Best Kayaks For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

What kayak should I buy? It’s the first question a kayaker asks, and often the hardest to answer. You have to choose the best kayak for you, but that’s the trick—finding the boat perfectly suited to your specific needs.

With dozens of companies producing hundreds of different models, there’s a kayak for every style of paddling and every type of paddler. If you can’t decide, buy two. There is no better way to grow as a kayaker than taking a friend.

This kayak buying guide will take you through everything you’ll need to consider before making a purchase, from finding the right size boat to deciding whether you need a skeg to picking a place to buy from. It will also recommend some of the top kayak models, to help you begin narrowing your search. Lastly, below you’ll find links to all of our buying advice articles about more specific types and brands of kayaks.

Let this be your start in finding the best kayak for your paddling dreams.

Top picks: Best kayaks for 2023

The following kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all kayaks here.

Best Kayaks

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Pyranha

Scorch

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Delta Kayaks

Delta 12AR

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Coosa-FD-Aurora-first_product_boats.jpg
Jackson Kayak

Coosa FD

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Kayaks: Pilgrim Expedition by Nigel Dennis Kayaks - Image 2761
Nigel Dennis Kayaks

Pilgrim Expedition

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Kayaks: Argo 100XP Angler by Pelican Premium - Image 4647
Pelican

Argo 100XP Angler

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Kayaks: Pilgrim by Nigel Dennis Kayaks - Image 2760
Nigel Dennis Kayaks

Pilgrim

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Kayaks: Aruba 12 ss by Sun Dolphin - Image 2987
Sun Dolphin

Aruba 12 ss

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Kayaks: Skimmer 116 with First Class Seat by Hurricane Kayaks - Image 4556
Hurricane Kayaks

Skimmer 116 with First Class Seat

Shop kayaks

The links in this section will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you’ll find all the best kayaks on the market, including reviews, ratings and where to buy. You can choose to filter kayaks by type and application, such as fishing or whitewater, or by the number of paddlers (one-person or tandem), and so much more.

Then, click on specific models to see specs, prices, reviews and where to buy. We’ve also narrowed down the best kayaks at the most popular retailers including sporting goods stores, outdoors stores, and big box department and hardware stores. You simply will not find a better kayak buyer’s guide resource on the web.



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Best kayaks

If you already know what type of kayak you are interested in buying, your next step is fairly straightforward. Below, you’ll find our buying advice articles about specific types of kayaks under the heading “Best kayaks by type.” These articles will provide you with everything you need to consider when choosing a kayak in a given category, and even provide a roundup of top models to get you started.

If you’re new to kayaking, though, picking a kayak type isn’t always an intuitive choice. We also realize it can be time consuming to learn about all the different types to figure out which is best suited to you. Instead we’ve written articles that cater to the attributes you do know you want in a kayak.

For example, you might know you want a kayak that is great for lake paddling, or that costs less than $1,000, or that you can buy at the store down the street. You might also already be familiar with a brand and want to know what else they have to offer. These are all great places to start your search from. Browse the articles below and read the ones that touch on things that are important to you—whether it be price, material, where you intend to paddle, or who you intend to paddle with.

Each article will explain what to consider in making your purchase and provides a list of the top models for you to learn more about.

Best kayaks by type

Best kayaks by number of paddlers

Best kayaks by audience

Best kayaks by store

Coming soon

Best kayaks by price

Best kayaks by size

Best kayaks by propulsion

Best kayaks by structure

Best kayaks by intended waterway

Best kayaks by brand

Shopping for a used kayak?

Think you’ve scored a great deal on a Craigslist kayak? You’ll find plenty of used kayaks listed on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Your first step in making a good investment is to research the specific attributes of the used kayak you are considering.

Our Paddling Buyer’s Guide provides an exhaustive database of every kayak on the market, making this the ideal place to start. If you decide your Craigslist kayak is a true contender, consider the following advice to make a good used kayak purchase:

  • Buy the right used kayak for your paddling preferences by researching the particular model in advance to determine whether or not it truly meets your needs.
  • Give the used kayak a once-over, looking for damage to the hull (bottom), deck (top) and outfitting (seat, back rest, foot pegs, etc).
  • Try to determine how the kayak was stored. A kayak that was stored outdoors for long periods of time may be subject to fading due to UV radiation (which also weakens the kayak’s structure) and damage due to excessive snow loading or precipitation.
  • Taking the kayak for a test paddle is the best way to find out whether the kayak works for you in terms of performance, handling, comfort and fit.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

Kayak buying guide

What kayak should I buy? That’s the first question a kayaker asks, and often the hardest to answer. The goal is to find the best kayak for you—and doing so requires defining your needs and values in a kayak. That’s the biggest challenge in solving the riddle of how to buy a kayak.

