As a sea kayak guide, I rarely see a group out for a day or multi-day trip without at least one Delta kayak in the mix. Why? They’re darn good boats. Delta is a Canadian, paddler-owned company that sets out to do one thing well: create quality touring kayaks. They were early adopters of thermoforming, and chose to focus exclusively on this novel process rather than dabbling in composites or rotomolding. Delta has been building kayaks in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, since 2006.
Thermoformed kayaks balance durability and weight at a reasonable cost. Delta’s mastery of the thermoforming process—which involves heating sheets of durable ABS/acrylic laminate and vacuum-forming them into the kayak molds—shows in their beautifully finished and lightweight kayaks. Delta’s proprietary SolarKote acrylic outer layer gives their kayaks a gleaming, glossy finish and superb UV resistance, while the robust ABS inner layer is nearly indestructible.
Inside the hull, Delta kayaks are renowned for their high storage capacity and exceptionally comfortable seating systems. These systems allow paddlers to adjust themselves up, down, forward, backward and nearly every other configuration you can think of. Cushiony foam is thoughtfully laid out to drain and ventilate well, great for long days in the cockpit. With high volumes and large openings, storage space is never an issue in Delta hatches.
Delta’s lineup includes everything in the touring range, from 10-foot day tourers to 17-foot expedition kayaks. If you’re looking for a lightweight single or tandem touring kayak, there’s likely a Delta that’s a great match for you.
This article will help you find your next kayak, with buying advice, reviews and links to view models. Keep reading to learn more.
Our picks: Best Delta kayaks for 2022
Here we’ve compiled the best of the best. These top-rated Delta kayaks are especially popular and each excels in its niche. If you don’t know quite where to start looking, this is a good place. We’ve done the research so you can pick the perfect Delta kayak for you.
Best Delta Kayaks
Shop Delta kayaks
Browse the Delta lineup in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you will find every Delta kayak on the market, along with specs, reviews, prices and where to buy. Use this information to help guide your search, comparing the type of paddling described in the review to what you are hoping to do.
Shopping for a used Delta kayak?
Buying a used kayak is an excellent way to get the most out of your budget. Delta’s timeless touring designs and robust construction make shopping for a used Delta a great option. Look for secondhand Delta kayaks on used marketplaces like Craigslist, Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace, but be aware that these popular boats often sell quickly. Setting up an email alert for the keywords “Delta Kayak” notifies you as soon as one becomes available.
Searching for retired demos or rentals is another way to get your hands on a used Delta. If an outfitter near you rents Delta kayaks, chances are they will be replenishing their fleet as the kayaks get older—ask if they are planning to do so at the end of the season. Renting a boat is also a great way to test how it fits and performs. If the fit is almost there, Delta sells padding kits that are compatible with all of their seating systems.
Delta’s thermoform plastic construction is UV-, abrasion- and impact-resistant, and nearly maintenance-free, but be sure to thoroughly inspect any used boat before buying. Superficial scratches are not an issue, but repairs may be needed for deeper gouges into the inner material. Check the deck (top) and hull (bottom) for cracks and deformities (which will make the kayak paddle less efficiently). Also inspect the bulkheads, hatches, skeg or rudder (if applicable) and outfitting for signs of excessive wear or damage.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.
Delta Kayaks buying advice
Delta’s construction method sets these kayaks apart from many other touring kayaks. The thermoforming process involves heating sheets of ABS plastic laminate and vacuum-forming them into the kayak mold. The deck and hull are molded separately, then joined together to form the finished kayak.
The outer layer of Delta’s proprietary plastic laminate is protective “Solarkote” acrylic, which provides resistance to abrasions and harmful UV rays. A key advantage of thermoform construction is that it creates a lighter and sleeker kayak than traditional rotomolded plastic, but more resilient to scratches and impacts than a fiberglass layup.
Recessed deck fittings and flush-mounted hatches add to Delta kayaks’ sleek aesthetic. In addition to looking sharp, these features reduce the chances of damaging the kayak during transport and make it easier to re-enter the kayak from the water. Subtle details like this also indicate that the company has put lots of thought and feedback from paddlers into their designs.
Although Delta focuses exclusively on touring kayaks, there are many options within their lineup to suit a wide variety of paddlers. Delta kayaks are divided into four categories: Adventure Rec, Light Touring, Touring and Performance Touring.
Adventure Rec are the shortest kayaks, aimed at beginner and casual kayakers. With 10-foot and 12-foot options available, the Delta AR is the company’s recreational touring model. These boats have a roomy cockpit for easy entry and exit and a wide, catamaran-style hull at the stern for lots of stability.
Premium outfitting, bulkheads for safety and sealed hatches for watertight storage make the Delta AR a solid step up from other entry-level recreational kayaks. Read a full review of the Delta AR here.
Light Touring kayaks are the next step in Delta’s progression. These include the Delta 12S and Delta 12.10. Light touring kayaks are perfect for paddlers who want a boat that is the size of a recreational kayak, but performs more like a sea kayak. These boats balance nimble handling and good glide with no more length than is necessary.
This makes the kayak easier to turn on the water and saves space wherever it is stored. Light Touring kayaks have features found on longer sea kayaks, like decklines and thigh braces, delivered in a space-efficient package.
Delta’s Touring category moves into traditional sea kayak territory. The Delta 14, 15.5 GT and 17.5 (Tandem) kayaks fall under this category. The longer length and higher volume of these boats makes them best suited for coastal paddling or touring on large lakes. They feature a smaller cockpit, where the paddler’s thighs engage with the hull for superior boat control.
