best kayaks for beginners

best recreational kayaks

When starting out in anything it’s important to get the proper equipment. Except learning will be harder and you may get discouraged. Hence why we are glad that you decided to have a look at this review of the best kayaks for beginners 2018.

These affordable kayaks will make learning the basics of kayaking fun. Plus they are durable enough to be used for a very long period while until you progress and gain experience. These kayaks are specially designed with improved stability and also you will be surprised by their maneuverability also.

Best Beginner Kayak 2018

1. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Sit-in Kayak

best kayaks for beginners

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This sun dolphin 10-inch kayak is uniquely designed for easy use and stability. Making it one of the best recreational kayaks and a good buy for any beginner. First of it is made of rugged, high-density polyethylene. Making it one of the most durable kayaks also. Also it is designed with adjustable foot braces and protective thigh pads. To ensure you have a comfortable ride with no bump or bruises.Overall if you’re looking for an inexpensive kayak, that is great for children or adults, this is the one for you.


Very affordable

Well built with durable material

Comfortable padded seats, with a high back for good back support, an open cockpit. This helps to ensure that users have a very comfortable ride. Customers have constantly compared the space and quality of comfort of this kayak to more expensive kayaks.

Also designed with carrying handles for easy transportation. Plus weighing only 40 pounds this kayak is light enough for practically anyone to carry it on their own. Because of its design, you can easily carry it even in a small car.

With a weight limit of 290 pounds and large cockpit space, this kayak can be used by almost anyone in the family. It is also popular amongst taller customers also

Easy to re-enter after taking a swim

Offers good buoyancy, and is also very stable for choppy waters. As the makers of the Aruba kayak made sure to include a wider body and flat bottom. This hull shape ensures a stable ride, plus its short length makes it easier to handle.

Also designed with an adjustable plastic foot peg, that has gotten rave reviews from previous owners


Not built for speed, but instead for recreational purposes and is definitely able to take a beating

2. Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle

best beginner kayaks for fishing 2018

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The lifetime youth 6 feet wave kayak is one of the best kayaks for a child. With this kayak, you will be able to start taking them out to the water from just 5 years old. As this kayak is designed for a maximum body weight of 130 pounds, making it a good fit for older children also. With an ergonomic cockpit design, they will have numerous footrest positions. And this design also helps to ensure good balance and stability while in use. Furthermore its unique swim up deck makes it easy for re-entry.


Weighing only 18 pounds, making this kayak light enough that some children will be able to transport it on their own

Uniquely designed features for easy re-entry and added stability, with a reverse chine hull design

Easy to use, plus it as an easy access climb up rear deck

Designed with self-bailing scupper holes, that quickly drains out any water that was inside the kayak

The manufacturers are so confident that this is a top quality product that they offer a 5-year warranty with your purchase. This kayak is built with very durable polyethylene that is also UV protected. So you won’t have to worry about the color fading or any of those annoying cracks appearing

Uses a twin fin design that assists in tracking and surf riding, with these features its no surprise why this kayak is loved by kids


Seems that these kayaks are designed with a small hole in the front that sometimes causes a small amount of water to seep through

3. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Best beginner kayak 2018

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Here we have the best tandem kayak for beginners. This is one of the most highly rated compact tandems on the market. Its design allows it to fit two adults and even a small child or pet. Has it has a max capacity of between 375 to 425 pounds. This makes it the perfect kayak to teach almost anyone, whether kids or even adults. As both of you will be on board at the same time allowing you to show them the proper techniques while having fun together.


Designed with 3 molded in seat

Also is built with comfortable seat backs to ensure you have a relaxed experience

Very durable and well built

Also has a convenient overlapping foot well

Can also be used as a solo paddled kayak

Has a self-draining/bailing design


Doesn’t have any storage compartments

4. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump

best inflatable kayak for ocean

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At under $100 this is one of the cheapest kayaks on the market. Designed by the Intex brand the Challenger K1 Kayak is made of durable welded materials. And heavy duty vinyl that has been proven over time to be puncture proof. Furthermore it takes only a few minutes to inflate or deflate. Allowing you to get into the water quickly and starting your adventure. In addition you will receive an adjustable seat, that is designed with a comfortable backrest. This 1 person inflatable kayak has a max weight of 220 pounds.


Good size cockpit that allows good foot space and comfort

Built with durable puncture proof material

Budget friendly price at under 100

Designed with a cargo net, this can be used for storage of accessories

Lightweight and easy to handle, has it weighs only 27 pounds


Some customers have complained about the quality of the free paddle that comes with this kayak. As it seems to have minimum grip  

5. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

best sit on top kayaks for beginners

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Built with tarpaulin bottom, the Sevylor quikpak k1 kayak is durable and offers good protection from punctures. Also the 21 gauge PVC construction makes it rugged enough to handle the rigors of the lake. Ensuring that you get value for your money and years of use. Furthermore it is has a comfortable seat and backrest. And enough cockpit space for multiple footrest positions. To ensure that you have a comfortable experience. In addition it is designed with a drink holder and also bungee storage to place your accessories.


This kayak weighs only 19.75 pounds making it easy to transport and manage by almost anyone

Also it has a max weight limit of up to 400 pounds

Very reasonable price

Well built and also as a rugged tarpaulin bottom

Designed with multiple air chambers


Comes with a free paddle but it doesn’t seem to be durable

Kayaks Buyers Guide

So you have made the leap and decided to buy a kayak. But you don’t which kayak to buy? Well you have come to the right place. Gone are the days when people use to shun the title of beginners kayaks. As you will realize from the above review the kayaks on this list are highly rated. These kayaks are normally more reasonable compared to other kayaks. Furthermore a good beginner’s kayak offers good buoyancy. As they well designed making it easy for users to learn the basics while offering the same quality of safety as the more expensive kayaks.

