If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Whether you’re looking for a way to get in shape, want to spend more time at your local lake or river, or you’re already an avid kayak-enthusiast who is in search of a second boat or a portable option, we’ve compiled a list of the best affordable kayaks that will make you wish summer lasted forever. That is, if you didn’t already feel that way.
Kayaking is one of the best workouts you can do on the water. Upper body strength is required to keep your paddle moving and kayaking also provides a great core workout as well. One of the best features of a kayak is that thanks to their comfortable seats, they can be enjoyed by just about everyone, including those with mobility issues.
We also love that kayaks can be used for a variety of activities on the water. Not only are they a great option for simply paddling around, but many water lovers use their kayaks when fishing.
As with any type of boat, we always recommend that users practice caution with their kayak and use a life jacket or another type of personal floatation device. Taking additional measures, including boating with other people, checking weather and water conditions before venturing into the water, and refraining from drinking alcohol when on the water are all important aspects of water safety.
If you’re ready to hit the water, check out our list of the best kayaks.
1. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
The Sevylor is a smartly designed inflatable kayak that includes an easy to carry backpack system that turns into the boat’s seat. The 21-gauge PVC boat has safety features built-in that make it rugged enough for lake use, including a tarpaulin bottom that protects against punctures and multiple air chambers that will keep the boat afloat even if one chamber is damaged. The Sevylor has a double lock valve for ease of inflation and deflation, a non-leak airtight system, and it comes with an adjustable paddle and hand pump.
Pros: Easy setup, folds into a backpack for easy carrying, includes paddle and hand pump.
Cons: Though the kayak has a 400-pound max weight rating, it may sink slightly in the middle at 250 pounds or more.
2. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
This affordable kayak is inflatable, making it easy to take on the go even if you don’t have a ton of cargo space. It can accommodate a single passenger and their gear up to 220 pounds. The Intex is decorated with brightly colored, eye-catching graphics that are designed to keep the rider highly visible when in the water. Included with the kayak are an oar, a patch kit, a pump and a carrying bag. The mesh net in the front of the kayak can be used for storing your essentials.
Pros: Convenient and affordable inflatable option, comes with a carrying bag and paddles.
Cons: The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak may feel somewhat cramped for taller people.
3. Lifetime Tamarack Angler
For a kayak that helps riders get their catch of the day, we recommend the Lifetime Tamarack Angler. Fishing enthusiasts can quietly glide along the water in this UV-protected, high-density polyethylene kayak. A sharp bow for speed tracking, a flat bottom hull for stability, and a track skeg for straight paddling come together for a kayak that is ideal for fishing. Two flush-mounted fishing rod holders and one top-mounted fishing rod holder make it convenient for users to secure their rod. Storage straps and six-inch storage compartments at the front and back of the boat provide space for users to secure their tackle boxes and accessories. An adjustable padded seat, multiple footrest positions, and front and rear T-handles for support and easy carrying all contribute to making this a comfortable and easy to use kayak.
Pros: Sharp bow for speed tracking, mounted fishing rod holders, multiple storage areas.
Cons: The seat can easily tear.
4. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak
For kids who want to get have fun with their own kayak and spend the day on the water, we recommend the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak. Weighing 18 pounds, the Lifetime can support riders up to 130 pounds while still providing stability. A swim-up step offers a convenient way for kids to get into the boat after taking a quick dip to cool off. The flip-resistant kayak includes a molded finger handle for ease of carrying and molded paddle cradles on either side of the boat. Kids can also comfortably rest their feet in the multiple molded footrest positions. Self-draining holes in the kayak keep water out and a reverse chine helps provide stability.
Pros: Swim-up step, molded paddle cradles, self-draining holes.
Cons: The Lifetime has a very short backrest and does not provide any storage.
5. Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak
Kayaking is fun with a group, so keep everyone together with the Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak. Spend the day on the water with two other people and still have room for a cooler and gear with this inflatable kayak that can hold up to 650 pounds. One of the most comfortable kayaks on the market, the Sea Eagle comes with two movable padded seats. Riders will sit up out of the water for a stable ride in this kayak that includes three deluxe one-way valves. The Sea Eagle, which is tough enough to withstand a dog’s claws, comes with everything riders will need to get on the water, including a pressure gauge and repair kit, two paddles, and a carrying bag. An included foot pump cuts set up time down to only 10 minutes.
Pros: Ample room for multiple riders and gear, comfortable seats, fast set up time.
Cons: The Sea Eagle does not track as well as a hardbody kayak and there is no seat included for the third rider.