We field questions almost daily on inflatable kayak pumps, types of pumps, whether or not to use a pressure gauge and valve adaptors. Here is a short guide, answering some of the most asked questions, but feel free to ask any others!
Note: this article is an update from our article on the subject in 2011.
Types of Inflatable Kayak Pumps
There are a number of pumps available to inflate your kayak, both manual and electric. Here are some types:
Airkayaks Universal Inflatable Kayak Hand Pump – Gauge Close Up – Inflatable Kayak Pumps
Dual Action Hand Pump
A barrel-type cylindrical pump that has two options – by turning a knob, one can go from double action mode (quickly pump up an inflatable) to single action mode (more easily pump to higher pressures).
Airkayaks.com Recommends: Best dual action pump
Airkayaks has released the Airkayaks Universal Hand Pump. It is lightweight at 1.7 lbs, compact, and provides single or double-action pumping with a built-in gauge to 15 psi, an aluminum shaft, and folding feet that’s ideal for all Inflatable Kayaks. The feet fold, and the handles are removable to save space in your kayak bag or backpack, and there are not a ton of extra valves that you will wind up not using.
The reason why we chose to have this pump with a 15 PSI Gauge is so that you can also use it to pump up your inflatable SUP. It includes a 4 ft. (1.25 m) hose, and Halkey-Roberts, Boston, and stem fittings. If the HR valve is not fitting perfectly, we’ve put both sizes of common O-Rings on the pump as well.
Note: For Advanced Elements Kayaks with an AE Spring Valve, simply friction fit the spring valve adapter included with your AE kayak on top of the boston valve. (or use the AE2011 Hand Pump).
Double Action Hand Pump
This is a barrel-type cylindrical pump that pushes air in on the up and the down stroke. Tougher than a foot pump, but also larger. Typically has an inflate and deflate position on the pump handle. These are great for lower pressure inflatables, up to about 4PSI. Can be used on higher pressure inflatables, but you will earn every muscle getting it up there. Will pump up an inflatable faster than the single action pump or bellows foot pump.
For Advanced Elements Kayaks, we recommend the AE2011 as it includes the Advanced Elements Spring Valve Adapter. Dont have the AE2011 pump and have an AE kayak? Put the AE Fitting on top of a Boston Valve. It will “friction fit” – note this is a tight feeling and it will