Best Pelican Kayaks For 2024

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Pelican has a long history of producing self-propelled watercraft. Longtime cottagers may remember this Quebec-based company for its early lineup of pedal boats, starting in 1965. The company eventually moved to paddlecraft, including kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards, and is distinguished for its budget- and beginner-friendly, recreational designs. Many Pelican kayaks are made of super durable RAM-X rotomolded plastic, which is tough and slippery and meant to last through years of abuse.

Pelican was acquired by the South Carolina-based Confluence Outdoor family, an umbrella of eight renowned paddlesports brands, including Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger and Mad River Canoes, in 2019. Pelican captures the entry-level demographic in the Confluence conglomerate; its kayaks sell in big box retailers across North America for discount prices.

Great value is the name of the game in Pelican’s huge lineup of recreational sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks. Don’t expect to find a high performance Pelican kayak; they’re a great choice for casual paddlers looking for a new toy at the cottage or those wishing to make short outings on sheltered bodies of water. Pelican’s fishing kayaks are somewhat more refined, with great accessories and thoughtful designs—but again are meant for use in calm water conditions such as quiet lakes, sheltered bays and smooth-flowing rivers.

We’ve put together a guide to some of the best Pelican kayaks available this year, as well as advice on choosing the one that will be right for you.

Top picks: Best Pelican kayaks for 2024

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

Shop Pelican kayaks

Our Paddling Buyer’s Guide features every Pelican kayak on the market. You can choose to filter Pelican kayaks by type and application. Then, click on specific models to see specs, prices, reviews and where to buy. You won’t find a better kayak buyer’s guide on the web.

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Best Pelican kayaks

We’ve provided you with all the research to choose the best Pelican kayak for your paddling aspirations. The range of Pelican kayaks can be overwhelming, but we’ve got all the resources to help you make an educated choice.

Below you’ll find our articles about more specific types of Pelican kayaks.

Shopping for a used Pelican kayak?

Pelican kayaks are abundant on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Pelican kayaks offer great value in beginner kayaks for family fun and kayak fishing; many options are available to choose from.

Your first step in making a good investment is to research the specific attributes of the Pelican kayak model you are considering; our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is the ideal place to start. Once you’ve found a contender, consider the following advice to make a good used purchase.

Overall condition

Examine the overall condition of the Pelican kayak. Recreational kayaks are often stored outdoors, exposed to the elements. Examining for sun damage and soft spots on the hull (apply firm pressure to all parts of the kayak to test for stiffness—it shouldn’t feel spongy) are good ways to determine a kayak’s overall condition. Check the deck (top) and hull (bottom) for damage including deep gouges (more than 3 mm or eighth of an inch deep); obvious abrasion (especially if the worn areas are a different color from the rest of the kayak); and deformities (which will make the kayak paddle less efficiently).

Pelican kayaks are made of durable plastic that’s meant to withstand plenty of abuse; some damage is fine, so long as the shape of the kayak remains intact. Over time the hull of Pelican kayaks may become wavy; this is a telltale sign of a used kayak to avoid.


Most Pelican kayaks feature minimal outfitting. Take a close look at comfort features like the seat (is it padded and supportive for your body type?). Foot rests are critical to give you purchase on the kayak to paddle efficiently and are often absent in cheap Pelican kayaks; if they’re present, make sure they’re functional and not damaged by grit or sand (a common occurrence in well-used, poorly maintained kayaks). Some sit-inside Pelican kayaks are equipped with a bulkhead, a critical feature for safety and seaworthiness that will keep a swamped kayak afloat: make sure it’s solid and intact.

Outfitting is the critical interface between the paddler and kayak, including the seat, back support, thigh rests and foot rests. Often these features lack refinement in budget-priced Pelican kayaks. Examine these parts individually and consider how well they work together as a whole—the easiest way to achieve this is by sitting in the boat (and ideally paddling it) to make sure it feels comfortable. Think about how long you’ll be sitting in the kayak. If it’s uncomfortable in a quick test, how will it feel after an hour? Outfitting often comes down to personal preference; there’s no one-size-fits-all.

