Kayaking is a great way to explore the world around you. So whether you are looking for a leisurely paddle on a lake or want to take on rapids and waterfalls, there is a kayak out there that will suit your needs. To help narrow down your search, we have compiled our ten best kayaks for lakes and rivers here!
A kayak is a great way to get out on the water and enjoy quality time with friends or family. There are multiple kayaks, including sit-on-top and inflatable varieties, which you can take anywhere. Prioritize your needs when choosing one so that you pick the best option for your situation; read our guide below to learn more!
Best Kayaks for Lakes and Rivers Buying guide:
What to look for when buying a kayak? Many people are overwhelmed by the sheer number of different types and brands in today’s market. Therefore, it is essential to understand what features you need in your new boat to narrow down your options. This guide will help you buy one based on your needs!
First things: where do you plan on using it? There are two main categories – rivers or lakes/coastal bodies of water. When choosing between these two, there are some factors which matter more than others, such as waves (more prevalent in coastal areas) or currents (more vigorous river flows), available space (you may want something more significant if rivers prove due to trees overhanging or other obstacles), and of course personal preference.
Secondly, a kayak’s main feature is its ‘sit-on-top vs. ‘ inflatable’ construction – do you go for one that has an open cockpit (you sit on the top) or something inflatable? Inflatables are more comfortable as they have built-in seats that usually recline at least partially, whereas those designed to be used with bare legs tend to offer only backrests.
The choice here should depend primarily on how tall you are: people under about six feet will find them uncomfortable due to their lower leg positioning, while taller folks will probably feel cramped by sitting inside models!
Thirdly, decide whether a rud system (a rudder controlled by foot pedals) or a steering system (controlled with the paddles – either one for each hand, both hands on one paddle, or a sliding seat to reach them while sitting in front of the kayak’s cockpit) is more important.
If your body size and strength allow you to use a single blade all day long without tiring out too quickly, then going with just that will be cheaper than buying an extra-long model which has two rudders at the back!
Fourthly, other features may matter depending on where you plan to go: if it’s not for calm waters but somewhat choppy seas, there should be some foam around the boat so even when riding over its hull won’t hurt your legs – this is not required for most lakes or rivers though. Other things to keep in mind are where you’ll be storing it (canoes, kayaks, and boats with inflatable construction are more vulnerable to sharp objects), ease of transport thanks to the wheels on some models, how much storage space they have, etc.
What else? Don’t forget that many companies sell multiple types of single kayaks, so if something seems too tiny, then go for a bigger one! Some offer ‘backpackable’ versions, which can be disassembled into parts easily carried by hand, but these tend to cost extra money as well. As always, when buying any product, cheap ones will likely compromise quality over price, while expensive brands usually provide better materials and artistry.
Finally, if you want to make the most of your investment, then consider buying a model that comes with all sorts of accessories included – paddles are often sold separately. Still, some kayaks have them attached directly on board or already stored inside! If money is not an issue, then even life vests may be thrown in for free, so new buyers don’t need to worry about these things before they go out fishing. This review has given you plenty of information that will help narrow down your options when choosing one, so check our list now and pick what works best for you!
Best Kayak Brands
Our Top 5 Picks
- Perception Pescador 10.0
- Sea Eagle 393RL Razorlite
- Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal
- Eddyline Skylark
- Old Town Topwater 106
Perception Pescador 10.0
This kayak is one of the best-selling models. It features a low-profile, streamlined design that makes it easy to paddle through calm water or down rivers and rapids. The hull shape allows you to cut effortlessly through waves without getting caught up in them too much. The only downside is that this kayak isn’t very stable- especially if there are swells under your boat!
We recommend using it with an experienced group as beginners may find trouble staying upright for long periods. This model also lacks storage space, so try not to plan on taking anything but the bare minimum out onto open water with you unless you want everything soaked by the end of your trip!
Sea Eagle 393RL Razorlite
|Hull Weight||16 kg.|
|Interior||371 cm x 43 cm|
|Load Capacity||1 Person or 227 kg|
|Deflated||56 cm x 56 cm x 30.5 cm|
|Chambers||3 (port, starboard, floor)|
|Tube Diameter||21.6 cm High x 10 cm Thick|
|Air Valves||3 Recessed One Way|
|Inflation time||7 min|
|Material||1100 Decitex Reinforced|
|Floor||Attached High-Pressure Drop Stitch Floor|
|Inflation Pressure||10 psi|
This kayak is one of the best-selling models. It features a low-profile, streamlined design that makes it easy to paddle through calm water or down rivers and rapids. The hull shape allows you to cut effortlessly through waves without getting caught up in them too much.
The only downside is that this kayak isn’t very stable- especially if there are swells under your boat! We recommend using it with an experienced group as beginners may find trouble staying upright for long periods.
This model also lacks storage space, so try not to plan on taking anything but the bare minimum out onto open water with you unless you want everything soaked by the end of your trip!
Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal
|Number of Paddlers||
|Weight Capacity (lbs)||
Carbonlite ABS plastic
35 x 18.5 inches
Padded / Foam
|Number of Paddlers||
Old Town Topwater 106
- Length: 10 foot 6 inches
- Width: 34.5 inches
- Weight: 73 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 440 pounds
The Old Town Topwater 106 is an excellent kayak for fishing in lakes and rivers. It comes with features like multiple paddle keepers, built-in rod holders, and generous storage compartments that you’ll find helpful when out on the water.
One thing to keep in mind is that the kayak can be a little heavy for one person, so you’ll want another person there to help load it onto your vehicle. Other than that, customers are delighted with this model and find it much easier to fish out of compared to other models they have tried before.
This kayak comes at an affordable price point, making it even more appealing if you need something practical but straightforward enough for fishing purposes.
What is the best kayak for lakes and rivers?
Purchasing a kayak for lakes and rivers is an activity that many people have been interested in but may not know how to choose the best option. If you’re wondering what kind of kayaks are available on the market today, then check out our list below!
It’s important to note that some kayaks can be used both on rivers and lakes while others are only made for one or the other type of waterway; therefore, it’s essential to make sure your choice will work where you need it most before making any big purchases. Let’s get started!
The first kayak on our list is the Intex Explorer. This inflatable option has received a hearty number of positive reviews, and we can see why- it’s lightweight and features an adjustable backrest, so you won’t have to worry about comfortability! If you’re looking for something that offers similar value but at a lower price point than what’s listed above, then check out the Sevylor Quikpak K180.
This one also comes with everything mentioned previously and additional benefits such as storage compartments and carrying straps; however, its overall weight capacity is slightly less than those other options. The third choice on our list is the Old Town Vapor (a lightweight model) designed by professional kayakers who know what they’re doing.
It’s packed with features such as a comfortable seat and adjustable foot braces, but it does have one flaw- the lack of storage space! If you need to transport all your belongings alongside yourself, this might not be the best choice for you because there are no additional compartments or pockets available to store items.
The final option on our list is called an inflatable kayak from Sevylor, which comes equipped with everything mentioned above except for a paddle; however, we think that wouldn’t matter since most people who purchase them already own their paddles, so it would just mean more money saved! In addition, few customers offered negative comments about its overall quality when compared to other options currently found within the marketplace.