12 Best Recreational Kayaks In 2021

Best Recreational Kayaks

The Winner after 32 hours of research and testing is:

icon
Old Town Vapor 12XT Recreational Kayak
Old Town Vapor 12XT Recreational Kayak
Why is it better?

Big cockpit offering lots of leg room.

It’s easy to get in and out of this recreational kayak.

Users have the option of adjusting the seat to ensure that they are comfortable.

It tracks very well.

Is also easy to use and maneuver.

It is easy to transport.

The kayak’s stability is impressive.

One of the best ways to relieve stress is to spend some fun moments kayaking. There are lots of things to do on a kayak. Talk of fishing, sporting, or even admiring and capturing the beautiful nature. Nothing makes your kayaking moments fun like a good kayak.

There are lots of recreational kayak models out there, also different types, including sit on top kayaks, sit-in kayaks and inflatable kayaks. They vary in several ways. The best way to choose a recreational kayak is to have credible information. This article is intended to give you all the information you need to get choose one of the best recreational kayaks for your fun trips.

The 10 best recreational kayaks In 2021 are:

Recreational Kayaks Reviews

1. Old Town Vapor 12XT Recreational Kayak

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 12 Recreational Kayak

Currently, this kayak is on sale until the end of [todaysdate format=”F Y”]

The Old Town recreational kayak is ideal for calm waters such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. With adjustable Comfort Flex seats, there is no doubt that this will keep you on the water all day.

This is designed to carry all your gears for that long trip you have been dreaming about. There is the Click Seal Stern hatch which allows you to store items for long trips.

It comes with comfortable knee and thigh pad and a Vapor 12XT Support Track Foot Brace system to ensure that you have total control over your kayak.

You can conveniently pick items you keep in this storage area. The cockpit area is also large, and this gives tall kayakers enough room to stretch their legs.

You can count on the drain plug to keep water out of your kayak. The good thing is that you can lean over without getting wet.

Just like other Old Town recreational Kayaks, this is well made; it is tough enough to stand several years of kayaking trips.

The kayak also comes with carrying handles, which makes it easy to transport this to the water. It has a maximum carrying capacity of 375 lbs.

It weighs only 43 lbs, which makes it easy for you to transport it.

What We Love About It
  • Big cockpit offering lots of leg room.
  • It’s easy to get in and out of this recreational kayak.
  • Users have the option of adjusting the seat to ensure that they are comfortable.
  • It tracks very well.
  • Is also easy to use and maneuver.
  • It is easy to transport.
  • The kayak’s stability is impressive.

2. WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Pungo 120 Kayak

WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Pungo 120 Kayak

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This model of the Wilderness Systems’ kayak will provide you enough space to pack for your kayak trips. You get to keep all your gears safe and dry. This Pungo is also light enough for you to handle. You won’t need to worry when it is time to move the kayak.

This boat is 12 inches long and weighs only 49 lbs. The seat is adjustable, and the mesh fabric allows airflow.

This recreational kayak is fast and stable. It also features a knee and thigh pad to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your trip.

Even if you find yourself on fast-moving waters, this recreational kayak will maneuver its way through. The construction is solid, and the kayak is also very sturdy.

If you are that intermediate kayak user who wants something that can handle moderate kayaking trips, this is for you.

What We Love About It
  • It is sturdy.
  • It is also great for beginners and intermediate kayakers.
  • Tracks well.
  • It is spacious.
  • The Pungo 120 kayak is also well made.
  • It is easy to maneuver.
  • It also tracks well.
What We Didn’t Like
  • It does not come with a drain plug.

3. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 Fishing Kayak

This Vibe recreational kayak model is your right companion for your solo trips. The boat is best known for its stability and maneuverability. The Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 is easily customizable, and it offers you all the premium features that you will find on the best recreational kayaks  in the market.

It is easy to move about, and that means even one person can carry it. This recreational kayak sit on top model provides the right comfort level for long trips.