One of the drawbacks of cheaper Pelican kayaks is substandard outfitting. Take a close look and consider investing in a more expensive kayak if you plan on more serious paddling. If you’re handy, outfitting is easily modified with some glue, foam and DIY time; consider any upgrades you could make to save a few bucks and get a custom fit.

On the water

The only way to fully appreciate the comfort and performance of a kayak is to try it before committing to a purchase. Arrange a meeting place with the seller that allows you to take a few moments on the water. Bring your usual paddle and dress in what you plan to wear while paddling. With a sit-inside kayak, be sure to assess how easy the boat is to enter and exit.

Make a deal

In general (that is, before Covid-19 put a premium on outdoor equipment) the typical starting point for a used Pelican kayak in moderate condition was about half its retail price. All that’s changed in the wake of boat shortages brought on by the pandemic, but you can use it as a starting point in haggling a fair price.

Add some accessories

Accessories are key elements of Pelican fishing kayaks; if you want to do some kayak angling make sure you examine features like rod holders, gear tracks and live wells.

If you’re offered a PFD as part of a used kayak sale make sure it’s in good shape, fits properly and is Coast Guard-approved for the location you’ll be paddling.

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

Pelican kayak buying guide

Pelican kayaks are widely available across North America at box stores and sporting goods outlets. At first glance, the sheer variety of boats available may make you wonder, “How do I choose a Pelican kayak?” If you’re looking for a casual kayak for recreational paddling on calm, sheltered water—and you want to get one without breaking the bank—there’s certainly a Pelican kayak for you. Pelican kayaks are available for a range of needs for paddlers of all sizes.

Pelican kayaks are meant for recreational paddling, such as getting out on the water at the cottage, spending an afternoon at the beach or fishing on a lazy river or calm pond. Pelican kayaks are divided by activity and user. Activity, or type of paddling, includes recreational (short and stable kayaks meant for casual use); fishing (“souped up” recreational kayaks with add-ons specific to anglers, such as rod holders and tackle storage areas); and day touring (longer recreational kayaks with storage hatches for day gear).

Further, Pelican kayaks can be divided into user type, including single (one-person) kayaks; tandem (two-person) kayaks; and junior (kids’) kayaks. There are options for everyone and the choice can be overwhelming.

Here’s a rundown of some of Pelican’s most popular models:

Pelican Argo

The Argo collection includes decked, sit-inside recreational kayaks ranging from 8 to 12 feet. The shorter 8- and 10-foot models work well for smaller paddlers (including youth) because their small dimensions make them easier to handle, particularly for reaching the water for those with shorter arms.

The longer 12-foot Argo 120XP is perhaps Pelican’s most advanced recreational kayak; its longer overall hull length produces better glide and allows the kayak to track in a straight line. The Argo 120XP makes an excellent day touring kayak for those on a tight budget—as long as you recognize it’s a boat meant for benign conditions only.

The 13-foot, six-inch Pelican Argo 136X tandem kayak is also available if you’d like to enjoy paddling with a partner.

Pelican Catch

The Catch is Pelican’s flagship line of fishing kayaks, with sit-on-top Pelican Catch models ranging from the 10-foot Catch 100 with multiple sitting positions and enough stability to stand up, to the longer Catch 130 sit-on-top, which can be paddled or propelled with Pelican’s Hydryve II pedal system.

All Catch models feature dry storage hatches and self-bailing scuppers to keep the seating area dry.

Pelican Sentinel

The Pelican Sentinel lineup includes some of Pelican’s more popular sit-on-top kayaks with 10- and 12-foot, single-paddler models configured for recreational paddling or kayak fishing.

Carry A Waterproof VHF Radio, Use Your Phone Only As A Backup
  • A handheld VHF marine band radio allows you to communicate with the Coast Guard and other boat traffic. Use Channel 16 only for hailing and emergencies. The radio should be waterproof, because it is virtually certain to get wet.
  • A cell phone, even if in a waterproof case or sealable bag, might not work, so don’t rely on it as the primary means of emergency communication.

Pelican kids kayaks

Finally, check out the Pelican Kayak Solo if you’re looking for a cheap and basic sit-on-top kayak to introduce a youngster to paddling. This six-foot kayak (often sold with a paddle) is a combination kayak and swim raft. For a kids kayak for more dedicated paddling, consider the seven-foot, nine-inch Pelican Clipper 80X. This model’s compact dimensions make it easy to handle for both kids and petite adults.