The watertight bulkheads and hatches have ample space for all the gear needed on overnight trips. There are options for rudders or skegs in the Touring category.
Performance Touring kayaks get a little longer and are equipped to handle whatever conditions you may encounter on the open coast. These sea kayaks—which include the Delta 15S, 16 and 17—offer top of the line performance and ample storage capacity for intermediate and advanced paddlers planning extended trips. Like all Delta kayaks, they use thermoform construction for a great blend of durability and light weight.
Just like any kayak you are considering, it is crucial to “try before you buy.” Head to your local paddling shop and chat with one of the staff there—they know boats. Describe your paddling goals, and take the kayak out for a spin to make sure it fits and performs as expected.
Still wondering if Delta kayaks are right for you? Here are answers to some of the most common online questions about Delta kayaks.
Are Delta kayaks good?
For someone looking for a durable yet lightweight touring kayak, Delta kayaks are a good option. At mid-range prices, they won’t break the bank. Delta also has a reputation for comfortable kayaks with customizable seating options. The best way to know if a Delta kayak is a good fit for you is to try it out. For further comfort, additional padding can be purchased specifically for Delta’s seating system to really make it your own.
Where are Delta kayaks made?
They’re available across North America, so where are Delta kayaks manufactured? Delta kayaks are made in British Columbia, at Delta’s Maple Ridge headquarters just outside of Vancouver.
Delta kayaks warranty
All new Delta kayaks come with a 3-year limited warranty; be sure to register your kayak when you buy it. This warranty covers any defects from faulty materials or workmanship.
Delta kayak dealers
Delta kayak dealers can be found in nearly every province and state. Use Delta’s dealer locator to find one near you.
Does REI sell Delta kayaks?
REI sells Delta Kayaks and is an authorized dealer. Each store will have a different inventory. Delta notes on their website that although the products may not appear on the REI site inventory, they are carrying Delta kayaks and accessories.
Delta kayaks cost
How much are Delta kayaks? Delta kayak prices vary depending on the model, but range from $995 USD / $1,095 CAD for the Delta 10AR recreational kayak to $2,750 USD / $2,850 CAD for the tandem Delta Traverse 17.5T. Prices can also vary based on shipping costs and location.
How much is a Delta kayak in comparison to other similar boats? Delta kayaks are priced mid-range: less expensive than fiberglass or composite kayaks, but more pricey than most polyethylene boats.
Delta kayak material
What is a Delta kayak made of? At first glance, the glossy coat and two-tone colorway looks like fiberglass, but Delta kayaks are made with a patented blend of ABS and acrylic plastics. Sheets of this laminate material are heated and vacuum-formed into molds made with computer-assisted design (CAD) programs.
The result is a durable, attractive and lightweight kayak designed with the assistance of cutting-edge tech for machine precision.
Compare Delta Kayaks
Eddyline vs Delta kayaks
Like Delta, Eddyline kayaks are made exclusively from thermoformed plastic. Eddyline calls their material Carbonlite, which produces kayaks with a similar balance of durability and light weight to Delta kayaks. Where Delta kayaks are manufactured near Vancouver, British Columbia, Eddyline builds their boats in Burlington, Washington.
Delta produces an extensive range of rec touring and touring-specific boats, while Eddyline offers a line of angler-dedicated sit-on-top kayaks along with their touring and recreational options. Both companies produce top-of-the-line thermoform kayaks; if you’re seeking a good variety of sit-on-top and sit-inside recreational kayaks, or a thermoform fishing kayak, look to Eddyline.
If you want a wider selection of full-size touring kayaks, choose Delta.
Boreal vs Delta kayaks
Boreal Design kayaks are ubiquitous among rental fleets across North America. They have a boat for everybody, with recreational, touring and expedition kayaks. Boreal Design produces their kayaks overseas, with polyethylene and thermoformed plastic kayaks made in Shanghai and composite kayaks built in Estonia.
They offer a massive catalogue of kayaks ranging from 12-foot recreational kayaks to 21-foot tandems. Comparing Delta Kayaks to Boreal Design, Delta offers a smaller range of touring-focused models, exclusively made with thermoformed ABS. Choose Boreal Design if you want a wider variety of touring designs and materials.
If you prefer the lightweight, affordable durability of thermoform construction, you can’t beat Delta kayaks.
Delta vs Seaward kayaks
Both Delta kayaks and Seaward kayaks are designed and manufactured in British Columbia. Seaward has been building quality touring and expedition kayaks since 1986, the early days of recreational sea kayaking. They specialize in fiberglass and Kevlar composite kayaks.
Seaward’s lightweight, high-capacity composite kayaks land at a higher price point than Delta’s thermoformed plastic kayaks. In terms of design, Seaward offers a more extensive touring and tandem lineup, while Delta makes many more boats less than 16 feet, suitable for day touring and recreational paddling.
If you are an avid paddling enthusiast ready to make the investment in a quality composite kayak, Seaward offers many fine choices. Choose Delta kayaks if your paddling budget is a bit tighter, or if you are a more casual recreational paddler.
Delta kayak reviews
Remember, the first step in choosing a kayak is considering the type of paddling you aspire to do. Reading expert reviews will allow you to evaluate how each kayak handles and how it performs for the intended paddler and conditions.
- Touring Kayak Review: Delta Kayaks 14
- Boat Review: Delta 12 AR Kayak
- Delta Traverse 17.5 T Tandem Kayak Review
- Lightweight Touring Kayak Review: Delta Kayaks 12S
- Boat Review: Delta Kayaks 17