Considering there are so many options of kayaks on the market, it can be frustrating to know which one is ideal for you.
That is especially if you are a beginner.
The best kayak for beginners isn’t the kind you would want to have a wild time in the waters.
These are meant to offer a safer and more stable time on lakes, slow-moving rivers, and calm seas.
Our team of experts tried and tested some kayaks and have settled on five that are perfect for any beginner.
Best Kayak for Beginners: A Review
1. Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak
The Intex Challenger K1 isn’t necessarily the one that comes to mind when you think of kayaks.
It is incredibly affordable, so you wouldn’t assume that it would be great to paddle.
However, upon trying out this inflatable kayak, we were left truly amazed at how durable it is and how much fun it was using it.
There is a lot to unpack with the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, and we will talk about it in detail below.
This kayak may be one of the most portable kayaks on the market. It can fold up into less than a quarter of the size of the fully inflated kayak.
You can conveniently store the deflated kayak in a small bag provided by the brand itself. It is easy to carry too.
In addition to the kayak, the bag can also carry all the other equipment, including the paddle and pump.
When fully packed, the dimensions of the bag are 23” x 14” x 8”.
The Intex Challenger K1 is made with a welded vinyl construction.
While this is quite durable, we would recommend being careful around sharp objects and not dragging them over rocks and gravels.
The one-way valves are quite durable. They work perfectly fine and are easy to figure out too.
We also did not find any issues with inflating the Intex Challenger K1 or leakage.
Considering how reasonably priced this kayak is, you wouldn’t think that it would perform extremely well, but we have to say we were quite impressed.
We had no trouble keeping the Challenger paddle in a straight line.
Of course, you aren’t going to be breaking any speed records with it, but that’s not even important as a beginner.
You will truly appreciate how easy it is to paddle, the little effort needed to propel it forward, and how effortlessly and quickly it turns.
The Intex kayak is quite comfortable to use and has ample legroom too. It can easily accommodate a person over six feet tall.
The inflatable seat is surprisingly quite comfortable, and even the back support was fairly decent.
The seat secures to a Velcro strip on the kayak’s floor, which also attaches to the floor’s D-ring.
The kayak has a width of 30”, which doesn’t require a lot of reach when paddling.
That means the Intex Challenger K1 would be ideal for kids too.
Setting up the Intex Challenger the first time took us about 10 minutes, of which seven minutes were spent inflating it and the other three securing the seat, attaching the paddle, and sliding in the fin.
However, you will spend less time the more you do it.
The kayak comes with a small hand pump that is significantly smaller than the ones we’re used to, something we did not like.
Also, there isn’t a pressure gauge on this pump, so you will not know what air pressure you’re inflating it at.
- Easy to store and travel with
- Easy setup
- Average hand pump
- Not the most durable built
2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 has all the features typically needed in any standard fishing kayak.
The kayak is ideal for beginners and professionals since it provides comfort, stability, and safety.
Below we will cover all the important features the Tamarack Angler 100 has to offer.
What sets the Tamarack Angler Kayak apart from others on the market is how comfortable it is. You can use it all day long without feeling tired.
The kayak features multiple molded footrest positions that help fit in different sizes of paddlers.
There is also a padded seat with an adjustable padded backrest which offers superior comfort.
There are handles in the front and rear of the kayak, allowing you to transport it to and from the water easily.
- Ideal for Fishing
Tamarack Angler 100 is the perfect fishing kayak since it comes with three fishing rod holders, making your fishing experience more convenient.
Out of these three rod holders, one is completely adjustable and swivels 360-degrees. The other two rod holders are flush mounted and located behind the seat.
All of these rod holders are rigid and sturdy and do not wobble.
Additionally, you can modify this fishing kayak by adding a transducer mount, adding more fishing rod holders, adding a kayak anchor, and any other extension you wish.
- Storage Space
Since this is a fishing kayak, it has ample storage for all your fishing equipment and gears.
