The best kayaks
- The best kayak is, generally speaking, the best kayak you can afford. While several of the kayaks on our list happen to be designed with anglers in mind, they're also designed for comfort.
- We've tested over a dozen kayaks, and having sent both anglers and non-anglers out in all of them, the fishing-specific kayaks were always preferred because they're just more comfortable.
- The Vibe Sea Ghost 110 is our top pick for open water and fishing, while the Old Town Castine Kayak is our top pick for touring flat water.
Kayaking is a great sport because it's fun regardless of your skill level and because it can be as relaxing or challenging as you want. You and a buddy can hop into or atop a tandem kayak and enjoy a lazy paddle around the lake or you can slide into the cockpit of a touring kayak and set off to conquer miles of open water. Or you can head for raging whitewater if that's your thing.
While kayaking can get expensive if you demand the finest gear made, there are also boats available at such modest costs that anyone can try their hand at the paddle.
When you're choosing your kayak, try to consider what you'll be using it for most. Long trips down - or up - rivers, involving overnight camping? Lazy Sunday afternoon paddles around ponds? If the former, a kitted-out fishing-styled kayak is almost certainly your best bet. If the latter, then an inexpensive, stripped-down plastic or inflatable boat without all the storage and fancy seating will do just as well.In addition to our research and testing, we also consulted Luke Pope-Corbett of Charleston Kayak Company and Dallas Baker of Coastal Expeditions, both based in Charleston, South Carolina, for their expertise and recommendations.
Here are our top picks for the best kayaks
- Best ocean sit-on-top kayak: Vibe Sea Ghost 110
- Best touring sea kayak: Old Town Castine
- Best folding kayaks: Oru Beach
- Best tandem sit-on-top kayak: Brooklyn Kayak Company Tandem Sit On Top
- Best peddle-powered kayak: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
- Best cheap inflatable kayak: Intex Challenger inflatable
- Best budget ocean sit-on-top kayak: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
Updated 10/29/2019 by Owen Burke: Updated prices, formatting, and copy. We are currently testing several new kayaks for our next update.
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