Best Walmart Kayaks For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

You can buy almost anything at Walmart—household items, groceries, pharmaceuticals, sporting goods…and even kayaks! Walmart kayaks are meant for casual paddlers looking for a budget-friendly way to enjoy the occasional outing on calm, sheltered water. Consider a Walmart kayak if you want to dabble in paddling but have no specific aspirations to develop your skills and progress beyond quiet water and beginner conditions.

Walmart kayaks are a good option for families, cottagers and those looking for a fun boat to take to the beach. You will find a variety of options for Walmart recreational kayaks, including inflatable kayaks and fishing kayaks—of both the sit-inside and sit-on-top varieties. Many are available for well under $500.

Be aware that Walmart kayaks aren’t high performance watercraft and have serious safety limitations for use in open water. These entry-level kayaks are also less refined in terms of paddling speed, maneuverability, handling and comfort. It’s also important to recognize that Walmart sales associates likely do not have the same breadth of kayaking knowledge as a dedicated paddling store. Simply put, you get what you pay for.

With all this in mind, a Walmart kayak might be all you need. Our review of Walmart kayaks will provide you with the essential knowledge to find the best kayak for your paddling needs.

Top picks: Best Walmart kayaks for 2023

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

Shop for Walmart kayaks

There is a wide range of kayaks available at Walmart. All are meant for recreational paddlers, especially families looking for a cheap kayak to use occasionally in sheltered water locations, such as smaller lakes, ponds and quiet rivers. Walmart kayaks include hard-shell models (constructed of durable plastic) and inflatables, which can be deflated and stored in smaller spaces but often lag behind hard-shells in terms of paddling performance.

You can shop for Walmart sit-on-top kayaks, which are easy to enter and exit for paddlers of all sizes and skill levels and ideal for sunny days and warm water. By comparison, Walmart sit-inside kayaks are decked (or partially decked), providing shelter from the environment—though are sometimes more challenging to enter and exit due to the enclosed cockpit seating area. Walmart kayaks also include fishing models with features like rod holders and space for a fishing crate.

The selection of Walmart kayaks varies considerably between locations in Canada and the U.S. The links below will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you’ll find every Walmart kayak on the market, including specs, prices and reviews, offering an unbiased view of what’s available from this retailer.  





Best Walmart kayaks

Walmart offers a few different types of kayaks and carries models from a handful of brands. Below you’ll find our articles about specific types and brands of kayaks you’ll find online and on the shelves at Walmart. Each article will go over what you should consider when purchasing, as well as a roundup of top models.

Shopping for a used Walmart kayak?

Walmart kayaks are abundant on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Walmart kayaks offer great value in beginner kayaks for family fun—and many options are available in different styles and from a variety of manufacturers. Your first step in making a good investment is to research the specific attributes of the make and model Walmart kayak you’re 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 purchase:

Overall condition

Examine the overall condition of the Walmart kayak. Sun damage and soft spots on the hull are good ways to determine a kayak’s condition. Apply firm pressure to all parts of the kayak to test for stiffness—it shouldn’t feel spongy.

After that, examine the deck (top) and hull (bottom) for damage including:

  • Deep gouges that are more than 3 mm or 1/8th of an inch deep
  • Obvious abrasion, especially if the worn areas are a different color from the rest of the kayak
  • Deformities, which will make the kayak paddle less efficiently

Walmart 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.

Inflatable kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are also common on the used market. Leaks are the main concern with buying a used inflatable kayak; ensure the kayak holds air—both in the inflatable chambers that make up the hull as well as the valves. Though durable, inflatable kayaks are often cheaper and have a shorter lifespan due to punctures and defective valves.

Outfitting

Walmart kayaks often feature bare bones 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 cheaper Walmart kayaks; if they’re present, make sure they’re functional and not damaged by grit or sand. Some sit-inside Walmart 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 Walmart 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 a cheaper, general-purpose Walmart kayak 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 Walmart 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 fishing kayaks; if you want to do some kayak angling make sure you examine features like rod holders 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.

Wear A Life Jacket
  • Everyone, even strong swimmers, needs to wear a life jacket at all times when on the water. It is extremely difficult to put a life jacket on once you fall into the water. Even a light wind can blow any paddlecraft away from you, faster than you can swim.
  • Buy (and wear) a comfortable Type 3 or S life jacket specifically designed for paddlesports.

