The Best Kayaks (2021 Reviews)

Roman Herrick
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Kayaking can be a great way to get active, enjoy the outdoors, and explore unique places you haven’t seen before. But, what kayak should you buy? And what is the best kayak for a beginner?

Finding the right kayak is a personal decision. Your location, how long you plan to use it, and how many people will be using it all contribute to the kayak you should buy.

Our top kayak picks for 2021 are listed below. We break down the good and the bad and present the most important features of each kayak. Whether you are looking for a fun kayak, an inexpensive kayak, or the highest quality kayak, we can help.

NameCategoryProduct
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational KayakBest OverallOcean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Intex Challenger Kayak SeriesBudget PickIntex Challenger Kayak Series
Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water KayakUpgrade PickDriftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

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Pros:

  • Outstanding stability
  • Made with high quality material
  • Comes equipped with a unique wheel system
  • Made for optimum comfort during use
  • Gear tracks underneath the center for storage
  • Wide seat that allows for rider to sit comfortably
  • Easily Portable

Ocean Kayak’s Malibu Two is a great tandem paddle sport kayak that is an index on performance, value, and comfort.

It is made to accommodate up to two people, a deep V-hull, and a tracking hull design for control and stability.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Kayak has a unique ‘wheelpod‘ system that allows for easy transport. It also comes with several handy holders for life jackets and paddles.

2. SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak

Our rating: 8 / 10

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak

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Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Heavy duty for use in all kinds of weather
  • Inline molded seats for comfort
  • Padded seating for the ultimate in comfort
  • Foot pedals for easy paddling
  • Comfortable backrest for multi-way transport

Cons:

  • Grabs water when pulling boat back in
  • May not be the cheapest kayak out there
  • Has reported quality issues

Can you imagine having your own mini wooden house on the waters today? Of course, the question is, how can you light it up at night without any electrical wires going to the house?

We love the fact that the HANLONG The Unique House On The Seafloor has been designed in a way where the LEDs are placed inside its windows, and when turned on, the light reflects off the sides of the window and out into the waters.

This way, it acts like a lantern, and shines brightly underwater.

3. BKC FK184 9' Single Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

Our rating: 7 / 10

BKC FK184 9' Single Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

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Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Large open cockpit
  • Lightweight
  • Glides and tracks well
  • Great tracking
  • Made from durable UV-protected material

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a hatch
  • Doesn’t have a dry storage compartment
  • Not meant for winter
  • The seat is not comfortable.

4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 7 / 10

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

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Pros:

  • Good for sun-bathing or paddling close to the water
  • Comes with 2 separate storage compartments
  • Good for carrying gear
  • Good for short and long trips, it offers efficient performance
  • It is inflatable, thus it is light and you can carry it around
  • Comes with dual paddles, so you can get a better experience
  • Has a Paddle Keeper to store your paddle while paddling
  • Comes with a foot pump
  • Can be inflated or deflated in a few minutes
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced paddlers

Cons:

  • It comes without any repair kit
  • Its weight is high compared to other similar products

The AdvancedFrame Convertible inflatable kayak is ready to hit the water. You won’t need to buy paddles, seat or a pump. It is made to be used right after you unpack it.

It is double-layered, so it is very sturdy. It is intended for 2 people weighing less than 375 pounds (172 kilos) and measuring more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) in height. It is ideal for up to a 270 pound person and 6’2 feet tall.

5. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 11 Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

Our rating: 7 / 10

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 11 Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

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Pros:

  • It comes with multiple rod holders
  • Has a lot of room
  • Has a rudder

The Sea Ghost 110 Angler Sit-on-top kayak is a comfortable, stable, and versatile kayak and is very reasonably priced on Amazon!

With 3 adjustable positions, the Sea Ghost is quite comfortable to sit in, whether you want to be up high or down low. The seat back is made from comfortable EVA foam that is scented to remove odors and a sturdy frame. The seat is also adjustable to remove the backrest for lower back support and double as a place to put gear.