Use this as a start, and remember that online research will only get you so far. The best advice we can offer is to always test paddle before buying any boat. Of course, that’s a challenge at most of the big box outlets where Pelican kayaks are sold. Try to borrow a Pelican kayak from a friend for a test paddle in real-world conditions. The more time you can spend on the water in a similar style of kayak, the better the purchasing decision you will make.

Here are answers to some of the most common online questions about Pelican kayaks.

  • Are Pelican kayaks good?

    Pelican makes budget-friendly recreational kayaks for casual paddlers. Do you wonder, is Pelican a good kayak brand? That depends on your kayaking aspirations. Pelican is a good choice if you’re looking for a cheap boat to use at the cottage, campground, beach or other sheltered water locations.

    Pelican kayaks are stable and easy to paddle, but don’t expect high performance, safety in exposed conditions or great comfort for long days on the water.

  • Different types of Pelican kayaks

    Pelican produces beginner-friendly recreational kayaks in two general categories. Sit-on-top Pelican kayaks, such as the popular Sentinel models, have open decks for easy launching and landing. This style of kayak is great for warm conditions and calm water (you’re exposed to the elements with the open deck).

    Sit-inside Pelican kayaks, including the Argo, have closed decks and sit-inside cockpits for greater protection from wind, waves and inclement weather. All Pelican recreational kayaks are designed to be easy to enter and exit, however some beginners may find cockpits somewhat confining.

    Pelican fishing kayaks are a subcategory, typically of the sit-on-top style. Fishing kayaks are noted for their accessories, including rod holders, on-deck tackle boxes and live wells. The Pelican Catch is a good example of a fishing kayak.

  • Where to buy Pelican kayaks

    It’s easy to find a Pelican kayak dealer anywhere in North America. You’ll find Pelican kayaks sold at your favorite big-box outlets, including Walmart, Dunham’s Sports and Academy Sporting Goods.

  • Pelican kayak size

    Pelican kayaks range in size from the six-foot Solo (a kids kayak meant for paddlers under 12 years old) to 13.5-foot tandem models, including the Argo, Alliance and Challenger. The average length of a Pelican single-person kayak is 10 feet. In general, choose a shorter kayak (such as the eight-foot Pelican Argo 80X) if you’re looking for ease of handling—particularly if you have shorter arms.

    Longer kayaks, such as the Pelican Sprint 120XR, which measures 12 feet long and has a V-shaped hull to keep it moving in a straight line through the water, have the advantage of both better glide and speed and more carrying capacity, with a slight decrease in maneuverability.

    Longer is better for tandem kayaks; this allows each paddler to paddle independently without banging paddles. Pelican’s tandem kayaks all measure 13.5 feet in length.

  • Pelican kayak weight limit

    The weight limit of Pelican kayaks varies from model to model, but in general you’ll find weight limits ranging from 250 to 350 pounds. Safe capacity depends on the length, width and depth of a kayak: the larger the dimensions, the greater the weight limit.

    Since larger (especially wider) kayaks can be harder to paddle, smaller paddlers should look for kayaks with lower weight limits for ease of reaching the water and overall handling.

  • Weight of Pelican kayak

    The majority of Pelican kayaks weigh between 35 and 65 pounds. Pelican kayaks are made from a durable rotomolded plastic; the tradeoff for long-lasting, low-maintenance durability is a bit of extra weight. Pelican kayaks are best carried “suitcase style” with a partner, especially the heavier fishing kayak models which have extra weight associated with additional features for angling.

  • Pelican kayak width

    Pelican kayak widths vary from model to model, typically in the 28- to 32-inch range for recreational kayak models. Fishing kayaks boast similar maximum widths. Width is a good proxy for a kayak’s overall stability: the wider the kayak, the greater the stability.

    However, greater width also equals more resistance in the water and therefore less glide. Also, wide kayaks can be more awkward to paddle for smaller people.

  • How long is a Pelican kayak?

    Pelican kayaks range in length from the 7-foot, 9-inch Argo 80x model to the 13-foot, 6-inch two-person Argo 136XP Tandem. The average length of a single-person Pelican kayak is around 10 feet. In general, choose a longer kayak if you want more speed and glide.