Kayak type

Fortunately, there are dozens of kayak companies producing hundreds of different models, so rest assured there’s a kayak for every style of paddling and every type of paddler. The first step in how to buy a kayak is to think about what type of kayaking you enjoy doing, and how that might change in the future. From there, you can use resources like the Paddling Buyer’s Guide to create a short list of kayaks that meet your needs.

Your ideal kayak will be determined by where you want to paddle and what kinds of activities you want to do in your kayak. For example, if you paddle open water and exposed shorelines look at touring kayaks, which are longer and more seaworthy—yet also require training and stronger skills to paddle. For more mellow conditions you’ll likely appreciate the stability and comfort (not to mention the cheaper price) of a recreational kayak. A separate category of kayak, known as sit-on-tops, don’t have a confining deck and make an ideal choice for casual paddling in warm water locations, as well as kayak fishing.

There are many different variations—and, fortunately for the prospective kayak buyer, just as many different types of kayaks designed for specific water conditions, trip lengths and activities. There are also options within some of these categories you’ll need to consider. For example, do you want a kayak for two people? Is a sit-inside or sit-on-top kayak better for your pursuits? Should you go with a hard-shell vessel or inflatable?

Here’s an overview of the various types of kayaks:

Recreational kayaks are ideal for paddlers who spend most of their time on lakes and slow-moving rivers. They typically have a flatter hull and are wider than most touring kayaks, giving them greater stability. However, the extra width also means they will drag more in the water and wind, making them a little slower than some other types of kayaks. Recreational kayaks are usually 10 to 12 feet in length, which may translate into improved maneuverability but less tracking (the tendency of the kayak to travel in a straight line) and efficiency than a longer design.

Touring and sea kayaks are typically 14 to 18 feet in length, making them longer than most other types of kayaks. The long waterline of these boats lends itself to superior tracking; however, the drawback is they are more difficult to turn. Their length also allows for ample storage space for overnight or multi-day trips. Touring kayaks also tend to be narrower and sit lower in the water, features allowing for greater speed and efficiency as the kayak cuts easily through wind and water. The narrower profile of touring and sea kayaks means these boats will feel less stable for beginners than recreational kayaks.

Fishing kayaks are built for stability and durability, and usually not speed. They generally have lots of storage space for fishing tackle and gear, in addition to specialized features such as rod holders, mounting brackets, bottle holders and anchor lines, among others. Some have pedal-drive systems or trolling motor mounts so anglers can reach the fishing grounds faster.

Whitewater kayaks are typically five to 10 feet in length. They have lots of rocker (the curve of the hull from bow to stern), which allows for greater maneuverability. Most whitewater kayaks don’t offer a lot of storage space. They also don’t track (travel straight) very well on flatwater and are not efficient enough to paddle long distances. Whitewater kayaks are designed to do one thing really well—paddle on whitewater. A crossover kayak is a subgenre of whitewater kayak that offers better performance on flatwater for greater versatility.

Single or solo kayaks are designed to hold one paddler at a time. There are solo kayaks for a variety of purposes, from whitewater to recreation to fishing.

Double or tandem kayaks are designed to hold two paddlers at a time. Some kayaks (often in the inflatable category) have modifiable seat positions that allow for solo or tandem paddling. You can find specialized tandem kayaks for everything from fishing to touring to whitewater.

Pedal-drive kayaks are a specialized genre of sit-on-top kayak (often used for fishing) that allow you to have your hands free for fishing or taking photos. These kayaks feature pedals that move fins or a propeller attached through the hull of the kayak. There is also a rudder to steer the vessel. Pedal kayaks have reduced clearance, meaning you won’t be able to get into shallow water the same way you could in a paddle kayak. However they are fast and efficient as they make use of the powerful muscles of the legs; pedal kayaks are also more intuitive for beginner kayakers, since you don’t need to learn various paddle strokes to control and propel the boat.

Sit-inside kayaks offer the best protection from the weather and water, especially important in colder climates and on exposed coastlines. They also tend to be lighter and offer more interior dry storage than other kayak types.

Sit-on-top kayaks are self-draining and easy to scramble back aboard after a capsize or upset. The open deck makes it simple to hop on or off, and these designs are also usually more stable than their sit-inside counterparts.

