Are you ready to hit the water and explore the great outdoors? Kayaking is a thrilling way to get closer to nature, exercise, and have some fun in the sun. Kayaking is fast becoming an all-time favorite watersport activity, and many like to try their hand at it as it looks quite easy to maneuver on the water. But if you’re new to the sport, choosing the best kayak for beginners can be overwhelming. With so many different types, sizes, and brands available, it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of options. That’s why you shouldn’t go headlong into it without knowing the basics, especially as a beginner. Always it is important to be aware of the necessary travel gear and waterproof shoes or ultralight travel backpacks to go with the best kayaks for beginners.
Get ready to dip your paddle in and experience the joys of kayaking with one of our top picks for beginners. So, what is the best kayak for a beginner? In this article, we’ve done the research and testing for you to bring you the best kayaks for amateurs like you. Whether you’re looking for a recreational kayak for calm waters or a sit-on-top kayak for more adventurous expeditions, we’ve got you covered. We’ll break down the key features to look for, such as stability, maneuverability, and durability, and provide you with a range of options at different price points. Read on to know what the perfect one is before you hit the waters. But before you hit the water, you may also need wetsuits for kayaking.
Table of contents
- Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak
- Sun Dolphin Bali Kayak
- Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
- Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119
- Emotion Guster Sit-Inside Kayak
- Ocean Kayak Malibu Recreational Kayak
- Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
- Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pro 12
- Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sport Kayak
- Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-In Kayak
- Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak
- Our Verdict!
- How To Choose the Best Kayak
- Which type of kayak is most suited for beginners?
- Which kayaks are more convenient to carry or transport from one place to another?
- Are the paddles provided by most kayaks of good quality?
- When kayaking for the first time, what are the essential gears to be carried?
Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak
Sporting a trendy yet simple setup, the Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak is a simple, easy-to-use inflatable kayak. Inflatable kayaks are perfect for first-time users as all the features ensure ease of use or storage. To start with, the two-seat kayak with a removable center seat is suitable to fit one or two people comfortably.
With gauge PVC material, you can easily maneuver on most water bodies, such as rivers and lakes. This kayak type comes with adequate safety features. With this, there’s no fear of leakage while kayaking as it features an airtight system that ensures no leakage issues. And even if there is a puncture, there are multiple air chambers to prevent the kayak from collapsing and help it stay afloat for a long. Add to that, the spray covers keep the seats dry and comfortable.
You’ll be free of hassles when carrying or using this kayak. Since the kayak is inflatable, it’s quite easy to store as you can easily deflate it after use. In fact, the mini double lock and double lock valves help inflate and deflate very easily. Better still, this product includes a paddle and a carry bag along with a 90-day limited warranty period.
- There are multiple air chambers that help keep the kayak afloat for a long in case of a puncture.
- The package includes a paddle and a carry bag.
- It also comes with a 90-day warranty period.
- It’s not recommended to be used on sea or in choppy waters.
Sun Dolphin Bali Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Bali Kayak design looks friendly and easy to hop in for a fun ride on the waters. This extremely lightweight 10-foot kayak is just what beginners need with its sit-on-top design for easy entry and exit and a well-padded, adjustable seat.
Manufactured with highly resilient materials like UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, the kayak is resistant to sun damage or abrasions. Also, the kayak is suitable for accommodating individuals of any height by including graduated footwells. In fact, its design also includes necessary features to store accessories and essential rowing gear. For example, there is a bungee cord at the front to store gear. There is also a separate dry compartment for storing these gears and accessories. Still in doubt? Check out the full review of Sun Dolphin Bali kayak on Youtube.
- It’s easy to paddle with maximum stability.
- It offers adjustable footrests to accommodate individuals of varying heights.
- There’s ample storage space for essential gear and accessories.
- The package does not come with a paddle.
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
The most lightweight. Sporting a rugged look, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak is a superb fishing kayak. This two-seated kayak is also suitable for casual paddling. Not just rugged to look at, the kayak is durable and made of 8 gauge PVC material. With a 1000DD tarpaulin construct, the bottom surface of the kayak is also resilient to any kind of damage or scrapes. Add to that, the kayak has anti-leakage and anti-sinking features, such as an airtight system and multiple air chambers.
Perfect for fishing, the kayak comes with all the necessary fishing accessories or attachments. For example, it features Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders for hands-free fishing while kayaking. Additionally, with Sevylor trolling motor fittings, there is the option to attach a motor and navigate the water with ease and explore more fishing opportunities. What’s more, if you plan to be out on the water for a long time, you can keep small snacks or items in mesh storage pockets.
- The kayak is very lightweight and durable.
- You can use it for solo and tandem paddling.
- This kayak is resistant to leakage and sinking.
- It features convenient storage pockets for keeping small items or snacks.
