Best Hobie Pedal Kayaks For 2024

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Hobie is a beloved California-based watersports brand with longstanding roots in surfing and sailing. The brand is best known for it’s classic “Hobie cat” sailboats. But in recent decades Hobie has expanded into recreational and fishing kayaks with great success. Hobie pedal kayaks build on the company’s heritage of innovation to offer a unique kayaking experience.

Hobie pedal-powered kayaks provide a sleek, hands-free way of getting around on calm, sheltered water. These specialized open deck, sit-on-top kayaks are propelled with your feet, leaving your hands free for fishing or photography. The higher seating position of Hobie foot pedal kayaks is ergonomic and can be more comfortable for some people than traditional kayak seats.

Hobie foot pedal kayaks allow you to work your lower body, with the option in some models to use your arms to paddle, too. Hobie pedal kayaks are easy to get on and off, without the confined feeling of a typical kayak. What’s more, Hobie kayak pedal drive systems create a low center of balance that’s ultra stable.

This article provides you with all the tools to identify the best Hobie pedal kayak for your needs. Pedal kayaks are certainly a niche type of kayak, but Hobie serves up plenty of selection and this article will describe the workings of the brand’s different pedal-powered mechanisms.

We’ll help you choose the right Hobie pedal kayak, whether it’s for recreational use or kayak fishing, to provide you with countless hours of enjoyment on the water.

Top picks: Best Hobie pedal kayaks for 2024

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

Shop for Hobie pedal kayaks

In the market for a Hobie pedal kayak? The links in this section will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you can take a closer look at every Hobie pedal drive kayak with foot pedals on the market, including reviews, ratings and where to buy. You can choose to filter kayaks by type and application, such as tandem pedal kayaks, fishing kayaks with pedals and inflatable Hobie kayaks with pedal drive.

Detailed reviews of specific models include specs, prices and where to buy, including Hobie pedal kayaks at REI and Ebay, to ease your search. Simply put, this is the most comprehensive kayak buyer’s guide on the web.

Shopping for a used Hobie pedal kayak?

Are you looking to save a few bucks? Try using the search term “Hobie pedal kayak used” at online buy-and-sell forums like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and Craigslist—and be patient. Unlike other types of recreational kayaks, Hobie pedal kayaks are hard to find, largely because these boats are fun, durable and a great investment, and consequently most Hobie owners would hate to part with their pedal-powered kayak.

Another way to score good deals on lightly used Hobie pedal kayaks is to visit dealer demo days, kayak trade shows and symposiums. These events often include floor models of Hobie pedal kayaks for sale at discounted prices.

It’s also a great way to try the kayak before making a purchase, discuss design aspects with experts, and network with other Hobie owners. Before you make an offer on any used boat, consider the following:

  • Make sure you’re buying 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. First off, bear in mind that pedal kayaks are best for foot propulsion; if you want to mostly propel your kayak with a paddle, you should probably consider a more traditional recreational sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak.Then consider the type of water you’ll be paddling; remember, Hobie pedal kayaks are meant for sheltered bodies of water with calm places to launch and land.
  • Take the time for a detailed visual inspection. Give the used Hobie pedal kayak a once-over, looking for obvious damage to the hull (bottom), deck (top) and outfitting (seat, back rest, foot pegs, etc). Scratches aren’t a problem, but watch out for deep gouges that extend more than eighth of an inch (3 mm) into the plastic. Obvious warping in the hull is a problem to avoid, too.
  • More specifically, take a closer look at the pedal drive system. Be familiar with the pros and cons of Hobie’s various Mirage Drive systems (see Buying Tips below for an overview). Hobie pedal drive kayaks rely on fairly complicated mechanisms for propulsion. Make sure the pedals, drive shafts and fins are in good working condition and operate smoothly, with no deformities or corrosion.
  • 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 foot pedal mechanism) and damage due to excessive snow loading or precipitation.
  • Taking the kayak for a test paddle (pedal) is the best way to find if the two-person pedal kayak works for you, in terms of performance, handling, comfort and fit.
  • Hobie pedal kayaks are niche boats and selection on the used market is very limited. You may have to take a chance on making a purchase (or consider buying a new model) if you want a kayak immediately.

