Best Kayak for Beginners 2020: The Ultimate Kayak Guide

Best Beginner KayaksFirst of all, kayaking is the best way to explore the Great Outdoors and spend some time with your family or friends. Beyond these things, it improves your physical condition and it is a sport for all ages. But before you hit the water, you will need a good vessel that will meet your expectations.

However, the task of looking for the best kayak can be quite tricky, especially if you are a beginner! Don’t worry you came to the right place. We will show you some must-have tips to look for in the best kayak for beginners.

Our Top 4 Best Kayaks for Beginners


Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

BKC UH-TK181 Tandem Kayak

Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

Intex Challenger K1

Moreover, we’ve reviewed the 10 best kayaks on the market. But before we dive into the details, we would like to give you some reasons to take up kayaking.

Why Kayaking? Kayaking for Beginners

Best Kayak for BeginnersIf you are wondering why kayaking is good for you, you should definitely take into Consideration that every sport improves your health. Specifically, kayaking improves your blood pressure levels and minimizes the risk of heart disease.

It offers a plethora of benefits and it is an economical and great way to get some exercise. Nowadays, people do not get enough exercise and the obesity levels are extremely high. Kayaking can be a good way to wake you up to the joys of staying fit and exploring nature at the same time.

Do not forget that you can use a kayak for multiple activities like fishing or paddling. Moreover, spending time on the water will make you feel happier J Grab your kayak and sunscreen and get your daily dose of vitamin D on the water.

How to choose the Best Kayak For Beginners

In the next sections, you will find some in-depth tips to help you with the kayak selection. It goes without saying that your first kayak must have some features to help you while you are paddling. Most people get discouraged easily, especially beginner paddlers, due to a wrong kayak selection.

They face some stability issues or buy the wrong kayak type. This article will give you everything you will need to know. A good beginner kayak will definitely pay you off.

Types of Kayaks

We would like to mention three basic kayak types. Of course, there are ample products available on the market, but the detail makes the difference!

Sit-On-Top Kayak
SOT Kayak
This kayak type is the most user-friendly kayak as you can get on and off easily. Moreover, it is a good option for warm water paddling. Sit on top kayak paddlers feel more confident and they do not panic when the kayak tips over.

Sit-In Kayak
Sit In KayakThe traditional kayak has an enclosed cockpit. Some people avoid this kayak type because it makes them feel claustrophobic and it is not easy to flip over the vessel in case it tips. On the other hand, if you are paddling during the winter, you should definitely select this type of kayak.

Another advantage is that you can perform more efficient strokes because you can push your legs against the kayak hull.

Inflatable Kayaks

Additionally, inflatable kayaks are suitable for calm waters and a perfect choice for novice paddlers. Portability is a huge plus especially if you are hiking as there are numerous kayaks on the market that convert into a backpack.

You should not worry about puncturing your vessel as this rarely happens. They are made of enhanced rigid materials and most companies equip the vessels with multiple layers.

Safety and Stability are the two Key Features

When it comes to kayaking, stability plays an important role. When purchasing your first kayak you should take some things into Consideration. The beam width should be quite large to provide balance.

Rule number one: You should always wear a life jacket. Safety comes first and secondly, you should be aware of the weight capacity of your vessel. The vessels are able to accommodate a specific amount of people.

10 Best Beginner Kayak Reviews

Buying a kayak may be quite difficult, but you should know that you don’t need any prior experience. It is absolutely normal that you are afraid of making the wrong choice. We prepared a list for you with some top products.

Brooklyn Kayak Company Sit-On-Top Kayak

If you are looking for the best fishing kayak, you should definitely take the Brooklyn Company vessel into account. Built with versatility and functionality in mind, this hard-shell kayak will bring you to the next fishing level. Brooklyn Company equipped it with numerous fishing amenities like 7 rod holders and storage areas to keep your gear safe.

Pros

  • Sit-on-top kayak type. It will not make you feel claustrophobic
  • Equipped with fishing accessories
  • Tandem kayak to spend some time on the water with your friends
  • Features paddle rests so you can fish freely without holding your paddle
  • There are storage compartments for fishing rods, reels, trays or clothing

Cons

  • Good for lakes and easy flowing rivers, not for the ocean

Why Should I choose this Kayak?
This tandem kayak is a great choice if you would like to share your fishing experience with a fishing buddy! It is able to support a weight of 440-pounds and offers stability thanks to the 34-inch beam width. The hull design is a great plus for a beginner fishing paddler as it provides great maneuverability and stability.