Inflatable and folding kayaks come in a huge variety of styles, suited to everything from tame pond paddles to extreme expeditions. These boats are lightweight and easy to store and transport.

Hard-shell or rigid kayaks offer superior performance to inflatable kayaks, but they require more space to store and a means of transporting to and from the water on top of your vehicle. They tend to be faster in the water and readily cut through windy and wavy conditions as they sit lower in the water.

Size

Once you’ve narrowed down the particular style of kayak that’s best for you, the next step is to determine the right size. In terms of length, longer boats are faster, track better and are able to carry more gear, whereas kayaks under 12 feet in length will provide you with better maneuverability in tight waters. Wider hulls are more stable and roomy, but take more oomph to get going. Narrow hulls are faster and easier to roll and brace. It all comes down to personal preference, comfort and the amount of space you need for storage in the boat.

Ultimately, fit and performance reinforces the need to try a kayak out before buying. A certain kayak could look great on paper, but be a poor fit in reality. It’s not just about the length and width of the kayak—the length and width of the cockpit also matters. You should be able to comfortably get into the kayak without having to wiggle and without scraping your knees on the front of the cockpit opening.

Material

In general, commercially made kayaks are available in plastic and composite construction. Plastics include durable and cheap rotomolded polyethylene and composites refer to fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber laminates, which are sleeker, lighter and more expensive. Thermoform ABS is a material that bridges the gap between plastic and composite, both in terms of durability and performance and price.

Inflatable kayaks are constructed of tough PVC plastic with welded seams. If you’re handy, have access to tools and a workshop, and you’re looking for a woodworking project, there are a few brands of wooden kayaks offered as build-it-yourself kits.

Features

Kayak features are another important consideration. Does the kayak have a place for everything you want to carry, inside or on the deck? If you’re planning to take overnight trips or paddle open water, make sure your boat has waterproof storage hatches and bulkheads (interior walls that divide the hull into separate compartments).

For safety and convenience, look for perimeter decklines (non-stretch), deck bungees (stretchy) and grab or carry handles on bow and stern. You’ll be spending a lot of time on your backside, so make sure the seat, backband or back rest and outfitting are comfortable and adjustable.

Price

Price is often the bottom line in choosing which kayak to purchase, regardless of your objectives in paddling. The cost of a kayak will vary greatly depending on the materials used, size and features. For example, hard-shell kayaks tend to be more expensive than inflatables. Among hard-shell kayaks, those made from composites are more expensive than those made with polyethylene.

Expect to pay $400 and up for a decent quality, bare-bones recreational design and $1,000 and up for a more performance-oriented design. On average, whitewater kayaks tend to be around $1,000 and touring kayaks around $2,000.

Take the time to do your homework and be sure to try as many kayaks as possible before you commit to a purchase. Here’s a list of other common questions that may help you in buying a kayak.

  • What is the difference between a kayak and a canoe?

    Kayaks are sleeker than canoes and were originally designed for paddling in coastal environments. However, nowadays many kayaks share similar characteristics with canoes (some models are stable and easy to maneuver, and meant for sheltered locations). The big difference between kayaks and canoes is the seating position: A kayaker sits on the bottom of the kayak whereas a canoeist sits higher, with the option to kneel.

    Kayaks also call for double-bladed paddles while canoeists use single blades. We’ve captured all the differences between kayaks and canoes in this article.

  • What kayak material is best?

    The best kayak material, like kayak design, is entirely based on how you plan to use your kayak. If you want no-worries durability and a cheap price, go plastic (specifically: rotomolded polyethylene). But if you want something sleeker, higher performance, lighter weight—and far more expensive—take a look at your options in fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber.

    Check out our article What Are Kayaks Made Of? for a full rundown of all the options, with pros and cons of each as well as price points.

  • What are the different parts of a kayak?

    The main parts of a kayak are the hull (bottom) and deck (top). The front (ahead of the paddler) is known as the bow; the back (behind the paddler) is the stern. From there, the next obvious part is the cockpit (where you sit) and outfitting (comfort parts like the seat and back rest).

    Features like hatches (holes in the deck with waterproof closures) and bulkheads (walls that separate the interior of the kayak to create dry storage areas) also stand out. Read our article Parts Of A Kayak for a complete rundown of all the parts.

  • What type of kayak should I buy?