The boat features the popular Vibe Hero framed seat which allows you to assume a comfortable seating position. There are also mounts for your accessories which includes 4 flush mount fishing rod holders.

If you love solo fishing, this boat should be on your list because it is stable enough for you to stand while fishing. It is also slip resistant, ensuring that your feet are firm on the kayak even when you stand.

This boat is also designed to get you to your destination quickly thanks to the nimble tracking and impressive speed it offers. You don’t need to worry when you are going for kayaking trips on windy days or on waters with strong currents because this boat will glide through easily.

The Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 has a carrying capacity of 375, and it is designed for one angler. The boat comes with a lot of storage space, and the good thing is that the cargo area is waterproof.

This is 10 inches long, and it weighs 57lbs.

What We Love About It
  • Comfortable seating and easy to access paddle parks, cup holder, and fishing gear.
  • Multiple storage spaces.
  • Slip resistant.
  • Stable.
  • Sturdy construction; made from rotomolded Single Piece Polyethylene.
  • Easy to carry; it comes with comfortable carrying handles.
  • Hull designed to improve speed.
  • It comes in attractive colors.
What We Didn’t Like
  • The storage area does not stay as dry as you will want it to.

4. Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

The Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 is for the kayaker who will love to spend all day on the waters. The Comfort Plus seat allows you to paddle all day without putting any stress on your back. The seat can be adjusted in four ways, making it easy for you to choose a comfortable position.

If you are the type of angler that prefers to go on camping with your kayak, you will appreciate that this recreational kayak has a large storage area. You can store your food, gear, and other stuff in the large storage tank.

This sit on top kayak combines primary and secondary stability to ensure that the boat moves in the direction in which you expect it to move.

The Ocean Kayak Scrambler weighs 47 lbs, and it is 11 feet 6 inches long. It also has a carrying capacity of 350 lbs.

What We Love About It
  • The boat tracks well.
  • It is stable.
  • The kayak is also durable.
  • The seat is well made and comfortable.
  • The drain plug makes it easy for you to drain water that gets into your boat.
  • Can be easily carried by one person.
  • This boat also handles waves nicely.
What We Didn’t Like
  • The storage area in front of the seat is not waterproof.
  • It also makes some hull noise. Although it is not too much, people who are very sensitive may find it bothersome.

5. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak

This recreational kayak is your ideal buddy for that photography, relaxation, or fishing trip. It has a large cockpit area for you to feel comfortable throughout your trips. The seat provided is well padded, and it features a good back support. If backache is one of the reasons why you avoid kayaking, the Sundolphin is one of your best reasons to go back to the waters.

The boat puts the confidence back in your trips with its tough build. It is made with Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene. There is no doubt that the kayak is solidly built.

Carry this recreational kayak with ease thanks to the carrying handles that come with it. This Sundolphin model weighs on 40 lbs, which means you can easily put it on your car’s rack or move it to the water.

The kayak tracks well. The thigh pads and foot pegs allow you to have enough control over your kayak while cruising.

Ride while you reach out for your beverage from the bottle holder conveniently located by your seat.

There is a large compartment for the storage of your gears and food. There is even a dryer place for your mobile phone and other devices you intend to carry along.

This Sundolphin model paddles easy and holds up against waves like a warrior. Another good thing is that this boat maneuvers with so much ease. The boat is 10 feet long.

What We Love About It
  • It is stable.
  • Maneuvers easily.
  • Comfortable seat with back support.
  • Very sturdy.
  • It is also well built.
  • Great for beginners; even if you using it for the first time, you will not have any problems.
What We Didn’t Like
  • The back compartment is a little easy to access.

Read the full review of the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 here.

6. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak

The kids also love the outdoor lifestyle but is there a better way to make them enjoy it even more? Yes, there is. Get them the Old Town Canoes and Kayaks Heron Junior Kids kayak. This kayak is designed for smaller paddlers.

Old Town is not new to the kayak manufacturing industry. The company is well known for making quality kayaks. They have been in the business for over a century now.

