Sea kayaking is a particularly amazing and thrilling experience. It’s one of the most unique and accessible ways of exploring sections of the coastline that cannot be done on foot. What’s more, you can feast your eyes on some of the most amazing vistas right from the comfortable vantage point of your kayak. That said, kayaking on the ocean is a very different experience as opposed to paddling on flat water in a protected cove, bay, or on a lake. In fact, you” have to contend with ocean spray, stronger currents, and more winds. Luckily, the best sea kayaks from the best sea kayak brands with great reviews are all specially designed for just that. They help you navigate the conditions you’ll find in the ocean and also keep you dry at the same time.
There’s a lot more to sea touring kayaks, besides accommodating paddlers traversing long distances on open water. Firstly, they can withstand more challenging weather conditions and make it ideal for longer kayaking expeditions even in harsh weather. If that wasn’t enough, they also have a higher cargo capacity. Luckily, the process for choosing them isn’t daunting anymore, thanks to our handy guide that we’ve laid out for you. To that end, here are the 13 best sea kayaks from the best brands and with excellent reviews.
How To Choose The Best Sea Kayaks?
Usually, sea kayak hulls are made either from polyethylene, ABS plastic, or composite materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. Polyethylene is the cheapest and very sturdy, but cannot withstand salt water or UV rays. ABS plastic is built to withstand both of the above, but is quite heavy and makes for stiffer boats. So, they’re not exactly easy to store or transport. The best of them all are kayaks made of composite materials since they’re both stiff and flexible, hold their shape, and are resistant to abrasions, scratches, and even dents.
Weight, hull and sinkage
Broadly speaking, sea kayaks are not only heavier but also longer than recreational kayaks. Depending on the kind of model, lifting the sea kayak off a rack or moving it can be a two-person job. Most of the best sea kayaks brands have kayaks with different weight capacities to help you decide. Another thing that’s constantly mentioned in the best sea kayaks review is the hull shape. Generally, sea kayaks can either have rounded or V-shaped hulls. Those planning to sea kayak in Georgia’s Tybee Island’s coastal flatwater or closed coves/estuaries are best off with kayaks with rounded hulls. On the other hand, if you want to cruise the choppy waters of the high seas, then you’d better go for kayaks with V-shaped hulls that allow them to cut through turbulent water.
Going further, you also need to consider the sinkage level of the kayak. That is determined by how much weight is needed to make the boat sit an inch lower in the water. If you’re headed out in choppy waters or going on longer trips, then it’s worth knowing how low the kayak will ride, based on your and your gear’s weight. For instance, if the kayak is too low, then it could take on water in rough weather or flip.
Rudder or skeg
An important aspect of sea canoes is the presence or at least the option for a skeg or a rudder. The open water often ends up exposing kayakers to both strong currents as well as strong wind, making it hard to track straight. This is where rudders and skegs come in, as they allow you to correct your course and keep paddling straight.
You need to know that sea kayaks have generally smaller cockpits for stopping the ocean spray and waves from entering the hull compartment. At the same time, the cockpit shouldn’t be so snug that it cuts into your skin at the sides. Thus, you need to be sure of the comfort levels of the kayak before you go for it. Not only will it ensure that the kayak is more easily controllable, but also it’ll allow you to stay out on the water for longer.
Which are the best sea kayaks brands?
Some of the best sea kayaks brands with the best reviews are the family-owned Eddyline, the one with a large variety Dagger, and the rough-and-tough Wilderness Systems. You’ll also find the versatile Perception brand of kayaks on most lists, as well as Oru, which produces the only folding sea kayak design ever. Yet two of the other excellent ocean kayak brands are Advanced Elements and Riot Kayaks, which produce some of the toughest kayaks and canoes ever.
Wilderness Systems Tempest 165
Let’s start with what is not only one of the best sea kayaks but also the Best Touring Kayaks – the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165. The whopping 16.5-feet long Tempest 165 not only offers more storage space for stashing your gear but also better tracking as well as more straight-line speed. So, if you’re mostly going to be sticking to coastal flatwater such as taking out sea kayaks in Georgia’s Flint River, or coves and estuaries, then this kayak from one of the best sea kayaks brands is perfect. What’s more, the tempest also features an impact-resistant build that also holds up better against abrasions, scratches, dents, bumps, and even salt water and UV rays. If that wasn’t enough, the boat even has an adjustable and customizable seating system for fitting different body types of different paddlers easily.
Furthermore, the kayak even has a low-profile frontal hatch that’s very spacious and convenient for stashing quick-access stuff. Rounding up the features of this amazing kayak is the lower back deck that makes it extremely easy for you to roll back into the craft after a quick dive if the need arises.
