It may not be very well-known as a sport and it can be intimidating for beginners, but once introduced to kayaking, people immediately fall in love with it. Kayaking is great not just for your health and fitness. It’s perfect for people who want to enjoy the outdoors as well. The movements when kayaking engage all of your body without too much stress. People who are looking for more peace and quiet or want to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature will also appreciate kayaking. Plus, you don’t have to kayak alone. There are also kayaks for two persons so you can spend quality time with your family.
Now that you’re convinced that buying your own kayak is best for your body, mind, and overall health, how do you pick out the right one?
Table of Contents
- These are the factors you need to consider when shopping for your kayak of choice:
- Here are the top ten kayaks worth buying:
These are the factors you need to consider when shopping for your kayak of choice:
– What will you use the kayak for?
Kayak types vary depending on the area you plan to paddle in, how long you’ll be paddling and the method by which you plan to carry the kayak. A recreational kayak is the easiest to use and is meant for leisurely trips. If you’re using the kayak in open water or you intend to paddle quite a distance, you need a touring kayak. If the weather is quite warm, it will be too hot to be inside a kayak, so a sit-on-top kayak is best for this situation. An inflatable kayak meanwhile is ideal for those looking for a light and easy to carry kayak. There are also fishing kayaks specially designed for anglers and equipped with accessories for fishing.
– What material is the kayak made of and how durable is it?
Each kayak material has its own pros and cons. Plastic polyethylene and thermoformed ABS kayaks are the most popular and most affordable but also rate the lowest on durability. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used only on inflatable kayaks. Traditional wood kayaks are likely the easiest to repair but are usually the heaviest. Composite kayaks such as fiberglass are among the lightest and sturdiest and are therefore more expensive. If you want only the best and money is no issue for you, kevlar-made kayaks have the finest quality.
– What are the design and dimensions of the kayak?
The design and dimensions of a kayak also affect its performance so you’ll want to look at the kayak’s length, depth, and width. While longer kayaks can travel in a straight line better, short kayaks are easier to carry. Wider kayaks are generally more stable but need more energy to paddle. Narrower kayaks are not very appealing for beginners but are faster. Taller people will of course need larger kayas with more depth and enough space for their legs. These larger kayaks are better at keeping out water but also tend to be slower.
– What other features does the kayak have?
Each individual part of the kayak also has a role to play in its overall performance and comfort. When it comes to hulls, for example, flat hulls offer greater stability, rounded hulls can glide through the water faster and V-shaped hulls turn with ease and can stay on-course better. As for cockpits, small cockpits can keep the paddler inside the kayak better while getting in and getting out is quicker in large cockpits. Also, for more comfort and maneuverability, check the seats, foot pegs, hatches and rudder.
– What accessories will the kayak need?
Depending on the type of kayak you purchase, you will need one or more accessories. Be sure that the accessories you choose will fit your kayak. First of all, kayaks require a paddle and the kind of paddle you buy must be based on where you plan to use the kayak as well whether it’s for open water or down a stream or if your kayak is inflatable. A flotation device and safety gear are another must. Other accessories include a spray skirt or deck, a car rack and cradle, and a cover for the cockpit or a bag if it’s an inflatable kayak.
Here are the top ten kayaks worth buying:
1. Advanced Elements Lagoon 2
The Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 is an inflatable and tandem kayak which you and a partner can enjoy on a calm day at the lake or a gentle flowing river. Weight capacity is only at 350 pounds though. Though easy to store and carry, it’s reasonably sturdy and can be used with confidence on the water. Compared to other inflatable kayaks, this unit features a built-in bow and stern panels for a more robust structure. The padded seats also provide comfort. Both inflating and deflating the kayak take little effort and no more than a few minutes.
2. Dagger Kayak 14.0 Alchemy
One touring kayak which is a lean mean speedy machine is the Dagger Kayak 14.0 Alchemy. Smooth waters and rough conditions are no trouble for this kayak. Users have given positive comments on the kayak’s ease of maneuverability and the stability it offers. The kayak also has a version with a smaller cockpit to fit most adults and another version with a larger and deeper cockpit for tall paddlers. The thigh pads and seat are adjustable as well for better comfort.