The seat is also designed to fit a small body frame. The contoured seat also provides maximum comfort for your child. Kayaks meant for children are supposed to be easy to use. That is exactly what the Heron Junior is; it is easy to handle, and children will not have a hard time kayaking.

This boat comes with a stern and bow handle, which makes it easy to transport it to the water and back. When the kids get tired of paddling, they can rely on this boat’s Tag Along Tow System to bring them ashore.

It is light in weight making is easy for you to transport it. Made of single-layer polyethylene, the hull is nimble and easily maneuverable.

This is 7 feet 5 inches long and has the maximum carrying capacity of 115 lbs. This capacity can accommodate children of various ages. If you want to want to get your kids to ride while you are on your boat, get them one of this Old Town Kayaks.

What We Love About It
  • Easy for kids to paddle.
  • It is stable; you don’t need to worry about your kids tipping over.
  • Is also light in weight.
  • It is fast and easy to maneuver.
  • The boat comes in attractive colors.
  • Children as young as five years old can use it, but they should be supervised.
What We Didn’t Like
  • Although it is durable for gentle use, hyperactive kids will kick it a lot, and the material cannot hold up well.
  • The Heron Jr. does not come with a paddle.

7. Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak with Paddles

The Lifetime 10 Foot kayak is for the kayaker who loves company. Depending on the size of the kayakers, this boat can accommodate up to three people but is best used as a tandem kayak. It has a carrying capacity of 500 lbs, which makes it big enough for you to go on a trip with your partner and your favorite pet.

The hull design makes this boat more stable, and it tracks well. Another thing that makes this stand out is the materials used in building it. It is made with High-Density UV-Protected Polyethylene HDPE. This makes the boat tough enough to resist peeling, cracks, and fading. Even after one year, your kayak will be as good as new.

It comes with multiple footrest positions that can be adjusted to fit the size of the riders. The boat is equipped with a 6-inch hatch storage and three fishing rod holders. It also comes with two double-sided paddles, padded backrests, and paddle clips.

The seats are also comfortable, and you can ride your recreational kayak for a long duration. The Lifetime 10-foot recreational kayak weighs 60 lbs. If you have a big frame, this kayak will be great for you since it is roomy.

The tracking is decent; it will improve with a rudder.

What We Love About It
  • It’s stable.
  • It sits higher on the water; this makes it easy to paddle.
  • Is also spacious.
  • Comes with scupper plugs to help you drain the kayak when the need arises.
What We Didn’t Like
  • If you have a back problem, you will need to add extra padding to the seat since it is not well padded.
  • It does not track as well as you will want it to.

8. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

This inflatable kayak competes with high-end hard body boats in terms of performance and stability. This recreational kayak is made to stand the test of time with the multiple layer construction. The boat’s sturdiness is reinforced with the aluminum rib design frame.

This recreational kayak tracks just as well as a top rating hard body kayak thanks to the aluminum ribs frame. The ribs frame also defines the bow and the stern; this improves maneuverability.

The hull is also made with PVC tarpaulin and vinyl to make it more durable. You can brush over several debris, but your kayak will not be punctured.

In a case where it gets punctured, the multiple chambered kayak will not deflate completely since its only part that has been punctured.

It is also easy to assemble. Simply inflate it and set up your seats and you will be on the water in no time.

This kayak comes with a storage bag, which makes it easy for you to store it. If you want a kayak that does not take a lot of storage space, this should be part of your list.

This model of the Advanced Elements kayak weighs only 36 lbs. Which means you can easily carry it to the shore and back.

The kayak is spacious, and you can bring all your trip gears on board without feeling cramped. The manufacturing company also paid attention to the seat design. They have given this kayak’s users a breathable and comfortable chair. The chair is also well padded, and it comes with back support.

This boat is designed for one person, and it has a carrying capacity of 300 lbs.

