If you’re a kayaking veteran, then you know how thrilling and fun-filled touring on kayaks can be. Touring is an enthralling way to explore uncharted waters from the comfort of a dry and safe kayak. In fact, many of the world’s greatest marine wildlife viewing opportunities require the use of touring kayaks. The best day touring kayaks from the best brands are not only excellent, but some of them even cost less than $1000. So, even if you were looking to upgrade your kayak, it won’t exactly burn a hole in your pocket. What makes touring kayaks great is also the fact that you end up getting an excellent upper body workout!
So, what exactly are touring kayaks? Usually longer and more robust as compared to traditional kayaks, touring kayaks are generally of the sit-inside variety. That’s because they offer more protection from the harsh elements and enhanced straight-line speed. What’s more, many touring kayaks even have rudders or skegs that help them track in heavier currents or winds. If that wasn’t enough, then touring kayaks even usually provide more storage space than any of the other kayaks. To that end, here are the 13 best day touring kayaks from the best brands, including those that are under $1000.
How To Choose The Best Touring Kayaks?
When it comes to the materials that touring kayaks are made of, they’re generally of three kinds – Abs plastic, polyethylene, and composite materials. Polyethylene is the most affordable of them all and is reasonably resistant to abrasions and scratches. That said, it’s very heavy and susceptible to damage from UV rays. Secondly, we have ABS plastic which is costlier than polyethylene but offers better UV protection and lighter too. Finally, we have kayaks made from composite materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. They’re the most expensive, but they greatly outperform their ABS plastic and polyethylene counterparts as they’re more durable.
It’s no surprise that all kayaks are rated to fit individuals of specific weights. The same goes for touring kayaks as well. All the best touring kayak brands come with manufacturer’s recommendations for weight capacity. So, make sure that you consider not only your weight but also the weight of your kayaking and fishing gear if need be. Only then will you get the right weight capacity that won’t exceed the weight of your kayak.
Length, width and depth
Touring kayaks are generally thinner and longer than regular kayaks. However, the lengths vary, and the choice comes down to the kind of paddling that you intend to do. That said, it’s extremely important to know that longer kayaks not only have more storage space but also usually move through the water more efficiently. On the other hand, shorter kayaks are easier to transport and more maneuverable. Meanwhile, the kayak’s width plays a large role in its stability. For instance, kayaks with wider hulls are easier to maintain balance when unmoving and also easier to get into and out of. That said, kayaks with narrower hulls offer less resistance and can go faster when you’re moving. In fact, it’s the hull design that has an overall large impact on the kayak’s performance.
Finally, we come to the depth of a kayak, which tells you how much your leg and foot have room when you sit inside the kayak. Shallower kayaks are lesser affected by heavy winds. Deeper kayaks, on the other hand, are better for larger and heavier paddlers tend to be better for larger paddlers. Plus, they also offer more storage space.
Finally, we come to the size of your cockpit, which goes a long way in determining the level of your comfort when you sit inside the touring boat. Larger cockpits will make it much easier and less of a hassle to climb in and out of the kayak. On the other hand, smaller and more snug cockpits will give you more control over the movement of your kayak and protect you better in adverse conditions.
What are the best touring kayak brands?
Some of the best brands for touring boats are Advanced Elements, Delta Kayaks, Perception Kayaks, Ocean Kayaks, Jackson Kayaks, Old Town Canoes And Kayaks, and Sun Dolphin. These brands make touring kayaks that not only enhance your kayaking experience but also offer a whole lot of extras. It’s the combination of the build and features that even transform novice paddlers into keen kayakers who take up kayaking as a full-time hobby. If you think that all touring kayak brands manufacture kayaks that cost dearly, then you’re wrong. They even have touring kayak options that cost less than $1000, some of which are also featured on this list.
Riot Kayaks Edge LV Flatwater 14.5
How about we start off with a touring kayak that has a little bit of everything? Behold the Riot Kayaks Edge LV Flatwater 14.5. Edge is neither too short like a recreational kayak, and neither very long just like other touring kayaks, which is what makes it so unique and one-of-a-kind. That’s what makes it one of the Best Kayaks for Camping! What you’ll really like about the kayak is the custom-fit seating system that allows you to adjust the foot braces, the seat, and even the thigh braces for getting a comfortable and customized fit. Moreover, the craft even has good amounts of storage space for all your camping and kayaking gear. What’s more, there are even bungee deck cords and tie-off places for strapping extra gear.
If that wasn’t enough, the craft even has two watertight storage hatches for dry storage too. Measuring 14.5 feet in length, the kayak also has a slender bowline and a slim deck line that allows it to cut through the water. Rounding up the features is the pilot rudder system that helps you track the craft in a straight line. The best part? It’s also the best touring kayak under $1000!
