Water Sports

Best Inflatable Kayak Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best inflatable Kayak for the money? Read on as we review all the top options with Pros & Cons.

If you’re interested in an inflatable kayak, it goes without saying that you want to get the best option to meet your needs. With so many different models to choose from, features available, and price points, too, trying to decide which one to pick can seem like a daunting task. To help you out, we researched dozens of inflatable and foldable kayaks from the leading manufacturers. We also read through countless customer reviews. Based on our assessments, we’ve narrowed down the options and selected what we believe to be the best eight models.

Below, you’ll find our picks for the eight best inflatable kayaks that are currently on the market. In each review, we summarize the features that each watercraft offers, as well as a list of pros and cons. After the reviews, you’ll find a buyer’s guide, which highlights some key factors that you should take into consideration before you decide which inflatable kayak to purchase, and then provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions consumers have about these lightweight, portable, and easy to use vessels.

Top 3 Picks

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read through our more in-depth reviews, in this section, you’ll find our picks for the top three inflatable kayaks, including the best overall, the best premium, and the best budget options.

Best Pick: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Sale
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Comfortable for Anyone: Kayak Includes an Adjustable Inflatable Seat With Backrest; Cockpit Designed for Comfort and Space
  • Dimensions: Inflated Size 10 Feet 3 X 3 Feet X 1 Feet 8 Inch; Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 Pounds
  • Directional Stability: Removable SKEG for Directional Stability
  • Increased Visibility: In Case of Emergency, Bright Yellow Color Helps Visibility
  • Made for Smaller Bodies of Water: Explorer k2 is Made for Smaller Bodies of Water Including Lakes and Mild Rivers

Our pick for the best overall inflatable kayak is the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. Not only is it well-constructed, but it’s also affordably priced and comes with everything you need to hit the open water. Made of puncture-proof vinyl material, this kayak can face any challenges that may come its way with ease; even jagged rocks that come up unexpectedly.

Premium Pick: Sea Eagle 370 Pro

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles
  • 3 person/650 lb capacity, weighs 32 lbs, suitable for up to Class III whitewater
  • 370 Deluxe Kayak Package features two movable, super comfortable Deluxe Kayak Seats for improved back support and 2 paddles, foot pump, and carry bag
  • 2 AB30 7'10"" 4 Part Paddles with asymmetrical blade and aluminum shaft
  • 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking & speed
  • Open and close drain valve, 5 deluxe 1-way inflation/deflation valves

If you’re looking for a high-end inflatable kayak, the Sea Eagle 370 may be the right pick for you. The super spacious design of this kayak offers plenty of room for three kayakers, and thanks to the high-quality PolyKrylar PVC, the I-Beam floor construction, and the welded seams, it can handle the roughest conditions with ease.

Best Budget Pick: Intex Challenger Kayak Series

Sale
Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump, Grey/Blue (68306NP)
  • The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is sporty and fun with a streamlined design for easy paddling
  • The bright green color and sporty graphics make the kayak highly visible in the water
  • Two 86 inch aluminum paddles and an Intex high output pump for easy inflation and deflation
  • Made of company's rugged, super tough vinyl that's puncture and UV damage resistant for long term durability
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 138 inches (W x H x D) inflated, with 400 pound maximum weight limit; includes two 86 inch aluminum oars, high capacity pump, and repair patch kit

If you don’t want to invest a ton of money but you don’t want to sacrifice quality, the Intex Challenger Kayak Series is a great option to consider. The sporty streamlined design offers enough room for two and makes paddling the open waters tons of fun. Made of high-grade, super tough, puncture-proof, UV-resistant vinyl, this inflatable kayak is built to last.

Inflatable Kayak Reviews

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

Intex is one of the most trusted names in PVC inflatable products and their Explorer K2 inflatable kayak perfectly illustrates why they’ve been a leading brand in the market for more than 40 years.

Made of high-grade puncture-proof vinyl, this inflatable kayak can handle even the toughest environments with ease and can support up to 400 pounds. Multi-air chambers, which are outfitted with Boston valves, mean that you’ll be ready to set sail in no time. With a streamlined hull and a removable skeg, you’ll have plenty of stability and will be able to glide through the water with ease.

The cockpit provides enough space for two kayakers and the inflatable seats, complete with adjustable backrests, offer great support and provide plenty of comfort for those long paddling sessions.

A spacious floor gives you plenty of room to stow your gear and the bright yellow color ensures that you’re highly visible on the water – even on cloudy days. Splash guards on both ends of the vessel will help to keep you dry and grab lines make for easy toting. Rounding out the features, the Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak comes complete with two 86 inch paddles, a hi-output pump, and a convenient carrying case.

