Best Kayak for Beginners: A Complete Guide

Buying Guides

Are you new to the world of kayaking? With so many options out there, one can quickly get confused while choosing the best kayak for beginners. Choosing something that is appropriate for your skills and is enjoyable is quite overwhelming. Need not worry, in this article we are going to discuss some of the best kayaks for beginners. But first, let us talk about kayaking.

For someone who loves adventure, kayaking should definitely be on your bucket list. It is a great water sport that is easy to master. It is easy to pick up, and one can learn in just a matter of a few days, provided you are enthusiastic and willing to learn. Kayaking is one of the best things if you have got an eye for outdoor activities.

Whether you are planning to go kayaking in the USA or anywhere across the world, you need to make two things clear. First and foremost, you need to be thorough with some of the basic skills. Once you are done with brushing up your skills, it is now time to understand what is the best kayak for beginners, something that matches your kayaking skills and style.

Having said that, one thing that is universal to kayaking is an adventure. You are surely going to pack yourself with lots of excitement, thrills, adrenaline rush, and memories.

For uninterrupted mind-boggling kayaking, you need to have a right kayak. But with so many kayaks out there, one can easily be overwhelmed. Especially if you are buying a kayak for the first time, it might seem like a stressful task. But you do not have to overburden yourself. Whether you are looking for a lightweight fishing kayak or any other type of kayak, make sure it fits under your budget. Just because it is your first time kayaking, you do not have to go overboard with the budget. However, make sure to buy something relevant for your kayaking style.

This article will help you in buying the best kayak for beginners. So, let’s dig in and start from scratch.

Terms That You Need To Know As A Beginner In Kayaking

Before starting with the best kayak for beginners, you need to understand a few terms about kayaking. It will help you in the understanding of the products in a better way.

Stability: While kayaking stability means how easily you can turn the kayak upside down. A stable kayak is easy to flip while turning.

Tracking: This term is used to describe how straight a kayak can move without having to use the steering or the paddles.

Scupper holes: These are located downside of the sit-on-top kayaks. It helps in the smooth passing of the water while kayaking.

Spray skirt: It is an accessory that is available while buying kayaks. It keeps the water from splashing while you are kayaking. It is a fantastic accessory while kayaking in the winters.

Hatch: It is a waterproof space that is used for storing things.

Tips To Consider While Choosing The Best Kayak For Beginners

Before picking up the best kayak as a beginner, you need to have a clear idea about your kayaking adventure. Here are a few things to known so you must consider them while picking the best kayak for beginners.

Age limit: Well, there are kayaks available in the market that target different age groups. There are different kayaks for kids and certainly different ones for the adults.

Type of water: Is it your first kayaking trip in still water like a pond or a lake? Or is your kayak adventure all about running water like rivers and oceans? Decide and then consider buying an appropriate kayak.

The number of people: How many people are going in the kayak with you? For one person, a single-seat kayak is a great option. However, if you are planning to kayak with a group of people, make sure to buy something that has got multiple seats.

Sit in or sit on: Basically, the kayaks come in two types of seating styles, namely sit in and sit on while sit-in kayaks allow you to sit on a lower level inside the frame of a kayak. The sit-on kayak design allows you to sit on the same level as the kayak.

The sit-in kayaks are more spacious and keep you dryer. It gives you a better sense over the kayak. Hence it is one of the best kayak for beginners. On the other hand, sit on kayaks is one of the best choices for fishing. As a beginner, you can pick a lightweight fishing kayak, with a sit on design and you are good to go for your fishing adventure on a kayak.

To put it in simple words, a sit-in kayak is perfect if kayaking is the main activity while sit on kayaks are perfect if you have a more relaxed and chilled out approach towards kayaking.

Budget/Cost: As a beginner, you are bound to get intimidated with different types of kayaks out there having a wide price range. What do you choose? Something cheap or something very expensive? You can find kayaks for as little as $150 and as costly as $4000. So, do not be overwhelmed, choose a kayak that fits your needs while fitting in your budget. As a beginner, you should have a flexible price range.

Material: While choosing the best kayak for beginners, make sure to consider the material.

Kayak can be made from different types of materials ranging from plastic, hard plastic wood, fiberglass, and much more. However, most of the kayaks are made from fiberglass and hard plastic. Plastic kayaks are a little on the heavier side but are less prone to damage. On the other hand, fiberglass kayak is much lighter but is slightly costly. 

Weight: Weight of the kayak is an important criterion to consider while picking a kayak as a beginner. While buying a kayak is better to check with the manufacturer the amount of weight a kayak can support.

Hatches: While kayaking chances of getting wet are pretty high, especially if you are a beginner. You can find hatches in a kayak, which are important for storage. You can store your essential items in a waterproof hatch.

While these are some of the considerations that you must check while buying the best kayak for beginners. I am pretty sure there’s room for other consideration as well depending upon the type of kayak you are getting. So, always make sure to check the manufacturers’ guide before making a decision and spending money on it.