- Length: 16.5 feet
- Width: 21.5 inches
- Weight: 55 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Reflective safety lines for visibility.
- Retractable carrying handles.
- Hatch covers.
- Very heavy at 55 lbs.
Perception Carolina 12 Sea Kayak
Perception is one of the best sea kayaks brands you’ll come across. And one of the best under that umbrella is the sit-inside Perception Carolina 12, which also happens to be amongst the Best Crossover Kayaks. The day touring kayak can not only be taken out on all kinds of waters but also is comfortable for long days of kayaking. This is largely due to the ergonomically-designed and adjustable seat which also has a padded back and bottom. The best part? The seat is adjustable four ways, which means it can not only be adjusted front and back but also up and down. Add to that the fact that the kayak even has the option to add spray skirts for protecting yourself from the ocean spray, and you can see why it gets the best sea kayaks review.
If you like to have tons of space onboard your kayak, then this one comes with not just one, but two sealed dry hatches. The one at the rear is the larger one where you can stash everything from tents to sleeping bags and electronics. The one in the front, albeit smaller, is no less spacious and can hold everything from dry bags to overnight gear. Rounding up the features is the bungee rigging at the stern and bow for carrying all other additional gear.
- Length: 12 feet
- Width: 26 inches
- Weight: 49 lbs
- Weight capacity: 275 lbs
- Spacious cockpit.
- Comfortable and ergonomic seating.
- Side handles for carrying and getting in and out of the kayak.
- The kayak is quite heavy.
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5
Yet another of the best sea kayaks is the Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5, which comes in a riot of sunny shades such as yellow and orange. Equipped with a V-shaped hull, the sit-inside kayak is perfect for multi-day kayaking expeditions. Thus, you’ll find not one or two, but three hatches, each with discrete compartments. So, you can take along all the gear you’ll possibly need for your expedition, and then some. What’s more, the Brittany kayak is also chock-full of features, which include everything from lifelines, dual-density hatch covers, and safety straps to a compass recess. Moreover, you’ll also find three bulkheads, one in the front and two at the back, a retractable skeg, and a pilot rudder system.
What kayakers will also love is the custom-fit seating system, along with thigh braces and adjustable foot braces for enhanced comfort. The best part? This wonderful, 16.5-feet long kayak has a whopping weight capacity of as much as 350 lbs.
- Length: 15.8 feet
- Width: 21.65 inches
- Weight: 51 lbs
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
- Easy to paddle.
- The seatback adjustment mechanism is slightly difficult.
Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0
Dagger is yet another of the sea kayaks brands to grace the kayak market. And one of its amazing ocean kayaks that’s also one of the Best Whitewater Kayaks is the Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0. The compact and portable crossover kayak is one of the shortest on this list – just 9 feet long! Since it’s so short and weighs just 36.5 lbs, it can easily be handled by a solo kayaker. What’s more, it’s compact too and packs down so small that it can even easily fit even in the trunk of your car. If you’re new to kayaking, then this crossover kayak that can handle both choppy water and flat water makes for the perfect starter kayak. One of the absolute best parts about the kayak is the dialed-in and yet spacious cockpit design.
Furthermore, the kayak’s shorter length allows you to have heightened control for twisty movements. Besides being light on the pocket, the Zydeco 9.0 even has a host of extra features such as slide lock feet and an elastic rope with a tensioner. All-in-all, it’s one super-sleek kayak that’s also value-for-money at the same time.
- Length: 9.1 feet
- Width: 28.5 inches
- Weight: 36.5 lbs
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
- Lightweight and portable.
- Spacious and comfortable.
- The shorter length affords limited storage.
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV
Yet another best sea kayak that has garnered some of the best sea kayaks reviews online is the Riot Kayaks Edge LV Flatwater 14.5, a kayak that has a little bit of everything. Neither too long nor too short, the Edge is a rather unique sea canoe, which is what also makes it one of the Best Kayaks for Camping! There’s a lot to like about the Edge, starting with its custom-fit seating system that allows you to adjust the seat, the thigh, and the foot braces for a comfortable fit. What’s more, the kayak even has amazing amounts of storage space for all your kayaking as well as camping gear. Plus, you’ll even find bungee deck cord rigging for strapping and tying extra gear.
Furthermore, the kayak even features two watertight storage hatches for storing gear that needs to be dry, such as sleeping bags and electronic devices. Measuring 14.5 feet in length, the kayak also boasts a slim deck and a slender bowline allowing it to literally cut through the water. Finally, the pilot rudder system helps you track the kayak in a straight line to your destination.