Pros:
  • Made of commercial-grade puncture-resistant vinyl
  • The I-beam floor provides added stability and rigidity
  • Three separate air chambers with Boston valves further increase the stability and make for easy set inflation and deflation
  • Dual inflatable, removable seats with backrests
  • Splash guards on either end
  • Grab lines for easy transport
  • Spacious floor for storage
  • Removable skeg for direction support and increased speed
  • Comes with two paddles, a hi-output pump, and a carry bag
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • A few users said that the seams gave out after a while
  • Others said that it leaked air after the first use; however, that could be a manufacturer defect

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Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak

If you’re looking for a higher-end kayak that offers more bells and whistles and you have room in your budget, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak might be the perfect choice for you.

With a 650 pound weight capacity and a super-spacious floor, there’s plenty of room to support up to three kayakers in this vessel; however, the design is easy enough for a single adult kayaker to use on his or her own and allows for plenty of storage space. The two inflatable seats with backrests are movable and provide excellent support and comfort.

The 38 millimeter PolyKrylar hull and the high-frequency welded seams fuse the material into a single piece, making this kayak durable enough to take on jagged rocks, shells, whitewater rapids, and even puppy paws with ease. An I-beam floor provides added rigidity and dual skegs along the bottom increase directional support and speed. Inflatable spray skirts help to prevent water from splashing into the vessel and the self-bailing drain valve make draining any water that does collect inside a cinch.

Three deluxe one-way valves make it easy to blow up and deflate and grab lines on the stern and bow allow for easy transport once it’s set up. The Sea Eagle 370 Pro also comes complete with a high-end foot pump, two paddles, and a storage/carry case.

Pros:
  • Made of 38 millimeter PolyKrylar that is both durable and lightweight
  • High-frequency welded seams join the material into a single piece
  • I-beam floor for increased stability
  • Inflatable spray skirts prevent water from splashing in
  • Dual inflatable, adjustable seats with backrests
  • A spacious floor provides room for a third passenger or on-deck storage
  • Grab lines on the bow and stern
  • Three one-way valves make inflation and deflation a breeze
  • Two skegs for improved tracking and speed
  • Comes with two paddles, a high-end foot pump, and a carry case
Cons:
  • A few users said that the material punctured when used for whitewater rafting
  • The price may be cost-prohibitive for some shoppers

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Intex Challenger K2 Kayak Series

For those who aren’t looking to spend a ton but still want to get a quality inflatable kayak, the Intex Challenger K2 is an excellent option. Made of high-end, puncture-proof, UV-resistant vinyl material with double welded seams, this kayak is exceptionally durable, yet lightweight enough easily transport and pick up pretty decent speeds on the water.

The large nose, complete with a net covering, provides plenty of room for on-deck storage, and two inflatable seats with backrests are adjustable, supportive, and comfortable. The bright green color isn’t just attractive; it also makes the vessel highly visible on the water.

Dual air champers with Boston valves make inflating and deflating this kayak a cinch. An inflatable I-beam floor provides enhanced rigidity and a removable skeg enhances speed and makes it easy to stay on track. The Intex Challenger K2 can accommodate up to 400 pounds and comes with two 86 inch aluminum oars, a high-capacity foot pump, a storage bag, and a repair patch kit.

Pros:
  • Made of high-grade puncture-resistant, UV-proof vinyl material
  • Approved by the US Coast Guard
  • Durable, yet lightweight
  • Features a cargo net storage area
  • Separate air chambers with Boston valves make for easy inflation and deflation
  • Double-welded seams provide enhanced durability
  • Two inflatable, adjustable seats with backrests
  • Comes a high-frequency foot pump, a storage bag, two paddles, and a repair patch kit
  • Economically priced
Cons:
  • Some users said that they had issues with the kayak holding air

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Sevylor Quickpak K1 I-Person Kayak

If you’re planning on paddling the open waters solo and are looking for an inflatable kayak that is durable, reliable, and easy to handle on your own, the Sevylor Quickpak is highly recommended.

Made of 21 gauge PVC and featuring a tarpaulin bottom, this kayak can take on just about anything that comes its way. The multiple air chambers provide added security because in the event that one does deflate, you’ll still have the other one to keep you afloat.

This kayak is guaranteed not to leak, thanks to the airtight system that it features, and the double lock valves with dual locking points make inflation and deflation a breeze; in fact, in just about five minutes, you’ll be set up and ready to hit the open waters.