    In contrast, a shorter kayak will be easier to turn and less cumbersome to carry; it will likely be a bit lighter, too. Twelve feet is about the minimum length for comfortable paddling in a two-person kayak.

  • How thick are Pelican kayaks?

    The plastic construction of Pelican kayaks is less than 5 millimetres (1/4 of an inch) thick and yet it is extremely resistant to abrasion and impact. It takes a lot of abuse to put a hole in this type of kayak! Pelican’s rotomolded plastic kayaks match kayak industry standards for thickness.

  • Pelican kayak mods

    The easiest, most popular and most comfortable modification you can make to your Pelican kayak is to upgrade the seat and back rest. Simply adding a more ergonomic, aftermarket kayak seat and back rest will make your Pelican kayak far more comfortable. Many upgrade options are available from Pelican kayaks and other manufacturers.

    If you’re handy, you can make custom modifications to the seat, back rest and foot braces yourself, using contact adhesive cement and closed-cell foam. Before heading out on the water make sure you try out your DIY mods in a safe environment to assess your ease of entry and exit from the kayak.

  • Pelican kayak price

    Pelican kayaks are best known for being widely available at low prices. Price ranges from around $150 for the Pelican Solo kids kayak to around $500 for the well-equipped Argo 100X EXO model. There’s lots of kayak models between these price extremes. If you want something a bit more advanced, check out the Pelican Sprint 120XR ($869.99).

    Pelican fishing kayaks come in a similar price range. It’s easy to get set up with a kayak fishing rig for under $500. You can also invest in a more advanced fishing kayak with a pedal drive option for around $1,500.

  • Pelican kayak specs

    Pelican kayak specs vary considerably from model to model. In general, expect an overall length between six feet (for the kids’ Solo model) to 13.5 feet (for Pelican’s lineup of two-person kayaks). The average length is around 10 feet, which is typical for the recreational genre of kayak. Widths range from 28 to 32 inches, which is again normal for a recreational kayak. Weights are usually between 35 and 65 pounds.

  • Pelican kayak plastic type

    Pelican kayaks are made of a durable rotomolded plastic. Some of its models carry the legendary RAM-X name, which reflects a plastic that’s resistant to impacts, abrasion and abuse from outdoor storage and dragging over rocks and sand. RAM-X features multiple layers for greater stiffness and durability over time.

    The flipside to durability in a plastic kayak is a bit extra weight, something to bear in mind if you plan on doing a lot of car-topping with your kayak.

  • How are Pelican kayaks made?

    Rotomolded refers to a process of distributing plastic pellets in a kayak mold through heating and centrifugal force. Pelican uses recycled post-industrial plastic for its pellets, increasing the sustainability value of its kayaks. Once the kayak hull is constructed, accessories such as seats, back rests and foot supports are installed by hand.

  • Are Pelican kayaks rotomolded?

    All Pelican kayaks are manufactured with rotomolded polyethylene plastic, in a similar process to how other plastic goods are made, such as yogurt containers.

  • Are Pelican kayaks two pieces?

    While many Pelican kayaks involve deck and hull (top and bottom) components, these separate parts are fused together in a single unit and cannot be taken down into two pieces after manufacturing.

  • Where are Pelican kayaks made?

    Wondering are Pelican kayaks made in USA? Or are Pelican kayaks made in Canada? In fact, unlike some cheap kayaks which are manufactured outside of North America, Pelican kayaks are still made in the suburbs of Montreal, Quebec, at Pelican’s longtime manufacturing facility.

  • Pelican kayak manufacturer

    With several similar brand names in the outdoors space (primarily, Pelican Cases), it’s common to wonder who makes Pelican kayaks. Pelican kayaks are manufactured by Pelican International, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Confluence Outdoors group. Pelican kayaks are manufactured outside of Montreal, Quebec.

  • Are Pelican cases and Pelican kayaks the same company?

    Pelican cases and Pelican kayaks are different companies. California-based Pelican Products is renowned for its lineup of waterproof containers for cameras and other delicate items, whereas Pelican kayaks originated in Quebec, Canada in the 1960s as a manufacturer of pedal boats.