This is a great fishing fishing kayak as it comes with a built-in transducer mount, and even a plate for you to attach your own mount or transducer if needed. The retractable rod holders are made with EZ-load and EZ-release technology to make getting your rods out easy. The bow area has a removable roll-up storage area and the stern has a bungee cord for extra storage. The kayak has 3 molded-in carrying handles along the kayak to make carrying it a lot easier and convenient, especially if you don’t have a friend with you.

6. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

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This Advanced Elements inflatable kayak is designed with better parts than most recreational kayaks. It is easy to transport as it comes with its own backpack. There are multiple carry handles and an adjustable strap for portability. The kayak has a Velcro closure system so that you can pack it with ease. This kayak is really spacious, and you can easily store your gear, as you can store it in the kayak.

The kayak meets the US Coast Guard guidelines. Each kayak has a breakdown paddle. It has adjustable and padded handles for paddling.

This Advanced Elements inflatable kayak review is available in multiple colors. The kayak is currently available in blue, green, orange and purple.

7. Intex Challenger Kayak Series

Our rating: 6 / 10

Intex Challenger Kayak Series

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Pros:

  • Extremely stable
  • Features a comfortable seat for long trips
  • The affordable price makes it an attractive buy

Cons:

  • Can feel heavy when it is not on water or when you’re carrying it
  • The pedals feel a bit sticky when pressed
  • The material does not feel as sturdy as it looks

The Intex Challenger series are good kayaks for both beginners and experienced kayakers alike. It offers cost-friendly features while improving on the most common drawbacks of kayaks in their price range.

You’ll enjoy the features of the Intex Challenger kayak in an affordable price. You can use this with ease for beginner and intermediate level kayaking. Even experienced kayakers love it for how it handles water currents. It comes with a paddle, a paddle boat, and a pump.

One of the common flaws of inflatable kayaks is that you won’t find it stable for longer trips. The Intex Challenger kayak is lightweight and designed for a single person to paddle. It comes with the 120cm inflatable kayak and a quick folding EZ load system which makes it easier to fold up and carry around.

8. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Kayak

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Pros:

  • High grade material
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Comfortable seating with a backrest for added support
  • Valves have pressure relief for increased safety
  • Can hold a total weight up to support 280 lbs.
  • Easy to transport with its carrying handle
  • Keeps paddlers out of the sun with the portable canopy
  • Very stable
  • Lightweight – weighs 30 lbs.
  • Has two large end pockets as well as a center storage console on the deck for added convenience

Cons:

  • Seatbacks are a bit narrow
  • Users report that it is a little slower than hardshell kayaks

The Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak from Driftsun may be the perfect choice for paddlers who want a versatile kayak that won’t break the bank.

This kayak has many of the same features as the more expensive Tributary Eskimo, such as the comfortable high-back seat, paddle holders, and storage pocket.

However, this inflatable kayak has a number of features that make it really stand out. Its Max Comfort High Back seat is very comfortable, even over a long paddle.

9. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

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10. Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat

Our rating: 6 / 10

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat

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Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Easy set-up
  • Good for fishing

Cons:

  • Not as durable as some brands
  • Air leak issues

High Output Air Pump, 3 Piece Aluminum Oars, Carry Bag.

The Sea Eagle 370X is an appealing choice for warmer waters due to its ease of movement both on water and in the water due to its advanced design and kayak capacities of up to three adults.

This kayak is suitable for both recreational and casual use for owners who are looking to enjoy ways both on and along water instead of the usual options.

11. Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak

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Pros:

  • Easy to carry back to the shore
  • Ideal for tall people
  • Kayak is windsurf-able
  • Very stable due to the large size
  • High-pressure floor provides impressive durability
  • Can accommodate lots of gear
  • Includes a carry case

This tandem inflatable kayak is built to last you a long time. Its high pressure floor is durable and pretty sturdy even when you push it to the limit. This inflatable kayak doesn’t have any water to worry about, but nevertheless, its two chambers are attached to create a solid seal and make sure that no water gets in.

It also just looks beautiful and includes four aluminum paddles and a pump as well as advanced tracking and maneuverability. It’s great that you can set up a cam mount so you can document your adventures in a kayak if you choose to do so.

