Best Fishing Kayaks 2021
In this Guide
Fishing on a kayak is one of the best ways to relax both your mind and body while engaging in a healthy activity. The best part is that it isn’t too expensive to get started. Whereas boats can be quite expensive and burdensome to maintain, kayaks are quite affordable and easy to transport overland. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the best fishing kayak under 500 dollars. These are great kayaks for beginners as well, because of their affordable price points. if your budget is more than 500 you might want to check our guide for the best fishing kayak under 1000.
How to Choose a Kayak? – Video Guide
We recommend you to watch this four-minute video before choosing a kayak from XgearHub top kayaks under 500.
Best Fishing Kayaks 2021
- Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Package Kayak
- Hobie Mirage Outback
- Lifetime 10’ Sport Fisher Tandem
- Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
- Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler
- Air Head Montana AHTK2 Kayak
- Lifetime Lotus Sit-on-top
- Perception Conduit Kayak
- Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
- Native Ultimate FX Propel 13
- Wilderness System Aspire 105
Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Package Kayak
|Excellent cargo space
|Self-draining center hatch
The Malibu Kayak X-Factor Fish and Drive Package Kayak is a feature-filled kayak that caters to the need of kayak enthusiasts who want to fish as well.
- The kayak is built for stability and maximizing cargo space. The hull of this kayak has been built with stability in mind
- Don’t let the stability factor put you off with regards to its tracking performance. Buyers say that the X-Factor tracks well and despite its proportions, it is not particularly cumbersome to paddle.
- It is versatile enough to be equally comfortable in rivers, calm flat lakes as well as choppy surf.
- The X-Factor features a lot of cargo space for the user to store their fishing and camping gear.
- At the front of the kayak, you have a Gator hatch which gives you a safe and dry storage option.
- A major feature of the X-Factor is the center hatch that is equipped with self-draining trays that can be used for storing live bait.
- The X-Factor is a highly stable kayak. It is stable to the degree that the user can stand on the casting platform comfortably without the balance of the kayak being upset.
- But the stability of this kayak does not mean that it is a boat. Buyers report that this model tracks well and is able to maintain a good speed. That makes it a highly versatile option. It’s stable enough for one to stand on and fish confidently, but it also cuts through water and maneuvers with great ease. Really, it’s the best of both worlds.
- The X-Factor has excellent cargo space. And that is backed by owners who praise this model for the amount of gear they can pack into it. This means less time spent on choosing what equipment to take and what to leave behind, and more time spent on actually enjoying fishing. There are several storage spaces where you can store your gear categorically.
- The center hatch with the self-draining feature is also a popular feature among users of this kayak. Users praised its ability to keep drinks cool and some even fill it with ice to enjoy their drinks cold.
The X-Factor is praised by both beginners and veterans. The stability means it is a very easy kayak to learn on, and its high build quality means that it will serve its owners long and well.
Some users have noted the 100-pound weight of this kayak as a difficulty. But that also means that it has great stability in water. If portability is not an issue for you, this is a negligible shortcoming.
- Length: 14 ft. 4 in.
- Width: 33 in.
- Depth: 13 in.
- Weight: 62 lbs.
- Max. Capacity: 550 lbs.
- Seating: 1 adult, plus 1 child
Most buyers of this kayak are perfectly happy to give it a 5 or in some cases a 4-star rating. The Malibu X-Factor is also our choice for its perfect blend of performance, stability, practicality, and most of all affordability. Thanks to its stable nature it’s perfectly suited for beginners while it also offering dependability for more expert users.
If you’re looking for a great fishing kayak that will not break the bank, the X-Factor is an easy recommendation.
Hobie Mirage Outback
|Pedals in front
|Adjustable seat & lumbar support
|Good storage space
The Hobie Mirage Outback is a high-end kayak made with the requirements of demanding enthusiasts in mind.
- It comes with an innovative feature called the “Hobie Mirage Drive”. It is best described as a unique way of powering the kayak by using a set of pedals located in the front. The main purpose of this feature is to improve stability and to give the user the option to keep moving while they hold a fishing rod in their hands. While in other kayaks you have to be stationary while fishing, because you cannot hold a fishing rod and paddle the kayak at the same time, in the Hobie Mirage you can do both.
- It is a highly stable kayak, measuring 33 inches at its widest point. You can easily stand on the kayak and fish with utmost confidence.
- It also has a built-in rudder at the back for better tracking and maneuverability.
- The Hobie Mirage also offers a lot of storage options. There are dedicated fishing rod holders, a gear bucket, and a general cargo area.
- For additional versatility, the Mirage even comes with a sail mount for when there’s a bit of wind and you’re too tired to paddle!
- Pedals might not be the fastest way to get around on a kayak, but that still does not mean they’re useless. In fact, owners of the Hobie Mirage Outback all praise this feature, saying that it allows them to move around while they fish or use their hands for other purposes such as recording a movie, taking pictures, and so on. This really is a great feature that makes the Hobie Mirage Outback a truly versatile kayak.
- The pedals also ensure great stability while you are fishing. A river with a slight current might disturb the balance of your kayak while you are fishing, so you offset the current easily by pedaling slowly just to keep the momentum in check. The pedals are also highly convenient when your arms are simply too tired or you just feel like relaxing.
- The relatively high seat is also a feature that has earned this kayak high praise from its owners. It is adjustable, so you can set it to the most ergonomic setting according to your body. It also offers lumbar support which is great for users who suffer from back problems. The seat is an often-overlooked feature in most kayaks that cost even more than the Mirage Outback.
