Coming here, you might be wondering:
How do I find the best kayak?
First, decide for what purpose you’ll use your kayak for most.
Long trips up and down the rivers? Go for a fishing-styled kitted-out model. Lazy summer afternoon paddles in and around ponds? An inexpensive, bare-bones inflatable or plastic boat will do just fine.
Now you might be thinking:
“Any other features which I might look out for?”
Well, it is where this article comes into play.
|Intex Explorer K2||35 Pounds||400 Pounds||2|
|Intex Challenger K1||27 Pounds||220 Pounds||1|
|Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot||44 Pounds||280 Pounds||1|
|Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot||31 Pounds||250 Pounds||1|
|Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak||18 Pounds||130 Pounds||1|
|AdvancedFrame Convertible||52 Pounds||550 Pounds||2|
|Sea Eagle E370||26 Pounds||650 Pounds||3|
What Should You Look For While Buying a Kayak?
How do you know which kayak will work out the best for you? To answer this question, check out the following features every time you’re out shopping.
Where Will You Use Your Kayak?
First of all, decide where you are going to use your kayak. If the weather is pleasant and your destination isn’t too far, the best sit inside kayaks will work just fine. However, if your environment includes strong winds, currents, and tides, you’ll do best with the sit on top kayaks.
You might be wondering: but what if I don’t know where I might end up using my kayak? In that case, go for the best recreational kayaks mentioned in this article. That is, because, they have a skeg which you can turn up and down to counter flowing and still waters, respectively.
Type of the Kayak
There are two types of kayaks: Sit-on-tops and Sit-inside.
Starting with the former, they are more stable, allow easy access and egress and doesn’t confine the kayaker to a restricted space. Also, since they contain scupper holes, the best sit on top fishing kayaks are self-bailing. All these features combine to make the sit-on-top kayaks best for kids, cautious paddles, and for pleasant conditions.
Sit-inside kayaks, meanwhile, move faster and keep the kayaker dry while paddling. Their only shortcoming lies in their sitting position. Since you are going to “sit-inside”, you won’t be able to recover if the kayak flips.
Material of Construction and Price
Don’t want to spend over the odds on your kayak? Go for the one which is made up of polyethylene (PE) plastic. Not only will it be inexpensive but it will also be abrasion resistant. On the flip side, PE kayaks are the heaviest of the lot and their color fades after an extended time in the sun.
Can’t compromise on the quality and have money to burn? In this case, kayaks which are made of composite – which include ultra-light carbon-fiber and lightweight fiberglass – deserve your attention. They don’t fade under the sun, are the lightest of the lot and a cinch to maneuver. That said, they might not withstand a major crash with rocks.
Want the best of both the abovementioned worlds?? A kayak made up of ABS plastic will offer exactly the same. Though it isn’t as lightweight as composite, ABS does offer more UV resistance than PE. That despite the fact that it is only marginally expensive than PE.
Weight Capacity, Length, and Width
Starting with the former, a kayak’s weight capacity is important if you’re planning a multi-day tour. For, if the boat is overloaded beyond its capacity, not only will it adversely affect your padding efficiency but it will also sit extremely low in the water.
As for the length, it depends on what you want to do with your kayak. For, if you want more storage space, a longer kayak is a no-brainer. However, if you want the hulls to turn quickly, go short.
Finally, the width of a kayak’s hulls has a huge bearing on its stability and speed. That is, because, a kayak with narrow hulls will go faster. However, if you want more stability, wider hulls are your panacea.
Without any further ado,
Let us take a look at the reviews of top 7 kayaks in the market!
1.Intex Explorer K2 – Best 2-Persons Kayak
Available in five different sizes, the Intex Explorer K2 is one of the most affordable kayaks on the market. That, however, isn’t the reason why we termed it as the best 2-persons kayak. To know what the reason actually is, let’s look at its features.
Starting with the best the K2 has to offer, and its weight capacity comes into play. For, in stark contrast to other inflatables, it can hold up as much as 400 pounds of weight. That despite the fact that the kayak weighs only 30 pounds.
Moving on, what makes this kayak extremely comfortable are its inflatable seats. Supplemented with adjustable backrests and higher-than-usual weight limit, these seats can accommodate big and tall guys with ease.
More importantly, ensuring the stability of this model is its 1200 denier nylon-shell. It is supported internally by tubes and externally by a 30-gauge vinyl cover. Add to it the solidity of the material of construction, and the K2 would remain with you for ages.
Also, while you cannot use it in rough conditions, the Intex Explorer K2 performs flawlessly provided it’s calm out there. That is, because, it has an inflatable I-beam along its bottom which imparts the kayak with additional stability.
Finally, turning our attention to its maneuverability, and the K2 is a cinch to paddle and maneuver. It has a removable skeg which gives you the option of added directional stability. What’s more, if you decide mid-trip to take a dip in water, the design of the K2 makes it a cinch to re-enter the kayak from the water.