    The brand morphed into Pelican International in 1985, and eventually expanded to produce canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards. Pelican International was acquired by the Confluence Outdoors group in 2019, with headquarters in South Carolina.

  • Is Pelican and Pelican Sport the same company?

    Pelican and Pelican Sport are the same company. You may also hear the brand referred to as Pelican International.

  • Is Pelican kayaks going out of business?

    Pelican kayaks is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of recreational and fishing kayaks. The brand is not going out of business. In fact, it captures the massive entry-level demographic for its parent Confluence Outdoors group. Sales of such recreational kayaks are especially robust in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Discontinued Pelican kayaks

    As with any brand of kayaks, you’ll find a wide range of discontinued Pelican kayaks on the used market. Significant year-to-year design upgrades are uncommon in these types of recreational kayak, so you can often score great deals on discontinued Pelican kayaks that will meet your casual recreational kayaking needs perfectly.

    Bonus, Pelican still provides digital owner’s manuals and lists replacement parts for all its discontinued kayaks since 2010 on its website.

  • Do Pelican kayaks sink?

    A Pelican kayak might sink, depending on the model and design and if the hull is missing any critical parts. Sit-inside kayaks, such as the Pelican Argo 100X, will sink if filled with water. This model lacks bulkheads, which create sealed watertight chambers to ensure a kayak will float if the cockpit area is swamped.

    A lack of bulkheads seriously limits a recreational kayak’s open water capabilities; as a result, these kayaks are only safe to use on sheltered, calm water. (You can increase safety by purchasing and installing kayak flotation airbags in sit-inside kayaks without bulkheads.)

    Pelican sit-on-top kayaks are more resistant to sinking—as long as the hull is intact and the drain plug is properly installed.

Dress For Immersion, Not Air Temperature
  • Your body loses heat much faster when immersed in cold water than it does when dry.
  • Avoid cotton clothing like t-shirts and jeans; they retain water and accelerate cooling when wet. Synthetic fabrics, or wool, are generally a better choice. If the water is very cold (60° fahrenheit or less), you should wear a wetsuit or drysuit.
  • Which Pelican kayak is the most stable?

    Short, wide, flat-bottom kayaks are most stable. With this in mind, the surfboard-like dimensions of the Pelican Solo youth kayak is perhaps the most stable in the Pelican lineup (however, this model has a maximum capacity of only 100 pounds). In terms of adult-sized kayaks, consider a sit-on-top model like the Pelican Sentinel if your primary objective is stability.

  • What is the lightest Pelican kayak?

    The majority of Pelican kayaks are comparable in weight, between 35 pounds (for Junior models) to 65 pounds for fully outfitted fishing kayaks. One great lightweight option in an all-around recreational kayak for adults is the 44-pound Pelican Liberty 9.5. A reasonable weight combined with compact, sub-10-foot dimensions make this kayak a good choice for those looking to car-top their boat to a variety of launch sites.

  • Do Pelican kayaks come with paddles?

    The popular Pelican Solo kid’s kayak is sold with a paddle. However, paddles must be purchased separately for most other Pelican kayaks.

  • Do Pelican kayaks come with scupper plugs?

    Scupper plugs (essentially drainage valves to keep the deck of a sit-on-top kayak dry) come standard on most Pelican sit-on-top kayaks. Replacement Pelican kayak scupper plugs are available if you lose one or purchase a used Pelican kayak with scupper plugs missing.

  • Do Pelican kayaks need plugs?

    Most open-deck Pelican sit-on-top recreational and fishing kayaks require scupper plugs to keep the deck drained of water and dry for comfortable paddling. These are installed in scupper holes in the seating area of the kayak and can be replaced if lost.

  • Why does my Pelican kayak have holes in the bottom?

    The holes in your Pelican kayak are known as scuppers, which serve to drain any water off the seating area of sit-on-top recreational and fishing kayaks. Scupper plugs create a one-way valve that allows water to drain off the deck without infiltrating the kayak when the boat is sitting still on the water.

    You can paddle a kayak without scupper plugs, but they are handy if you are fishing or wish to sit still for periods of time on the water.

  • Do Pelican kayaks leak?

    Pelican kayaks are designed to remain dry. Pelican sit-inside kayaks are watertight; the only place for water to enter the kayak (through wave action or precipitation) is through the cockpit opening.