    The question, “What type of kayak should I buy?” should be answered in terms of how you wish to paddle, including where and for how long. Budget is also a huge consideration.

    We’ve assembled two great articles that provide comprehensive overviews of the entire kayak buying process: The Different Types Of Kayaks and Sit-In vs. Sit-On Kayaks.

  • Skeg vs rudder?

    Skegs and rudders provide a paddler with directional control, typically found on day touring and sea kayaks (as well as some recreational and fishing kayaks). A skeg is a retractable fin that inserts into the water at the stern (rear) of the kayak and keeps the kayak tracking straight in various wind conditions.

    A rudder, on the other hand, is attached at the very back of the kayak and offers foot-operated steerage when it’s inserted in the water. You can read all about skegs and rudders here and get tips on which of these accessories is best for you.

  • What size kayak do I need?

    The best size of kayak for a given paddler depends on your paddling preferences (day trips or multi-day camping trips) and your size. In general, a longer kayak will be faster than a short one—but it will be somewhat heavier, too.

    A short kayak will be more maneuverable but have less storage space for trips. We’ve put together a comprehensive article on how to choose the best size kayak for your needs.

  • When to buy a kayak

    Wondering when is the best time to buy a kayak? It all comes down to selection versus price. You’ll have access to a far wider range of new kayaks in the spring. However, you may benefit from end of season sales (if you don’t mind a picked-over selection of boats) in the fall.

    This article breaks down all the variables to answer the question, When To Buy A Kayak.

  • How much does a kayak cost?

    The price of a kayak varies considerably based on a huge array of factors. As with any consumer item, a higher price (in general) reflects better performance and higher tech construction, design and accessories. Touring kayaks cost more than recreational kayaks; and lightweight kayaks made of composite materials (versus plastic) tend to come with a premium cost.

    Check out this article for a full rundown of the variables that determine how much a kayak costs.

  • Where to buy a kayak

    You’ve got plenty of options if you’re searching where to buy a kayak, and your best shopping experience is determined entirely by the kayak you wish to buy. Big box department stores offer the cheapest, poorest performance kayaks for casual use. Sports stores offer somewhat more advanced kayaks, and outdoor stores provide an even more refined range. If you’re looking for the best kayaks (and corresponding service and expertise in sales staff), shop at a paddlesports specialty store.

    We’ve outlined all the variables determining where you should buy a kayak in this article.

  • Do kayaks have a weight limit?

    Each kayak has a weight limit based on its design. In general, a kayak’s weight limit is a function of its length and width. Select a kayak with an upper weight limit (or carrying capacity) as near your combined body and total cargo weight as possible.

    An overloaded kayak performs poorly and is less seaworthy in wind and waves, while an underloaded kayak tends to get blown around in the wind and is more difficult to handle.

  • Do kayaks flip easily?

    The tippiness of a kayak depends entirely on its design. A wide, flat-bottom kayak will feel more stable than a round-bottom, narrow kayak on calm water—and be far less prone to flip in these conditions. Entry-level recreational kayaks are meant to be super stable (especially sit-on-top kayaks); tipping over usually isn’t a problem in appropriate paddling conditions. However, stability changes in waves, when a kayak with a rounded hull is actually more resistant to capsizing than a flat-bottom hull.

  • Do kayaks tip over easily?

    The tippiness of a kayak depends entirely on its design. A wide, flat-bottom kayak will feel more stable than a round-bottom, narrow kayak on calm water—and be far less prone to flip in these conditions. Entry-level recreational kayaks are meant to be super stable (especially sit-on-top kayaks); tipping over usually isn’t a problem in appropriate paddling conditions. However, stability changes in waves, when a kayak with a rounded hull is actually more resistant to capsizing than a flat-bottom hull.

  • Do kayaks have rudders?

    Some kayaks have rudders, others do not. Foot-operated rudders are common in touring (sea) kayaks and improve control in windy conditions. Some recreational kayaks are also equipped with rudders, as are many fishing kayak designs. You can read all about skegs and rudders here and get tips on which of these accessories is best for you.

  • Do kayaks sink?

    Properly designed kayaks have built-in features known as bulkheads that prevent them from sinking. These internal walls, found especially in touring (sea) kayaks and some higher-end recreational kayaks, create watertight chambers that are great for storing gear, which keep the kayak floating when the cockpit area is flooded with water.

    Cheap recreational kayaks without bulkheads will sink (or at least float just below the surface of the water) if they fill with water, which can be a huge safety risk in open water and cold water conditions.