- Owners of the Mirage Outback are also quite impressed by the amount of storage space it has. There are pockets, fishing rod holders, and cubbies to store various gear in a convenient manner.
- The biggest drawback of this kayak has to be its high price. Its high-end features and durable construction do justify the price but there’s no overlooking the fact that it is not an inexpensive piece of equipment. Potential buyers should be prepared to keep this kayak for years to come if they plan on investing in it.
- Its unique feature, the “Hobie Mirage Drive”, may be considered redundant by users who’re not fans of pedaling. And it can certainly become a cumbersome experience as well because the Hobie Mirage Outback is also quite a heavy kayak.
- The weight also makes it difficult to move the kayak on land, so you might need an additional set of hands to carry it around.
- Length: 12 ft 9 in
- Width : 34 in
- Capacity: 425 lbs
- Vantage CTW Seat Capacity: 275 lbs
- Fitted Hull Weight: 85 lbs
- Fitted Rigged: 103 lbs
The Hobie Mirage Outback is a high-end kayak that is laden with great features. It is an enthusiast’s model no doubt, and owners of the kayak are very satisfied with their purchase.
Lifetime Sport Fisher – Best Tandem Kayak
|Robust & Stable
|Not Fast in Currents
|Load Capacity of 500 lbs.
- The Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem is a fishing kayak built to accommodate two persons in comfort. It is an economical tandem kayak but has a very sturdy build quality. It is a no-frills kayak that caters to the likes of beginners and hobbyists.
- Although this kayak is designed for two adults, it is not very large in its proportions. The seats are positioned much higher than the surrounding water allowing its users to stay drier as compared to kayaks with lower seat heights.
- This kayak has a short and wide design, making it perfect for users who want a stable fishing kayak that can handle a person who is standing up.
- The seats of the Sport Fisher are padded for added comfort. On the storage front, it features 3 fishing rod holders and a sizeable 6-inch storage hatch. The kayak has paddle clips that can hold the paddles in place when you’re simply relaxing.
- The Sport Fisher is a very sturdily built kayak that makes it a good choice for beginners. Beginners make mistakes and the rugged nature of this kayak ensures that the inevitable scrapes with gravel and rocks will not damage it in any meaningful way.
- The affordable nature of this kayak further solidifies its place as a great beginner’s first kayak.
- Families looking to spend time together will also find the multi-person ability of this kayak as a great point.
- The inherent stability of this kayak isn’t great news just for first-timers, however, veteran anglers will also appreciate this, as they can fish standing up with the confidence that this kayak won’t just tip over. Stability is a core attribute of any fishing kayak but is not guaranteed at such an entry-level price point.
- With a payload capacity of 500 pounds, this kayak is also perfect for healthier individuals. Its wide dimensions ensure that this kayak can accommodate a variety of body types in relative comfort.
- The Sport Fisher isn’t the lightest fishing kayak around. In fact, at almost 80 pounds it is quite heavy. That means that it will be difficult for the average person to carry it around on their own. The Sport Fisher almost counts on its tandem feature to attract only couples to offset its weight problem.
- This kayak is not a performance kayak either. It will not be at home in faster-moving currents and is best suited in calm, relaxed waters. The bulky nature of the kayak means that it isn’t as effortless as a pure touring kayak to paddle around in.
- Length: 120 in
- Width : 36 in
- Height: 19 in
- Weight: 60 lbs
- Solo or Tandem Paddling
- 10-Foot Compact Length for Easy Transport and Storage
- Stable Hull Design
- 5-Year Limited Warranty
- Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
There’s no getting around the fact that the Sport Fisher is a heavy, bulky kayak that is built really with the intention of accommodating multiple people. Stability seems to be its top-most priority. But that really is what makes it such an attractive option for people who’re looking to spend time in the water with another person on board. It is a very sturdy kayak which makes it a reliable companion that will serve its owners for a long time.
Buyers on Amazon rate it highly for its user-friendly nature and sturdy build quality. For kayakers on a budget, this is a very attractive option.
Sun Dolphin Excursion – Best 10 ft Sit-in Fishing Kayak
|Two flush mount rod holders
|limited storage space
|For calm waters
|lightweight & stable
- It is a 1-person sit-in kayak. Its large cockpit coupled with an adjustable padded seat for extra comfort, allows people to spend long hours in the water without getting tired
- It has two flush mounts for fishing rods, as well as a swivel rod for the fishing rod
- It weighs only 41 pounds which makes it easy to carry and has carrying handles too for added convenience
- It is lightweight which makes it easy to carry and store. Loading and launching it also hassle-free even if a single paddler is handling it. Because of its small size, it can easily fit into trucks as well. Furthermore, for a small kayak, it is very stable
- Despite the small size, it is able to hold a straight line as per user reviews
- Its small size makes maneuverability, which makes it an ideal option for small lakes and rivers with narrow turns
- Its small size does not make it suitable for oceans as it can not cope with heavy currents. It does not have speeds high enough to allow traveling for long hours
- Its low capacity does not allow fishing for large fish because there is less storage space
- Two, rod holders are inconveniently placed at the back which makes them difficult to access
- Length: 120 in
- Width : 30 in
- Height: 13 in
- Weight: 40 lbs
- Type: Sit-in kayak
If you are looking for a fishing kayak under 500, Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak is a good option for you. While kayaking is a fun sport, the exercise aspect can get quite exhausting. With Sun Dolphin Excursion Kayak’s design that makes maneuverability less exerting, the process is far simpler and more enjoyable!
