Best Beginner Kayak

If you’ve ever wondered about the world of kayaking, then you might be overwhelmed by the amount of choice that you have. If you take even a cursory look at Amazon, then you’ll be overwhelmed with choice, but that still begs the question: which is the best kayak for you?

Well, this will all depend on what you want from your first kayak. If you were to ask most kayakers, they’d probably say that they want something that keeps them stable in the water and will stop them from toppling over into the drink.

There are a few terms that you’ll need to know before splashing out on your first kayak: things like the splash skirt, which is the enclosure that wraps around your waist to keep you safe from water. You’ll also want certain design features that will allow the kayak to glide through the water without steering.

You’ll also want a hatch in your first kayak, as it will help you to store your personal items without getting them wet. It is very important to have a hatch that is entirely waterproof so that you don’t damage your electronic devices.

So what is the best kayak for a beginner? What features should it have to make sure a sure and true glide through the water? What materials should it be made from to give you a reliable journey? How much will one of these cost you in terms of price?

Well, if you are looking for answers to your kayak-related questions, then we would suggest that you keep reading.

We have not only compiled a list of great kayaks for newbies, but we have also written up a buyer’s guide that will help you to identify some of the must-have features for your next kayak.


Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Olive, 10-Feet)

Our first kayak has been described by beginners as one of the best kayaks they have ever owned, coming at an incredibly low price point and being very easy to handle and set up.

This has a lightweight design that will allow for easy steering on calmer waters. It also has a carry box that is easy to store things - introducing the Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak.


  • This has foot braces and a padded seat that will help you get comfortable. This is very important when you are steering through trickier waters.
  • This does not have that many accessories, but that might be perfect for a beginner who just wants to learn the ropes.
  • This comes in several color options, so you won’t be limited when trying to find a kayak that really suits your personality.
  • This is very lightweight and can be maneuvered very easily. If you are struggling with the paddles, we would recommend taking this one out on still water and experimenting.


  • This is not as durable as some of the other kayaks that you might get on this list. If you like to coast on harder rapids, then we might suggest that you look for something different.


Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak Beach LT - Stable, Durable, Lightweight - Lake and River Kayaks - Beginner, Intermediate - Size (unfolded): 12'1' x 29', Weight: 25 Lbs

Next up, we have an extremely lightweight kayak that can be folded up as and when you need it.

This is one of the most versatile kayaks that we have on this list, giving you everything that you need for great storage space and reliability out on the waters - introducing the Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak.


  • You can carry this one very easily in your backpack, it is so lightweight yet still handles very well when you are out on the water.
  • This is great for solo paddlers who want to be at one with nature, giving you everything that you need for a solid and durable journey.
  • This is a great kayak to get started with, it comes with very few complicated features and you can whip it out on the stillest of waters.
  • This is great for winding your way down the narrow river and slow-moving waterways. You can also use it to get comfortable on a still body of water.


  • This is one of the most expensive kayaks that we have on this list, so you’ll want to make sure that you have deep pockets before buying this one.


Perception Kayaks Unisex's Pescador Fishing Kayak, Funkadelic, 12'

This next kayak comes with plenty of storage options, allowing you to store any number of items on your kayak. This is great if you want to keep your items very secure, with plenty of waterproof storage.

This kayak also tracks very nicely in the water, allowing you a very comfortable and calm ride on still waters - introducing Perception Pescador 12.


  • This has the most storage of any beginner kayak that we’ve seen. This will be a relief if you are struggling to find a space to put your keys, wallet and phone.
  • This kayak is very lightweight and best to carry to the shore. It also won’t take up that much space on your car or truck.
  • This boat tracks very well in the water, giving you everything that you need for a dead-straight trajectory.
  • This has a very comfortable seat, which will give you plenty of options when it comes to relaxation and the ability to steer your boat comfortably.


  • The price - this is another very expensive boat, which will certainly deter the average kayaker who doesn’t want to shell out that much for a sport they only engage in casually.


This kayak is generally aimed at more expert levels of kayaker, but that’s not to say that a beginner cannot use it.

This comes with great features that you can be sure will give you everything that you need for decent steering capabilities, with lightweight construction and a handsfree steering control - introducing the Old Town Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak.


