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The Best Kayaks for Fun or Fishing

a smiling young woman in a kayak on the ocean Despite being land mammals, we humans have an overwhelming inclination to visit large bodies of water. Yet, who could blame us?  We love swimming in pools, drinking lemonade at the beach, playing water volleyball at the rec center, and boating with friends from dusk till dawn. However, for the truest adventurers—those who enjoy cutting their teeth on white water rapids or coasting along to get to the perfect fishing grounds—it is the kayak that will get them there. If you’re the kind of lone, hydrodynamic rider who is ready to get lost in an afternoon of lake and river cruising, here are some kayaks we recommend.

What to Look for in a Kayak

Keep these things in mind when shopping for your next kayak:

  • Features: The right kayak should offer you support in every region you could ask for: Think spacious seating that doesn’t feel like an uncomfortable hunk of plastic, ample storage space for must-have tools while out on the water, and the sleekest design to get you to and from portions of your trip. Look for features like this when you’re picking out a kayak.
  • Material: Working in partnership with an appropriate build, the material of your kayak should be top-notch. Look for durable, impact-resistant kayaks that can handle any water you want to venture in.
  • Style: It is important to know about the two most popular types of kayaks on the market: recreational and angling. With a recreational kayak, you can coast and paddle through waters with ease. An angling kayak, however, is specifically designed for fishing. The price between the two is normally a noticeable spike, with angling kayaks coming in much higher.

Best Overall: Intex Challenger Kayak Series

Sliding your kayak into a truck bed or strapping it to the roof of a car are dependable, albeit worrisome, ways to lug it around. However, this Intex kayak prefers to save you from constant rearview mirror checking with a product that fits comfortably in the passenger seat. Crafted from puncture-resistant vinyl and capable of withstanding 220 pounds, this inflatable kayak demands as much respect as its bulky counterparts. Two separate air chambers keep this kayak afloat, while its plump inflatable I-beam floor ensures its passenger will stay firmly in place. Its cargo net provides ample storage for additional gear, while its cockpit was designed with maximum comfort and room for its captain. Toss in the included carrying bag, air pump, and paddle, and this kayak is a stroke above the rest.

Best Overall

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

This is an easily transportable and perfectly spacious kayak for recreational time on the water.

Best for Kids: Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle

Whereas many kayaks are sold in sizes that cater to adults, this Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is specifically designed for kids as young as five. An 18-pound product capable of supporting up to 130 pounds, this kayak may be for kids but it is just as efficient as the rest of them. This is a kayak with durability on its side, as proven by its high-density polyethylene material that is not only impact-resistant but also provides great stability and efficient tracking. Among other dependable qualities, this kayak features a sloped end and swim-up deck for easy dismounting and mounting from the water. This is a kayak built to last and grow with your child; several footrest positions are in place to accommodate different sized riders, so a child may hold onto this kayak as long as they need.

Best for Kids

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle, 6 Feet, Green

Adults aren't the only ones jumping on the lake because this kayak provides kids the perfect opportunity for water fun.

Best for Fishing: Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak

It is important to remember that only some kayaks provide the necessary support for fishing; among the best to get you there, however, is the Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak. Its sleek design offers easy maneuverability and tracking, as users can cover great distances in pursuit of their next great fishing spot. What makes this kayak ideal for anglers is the watercraft’s multi-chine flat bottom hull, which ensures the utmost stability when casting a line and reeling in your fish. Through Pelican’s unique manufacturing process, additional flotation is implemented inside the hull, making each kayak solid and incredibly buoyant, even when supporting up to 275 pounds.

Note: The best way to clean your Pelican kayak is with a mixture of mild soap and warm water.

Best for Fishing

Pelican - Sentinel 100X Angler Fishing Kayak - Sit-on-Top Kayak - Lightweight one Person Kayak - 9.6 ft

This is the ideal watercraft for serious fishing time with its stability, buoyancy, and maneuverability.

Also Consider: Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak

Another durable yet lightweight kayak from Pelican’s side of the river is this one. This kayak may be more so geared toward recreational use, but it is still as tough as they come. Like other models from the brand, its Shallow V Chine hull design ensures a speedy, stable, and easily maneuverable time out on the water. In addition to its spacious cockpit and molded footrests, this kayak features an ergonomic padded seat cushion and an adjustable padded backrest cushion for the ideal amount of support while paddling.

Also Consider

Pelican - Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak - Sit-in - Lightweight one Person Kayak - 10ft

Like other models from the brand, this boat offers users a high-quality kayak for high-quality moments.

Hollis Mills Hollis Mills
Hollis Mills is a freelance journalist and a content writer for LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English literature, and as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, Hollis wrote and edited for the nationally recognized student newspaper, The Battalion. When he's not writing, you can find him complaining about Boston Celtics basketball or giving plenty of peanut butter biscuits to his always-hungry Catahoula dog, Blue. Read Full Bio »
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