- The tracking can be improved.
Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119
One of the best things about Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119 is the padded armrests with trays, and customizable accessory tracks make this hybrid kayak perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The custom tackle box and ample rod holders provide plenty of storage for fishing gear and accessories, allowing you to easily access all the tools you need for a successful day on the water.
Beyond its impressive features, this kayak is also incredibly agile, stable, and easy to handle. Its open and spacious hull offers ample room for fishing crates, duck decoys, camping gear, or even your furry companion. The adjustable backrest and padded armrests with trays allow for multi-purpose functionality, making it easy to paddle like a canoe with a single-blade paddle or a kayak with a double-blade paddle. Its versatile design allows for various paddling styles and activities, making it an excellent choice for solo adventurers looking for an exhilarating experience.
- The kayak is stable and easy to maneuver.
- It comes with an adjustable backrest and padded armrests.
- There are 2 forward-facing flush-mounted rod holders.
- It’s quite heavy.
Emotion Guster Sit-Inside Kayak
This sit-in kayak model is just the type that beginners would love to use on placid water bodies in a leisurely manner. Available in nice colors and designs, the Emotion Guster Sit-Inside Kayak is a comfortable and solid kayak. The kayak has a weight capacity of 275 lbs and can comfortably fit most adults. There is good leg space with adjustable footpegs as well to fit tall individuals.
Paddle away with ease in this kayak as it comes with an adjustable well-cushioned seat. It also features front and back shock cord straps to secure loose items. Add to that; there are front and back handles for easy transportation. There is even an overhaul hatch for additional storage. For more detailed features, check out Lifetime’s official website.
- There’s an adjustable seat cushion and back and pegs.
- The kayak also comes with shock cords and straps for easy transport.
- It features an overhaul hatch for storage.
- The foot pegs may be slightly hard to adjust sometimes.
Ocean Kayak Malibu Recreational Kayak
The best stability. The Ocean kayaks are the best among all the other brands of kayaks. The Ocean Kayak Malibu Recreational Kayak is a hybrid watercraft that offers the simplicity of a canoe with a sleek handling of a kayak. This kayak is packed with handy features, including padded armrests with trays, customizable accessory tracks, a custom tackle box, and plenty of rod holders. You’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips
The padded kayak-style contoured seat with an adjustable backrest provides plenty of support for your back and legs, while the padded armrests with trays offer multi-purpose functionality, from holding your snacks to giving you a convenient place to rest your paddle. Whether you’re embarking on a solo fishing trip or just exploring the local waterways, this is the perfect kayak for any adventure
- The kayak has excellent agility and is easy to control.
- The purchase includes a padded armrest.
- It features an ultra-comfortable sitting.
- When you paddle, water tends to be easy to get in.
Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
The most affordable. The green-colored sporty two-seated inflatable kayak is just the one you need to hit the waters with family or friends. Perfectly affordable and a great one to try out kayaking for the first time as the Intex Challenger K2 Kayak is highly durable and made up of rugged vinyl. Being UV-resistant and puncture-resistant, this kayak boasts long-term durability and is worth every penny.
The kayak comes with 86-inch aluminum paddles and a high-capacity pump to inflate or deflate the kayak within minutes. Moreover, it has inflatable removable seats with backrests that give you all the advantages and support you need for comfortable kayaking. Furthermore, there is a cargo net at the front of the kayak to hold or secure essentials or other gear.
Add to that; the bottom surface has an I-beam insert to lend that extra rigidity and stability to the kayak. What’s more, the hard plastic kegs on the underside of the kayak give you the extra edge of having directional control.
- Your purchase includes paddles.
- It features removable seats with comfortable backrests.
- It has a spacious cockpit with a cargo net for storage.
- It tracks well with kegs on the underside.
- Sometimes the water gets inside the body of the kayak.
Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak
Lifetime kayaks address the two most essential features: guaranteeing safety and tracking performance. And that definitely makes it the best option among all the best kayaks for beginners. With a high-density polyethylene construct, the Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak is durable and UV-resistant, which prevents damage from the sun. It’s also extremely stable as it has a good paddling platform to steer safely on the water.
The kayak ensures a comfortable fit inside it with multiple positions for footrests and can accommodate adults of varying heights and sizes. It also comes with an adjustable seat with a backrest. So, you can have an enjoyable ride with so many comfortable options. What’s more, you can stash away small items in the tank well storage or secure essentials or loose items by using the bungee cord lacing. It is also convenient to carry this lightweight kayak to the waterfront due to the center carry handles.
- It’s both lightweight and durable.
- It’s comfortable to use with multiple footrest positions and adjustable seat with a backrest.
- Your purchase includes storage options.
- It comes with double-sided paddles.