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack – Best Lake Fishing Kayak
|Tons of storage
|Bottoms of the seat uncomfortable
|Places molded for outriggers
|Limited mounted points
|Six scupper holes and plugs
|Not suitable for windy conditions
|Includes vibe journey paddle
|4 carrying handles
- Vibe Kayak Skipjack 90 is a 9-foot long sit-on-top lightweight fishing kayak. It is one of the top players in the competitive fishing kayak market right now and is rightly so.
- It has a very sleek and innovative design that tracks smoothly across all sorts of water conditions. Skipjack 90 is suitable for fishing anywhere even in surf conditions, lighter waves, or moving rivers.
- This fishing kayak has all the qualities that anglers rely on stability, maneuverability, gear compatibility, and storage. The hull edges make the ride on this kayak extremely stable. It won’t trip or sway while you are busy catching fish in the water.
- The kayak weighs only about 46 pounds which makes it portable. Also, it has a keel that runs along the length of its hull and offers tracking during your fish hunt.
- It is made up of rotomolded one-piece high-density polyethylene which makes it exceptionally durable. In addition, this kayak includes a comfortable backrest, a V-wave center hatch, storage wells in the bow and stern, 4 molded-in grip handles, 4 fishing rod holders, and an easy access cup holder.
- It is small and lightweight which not only makes it portable but also makes it easy to store because it takes up less space. The small surface area also makes maneuverability easier because of less wind resistance
- There is a larger cargo area because of the fishing rod holders and the rear storage area
- It is highly affordable so the price is a huge plus point
- Its stability is a key feature so it can smoothly glide across the water, which makes it suitable for certain water conditions
- It is engineered in such a way that it moves at a slow place which also makes it an unsuitable option for tracking
- It can is not stable enough to withstand heavy currents
- It only has the capacity to accommodate one paddler which is why it is an unsuitable option for families
- Length: 9 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 46 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Rod Holders: 4
- Type: Sit-on-top
Air Head Montana AHTK2 – Best Inflatable Tandem
|Four bottom fins for superior tracking
|Doesn’t come with a paddle and pump
|Light-weight, compact and portable
|Seats can be a bit wobbly
|Highly visible color (orange) for safety
|Easy to maneuver
|Grab Handles for easy lifting
|Drain plug to get rid of excess water
|UV and water-resistant coatings
- Air Head Montana is a tandem inflatable kayak designed to accommodate two paddlers. AHTK2 performs best in white water and lakes. It’s light in weight and is equipped with all the accessories that kayak anglers look for. This model is definitely one of the most comfortable inflatable kayak designs in the market.
- It is made up of heavy gauge PVC material and fortified I-beam construction method which makes this kayak extremely durable unlike other inflatable kayaks
- It has a large cockpit which is great for beginners as it allows you to enter and exit the kayak easily in emergency situations.
- AHTK2 has two inflatable seats that are exceptionally comfortable and adds convenience to your overall fishing experience. You can even adjust these seats according to your comfort and water conditions.
- Its neoprene elbow guards help you sit and balance your weight in the kayak easily.
- The kayak also comes with back and front spray covers which will keep you dry while on the water.
- Air Head Montana comes with 6 stainless steel D-rings that are meant to help in securing the cargo nets and tow them when required.
- Its multiple air chambers serve as a safety net so even if the kayak gets damaged, it still floats and takes you safely to the shore.
- Its flat bottom hull may not allow great tracking on water but it does offer excellent navigation.
- It is lightweight and compact which makes it portable and easy to store. Inflating and deflating is an extremely easy and quick process.
- It is very affordable keeping in mind the multiple features it offers, so the price is a huge plus point
- Grab handles make it easy to lift and carry the kayak
- As per user reviews, the seat is uncomfortable as it is wobbly, and the kayak does not track as great
- The seating for the second paddler is not very comfortable because of the little leg room
- It does not include a carrying bag either, so you need to buy that yourself alongside the paddles and air pump.
- Length: 12 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 36.3 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
- Type: Tandem Inflatable Kayak
Lifetime Lotus Sit-on-top – Best Sit-on-top Kayak
|Lightweight and portable
|Speed is not great
|Aesthetic design and color
|Seat is not comfortable for longer rides
|Good stability and maneuverability
|One person and two-person models
|Comes with a paddle
|Solid material with UV coatings
Lifetime Lotus is a well-designed fishing kayak available in bright blue color.
- It has a strong hull made up of high-density polyethylene which is very durable. Unlike other materials, polyethylene doesn’t get rusted which means that it is a one-time buy and it lasts for years.
- The hull is well-designed for improved stability, effective tracking, and paddling.
- Lotus is comparatively a small kayak only 8’ long and 30” wide. But this smaller size of the kayak increases its efficiency and maneuverability in the water.
- The kayak comes with scupper holes in the cockpit area so that you can get rid of the excess water during paddling.
- It has an adjustable backrest and multiple footrest positions to accommodate people of different heights.
- It has a tank well storage in the back with bungee cord lacing where you can store your accessories like fishing rods, fish finders, and other personal belongings.
- A paddle cradle is also available in the kayak to hold your paddle in place
- It is available as both single-person and two-person kayaks. You may choose it according to your requirements.