An innovative backpack system makes allows for easy transport and serves as the kayak’s seat – complete with a backrest –  when it’s inflated. There’s a multi-position foo rest, too, so you can find the ideal position for you. This inflatable kayak comes with a paddle and a foot pump, so you’ll have everything you need to start exploring.

Pros:
  • Made of 21 inch gauge PVC
  • A tarpaulin provides increased durability
  • Multi-air chambers provide added support and stability
  • A double lock valve with two locking points makes for quick and easy set up and take down
  • An innovative backpack system allows for easy transport and the backpack turns into a seat – with a backrest – for added support and comfort
  • A multi-position footrest allows you to find the most comfortable position
  • Comes with a paddle and a foot pump
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • It isn’t certified by the US Coast Guard

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Sevylor Quickpak K5 1-Person Kayak

Another great option for single kayakers who are looking for an easy to set up and reliable inflatable vessel is the Sevylor Quickpack K5 1-Person Kayak. Made of 24 gauge PVC and featuring a tarpaulin bottom and a polyester cover, this kayak can easily take on rugged lakes.

Multiple air chambers provide increased reliability and an AirTight System that is guaranteed not to leak ensures security. Double lock valves feature two locking points, making inflation and deflation easy; in fact, it takes just about five minutes to set this kayak up and take it down.

The backpack system, which turns into the seat once the kayak is inflated, makes it easy to tote around. Spray covers prevent splashing water from getting you wet and D-Rings and a bungee storage area allow you to keep more gear close at hand while you’re paddling.

Pros:
  • Made of 24 gauge PVC
  • Features multi air chambers for increased reliability
  • A tarpaulin bottom and dense polyester cover increases the durability of the kayak
  • Double lock valves with two locking points make inflation and deflation a cinch
  • The innovative backpack design doubles as a seat and allows for easy transport
  • The Airtight System is guaranteed not to leak
  • Sets up in five minutes
  • Comes with a paddle and a foot pump
Cons:
  • It may be a bit pricey for some shoppers

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Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak

The Intex Challenger K2 Inflatable Kayak was our pick for the best budge option, and the manufacture’s K1 model also earns a spot on our list of the best inflatable kayaks. It’s very similar to the K2, except instead of being made for two passengers, this model is made for a single rider.

Made of heavy duty puncture-resistant vinyl and featuring an inflatable I-beam floor and two separate air chambers, complete with Boston valves, this inflatable kayak is durable, reliable, and easy to set up and take down. The green color makes the vessel easy to see on the water and the inflatable and removable seat with a backrest is supportive and comfortable.

A closed deck prevents water from splashing in and a cargo storage area lets you keep your personal items close at hand. A skeg on the bottom of the kayak improves tracking and allows you to stay on course, and it comes complete with a well-made paddle, a hi-output foot pump, and a carry bag.

Pros:
  • Made of heavy-duty, puncture- and UV-resistant PVC vinyl
  • Double-welded seams provide increased durability
  • Approved by the US Coast Guard
  • A large mesh storage area lets you keep your personal gear right on deck
  • Multi-air chambers with Boston valves
  • I-beam floor construction
  • Comes with a hi-output pump, paddle, and carry bag
  • Inflatable and removable seat with backrest
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • People say the patch kit it ships with is poor quality

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Intex 68310VM Dakota K2

If you have a larger budget and you’re looking for a higher-end inflatable kayak for two passengers, the Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 is definitely a great choice to consider. Since it’s made by Intex, one of the most trusted manufacturers of inflatable vinyl products, you know that it well-constructed.

The heavy-duty vinyl material is puncture-resistant and UV-proof, so it can take on extreme conditions with no problem. Three separate air chambers and an inflatable I-beam floor provide increased rigidity and reliability and Boston valves allow for fast set up and breakdown.

The dual inflatable seats feature backrests and are adjustable, so you can relax and enjoy long paddling sessions in comfort. A long skeg on the bottom enhances straight-line tracing and a short skeg makes those fast turns a snap. The Intex Dakota 2 comes with a double quick hand pump, 2 dry bags with carry straps so you can keep  your gear close at hand and dry, two paddles, and a convenient storage case, too.

Pros:
  • Made of heavy-duty puncture-proof and UV-resistant vinyl
  • Features three separate air chambers with Boston air valves
  • I-beam floor construction for increased rigidity
  • Dual inflatable and adjustable seats with backrests
  • Two skegs increase speed and maneuverability
  • Grab handles on the bow and stern
  • Comes with a double quick air pump, two dry bags, two paddles, and a carry bag
Cons:
  • Might be a bit heavy for some people

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Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Inflatable Kayak

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of the best inflatable kayaks is the Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Inflatable Kayak. Unlike the other three-person kayak featured on our list, this one features three separate seats, which provides improved comfort for all three passengers.