- The backrest is hard and uncomfortable without padding.
Perception Pescador Pro 12
The biggest capacity. Your perception of fishing kayaks will be crystal-clear when you see its sheer elegance, style, and utility. The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is touted as one of the best kayaks for beginners or the best fishing kayak. Measuring 12 feet long, the kayak has a well-molded design to be used on any kind of water body, be it lakes, rivers, streams, or placid coastal waters.
Being mainly designed for fishing purposes, the kayak has included some additional features, such as two molded-in rod holders for hands-free rod storage and a battery zone along with a central console area for attaching GPS or fishfinders. Besides, there are also provisions for storage at the back and front end of the kayak. Moreover, the comfortable mesh backrest with mesh-cushioned and removable camp chairs ensure a convenient and relaxing outing on the waters.
Like most Perception kayaks, this model too is designed to endure the maximum weight and track well with an efficient hull in varying weather conditions. Aside from that, it is equally easy to enter or exit this sit-on-top kayak. It is highly durable, too, with a make of high-density polyethylene and one-piece roto-molded construction. This makes it not only UV-resistant but also abrasion-resistant. To see more detailed specifications, head to Perception Kayak’s official website.
- It features a well-cushioned adjustable seat with a backrest.
- The kayak offers good storage capacity at the front and rear ends.
- Your purchase includes rod holders.
- The rod holders are not that well-designed to hold rods in place.
Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sport Kayak
The moment you set your eyes on Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sport Kayak, you know that you want to own this one without a second thought. Trendy in look and style, this portable kayak will last a lifetime with a hull that is designed to inflate in three chambers, such as the port, the floor, and the starboard walls. Additionally, there is an I-beam construction floor for resilience and stability.
The kayak has a comfortable seating arrangement for two people. In fact, it is a complete package with all the required features, such as a well-cushioned backrest, two paddles, a foot pump, and a carry bag for the kayak. It is provided with two skegs on the bottom surface for better speed and tracking.
This kayak is one notch higher than most kayaks when it comes to drainage facilities. The one-way deluxe open and close drain valve is a welcome change from the traditional pipe valves found in most kayaks. There is also a huge storage capacity for storing essential gear and accessories due to the front.
- Your purchase includes two paddles and a carry bag with shoulder straps.
- It features self-bailing drain valves.
- It comes with comfortable seats with a padded backrest.
- The floor is unstable for standing.
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
Race down the river or cruise the calm waters of a lake in the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. You get an immediate adventurous and sporty feel when you see this bright yellow-colored kayak. The ruggedness is not just in outward appearance. With heavy-duty vinyl and provisioned with three-separate air chambers, it’s not just durable but also puncture and leak-resistant. Add to that; the inflatable I-beam floor provides that extra rigidity to the entire setup. And the best part is that it includes a repair patch kit in case of damages or unanticipated punctures.
The two-seat spacious kayak is comfortable to use with inflatable seats and backrests. Along with comfort in usage, it is also easy to maneuver or has directional stability provided by a removable skeg on the underside. Another advantage is that one can set up or deflate the kayak within minutes due to well-fitted Boston valves and a high-output pump.
- The kayak is inflatable, portable, and very stable.
- It can be inflated or deflated with ease.
- It features a comfortable seating arrangement with a backrest.
- The purchase includes two paddles.
- It is quite shallow, even with seats.
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-In Kayak
Brilliantly designed for beginners, here is another Sun Dolphin product that is quite popular in the market. The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-In Kayak has a basic simplicity that makes it very easy to use on water if you are a newbie. This sit-in kayak performs just as well, maybe even a little better than most sit-on kayaks that are generally more suitable for beginners.
Available in various colors, the kayak is made of good sturdy UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene material. It has a good cockpit space with an adjustable and well-cushioned seat with a high backrest and adjustable foot braces. Though compact-looking, it has sufficient storage space at the front with a shock cord rigging to attach essential gears along with a much-needed water bottle holder. Furthermore, for ease of transport, it has well-molded carrying handles.
- You can enjoy a spacious cockpit.
- The kayak has an adjustable seat, back support, and adjustable foot braces for a comfortable fit.
- There’s a sufficient storage tank.
- The sharp plastic edges can hurt when loading or unloading the kayak.
Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak
The final brand on the list of 13 best kayaks for beginners is the Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak. So what makes it stand out from all the other best brands of kayaks for beginners?
Considered to be the best kayak for youths, this particular model is a must-have for those who are first-time kayakers or those who want to have fun in the waters. Interested to surf the waves? Then go for this kayak with the perfect twin-fin design to aid in tracking as well as riding the waves. And if you topple over while trying to be over-adventurous, the kayak has a patented swim-up deck design for re-entry.