    Pelican sit-on-top kayaks will leak through scupper drainage holes when the kayak is at rest on the water (water will drain once the kayak is moving). Pelican kayak scupper plugs ensure that water doesn’t infiltrate the kayak, and allow one-way removal of any water that splashes into the seating area.

  • Are Pelican kayaks tough?

    Pelican kayaks are exceptionally tough. Pelican kayaks are constructed of rotomolded plastic, which is the most durable material available. Some models feature Pelican’s patented multilayer RAM-X plastic, which is not only durable but also stiffer (and therefore more efficient to paddle) than other plastic kayaks.

    While Pelican kayaks are extremely resistant to impacts and abrasion, it’s important to note that UV radiation will soften plastic over time. It’s okay to store your Pelican kayak outdoors, but it’s always best to do so in a shaded location away from direct sunlight.

  • Are Pelican kayaks good for beginners?

    Pelican kayaks are an outstanding choice for beginner kayakers—especially those looking for a boat for casual use in sheltered water. You may wish to invest in a more advanced (and pricier) kayak if you’re a beginner with aspirations to develop your skills and progress to more challenging open water paddling conditions.

  • Are Pelican kayaks good for ocean?

    Pelican kayaks can be used on the ocean in sheltered environments with minimal exposure to wind, waves and tidal currents. Choose a more advanced touring kayak (with safety features like bulkheads) if you wish to paddle in more exposed ocean conditions—and take a kayaking course from a reputable instructor to learn the necessary skills.

  • Why are Pelican kayaks so cheap?

    Pelican kayaks are cheap because they are made for entry-level consumers. These beginner-friendly kayaks feature less refined designs and barebones outfitting. Pelican kayaks often lack in performance compared to more expensive kayaks. They are not fast, lack glide and are less efficient to paddle than more expensive touring kayaks.

    The seating arrangements are also more cheaply constructed on Pelican kayaks, making them less ergonomic for longer term use. Furthermore, Pelican kayaks are only meant to be used in sheltered, calm water conditions, which enables the company to create cheaper kayaks with simpler designs.

  • Problems with Pelican kayaks

    Common problems with Pelican kayaks include broken foot braces in sit-inside models, such as the Argo. Foot braces make it easier to propel the kayak—but they’re often subject to becoming jammed (and eventually broken) by sand, grit and debris.

    Another common problem in Pelican kayaks is UV damage due to long term storage in direct sunlight. This causes the plastic to soften, become wavey and less efficient to paddle.

    If you’re looking for the ultimate low-maintenance, cheap Pelican kayak consider a sit-on-top model from the Sentinel lineup. Sit-on-top kayaks feature molded in foot braces (which are less adjustable but more durable) and fewer moving parts.

Compare Pelican kayaks

  • Sun Dolphin vs Pelican kayaks

    Both Sun Dolphin and Pelican produce similar discount-priced kayaks for casual paddlers. The two brands cater to similar demographics: namely, beginners looking for a cheap introduction to paddling on calm, sheltered water.

    Pelican has two advantages over Sun Dolphin. First, it has a much larger range of recreational and fishing kayak options. Second, many Pelican kayaks are made of super durable RAM-X plastic, which is worth the nominal extra expense for those looking to store their kayak outdoors and exposed to the elements.

  • Pelican vs Wilderness kayaks

    Wilderness Systems produces more refined, higher-performance kayaks than Pelican. In fact, Wilderness Systems manufactures a wide range of models, including recreational kayaks, day touring and sea kayaks—the latter being ideal for aspiring paddlers who wish to develop their skills and explore more exposed coastlines in variable weather.

    Pelican kayaks, on the other hand, are far cheaper and designed chiefly for casual paddlers. You’ll find more comfortable, ergonomic seats and other outiffing in Wilderness Systems kayaks.

  • Perception vs Pelican kayaks

    Perception is another kayak manufacturer with a wide range of models. In general, Perception kayaks are more comfortable and perform better than Pelican—but they’re also more expensive. Choose a Perception kayak over a Pelican if you’re looking to develop your skills with a boat you won’t quickly outgrow.

    Like Wilderness Systems, Perception kayaks have more refined designs (leading to greater speed and glide and better handling in wind and waves) and more ergonomic seats and back supports.