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

Hobie pedal kayak buying advice

Before you buy a Hobie pedal kayak make sure this is the right type of kayak for you. If you wish to use a paddle to propel your kayak, you’re better off considering a recreational, touring or fishing kayak from a different manufacturer. All of Hobie’s new kayaks are pedal driven and while paddling is an option, it’s not ideal.

What’s more, Hobie kayaks have high-tech pedal-drive mechanisms that contribute to a price tag far greater than a typical recreational kayak. If you’re set on a Hobie pedal-powered kayak, it’s important to understand the various options available.

Hobie offers a Mirage Drive pedal-drive system that’s similar to walking: simply pump your legs forward and back to propel the kayak, with your hands free to handle the rudder, fish, take photographs, snack or operate sails (a sailing kit is available for many Hobie models). All Mirage Drive systems rely on underwater fins for propulsion, and several versions are available in different models of Hobie pedal kayaks.

The Mirage 180 system can move forward and reverse; meanwhile, the more advanced Mirage 360 system rotates underwater for more precise steering. Mirage Glide Technology, aka GT, has ball bearings in the drive system for an even smoother pedaling motion.

Newer Hobie pedal kayaks also come with kick-up fins that bounce over shallow hazards for greater durability. Models of Hobie pedal-drive kayaks include the following:

Mirage pedal kayaks

Hobie’s basic recreational pedal-powered kayaks are made from durable rotomolded polyethylene or lightweight thermoformed laminate. Mirage Pedal kayaks range from the ultralight Mirage Lynx, which is meant for calm conditions, to the open water-capable Mirage Outback and Mirage Revolution.

Choose from Mirage Drive 180, 360 or GT pedal drives. Hobie pedal kayaks are compatible with Hobie sailing kits for even more versatile performance (and fun). Hobie Mirage kayaks are exceptionally stable and work well for anglers and nature photographers. Tandem options allow you to get out with a partner.

Mirage iTrek

These inflatable pedal kayaks are lightweight and easy to store with the same reliable Mirage GT pedal-drive technology. They’re constructed with durable PVC vinyl that’s made stiffer through drop-stitching, a type of sewing that’s also used in whitewater rafts.

The stiffer construction makes for efficient performance that rivals hard-shell kayaks. Prices are comparable to Hobie’s hard-shell pedal kayaks. Models are available for single and tandem paddlers, as well as the unique four-person iTrek Fiesta.

Mirage Pro Angler

These Hobie pedal drive kayaks are rigged for fishing. The basic Pro Angler uses the Mirage 180 system, while the Pro Angler 360 uses the enhanced (and award-winning) Mirage 360 system for advanced steering control. Pro Angler models come in 12- and 14-foot lengths, with accessories like rod holders, cargo storage, livewell capability and the optional Hobie Evolve electric motor.

Mirage Adventure Island / Mirage Tandem Island

These specialized models are meant for one- or two-person sailing, relying on Hobie’s long-standing expertise in producing fun and novice-friendly sailboats. These trimaran, pedal-powered sailing kayaks harness the wind to offer a comfortable kayak sailing experience, with outriggers (called “amas”) for superb stability on the water and rigging borrowed from Hobie’s lineup of high-performance sailboats and catamarans.

The 18.5-foot Mirage Tandem Island is designed for two people, but it can be handled by solo sailors as well. The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island and Mirage Adventure Island come equipped with Mirage 180 pedal drives, allowing you to move forward and reverse, with kick-up propulsion fins that aren’t damaged by underwater obstructions.

The pedal drive system works well in calm conditions and means you won’t be stranded on the water if the wind dies. Both the solo and tandem kayaks are designed to be used with paddles as well, though performance is limited.

Here are the answers to some common questions about Hobie pedal kayaks:

  • Hobie pedal kayak weight

    Hobie pedal kayaks vary in weight, from 28-pound inflatable iTrek models to the 148.5-pound Mirage Pro Angler 14. The intricate Mirage Drive system adds considerable weight, so bear this in mind if you’re looking for something more portable. Hobie iTrek models offer a good option if you want a pedal drive kayak that’s lightweight and easy to transport and store.

