Our Top Pick After 20 Hours of Reviewing and Testing:
The Pakayak Blue Fin feels stable even in rogue waves and windy conditions.
It is durable
It is collapsible and easy to transport
Glides through the water easily
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Do you love spending time or making trips on the water? Well, it is high time that you invested in the best touring kayak.
The 5 Best Touring Kayaks In 2023:
But I already have a kayak, why should I buy another one? There is a big likelihood that yours won’t make the cut. Not all are designed to be used for expeditions. You have to do your research well before you even proceed with your purchase.
Where do you even start doing your research? Well, I know it’s a hard nut to crack, and that’s the main reason I am compiling this post for you. I will take you through everything you need to know about touring kayaks. Besides, I will review the top 5 for touring so that you are able to narrow down your search.
Don’t forget to invest in outriggers and stabilizers if you are planning to paddle for long sessions. They will definitely protect you from tipping over from your vessel.
Finding one is quite a daunting task for newbies. You might scour the internet for hours, and still, you’ll have nothing to settle on. Luckily, I have chosen a few from the best brands, and I am pretty sure you are going to love them.
Touring Kayak Reviews
1. Pakayak Bluefin 14 Ft – Best Touring Kayak
The Pakayak Bluefin touring kayak is definitely one of the best touring kayaks you will ever come across. I can promise you that once you get your hands on this beast, you will be spending most of your time on the waters. Its performance, build quality, and design is definitely top-notch. In fact, I haven’t heard any kayaker complain about the Bluefin. Besides, it is available in three awesome colors; you just have to choose whichever color you prefer. Below are a few of the attributes that might convince you to spend your money on this:
The Pakayak Bluefin is my number one pick for a reason. Honestly, it is rare to find one that glides and steers in the water the same way Pakayak does it. This makes beach launches quite easy because you’ll be in a better position to time the docile waves. Paddling through the off-shore waves is easy although you might experience a slight amount of flex.
The most exciting thing about the Pakayak touring kayak is that it comes with a double chined hull that allows for turning, surfing, carving, and smooth control. Also, the manufacturer has used underwater product designs and aerospace technologies to ensure that Pakayak remains leak-proof and efficient.
If there is one thing that Pakayak has invested in is the overall design. This is just unique in its own way. Besides, the manufacturer relies on the process of rotomolding to ensure that Pakayak touring kayak is durable. This is definitely a good option for those who are looking for collapsible touring kayaks. Each of the collapsible segments connects to its partner to form a very strong seal. At least, you don’t have to worry about the segments disconnecting while in the middle of a water body.
The footrests, and knee pads of this are molded in the cockpit to ensure that you remain as comfortable as possible. What’s more? This touring kayak comes with watertight hatches that you can use to store your gear. This is voted the best touring kayak by us.
2. Perception Carolina 14.0 Touring Kayaks
My first runners up in this roundup of touring kayaks is the Perception Carolina. As you well know, Perception has been one of the leading brands in the industry. It goes without saying that the company is crashing it with high quality touring kayaks. Besides, the Perception Carolina 14.0 is arguably the most versatile for the money. You can use it for overnight adventures, as well as day trips. Let’s jump straight to the attributes of this awesome touring kayak.
The Carolina 14.0 has an impressive sit-inside design and a spacious cockpit that makes it easy to paddle. Besides, the hull is sleek enough to allow for straight tracking even when there are waves, winds and currents. At least you will be able to glide through the water as fast as possible.
The spacious cockpit is loaded with an ergonomic seat that provides maximum comfort. What’s better? The seat has an adjustable backrest which you can set to a position that makes your back comfortable. In addition, you can adjust the foot rests too while still seated. It is evident that the Perception Carolina is all about comfort.
The Perception Carolina comes with bulkhead flotation that helps increase buoyancy on the water. Finally, this has generous storage space on the front and rear compartments.
Just like every touring kayak in this roundup, the Perception Carolina has been designed to offer maximum durability. It features a one-piece Toto-molded construction that performs exceptionally well when subjected to harsh conditions. This means that your touring kayak won’t be affected by UV rays. Its material is abrasion resistant and comes with a finish that makes it durable.
3. Perception Expression Light Touring Kayaks
If you find the Carolina 14.0 touring kayak too expensive for your liking, then you should consider purchasing the Expression version. This model is smaller than Carolina, and it is definitely great for light touring. The Expression is just 11.5 ft. long, thus making it an ideal one for slow rivers, lakes, and mild coastal waters. With this vessel, you will get to enjoy all the fun features of a recreational kayak. The Expression is definitely one of the best you will find in the market.
I am sure no one wants to spend their time on a touring kayak that feels uncomfortable. This is why Expression comes with a roomy sit-in cockpit and a thickly-padded seat. The cockpit is definitely easy to get in and out of, and yet it doesn’t feel too loose. At least, you can be able to perform a roll in case you tip over.
The good thing about this model is that it has a contoured backrest that can be adjusted to suit your preferences. Besides, it also comes with adjustable footrests and padded thigh supports. This will definitely offer the support and comfort you require during your adventure.
Stable & Safe
Apart from being comfortable, the Expression light touring kayak is designed to offer maximum stability. This makes the Expression great for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Besides, you will find its sleek hull is quite fast and tracks straight.