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Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

Exploring the unknown with your friends or family. What is not to love? However, when it comes to kayaking this might be difficult because you will need 2 or three kayaks. This Sevylor 3 person kayak is a good beginner kayak for you and your friends.

Firstly, there are three adjustable and comfortable seats and enough space for three people. It is the safest kayak for beginners as it is made of heavy-duty PVC. This translates into safety when approaching shallow rocky bottoms.

Pros

  • Easy transportation
  • High-quality main body Construction
  • Multiple Air-Chambers
  • Large beam width
  • Roomy kayak

Cons

  • Not suitable for fishing
  • Quite difficult inflation

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
Sevylor is one of the best kayak brands and safety is one of their first priorities when it comes to inflatable kayaks. Moreover, you should know that if you puncture this kayak, you will be able to approach the shore safely thanks to the multiple air chambers.

It is a large kayak with a well-designed hull. Another reason why you should select this inflatable kayak is portability. You can just store it in your car and transport it easily. A hard-shell kayak needs a special kayak trailer or special car racks.

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

The first thing you will notice about the Ocean Malibu kayak is that it is a nice two person kayak with a sporty flair. There are two seats and three seating positions (bow, middle, stern). The polyethylene Construction is one of the key features of this vessel.

Pros

  • Two comfortable (Comfort Plus) adjustable seats with three seating positions
  • Two convenient transportation side handles
  • Extremely lightweight kayak (68 lbs)
  • It is available in three colors ( You should choose light colors)

Cons

  • Maybe a bit narrow

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
Undoubtedly, the extra padded seats, as well as the vessel Construction, are two reasons why you should get this kayak. If you are looking for stable kayaks for beginners, you should take a closer look at this 12 feet tandem kayak. Beyond these things, this vessel is quite lightweight and you will not have any problems when transporting it.

Whether you are solo paddling or not, it allows you to go one step further. Additionally, it is the best kayak for beginners as it features multiple footrest areas. They are important for beginners as they reduce the pressure on your feet and provide a stable feeling.

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Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in KAYAK

If you are looking to invest in a multi-purpose recreational kayak, the Sun Dolphin Sit in kayak will not let you down. It may seem like a small kayak, but it offers tremendous features that you will only find in high-cost vessels. First of all, it is a sit-in type kayak and that translates into safety and stability.

A beginner paddler needs a small vessel that offers stability and comfort. Moreover, you can use this kayak as a fishing kayak as there are three rod holders. These accessories are very important when it comes to fishing because they will give you a hands-free fishing experience.

Pros

  • It is a lightweight vessel
  • Offers great maneuverability
  • Roomy cockpit
  • There are three rod holders but you can place a water bottle holder or other accessories
  • Rigid Hull

Cons

  • The seat is not comfortable as it is not padded enough

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?

You will never tip over with this super stable vessel. The UV-Stabilized high density polyethylene is a big perch for shallow water paddlers or anglers. Overall, it is a good beginner kayak to invest in as it offers some standard must have features.

The price, as well as the design, will put a big smile on your face. It is sturdy and roomy enough to enjoy your favorite activities. Additionally, it is a good kayak for a kid as it is small and can be transported by placing it on the roof of your car with special car racks.

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ADVANCED ELEMENTS Inflatable Kayak

This boat is highly efficient when moving in rough waters and provides better control. It is a robust sit-in kayak which utilizes all the benefits of a high-quality hard-shell kayak. Honest confession, this kayak is not exactly an inflatable vessel.

We could characterize it as a semi-inflatable kayak as there are built-in aluminum bow and stern ribs.

Pros

  • The high-quality seat supports your back thanks to the extra padding
  • The aluminum frames protect the main vessel and offer stability
  • Storage compartments like bungee deck lacing

Cons

  • The package does not contain a backbone so you will have to buy it separately
  • Some people may feel claustrophobic due to the sit-in cockpit

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
It goes without saying that we are talking about a heavy-duty vessel. It can be used in different water conditions (lake, pond, rough rivers) and the inflation process takes proximately 15 minutes. It comes with a transportation bag, repair kit and, a comfortable folding seat.

The hull is made of three layers of PVC Tarpaulin and the air-chamber design will definitely surprise you. Imagine a circle within a circle, as a result, if you puncture the outer air chamber you will have one inner air chamber to approach the shore safely.

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Vibe Kayaks Shipjack 120T 12ft Tandem Kayak

This is a kayak that will serve you for many years. The best beginner kayak for lakes and smooth waters will definitely surprise you. This multi-use tandem kayak is a good choice for all ages and features two high-quality seats.