What We Love About It
  • You can take it anywhere. When packed, it’s so small that you can keep it in the trunk of your car.
  • It easy to maneuver.
  • Tracks very well.
  • Once you get used to the setup process, it becomes extremely easy.
  • It is very sturdy when inflated.
  • Stable in the water.
  • Deflating and storing it is also easy.
  • The materials used in building it are also durable.
What We Didn’t Like
  • You cannot access the storage area at the back when you are seated.
  • Tall people won’t get enough legroom due to the length of this kayak.

9. Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

With the solid construction of the Sevylor Big Basin, you can confidently cruise on lakes without worry. The bottom is made of tarpaulin, and this protects against punctures. The Big Basin itself is made of heavy-duty PVC.

This inflatable kayak is part of the list for a good reason. It is easy to inflate and deflate thanks to the double-threaded Boston Valve. You are guaranteed that this boat will not leak due to the airtight system.

The seats are adjustable, and you can easily adjust it to meet your comfort level. If you love dry trips, this recreational kayak will be a great fit for you. The kayak comes with spray covers which prevents you from getting wet.

This recreational kayak is ideal for a family of three or a couple who wants to go on kayak trips with their pet.

The kayak is safe even if there is a puncture because it has been built in several chambers. When one chamber suffers a puncture, your boat will still work just fine.

If you intend to cruise on calm or white waters, this will glide through the waters with a lot of ease.

What We Love About It
  • It is easy to transport. You will simply deflate it and pack it for your journey.
  • It does not take up a lot of storage.
  • It is also light in weight but durable.
  • It’s very stable.
  • It also tracks well.
  • It is made of high-quality materials.
  • You can also get some storage room beneath the seats.
What We Didn’t Like
  • The sides of the boat are low. Hence, you will get wet along the line.

10. eMotion Spitfire Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak, Yellow, 12

The eMotion Spitfire Tandem recreational kayak is poised to offer you and your partner a fun-filled trip. This sit on kayak features comfortable and well-padded seats for you to enjoy a comfortable day outdoors.

It is easy to transport this thanks to the skeg wheels. These wheels also enhance tracking. The kayak is also made with UV-Protected high-density Polyethylene construction. With this type of construction material, you are assured that you will use your kayak for a long time.

The kayak has a carrying capacity of 500 lbs, which is enough to accommodate your gears, food, and two people. You can pack enough for a weekend trip without scrambling for space.

The skeg wheels are not the only features that make this kayak easy to transport. There are the carrying handles which make handling even easier.

When it comes to storage space, there is a rear tank for storing your stuff. You will also find another storage area at the center. There are also two paddle keepers to ensure that your paddles are safely attached to this kayak.

The sit on top recreational kayak also has amazing speed, and it is stable. it only weighs 90 lbs.

What We Love About It
  • It is stable on the water.
  • It also glides through the water seamlessly.
  • The boat is sturdy.
  • It is also fast.
  • Tracks well.
  • It’s a lot of fun when you are out on the waters with it.
What We Didn’t Like
  • The drainage holes are located around the seating area, and you can get wet when the water splashes but you can plug the holes to avoid getting wet.
  • It is extremely heavy.

11. Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

The Ocean Kayak Frenzy is for the kayaker who will love to spend all day on the waters. The Comfort Plus seat allows you to paddle all day without putting any stress on your back. The seat can be adjusted in four ways, making it easy for you to choose a comfortable position.

If you are the type of angler that prefers to go on camping with your kayak, you will appreciate that this kayak has a large storage area. You can store your food, gear, and other stuff in the large storage tank.

This sit on top kayak combines primary and secondary stability to ensure that the boat moves in the direction in which you expect it to move.

The kayak weighs only 43 lbs which makes it easy to move around.

It’s carrying capacity ranges from 275 to 325 lbs

What We Love About It

The boat tracks well.

  • It is stable.
  • Durable.
  • The seat is well made and comfortable.
  • The drain plug makes it easy for you to drain water that gets into your boat.
  • This can be easily carried by one person.
  • This boat also handles waves nicely.
What We Didn’t Like
  • The storage area in front of the seat is not waterproof.

