Kayak Review: Sun Dolphin Excursion 10

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 kayak is a versatile boat that works for both kayak angling and recreational paddling. Billed as a fishing kayak, the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 includes many of the features of the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10, with the addition of two flush mount and one swivel rod holders. This means you get the best of both worlds with this 10-foot Sun Dolphin kayak: it is a sit-inside kayak that’s easy to enter and exit, reasonably swift and responsive on the water, and durable for low-maintenance fun while chasing lunker fish or paddling with a friend on sheltered lakes and smooth-flowing rivers.

This Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 review gives you all the details on this compact, easy-to-paddle fishing and recreational kayak that’s made in the USA and comes with a budget-friendly price.

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 performance

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 Specs
Length: 9’5” / 285 cm
Width: 29” / 73 cm
Weight: 41 lbs / 18.6 kg
Capacity: 250 lbs / 113 kg
MSRP: $450 USD

On the water

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is reasonably nimble and responsive for a short kayak. Credit the boat’s relatively light 41 pounds for its quick response to paddle strokes. The compact, 10-foot length gives the Excursion 10 turn-on-a-dime maneuverability, which is especially convenient for anglers. Of course, you’ll never win any races against longer kayaks in this 10-foot Sun Dolphin kayak. Also, bear in mind the maximum weight limit is 250 pounds. More serious paddlers may also feel limited by the barebones outfitting, which makes for a sloppier fit and lower performance on the water. We’ll break down the outfitting components later in this article.

Market & demographics

The Sun Dolphin Excursion fishing kayak is designed squarely for recreational kayakers and anglers looking for a basic boat at a great price. This 10-foot Sun Dolphin kayak is the “sister ship” of the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10, a popular sit-inside kayak for beginners. These boats are only safe for use on flatwater, such as smooth-flowing rivers, cottage lakes and smaller ponds, since they lack flotation and will sink if they fill with water. In the proper environment, the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is an excellent introduction to kayak angling. Fishing-friendly upgrades on the Excursion model include two flush mount holders and one swivel rod holder, giving you plenty of options to wet a line—and easy access to the most hidden fishing holes in the shallowest or most confined areas.

Sun Dolphin kayaks, including the Excursion 10 fishing kayak, are widely available both new and used. Despite their no-frills designs, these durable boats offer a gateway to paddling in calm water conditions. The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 can be easily modified with accessories and custom DIY upgrades to improve its fishing performance and comfort.

man paddles the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 kayak
Photo: Walmart.com / KL Outdoor

About the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10

Expect reassuring stability in the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak. A flat bottom and broad 29-inch width make it feel comfortably stable on the water. The short length and symmetrical design make it easy to handle around river bends or obstructions, so you’ll be able to get to your favorite fishing spots. The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 has sharp entry lines at the bow and stern compared to many other fishing kayaks, allowing it to slice more efficiently through the water with minimal noise, so you can sneak up on fish and wildlife alike.

As a sit-in fishing kayak, the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 sheds small waves, rain and spray (unlike open-deck sit-on-top kayaks) and yet is still relatively easy to enter and exit, with a large cockpit size. All this contributes to excellent Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing performance.

Material & construction

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak is made of Fortiflex high-density polyethylene, a durable plastic material that’s highly resistant to impacts, abrasion and UV damage, and constructed in Sun Dolphin’s manufacturing facility in Michigan. This rotomolded plastic is perfect for those looking for a no-maintenance kayak that can be left outdoors worry-free during the paddling season. The material flexes to absorb impacts and regains its shape after hard hits. The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak weighs a reasonable 41 pounds, making it a good choice for those who want to be able to car-top their kayak solo.

Design trends

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is exemplary of the huge number of entry-level recreational and fishing kayaks available on the market today. This 10-foot Sun Dolphin kayak is cheap and easy to find new or used at box stores or on online buy-and-sell marketplaces. With such widespread availability, it’s hard to imagine people asking what happened to Sun Dolphin kayaks. This common question relates to the brand’s pause in kayak manufacturing in 2019. Today, Sun Dolphin kayaks are manufactured by KL Outdoors in Muskegon, Michigan.

Buying a used Sun Dolphin Excursion 10

Searching “Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 used” turns up countless options on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or Kijiji, depending on your location. You can save a few bucks by buying a used Sun Dolphin Excursion 10, but it’s important to be an informed shopper and inspect the kayak carefully before making a deal. Do your research and know what you’re buying—and try to insist on a test paddle before you commit to making a purchase. Check out this article for more information about used kayak shopping.

Start by examining the kayak closely for missing parts or obvious damage. Look closely at the seat and cockpit area and make sure that all adjustments are working properly. The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is meant as a fishing kayak, so it’s important to ensure that the boat’s three rod holders are functioning properly. Ask the seller about any modifications and inspect how these changes have influenced the fit and performance of the kayak, especially in terms of entering and exiting the boat.

A used kayak’s overall condition is written all over its surface. Specifically, take a closer look at the hull (bottom) of the kayak. A few scratches are fine, but a good quality, used Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 shouldn’t have any deep gouges in the plastic. It’s also important to check for fading, an indicator of prolonged sun exposure. Extended outdoor storage can degrade the boat’s plastic construction.