- Length: 14.5 feet
- Width: 23 inches
- Weight: 60 lbs
- Weight capacity: 260 lbs
- Lots of storage space and weight capacity.
- The rudder helps you track and steer straight.
- Durable polyethylene build.
- Not very wide or stable for heavier kayakers.
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165
Yet another best day touring kayak that’s perfect for covering longer distances is the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165. Measuring almost 16.5 feet in length, it’s easily the longest kayak on this list, and also amongst the sleekest and the fastest. Thanks to the fully adjustable and extremely comfortable seat, this kayak is perfect for multi-day expeditions since your back is supported well while being kept cool and dry. Moreover, there are even has two roomy dry storage hatches, along with a smaller one right behind the paddler’s seat. So, if you wanted a place to store quick-access items such as water, snacks, keys, phones, flashlights, or knives, then this place is perfect.
Additionally, there are even four discrete bungee sections where you can strap a ton of extra gear. The kayak even has adjustable footrests and padded thigh braces for keeping your leg comfortable, especially when you’re covering longer distances. Rounding up the features are the course-control rudder and the ergonomic soft-touch handles, which justifies the above-$1000 price of this touring kayak.
- Length: 16.5 feet
- Width: 23.75 inches
- Weight: 51 lbs
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
- Whopping 350-lbs weight capacity.
- The seat is super-comfortable and adjustable.
- The rudder helps you steer straight.
- Some paddlers might find it very long and difficult to maneuver.
Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130
One of the best touring kayak under $1000 on this list is the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130, which also happens to be the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000. What makes this touring boat such a great fishing one is the presence of the two flush-mounted rod holders, allowing you to fish hands-free. What’s more, you’ll also find a paddle, a rudder, and even an adjustable frame. There’s even rather expansive storage space in the form of two dry storage hatches, both at the front and the rear, which is a great addition to any kayak.
Furthermore, the kayak does extremely well on comfort as well, especially thanks to the proprietary Vibe Hero seat from the brand that allows you to sit in the kayak for a longer time. Finally, the pre-installed toe-controlled rudder system will end up saving you a ton of energy during days when the wind is blowing hot and cold and the current is strong.
- Length: 13 feet
- Width: 33 inches
- Weight: 75 lbs
- Weight capacity 550 lbs
- Excellent tracking.
- Tons of front and rear storage space.
- Features many essential fishing accessories.
- Very heavy for a solo kayak.
Driftsun Rover 220 Inflatable Tandem Kayak
Yet another great day touring kayak is the Driftsun Rover 220 Tandem Kayak, which also happens to be amongst the Best Inflatable Whitewater Kayaks. The lightweight kayak has a lot going for it, especially given its tandem build and a whopping weight capacity of 600 lbs. In fact, it’s one of the largest weight capacities amongst inflatable kayaks! Furthermore, the kayak also features a high-pressure, drop-stitch, and rigid bottom that lends it both stability and durability. You’ll also find a removable skeg that allows you to track straight and have a nice turn radius too. Going from box to boat in less than 10 minutes, the kayak even comes with a double-action hand pump which makes it possible.
Since the kayak features the design of a traditional river runner, it can even handle class III and IV rapids with both speed as well as good control. Additionally, the craft comes with a whole lot of extra features such as the front action camera mount for enthralling whitewater pictures. Add to that the self-bailing ports, tie-down points, adjustable paddles, rear tracking fin, repair kit, and travel bag that makes it portable, and you have one amazing value-for-money kayak.
- Length: 12.5 feet
- Width: 36 inches
- Weight: 28 lbs
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs
- Durable, portable, and lightweight.
- Quick and easy inflation and deflation.
- The skeg and tracking fin are both removable.
- Very less storage space.
Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak
One of the kayaks on this list is also amongst the Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks ever – behold the Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak. A great alternative to the usually rigid kayak, the Almanor comes with two adjustable and comfortable seats that make it ideal for you to sit in the craft for long and not have backaches or butt-aches. Moreover, it even comes with a nice middle child seat with a leg rest, which means even your toddler can accompany you on your expeditions. It’s also a great way of introducing them to kayaking! Since it’s made from 600D polyester fabric with an equally durable bottom, the kayak is resistant to rips, tears, and punctures even if you were to take it in shallow areas with rocks.
The Driftsun Almanor also comes with a removable skeg, a high-volume inflation pump, and two aluminum paddles, all wrapped up neatly in a carry bag. What’s more, the boat has a ton of front storage, as well as stern storage and bungee storage on the deck. Rounding up the features are the side-mounted paddle holders that allow your arms to have a nice rest. The best part? The day touring kayak has a very nice under-$1000 price of $550!