  • Do kayaks come with paddles?

    Some cheaper recreational kayaks, often sold in big box department stores such as Walmart and Tractor Supply Company, come with basic paddles.

  • Do kayaks have to be registered?

    The question “Do kayaks have to be registered?” depends entirely on your location. Kayaks do not require registration in Canada. However, small craft registration is required in some U.S. states. Check with your state’s department of transportation (or equivalent state government agency) for requirements.

  • Do all kayaks have scupper holes?

    Scupper holes provide drainage from the seating area in sit-on-top kayaks. They are generally not found in other styles of kayaks.

  • Do all kayaks have rudders?

    Some touring (sea), recreational and fishing kayaks are equipped with foot-operated rudders, but not all. Some touring kayaks have skegs; a skeg is a retractable fin located near the stern of the kayak that provides some directional control in windy conditions.

    You can read all about skegs and rudders here and get tips on which of these accessories is best for you.

  • Do all kayaks have serial numbers?

    All kayaks must come equipped with a serial number. You’ll find this number on the stern of the hull.

  • Do all kayaks have skegs?

    A skeg is a fin located near the stern of a kayak that keeps it tracking in a straight line. Some touring (sea) kayaks and crossover whitewater kayaks have retractable skegs (operated with a cable), which improve control in wind and on flatwater. Some inflatable recreational kayaks have removable skegs to improve tracking.

    Skegs differ from rudders in that the latter offer steerage as opposed to just assisting in tracking. You can read all about skegs and rudders here and get tips on which of these accessories is best for you.

  • Do all kayaks take on water?

    A sprayskirt is a key accessory for sit-inside touring (sea) and recreational kayaks that prevents waves and spray from entering the kayak. Sprayskirts create a seal around the coaming (outer rim) of the cockpit and the paddler’s torso. However, a sprayskirt poses a risk of confinement in the cockpit and requires training to use safely.

    Sit-on-top kayaks have open decks; scuppers (one-way valves) in the seating area are designed to remove water from this style of kayak.

  • Do all kayaks capsize?

    It is possible for all kayaks to capsize, however some designs are more stable than others. If stability is your prime objective, then consider a kayak with a flat bottom and a wide width.

  • Do all kayaks have seats?

    All kayaks have some form of seat, ranging from a simple pan molded into the deck of a cheap sit-on-top kayak to multi-adjustable seats with ergonomic back support systems in high-end touring kayaks. It’s important that you find a kayak that fits your body type, so be sure to try sitting in a kayak before committing to a purchase.

  • Do all kayaks have plugs?

    Drain plugs are common in recreational sit-inside and sit-on top kayaks and whitewater kayaks. Specifically, you’ll find these features in any kayak that does not have bulkheads (interior walls that create watertight chambers inside the hull). Drain plugs make it easier to remove water from the boat after you’ve returned to land.

  • Do kayaks come in a box?

    Many inflatable and some cheaper recreational kayaks come in a box, simply to make them easier to display at large department stores like Walmart and Costco. Oru Kayak produces a unique folding kayak that can be easily packed into a box for transportation and storage.

  • Do kayaks come in different sizes?

    Kayaks come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, with plenty of variety to fit just about any body type. We described all the different types of kayaks (and typical sizes) earlier in this article.

    We’ve also assembled these two other great articles detailing the entire kayak buying process: The Different Types Of Kayaks and Sit-In vs. Sit-On Kayaks.

  • How much do kayaks depreciate?

    Kayaks, like cars or just about any consumer good, depreciate over time. In general, a moderately used and properly maintained kayak is worth about half its retail price on the used market.

  • Do kayaks float?

    Yes, kayaks float—unless they’re a cheaper model, which will sink if filled with water. Look for a kayak with bulkheads (internal flotation chambers) if you intend to paddle in open water areas where a sinking kayak would be a life-threatening problem.

  • Do kayaks require life jackets?

    You should always wear a properly fitting life jacket (specifically: a personal flotation device) while paddling a kayak. It’s the law for each paddler to have a Coast Guard-approved PFD when you go on the water in just about every jurisdiction.

  • Do kayaks have keels?

    Some recreational and fishing kayaks have keels to keep the kayak going straight and to improve handling in wind. However, keels are not common in more advanced touring (sea) kayaks.

  • Do kayaks need a safety kit?