Pros

  • The package includes two high quality paddles so you don’t have to buy them separately
  • The vessel comes in three beautiful colors
  • There are two paddles rests so you will never lose your paddle
  • Multiple storage compartments

Cons

  • Not suitable for rapid streams
  • Tips over easily

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
Just to start out with, you will never regret that you purchased this kayak. Furthermore, it is a sit-on top kayak that offers great maneuverability and stable feeling while enjoying multiple activities. You can also use it as a fishing kayak as there are numerous fishing amenities like rod and gear holders.

The package comes with two paddles, so you will not have to buy them separately. You can also bring along your child as there is enough space for two adults and a child. It can carry 500-pounds which is more than the average.

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Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle

If you are looking for a super stable and safe kayak, the Lifetime Youth Wave kayak is exactly what you want. If you take a closer look at this kayak you will see that it is a simple Construction kayak. However, this simple main body hides some really great features and it is specially designed for young paddlers.

Pros

  • It is the safest kayak for beginners
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for kids
  • V-shaped hull for extra stability

Cons

  • There is no seat

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
The key to success is stability of course and what makes a kayak stable? The hull design of course. This is the best kayak for beginners as it utilizes a V-Shaped hull with reverse chines and aft double chins. It will not tip even if you are an entry level paddler.

Another thing that you should take into account is that it features an ergonomic and roomy cockpit and it is light like a feather. There are three footrest positions which work great for young paddlers.

But as stated above, stability is a big perch when it comes to kayaking. The hull design, the wide beam width and the high quality Construction material are some reasons why you should select it.

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Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

This is the best kayak for beginners especially if you are a fishing enthusiast. It is the most inexpensive way to enjoy a nice fishing trip without sacrificing your personal comfort. At 10-feet, it is fully equipped with rod holders, two storage hatches to store gear or your catches and a padded seat.

Undoubtedly, the hull profile plays an important role when it comes to stability. Additionally, there are bow and aft cord straps to store your gear or clothing. The polyethylene Construction material is a huge perch as it is abrasion resistant and UV safe.

Pros

  • It can accommodate one person plus gear (275lbs)
  • Storage compartments
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a paddle option
  • Four footrest options

Cons

  • Heavy Construction

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
Firstly, since you will spend many hours on the water, you will need a good back support. The Lifetime Tamarack Kayak utilizes a nice padded seat and multiple rod holders. The weight capacity is 275 lbs. which is Considered to be more than enough.

If you have never had a kayak, then you should definitely give it a try. An easy-on-the-wallet option that works great for freshwater lake fishing.

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Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak

It is a classic sit-on-top kayak and we should definitely include this vessel in our best kayaks for beginners list. It is super convenient and features a unique hull design. Undoubtedly, the high-density polyethylene plays an important role when it comes to stability.

It is able to last for many years as it is UV stabilized. This translates into durability and color protection. The cockpit is roomy and if you take a closer look you will see that it incorporates thigh pads.

Pros

  • You can entry the kayak easily
  • It is lightweight so you will be able to transport it by yourself
  • Comfortable cockpit

Cons

  • It is a good touring kayak but you will be not able to reach high speeds

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
There is a dry storage area on the rear side of the kayak where you can store your clothing. Overall, we can characterize it as a really good beginner kayak as it does not tip easily.

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Lifetime 10 Foot Manta Tandem

The Lifetime tandem kayak is suitable for different water conditions but it excels in lakes and calm rivers. The first thing you will notice is the kayak shape. It is designed with functionality and versatility in mind.

There are three seat positions and two padded backrests. Consequently, it is a perfect choice for two adults and a child.

Pros

  • Stability is one of the key features
  • There is a dry storage area
  • Unique Construction
  • Fast vessel

Cons

  • There is no padded kayak seat so you will have to sit on a cushion for long kayaking trips

Why Should I Choose This Kayak?
Just to let you know, there are two packages available. The second package includes two high-quality paddles with adjustable blades. If you are looking to invest in a good cruising kayak, this should be an option on your list.

There are storage areas where you can keep food, fishing gear or camping equipment and the straps secure them. Most people select this kayak due to the extraordinary hull and vessel Construction. The back seat is slightly raised and there is enough space for your feet.

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Beginner Kayak FAQ’s

What’s the Best Kayak Size for Me?
Since you are a beginner, you should know that size matters and it would be a good idea to choose the appropriate size. It has an effect on your kayaking performance and stability. A longer kayak translates into stability and safety.