12. Bestway Lite Rapid X2 Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Bestway Lite Rapid X2 Kayak

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Pros:

  • Impressive 200 lb weight capacity
  • Includes paddle
  • Great for beginners

The Bestway Lite Rapid X2 Kayak is a great kayak for beginners. It’s light enough so you can get around by yourself with little effort, and the padded seat is cushioned for a comfortable ride on the water.

This inflatable kayak makes for a great buy for new kayakers. The inflatable design means that everyone can handle it, and the lightweight frame is easy to transport around. Storage is also no an issue with the Lite Rapid, as it folds up and can easily be stored either at home or in a vehicle.

13. ADVANCED ELEMENTS Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

ADVANCED ELEMENTS Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to deflate and transport
  • Packs down to a small size
  • Durable
  • Solidly built
  • Can hold up to 300 pounds
  • Plenty of room for two people
  • It is not tippy, even if you are a bigger person

Cons:

  • It is very big when you open it up.
  • The Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak (2-Person Inflatable Kayak) is a great option for someone who needs a sturdy, well-made inflatable kayak.

It has a nice width that gives plenty of room for two people to pack into. This kayak can handle adults up to 6 feet 3 inches in height. It can also hold up to 300 pounds in terms of maximum weight capacity.

It has many features that makes it easy to use, like its durable zipper that makes it easy to inflate or deflate the kayak. When you’re ready to store it, you can fold it up and store it in its provided bag. It also has a carry handle that lets you easily carry it around. The kayak weighs about 21 pounds.

14. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

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Pros:

  • Easy to assemble and transport
  • Fabric storage bag with shoulder strap
  • Lightweight and easy to carry by hand
  • Wide based for good balance
  • Comfortable seat

Cons:

  • The foot pegs are located in the center of the kayak, which means that the sides are exposed to waves
  • Sliding seat is a little difficult to manipulate

The Seawck Colorado 2 person kayak is a reasonable deal, especially for the price. It comes in a handy carrying bag, with a nylon construction and aluminum chasis.

It’s got subtle design and features that come together to form a great kayak that’s easy to use and a great buy. For example, there’s more storage space, as well as a better tracking system.

It’s also got a wider boat base, which means that it’s easier to control and is stable when you’re out on the water.

15. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

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Pros:

  • Cost:

This kayak is an adjustable and portable kayak that is easy to assemble and disassemble. It is one of the best recreational kayaks out there. With a variable seating position and adjustable footrests, it will provide you with a comfortable ride. The adjustable paddle has a comfortable handle, a flared blade, and is lightweight, so you can use it with ease. You can carry it easily thanks to the two-point padded shoulder carry system. The set includes an inflatable seat, a foot pump, a paddle, a carry bag, and a repair kit.

16. Sea Eagle 300x Inflatable Explorer Kayak Pro Carbon Package

Our rating: 6 / 10

Sea Eagle 300x Inflatable Explorer Kayak Pro Carbon Package

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Pros:

  • Comfortable seat & back rest
  • Easy set-up (requires a hand pump)
  • Adjustable skeg

The Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak is a quality, affordable option for beginners, offering a 5-foot beam that provides decent stability without sacrificing maneuverability and a lightweight, yet rugged aluminum frame.

Its waterproof inflated flooring and multiple air chambers facilitate total safety; you wouldn’t break a sweat even if you have to swim with the kayak. The kayak offers over 35 PSI of air pressure, so it’s not easy to inflate and deflate, but it’s not hard either.

There’s a lightweight and removable fabric carrying bag that’s easy to store and transport, and a nylon anchor bag comes included with the kayak.

17. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak

Our rating: 6 / 10

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak

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Pros:

  • Nice design
  • Adjustable footpegs
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight and inconspicuous, good for tossing in the car
  • Tougher material
  • Affordable
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Good tracker

This kayak is ideal for those who want a tough, practical, lightweight, and stylish kayak. It’s made of a tough polyethylene material and there are four fins on the bottom, which help to track relatively well. The kayak is only 14-feet long, which is relatively compact compared to other kayaks. It can hold a total of 400 pounds while you’re in it with an additional 100 pounds if you’re on top.

The AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak is easy to assemble and comes with a drip pan and water drain plug. It also features a hand pump to inflate the kayak. It’s designed for one person to sit in and has snaps and hardware to easily add things like seating pads or additional waterproof bags.

18. Goplus Inflatable Kayak 3 Seperate Air Chambers

Our rating: 5 / 10

Goplus Inflatable Kayak 3 Seperate Air Chambers

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Pros:

  • Lightweight,
  • Stable,
  • Can hold up to 396 pounds,
  • Easy to put together,
  • Nice storage area,
  • Has multiple uses,
  • Works well in the water,
  • Comes with extra accessories,

Cons:

  • Not recommended for rough seas and rapids,
  • Can easily tip over,
  • Takes a lot of time to inflate it,

Very affordable.

Can be dangerous if you do not know how to use one.

If you are looking for a family or solo kayak that you can store in the closet or corner, this is for you! It can hold up to 3 people (up to 396 pounds), is 36 inches in length, and 9 inches in width. It is very stable and works well on the waters of lakes and rivers.

19. Sea Eagle 393RL RazorLite Inflatable Kayak Pro Package

Our rating: 5 / 10

Sea Eagle 393RL RazorLite Inflatable Kayak Pro Package

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Pros:

  • Very stable
  • Easy to maneuver
  • It has adjustable seats
  • It’s super easy to inflate and deflate
  • It has two separate air chambers, which makes it more durable
  • It has a storage pouch

The Sea Eagle 393RL RazorLite is a kayak that is designed for people who are just getting started or have a smaller frame. So for people of all ages and sizes, this kayak will do the job.

It is multi-functional. It can be used for fishing, exploring, day trips, and other fun adventures that you want to do in the outdoors.

The kayak is hand-crafted and is perfect for both experienced and new thrill-seekers.

20. Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak

Our rating: 5 / 10

Airhead Montana Kayak Two Person Inflatable Kayak

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Pros:

  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Provides good stability
  • Comfortable seats
  • Good storage capacity
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Takes some time to get used to
  • Might make you feel a little bit uncomfortable on the water

Airhead is a company that many people have come to trust and that is no surprise. Airhead offers their customers products that are versatile and affordable. The Airhead Montana kayak is not your average kayak; this kayak is all about comfort and features. It offers the paddler a high degree of maneuverability.

The kayak features a rigid bottom providing excellent stability. The boat has a total capacity of 580 pounds, which is perfect for an adult and a child without leaving much room for cargo. The internal carrying bag makes carrying the kayak so easy.

The Airhead Montana inflatable two person kayak has seats that can be adjusted, so when paddling the kayak, you can remain comfortable. The sides of the kayak are made out of a vinyl fabric that is reinforced with nylon, which provide a strong support and make this one of the top choices for kayaks.

21. Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

Our rating: 5 / 10

Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

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Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Stable on water
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Comfortable
  • Folding design

Cons:

  • The kayak is a bit heavy
  • The seats lack padding

Most recreational kayaks are only suitable for one or two people, which is definitely a disadvantage in some cases. But, if you want a kayak so that you, your significant other, and your dog can all enjoy nature on the water, then this kayak by Sevylor should be top of your list.

The kayak has a total of three chambers and the inflatable middle can be adjusted with a high-pressure pump so you can choose to use either 1 or 2 chambers depending on how heavy the load is and how far you are going.

It also has an air pressure gauge for the convenience. The kayak holds a total of 300 pounds, so it can take a full load of passengers and whatnot.

22. Sevylor C001 Tahiti Hunt Fish 2 Person Kayak

Our rating: 4 / 10

Sevylor C001 Tahiti Hunt Fish 2 Person Kayak

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Pros:

  • Low weight
  • Extremely portable
  • Easy to use and handle
  • Ultra-sturdy and durable

Close your eyes. What do you see? When you opened your eyes, you probably saw the wonderful world of water in front of you. If you have been dreaming about the moment when you roll on your kayak, enjoy your fishing trip and marvel at the sea life, then the Sevylor C001 Tahiti Hunt Fish 2 Person Kayak is surely one of the top choices for you.

