Kayaking is becoming more popular water sports day by day. There are many people who are coming towards kayaking and wanted to explore rivers, lakes, oceans on it. A best Kayak ensures speed, stability, safety, comfort, and adrenalin rush at the same.
Whether you enjoy calm paddling or looking forward to get heads on with fast rapids, there are kayaks available for all type of paddlers. In order to help you out, I am sharing a list of some of the Best Kayaks on the market right now.
The Best Kayaks!
|Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak||Lifetime||50 pounds|
|Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Foot Sit In Kayak||Sun Dolphin||31 pounds|
|Intex Explorer K2 Kayak||Intex||31 pounds|
|Sea Eagle SE370 Pro Pakage Kayak||Sea Eagle||26 pounds|
|Sun Dolphin Bali 10 SS Sit In Kayak||Sun Dolphin||31 pounds|
|Lifetime Youth Wave Kid’s Kayak||Lifetime||18 pounds|
|Lifetime 10 Foot Sit On Top Fishing Kayak||Lifetime||60 pounds|
|Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak||Ocean Kayak||57 pounds|
|Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak||Vibe||42 pounds|
|Advanced Elements Two-Person Kayak||Advanced Elements||36 pounds|
What is a Kayak?
Before moving forward, let me address the most basic query that, “What is a Kayak?”
Kayak, also known as Yaks, is a small watercraft which are propelled by pedals.
The traditional kayak has a covered deck along with one or more cockpits having a seat for each paddler. Usually, cockpit is covered by spray deck to prevent entering of water or waves.
There are two types of Kayaks; one is SOT Kayaks (Sit-On- Top) and other is SIK (Sit-Inside-Kayak)
Both the SOT or SIK kayaks are used in different seasons. SOT kayaks are more preferred in Summer or mild winter season and SIK are preferred in cold winter season.
Different types of kayaks serve different type of needs like; Fishing, Camping, Diving, Racing, touring Kayaks for ocean, Kayaks for rivers, Kayaks for small ponds.
Kayaks are also further categorized to Recreational (Budget friendly), Fishing, Whitewater Kayaks, Hybrid Kayaks or Canoe, SUP.
How to Choose the Best Kayak for me?
There are lots of factors to consider while choosing a kayak and it can be a challenging task.
However, I have narrowed down the process of selecting a best kayak to two major decisions. What type of Kayak should I select and what purpose do I need the Kayak for?
Types of Kayaks & Purpose of Kayak
Let me discuss all the available types of Kayaks here and talk about their feature to decide which can be best for you.
Sit On Top Recreational Kayak
Sit On Top Recreational kayaks are designed to feel the air and sit outside the Kayak which gives a paddler more control over it. It is a perfect kayak to paddle around in summer.
These boats can be used for scuba diving or even for a dinghy to get to your sailboat.
Usually, these types of Kayaks have decent amount of capacity to carry your gears. You need to look for dry hatches and enough storage space whenever you are opting for a sit on top recreational kayak.
Being an open Kayak, water is bound to come into it while you surf that is why these kayaks come with drain plugs. So this is the exclusive feature you need to study before buying any sit on kayak.
These are perfect for experts as well as beginners. Since these kayaks don’t require any type of special training or expertise to handle them. If it goes out of control, you simply need to jump off as compare to close kayaks where you need a training to evacuate in case of emergency.
- These kayaks are best to take on lakes and small ponds, but for rivers (whitewater), these are limited.
- These Sit on top Recreational kayaks can serve the following purpose;
- These are best for fishing, diving, & family.
- They are good for camping.
- They have limited features if you are looking for a racing kayak.
Sit Inside Kayak
These are the kayak where paddler site inside a cockpit. Spray skirts are used to keep the water outside the cockpit.
Sit in Kayaks requires training and proper knowledge before starting; therefore, I will not recommend it for the beginners.
It has got more storage in the hull to store all of your fishing and other gears. It protects the paddler in rough water.
- These kayaks are best for lakes and Small ponds whereas good for rivers (whitewater)
- These Sit Inside Kayaks can be good for the following purpose;
- These are best for Shipping & family (multi seats)
- Good for Racing & camping.