Made of heavy-duty PVC material and featuring a tarpaulin bottom, this inflatable kayak is puncture-proof and can take on the most rugged settings with ease. Multi-air chambers and an Airtight System ensures that this kayak won’t leak and will stay inflated.

The Boston valves makes for easy set up and take down and the three adjustable seats with backrests provide increased comfort for all. Spray covers will keep you dry while you’re paddling and there’s plenty of leg room and storage space.

Pros:
  • Made of high-grade PVC and features a tarpaulin bottom
  • Features multi-air chambers with Boston valves for increased durability and easy inflation and deflation
  • Three removable and adjustable seats with backrests for increased comfort
  • Plenty of leg room and storage space
  • Splash guards prevent passengers from getting wet
  • An Airtight System is guaranteed not to leak
  • Comes with a carry case for easy storage and transport
Cons:
  • Unlike the other kayaks featured on our list, this one does not come with paddles or a pump, so you’ll need to purchase them separately

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Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump, Grey/Blue (68306NP)
  • The Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is sporty and fun with a streamlined design for easy paddling
  • The bright green color and sporty graphics make the kayak highly visible in the water
  • Two 86 inch aluminum paddles and an Intex high output pump for easy inflation and deflation
  • Made of company's rugged, super tough vinyl that's puncture and UV damage resistant for long term durability
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 138 inches (W x H x D) inflated, with 400 pound maximum weight limit; includes two 86 inch aluminum oars, high capacity pump, and repair patch kit
SaleBestseller No. 2
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Comfortable for Anyone: Kayak Includes an Adjustable Inflatable Seat With Backrest; Cockpit Designed for Comfort and Space
  • Dimensions: Inflated Size 10 Feet 3 X 3 Feet X 1 Feet 8 Inch; Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 Pounds
  • Directional Stability: Removable SKEG for Directional Stability
  • Increased Visibility: In Case of Emergency, Bright Yellow Color Helps Visibility
  • Made for Smaller Bodies of Water: Explorer k2 is Made for Smaller Bodies of Water Including Lakes and Mild Rivers
Bestseller No. 3
Challenger Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak with Oars & Air Pump
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye-catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow-moving river
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I-beam floors add stability
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of kayak; inflatable seat with backrest
  • Comes with 84-inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi-output manual hand pump. Rugged vinyl construction
  • Measures 30-by-15-by-108 inches (W x H x D), with 27.2-pound weight and 220-pound maximum capacity
SaleBestseller No. 4
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Tarpaulin bottom provides durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
Bestseller No. 5
Bestway Hydro-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak Set | Includes Double-Sided Paddle, Extra Storage, Grab Rope, & Hand Pump | Convenient & Portable Kayak
  • TAKE SUMMER TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Drift along the lake, river, or ocean in the Hydo-Force Cove Champion Inflatable Kayak. Perfect for adventures and exploring the open water! It comfortably seats 1 passenger with a weight limit of 220lbs.
  • COMPLETE SET: This kayak set comes with everything you need to get you out on the water fast! A durable, double-sided paddle, air hammer hand pump, and a heavy-duty repair patch are included.
  • RIDE COMFORTABLY: The wide-opening cockpit features an adjustable seat with a backrest for extra lumbar support! There's also plenty of storage areas for travel and adventure equipment or necessities.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT KAYAK: Because the kayak is inflatable, it can be deflated and folded up into compact size making it convenient for travel or storage purposes. The removable fins add directional stability and easy storage.
  • TIE IT UP: The wraparound grab rope surrounds the entire exterior of the kayak for easy transport. It also gives you the ability to tie up to a dock or an anchored spot.

Inflatable Kayak Buyer’s Guide

Do you love the idea of exploring open waters in a kayak but you don’t want to deal with the transportation and storage issues that come along with a hard shell vessel? If so, then an inflatable kayak may be the perfect solution for you.

Inflatable kayaks can be set up on the spot wherever you want to set sale and because they can be deflated, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of lugging a big, bulky, and awkward vessel around or finding a spot to stow it on dry land. Because they’re so easy to transport and store, there’s been a huge increase in the popularity of this type of watercraft. Manufacturers are meeting the demands of watersport enthusiasts, and now there are more inflatable kayaks on the market than ever before.