3. Hobie Mirage Oasis
With the Hobie Mirage Oasis, kayaking with a partner is a smooth and fun ride. This tandem kayak offers several features and provides top of the line quality. Made to last, it eclipses others with its strength and speed. Skilled paddlers can use this kayak either for a relaxing run or for faster and more energetic sailing. It’s also lightweight and the seat and cockpit are quite comfortable. This kayak even includes storage areas which in no way affect its performance.
4. Lifetime Manta
The Lifetime Manta is a tandem kayak built with sturdy polyethylene plastic so you can smoothly skim calm waters or safely navigate rough ones. One of the great things about this kayak is that it has a seating capacity for three people and a total weight limit of 500 pounds. It also includes accessories like paddles and two backrests, plus a storage area for all your items. It doesn’t weigh a lot either so you and your paddling partner can carry it easily.
5. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu
If you’re looking for a more versatile kayak that can comfortably seat two persons, the Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu is a great option. It can accommodate two adults plus one child and its robust structure makes it long-lasting and stable enough for a calm lake or rough waters. Since it’s a sit on top kind, it can also function as a fishing kayak, ideal for anglers. It’s even equipped with rod holders. Although it’s sturdily built, it’s quite light at 60 pounds so it can be transported easily.
6. Old Town 10-Feet Vapor 10 Angler
Serious fishing enthusiasts consider the Old Town 10-Feet Vapor 10 Angler as one of their preferred fishing kayaks. It glides smoothly and soundlessly through the water to your favorite fishing spot. There are two rod holders at the rear and there’s plenty of leg room for taller paddlers or anglers, or for holding your tackle box or seating your child. You also can’t help but appreciate how stable and steady it is, not to mention immensely comfortable with its adjustable seat and foot pegs.
7. Perception Sport Pescador 12 Angler
The Perception Sport Pescador 12 Angler is a sleek and attractive sit-on-top and fishing kayak. It’s one of the higher end models and it’s easy to see why. Comfort and convenience are the focus of this kayak. It has the customary rod holders for fishing and an anchor kit plus paddle parks. The back rest is quite comfortable and the seat can be adjusted for a more custom fit. There’s also enough space in the cockpit for shorter or taller paddlers with foot pegs for better support and maneuverability.
8. Riot Kayaks Escape 12
What’s wonderful about the Riot Kayaks Escape 12 is that it’s a superbly versatile sit-on-top kayak used mainly for fishing but can also be utilized for recreational sailing. Anglers will be pleased with the multiple adjustable rod holders, anchor trolley system and generous storage area. This kayak is also fairly stable, and the rudder is removable. For added comfort, the seats are adjustable. Handling and carrying the kayak is easy as well since it only weighs 55 pounds.
9. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10
A recreational kayak that offers excellent features at an affordable price, the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is highly rated by both beginner and skilled paddlers. A high density polyethylene construction means it’s durable and can survive long use. Weight limit is at 250 pounds and for increased comfort, both the seat and foot pegs are adjustable and the cockpit is spacious. It’s also the perfect balance of stability and speed, plus it’s lightweight.
10. Wilderness Systems Tempest 170
The Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 is an award-winning touring kayak considered by many to be the best in the market. Skilled paddlers can tell you why it’s a cut above the rest. Impressive features and a well-built structure combine to deliver above par performance. This kayak is fast, incredibly stable and a dream to maneuver even in rough waters. Storage is not lacking either and the storage areas are sealed to keep your items dry. The seat is comfortable as well and the foot pegs and thigh braces are adjustable.
The kayaks on our list are equipped with a variety of features and are built to serve different needs. You can choose an inflatable kayak if you want convenience, a touring kayak if you’re into fitness, or a recreational kayak if your main purpose is to have fun with your family. Just be sure to strike a balance between cost and performance, and don’t forget to take into consideration durability.