  • Pelican vs Lifetime kayak

    Pelican and Lifetime produce similar discount-priced kayaks for casual paddlers. You will find both in big box stores across North America. There is little difference in kayak design from the two brands since both cater to beginners looking for a cheap introduction to paddling on calm, sheltered water.

    Pelican has the advantage of a longer history and many paddlers like the fact its kayaks are manufactured in Canada. Also, many Pelican kayaks are made of super durable RAM-X plastic, which is worth the nominal extra expense for those looking to store their kayak outdoors and exposed to the elements.

  • Field and Stream kayak vs Pelican

    Field and Stream kayaks are produced for Dick’s Sporting Goods in the U.S. If you like shopping at Dick’s take a look at Field and Stream kayaks. You may also consider a Field and Stream kayak if you are a casual paddler and fishing enthusiast: its designs are better tailored to kayak anglers and include a range of handy features meant specifically for fishing, such as rod holders and fish finder pods.

    Pelican, on the other hand, includes a far greater selection of general purpose recreational kayaks, without the clutter of fishing-specific add-ons. Pelican’s huge lineup of kayaks also includes a selection of well-equipped fishing kayaks.

  • Pelican vs Elie kayak

    Starting in 2010, Pelican International produced a lineup of Elie branded day touring kayaks, constructed in its Quebec factory. They were sold at outdoors stores such as Atmosphere in Canada and REI in the U.S. Elie kayaks have since been discontinued, though they are occasionally available on the used market. Elie kayaks are a step up from Pelican kayaks, with better ergonomics, improved safety features and a far more efficient paddling experience, all at a higher price for more serious recreational kayakers.

    A used Elie kayak is a good investment if you’re looking for higher performance and want to make paddling a more serious hobby. Many Elie models are great for day touring and can handle somewhat more exposed conditions than Pelican kayaks. Choose a Pelican kayak if you’re more of a casual paddler.

  • Old Town vs Pelican kayak

    Old Town is another kayak manufacturer with a wide range of models, including recreational, fishing and touring kayaks. Old Town kayaks are more comfortable and perform better than Pelican—but they’re also more expensive. Choose an Old Town kayak over a Pelican if you’re looking to develop your skills with a boat you won’t quickly outgrow.

    Like Wilderness Systems and Perception, Old Town kayaks have more refined designs (leading to greater speed and glide and better handling in wind and waves) and more ergonomic seats and back supports.

  • Emotion kayaks vs Pelican kayaks

    Emotion kayaks were acquired by the Lifetime brand in 2011. You may still see Emotion kayaks available on the used market; their performance characteristics and target demographics are similar to Pelican. However, you’ll find a far greater selection of new Pelican kayaks available today; this widespread availability makes them a better choice for most beginner paddlers.

  • Future Beach vs Pelican kayak

    Future Beach kayaks were acquired by Sun Dolphin, another main competitor of Pelican kayaks. You may still encounter used Future Beach kayaks on buy-and-sell forums like Facebook Marketplace, but availability is limited. Future Beach kayaks were designed for entry level kayakers and featured basic recreational designs suitable for use on sheltered water.

  • Viper vs Pelican kayak

    Viper kayaks are super cheap and available online at Amazon. They are poorly designed and suitable only for very casual paddlers. Pelican represents a step up from Viper kayaks, with somewhat higher prices, better construction and better design for recreational paddling.

  • Ascend kayaks vs Pelican

    Pelican and Ascend both manufacture recreational and fishing kayaks. The differences between the brands mainly comes down to selection and quality; Pelican features a larger range of kayaks than Ascend, while Ascend offers slightly higher quality. Both, however, cater to the same entry-level demographic. Consider either an Ascend kayak or a Pelican kayak if you’re looking for a recreational kayak for use at the cottage, lake, beach or quiet river.

Check The Weather
  • Plan for changing weather conditions. Prepare for the worst case.
  • Don’t forget to check tide, currents, or river levels.

Pelican kayak reviews

An important step in purchasing a new or used kayak is reading reviews. Reviews provide insight into what environments and pursuits the boat is best suited to, and will bring to your attention any drawbacks you should factor into your decision. Find our expert reviews on Pelican kayaks below.