Now that you’ve read through our top picks for the best inflatable kayaks, you’re probably wondering which one to choose. Before you decide on a kayak, it’s important to take a few factors into consideration. In this section of our guide, we highlight some of the key elements that will help you decide which inflatable kayak will best suit your needs.

Capacity

First and foremost, you should decide whether you want a one-, two-, or three-person inflatable kayak. Of course, that means that you need to think about how many people will be joining you on your paddles. While two- and three-person kayaks can be used by single paddlers, it’s important to note that they are bigger, bulkier, and may be a bit more difficult to manage on your own.

Therefore, if you only intend on using the kayak by yourself, then a single-person design would be the best option for you. However, if you will be paddling with two or three people on a frequent basis, then a larger two- or three-person design would be a better choice for you and your paddling partners.

Length

In addition to the capacity, you should also consider the length of the vessel. On average, inflatable kayaks measure about 12 feet long, which provides good stability and makes the vessel relatively easy to get into and out of the water. They can also be as short as 10 feet or as long as 16 feet. The larger the capacity, the longer the vessel will be. Keep in mind that longer kayaks are usually a bit harder to get into the water, especially on your own, and may be more difficult to navigate solo.

Materials

When you’re shopping for an inflatable kayak, the type of material the boat is constructed out of is vital. The best models are made of high-grade, puncture-proof material. This material isn’t only relatively lightweight, but it is also exceptionally durable and can usually withstand jagged rocks that you may come into contact with while you’re paddling.

Set-Up

Of course, an inflatable kayak needs to be set up before you can get on the water and it has to be disassembled when you’re finished paddling. The best models feature Boston air valves or dual-locking air valves, which allow for fast and easy inflation and deflation.

Skegs

Many inflatable kayaks are outfitted with skegs along the bottom of the boat. Some feature a single skeg, while others feature dual skegs. These features are intended to make operating your kayak easier and allow you to go faster. Short skegs are great for fast turns, while longer skegs are ideal for long stretches.

Seats

The type of seats a kayak features has a direct effect on your comfort. The top inflatable kayaks are outfitted with inflatable, adjustable seats with backrests. The backrests provide extra support, while the adjustability allows you to get the ideal position for your body and create more leg room. Many two- and three-person models also feature removable seats, which is a great idea if you intend on using the vessel with fewer passengers, as it decreases the weight and provides more leg and storage space.

Accessories

Inflatable kayaks can come with a number of accessories. Some of the options include:

  • Splash guards. This accessory can either be built-in or it can be removable, but either way, it is intended to prevent water from splashing up into the boat and onto you while you’re paddling.
  • Paddles. Many of the inflatable kayaks on the market – and that are featured on our list – come complete with paddles. Typically, two-person kayaks come with two paddles and single-person kayaks come with one paddle.
  • Pumps. To simplify assembly and disassembly, many inflatable kayaks also come with pumps.
  • Carry cases. A lot of the models featured on our list also come with carrying cases, which are great for toting your kayak around, as well as storing it.

Inflatable Kayak FAQs

If you’ve never purchased an inflatable kayak before, you probably have a few questions. Below, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that consumers have about these vessels.

Why consider an inflatable kayak?

There are two main types of kayaks: hard-shelled and inflatable. While it’s true that hard-shelled models are usually more durable, they are also heavier and bulkier, which makes transporting them harder, and they require a dedicated storage area. Inflatable kayaks, on the other hand, are lighter weight, which means that they can be easily toted around, and since they can be deflated, they are a lot easier to store. Additionally, inflatable kayaks are usually less expensive than hard-shelled models.

How do you inflate a kayak?

Kayaks can be inflated in a number of ways. Many come with hand or foot pumps, but you can also use an electric pump, which makes the process even faster.

Is paddling an inflatable kayak different than paddling a hard-shelled kayak?

No. Paddling is the same in both types of kayaks.

Do inflatable kayaks last long?

If you purchase one that is made of high-end, durable materials and you care for it properly, then you can expect an inflatable kayak to last just as long as a traditional model.

Conclusion

If you enjoy paddling on the open water but don’t want to invest in a hard-shelled kayak, an inflatable design is a great option to consider. They’re lighter, can be inflated and deflated, are easier to store, and easier to transport. By taking the factors mentioned in our review into consideration, you should have no trouble choosing one of the models we’ve listed or any other inflatable kayak.

Happy paddling!

Adrienne is a traveller and blogger with many years experience of the outdoors life. An adrenaline junkie at heart she loves to try different sports and activities all year round. With a degree in journalism she combines her love of sports with writing here at BeActiveOutdoors.com Contact adrienne@beactiveoutdoors.com

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