Choose the Best Kayak for Beginners

Once you search on the internet, you will surely find a huge list of kayaks. It is pretty overwhelming and confusing as one does not know which one to go for. However, now that you know the considerations mentioned above it will be easier for you to choose a kayak. Getting the right kayak can make your entire experience out of this world.

We have noted down some of the best kayaks for beginners available out there. Here is a complete guide for you.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

Kayaking is one such water sports that even kids can enjoy. Though you might think the other way, kayaking is very safe for the kids, however, make sure your kids are supervised while kayaking.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

Lifetime youth wave kayak is explicitly designed for children above 5 years of age. The hull is made from polyethylene. The features of this kayak make it the best choice for your kid. One of the best features of this kayak is the ergonomic cockpit design which is designed specifically to improve balance and motor skills. Additionally, it also supports reverse chines feature, which enhances stability. It comes with a swim-up setup, so just in case your kid happens to fall in water it is easier for him to swim-up and climbs on the kayak. The sit-on kayak is 6 feet, lightweight 18 lbs and can support a weight up to 130 lbs.

However, the only downside for this kayak is that it is specifically designed for beaches and lakes. It is not meant to kayak on running water like rivers.

✅ Pros

  • Designed for children
  • Lightweight footrest positions
  • Swim-up set up for safety.

⛔️ Cons

  • It is not suited for kayaking in rivers.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two 12-foot

Kayaking is so much fun when done in a company. Besides, buying the best kayak for beginners, it is always good to do it with a companion. Enjoy kayaking with friends and family or with your pet in this tandem kayak. The sit-on kayak has three seating arrangements, two for an adult and one for a kid or a furry friend. However, if you prefer going all by yourself, then this kayak is a suitable option, plus you get all that space to relax and kayak.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two 12-foot
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two 12-foot

The seating arrangement offers a better way to adjust, customizing the fit, and avoid slipping. The storage of gears is made easy with an open cockpit, three molded seat well and attached gear straps. Additionally, the overall length of the kayak makes balancing and stability easier.

However, the weight (57lbs) of the kayak makes paddling difficult, especially if you are doing it all by yourself.

✅ Pros

  • It can accommodate 3 people (2 adults and 1 kid or pet)
  • Multiple footrests and can be paddled all by yourself.

⛔️ Cons:

  • It can be cumbersome for a single person to paddle.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Not every kayak offers a good storage facility. Especially if you are kayaking for long hours, it is always great to have good storage. Luckily, Intex Challenger K1 kayak offers you a good storage facility while you are out there having the best time of your life. It is an inflatable kayak that offers easy storage and portability.

It is a perfect choice for all those who want to have a sufficient storage facility while also being able to drag the kayak easily around. The kayak comes with outstanding graphics. The sit-in kayak is made from heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl. The cockpit is designed to provide more comfort to the paddler. Plus, the cargo net can be used to store additional gears and items.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

The kayak comes with possibly everything you need while kayaking. It comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, hi-output manual hand pump, and repair patch. It has 2 separate air chambers. It makes inflation easy.

The only shortcoming of this kayak is that it is very lightweight and can be blown away by wind and waves.

✅ Pros

  • Easy inflation
  • Lightweight and has a paddle and a pump and can be carried around easily.

⛔️ Cons

  • Tracking is difficult in high winds.

Sun Dolphin Journey SS

Kayaking is amazing, but how about fishing while on your kayak. Isn’t it amazing! Well, this kayak for beginners is superb for fishing. The sit on lightweight fishing kayak is one of the best kayak for beginners out there. It is superb to go kayaking in the rivers and lakes while you also get to enjoy fishing under the blue sky.

Sun Dolphin Journey SS
Sun Dolphin Journey SS

The kayak comes with 2 flush-mounted rod holders and swivels to hold the rod which makes fishing easy. It has a spacious seating area, along with adjustable foot braces and thigh pads. Additionally, the Portable Accessory Carrier (PAC) can be used for extra storage of 250 pounds.

The shortcoming of this kayak is that there is no mounting for the fish finder.

✅ Pros

  • Easily portable
  • Sufficient storage
  • Multiple footrests and 2 flush mount holders and one swivel rod holder.

⛔️ Cons

  • Difficult to maneuver and no mounts for a fish finder.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS

It is a very simple sit on kayak. The kayak comes with sufficient seating arrangement while the multi-chinned and wide beam helps in better stability. The protective thigh pads, paddle holder and adjustable foot braces make paddling easy and secure. Talking about the storage, the kayak comes with a dry storage compartment and shock cord deck rigging. The PAC is detachable and can also be attached behind the kayak. It is the best kayak for beginners who want to go camping as it has a surplus storage facility.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS
Sun Dolphin Bali SS

The only minus point of this kayak is the multi-chinned wide beam hull makes it difficult while turning around.

✅ Pros

  • The kayak has got multiple positions, portable accessory carrier, and sufficient storage capacity.

⛔️ Cons

  • It is not easy to maneuver.