- It is a sit-on kayak which is a huge plus point because they do not have swamping problems as the water can be drained out, alongside more storage space
- It can be customized for both single and double paddlers depending on the user’s preference.
- Because the kayak is not very fast, it is not suitable to travel large distances. The seat is not comfortable to cover long hours either.
- Length: 8 feet
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight: 38 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 pounds (for one person)
- Material: High Density Polyethylene
- Type: Sit-on kayak
Perception Conduit 13 Kayak – Best Sit-in Kayak
|Strong enough to ride on high currents
|A bit expensive
|Good leg and water space
|The seat is not comfortable for longer rides
|Lightweight hence easy to transport
|Balancing is hard for beginners
|Lots of thighs and knee pads
|Great tracking capability due to added length
|Super Sleek design
Perception Conduit is available in a number of different sizes in the market. The Conduit 13 is a spacious kayak and comes with all the features of a professional kayak.
- It is both stable and offers good speed which is truly a rare combination in fishing kayaks. It performs remarkably well in flat waters like smaller lakes and milder rives but is also rudder capable if you want to paddle it in rough waters. The kayak is exceptionally easy to paddle and is really non-restrictive.
- The conduit 13 features a lower sitting position and a larger cockpit for added comfort during fishing.
- The slender stern and bow allow it to glide smoothly across the water.
- Its added length provides great speed and tracking in water.
- The kayak also has a single tracking fin which is aided by the rigid construction of its body for great tracking in water.
- It has both bow and stern hatches with bulkheads for dry storage.
- The maximum weight capacity is 295 lbs. which means you will have lots of storage capacity as well.
- It is comfortably priced, which suits beginners who need a kayak to begin before they can choose a more expensive one according to their specific needs.
- At 295 lbs, it can carry an exceptional load for a solo kayak. There is extra stowage space in the form of the two sections of the bungee deck.
- The comfortable seating coupled with knee padding allows medium-duration trips. Furthermore, the paddling efficiency is increased by the Keepers Foot Brace mechanism, a feature that allows for greater control
- The seating is not comfortable for long duration trips, and as per user reviews, could use more padding
- It is a bit on the higher price end for the range of kayaks that offer similar features
- Length: 13 feet
- Width: 26.5 inches
- Weight: 51 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 295 pounds (for one person)
- Material: High-Density Polyethylene
- Type: Sit in kayak
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak
|Very affordable price
|Has two removable skews for shallow and deep water
|Some people reported leaks in the kayak
|High-quality material is used which increases durability
|Not great for heavy waters
|Light weight and easy to transport
|Really easy to setup
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is one of the best inflatable fishing kayaks in the market for under 500$. It is made up of 3-ply laminate PVC with a polyester core which is puncture resistant and lasts a long time. It also has a UV-resistant coating on the top and therefore you really do not have to worry about the integrity of this inflatable fishing kayak.
- Intex Excursion Pro Kayak offers great stability and rigidity. Its high pressure, spring-loaded valves make inflation and deflation of the kayak really fast. It is also equipped with a pressure gauge so that you don’t over-inflate it. The two air chambers make sure that if anything goes wrong, you stay afloat and reach the shore safely.
- Another cool feature is its mounting bracket which can be used to hand all kinds of accessories like the GPS system, fish finders, and so on. Besides this, you will have more than enough storage on the stern and bow.
- The kayak also comes with two integrated fishing rod holders which is a plus.
- The three-layered kayak has been constructed in a way that is both strong and long-lasting. Using tough PVC to build the top and bottom layer and a polyester core in the middle, the boat has the characteristics of being lightweight yet strong.
- The rod holders are conveniently placed in a way that fishing gear can be grabbed easily, without the holders coming in the way while paddling
- It is not a great option if you are in choppy waters
- It has short paddles and low-quality oars
- Length: 12 foot 7 inches
- Width: 3.1’
- Weight: 39 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Material: Heavy Duty Vinyl with a Polyester core
- Capacity: 2 persons
- Comes with 2 paddles, repair kit, 1 pump, and pressure gauge
- Type: Sit-in inflatable kayak
Native Ultimate FX Propel 13
|No skid plate is included
|Abundant storage space
|Included propulsion system means caution in shallow water
|Included rudder system makes the craft easy to control
The Native Ultimate FX Propel 13 is one beauty of a kayak. This is one of the most perfect sit-on-top kayaks for die-hard anglers.
- The Native Ultimate is the only peddle-driven fishing kayak with their Propel systems with reverse ability. That allows greater maneuverability and speed. With relaxed and soothing pedaling you can enjoy about 4.2 miles an hour, but if you’re after a catch that’s hurrying away, you can paddle to an impressive 5.2 miles an hour.
- The kayak’s low profile makes this the perfect vessel under windy conditions. The Propel 13 excels in the pedaling mode, it is also one of the most versatile pedal-driven fishing kayaks.
- Weighing about 62 lbs without the drive unit, the Propel 13 is the lightest 13 foot peddle drive kayak available. The Propel’s lightweight makes lifting effortless for transporting to your favorite spot and a day of hands-free fishing.
- With a thirteen-foot length and a 400-pound weight capacity, you have plenty of room for angler and gear. Built-in transducer mounts under the hull and multiple Groove Track rail mounts from bow-to-stern are standard accessories.