Just like in the Perception touring kayaks model, this has a bulkhead floatation foam that improves buoyancy and stability. It also comes with reflective perimeter lines that enhance visibility during the dark. Besides, the lines will make it easy for you to enter your touring kayak in case you tip over. Finally, the Expression has a skeg that can be lowered from the cockpit to improve tracking.
4. Brooklyn Kayak Company Touring Kayaks
If you are looking for a touring kayak that will slice through all sorts of water bodies, then BKC UH-SK287 is the best option. This vessel was inspired by kayaks that plied the Arctic for centuries. Being a 14 foot and 11 inches, you will notice that it is the perfect vessel for long distance touring. I am pretty sure you will enjoy paddling in this awesome touring kayak. Let’s jump straight to its features and see what it has to offer.
The BKC touring kayak does not disappoint when it comes to capacity. Despite being 55 pounds, it can accommodate up to 250 pounds of gear weight. It has water-resistant hatches that you can store your valuables and food. Besides, you can carry more cargo on this because it is fitted with bungee tie-down straps.
Unlike most of our touring kayaks top picks, the Brooklyn comes with a rudder that works perfectly when you want to steer your boat. The rudder folds up when you are in shallow waters to avoid damage.
5. Ocean Kayak Zest Touring Kayaks
The Ocean Kayak zest is one of the best tandem touring kayaks because it gives you the opportunity to have a good time with your partner or friend. You don’t have to purchase two different types while you can opt for the Zest. Furthermore, it will help you improve your teamwork skills and also give you the chance to cover more distance as a team. You can also carry your pet along with you because Ocean Zest offers more space than other touring kayaks.
Generous Storage Space
The size of the ocean Zest allows you to carry so many items without affecting its stability and buoyancy. This explains why couples prefer using it when going for longer expeditions and they have to carry large cargo. This beast has a capacity of 600 pounds, which is definitely great for its size.
The Ocean Zest comes with two comfort plus seats that can be customized to match your preferences. These seats are well constructed to ensure that your back remains comfortable for longer periods of time.
Factors To Look Out For
Unless you’ve been in the kayaking game for long, it is pretty hard to choose a good touring kayak. There are lots of brands out there, but not all are worth purchasing. Besides, you will be required to part with a huge chunk of money to get one, so why make a purchase that you are not even sure about. Before you spend any money, you need to understand these fundamentals so that you can choose a kayak that suits your needs.
Companies use different materials, each material has its strengths and weaknesses. You need to understand the properties of each material so that you can choose wisely. Most of them will either use Fiberglass, Wood, Polyethylene and Polycarbonate. Below are a few things you need to know about each of these materials:
Polyethylene– This is the most popular material when it comes to kayaks. Most companies prefer using Polyethylene because of its flexibility and ability to resist impact as well. At least, this material will hold up well even when you ram the kayak on the shore or rocks. The only weakness is that Polyethylene is prone to UV damage if exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Of course, you can avoid UV damage by storing your vessel properly.
Fiberglass– This is a popular choice for kayakers who prefer high end kayaks. Fiberglass is durable and lightweight in nature. Besides, they don’t get affected by UV rays, meaning their surface will remain to be sleek and smooth. Just be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars more to get a fiberglass one.
Polycarbonate– this material is more like polyethylene only that it can be easily crafted into a hull that glides easily through the water. I would definitely prefer polycarbonate because it makes long hours of paddling easier.
A chine is the physical area where the side of your kayak transitions into the bottom of the boat. Understanding this little feature will help you choose a good touring kayak. For your information, chines come in various sizes and shapes. Chines can only be described as soft or hard. The chine will determine the stability, tracking and speed of your kayak. In case you want a kayak that has great stability, exceptional speed and straight tracking, then you should go for a hard-chined boat. On the other hand, soft chined kayaks have great secondary stability, but they are not as fast as hard chined kayaks. At least these will perform exceptionally in rough waters.
The other key factor you need to consider is the rocker. A rocker is how the kayak appears on the side. Does it form an arch shape, or is it flat? If it forms an arch shape, it means that your kayak will have less material submerged, thus making it easy to turn the kayak. On the other hand, if you a flat rocker comes in handy when you want a kayak that tracks in straight lines.
They come in different lengths and in most cases they become more expensive as they increase in length. Besides, a longer kayak travels faster than shorter kayaks because they are able to track and cut through the water much better. Also if you want a good touring kayak, you should make sure it is long enough to store all the gear you will be carrying during your trips.
Before you go ahead and order for your touring kayak, make sure that it has the right comfort attributes. Remember that you will be paddling for longer periods of time so you will need a comfortable kayak. Take into account the size of the cockpit as well as the seating system. The cockpit should accommodate your body but make sure it doesn’t leave too much space or less space that you can’t perform a quick wet exit.
Skeg or Rudder?
You also need to ask yourself whether you’d want one that has a skeg, rudder or neither. These features are important, especially if you want a vessel that offers incredible performance. A skeg is a feature located under the stern and helps you maintain a straight line while paddling. Unfortunately, a skeg does not offer anything when you need to turn. The good thing is that skegs are retractable, so you should only drop it out when you need to use it.
A rudder is similar to the skeg only that it is installed at the very back of the stern. This feature can be operated using a foot pedal that’s located in the cockpit. Unlike the skeg, a rudder can be moved from side to side in case you want to steer your kayak in a different direction.
I believe kayaking is a great summer activity that helps you connect with nature. So get yours as soon as possible and begin your adventure. Just make sure you are purchasing one that will meet your needs and budget.