Some sellers may “sweeten the deal” with accessories like PFDs (life jackets) or paddles; it’s critical to ensure that these accessories fit properly. In the end, you may score a great deal on a used Sun Dolphin Excursion 10, but the fact is this boat’s suggested retail price is already an excellent bargain for entry-level paddlers and kayak anglers.

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.

Excursion 10 accessories & outfitting

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 parts are barebones, reflecting the bargain price of this boat. Many Excursion 10 paddlers comment on the basic seat, thinly padded thigh braces and foot braces that were hard to reach; this minimal outfitting can make paddling uncomfortable if you’re on the water for an extended period of time.

It’s easy enough to add your own padding to make your Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 kayak more comfortable—just make sure that any DIY upgrades you make to the cockpit area don’t impede your ability to enter and exit the boat. Many kayak anglers are adept at making upgrades to their boats, and the basic design of the Excursion offers a blank canvas to create a customized boat for your style of fishing. Common replacement parts like drain plugs and fasteners are available directly from the manufacturer.

The ability to add a sprayskirt for greater paddling comfort in cool or wet conditions is a major advantage of a sit-inside kayak like the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 compared to open deck, sit-on-top models. Sun Dolphin sprayskirts are available online from several manufacturers. You can also purchase a cockpit cover to keep water and creepy crawlies out of your boat when it’s in storage or transportation.


The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak comes with a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner, covering manufacturing defects. You must register your new kayak with the manufacturer within 30 days of purchase to validate the warranty.

stern view of the Excursion 10 as it is paddled
Photo: Walmart.com / KL Outdoor

How the Excursion 10 compares

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is a solid choice for an entry-level fishing kayak, but it is by no means your only option. Here’s how it compares to other popular boats.

  • Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 vs Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 ss

    The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 SS features upgraded accessories and outfitting compared to the standard Excursion 10 fishing kayak. Additions include a covered electronics console on the front deck and a removable stern deck pod that provides dry storage, as well as a more comfortable seat. This makes for a slightly heavier kayak, with the Excursion 10 SS model weighing in at 44 pounds compared to 41 pounds for the standard Excursion 10 model.

  • Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 vs Sun Dolphin Explorer

    The Sun Dolphin Explorer is a popular and cheap sit-inside recreational kayak that’s easily modified for kayak fishing. It features similar specifications and performance to the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10. The Sun Dolphin Explorer 10 is widely available on the used market and could be a good alternative to the Excursion 10 if you’re looking for a bargain price. Just bear in mind that, like the Excursion 10, the Sun Dolphin Explorer is only safe to paddle on calm and sheltered water.

  • Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 vs Sun Dolphin Boss 10

    The Sun Dolphin Boss 10 is a sit-on-top kayak that’s designed for kayak fishing. Compared to the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10, the Boss is more stable and has far more space to move around since it lacks a deck and sit-inside cockpit. Sit-on-top kayaks like the Boss feel less confining and provide kayak anglers with more space to cast and land fish, as well as giving you easier access to tackle and gear than a sit-in like the Excursion 10. However, the Boss is a heavier kayak and far less responsive on the water than the Excursion. The Excursion offers a more comfortable ride in inclement weather, since the deck and cockpit protect you from wave spray and precipitation. The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is a better choice than the Sun Dolphin Boss 10 if you’re looking for an all-around kayak that works for recreational paddling on calm rivers and lakes as well as a bit of kayak fishing.

  • Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 vs Sun Dolphin Marquette

    The Sun Dolphin Marquette 10 is the sit-on-top version of the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10. This open-deck kayak may be more comfortable if you’re concerned about the confined feeling of a sit-inside kayak. It also offers easier access to your fishing tackle at the expense of protection from the elements. The Marquette 10 features the exact same specs as the Excursion 10, so you can expect similar paddling characteristics.

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.

Where to buy

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak is sold at big box stores like Walmart, Dunham’s Sports and Canadian Tire across North America. You can also buy it online on Amazon. The cheap price and wide distribution of this 10-foot Sun Dolphin kayak means it’s often possible to find used boats on buy-and-sell platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Kijiji.

Kayaks: Excursion 10 by Sun Dolphin - Image 4494
Sun Dolphin

Excursion 10

Anglers everywhere will love the durability of the Sun Dolphin® Excursion 10 Sit-In Fishing Kayak. Great for lake and river fishing trips, this fishing kayak features a lightweight, easy to carry design with built-in Fortiflex® material that offers unlimited durability. The kayak’s large, open cockpit offers adjustable foot braces and padded seat for comfort, and plenty of rod holders for easy storage of fishing rods.
  • Great for lakes and rivers
  • Lightweight, easy to carry design
  • Two flush mount rod holders

Pros & cons


  • Cheap and widely available, new or used
  • Stable and versatile beginner kayak fishing and recreational paddling on calm and sheltered waters
  • Large cockpit for easy entry and exit
  • Sit-inside design offers some protection from the elements
  • Includes two flat-mount rod holder and one swivel rod holder, with the option of making custom modifications for kayak fishing


  • 10-foot length and wide width makes for less efficiency
  • Lack of flotation in the hull makes it unsafe to paddle in exposed areas where waves are possible
  • Basic outfitting has minimal padding

Feature photo: Walmart.com / KL Outdoor


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