- The state-of-the-art peddles drive system allows you to move this kayak forward and backward. It also provides great speed and maneuverability ensuring a great catch for you.
- The kayak has a capacity to store a massive 400 pounds, and there is abundant storage space available. This makes sure that not only can you take everything that you require without worry, but also, it makes sure you can bring a hefty catch back home.
- The included rudder system on the kayak makes the kayak have increased control and stability, making sure you are safe.
- The kayak has no skid plates, so you need to be careful so as to not damage your vessel from the bottom.
- The included propulsion system will require you to use extreme caution in shallow water.
- Length: 13 feet
- Width: 36 inches
- Weight: 79 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Type: Sit-on-top kayak
- Propel Drive
- Slide adjust seat
- Electronics Console with thumbscrews
- Open bow hatch
- Super Seal plugs
- Open bow hatch
The Native Ultimate FX Propel 13 is the ideal kayak for anglers. The pedaling system makes it very easy to get used to, and the capacity helps you reel in all the big catches. It has great speed and maneuverability that makes sure you don’t miss your catch.
Wilderness Systems Aspire 105
|Hard to drain
The Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 is a very versatile vessel that allows you to experience amazing maneuverability and long-distance tracking.
- While it is not the fastest kayak in the world, considering its long and narrow size, the kayak glides exceptionally well and goes up faster on waves than most kayaks.
- The kayak’s long and narrow build surprisingly does not stop it from being one of the best maneuvering kayaks ever. It is very easy to track and eventually catch the fish.
- The kayak has a Phase 3 Airpro seating system which is extremely comfortable and can contour to any size paddler. This ensures a snug contact point for more control and efficient paddling.
- The kayak is very durable and weighs around 48lbs which means it is only moderately heavy, but luckily we found it is very easy to carry and transport.
- The Aspire 105 has great stability and safety which is very necessary for you to have a care-free experience when it comes to kayaking.
- The kayak has amazing maneuverability making it turn easy which is a vital skill for most anglers when they are out at sea.
- The kayak has the Phase Airpro 3 seating system which provides the back with ventilation, which is a key feature especially if you are out on your kayak for long periods of time.
- The kayak is relatively hard to drain which could prove to be very annoying.
- While it is not the heaviest kayak on the list, compared to other kayaks of the size, this is a little on the heavier side.
- Length: 10 feet 6 inches
- Width: 29 inches
- Weight: 48 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Type: Sit-on-top kayak
There are many good kayaks in the market these days but most of them do not come close to the Aspire especially in terms of versatility. This is definitely one of the best kayaks around.
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500
The kayaks reviewed in this buyer’s guide have been selected after thorough market research. The reviewed kayaks are all great options for anyone looking for a budget fishing kayak. They do differ slightly on features but largely offer the same kayaking experience. The differing features of these kayaks give you a great variety of options at affordable prices. If you want to spend a little more, however, read best fishing kayaks under $1000.
1. Lifetime Tamarack 120
Lifetime is a well-known brand, mainly due to the fact that they produce high-quality models at reasonable prices. A kayak is a long-term investment for many, so it’s absolutely important that you get one from a well-known brand.
- The Tamarack 120 is a high-quality kayak made from robust and durable materials. It has a polyethylene construction that is noted for its strength and rigidity, which is something that you would want in a kayak.
- The kayak is also UV-protected which means that it won’t ‘decay’ under extended exposure to sunlight.
- This sort of construction also allows it to be lightweight; an average adult will be able to carry it no problem.
- This kayak also demonstrates admirable performance in the water. It has a flat bottom which aids in stability and allows you to stand on top of the kayak without the fear of it tipping over.
- It features deep hull channels for superior tracking performance and chine rails for stability.
- Despite being a budget kayak, Lifetime has not skimped on features for this kayak. It comes with bungee ropes both on the front and back, which is useful for holding equipment in place. There are also front and rear T-handles for ease of transport overland. The kayak comes with two flush-mounted fishing rod holders, which is adequate for a single user. There are also a couple of 6-inch storage compartments located on the front and rear of the kayak.
- The kayak also offers reasonable comfort, thanks to an adjustable padded seat back and seat pad. The Lifetime Tamarack 120 comes with a 5-year warranty, so you can purchase it without any worries about quality and longevity.
Some reviewers mentioned that the kayak doesn’t track well.
- High-quality polyethylene construction; UV-protected
- Very light, can easily be carried on the go
- Durable and robust design
- Highly stable in the water thanks to the flat bottom
- Adjustable seat back for comfort
- Weight capacity of 275 pounds; can easily accommodate larger adults
- 5-year warranty
Video Review of Lifetime Tamarack
2. Sun Dolphin Journey
Best Sit-in Kayak
|Not for tall
|Light & Portable
The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 is a very promising option for those looking for a smaller fishing kayak.
- It measures 10 feet long, which makes it very light and portable. It is the smallest model available in Sun Dolphin’s sit-on-top kayak range.
- Its diminutive size is noteworthy, as it allows it to weigh just 44 pounds. The smaller size of this kayak means that anyone taller than 6 feet will face issues fitting comfortably in this kayak
- . The weight capacity of this model is 250 pounds, which is reasonable given the size of this kayak. It will still carry an adult with complete confidence.
- The Journey 10 offers decent tracking in water, although it’s not as good as the larger Journey 12 model.
- This is a kayak that is more suited to beginners who want to learn kayaking and fish as well
- . It’s reasonably well equipped too; it comes with two flush-mounted fishing rod holders behind the seat, as well as a swivel fishing rod holder at the front.