- Length: 14.5 feet
- Width: 23 inches
- Weight: 60 lbs
- Weight capacity: 260 lbs
- Rudder helps with tracking.
- Lots of storage space and weight capacity.
- Not very wide or stable for heavier kayakers.
Necky Eliza Kayak
The Necky Eliza Kayak is specifically designed for women. Not only is the Eliza easier to paddle, but also women paddlers will require to push less water under the boat. So, they can keep pace with all traditional kayaks despite their smaller size. Besides keeping up with speed, the relatively longer and narrower boat also boasts an extremely comfortable cockpit, which is slightly rare in boats with narrower cockpits. What’s more, the kayak also features exceptional secondary stability as well as a medium rocker for equally incredible maneuverability. Furthermore, the deployable rudder/skeg keeps the kayak tracking straight on through to your destination.
While the smaller size of the kayak does have an impact on the amount of storage space available, there’s still enough cargo space for an entire day’s expedition. It’s no wonder that this boat gets some of the best sea kayaks reviews, despite its 52.5 lbs weight.
- Length: 15.3 feet
- Width: 21 inches
- Weight: 52.5 lbs
- Weight capacity: 270 lbs
- Decent cargo capacity.
- Excellent secondary stability.
- Available with skeg or rudder,
- Maneuverable and responsive.
- Larger framed women might find the cockpit smaller.
Pakayak Bluefin 14 Sea Kayak
Another of the best sea kayaks comes from the able stable of Pakayak. Behold the Pakayak Bluefin 14-feet Sea Kayak, which is a turquoise-colored touring kayak that can handle both choppy coastal as well as calmer waters. So, if you chose to sea kayak in Georgia’s famed Low Country, then this craft would be it. There’s a lot to like about this kayak, starting with the excellent pedal rudder system. That, along with the double-chined hull makes maneuvering the kayak a very easy and hassle-free activity. Weighing 59 lbs, the sea boat not only doubles as a fishing kayak but also has a supporting maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. Since it works as a fishing kayak, you’ll also find tons of storage in the form of bungee cord rigging, a watertight hatch, and a day hatch. If that wasn’t enough, there are also two in-built rod mounts for hands-free fishing.
Besides being a very stable kayak, the Pakayak boat also boasts a ton of buoyancy in all kinds of waters, including freshwater and saltwater. Thus, it also cuts through waves smoothly, allowing you to reach your destination in time and in a fun-filled way. Finally, holding everything together is the rigid and UV-resistant polyethylene build, which makes the boat resistant to abrasions, scratches, rips, tears, and punctures.
- Length: 14 feet
- Width: 24 inches
- Weight: 75 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Easy inflation and deflation.
- Quick assembly.
- Very heavy for a kayak.
Advanced Elements Expedition Elite 13 Sea Kayak
Advanced Elements is one of the most well-known sea kayaks brands, and the Advanced Elements Expedition Elite 13 Kayak has some of the best sea kayaks reviews! One of the more ambitious kayaks to come out of the brand’s stable, the inflatable Expedition Elite can compete with the most robust of hardshell options and is perfect for touring coastal environments. Since it’s 13 feet long, the kayak boasts a ton of storage space. The drop-stitch floor allows you to have immense stability and maneuverability, while the high-back lumbar seat provides comfort for sitting in the kayak for long.
Besides the above, the kayak has a ton of positives. For one, it comes with a rudder mount as well as a repair patch kit. So, even if you were to run into problems such as rips or punctures, then you can patch it up enough to get to the shore. Since the kayak can be deflated easily, it even folds away nicely in the included duffel bag, complete with removable shoulder straps. So, even if you have to hike someplace to get to where you want to kayak, you can carry your craft right on your back!
- Length: 13 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 42 lbs
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs
- Tons of storage.
- High-back support.
- Easy to transport.
- Smaller for larger kayakers.
- The tracking falters a bit in strong currents or harsh windy conditions.
Old Town Castine 140 14 Sea Kayak
Yet another of the best sea kayaks is the Old Town Castine 140 14 Sea Kayak, which is made with comfort and high performance in mind. Perfect for both seasoned kayakers and beginners, the Castine 140 boasts an ACS2 seat with quick-seal hatches with CrossLock closures as well as a low-profile backrest for enhanced comfort. What’s more, it even has stern and bow storage handles as well as carrying handles that make transporting the kayak very easy. Add to that the deck rigging bungees and rope, and it’s also very convenient to equip the kayak with lots of additional gear without having to leave anything behind.
