A kayak is the vehicle of choice for outdoorsmen and women around the world looking to traverse rivers, lakes, and even the high seas. There are actually a variety of designs, constructions, and types of kayaks available for different situations. Depending on the body of water you visit the most, you may prefer one kayak over the other.
In this guide, we’ll go over different categories of kayaks to see which one best fits your needs.
Lifetime’s Payette kayak is a lot like the Camino 8 but its seat has a lower overall depth in the body. The seat placement means the cockpit is slightly enclosed, but it still has a sizable amount of leg room in the interior. This position gives the pilot better overall control with his or her paddles.
The Payette weighs in at around 44lbs but is rated to carry about 450lbs. The bow and stern have cables for which you can strap down items you want to take with you. However, neither end of the Payette has the appropriate shape to hold heavier objects like fully filled coolers.
The Payette also has the advantage of low price. Its construction makes it a good overall kayak in the water, even if conditions become unstable. In our opinion, the Payette is the best overall hardshell kayak on our list. Click here to check current price.
Sun Dolphin’s Camino 8 is a small but robust hard shell kayak. The interior of the kayak is designed to be as user-friendly as possible. There are footwells, storage compartments, and paddle slots all within arms or legs reach.
The Camino 8 only weighs 40lbs, but its high-density polyethylene means it has a carrying capacity of around 225 lbs. This polyethylene construction is also UV resistant, so the body of the kayak won’t heat up when the sun is fully up. Some high-quality kayaks can range in the thousands of dollars, but the Camino has the advantage of being extremely cheap.
For a single-seat kayak, the Camino 8 has a good case for being one of the best overall single-seat kayaks. Apart from being lightweight, stable, and cheap, the Camino 8 is perfect for all experience levels. Click here to check the current price.
The Glide is one of Emotion Kayak’s premier kayaks. The slick and narrow V-frame of the Glide gives it exceptional maneuvering capabilities on top of enhanced speed. It only weighs 37 lbs, allowing one person to handle it on all ends.
This kayak may not be the best lounging kayak due to its lack of internal storage capabilities, but it does keep the rider comfortable for the duration of your trip. It does have cables on the bow and stern where you can tie down things, but large and heavy objects aren’t likely to fit. Like the Camino 8, its hull is roto-molded and rated coated against UV rays.
You should consider the Glide kayak if you’re experienced and strong on the water. While the kayak’s frame makes it easy to manuever and pick up speed, but when the currents change or the water becomes unstable, it can be difficult to handle. Click here to check the current price.
The Old Town Vapor 10 has a slightly different construction than the kayaks above. While it’s not the widest or the narrowest kayak, its hull forms a middle ground between the two. This way, the kayak checks boxes in speed, maneuverability, and handling in stable waters.
The Vapor 10 has a stern well that allows you to place more items than normal tie-down cables. In fact, it’s just large enough that you might be able to place a small cooler inside. Because this area is built down into the body of the kayak, it won’t tip due to the added weight. Your own weight as well as the shape of the hull balance out the carrying capacity.
We like the Vapor 10 because it combines the best some of the best aspects of sit-on kayaks. The stern well, stable construction, and foot braces all make the Vapor 10 a comfortable kayak to paddle in. Click here to check the current price.
Brooklyn Kayak Company’s UH-TK181 is a popular two-seat sit-on kayak. Despite its size, its got a very sleek profile, which will drastically help speed and maneuvering if both users are working together.
The extended size of the UH-TK181 makes for some innovative additions. There are water-tight compartments between the leg rests of both occupants, allowing you to keep valuables safe from water that might splash into the kayak. It also has two sets of paddle rests that point the paddles upward, keeping them away from the water and freeing your hands.
The UH-TK181 comes in a couple of different color schemes that are all around the same price. This is a pretty big plus in our opinion because some brands drastically change price according to something as simple as color. Click here to check the current price.
Ocean Kayak’s Malibu is a great multi-purpose kayak. While the company name suggests one thing, the Malibu is great for handling ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers. As an ocean-going kayak, you’ll have the most fun with the two primary occupants working the paddles together through swells.
The Malibu’s max weight capacity is about 475 lbs, enough for two adults and a small child. For the Malibu to perform the best, you should try and avoid approaching that weight capacity. There’s not much space to begin with besides the middle section to place heavier objects like coolers.
The Malibu is slightly cheaper than the UH-TK181 and performs just as nicely in the water. While it lacks the paddle holders, the key thing to keep in mind with this kayak is the weight capacity. Click here to check the current price.
The Yellowfin is one of the most expensive kayaks we have on our list, but there are a couple of pretty good reasons. The kayak comes with two seats but can fit a smaller, third occupant. You can also remove one of the seats to embark on a solo journey.
The Yellowfin has a slightly wider construction than the Malibu or UH-TK18, allowing for larger footwells and small storage areas in the bow and stern. Here, you can place small coolers or food items while your valuables go in the wells between your feet.
The versatility of the Yellowfin increases the price dramatically but in our minds, it’s well worth the cost of quality. There are two sets of mounting hard points, enabling you to insert rod holders of Scotty, RAM, or Railblaza design. This kayak can serve as a fishing, ocean-going, or leisurely boat depending on your needs. Many customers have complimented the Yellowfin on its adaptability to whatever the situation requires. Click here to check the current price.
The Sea Eagle Razorlite is a 28 pound, 500-pound capacity inflatable kayak for one person, built for higher performance with a lighter, narrower and faster paddle. It is fully equipped with drop stitch technology that inflates in about 7 minutes.
The Razorlite is a more streamlined and hardened inflatable kayak than its SE370KP cousin. This design enables it to knife through the water quickly and efficiently. The Razorlite should be a frontrunner in your shopping cart if you’re looking to get adventurous on your own. Click here to check current prices.
The Advanced Elements FireFly was designed to be a compact recreational kayak to help improve performance and durability. This product has a fixed rigid formed bow and stern that help cut through waves and a bulged midsection to help with stability.
The forward-focused design of the FireFly allows it to adapt to currents in lakes, ponds, and even rivers. It’s a one-person kayak, enabling the rider full control over the boat as it moves through the water. Regardless of the state of the waters you’re paddling through, the FireFly will be able to navigate them smoothly. Click here to check current prices.
Interested in other best selling inflatable kayaks? Check out our guide to the best inflatable kayaks on the market.
This is a great value rigged fishing kayak for the money. The Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak is priced similarly to the KL Industries model above. And, you get some of the same features and value with this one. You also get two sport paddles with this boat, which is great because it saves you a little money on gear.
This 10-foot fishing kayak is designed for either single or tandem use, which makes it a great versatile choice. And the backrests are nice and soft so that it is a comfortable day out on the lake. You can actually get up to three people in it’s ergonomic seating, which is nice for a family fishing outing. Or, bring the dog along! The maximum capacity is 500 pounds, which is pretty decent at this price point. Click here to check current price.
If you need a fishing kayak that offers a lot of value for the money, then look no further than the Sun Dolphin Journey SS. It has an amazingly low price but offers you a lot of bang for your buck. It has everything the beginner kayak angler needs from their boat.
This is a good, cheap kayak for fishing that is a lot of fun to use. However, do know that the seat is not padded like the higher end models. The seat can easily be replaced if you’re interested in that sort of thing. We think it’s also important to note that there are no scupper plugs on this model, which means that you have to physically tip the boat upside down to drain any water that gets inside of it. Click here to check current price.
Interested in other best selling fishing kayaks? Check out our guide to the best fishing kayaks on the market.