It features two sealed storage hatches, and these can conveniently store things you want to keep dry, such as GPS, your phone, and wallet.
There are straps provided on the front and rear to secure your bag tightly.
Along with this, there is more space on the deck that can carry things like a small fishing cooler, crate, fishing accessories, small or medium-sized tackle box, drinks, and other kayaking accessories.
- Speed and Stability
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is an extremely stable kayak on water thanks to its hull design with chine rails and a wide beam.
This stability makes it the perfect fishing kayak since it won’t toss you in the water while you’re fishing or standing on the deck.
The deep hull also lets it move through the water with ease, enhancing its overall maneuverability.
As for the speed, it’s fast enough for fishing and recreational kayaking, but don’t expect to race in it.
This fishing kayak is made from blow-molded and UV-protected high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
This feature makes the kayak extremely durable, damage-resistant, and well protected from harsh UV rays.
What’s impressive about the Tamarack Fishing Kayak is that the company offers a five-year warranty.
It is a huge span considering this is a budget-friendly kayak.
- Ample storage space
- Perfect for fishing
- Excellent warranty
- Only one color
- Does not come with paddles
3. Sea Eagle SE 370 Inflatable Kayak
The Sea Eagle SE 370 is an ideal inflatable kayak for professionals and beginners of all ages.
It is light enough to carry wherever you want and even small enough to pack in a bag and throw in the trunk of your car.
It is a brilliant option for those who love the water but do not want the hassles associated with carrying around an old-fashioned rigid-hull kayak.
The Sea Eagle SE 370 Kayak is one of the most popular inflatable kayaks in the USA. Let’s find out what it has to offer.
The first thing you will notice about the Sea Eagle SE 270 is its well-thought-out and convenient design.
The kayak can be deflated and fitted into a small over-the-shoulder carry bag.
You can comfortably place this bag in your car’s trunk or even take it along with you when you’re flying for a holiday.
This feature makes it an ideal option for people who have limited storage space.
The Sea Eagle SE 370 can be carried by just one person with ease, as its hull weighs no more than 32 pounds.
You can inflate the kayak in under 10 minutes and put it in the water with minimal effort.
Even deflating the kayak is as easy as inflating it.
You will hit the water or the road long before any of your friends have finished loading or unloading their rigid hulls.
The kayak has a maximum carrying capacity of about 650 pounds, and when inflated, its length is more than 12 feet.
It can easily accommodate more people or gear. All in all, the kayak can handle three people in one go.
- Additional Features
The Sea Eagle SE 370 comes with additional features like inflatable seats, carry handles, inflatable spray skirts, a drain valve, and two stabilizing skegs that significantly improve its speed and stability.
All of this makes this kayak as professional and convenient as any other traditional kayak on the market.
- Rugged Construction
The Sea Eagle SE 370’s hull is made from 38 mil PVC (K80 PolyKrylar) that makes the kayak resistant to both sun and saltwater.
It provides excellent protection from abrasions and collisions.
The hull is inflated into three separate chambers: floor, port, and starboard walls.
This ensures that if there is a catastrophic rupture, it will not leave you struggling to stay afloat.
You can also clean the hull easily. Simply take some water, soap, and rags to get it looking as good as new again.
The kayak also comes with a repair kit that will allow you to patch any minor tears or holes on the spot.
- NMMA Certified
Like all of Sea Eagle’s inflatable kayaks, the SE 370 is also fully certified by NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) to comply with American Boats and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards.
This can provide you with peace of mind that this kayak has been tested to rigorous safety and quality standards.
- Strong construction
- NMMA certified
- Easy to inflate and deflate
- Can handle three people at a time
- Tends to be unstable when more than two people use it
4. Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak
The Pelican Sentinel 100X is a lightweight sit-on-top kayak meant for single-person use.
The kayak comes from a reputed brand known for its high quality and durability.
It has a nice compact design which makes it easy to travel around with, making it a perfect choice if you are looking to use it on calm waters in good weather conditions.