- To ensure you get the most comfort out of this kayak, the company has equipped it with adjustable footrests.
- It should be noted that the seat on this kayak isn’t the most comfortable, but that is a problem with most budget fishing kayaks as a whole.
- There’s also a paddle holder so you can simply put away the paddle when it’s not being used, without the fear of it sinking into the water.
- There’s a storage space on the rear of the kayak, which can be a bit tricky to access while you’re in water. It is however very secure so you can store valuables and sensitive goods without any fear.
- The kayak is stable enough for fish, however we wouldn’t recommend standing on top of this kayak.
- The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 is a nice entry-level fishing kayak for anyone on a budget.
- It doesn’t have the most features or the best tracking performance, but these small drawbacks are largely offset by the bargain price of this kayak.
- Constructed from high quality materials
- UV-protected which fights against fade and peel caused by sunlight
- Storage space sealed with a hatch that is well protected
- Affordable price
- Small size makes it easy to carry and store
3. Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak
Best buck for the money
|Comfortable Back Rest
|Multiple Storage Spaces
This is yet another small kayak that will suit beginners. It’s quite affordable and built to a high-quality standard.
- The 10-foot length makes it incredibly light and easy to carry around.
- This kayak is suitable for a single user and can carry the average adult with ease.
- The kayak features a comfortable backrest which means you can use this fishing kayak for extended periods.
- The kayak features a high-density polyethylene construction which gives it impressive strength and durability while keeping the overall weight low.
- There are multiple storage spaces where you can store gear and valuables. There’s also a sealed storage space to store sensitive items like electronics.
- The tracking performance in water is adequate, if not very impressive. This is a small kayak and if you want better performance it would be a good idea to move to fishing kayaks with a 12-foot length.
- Small size, highly portable, and easy to carry overland
- High-quality construction from polyethylene for superior strength and durability
- The accessory package includes paddles
- Plenty of storage space for a single user
- Sealed storage space for electronics
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado
Best 2-Person Kayak
|Rod Holder Position
|Air Tight System
So far, the budget kayaks that we have reviewed have one thing in common – they are all designed for a single paddler. This is often a necessary design choice as inexpensive kayaks cannot be made for more paddlers without raising the price. That’s where the Sevylor Coleman Colorado fishing kayak comes in. This is a budget fishing kayak that can easily support two paddlers in tandem.
- The Coleman features a very reasonable quality as far as its construction is concerned. It has an 18-gauge PVC construction that means it is highly rugged, while also being light. The bottom of the kayak is protected by 1000D tarpaulin and 840D nylon, which means this kayak is highly resistant to punctures which can be caused by sharp rocks.
- This kayak also features multiple air chambers for failure resistance. If one of the air chambers gets punctured, the other will stay inflated to ensure that the kayak stays afloat on top of the water. The kayak also features Airtight® System, so there will be no leaks.
- Sevylor has made sure that the two users who will be using this kayak will not be deprived of essential accessories – which is a fear we had due to the budget price of this kayak.
- It features Berkley® Quick Set Rod Holders, which greatly facilitate the user in hands-free fishing. And in case you’re not using your paddles, there are paddle holders to ensure that the paddles don’t get lost in the water.
- The inside of the kayak has multiple mesh storage pockets which keep essential gear and utility items close at hand.
- There are also multiple D-rings which means you can easily attach other equipment to this kayak.
- The seats on this kayak are inflatable and very comfortable. You can inflate them to the amount you feel is comfortable.
- There are a couple of carrying handles, one each for the front and rear of the kayak for ease of transport overland.
- The weight capacity of this kayak is 470 pounds, which is more than enough to accommodate two large adults and all their gear.
- The kayak doesn’t have an electronic trolling motor so its speed is slow.
- Some fishing enthusiasts have reported that the center rod holder is misplaced and it blocked them while they were fishing.
- Can be easily used by two paddlers
- High quality PVC construction
- Resistant to punctures and air leaks
- Very light, can be easily carried by a single person when fully deflated
- 470-pound weight capacity ensures use by two adults
- 1-year limited warranty
5. Emotion 90259 Renegade XT
Best for stability
|Stable & Light Weight
The Emotion Renegate XT fishing kayak comes just under 500 USD. Looking at the price, we would expect this kayak to offer a good mix of budget and mid-range features.
- The Renegate XT is constructed from high-density polyethylene which promotes superior strength and durability while keeping it lightweight. T
- This kayak can easily withstand scrapes with sharp rocks without getting damaged.
- It also features a special ST Performance hull which ensures superior stability and tracking. You don’t have to worry about fishing on this kayak, it is extremely stable and even allows you to stand on top of it.
- The Emotion Renegate XT is a lightweight kayak, weighing just 49 pounds.
- It also features front and rear handles for ease of transport overland.
- There’s plenty of storage space to store valuables and fishing gear. You can secure some luggage on the front of the kayak with help of bungee cords. At the rear, you have an elastic mesh that can again be used to hold some luggage. There’s also a sealed storage compartment to store sensitive equipment like electronics.
- There are two flush-mounted rod holders as well.
- The kayak is a baby-friendly unit as it has safety features for babies.
- The kayak comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
- The kayak doesn’t have a skeg – A skeg keeps a kayak running straight in crosswinds and stormy conditions.