12. Perception Expression Kayak

Expression Kayaks are well known for their comfort and balanced handling. Luckily, the 11.5 inches model is no exception. With its compact footprint, it offers even tighter control, which comes in handy when kayaking through rough waters.

The kayak doesn’t compromise in terms of comfort as it managed to allocate enough room in the cockpit for your legs. The ergonomic design of the seat coupled with excellent padding provides back support, adding to the boat’s overall comfort.

When it comes to storage areas, the water-sealed back compartment doesn’t offer plenty of space. However, the front and back bungee cords provide a good alternative to keep your gear that won’t be water-damaged.

In terms of safety, Perception Expression Kayak has a leakage-proof body, reflective sidelines for better visibility in the dark, and integrates bulkhead foam in its design for added buoyancy.

With all its features, the kayak only weighs 44 pounds, which makes it easier to carry from your car to the water. Such convenience and portability will encourage you to go more often on your kayaking trips and get the most out of your investment.

What We Love About It
  • Comfortable, ergonomic seat
  • Lightweight yet durable design
  • Versatile and suitable for all types of water
What We Didn’t Like
  • Limited storage area

Factors to Consider When Buying The Best Recreational Kayak

Recreational kayaks are different from touring kayaks. The former is expected to be light in weight, easy to maneuver, easy to get in and out, and they should also be stable. Remember that these types are kayaks are for short fun trips and do not require really large storage compartments. When you want to choose a recreational kayak, check the following to ensure that you get what suits your needs.

Number of Users

Are you a solo kayaker or do you love company on your trips? If it is more fun for you when you go along with a partner or pet, you should consider a tandem or three-person kayak. If your idea of a fun day out is spending quiet time on the water, you should go in for a single person kayak.

Comfort

It is important that you invest in comfort. Nothing is more fulfilling than spending long hours in a kayak without feeling tired because your kayak is comfortable. When choosing a kayak, check the seat. Most comfortable seats are adjustable and come with mesh materials.

Look out for thigh braces, and footpegs. They make your trips more comfortable. Other features include dry storage areas and cupholders.

Remember to check the cockpit size as well. Tall people need to pay close attention to this since small cockpit sizes can restrict their leg movements. They may be unable to stretch their legs, which will make the trip uncomfortable.

Performance

When it comes to performance, there are lots of things to look out for. One of these important things is tracking. A boat that tracks well moves straight until you want to make a turn. Usually, skegs, rudder, or tracking fins improve tracking. For better tracking, look out for kayaks that come with any of these.

The size of the kayak also influences the performance of the kayak.  Wider kayaks are also more stable but are difficult to paddle. This means that you will need to trade-off one advantage for another. Set your priorities and find one that works well for you based on what you consider more important.

Storage space

Will you carry lots of gears and food on your trip? If that is the case, you need a kayak with a larger carrying capacity. Kayakers who love to pack light, do not have to worry about carrying capacities. You should, however, note that the carrying capacity also corresponds with the number of people the boat is expected to carry.

There should also be a compartment for you to keep your stuff that should be kept away from water. Your mobile phone, for instance, should be stashed away in a safe and dry area.

Pricing

Although recreational kayaks are generally affordable, some are pricier than others. You should look at your budget when choosing a kayak.

Conclusion

The best recreational kayaks are necessarily not the ones that have big brand names or more expensive. Finding the best recreational kayak that meets all your requirements is better than getting one that has the highest rating but does not meet your specifications. This is why it is always important to know exactly what you want in a boat before checking the available options. We hope this article will help you choose the one that works best for you.

The Winner after 32 hours of research and testing is:

icon
Old Town Vapor 12XT Recreational Kayak
Old Town Vapor 12XT Recreational Kayak
Why is it better?

Big cockpit offering lots of leg room.

It’s easy to get in and out of this recreational kayak.

Users have the option of adjusting the seat to ensure that they are comfortable.

It tracks very well.

Is also easy to use and maneuver.

It is easy to transport.

The kayak’s stability is impressive.

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