are molded into the hull for increased tracking
A removable foot bar gives you a place to rest your feet, strengthening your paddle strokes; MOLLE system loops allow for easy adjustment
There are plenty of D-ring tie-down points on rails are perfect for lashing down a cooler, anchor or rope & it comes with adjustable bungee straps that provide quick and easy storage of extra gear
Easy to Set Up
The Bote Deus inflatable kayak is easy to set up. It comes packed in a travel bag that is easy to pop in your car's trunk and light enough to comfortably carry around. Once unpacked, there are four chambers that need to be inflated. The two side chambers, the bottom chamber, and the top chamber – which also serves as the seat if you slide the seat panel in.
When fully inflated, the Bote Deus Aero measures out to 11′ L × 33″ W × 14″ D. It features a beautiful teal, grey, and white design with a faux wood front that gives it a nice vintage appearance.
The Bote Deus Aero is made out of a military grade PVC construction that is very durable, yet makes the Deus incredibly lightweight as well. Fully inflated, it weighs a paltry 41 lbs.
If you are interested in seeing how it folds/unfolds, check out this video: Bote Video: How to Fold the Aero Up
Rigid Drop Stitch Construction
The Bote Deus is made out of Bote’s inflatable AeroUltra technology. This unique construction is what gives the Deus unparalleled stability mimicking even the best hard plastic kayaks.
Aero technology relies on a mixture of high quality materials like the military grade PVC skin combined with a drop stitch construction. The drop stitch inflation can be found on the floor chamber and on the side chambers.
Unlike traditional inflation, drop stitch uses thousands of tiny fibers that connect the top of the board to the bottom of the board. The boat becomes a super stable kayak that does not bounce back the way traditional inflatables do.
IF you don’t mind spending some extra cash, and you want the souped up fishing version of the Bote’ that can fit a pedal gear system, I highly recommend you check out the BOTE LONO Aero Inflatable Kayak. And if you want to add the pedal gear, here’s the compatible one from Bote – their APEX pedal system. To be transparent, I have not tried this kayak or pedal system out, so I can’t offer my personal experience.
The FastTrack Angler 385FTA from Sea Eagle is pretty great - it's easy to transport, simple to inflate and can be configured for 1 or 2 people. It even comes with an optional motor bracket that allows you to easily add a trolling motor and 12V battery.
I really like the FastTrack - it feels more like a boat to me than a kayak. I tested this bad-boy in the Merrimack River, the Concord River, Flint Pond, Lake Massabesic and Long-Sought for Pond, to name a few.
It has a swivel seat - that's right, a swivel seat on an inflatable! The plastic, folding seat bolts to an aluminum frame and swivels 360 degrees, meaning you can spin around to aim your casts even if the boat is drifting in a different direction.
It weighs 45 lbs fully inflated, but can hold up to 635 lbs
The FastTrack has an open cockpit like a canoe, but the low gunnels allow it to be paddled with a kayak paddle.
A wide-open, drop stitch deck make it stable and there's even enough room to add a second seat to make it a tandem.
Includes a high-velocity, twin-action pump inflating on both the pull and push.
NeedleKnife keel cuts through water
Sprayskirts are customized with two rod holders and cutouts for hooks and tools, making it easy to store your gear just an arm’s length away.
Optional motor bracket
If you've used Inflatable boats before, you know that they sit higher in the water with less draft, making them susceptible to the slightest breeze. To combat the wind effect, FastTrack Angler has an inflatable keel in the bow and a fin box in the stern, so the boat spins on a dime and still manages to paddle pretty straight. This sounds small, but it is not, trust me it makes a big difference when you are on the water.
The STAR Rival inflatable fishing kayak is a solid, comfortable, reliable choice that provides tons of value for the price. If you haven’t heard of STAR inflatables before they are a subsidiary of NRS, a reputable paddle sports company that as founded in1972.
STAR has a few different models of fishing kayaks with slight differences in their features, colors, availability and price. One other standout is the Star Challenger Inflatable Fishing Kayak, which is about $100.00 cheaper and more consistently available.
Rigid drop-stitch construction combines with a 12'6" footprint, 6" thick drop-stitch deck and 9" side tubes for outstanding stability.
Comfortable aluminum-framed suspended-mesh seat elevates anglers for optimal visibility and easier standing.
Collapsible seatback for easy transport.
Rigging options include five YakAttack® SwitchPad™ Flexible Surface Mounts for attaching rod holders, fish finders, anchor locks, etc., plus bow and stern daisy chains.
Stern fin plate accommodates interchangeable fins.
Includes (1) All Water Fin, fishing seat, carry bag, pump and repair kit
Solid, Stable, Comfortable
The Rival is a nice size and at 38 inches wide, it's wide enough to provide excellent stability – it’s nearly impossible to tip, yet it’s not so wide that it drags. The kayak stays incredibly stable as you stand to cast, even on lakes that can get choppy like Mascuppic in Dracut or Long Pond in Littleton.
For the size it’s heavier than one would expect but it’s made solid and consequently feels solid in the water. Also with the heavier weight there is less chance of getting blown in the wind.
While not the sexiest, or most option-filled fishing kayak off the rack, it serves as a solid fishing kayak at a great price point.
That's it folks. If you are looking for an easy to transport, reliable inflatable kayak for your fishing adventures, I'm sure that you will find success with any one of these. Thank you for reading and good luck!