A recreational kayak is one which is designed for a casual paddler fascinated in recreational activities such as photography, exercise, fishing or paddling on lake or stream with low ocean currents and waves. Recreational kayaks make up the most sales of all kayak segments because of their stability and ease to paddle.

Recreational kayaks are the ones mostly found at local liveries.

Why kayaking is good for you

  • It serves as an excellent cardiovascular workout. Works on the arms, legs, back, chest, shoulder and other joints without putting too much pressure on the body.
  • Getting on calm waters and feeling the breeze as you paddle is more likely to ease stress.
  • It develops cognitive abilities and creativity.

There are different types of recreational kayaks with accessories and features designed to give you the best feeling on water. The main reason why you need a perfect recreational kayak is due to its varieties and your level of expertise. Whether you are an expert or new to kayaking and you have been wondering what brand of recreational kayak to go with, well do not worry, I’ve got you covered. A simple rundown of the top kayaks with their specifications, pros and cons has been made to make you choose the best decision.

Best Recreational Kayaks for 2017

RankItem NamePicturePrice
1.Old Town canoes and kayaks vapor 10kayaks vapor 10Price
2.Ocean Kayak FrenzyA sit on top ocean frenzy kayakPrice
3.Ocean Kayak ScramblerOcean Kayak ScramblerPrice
4.Lifetime MantaPrice
5.Advanced Elements AE1012-RPrice
6.Intex Challenger K2 KayakPrice
7.Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Ft.Price
8.Oru BayPrice
9.Sea Eagle SE370KPrice
10.Lifetime Sport FisherPrice
11.Emotion envy kayakEmotion envy recreational kayakPrice
12.Old Town Vapor 10Price
  1. Old Town canoes and kayaks vapor 10

kayaks vapor 10There is the sit-on-top brand and the inflatable one. It is designed for a single person. If you’re a beginner, this is the best brand for you because of its ability to maneuver on slow rivers and other types of water.

A sit on top kayak is newer and self bailing which implies it can’t be filled with water. It is easy to use, convenient and more flexible.


Weight capacity: 275- 325 pounds

Weight: 50 pounds

Length: 10 feet

Price: about 600 dollars


  • It is easy to transport: as this brand is about 10 feet long, it is not accompanied with difficulties of getting into a pickup or an SUV. It is easy to carry as it is just less than 50 pounds. Women and men with small body frames find it easier to carry even without help. The handles at the both ends also adds to the ease.


  • The skid plate of vapor 10 is made from a layer of molded polyethylene material which is why it is durable over long term usage. The skid plate is built onto the hull to protect against scrapes as you run up on shore.


  • Large cockpit: vapor 10 has plenty of room for a gear, paddler and even a pet. The seat is adjustable and well padded with thigh pads. It has four adjustable glide track foot braces to enable you fit in well and gain great control of the kayak. Its paddle rest is molded into the hull. There is a large space in front of the cockpit for storage of items and a built day-well in the stern as well.


  • It is lightweight, stable and steady.


  • It is not as fast as some other longer boats. Although, this will be quite noticeable when it is used by an expert.
  • The backrest does not have a cushion. Although, additional cushioning could be done.
  • There are no straps to keep items in place.
  • Mostly appropriate for kayaking in short distance.
  • The seat isn’t heavily padded as other models.
  • Not intended for rough water.

Read More about Old Town canoes and kayaks vapor 10 Here


  1. Ocean Kayak Frenzy

This brand of kayak is a sit-on-top kayak which is designed for one person. It is easy to maneuver and can handle both rough and flat water which makes it perfect for exploring.


Weight capacity: 275-325 pounds

Weight: 43 pounds

Length: 9 feet

Price: under 500 dollars


  • Storage space: frenzy has a large space for storing of items for a single day trip, it includes a stern tank well with bungees and a bow deck bungee to keep the gear dry and in place. An advantage over old town is that it comes with straps.
  • It includes a skid plate on the hull for added durability and to protect against scratches as you run up the shore.
  • Carrying handles are situated on the stern and bow to make it easier to transport. It will fit in securely on smaller roof racks, pickups and SUVs. It also includes a cup holder which is conveniently located.
  • Molded foot wells: these are easily adjustable with a patented design.
  • Comfortable seat back: the seat is well padded to provide enough comfort. The seat could be easily replaced.
  • Molded hull which tracks steadily while still maintaining maneuverability.
  • Easy entrance and exit.


  • Storage areas are less waterproof unlike vapor 10.
  • Seat is narrow and can be found slightly cramped.
  • It is not fast.