For instance, the Aruba 10 kayak is very reasonable priced. Is designed with large open cockpit, giving you maximum leg room and flexibility. In addition its uniquely designed hull gives you more stability than most kayaks. Furthermore it is well built with the most durable materials on the market. Allowing this kayak to handle rugged treatment without getting damage.

Things To Consider When Buying A Kayak

Size: – Has you can see from the list of kayaks above, kayaks are designed in various sizes. So you will need to decide if you need a kayak for one person or two people. One way to make up your mind, is figuring out what you will be mainly using the kayak for. For instance if you’re planning to go on a trip by yourself a one seater would be a good choice. But if you plan on going kayaking with your friends or spouse. A tandem two person or three seater kayaks would be your best choice. For a trip like that, I would recommend the Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu as not only does it seat up to 3 persons. With a max weight limit of up to 500 pounds. But it can also on other occasions be used as a solo paddled kayak also.

Seating: – Majority of beginner kayaks are sit on top. A sit on top kayak are considered the best choice for persons new to kayaking as their design makes them easier to use. Also sit on top kayaks offer more comfort and provides more legroom compared to sit in kayaks. Furthermore sit on top kayaks works best for practically anybody type. And best of their open deck design, users are less likely to being trapped in the boat if it capsizes.

Kayak Weight Capacity: –

Each kayak has a max weight limit. So before choosing your desired kayak, it would be best to know our body weight. With this in mind, the kayaks on this list weight capacity vary. Plus a good beginner’s kayak has to have a wide hull. To provide adequate space for comfort and also this tends to help with stability.

Kayak use: – Are you planning to use your kayak for fishing well the best beginners kayak for fishing is the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10.It may also be considered as the best recreational kayak for beginners also. While our favorite tandem kayak for beginners is the Ocean Kayak Malibu two. Each of these kayaks is specifically designed to stand out the in a specific area.

Budget: – Being that this more than likely will be the first kayak your buying. There is no need to break the bank and spend thousands. Instead it would be in your best interest to choose an affordable kayak. And gain some practice and time and experience on the water. And then depending on your thoughts, more than likely upgrade to a different kayak. But for now, stick with the kayaks on this list as they are all below $800.

Inflatable kayak or Not?

This is a very important question. But it actually depends on other factors. First of how far are you planning to travel to go kayaking? If it’s in close proximity or you have access to a vehicle. Well, any of these kayaks would be a good choice. But if you don’t readily have access to a vehicle and you’re planning to travel to different destinations and would like to bring your kayak along. It would be best to choose an inflatable kayak. As they are more portable because they can easily deflate and folded in a smaller size. This makes it easier to transport and also easy to store. Furthermore they are also lightweight, with some kayak weighing even 28 pounds.

Why should you place an identification sticker on your kayak?

You may be wondering what’s the purpose of a coast guard ID or paddle smart identification sticker. Well although we never set out on an adventure with the intention to drift away or meet in any distress. It is always wise to plan for the unexpected. Hence why over the years kayakers have been advised to place a sticker or some form of tag on their kayak.

By doing this you will make the work of the coast guards a lot easier. There have numerous incidents over the past where person’s kayaks have floated away on a rising tide or blown off someone’s dock. And because there was no way to contact a possible owner the coast guards has to assume that someone is missing. This lack of information not only puts a strain on coast guard resources but also consumes their precious time that could be used to actually save a life. Furthermore after spending all that money if your kayak should drift way I am sure you would like it to be returned when found.

Kayak maintenance

Kayak Storage: –First off make sure the kayak has no water. Non-foldable kayaks should be stored on its side or in a vertical position temporarily.If for the long term you should store slung on their sides using a web strap if possible. But please exercise caution and don’t strap the ropes too tightly around the kayak. Has this may cause damage and depending on the length of time it may end up causing deformation of the kayak. The best place to store a kayak would be in the garage. But if you don’t have a garage well the second best option would be to store the kayak somewhere that it won’t be exposed to direct sunlight. Has constant UV rays exposure has proven over time that it dramatically shortens the lifespan of kayaks.

Cleaning and maintenance: – after buying your new kayak please don’t become lackadaisical and cast your kayak to side until you’re ready to hit the waters again. It always feels easier and less time consuming to clean our kayak as soon as possible. One major advantage of doing this is soon is you get the chance to check for any damages. And repairs if necessary you have more than enough time to fix it before you head out again.

Usually all that is required is a quick rinse off with fresh water. This is even more important if you’re paddling in saltwater. And if your kayak has rudder and foot braces, be sure to rinse those off also. As this will remove any built up residue. For best maintenance, we also recommend that you use the carrying handles on kayaks. Instead of dragging the kayak on the ground. As this will help to prolong the life and durability of your kayak.

Tips for first Time Kayakers

  • Be sure to wear a personal flotation device (PFD)
  • Also before you go on the water, be sure to check your kayak and equipment for any signs of damage or possible failure
  • If you should go whitewater paddling please ensure that you wear a helmet and proper safety equipment
  • Always keep aware of the river water levels and tidal changes and dangerous currents.
  • Though not a must I recommend that you make someone aware of your desired paddling location for that said day before leaving out, just in case.

Final Thoughts: – Not only are these rated as the best beginner kayak 2018. But they can also be used even after you have progressed and gained experience. I hope with this article you will be able to choose a kayak that suits your specific needs


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