- Limited for diving due to closed cockpit.
Touring Kayaks are specifically designed for long distance trips which can be of 24 hours. Long thin shape allows them to cut through the water easily while their long length allow them to brave the swells of oceans.
These are suggested for intermediate and expert paddlers as they can be way too fast for beginners to handle.
The rounded shape of these kayak makes it stable while in motion and makes it tippy while stationary.
Best kayak for touring is the one which has lots of storage space as paddler will need lots of stuffs in long distance touring.
Seat is one of the most important aspect of any touring kayak since they are meant for long distance. Seat is directly related to your comfortable touring. If the seat is too much padded then it won’t give any grip in rough water. And if it is too firm then it won’t be comfortable for long rides.
A high quality touring kayak seat has a four way adjustable seats along with straps and belts for safety. It can fit any size person very comfortably. There is a hidden compartment under the seat to store the valuable stuffs dry.
Another comfort aspect is the cockpit, it should be wide enough to store your blanket for cold weather. The feet should have enough room to move comfortably without any hindrances as it would help you to easily evacuate the boat in case of emergency.
In conclusion, the touring kayak must be comfortable and strong enough at the same time to easily handle rough water easily.
Inflatable Kayak is considered as the masterpiece of kayak companies. In a fast moving world, everything is becoming compact and portable and Kayak companies have put their contribution by making inflatable kayaks.
Inflatable kayak has made the life of paddlers easy and sorted as they can carry their kayak in a small backpack. These are definitely a best option for solo paddlers or families. They are very easy to inflate and deflate.
These inflatable kayaks are made up of thick material, typically PVC which provide amazing durability as a rigid boat. PVC material makes the kayak light and unbreakable at the same time.
Usually, there is a capacity of two or more kayakers inside an inflatable kayak. Checkout our Full guide on Inflatable Kayaks here.
Kayaks for Fishing
Kayaks are widely used for fishing by families or friends to spend some quality time. Fishing Kayaks are used by many fishermen too. There is a wide range of kayaks for fishing ranging from rigid boats to portable easy to carry kayaks.
Most of the fishing boats are equipped with fishing rod which free up your hand to hold a cold beer while enjoying the view on your kayak.
These kayaks also come up with paddle holders which is also a safety feature. As these paddle holder can be life saving while you try to reel up a tricky catch with free hands. It can be dangerous in the middle of the lake without paddle holders.
Fishing needs a good amount of gears to accompany you; therefore, you need to make sure that your boat has enough space. So, a decent storage is one of the main feature for any fishing kayak.
Kayaks for Ocean Fishing
This is one of the type of Fishing Kayak. When deciding to go out in an open ocean then you will need a most reliable and best kayak equipped with all the safety features.
The Ocean Fishing Kayak are made with most durable material and are capable of handling rough waves of ocean. It is recommended to take a long boat that can handle the rough swells. It typically ranges from
15 to 20 feet long.
Stability is another feature to look for while finalizing the ocean Kayak. I would recommend a boat with rounded hull as it keeps the boat stable and amazing at taking corners.
You also have to take care of the storage since you will be out in the ocean. It should have enough storage to store all your fishing gears and important stuffs.
You need to look for a boat that is made up of plastic and can withstand the saltwater. It will increase the lifespan of your boat drastically.
I would recommend Ocean Kayak Malibu for this.
Kayaks for River Fishing
Whenever you are looking for a kayak fishing then you need to make sure that your kayak can handle the unpredictable current.
Stability is the feature you need to look for in a kayak for fly fishing that can make your kayaking experience smooth in the river. A shorter kayak is recommended for this – typically 10 feet long.
Most of the short kayaks comes with the paddle and fishing rod holder which can saves some of your space.
I would recommend you Sun Dolphin’s Bali SS for this.
Tandem Kayaks are designed for the paddlers who love to paddle with their partner or family. Material is one of the most important factor to consider while going for two-person kayak.
2 person kayak need to durable and strong enough to carry the weight of two persons and their belongings. I would recommend you to look for high end PVC or vinyl material kayak. As it would be strong and light in weight at the same time.
Kayak for 2 person is generally little heavier than single person kayak as more material is used on 2 person kayaks.
