Best Kayak for Beginners [2024] Top 8 Reviews & Buying Guide

Buying a kayak might be your best decision if you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a new adventure. Kayaking offers a unique experience that combines the thrill of exploration with the serenity of nature. Whether you’re paddling along peaceful lakes or conquering exhilarating rapids, there’s a kayak that can undoubtedly open up a world of possibilities.

One of the main reasons to buy a kayak is the freedom it provides. Unlike other water sports, kayaking allows you to navigate tight spaces and explore areas inaccessible by larger boats. From hidden coves to secluded beaches, you can discover hidden gems you might never have encountered otherwise. With a kayak, you have the freedom to choose your adventure.

If you’re new to kayaking, finding the best kayak for beginners is essential. Various types and models are available, each catering to different needs and preferences.

Look for a kayak that offers stability and maneuverability, making it easier to control and paddle. Additionally, consider the size and weight of the kayak, ensuring that it is manageable for you to transport and store.

Besides the incredible outdoor experiences, kayaking is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being. It’s a fantastic full-body workout that engages your core, arms, and shoulders.

Furthermore, spending time on the water can help reduce stress, improve mood, and increase mindfulness. It’s a chance to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life and reconnect with nature.

Here is a summary of the key points to be considered while purchasing a kayak.

  1. Type of Kayak for Beginners:

    • Sit-on-top kayaks are recommended for beginners due to their stability, easy access, and self-bailing capabilities.
    • These kayaks have an open cockpit design, providing greater security and making it easier to get in and out of the kayak, which is especially helpful for beginners who may be less experienced in balancing on the water.
    • Sit-on-top kayaks are also self-bailing, meaning any water that enters the kayak quickly drains out through scupper holes, further enhancing their overall stability and making them safer for beginners.
  2. Size Considerations:

    • Factors such as weight, height, and skill level influence the appropriate size of the kayak.
    • For beginners, broader and more stable kayaks are generally recommended. They offer better stability and control, allowing beginners to build confidence and learn basic paddling techniques without worrying about tipping over.
    • Kayak length is also important, as shorter kayaks (around 10 to 12 feet) are easier for beginners to maneuver and handle. In comparison, longer kayaks may offer better tracking and speed but can be more challenging to control for inexperienced paddlers.
  3. Inflatable vs. Hardshell Kayaks:

    • Inflatable kayaks are highly portable and convenient for travel, as they can be deflated and packed into a backpack or car trunk, making them ideal for beginners who want to take their kayak on trips or adventures.
    • These kayaks are also incredibly durable. They are constructed with solid materials such as PVC or Hypalon that withstand rough waters and impacts, making them suitable for beginners who may encounter obstacles or rocky shores.
    • However, inflatable kayaks may not perform as well as hardshell kayaks in terms of speed, tracking, and maneuverability, which could be a downside for more experienced paddlers looking for better performance on the water.
  4. Budget Considerations:

    • Beginner kayaks typically range from $200 to $600, with a balance between quality and affordability being crucial.
    • While opting for the cheapest option may be tempting, it’s important to consider the long-term durability and performance of the kayak, as investing in a higher-quality kayak can lead to a more enjoyable and safer experience on the water.
    • Factors such as material quality, construction, and brand reputation should also be considered when determining the value of a beginner kayak, as these factors can affect the kayak’s durability, performance, and overall lifespan.

By considering these factors in more detail, beginners can make a well-informed decision when choosing a kayak that meets their needs, preferences, and budget constraints.

Whether opting for a sit-on-top kayak for stability, considering size and maneuverability, or deciding between inflatable and hardshell options for portability and performance, this expanded guide provides comprehensive insights to help beginners embark on their kayaking journey with confidence.

Here are the Top 8 Kayak for beginners:

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Set

The Intex 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set is the perfect companion for anyone exploring the waterways in style. With its sturdy construction made from SuperStrong PVC, this kayak is built to last. The adjustable seats with backrests provide optimal comfort, allowing users to paddle for hours without feeling fatigued.

This kayak set also comes with deluxe 86-inch aluminum oars and a high-output pump, making it hassle-free to inflate and get on the water in no time. With a weight capacity of 400 lbs, it is suitable for two people, making it an ideal choice for couples or friends who love to venture out together.

Overall, the Intex 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set ticks all the boxes regarding durability, comfort, and convenience. With its affordable price point, this touring kayak is a fantastic option for beginners and experienced paddlers.

Comes with oars and a pump
Includes aluminum oars, air pump, and carry bag
Inflatable for easy storage and transportation
Good on-river performance

Low rear seat for taller users
Shorter than a traditional hardshell kayak

Color: Yellow
Size: 86in
Weight: 35.02 Pounds
Style: 2-person
Brand: Intex
Usage: Lakes, mild rivers

We wouldn’t recommend taking the Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak out for a white water adventure, but we suggest you give it a go during a lake or coastal summer trip. This two-person, inflatable kayak is perfect for beginners or vacationers.