- Length: 14.5 feet
- Width: 40 inches
- Weight: 33 lbs
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs
- Includes a high-volume inflation pump and a removable skeg.
- Durable and robust.
- The inner handles and strap connections tend to press into the hip.
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak
Not only is the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak one of the Best Kayaks for Larger People, but also one of the best day touring kayaks under $1000. Whether you’re slightly on the heavier side or even taller, this kayak won’t let you down, despite being just 10-feet long since it boasts a ton of stability. Thanks to its high-density rotomolded polyethylene build, the kayak is both durable, robust, and long-lasting too. Since there are two bow and stern carrying handles, the 55 lbs weight doesn’t feel like a lot at all. Even then, the Tarpon 100 has a whopping weight capacity of 325 lbs. What’s more, it’s quite wide with a width of 32 inches, which makes it easy for heavier and taller paddlers to get in and out of the kayak.
Moreover, the kayak is very comfortable too since it has not only adjustable footrests but also the proprietary Phase 3 AirPro seat from the brand. Two spacious Orbix dry storage hatches at the bow and center allow you to store all the gear you could possibly need for your trip. Rounding up the features is the dual Slide-Trax rail system, which is extremely useful for attaching fishing accessories such as the Best GPS Kayaking Units and the Best Kayaking Fish Finders.
- Length: 10 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 55 lbs
- Weight capacity: 325 lbs
- Spacious storage hatches.
- Adjustable footrests and a comfortable seat.
- Durable, maneuverable, and portable.
- No paddles included.
- The backrest isn’t durable.
Ocean Kayak Tetra 12 Recreational Sit-On-Top Kayak
One of the most versatile and Best Kayaks for Lakes is the Ocean Kayak Tetra 12 Recreational Sit-On-Top Kayak. Armed with the advantages and plus-points of a day touring kayak, this sit-on-top boat has a width of 28 inches and a long length of 12 feet. Its build allows it to practically cut through all kinds of waters and glide forward with speed and absolute ease. Thus, the kayak is not only perfect for during-the-day touring, but it can be taken out for longer and multi-day kayaking expeditions as well.
Despite being a sit-on-top kayak, the Tetra boasts a dry hatch at the bow, which is both secure and sealed. So, you can keep your gear that absolutely cannot get wet here, such as sleeping bags and electronic devices. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about them getting wet at all. Besides the above, you’ll also find a larger stern storage area, where you can stash not one but multiple deck bags with all sizes and kinds of kayaking gear you might need. The best part is that the craft even has bungee cords on the deck for tying extra gear.
- Length: 12 feet
- Width: 28 inches
- Weight: 53 lbs
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
- Tons of interior and exterior storage space.
- Adjustable and comfortable seat.
- No option for a rudder.
- No option for a skeg.
Wilderness Systems Aspire 105
One of the Best Crossover Kayaks, the extremely versatile Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 is also an excellent touring boat. Since it’s a crossover kayak, it allows you to use it effectively as a touring kayak thanks to its exceptional maneuverability as well as long-distance tracking. What long-distance tourers will really like about this kayak is the spring-loaded drop-down skeg. This is what transforms the kayak from a maneuverable one into a long-distance touring one. Add to that the tons of storage space and the cozy, form-fitting seats, and you know why so many long-distance paddlers swear by and favor this excellent day touring kayak.
Going further, the size and the streamlined hull of the kayak make it incredibly easy for the paddler to turn it around up to 180 degrees with just a few sweeping strokes. Enhancing the comfort is the contoured and ergonomic seat, the additional beneath-the-legs cushioning, and the flexible backrest. It not only makes longer trips more comfortable but fun-filled and enjoyable too.
- Length: 10.5 feet
- Width: 29 inches
- Weight: 48 lbs
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs
- Extremely stable.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak is not just amongst the best touring kayak options but is also considered one of the Best Family Inflatable Kayaks as well. Equipped with a whopping weight capacity of 550 lbs, the kayak is extremely portable as well, thanks to its pack-down size of merely 52 lbs. Plus, it even comes with a carry bag for convenient carrying, making it one of the most versatile kayaks ever. Since it comes all pre-assembled, all you need to do is unfold the craft, inflate it, and attach the padded seats that are also adjustable. The best part? It’s also one of the best touring kayaks under $1000!
