Top Rated Recreational Kayaks
Spending a few hours of your weekend gliding over the waters of a lake or a river in a recreational kayak is such a fun and relaxing way to unplug and to get back into touch with nature!
A recreational kayak is a kayak made specifically for those who like to paddle more casually. These kayaks are best suited for stiller or more gentle waters like lakes and calmer rivers.
This type of kayak are the largest selling style, coming in various forms. Whether you are looking for a kayak for solo adventures or to paddle with friends, owning one with a lot of leg space and comfort is ideal.
If you are new to kayaks, it can be a bit intimidating as there are so many different makes and models out there. This buyer’s guide should give you a better idea of what to look out for when shopping around.
A Few of the Best Recreational Kayak
Below we have included some information on what we consider to be some of the most impressive recreational kayaks available right now.
1. Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Recreational Kayak
- The best-selling Pungo is light enough to handle with ease
- Room to keep plenty of gear and valuables safe and dry in the stern of your kayak
- Fully adjustable seat with mesh fabric for greater airflow
This recreational kayak offers a lot of storage space and is seriously comfortable! Perfect for calmer waters, it’s speed is matched by its stability.
2. Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak
If you are looking for something fast, this recreational kayak is for you. As well as being easily maneuverable and speedy, this kayak is also comfortable and has a spacious hull.
3. Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T Tandem Recreational Kayak
- This best-selling tandem offers performance for pairs
- Converts with ease to solo use for a great day on the water
- Sliding bow seat
This tandem recreational kayak has been receiving rave reviews which is probably due to the fact that this kayak is totally adjustable. This is the perfect kayak for you and your partner if you guys are serious about performance on the water.
4. Hurricane Skimmer 116 Sit-On-Top Kayak
Weighing in at only 42 pounds (or just under 20 kilograms), this sit-on-top recreational kayak is lightweight and really easy to transport and to get out onto the water, and once you’re out there, it performs. This kayak is perfect for slightly choppier water. It is also available in a range of really nice colours.
5. Dagger Roam 11.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak
- A cross-over kayak for outdoor enthusiasts who need performance and versatility
- Capable of running class III rivers
- Outfitted with the comfortable Contour surround seat
This sit-on-top recreational kayak comes with thigh straps making it a really stable as well as comfortable. This kayak has hatches in the bow and stern, soft tough and rigid carry handles, an adjustable skeg system, and it is fitted with self-bailing scupper holes.This is definitely a kayak for the adventurous!
6. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Sit-On-Top Kayak
- Versatile sit-on-top offers stunning performance for surf play, ponds, lakes, and bays
- Larger tankwell offers more capacity than previous 10-foot models
- Phase 3 AirPro seating system
This recreational sit-on-top kayak is a master of maneuverability and glide. This kayak is quite spacious for a sit-on-top kayak, and there is ample space for any gear you may have. This kayak can hold up to 350 pounds (or 159 kilograms).
7. Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak
- Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improve tracking
- 3 layers of material for extreme puncture resistance
- PreAssembled at the factory. Simply unfold, inflate and attach the seat
This inflatable recreational kayak is rugged and obviously very lightweight. This kayak is really cool as it is easily converted from a solo to a tandem. The open deck design makes it easy to hop in and out of the spacious hull. This kayak is comfortable and impressively durable for an inflatable kayak.
There is also a gold/blue version of this kayak.
8. Tributary Tomcat Inflatable Kayak
- Aircell System, 30 ounce/500 denier outer PVC tubes, 32 ounce/1000 denier outer PVC floor
- Airtight 20-gauge inner vinyl bladders w/ double-zipper access, double top-stitched seams
- 3 air chambers with Summit II valves, adjustable inflatable seat
This inflatable recreational kayak is a really awesome entry level kayak. The kayak is made up of rugged tear-resistant PVC. The inflatable seats can be moved and are comfortable, and the kayak has a self bailing floor.
What Is a Recreational Kayak?
A recreational kayak is a kayak made specifically for those who like to paddle more casually. These kayaks are best suited for stiller or more gentle waters like lakes and calmer rivers. Recreational kayaks are the largest selling style of kayaks, and they come in various forms. Whether you are looking for a recreational kayak for solo kayaking, kayaking with friends, one with a lot of space, or a comfortable one perfect for an entire day out on the water, a cheaper one or one that is easy to transport, there is a perfect one out there for you!
If you are new to the world of recreational kayaks, it can be a bit intimidating as there are so many different makes and models out there. Once you are done with this article, you should have a better idea of what you should be looking for.
Sit-On-Top vs. Sit-In Kayaks
Deciding between a sit-on-top kayak and a sit-in kayak (literally a kayak that you sit on top of, and a kayak that you inside of) depends heavily on the climate that you are going kayaking in. If you are in a warm and tropical climate with warmer waters, you might enjoy the sit-on-top as you can get a little wet while you’re kayaking! If you live in a cooler climate with colder waters, you would probably prefer the sit-in, as it keeps getting wet to a minimum.
Sit-in kayaks have a lot more storage space, as you sit inside and therefore have access to the entire hull, whereas sit-on kayaks have way less storage space as they molded tops, meaning that your gear will be exposed to the elements. Sit-on-top kayaks are also known to be a bit slower and more difficult to paddle than sit-in kayaks, although sit-in kayaks are more prone to flooding than sit-on-top kayaks.
Rigid vs. Inflatable Kayaks
Your decision between a rigid or inflatable kayak really comes down to the price, the size and the maintenance. Inflatable kayaks are generally cheaper than rigid kayaks, although the really great quality inflatable kayaks can be just as expensive as a rigid kayak. Rigid kayaks are much heavier than inflatable kayaks and are more difficult to transport, whereas inflatable kayaks are quite light can be deflated for easy transportation. Inflatable kayaks need to be inflated and deflated every time that you use them, and each time could result in a tear or a puncture which you will have to patch, whereas rigid kayaks (unless it is made of wood) require very little maintenance.
Solo vs. Tandem Kayaks
Kayaking with friends, family or even your dog is an awesome way to get in some quality time! Or perhaps you enjoy the solitary peace of being out on the water by yourself. Either way, there is a recreational kayak that fits your kayaking needs completely. Consider whether you are going to be spending more time kayaking alone or with others to help you decide between a solo or tandem kayak.
If you are going to be using your recreational kayak for long days on the water, for some fishing or for kayak camping, you are going to need quite a bit of space! Different kayaks have different weight capacities and different sized hulls with more or less available storage space. Exactly how important storage space is for you will narrow your search for your perfect recreational kayak.