Thanks to the rotomolded polyethylene and adjustable footrests and thigh braces, you’ll feel extremely comfortable even if you’re out kayaking the entire day. Moreover, the kayak’s ventilated and cradle cockpit ensures that it provides security and comfort while increasing your control and stability. All-in-all, this is one perfect sea touring boat.
- Length: 14 feet
- Width: 24.75 inches
- Weight: 53 lbs
- Weight capacity: 375 lbs
- High capacity for longer touring.
- Dual storage compartments.
- Low-profile backrest.
- Very expensive.
Dagger Stratos 14.5 Sea Kayak
Designed for multi-day trips that involve kayaking over longer distances, the Dagger Stratos 14.5 Sea Kayak also has some of the best sea kayaks reviews on this list. Since it’s a larger kayak, it’s the perfect touring kayak for larger and heavy-set kayakers. What’s more, it even has a 300 lbs capacity and is thus capable of handling loads and kayakers of all kinds. For starters, the kayak is equipped with a ton of high-quality features. It comes with an ergonomic CFS seating system with adjustable slide lock XL footrests as well as in-built leg lifters.
But, that’s not all. There’s also a ton of storage space in the form of bulkheads at both the stern and the bow of the kayak, as well as some storage space in hatches as well. What’s more, the TruTrak skeg technology is completely adjustable for your comfort and control, and you won’t have any trouble navigating the kayak either. Overall, the Dagger Stratos is the ideal sea boat for professional and hardcore kayakers.
- Length: 14.5 feet
- Width: 24.5 inches
- Weight: 57 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Perfect for larger kayakers as well.
- Suitable for expeditions and overnight trips.
Eddyline Samba Sea Kayak
One of the best sea kayaks is the Eddyline Samba from the able stable of Eddyline, one of the best sea kayaks brands ever. When you paddle the Samba through the sea, it’s just so easy to go with the flow. This is thanks to the two-layered construction, the hard chines, and the in-built skeg. So, despite being 43 lbs in weight, the kayak is very convenient and easy to maneuver and paddle. this boat easy and convenient. What’s more, the lightweight Samba sports a variety of comfort features as well. Besides the navigation system, the kayak also has footrests, a back band, and an adjustable seat that offers the perfect balance of optimum comfort and support.
There’s a lot of storage onboard the kayak too. You’ll find deck bungees, along with hatches and bulkheads as well. What’s more, the kayak also boasts medium primary stability and higher secondary stability, along with the 22.5-inch beam and integrated hard chines. This is what gives the paddler additional confidence for kayaking in strong waves and winds.
- Length: 13.7 feet
- Width: 22.5 inches
- Weight: 43 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Durable ABS build.
- The drop-down skeg enables straight tracking.
- The hatches are slightly small.
Perception Conduit 13 Sea Kayaks
Didn’t we say that perception is one of the best sea kayaks brands? We have another Perception ocean kayak that comes with the best sea kayaks reviews – the Perception Conduit 13. Made from high-density polyethylene, the Conduit 13 boasts an impressive load distribution and weight ratio. The kayak is extremely lightweight and yet equipped with enough power to take on up to 295 lbs of weight. So, not only can you fit inside the kayak comfortably, but also you can carry along all the gear you’d like without having to leave anything behind.
What also helps is the fact that the kayak also comes with two storage hatches as well as two bulkheads. What’s more, there are also two carrying handles that make carrying and transporting the kayak an absolute breeze. A combination of increased buoyancy, improved safety, and water-resistant storage space make this kayak a great buy.
- Length: 13 feet
- Width: 26.5 inches
- Weight: 54.5 lbs
- Weight capacity: 295 lbs
- Great balance between stability and performance.
- Long-lasting build.
- Not so great tracking.
Oru Kayak Beach LT
Sitting atop the list of best sea kayaks is the Oru Kayak Beach LT, which comes from one of the best sea kayaks brands with excellent reviews for its foldability and portability. Not only is the Beach LT one of the Best Folding Kayaks but it’s also amongst the Best Lightweight Kayaks. The kayak combines durability, quality, and compactness in one great little package, and can even be folded up so small that it’ll fit in the trunk of your car. The kayak is very popular because it boasts a lot of space in the cockpit for fishing and kayaking gear and more.
Since the kayak has one of the widest cockpits amongst ocean kayaks, it’s an extremely stable craft for kayaking even in slightly choppy waters. The best part? The kayak can go from a folded state to an inflated state in less than five minutes and even comes with a 12-month guarantee.
- Length: 12 feet
- Width: 28 inches
- Weight: 28 lbs
- Maximum weight: 300 lbs
- Easy to paddle.
- Wide cockpit for easy access and more storage.
- None, really!