It can be paddled by anyone. Although, it can be quite unsteady for beginners yet it is very forgiving. Ocean kayak frenzy still offers a great recreational kayak for adventurers.


  1. Ocean Kayak Scrambler

This is a sit-on-top kayak that is suitable for all day use and for different activities. It is of a longer length and a sleek design which gives it the ability to move faster and track better on flat water. It has overlapping foot wells that provide the needed leg space.


Weight capacity: 350 pounds

Weight: 47 pounds

Length: 11.5


  • It is faster: scrambler is quite faster that frenzy and vapor 10.
  • Since the hull is a bit longer, there is an ample space for essentials. It has front and back deep wells with bungee straps. It also has a dry storage compartment which is easily positioned between legs in the seat molding. This dry storage compartment is perfect for keeping wallets, mobile phones and other items dry. It includes a cupholder to hold your drinks in place.
  • Comfortable seat back: a double padded sea back is inclusive to provide additional comfort. It is 4-way adjustable to provide support for different body sizes.
  • Carrying handles are situated on the stern and bow to make it easier to transport. It will fit in securely on smaller roof racks and pickups. It could be carried singlehandedly.
  • The skid plate is made from Rotomolded Polyethylene.


  • It is quite larger than frenzy and vapor 10 and there could be difficulties in it fitting into a SUV.
  • It is rather expensive.
  • It is not forgiving of mistakes. Much more intended for advanced paddlers.

Read More about Ocean Kayak Scrambler

How to choose the best recreational kayak

In spite of these provided reviews, ensure you consider the following.


The price of recreational kayaks ranges as high as $1000 to $250. It is essential not to go for very cheap models, this means buying recreational kayaks worth $400 and above. The cheaper models might wear out easily due to its low quality. The higher the price, the longer the kayak. The length is an important aspect in kayaking as it will determine the kind of activities that’ll be done and how great your experience will be. Beginners could still go for cheaper ones but advanced paddlers should seek for boats with longer lengths.

Better accessories such as water-resistant storage compartments and adjustable footrests. Having enough room to stash essentials such as keys, phones and others can’t be overlooked.

In essence, the more you are willing to pay for a particular brand, the better the quality and the assurance you’re likely to get. Instead of going for a cheaper brand that’ll probably last for a short period, break your heart and turn you off from kayaking, why not save up to get the best.

Your kayaking plan:

There goes a saying, if you fail to plan, you prepare to fail. Just before you hit the market for a recreational kayak, be sure you have explicit and ideal missions. You have to put some things under considerations such as:

  • Where you intend exploring. Is it lakes, rivers, flat water and so on?
  • The water conditions or the climate you’ll get to paddle in so as to determine the amount of stability needed.
  • Are you going to be comfy with your legs enclosed or not?
  • How wet do you want to get?
  • The length of trip to determine how large the storage compartments should be. Too much stuffs on the kayak is likely to slow you down.


If you’d be paddling in a cold weather or climate, a sit-in kayak would work just fine. This kayak is designed for someone to sit inside of it, legs would be under the deck. This will reduce the rate of splashes and with the use of a kayak skirt, your legs will stay dry and warm. A little problem with this is that if you flip over, you’d be very wet and will have to swim your kayak to the shoreline and drain it.

There is the sit-on-top kayak which is suitable for warm water paddlers and it is easier to get in and out. If you flip over, you can crawl back in without having to swim to the shoreline.

Transporting your kayak

Any recreational kayak you end up with, there will be a need to transport it from time to time. You need to consider the weight of the kayak. If you propose kayaking all alone, you have to buy what could be carried singlehandedly. Ensure you know how long a brand can fit into the back of your vehicle, a kayak above 10 feet will be best for a roof rack or a sport trailer.

Your skill

The level of your skill will decide the recreational kayak brand to go with. A lot of recreational kayak brands are more beginner-friendly but some other longer ones could be difficult for beginners to use. Recreational kayaks usually vary from 8 to 14 feet. Beginners should opt for the length 8-10 while professionals should opt for the full length. The longer a kayak, the faster and better it tracks.

Cockpit and seat

It is essential to check the size of the kayak’s cockpit before buying. People with larger hips and long legs might find it difficult to fit in the kayak. Ensure the brand of recreational kayak fits your body frame. Go for heavily padded and adjustable seats because they enhance comfortability.


Go for brands that won’t tip over easily especially if you plan taking kids kayaking. Stable kayaks have the capability to last for a longer period in different types of water and atmospheric conditions.

Recreational kayaks are pleasurable to use in all types of water. Kayaking with family and friends is a wonderful way of spending quality time together and its always advisable to get a handheld VHF radio for communicating with fellow kayakers while on your kayaking expenditure.