  • How much does a Hobie pedal kayak cost?

    Hobie pedal kayak prices are far steeper than typical recreational and fishing kayaks, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Basic Mirage Passport models start at around $1,650 USD, with the more advanced Mirage Revolution recreational model starting at $2,999 USD.

    The brand new Mirage iTrek 11 inflatable pedal kayak costs $2,799 USD. Hobie pedal fishing kayaks range from about $4,299 USD to $5,799 USD. The specialized Hobie Mirage Tandem Island sailing kayak costs $8,299 USD.

  • How to use a Hobie pedal kayak

    Hobie pedal kayaks’ Mirage Drive system is simple and intuitive to use. The pedals move forward and back in a stepping motion that’s reminiscent of an old-school stair-climber fitness machine. This moves underwater fins, which in turn propel the kayak forward and back.

  • How do you steer a Hobie pedal kayak?

    Hobie pedal kayaks include a hand-operated rudder for steerage while underway. The advanced Mirage Drive 360 has the added benefit of dual steering with the propulsion fins rotating to face any direction, affording the ultimate in control.

  • How fast is a Hobie pedal kayak?

    The top speed of a Hobie pedal kayak depends on the kayaker, the model and the water and weather conditions. In calm conditions an average user can maintain a 3 mile per hour (5 km per hour) pace. However, Hobie pedal kayaks become less efficient in the wind. Consider investing in a Hobie sail kit if you want to have more fun on windy days.

  • Cheapest Hobie pedal kayak

    The cheapest Hobie pedal kayak is the Mirage Passport 10.5, which retails for $1,649 USD.

  • Fastest Hobie pedal kayak

    The fastest Hobie pedal kayak is the Mirage Tandem Island, which boasts a large sail for added propulsion. Other fast Hobie pedal kayaks include the sleek Mirage Revolution 13, which is great for recreational kayaking and kayak fishing.

  • Lightest Hobie pedal kayak

    Without question, the lightest Hobie pedal kayaks are to be found in the brand’s iTrek lineup of inflatable pedal kayaks. Check out the 20-pound, nine-foot Mirage iTrek Ultralight for the ultimate in portability and ease of storage in a Hobie pedal kayak.

  • What is the smallest Hobie pedal kayak?

    The smallest Hobie pedal kayak is the nine-foot Mirage iTrek Ultralight. This compact Hobie pedal kayak is inflatable, meaning it’s easy to transport and stores in a closet—and weighs a feathery 20 pounds and packs in a convenient roller backpack.

Compare Hobie pedal kayaks

  • Old Town pedal kayak vs Hobie

    Old Town is a long-standing canoe and kayak manufacturer which, unlike Hobie, produces both sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks, primarily focusing on paddle-powered designs. However, Old Town does offer a limited lineup of pedal kayaks using rotating pedals, mimicking a cycling motion, compared to the stepping motion of a Hobie pedal kayak. Riding an Old Town pedal kayak is reminiscent of using a recumbent bicycle, both in terms of seating position and leg movement. For this reason, you may prefer an Old Town pedal kayak rather than a Hobie if you’re an avid cyclist.

    Hobie pedal kayaks, on the other hand, are favored by shallow water users because of the Mirage Drive system’s unique kick-up fins. These super durable propulsion fins fold flat to the hull and bounce off of underwater obstacles, allowing you to explore shallow water. In terms of a bottom line, buy a Hobie pedal kayak for the advanced technology of its Mirage Drive system. You may also prefer Hobie’s inflatable iTrek pedal kayaks if you’re tight on space (Old Town doesn’t offer inflatables).

Hobie pedal kayak reviews

Paddling Magazine is your best online resource for kayak reviews, including specialty boats like Hobie pedal kayaks. Here you’ll get an overview of the boat’s performance and features, as well as get an idea of where it’s suitable to paddle.


This content was made possible with the support of Ontario Creates.

Ontario Creates logo