- The experienced paddlers know that kayaks tend to turn into the wind.
- Renegate XT is not wide and can spin in high winds and rough waters.
- High-quality polyethylene construction for durability and lightweight
- Easy to transport
- ST Performance hull makes it very stable and ideal for fishing
- Comfortable seating position
- 3-year warranty
6. Sevylor Tahiti Fishing Kayak
Best for comfort
|Seat a bit uncomfortable
|Good Valve positioning
|If out of sync, paddles collide
|Yellow color, easy to spot
Sevylor Tahiti is a well-known name in the world of kayaks, especially when it comes to comfort and practicality.
- The adjustable seating and padded backrest on this kayak make it the perfect kayak for long fishing trips, however, the seats themselves aren’t the most comfortable.
- The kayak comes with two spray covers that can be a lifesaver if you want to keep dry in wet conditions.
- The carry handles on this kayak are firm which provide great ease of use whether you’re carrying the kayak in shallow water or pulling it out after your trip.
- The double lock valves, with there two locking points, help the kayak to have very convenient inflation and deflation.
- The kayak has a 21-gauge PVC build that makes it one of the most durable kayaks in the market.
- The kayak has an Airtight system that effectively prevent leakages from happening, and in the event of a leak, the air chambers are there to make sure you get to the shore safely.
- Length: 10.4 feet
- Width: 34.8 inches
- Weight: 19.36 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 360 pounds
- Capacity: 2 people
- Type: Sit-in kayak
7. Old Town Vapor 10 Angler
Best for every condition
|Very well built
|Doesn’t come with a paddle
|Speed could be better
|Rounded hull design
|Good for all conditions
If you are a beginner kayaker, and you are looking for a compact, affordable and durable kayak, the Old Town Vapor 10 Angler is a great one for you.
- The kayak has a relatively more open cockpit, which is great for people who do not want to feel confined for long fishing trips.
- The kayak has amazing stability, which takes a major worry off your shoulders if you are in rough waters.
- The kayak has a robust build which gives it amazing durability. You do not have to worry if you collide with rocks because you can rest assured, they won’t dent the Old Town Vapor 10.
- It has a very comfortable cockpit with adjustable seats and plenty of room. You can easily fit your gear and still sit comfortably.
- It weighs only 49lbs making it one of the most lightweight kayaks out there. It has two carrying handles which makes it very easy to carry.
- It also has good tracking and moves with a lot of speed so that you can run after your catch easily.
- Length: 10 feet
- Width: 28.5 inches
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
8. Pelican Premium Sentinel 100XR
Best for portability
|Lightweight & portable
|No Dry Storage
|Durable and Robust
|No Rod Holders
|Good stability and maneuverability
|Best for beginners
Ease of maneuvering, compactness, and durability are some of the reasons why the Pelican Premium Sentinem 100XR is one of the best beginner kayaks out there.
- The pelican weighs only 42lbs and has inbuilt carrying handles making it very easy to transport and carry around.
- The kayak is made of RAM-X™, a durable triple-layer high-molecular-weight polyethylene, on top of that Pelican offers a limited lifetime warranty on the hull and deck, meaning this kayak will be with you for a good long time.
- The storage platform and tank on the Sentinel both come with bungee cords, making sure you have plenty of space to bring along anything you might need.
- The Pelican Sentinel has the ErgoLounge™ seating system which provides extra cushioning, furthermore, it has a high and wide backrest, making sure that you are very comfortable sitting in it and in no hurry to go back.
- ExoShell 13L removable storage compartment allows you to pack your gear at home for quick loading once you get waterside
- It is compact and easy to maneuver both on and off the water, as well as being lightweight for easier carrying. Its 30-inch wide hull can also help provide stability. However, this may hinder its performance when it comes to speed.
- Length: 9 feet 6 inches
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight: 42 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 275 pounds (for one person)
- Material: RAM-X Premium polyethylene plastic
9. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
Best for versatility
|Weighs a lot
|Handles very well
|Difficult to drain
|A very stable vessel
|Made from water-resistant fabric
|Really easy to setup
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem is a high-performing and versatile vessel, and one that doesn’t dent your pockets.
- The AE Convertible handles really well for a kayak made from fabric and filled with air. Its 15-foot length with multiple 2-4 inch tracking fins and one small skeg help it stay true to course as you enjoy the sights along your route.
- The Kayak has high seatbacks that are great for lounging. Also, the kayak is lower, which makes it more stable, easier to paddle, and reduces wind resistance.
- The AdvancedFrame comes with a thorough manual, which helps you set up the kayak very easily.
- Its high weight of 55lbs makes it a very tough kayak in terms of transportation and carrying around.
- The kayak is extremely durable where the bottom of the hull is made from PVC tarpaulin which is puncture resistant. It has internal aluminum ribs that provide it with more durability. It also has a drop-stitch floor and three layers of ripstop material to keep you floating above the waves.
- Length: 15′
- Width: 2’8″
- Weight: 55 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 550 pounds
- Capacity: 2 persons
10. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak
Best for calm waters
|Low-quality carry bags
|Not good for heavy waters
|Carry handles twist while handling
|Quick inflation and deflation
Intex Explorer K2 is a budget-friendly inflatable two-person kayak that works perfectly in calmer water such as lakes, slow-moving rivers, and bays.
- It is built with SUPER-TOUGHTM 30-gauge vinyl over a 1200 denier nylon shell with an inflatable I-beam floor and internal tubes which makes it puncture resistant and exceptionally durable.