  • This comes with two waterproof hatches that you can use to store all of your personal devices without having to leave them on the shore.
  • This has thigh pads that you can use for extra comfortable grips, making long journeys much easier to accomplish.
  • This has optional rod holders that you can use to pitch up your fishing rods and catch some large and tasty bass.
  • This kayak is made from extremely durable materials, this is quite simply a kayak that will last you for years to come.


  • The price - yet another very expensive kayak. This is reserved only for those people who are going to go out on the water a few times a month.


Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Sunrise

This next kayak is amazing when it comes to stability. It will be hard to flip this one, making it a great model for those kayakers who want to take their kayaking game from the still waters to the slightly choppier rivers.

This will make sure kayaking and swimming are very convenient and comfortable - introducing the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak.


  • This has a dry hatch that will make storing essentials easy - you won’t have to worry about your phone getting wet in this kayak!
  • This has molded paddle rests that will improve your steering and make you feel extra safe in the water.
  • This has bungee storage in the back and front of the kayak, allowing you to secure your kayak to the shore when you are not using it.
  • This kayak is well-weighted and with a deep cut design, you can be sure that it will keep you secure and afloat even on the most tricky of waterways.


  • This kayak is not great for covering long distances, as it will really take its time and does not have the power of some of the lighter kayaks.

Best Beginner Kayaks Buying Guide

When it comes to getting the perfect kayak for a beginner, there will be a few basic features that you’ll need.

Firstly, you’ll need something that keeps you on top of the water rather than rolling underneath it. Secondly, you’ll need something that is durable and that you can steer properly.

Here are a few things you’ll need for your first kayak:

Best Beginner Kayak

Does It Have Storage?

Very rarely will you want to leave your belongings in your car or on the side of the shore, especially if you are going to be taking trips that will last you for a few hours or even a day.

Having watertight storage will be very important if you need somewhere to keep your belongings.

What Is The Size And Weight Of Your Kayak?

You’ll have to consider the weight and size of your kayak for a whole host of different reasons. Firstly, will it fit in your vehicle? Often it can be a real hassle to transport your kayak from one place to another, which might put you off doing it altogether.

Another reason to consider the weight will be how well it lies on the water. Tracking will also be influenced by the weight of your kayak, as the weight of the kayak is what propels it through the water without you having to steer. Tracking is also greatly determined by how heavy your kayak is.

How Comfortable Is It?

Having a comfortable kayak could add hours to your journey. Ideally, you’ll want something with a comfortable seat that won’t cut off the circulation to your legs. Having leg supports will also be very important if you are going for a day-long trip.

If you know that you have shorter legs, then you’ll want a kayak that accommodates this. The last thing you’ll need is a kayak that cuts off the blood supply or that makes you feel uncomfortable. Being out on the water longer will also help with your practice.

Is Your Kayak A Single Or A Tandem?

A tandem kayak will be when you are kayaking with another person. This can be really useful when you are starting out kayaking, as it will help you share the burden of rowing, allowing you both to relax and enjoy the scenery.

If you have young children that you want to take out on the water, then a tandem kayak can be another brilliant way of keeping an eye on them as well as showing them the basics. You can teach them kayaking without having to shout at them from the shoreline.

However, you might prefer a single kayak for the solitude and comfort that it affords you. Tandem kayaks are also very heavy and cumbersome, so you might prefer to lighten the load of your gear.

Best Beginner Kayaks - FAQ's

What Is The Difference Between A Sit-Inside And A Sit-On-Top?

This might sound self-explanatory, but a Sit-Inside (SI) is a kayak that holds you inside the body, usually with a splash skirt that will protect your legs from the water.

These models are much more secure and you can practice plenty of moves with it. This is great for cold-water kayaking and the food braces will give you better leverage.

Sit-On-Tops (SOTs), however, give you much more freedom on the surface of your kayak. They have scupper holes that will allow the water to run off the sides.

They are also great for warm weather kayaking where you’ll want the ability for sweat and other uncomfortable liquids to run off back into the water.

Our Final Say

We hope that our list of beginner kayaks has helped you to determine which one is going to be the best for you when you first decide to strike out on your water adventure.

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