This also makes it an ideal kayak for beginners.
There are many features of the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak that you need to make a note of.
With the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak, you can enjoy a relaxing paddle in a slow-moving river or a calm lake.
The kayak weighs only 43 pounds, making it one of the lightest kayaks on the market and easy to transport.
It is a few inches short of 10 feet and can handle a maximum capacity of about 275 pounds.
- Stable Hull
The Pelican kayak benefits from having a twin-arched multi-chine hull.
That means it comes with two deep channels running along the length of the kayak’s underside.
This is quite beneficial as it helps create more stability, particularly when it is on flat water.
This hull design is also ideal if you are new to kayaking as it feels less tippy when you sit in it for the first time.
The hull has been engineered more for primary stability, making it a good option for flatwater recreational paddling on calm ocean bays, slow-moving rivers, and lakes.
This is a sit-on-top kayak and is better suited to warm weather conditions since you will likely get splashed from paddle drips or riffles.
That said, the kayak does have scupper holes that allow the water to drain out of the deck without filling up the boat.
There is a spacious open deck that’s easy to get in and get out of, which is a beneficial feature if you are a beginner.
It also comes with molded footrests so that you can find the most comfortable seating position and stabilize yourself.
There is a padded backrest and a padded seat cushion on the seat, which provides additional comfort.
- Ample Storage Space
Since the kayak comes with a maximum capacity of 275 pounds, it means that you can bring more than enough gear for a short camping trip.
The large rear tank with bungee cords ensures that you can secure your items well.
There is enough room to fit a cooler or even a fishing crate if you are looking to customize it for fishing.
There is a smaller storage area at the bow where you can store items like a dry bag.
You can also keep your bottle of water within arm’s reach, thanks to the molded cup holder in the front seat.
- Extremely lightweight
- Ideal for beginners
- Ample storage space
- Durable and long-lasting
5. Oru Kayak Coast XT
The Oru Kayak is one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for an outdoor product.
The brand makes three models, the Bay ST, Beach LT, and Coast XT.
All of them use the same material but come in different sizes and meant for different uses.
Coast XT, the one we’re reviewing, is the biggest of the three.
The Arctic kayaks inspired its design with tons of internal storage and deck rigging. This boat is made to handle multi-day expeditions.
They raised a quarter of a million dollars through an Indiegogo campaign to update the Coast XT.
Let’s shed some light on the features that the Oru Kayak has to offer.
The Coast XT will take no more than five minutes to set up.
The company pioneered the kayak’s origami-inspired, foldable structure so that you do not spend too much time setting it up.
Even though this is a foldable kayak, it is made keeping serious kayakers in mind.
This innovative fold-out kayak will remain stable even in harsh waters and can endure long expeditions.
It is designed for premium speed and handling.
Even though the kayak is small when folded, you don’t need to question its durability.
The company’s kayaks undergo extensive strength and durability testing.
It is rated at 20,000 folds and even exceeds the US Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements.
The Coast XT is backed with an impressive 12-month warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with it.
Since you can fold this kayak into a small package, it can easily fit in the trunk of your car or the back of your closet.
You can also transport the kayak on bicycles or when you’re hiking.
- Award-Winning Design
The Oru Coast XT Kayak has been featured on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Shark Tank, and Oprah Magazine.
- Highly portable
- Easy to set up
- Impressive warranty
- Award-winning design
- Origami-inspired design; not everyone’s cup of tea
Which One Is the Best Kayak for Beginners?
These are possibly some of the best beginner kayaks on the market right now.
Each of them comes with unique features, and you can select any one of them without any hesitation.
However, our personal favorite is the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-On-Top Kayak.
Yes, it is indeed expensive, but it is worth every penny.
The kayak is built with durable materials meant to last for a long time. It is also compact and portable.
Lastly, even though it’s so compact, the kayak is extremely stable and can store a number of things with ease.
We highly recommend this kayak for you!