- Ease of entry and Exit
- Yellow color makes it easy to spot
- Hugely spacious and added weight capacity
- Padded backrest and adjustable seats make it super-comfortable
- Black seats absorb more heat
First thing first, the Intex Challenger K1 – like the Intex Challenger K2 – is designed for calmer, protected waters. That is, because, it is made from high-density polyethylene which adds to the kayak’s weight and limits it to rivers and lakes.
Fortunately, while its material of construction is pretty basic, the comfort level of the K1 is still adequate. A huge reason for this is its adjustable back seat which also provides high back support. Add to this the adjustable foot braces which are also on offer, and what you get is a comfortable paddle.
One area where you can find no fault with the Intex Challenger K1 is the list of accessories that it offers. Take, for instance, the repair patch which will come handy when cursed jagged rock strikes again.
Or the cargo net which allows you to easily store gear or drinks for the journey. Also provided is a black carry bag which allows you to easily carry the Challenger K1 when it’s not in use. Then there is the hand pump which, thanks to its high-output rate, will pump up the kayak in no time.
Impressively for an under $100 kayak, you won’t have to pump-up the kayak for an hour. Provided you use an electrical pump – not included– you can pump the K1 up in less than 5 minutes. Or even if you decide to rely on the supplied pump, the whole exercise should be over in less than 10 minutes.
Finishing with a glance at the storage space of this model, and it serves as a double-edged sword. For, at one end, the space left behind the seat gives you extra room for storing your valuables. On the other end, however, it limits the room for your legs; which restricts its utility to those who are shorter than 6 feet.
- Lots of accessories
- Highly maneuverable
- Quick to inflate & deflate
- Easy to transport and store
- Padded is flimsy
- Limited utility to those longer than 6 feet
3. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot – Best Sit On Top Kayak
Ever wanted a kayak which could offer a unique amalgam of speed and stability? Even if you haven’t, the Sun Dolphin offers both, thanks to its dimensions and material of construction. Its length of 10 feet and 30 inches width allows the Journey to both pick up and maintain speed, while also staying stable.
As for its material of construction, the Sun Dolphin has gone for the UV-stabilized Fortiflex. Put simply, it is a high-density polyethylene which is made to last and has immaculate impact resistance. And despite its rigidness, the material is lightweight to make the kayak a cinch to carry.
Turning our attention to its storage space, and it offers plenty of options. Included is a portable accessory carrier which attaches to the kayak’s back and gives extra space to store your essentials. Also provided is an additional bungee cord storage area at the kayak’s front.
There is also a swiveling rod holder on the front and two mounted ones on the sides of the kayak. Furthermore, both sides of the kayak have two places where you can store your paddles. A small latch – where you can store your keys – and a cup holder are also provided.
Want to know the best part? The Sun Journey is a cinch to transport due to three particular features. First, since it measures only 10 feet long, most trucks would easily fit in this model. Second, its meager weight of 44 pounds allows you to carry it all by yourself. Finally, there are the retractable handles which allow you to carry it with one hand.
- Provides ample storage space
- Comes with protective thigh pads
- Cinch to transport and carry
- Lightweight yet stable
- Reduced weight limit
4. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot – Best Sit-in Kayak
Starting with the comfort level it provides, the Aruba 10 rivals any other Sun Dolphin Kayak in this aspect. Provided is an adjustable back pad to give support over longer trips. Also included are the adjustable foot braces which can be customized to complement your height. You also get the protective thigh pads which protect your legs from banging up on the hull’s inside.
As for its storage space, a mere glance behind the seat will reveal a dry storage component which Sun Dolphin calls as Portable Accessory Carrier. Though not the biggest ever, it can hold large backpacks as well as small tackle boxes and is completely sealed against water.
Turn your head around, and you’ll witness two cup holders big enough to fit in your standard beer can in front of the seat. They are joined there by a standard water bottle holder which is secured with a shock cord rigging.
Imparting ruggedness to this model is the combination of high-density polyethylene and Sun Dolphin’s very own Fortiflex. While the former makes the kayak lightweight, the latter makes it resistant to UV rays. A small spray deflecting collar – which keeps splashing water away from you – is also provided.
Lastly, at 10’ long and weighing 40 pounds, the Aruba 10 is a cinch to transport. It owes much of its portability to its small towing handles which are built into the rear and front of the hull. That means you can easily get it out of the water all by yourself.
- Adjustable foot braces
- High back support and padded seat provides extra comfort
- Lightweight, portable and easy to launch
- Loads of onboard storage option
- Doesn’t have drain plugs
- No fishing rod holders
5. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak – Best Kayak for Kids
- Includes Back Support
- Provides paddle in the package
- 3-foot supports’ sets
- Extremely Affordable
- No rear carry handle
6. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible – Best Inflatable Kayak
Although highly rated inflatable model from Advanced Elements, the AdvancedFrame Convertible is a stable, strong and balanced model. However, before you read its features, remember that it won’t come cheap.