INTEX Challenger Inflatable Kayak

The INTEX Challenger, Inflatable Kayak series, is a fantastic option for those exploring the waters comfortably and conveniently. With its durable SuperStrong PVC construction, it is built to withstand rough waters and frequent use.

The adjustable seat with a backrest ensures optimal comfort even during long journeys, while the removable skeg enhances stability and tracking. The cargo storage net is handy for keeping essentials close during adventures.

The INTEX Challenger Inflatable Kayak also includes a deluxe aluminum oar and a high-output pump, making it easy to inflate and deflate. The kayak is perfect for touring, allowing users to explore rivers, lakes, and even mild whitewater easily. Overall, this kayak offers great value for its price, providing durability, comfort, and numerous features that enhance the kayaking experience.

Comes with a pump and paddle
Comes with paddles
Cockpit seats are adjustable
Adjustable seat back and bottom

Can be difficult to steer
Seat isn’t very comfortable, according to some reviewers

Weight: 24.57 Pounds
Material: PVC
Size: 86in
Feature: Streamlined low-profile design
Brand: Intex
Style: 1-Person

If you’re looking for a recreational kayak that’s lightweight, portable, and affordable, you can’t go wrong with the Intex Challenger K1. This inflatable kayak is durable, comfortable, and easy to maneuver, making it a great option for beginners or anyone who only plans to kayak occasionally.

Lifetime Angler 100 Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak, available at the Lifetime Store, is a remarkable fishing kayak with excellent stability and maneuverability.

This kayak is perfect for those who love fishing and want to quickly explore their favorite fishing spots. The kayak’s design ensures a comfortable and secure fishing experience, with an adjustable padded seat and backrest.

The Tamarack Angler 100 also offers ample storage options, including multiple storage hatches and bungee cords to hold your gear in place. The kayak has two flush-mounted rod holders and one top-mounted rod holder, making it easy to keep your fishing rods within reach.

The sturdy construction and UV-protected material ensure that this kayak will provide years of enjoyment on the water. Whether fishing in calm ponds or tackling rougher waters, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is a reliable companion to enhance your fishing experience.

Excellent stability
Two flush-mount rod holders, one adjustable rod holder
Two storage compartments for carrying tackle and other gear
Adjustable padded seat and backrest

On the heavier side, at 52 pounds

Weight: 23.1 kg
Rod holders: 3
Material: Hard Shell (Polyethylene)
Storage compartments: 3
Style: Tamarack Angler
Color: Tan

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak has an excellent performance and is designed for anglers.

INTEX Excursion Pro Fishing Kayak

The INTEX Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak is a fantastic choice for fishing enthusiasts. It has all the features you need for a successful fishing trip. The included deluxe aluminum oars and high-output pump make it easy to inflate and maneuver the kayak. The SuperTough PVC material ensures durability and resistance to punctures, meaning you can navigate through rough waters without worry.

One standout feature of this kayak is the adjustable bucket seat, offering maximum comfort for long hours on the water. It also boasts fishing rod holders, allowing you to conveniently store your rods while you focus on reeling in the big catch.

The grab handles make transporting the kayak to your desired fishing spot effortless. Overall, the INTEX Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak is a reliable and well-designed product for fishing enthusiasts looking for a convenient and comfortable fishing experience.

Inflates and deflates quickly
Removable/adjustable seats
Adjustable bucket seat and adjustable footrests for customized comfort

Slow to assemble
Heavy to carry when inflated

Number of Items: ‎1
Product Dimensions: ‎151 x 37 x 18 inches
Fishing Rod Holders: Yes
Weight Limit: ‎400 Pounds
Material: ‎PVC
Recommended: ‎unisex-adult

The INTEX Excursion Pro is the perfect raft for those who want to do their fair share of exploring and fishing. While it’s not the sturdiest or most comfortable inflatable on the market, it delivers on being highly packable without compromising stability or performance.

Sevylor QuickPak K1

The Sevylor QuickPak K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak is a game-changer for fishing enthusiasts. With its innovative design, this kayak folds into a backpack, making it incredibly easy to transport and store. The 5-minute setup is a huge bonus, especially when every second counts to get out on the water and start fishing.

The 21-gauge PVC construction ensures durability and stability, giving users peace of mind while navigating the water. The included hand pump and paddle are great additions that add value to the overall package. Overall, the Sevylor QuickPak K1 is a reliable and convenient choice for anyone looking to enjoy a fishing adventure.