Perception Carolina 12.0 Kayak

The sit-in kayak is best-suited for people of all age groups. However, it is best suited for kayaking in calm or still water like ponds, lakes and coastal oceans. The V- Shape hull design comes with soft chines which makes paddling easier and maintains stability. The 12-foot long kayak allows you to speed up without losing balance on the turns. Moreover, the one-piece construction makes it leak proof. The Zone Deluxe seats are very comfortable and can be adjusted in 6 different ways. It also has front and rear dry storage along with a sealed cover.

Perception Carolina 12.0 Kayak
Perception Carolina 12.0 Kayak

However, the kayak has a wide cockpit that may result in water entering the cockpit during the harsh weather. You can use a spray kit in such a scenario.

✅ Pros

  • Sufficient storage facility
  • Comfortable seats
  • Better stability.

⛔️ Cons:

  • Difficult to maneuver.

Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak 10-foot

The kayak is very comfortable and comes with a spacious hull design. The kayak is best known to provide better stability while kayaking. The kayak has 40lbs of weight and can be easily carried to the edge of the shore without having to put too much effort and energy. The sit-in kayak offers a good storage facility with shock cord deck rigging and a huge rear hatch.

Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak 10-foot
Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak 10-foot

Moreover, the kayak also has ergonomic seats, adjustable foot braces and protectable thigh pads that make it easy for the paddler to go on long-distance kayaking.

It has a low rocker which makes maneuvering a bit difficult especially for a beginner.

✅ Pros

  • Offers sufficient storage facility
  • Stable for a beginner, and is very comfortable to kayak.

⛔️ Cons:

  • Difficult to maneuver.

Oru Kayak Beach LT

If you are looking for a kayak that has top-class portability then this is it Oru Kayak Beach LT is definitely your thing. It is one of the best kayak for beginners if you are looking for something that has lightweight.

Oru Kayak Beach LT
Oru Kayak Beach LT

The kayak weighs 26lbs. Additionally, you can set up this kayak in just a matter of a few minutes. Moreover, the kayak can be folded and can be easily carried in a backpack, a perfect choice if you are kayaking on your own. It is best suited to be paddled in calm and still water.

✅ Pros

  • It is very lightweight
  • Highly portable
  • Very stable and easy to paddle.

⛔️ Cons:

  • Not the best choice in hard weather, and it is very expensive.

Sevylor Quikpak K1

If you need a kayak that has great performance and is easy to store and does not occupy enough room then this is the thing for you. This kayak has 5 inflatable sections and can easily fold up. So, it not only easy to store but can carry it along with you very easily. This kayak is superb if you are considering to carry a backup kayak.

Sevylor Quikpak K1
Sevylor Quikpak K1

Since the kayak is very lightweight extreme winds and waves can be a lot of trouble as it will blow away the kayak.

✅ Pros

  • It is pocket-friendly
  • Easy to set-up, and comes with a compact storage design.

⛔️ Cons:

  • Can be blown away by the wind and is only suited for calm and still water.

Perception Pescador Pro

Perception Pescador Pro is a lightweight fishing kayak perfect to kayak in still or slow-moving water bodies like lakes, ponds, estuaries, and calm coastal areas. It offers a good storage facility which also includes a waterproof storage facility. The kayak is highly comfortable as it comes with a 2 level seat adjustment.

Perception Pescador Pro
Perception Pescador Pro

You can adjust the seats, lower the seat and paddle comfortably or uplift the seat for optimum casting. It also has a one-piece construction for extra buoyancy and safety. Besides, it also has a front and rear storage facility making it suitable to store gear and other equipment. The added features like a molded cup holder and paddle park make kayaking experience very comfortable for the paddler.

The only downside associated with this kayak is that it is very expensive.

✅ Pros

  • Offers a sufficient storage facility
  • The seats can be adjusted and removed
  • Tracking is very smooth.

⛔️ Cons

  • Very expensive.

Here are some of the FAQs that can help you in buying the best kayak for beginners

What type of kayak gear and clothing do you need?

While kayaking always make sure to dress up for the sport and not for the weather. Though on a bright sunny day you might be tempted to wear the best pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, it is surely not the best choice. Even in summer, the water can be pretty chilled and icy. Therefore, it is good to wear clothes that are appropriate for water. Just in case you fall or the water gushes in it is always good to wear a wetsuit.

Besides, gears like kayaking gloves and spray skirts are always good to carry. Additionally, carry an extra pair of clothes too.

Do you need to be experienced in kayaking?

Of Course not! There is always a first time. However, it is always beeter to know a few things about kayaking before you are good to go. Additionally, swimming is an important thing while kayaking in the water.

Is it ok to go kayaking in any weather?

Kayaking is an all-weather sport. You can enjoy it in every weather in the USA. Though, a bright sunny day is the best time for kayaking under the blue sky you can always enjoy it during the cold days too. However, make sure to avoid kayaking is the water level is too high or it is very windy.

Kayaking Takeaway!!!

If you are an adrenaline junkie then kayaking is your sport. It is a great way to thrill and excite yourself while enjoying every breath closer to nature. Moreover, now that you have a complete way out finding the best kayak for a beginner won’t be a trouble. Prepare yourself for some adrenaline rush while making the most from your kayaking adventure.

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