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

Walmart kayak buying guide

Experienced paddlers live by the motto, “Try before you buy.” But it’s hard to find water within miles of most Walmart stores, so buying a Walmart kayak is best described as a leap of faith. That being said, think outside the box (store) for test paddling opportunities. Maybe you can find friends or family who would be willing to share their Walmart kayak with you for an outing or two. This sort of experience provides a sense of what’s available in Walmart kayaks; paddling also allows you to appreciate how different kayak design elements fit your body and perform.

Box stores like Walmart will never offer the same expertise as a specialized paddlesports retailer—or even that of larger outdoor chains like Dick’s or Bass Pro. Remember you’re not going to find high-end, performance kayaks at Walmart. If you’re serious about paddling and want to develop your skills and invest in a dedicated hobby, you may be better off shopping elsewhere.

As mentioned earlier, Walmart kayaks are economical choices for those who plan on paddling sporadically—and only in benign conditions. This reality may fall exactly in line with your recreational paddling needs.

Still have questions? Here are expert answers to some of the most common questions about Walmart kayaks.

  • Does Walmart sell kayaks in store?

    Walmart sells a range of kayaks in store, but selection varies from location to location and inventory changes based on time of year. Canadian and American Walmart stores have a different selection of kayaks; in general, you’ll find more options at U.S. outlets.

    Browsing Walmart’s website is a good way to narrow your choices and find out what’s available in your area; you may also place an order online and pick up your Walmart kayak at the nearest store.

  • Are the kayaks at Walmart any good?

    When it comes to kayaks, “good” is a subjective term that differs from paddler to paddler. The range of kayaks sold at Walmart are best for casual users who are most interested in finding a cheap kayak. That being said, Walmart kayaks are good at falling within the budget of an occasional paddler; on the other hand, Walmart kayaks are not as good for paddlers who want to invest in a single kayak to develop their skills.

    As with most consumer purchases, you get what you pay for. Walmart does offer a wide variety of inflatable kayaks (convenient for those with limited storage space), kids kayaks and fishing kayaks.

  • Should I buy a kayak from Walmart?

    Consider buying a kayak from Walmart if you’re a casual paddler looking for a cheap, beginner-friendly kayak and willing to trade off comfort and performance for a lower price. Walmart sells a wide range of recreational kayaks, including inflatable kayaks and fishing kayaks, that fit this description. On the other hand, don’t buy a kayak at Walmart if you’re looking for expert advice from a sales associate.

  • Why not to buy a Walmart kayak

    Lack of performance, safety features and comfort—as well as lack of expertise from sales associates—are the biggest reasons not to buy a Walmart kayak. All of these points are most relevant to those looking to invest in kayaking and take their paddling adventures farther than the local lake or quiet river. A Walmart kayak is a great choice for families, cottagers and other infrequent paddlers who wish to take short outings on calm, sheltered water.

Paddle Sober And Smart
  • Never mix alcohol and paddling. Coast Guard and state BUI (boating under the influence) laws apply to all vessels. This includes canoes, kayaks, SUPs and rafts.
  • Kayak prices Walmart

    Walmart is an outstanding choice if price is your primary concern in buying a new kayak. How much are kayaks at Walmart? Prices vary from $200 kids kayaks to full-featured fishing kayaks approaching $1,000 in price. The majority of Walmart kayaks are sold for less than $500, making this a great place to find a budget-friendly kayak for occasional use in calm and sheltered water conditions.

  • Walmart kayak return policy

    Can you return a kayak to Walmart? Good question. Walmart has a 90-day in-store return policy on kayaks, subject to inspection from a sales associate.

  • Does Walmart register kayaks?

    Registering your kayak is essential if you ever need to file a warranty claim with the manufacturer. Walmart does not register the kayaks it sells; to do so, you must follow the instructions provided by the kayak manufacturer (often including a sales receipt).

  • When do kayaks go on sale at Walmart?

    Walmart kayaks are available at budget-friendly prices throughout the year. Wait until later in the summer to benefit from the best sales, though be aware you’ll find less selection at this time of year. Walmart kayaks may go on sale at any time of year depending on inventory. Check out your local store for Walmart kayak sales throughout the year.

Walmart kayak reviews

Since you won’t be able to take a Walmart kayak for a test paddle before you buy, consider reading our reviews of these boats to give you a better sense of which to choose and what to expect once you do get out on the water.

Education: Get Some!
  • Take a paddling safety course from the American Canoe Association (ACA), your local paddling shop or outfitter, or other reputable source.
  • Take a boating safety course from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons® or your own state’s boating agency.
  • Take on-the-water skills training.

 

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