Paddle and pump included
The backpack system is convenient for transportation
Inflatable and compact for easy storage and travel

Not suitable for anything but calm water
Not suitable for heavy whitewater

Design: ‎Classic
Weight: 20.28 Pounds
Size: 8’7″ x 3′
Users: ‎unisex-adult
Package: 9.68 Kilograms
Materials: polyester, 21-gauge PVC

The Sevylor K1 QuikPak is a solid inflatable kayak with the bonus of converting it to a backpack for easy transport. It’s very affordable, though it doesn’t come with all the necessary accessories you’ll want. Overall, it’s an excellent option for someone with limited storage space or a desire to throw their kayak in the trunk of their car.

Pelican Whitewater Kayak

The Pelican – Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak is a fantastic choice for those looking to explore the world of whitewater kayaking. As a lightweight sit-in kayak, it offers optimum stability and maneuverability, ensuring a thrilling and enjoyable experience on the water.

At 10ft, this one-person kayak is perfect for navigating through narrow and winding river paths. The Pelican-Maxim 100X design features a spacious cockpit, allowing for easy entry and exit and ample room for kayakers of different sizes.

The adjustable padded backrest and footrest ensure a comfortable and ergonomic seating position, even during long adventures.

Constructed with durable RAM-X™ material, this kayak is built to withstand the demanding conditions of whitewater kayaking.

The built-in carrying handles make transportation to and from the water a breeze. With its sleek design and vibrant color options, the Pelican – Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak is functional and visually appealing.

Overall, this kayak delivers durability, comfort, and performance. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler, the Pelican – Maxim 100X is a reliable choice for your whitewater kayaking adventures.

Comes in multiple colors
Adjustable padded backrest with seat cushion
Great for bird-watching
Comes with an adjustable seat and backrest

Only comes in one color
Lack of tracking and agility

Brand: Pelican
Material: Plastic
Hull: Shallow V-chine
Maximum capacity: 275 lb
Weight: 36 Pounds
Type: Sit-in

The Pelican Maxim 100X is an attractive, functional, and maneuverable kayak that’s great for exploring calm waters close to home. Remember that the seat could use additional padding for longer journeys, and the boat’s small size isn’t ideal for larger paddlers.

Bestway Hydro-Force Inflatable Kayak

The Bestway Hydro-Force Inflatable Kayak Set proves to be an excellent choice for anyone looking to explore the waters. This touring kayak set has a comfortable seat, a reliable paddle, a hand pump for quick and easy inflation, and a convenient storage carry bag.

Ideal for both adults and kids, this kayak set is perfect for families who want to enjoy outdoor adventures together.

The high-quality materials used in its construction ensure durability and stability, while the inflatable design makes it easy to transport and store when not in use.

Overall, the Bestway Hydro-Force Inflatable Kayak Set is a fantastic option for those seeking a reliable and versatile kayak for touring purposes. Its comprehensive package, including all the necessary accessories, allows users to jump into their kayaking adventures easily.

Comes with paddles, a pump, and a carrying bag
Comes with all necessary accessories

Cumbersome to carry
No dry storage

Material: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Persons: 2 adults
Weight: 56.7 Grams
Waterproof: Yes
Style: Ventura Elite 2-Person
Fins: 2 interchangeable and removable

The Bestway Hydro-Force Inflatable Kayak Kit is a budget-friendly way to get into kayaking. It’s a fun model that is easy to use and lightweight enough for anyone to transport.

Aquaglide Noyo 90 Inflatable Kayak

The Aquaglide Noyo 90 Inflatable Kayak is a game-changer for solo adventurers seeking a thrilling touring experience. This one-person kayak offers unbeatable stability and maneuverability, making it ideal for beginners and experienced paddlers.

The durable construction, featuring three-layer reinforced PVC material, ensures longevity and resistance to abrasions while maintaining a lightweight design. The included cover adds convenience and protection during transportation and storage.

With its comfortable seating and ample storage space, the Aquaglide Noyo 90 Inflatable Kayak is a top-notch option for those who crave solo adventures on the water.

Good for beginners
Cover included
Comes with a cover to keep you dry
Inflatable, so it’s easy to transport
Lightweight and easy to handle

Low weight limit
Low weight capacity (250 lbs)

Weight: 21 Pounds
Size: 9″L x 34″W x 15″H
Model: ‎Noyo 90
Usage: One person
Type: ‎Touring Kayaks
Material: ‎Polyester

The Aquaglide Noyo 90 is a lightweight kayak that packs up small and is surprisingly roomy. However, its true appeal lies in its relatively affordable price tag. If you are a beginner or simply someone who only plans to use their kayak a couple of times a year, the Aquaglide Noyo 90 is a great option.


What accessories do I need as a beginner kayaker?

