Kayaking has seen a serious surge in recent years as a way to explore the great outdoors. Lighter weight materials and gear have allowed outdoor enthusiasts to explore remote areas of lakes, rivers, and streams that larger pleasure boats simply can’t get into. If you’re considering purchasing a kayak of your own and hitting your local waterway, we’ve got some top recommendations here for you to consider.
However, it’s important to understand that not all kayaks are created equal. There are many different styles and designs, and they’re all intended for different purposes. So, take a moment and determine what you’ll primarily be using your kayak for. Are you looking for portability? Do you plan to fish from your kayak? Are you looking for a sit-in or sit-on-top? How experienced are you? These are all questions to ask. Depending on your answers, the following list will likely point you in the right direction.
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10–Best Kayak For Beginners
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a great entry level kayak. It’s small and easily maneuverable. It’s a sit-in model and shaped so that it tracks easily, meaning it’s more forgiving to beginning paddlers. Plus, at less than $400 it’s a relatively inexpensive entry into the sport of kayaking.
Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame–Best Kayak For Portability
This kayak is an excellent choice if you’re looking for lightweight portability, but you also want a sturdy frame. In a way, it’s a sort of hybrid model kayak. The AdvancedFrame has a collapsible aluminum frame that allows the boat to steer and handle like a hard shell kayak, but it breaks down small enough to fit in with the rest of your camping gear. It can usually be found for under $500, so it’s fairly affordable, too.
Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14–Best Kayak For Anglers
Fishing kayaks come outfitted with accessories and features meant for anglers. You’ll find things like rod holders, extra gear holds, GPS mounts, etc. One of the top options for fishing kayaks is the Malibu Stealth 14. It’s a highly stable kayak and has tons of cargo space for your fishing gear. This model also features a live bait well in the center so that you can stock up on shiners, minnows or any other live baitfish you may need to hook up with a monster! The stability is what really shines on this boat, so much so that it even comes with a casting platform that the angler can use to stand up on to make casts.
Perception R15 Pescador 12.0 Kayak–Best Sit-On-Top Kayak
Sit-on-top kayaks are generally safer than sit-in models, as there’s no real risk of getting stuck should the boat tip over. The Perception R15 is a great model because it’s built extremely well but won’t break the bank regarding price. It’s a good “all-around” boat too, and it will perform great in rivers, lakes and the ocean (where larger boats are usually called for).