    You should always carry a basic safety kit when you go on the water. In some jurisdictions (including Canada), the following items are required: a Coast Guard-approved PFD (lifejacket—it should be properly fitting and worn at all times); a bailer or bilge pump; 50 feet (15 m) of floating rope, ideally in the form of a throw bag; a sound signaling device, such as a waterproof whistle; a paddle or other propulsion device; and a waterproof light if you plan to be on the water at dusk or after dark. Regardless of the law, these items should be carried as a basic safety kit with every kayak.

  • Do kayaks leak?

    Kayaks are designed to stay dry and not leak, however some boats may take in a bit of water through the hatches (usually not enough to worry about). A sprayskirt is a key accessory for sit-inside touring and recreational kayaks that prevents waves and spray from entering the kayak. Sprayskirts create a seal around the coaming (outer rim) of the cockpit and the paddler’s torso.

    However, a sprayskirt poses a risk of confinement in the cockpit and requires training to use safely. Sit-on-top kayaks have open decks; scuppers (one-way valves) in the seating area are designed to remove water from this style of kayak.

  • Do longer kayaks track better?

    It’s generally true that the longer the kayak, the better it will track (or move straight through the water and resist turning). However, tracking is primarily a function of rocker, or how much upturn there is at the ends of the kayak. For example, a whitewater kayak, designed for ultimate maneuverability, has a hull shaped like a banana; a sea kayak, on the other hand, has a hull shaped more like a pencil.

    All things considered equal, a kayak with a longer waterline (amount of the hull in the water), or less rocker, will track better.

  • Do longer kayaks go faster?

    In general, the longer the kayak, the faster. Maximum hull speed is a function of length. However, the longer the kayak, the more effort it requires to paddle. Speed is just as much a function of having good glide, which is often the result of a straight keel line with minimal rocker (translation: less upturn at the ends of the hull to keep it tracking straight through the water).

  • Do kayaks have livewells?

    Some fishing kayaks come with built-in live wells. You may also find instructions on how to modify your fishing kayak to add a live well on YouTube, if you desire—and you’re handy enough to do it yourself.

  • Do kayaks have motors?

    In general, kayaks do not have motors. However, some fishing kayaks can be equipped with an electric trolling motor. You may find instructions on how to modify your fishing kayak to add a motor on YouTube, if you desire—and you’re handy enough to do it yourself.

  • How much do most kayaks weigh?

    Kayak weights vary widely amongst the different types of kayaks, construction and sizes. A small inflatable kayak for recreational use can weigh under 25 pounds, compared to a plastic recreational kayak which may weigh between 45 and 75 pounds, depending on the model (tandem kayaks are heavier).

    A composite touring (sea) kayak made of space-age Kevlar or carbon fiber weighs 30 to 40 pounds, whereas a plastic sea kayak tips the scales around 65 pounds. Tandem sea kayaks, even those made of composite materials, are huge boats that weigh 90 to 120 pounds.

  • Do kayaks scratch easily?

    Whether or not kayaks scratch easily depends on the material. In general, the plastic used in most recreational kayaks is quite durable to scratching. The greatest damage to this type of kayak occurs when they’re left outdoors for long periods of time in the sun. Composite kayaks, or those built from fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber, are more subject to scratches.

    Most scratches are not a problem, however deep gouges from larger impacts with sharp rocks that expose the weave of the composite fabric need to be repaired with gelcoat or epoxy. The PVC material used in inflatable kayaks is quite durable and doesn’t tend to scratch at all.

  • Do kayaks have seatbelts?

    No, kayaks do not have seatbelts.

  • Do kayaks have styrofoam?

    Some cheaper kayaks have styrofoam bulkheads or flotation chambers to keep the boat from sinking when flooded with water.

  • Do kayaks hold their value?

    The long-term value of a kayak depends on the model. Higher end touring (sea) kayaks tend to hold their value reasonably well, though a certain amount of depreciation occurs over time. In general, an older, well used but not abused kayak is worth about half of its retail value on the used market. Values have gone up as kayaking has surged in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Do kayaks warp?

    Plastic kayaks have a tendency to warp over time, especially if they are stored for long periods of time with any weight on top. In general, the strongest part of the kayak is the seam between the deck (top) and hull (bottom) of the boat. You can avoid warping by storing your kayak on its side, out of direct sunlight and snow loads.

Kayak reviews

Our expert team at Paddling Magazine has written an extensive collection of kayak reviews over the years—which we continue to add to all the time. Reading reviews is a great way to get a sense for the comfort, performance and features a boat offers. Use the reviews below to help you begin to narrow your search for the perfect boat.

 

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