This yellow colored kayak is exactly what you need for all your kayaking adventures! It may be compact from the outside, but it isn’t small on the inside. How could it? With the two seats, you can even fit in friends and enjoy the kayaking trip together.

The kayak is very affordable and you don’t need to empty your bank account just to purchase it. It’s also very lightweight and can easily be carried anywhere. Even if you want to carry it to the water yourself, you can do it. It’s very easy to handle and be carried around.

23. Solstice by Swimline Flare 1 Person Kayak

Our rating: 4 / 10

Solstice by Swimline Flare 1 Person Kayak

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Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Very affordable
  • Comfy and stable
  • Its design allows it to be enjoyed by all members of the family

Cons:

  • Tricky to maneuver it
  • Its seat is not suitable for extended use (you’ll have to use a beach towel or pool noodle)
  • It doesn’t come with paddles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand of kayaks?

There really is no such thing as the best brand of kayaks. When looking to purchase kayaks, first you need to narrow down the type of kayak you want. Because let’s be honest if you are going to buy several different types of kayaks, you might as well just buy from one trusted brand.

Once you have the type of kayak genre down, it’s easier to narrow down the brands that make that type of kayak best. So if you are looking for touring kayaks, try Rivers Edge, Wilderness Systems, and Emotion. When you are looking for have you are looking for fishing kayaks, try Lund, Ocean Kayak, and Wilderness Systems. When you are looking to go for sea kayaks, try Boreal, Wilderness Systems, and Ocean Kayaks.

What is the most stable kayak on the market?

For general purpose lake and slow rivers paddling, you want a stable kayak. The Ocean Kayak Trident 13.5 Recreational kayak is a great choice for beginners as it is stable, spacious, and easy to maneuver.

The world’s most stable kayak is the high-end double kayak built from ABS plastic, however, it’s also among the heaviest. If you’re looking for heavy-duty kayak for fishing, hunting, or exploring the surf, you’ll find that the Airhead Leader 14 DLX is a great choice.

Which type of kayak is better?

In general, kayaks are the ultimate watercraft of choice for most paddlers. They are very stable, fast, and offer a diverse range of uses around the water. It’s hard to find a better multi-purpose watercraft for weekend adventures.

Kayaks come in two basic varieties: sit-on-top (or SOT) and sit-inside. SOT kayaks are the most popular and are often the best kayak for beginners. They have a large cockpit that can easily be entered and exited, while the back stays open to allow a stable ride. Unlike sit-inside kayaks, they are not covered.

Sit inside kayaks are harder to enter and exit, but they offer more protection from the sun, wind, and waves. They also have much larger storage compartments compared to sit-on-top kayaks.

What is the best rated fishing kayak?

And what the best kayaks for kids?

First the best rated fishing kayaks. They are recreational kayaks because they offer a lot more space and comfort (and they weigh fewer). That makes them more stable and therefore easier to maneuver. If you are planning on serious fishing expeditions, you should choose one of these.

Next are recreational kayaks which are designed for general use. That includes fitness, sightseeing, and simply sitting around. This is a good choice for families that want to go out paddling for the day.

Last are whitewater kayaks. These are built for rivers, white water rapids, and other narrow passages.

You may be surprised to find out that there are a lot of differences between the different types of boats in each category. It makes sense to go over the main points so you can pick the best fishing kayak for your needs.

Conclusion

A kayak can be a useful tool for rowing in shallow waters, scouting locations for fishing or other recreation, exploring the shoreline, or just enjoying the peace and quiet of being out on the water. A kayak, can be an inviting toy for a child who's adventurous in nature, and can be a fun way to get physical activity. You can choose kayaks that can give you all these benefits and more in a fun, convenient way.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational KayakBest OverallOcean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Intex Challenger Kayak SeriesBudget PickIntex Challenger Kayak Series
Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water KayakUpgrade PickDriftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Tandem White-Water Kayak