When in the inflated position, the kayak boasts a three-layered puncture-resistant build. The kayak also comes with an integrated pressure-relief valve, molded rubber handles for carrying, and even a skeg tracking fin. Moreover, the in-built aluminum ribs on the stern and bow improve tracking. Rounding up the features are the three paddle positions, the D-rings, and deck lacing that’s ideal for both transporting the kayak and storing gear.
- Length: 15 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 52 lbs
- Weight capacity: 550 lbs
- Lightweight and portable.
- Seats are comfortable and adjustable.
- Weight capacity of up to 550 lbs.
- Takes a long time to dry out, clean, and then deflate.
Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak
Do you want to enjoy fly-fishing onboard your touring boat? Then look no further than the Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 Foot Kayak, one of the Best Fly Fishing Kayaks and offering great value-for-money, One of the best day touring kayaks, the Bali kayak costs less than $1000 – in fact, it costs just $300! What’s more, the Bali SS also happens to be one of the lightest hardshell kayaks in the market, weighing just 44 lbs. So, not only is it easy to transport and store but also it’s easy to control and maneuver in the water. With the sealed and dry storage hatches at the front and rear, you can store all the essential gear you need. And this is in spite of the fact that the weight capacity of the kayak is just 250 lbs.
Since the kayak is highly stable and sturdy, you can even stand up on the rigid floor to cast your bait without worrying that it’ll tip over. Thanks to the open cockpit design, you can easily climb in and out of the kayak. Rounding up its features are the paddle holders, the deck rigging for extra gear, and the protective foot braces and thigh pads for security.
- Length: 10 feet
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight: 44 lbs
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
- Comfortable seating.
- Affordably priced.
- Roomy and stable.
- Low weight capacity.
Pakayak Bluefin 14 Sea Kayak
Sporting a pleasing turquoise shade, the Pakayak Bluefin 14-feet Sea Kayak is yet another excellent touring kayak that can handle both calm as well as choppy waters. For starters, the kayak boasts an excellent pedal rudder system which, when combined with the double-chined hull, makes maneuvering a breeze. Weighing 59 lbs, the touring kayak not only has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs but can also double as a fishing kayak. So, you” not only find two in-built rod mounts but also tons of storage in the form of a day hatch, a watertight hatch, and bungee cord space on the foredeck.
Apart from being an extremely stable kayak, the Pakayak kayak also cuts through waves smoothly, while maintaining a stable level of buoyancy in both freshwater and saltwater. Rounding up the features is the high-density, rigid and UV-resistant polyethylene build, which makes it resistant to rips, tears, and punctures.
- Weight: 59 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Quick assembly.
- Easy inflation and deflation.
- Very heavy for a kayak.
Perception Carolina 12 Touring Kayak
One excellent day touring kayak with a price tag under $1000 is the sit-inside Perception Carolina 12. Designed for sitting inside comfortably for long days of kayaking, you can take the Carolina out on all kinds of waters. There are a lot of things to like about the touring boat, starting with its ergonomically-designed seat that’s also adjustable. It also comes with a padded bottom and back which further enhances your comfort. What’s more, the seat can not only be adjusted front and back but also up and down, which means it’s four-way adjustable. Plus, the kayak even has the option to add spray skirts on the coaming so as to keep dry for when the spray tends to splash.
However, what space trollers will like the most is the two dry and sealed hatches. The one in the front might have a lesser volume, but it can even hold a few dry bags and even overnight gear. Meanwhile, the larger rear one can hold everything from tents to sleeping bags and electronic devices that cannot get wet. Finally, the bungee rigging at the bow and stern can even carry all other additional gear.
- Length: 12 ft.
- Width: 26 inches
- Weight: 49 lbs
- Weight capacity: 275 lbs
- Side handles for carrying and getting in and out of the kayak.
- Ergonomic, comfortable seating.
- Spacious cockpit.
- The kayak is quite heavy.
Wilderness Systems Tempest 165
We finally have the best touring kayak of all time in the form of the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165. The slightly longer Tempest 165 not only offers better tracking and more space but also more straight-line speed if you’re mostly going to be paddling on flat water. The kayak also boasts an impact-resistant construction that also holds up better against saltwater, UV rays, abrasions, scratches, and even bumps. What’s more, the touring kayak even features an adjustable seating system that can be customized to fit different body types of different paddlers.
But, that’s not all. The boat even has a lower back deck that makes rolling, if need be, easier. Finally, the low-profile frontal hatch offers a great spacious and a rather convenient place for storing quick-access ear that you’ll need access to while paddling. This includes everything from water and snacks to flashlights, knives, and more.
- Length: 16.5 feet
- Width: 21.5 inches
- Weight: 55 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Hatch covers.
- Retractable carry handles.
- Reflective safety lines.
- Practically none!