They design the kayaks to ensure sturdiness and resilience with high-density polyethylene material. Though it weighs 18 lbs, it is lightweight and easy to carry, with well-fitted molded finger handles on each side. The kayak can comfortably accommodate all types of paddlers with adjustable footrests and also comes with double-sided back paddles.
- The purchase includes double-sided paddles.
- It’s easy to transport with carrying handles
- The kayak allows easy re-entry with a swim-up step design.
- It features a comfortable fit with multiple footrests.
- It’s prone to tipping over on rough or choppy waters
Choosing the best kayak for beginners is crucial to ensure an enjoyable and safe paddling experience. After extensive research, we have determined that the best option is the Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak. This durable kayak offers excellent stability and maneuverability, making it perfect for first-time paddlers. With these kayaks, beginners can confidently embark on their paddling journey and experience the joy and freedom of being out on the water. But also, here are some other options based on other categories:
- Biggest capacity: Perception Pescador Pro 12
- Most affordable: Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
- Most lightweight: Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
- Best stability: Ocean Kayak Malibu Recreational Kayak
How To Choose the Best Kayak
When you are going out on a kayak for the first time, it is important to weigh in all the factors with questions that can help decide upon buying the best one. Which type of kayaks would suit you the most? Which is the most budget-friendly one? How easy it is to set up and use the kayak? What is the right size to use for paddles? How safe and stable it is to use the kayak? Below are the details of some of these deciding factors.
Types of Kayaks
There are many types of kayaks in the market for beginners. For example, there are sit-on-kayaks, Canadian kayaks, touring kayaks, and inflatable kayaks. All these types have been designed to ensure stability and ease of use for families, couples, beginners, or even children.
Among all the types of kayaks, inflatable ones are the best choice for starters, as they are lightweight, easy to handle, and suit all types of environments. The sit-on type of kayak is also suitable for beginners as it is easy to hop in or get out and easy to navigate too.
Overall Kayak Weight and Paddle Size
Along with the types, it is also important to know the overall weight of the kayak. Depending on the weight, you can figure out how easy it will be to store, transport, or get out of the kayak. However, note that the weight does not impact the kayak’s performance on the water. The weight only counts when you need to check how heavy it is likely to be when moving or dragging it out of the water.
Most of the affordable kayak models come with paddles. However, the paddle sizes vary as per height and expertise. So, always ensure you get the appropriate one.
Kayaks are made of several types of materials, such as inflatable plastic, plastic, fiberglass, wood, fabric, or Kevlar. The durable ones are mostly made up of plastic or fiberglass. The most expensive kayaks are made of Kevlar and carbon fiber as they are very light. Other expensive materials are fabric or frames, as they make the kayaks lightweight and collapsible. Wooden kayaks are good, but they are too heavyweight and expensive to manufacture.
Another essential factor is about checking the stability of the kayak. The kayak should hold well when sitting inside the kayak or when entering or exiting the kayak. This is known as primary stability. The secondary stability is about ensuring that the kayak does not topple over when speeding.
Setup and Usability
If you are a beginner, you should choose a very easy kayak to set up. This can be ensured by choosing a simple one that does not have too many things to attach during the setup. Most inflatable kayaks are easy to set up with high-capacity pumps or well-fitted valves.
Usability is also very important as one needs to be comfortable and at ease in using it. For example, how resilient the kayak is to damage, whether it tracks and turns well on water, or how convenient it is to transport the kayak.
Checking the comfort features of the kayak goes a long way in ensuring a good time while kayaking. For example, it is a good idea to spend a little more to have well-cushioned or adjustable seats with good and sturdy backrests.
Another thing to consider is how well you can fit inside the kayak. Many kayaks have adjustable footpegs or braces to adjust your position based on your height. It has been observed that the more comfortable your feet are placed, the better you will be able to paddle without sliding.
Which type of kayak is most suited for beginners?
The inflatable sit-on-top types of kayaks are considered ideal for beginners. It is actually quite easy to get in or out of such kayak types. There are also some brands that have sit-in design and are preferred by many as it creates a stable platform with the seating position being slightly below the water level. It can be a good alternative to some sit-on-top kayak versions.
Which kayaks are more convenient to carry or transport from one place to another?
Most kayaks have well-molded carrying handles for ease of transport from the car to the waterfront. It is easy to transport lightweight kayaks using these handles. However, the best option is to use inflatable kayaks as they are portable and easier to carry or set up.
Are the paddles provided by most kayaks of good quality?
Most kayaks provide paddles of good quality, and it is safe to use them. However, you are always free to opt for better ones if you have the slightest doubt about the quality or design.
When kayaking for the first time, what are the essential gears to be carried?
When kayaking for the first time, it is advisable to bring safety kits or life jackets, helmets, repair kits, and first aid kits.