The perfect size for a beginner is 12 feet to 17 feet. Moreover, bigger kayaks have more storage capacity.

How to Sit In a Kayak?
This is more complicated than you think! Most people do not know how to sit in a kayak. First of all, before hitting the water you should adjust the seat, secure your gear and wear appropriate footwear.

Now you are ready to get in your kayak. Before you start paddling, you should check your backrest and place your feet on the footrests. You must make sure that you sit correctly as it will help you while paddling.

How to Paddle a Kayak?
The forward stroke is the most popular paddling technique and it is quite easy. You will need strong muscles in order to use this technique. Firstly, immerse the blade in the water (next to your feet).

Secondly, you will have to do a backstroke now until your hands meet your main body and take the blade out of the water. That’s the basic paddling technique for beginners. The opposite technique is called reverse paddling.

How to Anchor a Kayak
Parking your kayak is not the easiest thing in the world! Whether you are fishing or just touring, you will need to anchor your vessel. There are three ways to keep your vessel still. Obviously, the first anchoring system is a simple anchor.

You should select a lightweight small anchor or folding anchor. A 2lbs. anchor should be absolutely ok. Just cast the anchor, wait until it reaches the bottom and pull it slightly.

The second anchoring system is a little weird but it works great in shallow waters! It is called stake out pole anchoring system. True to its name you can stick the pole in the bottom and that secures the kayak.

The third option is the floating anchor also called drift chute. It is a piece of nylon material (it looks like an umbrella) which you will have to immerse in the water. This method does not anchor you, but it slows you down.

How Long does it take to kayak a mile?
If you are curious about how far you can get with your kayak, we are here to give you all the answers. This question depends on some factors like speed, kayak type or water conditions. Imagine that a pro kayaker paddles almost 2,5 miles per hour!

You must make sure that you do not overload the vessel. You can paddle faster with a second paddler but only if you are paddling at a steady pace. The average speed is 1.9 miles per hour.

How to Get out of a Kayak if it Tips
If your vessel tips over, please do not panic. Panic can be extremely dangerous in these situations. The first thing you will have to do is to flip it back by grabbing the edge of the vessel and pull it towards you.

Now you will have to sit properly and find your paddle. You must be balanced and ready to approach the shore if you have a sit-in kayak to drain the water out of the cockpit. You can also try the eskimo roll technique which we will explain below.

How to Eskimo roll a kayak
How to Eskimo roll a kayakThe eskimo roll is a technique to flip a kayak by using your own body. It is the fastest method to flip over the vessel so it does not fill up with water. It is helpful for winter kayaking as you don’t want to have a cockpit filled with cold water!

Place the paddle on the right side of your kayak and make sure that the front blade is face up. Now you will have to lean forward to the left and try not to lose your orientation.

Afterward, you are ready to stroke and try to straighten your body and lean forwards to recover your standard kayaking position. It requires some practice but it is not difficult.

How to Kayak in the ocean
Before paddling in the ocean you should be aware of some basic things. Ocean paddling conditions are Considered to be difficult and they are not recommended for beginners. You will have to wear a life jacket and always stay close to the shore.

Staying upright should be your major concern and you will have to learn some techniques to re-enter your kayak if it tips. Another thing that you should take into Consideration is the fact that you must learn how to hold your paddle.

The right blade must face up and you should hold your hands some inches wider than shoulder width. Now you are ready to Forward Stroke.

How to carry a kayak
It goes without saying that it is much easier if you carry the kayak with someone else. But if you are alone you should roll it with the cockpit facing away. Now you must prepare yourself to lift it by bending your knees slightly.

Lift the vessel right on your legs and roll it slowly onto your shoulder. Make sure that you find a comfortable and stable position. Carrying a kayak by yourself is really not recommended, especially for a beginner.

How to fix a Hole in a kayak
This depends on the kayak type of course. You can repair a hole with simple duct tape and replace it after each kayaking trip. If you have a small hole, you can just use special marine silicone.

On the other hand, if your kayak has a big hole or a crack, it would be a good idea to use a thick plastic patch and a heat gun. Place the patch on the hole and use the heat gun until it starts to melt. A small spoon could be helpful in order to smoothen the sides.

Conclusion

Finally, choosing the right vessel that will meet your expectations is not the easiest thing in the world. Lack of knowledge could lead you to a wrong buying decision and eventually discourage you. After Considering this article we hope that you will be able to choose the best kayak for beginners and enjoy the great outdoors!

Thank you for reading. We would be more than happy if you would like to share your kayaking experience with us. Leave a comment in the comment box below or share the article if you like it!

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