So what makes the AdvancedFrame different from other inflatables in this review? One word: everything. Take, for instance, its convertibility. While it comes across as a double-paddled kayak, you can easily convert it into a solo-paddled model. However, if you ask us, we recommend paddling in tandem if you want to pick up some nice speed.
Next comes the Optional Decking feature which is a rarity in inflatable kayaks. This feature offers three conversion decks: single, double and standard. Granted, the double-decking mode adds weight, but it also gives you additional protection against the elements.
What’s more, the Advanced Elements is constructed with three layers of puncture-resistant material. The outer fabric is PVC Tarpaulin encapsulated with a 1000 denier polyester. On top of that is an additional double layer to provide further protection.
To further fortify the kayak, its bow has been supplemented with landing plates and the hull has a stern to protect it from rocks. All these materials make the AdvancedFrame capable of going down a class 3 river and coming out with aplomb.
Equally important is the 550 pounds carrying capacity of this model which imparts it with loads of storage options. You get two dedicated storage options; one at the front and the other right at the back. More gear can be loaded inside the front bungee cords. And provided you install the additional deck, you’ll get an additional mesh pocket.
Finally, in addition to withholding its own against external elements, the AdvancedFrame tracks straight. For, it has a built-in aluminum frame which makes the stern and bow rigid while also giving the kayak a helping hand to track better.
7. Sea Eagle SE370 – Best Kayak under 500
Of all the best recreational kayaks in this review, the SE370 rules the roost by providing sitting space for 3 persons. Consequently, if you are looking for a model which offers unrivaled storage space, here’s the model you should consider.
Although it is billed as a model for beginners, the design of the Sea Eagle SE370 is anything but. Take, for instance, the two blow up spray skirts. Located on the front and back of the kayak, they keep you and your cargo as dry as humanly possible.
Moving on, the SE370 employs a 38 mil PVC hull which is resistant to not only the sun but also salt water. Also, since the hull has three separate chambers – port, floor, and starboard walls – you’ll stay afloat even in the instance of a catastrophic rupture.
Still, if tears or holes does appear, the SE370 comes with a repair kit which allows you to patch them on the spot.
What’s more, like all other Sea Eagle’s inflatable kayaks the SE370 is fully certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association of USA. Since that certification entails the testing of the product against rigorous standards, it should erase all your doubts about the safety and quality of this model.
To make sure it is equally useful to beginners and professionals alike, the SE370 comes in four basic packages. They include the Deluxe 370 package which is ideal for beginners and includes two inflatable seats, a foot pump, a carry bag, and a repair kit.
The Pro Kayak package, meanwhile, is for both solo and tandem use. It consists of two paddles, a foot pump, a repair kit, and two Deluxe inflatable seats, among other items. Thirdly, we have the Sports Fishing package whose major selling point is the Multi-Purpose Storage Box which also has two rod holders.
Finally, we have the QuikSail package which comes with a collapsing sail and suits those who believe that kayaking is anything but hard work.
Even when you install its two skegs simultaneously, tracking straight isn’t a virtue this kayak can boast of.
- 3 person sitting space
- 650 pounds weight capacity
- Has drain valves, 2 skegs, and 2 AB30 paddles
- Sun and salt-water resistant hull
- Tracking isn’t great
What is the difference between a Kayak and a Canoe?
There are three major differences between kayaks and canoes. Starting with the most obvious, while canoes are open-top boats with sitting space for two or more people – kayaks are closed-top boats which can house only a single person.Also, the sitting mechanism is different in both. For, a canoe requires you to sit either kneeling down or on benches which run across its beam. A kayak, however, requires you to sit on its floor with your legs stretched straight. Finally, the design of the paddles also differentiates kayaking gear from canoeing gear. While you get two blades – one at either end – in a kayak, a canoe has only one blade which is shorter than its kayaking counterpart.
trong>Kayak or Canoe: Which one is better?
Here’s the deal: deciding whether a canoe or kayak will suit you better is easy once you have decided the purpose you’re buying the equipment for.For instance, if you are a beginner who wants to paddle solo – and requires a boat which is faster and easy to maneuver – and which can also keep your gear dryer, a kayak will suit you fine.Conversely, if you are an expert who wants company out in the sea – and also want more room for your gear and require more seating room – as well as stanIntex Challenger K1Intex Challenger K1ding room, a canoe merits your attention.
What is the best kayak for a beginner?
The Intex Challenger K1 is undoubtedly the best kayak for a beginner. Furthermore, there are three reasons which justify its tag. First, its price tag; for it comes under $100. Second, the list of accessories which come in the package is impressively large. Finally, the comfort level, portability and maneuverability of this model is unmatched when you compare it with other similarly priced models.
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Gilbert is a 23-year old blogger from South america who is a Camping enthusiast and a Technology geek. He is a certified Engineer and is Pursuing his Masters in University Of chile. Read more about him