- It has two separate air chambers to keep you afloat if things go wrong.
- Explorer K2 is wider than other kayaks which helps in stability in the water and prevents it from wobbling and flipping.
- The lightweight of this kayak makes its maneuverability easier.
- It also comes with a removable skeg that you can install in the base of the kayak to get better tracking results.
- Explorer K2 comes with two inflatable seats which remain comfortable for around 3-4 hours of kayaking.
- This kayak has spacious space for fishing gears and your personal belonging but there are not any separate compartments.
- Length: 10’3”
- Width: 3 foot
- Weight: 35.31 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Material: High-Quality Vinyl
- 86” Aluminum Oars
Sit-in vs Sit-on-top kayaks
The biggest decision you need to make before choosing the right kayak is between these two types. Both of these have completely different uses.
These are for stable waters. If you want to relax and unwind on a lake and do some casual kayaking, these are the way to go. One thing you need to consider is that there is a huge chance of you getting et on these. Also while sit-in kayaks may cause claustrophobia, these won’t have that problem. These are a bit heavier than sit-in ones, draining is very easy using scupper plugs and, it’s very to get into and out of these.
These are good for tracking and if you want speed. You can get to places fast using paddling. Since you are sitting in, they will also give you better protection during wet waters. They also carry a risk of capsizing so you need to learn how to do a wet exit. If you are an angler, this might be the best way to go.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Fishing Kayak
Budget fishing kayaks tend to be smaller in size than expensive models. The smaller space naturally means that you have limited space to store your gear. We recommend that the kayak you choose should have ample storage space for your carry-on fishing gear. A sealed storage compartment is an essential feature as you can comfortably store electronics and non-water resistant items.
Do not overlook the durability of a kayak. Budget kayak does not mean that the kayak can get away with being low quality. A kayak will always be a long-term investment, and high-quality construction means that it will serve you for some time to come.
Kayaks that are long and narrow are comparatively faster in water. On the other hand, short and wide kayaks provide more stability in water at the cost of speed.
So, which kayak length you should choose? It ultimately depends on what kind of water you would be fishing on. So, if you are planning to fish in large water bodies, a long and narrow fishing kayak will be more suitable as it will be faster. But, if you want to fish in ponds pr other small water bodies, you should opt. for a small and wide fishing kayak.
The portability of a fishing kayak is an important factor. If your kayak is too heavy to carry around, then it will not be a pleasant experience for you. However, the accessories in your kayak will have a major impact on the weight of your fishing kayak. So, you will have to compromise somewhere.
For a single-person kayak, around 50 pounds is reasonable enough to carry on your own.
Whether you need an anchoring device or not, totally depends on the kind of water you will be fishing on. If you are fishing in rough waters, you will most definitely need an anchoring device to make sure that your kayak is not carried away by streams.
However, if you are fishing on calm waters, there is no need to worry about any anchoring device as the kayaks mentioned above provide reasonably good stability.
Fishing Kayak Features Explained
The stern is the back of a boat and can be designed in many different ways. Some designs make boats easier to maneuver while others keep them more stable even when they are moving quickly through rough waters.
The front exterior of the boat is called the nose, bow, or prow. The shape of the nose affects how it enters the water and has an impact on its speed.
The bottom of your kayak is called the hull. It affects its stability, speed, and comfort. There are two main types of hull shapes: flat-bottom or V-shaped. Flat bottom boats have greater stability but less responsiveness whereas the deeper V shape offers a more tipsy feel at the expense of being able to move faster through the water.
Kayaks typically come with movable pegs or molded footrests where you can brace your feet while paddling. If you are on the taller or short end, make sure to take into account how the footrests will affect your comfortability and whether they can be adjusted if needed!
The rudder, also known as a skeg, is a small fin that attaches to the bottom of your kayak and helps you keep it on course when faced with windy conditions like crosswinds. This rudder provides stability against any pushback from currents or winds. If used correctly, it can make navigating in rough oceans much easier for novice paddlers!
Choosing the right fishing kayak
The best fishing kayak is the one that will suit your needs. Although the options presented in this fishing kayak review are all excellent kayaks, you need to decide which one will really serve your purpose.
The Malibu X-Stealth is an excellent all-rounder that combines rock-solid stability with good performance in the water. It is relatively economical and is chock-full of features that are found in much more expensive kayaks. If you’re looking to explore the realm of kayaking and want something versatile, the X-Stealth should be on the top of your buying list.
Enthusiast kayakers who want a high-end model with a high degree of engineering will find the Hobie Mirage Outback to be an excellent choice. Its unique MirageDrive was built with anglers in mind and speaks volumes about its designers’ commitment to providing its users with the best fishing experience. It is a costly kayak, however, so casual kayakers might find its price difficult to justify.
Families or beginner users who’re looking at kayaking as a potential new hobby should consider the Lifetime Sport Fisher. It has an entry-level price which makes it easier to buy. The high build quality of this kayak ensures that you can really grow into it and not want much else. It is on the heavier side and performance-minded kayakers will find it cumbersome in the waters.
Budget fishing kayaks are a great way for beginners to get into the hobby of fishing. They are a good alternative to boats as kayaks require less maintenance and are generally more portable. The kayaks we have listed above are all good options for anyone looking for a fishing kayak on a budget. Do thorough research before you buy a fishing kayak.
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