​As a beginner kayaker, having the right accessories can significantly enhance your safety, comfort, and enjoyment of the water. Here’s a comprehensive list of essential accessories for beginner kayakers:

  1. Personal Flotation Device (PFD):
    • A properly fitted PFD is essential for water safety, providing buoyancy in emergencies.
    • Choose a PFD explicitly designed for kayaking with adjustable straps and comfortable padding.
  2. Paddle:
    • Invest in a lightweight paddle with adjustable lengths to suit your height and paddling style.
    • Look for a paddle with durable construction and ergonomic grips for comfort during long paddling sessions.
  3. Safety Whistle or Signaling Device:
    • Carry a safety whistle or signaling device to alert others in emergencies or when assistance is needed.
    • Please attach it to your PFD for easy access in an emergency.
  4. Dry Bag or Waterproof Storage:
    • Please keep your belongings dry and safe by storing them in a dry bag or waterproof storage container.
    • Choose a bag with a roll-top closure or waterproof zipper for maximum protection against water intrusion.
  5. Waterproof Phone Case or Dry Box:
    • Protect your electronic devices, such as smartphones, cameras, and GPS devices, from water damage by using a waterproof phone case or dedicated dry box.
    • Ensure that the case or box provides a secure, watertight seal to prevent moisture from seeping in.
  6. Kayak Cart or Carrier:
    • Make transportation to and from the water easier and more convenient using a kayak cart or carrier.
    • Look for a cart or carrier that is lightweight, foldable, and easy to assemble for hassle-free transport of your kayak.
  7. Spray Skirt (for Sit-Inside Kayaks):
    • If you’re using a sit-inside kayak, consider investing in a spray skirt to help keep water out of the cockpit and stay dry while paddling.
    • Choose a skirt that fits your kayak’s cockpit size and is made from durable, waterproof material.
  8. Bilge Pump or Sponge:
    • Carry a bilge pump or sponge to remove any water that accumulates inside your kayak, especially in rough water conditions or after capsizing.
    • A bilge pump is more effective for removing larger volumes of water, while a sponge helps soak up small amounts.
  9. Sun Protection:
    • Wear sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from harmful UV rays while kayaking.
    • Apply sunscreen to exposed skin areas, and consider bringing along a portable sunshade for additional protection.
  10. Navigation and Safety Gear:
    • Carry a compass or GPS device for navigation and an emergency first aid kit.
    • Before venturing out on the water, familiarize yourself with basic navigation techniques and safety protocols.

By equipping yourself with these essential accessories, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your kayaking adventures with confidence and peace of mind. Remember to prioritize safety at all times and enjoy the beauty of nature from your kayak!

Is it safe to kayak if I’m a beginner?

​If proper precautions are taken, kayaking can be a safe and enjoyable activity for beginners. Here are some key safety tips for beginner kayakers:

  1. Choose the Right Kayak: Select a stable and easily maneuverable kayak, such as a wide-hull kayak designed for beginners. Research different kayak models and talk to experts to find the best fit for your skill level and intended use.
  2. Take Kayaking Lessons: Consider taking kayaking lessons from certified instructors or guided tours with experienced guides. They can teach you essential paddling techniques, safety guidelines, and handling different water conditions.
  3. Wear a Life Jacket (PFD): Always wear a properly fitted personal flotation device (PFD) while kayaking, even if you’re a strong swimmer. Ensure that the PFD is Coast Guard-approved and suitable for kayaking activities.
  4. Check Weather and Water Conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast and water conditions for the area where you’ll be kayaking. Avoid kayaking in strong winds, thunderstorms, or rough water conditions that could pose safety risks.
  5. Paddle with a Buddy: Whenever possible, paddle with a friend or group of kayakers. Having a buddy can assist in emergencies and make the experience more enjoyable.
  6. Bring Safety Gear: Pack essential safety gear, including a whistle or signaling device to alert others in emergencies, a bilge pump or sponge to remove water from the kayak, and a first aid kit for minor injuries.
  7. Stay Hydrated and Sun Protected: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your kayaking trip, especially on hot days. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  8. Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings while kayaking. Watch out for obstacles, other watercraft, and wildlife in the area. Avoid distractions such as using electronic devices while paddling.
  9. Practice Self-Rescue Techniques: Learn basic self-rescue techniques, such as re-entering your kayak from the water and performing a wet exit if necessary. Practice these techniques in a controlled environment before attempting them in open water.
  10. Inform Someone of Your Plans: Before setting out on a kayaking trip, inform someone trusted about your plans, including your intended route, expected return time, and emergency contact information. This ensures that help can be summoned if needed.

By following these safety tips and using common sense while kayaking, beginners can enjoy a safe and rewarding experience on the water. Always prioritize safety and be prepared for unexpected situations to ensure a memorable and enjoyable kayaking adventure.


  • Andrew Reed

    Hey there! I'm Andrew Reed, and I live for the thrill of writing reviews. Dive into my world at, where I unpack stories behind products and experiences. I'm all about sharing my unique take on things, infusing each review with my youthful enthusiasm and a dash of social flair. Join me on this exciting journey—I promise you won't just read reviews; you'll experience them!

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