Tandem boats are really very easy to setup and carry. They come very handy in terms of mobility. If you are not going to carry a partner with you then you may use the second seat for storing your gears.
I would recommend tandem kayak with at least 400lbs weighing capacity. It will allow you and your paddling partner to easily fit in.
These are the kayak which are specially designed for the people who are only looking for pleasure and or looking kayak as a weekend activity only. Still, these kayaks are strong enough to take you through rough water very easily.
The main feature to look into recreational kayaks is the comfort. So you need to look for perfect seats with comfortable backrest.
It should also focus on the storage as there should be enough space to store all your camping, fishing, or photography gears.
Hands Free Kayaks
Kayaks very much among people who like to keep their hands free as these kayaks are propelled by the feet.
Pedal kayak have gained a lot of popularity among people as they are very easy to propel and can be taken to anywhere.
Normal kayaks work on your upper body, on the other hand Hands free kayaks work on your lower body as it involves your legs.
Since, these boats involves little technology therefore they are little high in price. A normal pedal powered kayak may cost you around $1000.
What’s the Best kayak for Beginners?
It is one of the most common question asked by the beginners that what is the best kayak for them.
I would recommend you to look for rental kayak first – see if you can find a company who can rent a kayak to you and you can learn basics of kayaking on that.
You may find a lot of companies which may offer Kayaks for hire ad there you may have variety of options available. Moreover, renting a kayak also gives you a flexibility of trying different kayaks first and then deciding on your purchase.
Ones you know the basic then you are good to go and get your own Kayak.
Do make sure that you take safety very seriously while deciding on beginners kayaks.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Kayak?
Lets discuss a best time to purchase a kayak. If I answer it in short then it all depends on you and your requirements.
However, in generic you can purchase the kayak before the season or in the Spring And Fall.
If you are looking to get a kayak for an special time of the year or any particular season then I would recommend you to buy it before the start of the season You may steal the deal.
Or there are few brands who host ending season sales on kayaks so you may find a reasonable kayak in such sales. If you live in a warm area then it might be hard for you to get such deals.
Spring And Fall
Spring & Fall season is considered a good season to buy a Kayak as in that time you may find a lot of ending season sales where companies are getting rid of old stock.
In the fall, there is usually a lesser demand for kayaks which creates an opportunity for you to score a kayak in low rates. if you are planning to buy a sit inside kayak then you can kit it out with spray skirt and use that kayak in summers as well.
In a nutshell, it does not matter when you buy a kayak, what ater is that you are going to acquire an asset that is going to benefit you in coming years.
There are lots of frequently asked questions about Kayaks and here I am adding all the relevant questions for your assistance.
Q. How Hard is kayaking?
A. Kayaking is an amazing activity which do involve a lot of physical accessory. Your upper body need to be strong to surf around and if your lower body is more powerful then you may go for pedal kayaks.
It is not that difficult to kayak though it requires some stamina that you may built over a period of time and not to forget about the techniques.
Q. What are the benefits of a Kayak over a canoe?
A. Kayaks are much easy to control and handle than canoe. The paddle let you cut through the water which helps you to maintain a fast speed. The lightweight makes it very portable and easy to handle.
What Should I Know about Kayaking before going?
A. I would like to answer this in bullets. So below is the checklist I think you should know before going for kayaking.
- You must know how to swim.
- DO NOT wear Jeans.
- Waterproof base layers – to protect you in cold weather.
- Wear wet-suit boots.
- Practice balance and stability in still water.
- Practice how to upright an overturned kayak.
- Learn the navigation rules
- Be prepared for the worst weather.
Q. What are the benefits of using a short kayak as opposed to a long kayak?
A. Short kayaks are easy to handle, light in weight, portable, turn faster (perfect for racing), and it accelerate quicker.
Q. What are the Kayaks Made out Of?
A. Different kayaks are made up of different material. Like Inflatable kayaks are made up of vinyl or military grade PVC material which is puncture, dents and ding resistant. Both the materials, Vinyl & military grade PVC, are super lightweight and easy to fold. Rigid kayaks are made up of high strength plastic, fiber sometimes even wood. All these materials are very cost-effective and durable at the same time.