Best Recreational Kayak Reviews: Choose The Perfect One!

If you are tired from spending your weekends at home and want to feel the fresh breeze on your skin, you might consider purchasing a good recreational kayak.

This will open to you the way to the most entertaining hobbies connected to water and nature. Have a fun time with your friends, family or give yourself time in the privacy with your mind and nature – the choice is yours.

Our task here is to help you to learn on how to find the best recreational kayak for your personal needs. Read the Buyer’s Guide and check the list of the best kayak brands below to know more.

Top Picks For Best Recreational Kayaks of 2018!

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak – Best Kayak For Small Ponds!

Photo of Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak One of the most popular recreational kayaks on the market and among paddlers, Aruba combines simple design and high productivity.

Aruba by Sun Dolphin is a sit-in kayak, created specifically for recreational activities. It is simply and affordable, which makes it perfect for beginners.
We must advise beforehand to buy better paddles, id you want to perform some heavy paddling, as the ones that come by default with the kayak are not the best.

This is a small and narrow kayak which is great for small ponds or flatwater as you can manage to do quick turns easily and almost momentarily. We talk about this one a lot, but the main reason for that is because Aruba is the best option for so many occasions. You could use it for small sport events, recreational activities with your family or alone etc.

Of course, if you need something bigger or more pro-oriented, e.g., good fishing kayak, Aruba, probably, won’t do. But for weekend on the lake – just right.

Simple design of this kayak allows to sit in comfortably and provides adjustable seat with good back support.

You won’t find big storage space here, but the compartment in the cockpit is enough to hold all your personal staff. In addition, the kayak has a bottle holder, which is very nice to have on a go.

Adjustable foot braces allow you to find the best leg position for more comfortable paddling.

If you are new to the kayaking world but want to try it out, or you just need something very basic and affordable – Aruba might be the best option for you.


  • Easy to handle alone
  • Maneuverable
  • Nice details like bottle holder or adjustable foot braces


  • Too plain for professional paddlers

Lifetime Youth Wave – Best Recreational Children Kayak!

Kayaking can become the fun time for the whole family. And, of course, we want only the best for our children, so, in terms of kayaking, we need to find the best recreational kayak.

Photo of Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle

Lifetime Youth Wave is created for children aged 5 and up. Colorful and fun, it has simple design and the most important feature for any kayak - stability.

Basically, this is a simple board, molded in the right shape. So no constructional innovations – just plain kayak with no seat or multiple storage compartments. But it fulfills main functions you need from the kayak and has the significant features: stability and durability.

Don’t be afraid of your kid growing up from this kayak too fast. Youth Wave has multiple molded footrests, so your child can find more comfortable position as he grows.

Even if such situation occurred, and your child landed in the water – the sloped back and swim-up step will allow to get back to the kayak easily right away.

The bottom of the kayak has drain holes for water.

You will get the paddle along with the kayak, comfortable for kids hands.

It is very lightweight, so it won’t be a problem for a kid to carry it by himself.

You won’t be able to adjust the seat to the kayak without drilling additional holes in it.

If you want to see pictures and the price tag of the product – click here.


  • Stable and durable
  • As a slide-off at the back
  • Suitable for different ages


  • Not good for fast tracking

SKATEBOLT Folding – Best Portable Kayak For Fast Tracking!

If you are searching for the lightweight kayak which can gain great speed in seconds – SKATEBOLT Folding Kayak might be the best option.

As you can understand, it is foldable, which simplifies the transportation and managing the kayak on the land.

SKATEBOLT have created great foldable sit-in kayak for 1 person. It combines the best qualities of classic strong kayaks and lightweight inflatable kayaks. A perfect combo to put in the car and go for a great vacation on water. Without using the pump or any other equipment, you can assemble the kayak in just 4-5 minutes by yourself.

Even though it is lightweight, the kayak is completely safe to use in the ocean. First of all, its long construction provides great stability. Secondly, the tough polypropylene it is made of, offers extreme level of durability. Moreover, the kayak has anti-acid salt corrosion and wear-resistant protection.

We consider this kayak amazing for recreational activities, but lacking space for other activities, e.g., fishing.

You get a comfortable seat and plenty of leg-room inside of the kayak. The sit-in process is easy and you won’t meet any inconveniences here.

It is great for tracking and can go really fast.

Skatebolt Folding Kayak has all the features to be the perfect kayak for beginners and experienced paddlers at the same time.

You can find more info here.


  • Fast tracking
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight and durable


  • Lacks storage

Intex Explorer K2 – Best Cheap Recreational Kayak!

Photo of Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Two person kayak is a great opportunity to spend fun time with your friend or beloved one together in the wild. Learn, how to work as a team while enjoying the nature around you.

Intex Explorer is a very durable inflatable tandem kayak which will knock you out with its amazingly low price.
Before purchasing this item, please notice, that the capacity and space inside of the kayak is optimized for 2 passengers with smaller body frame.

This is a basic recreational activity kayak with almost no storage space and inflatable seats. By the way, you could think on replacing those seats, if possible, as they will not provide enough back support for taller people.

Nevertheless, the Explorer has three undeniable advantages: durability, stability and very budget friendly price tag. For further directional stability, the kayak has removable skeg.

Durability is achieved by construction, extra strong vinyl and 2 air chamber system.

For less the 100 dollars you can get an inflatable kayak, paddles, the pump and a repair kit, which is a great deal.

This is a very basic kayak, but it will perform great in the flatwater.

Find out more here.


  • Bright colors
  • Stable and durable
  • Great price


  • Small capacity and storage space
  • Non-supportive seats

Sevylor Quikpak K1 – Best For Lakes!

Sit on kayaks are highly popular among people, who are fond of recreational activities. Small sit-on-top kayaks are more stable and maneuverable at the same time, which makes it easier to paddle even in narrow places.

There are plenty of good, high-quality sit-on-top recreational kayaks on the market. Today, we’ve chosen the budget friendly option, which will do great for beginners or for holiday on the water.

Sevylor Quikpak K1 is a 1 person sit-on-top inflatable kayak which can be carried in the backpack!

The kayak has two different materials for your comfort and durability: softer material covers the top of the kayak and more thick tarpaulin bottom protects it from punctures. Several air chambers in the construction add to the durability of the kayak.

Despite the small size, the kayak has a pretty decent storage compartment in the cockpit and big leg-room with multiple footrests.

The backrest of the seat is an inflatable part of the kayak, while the seat itself can be removed and turned into the backpack for the kayak!

We would say, that the Quikpak K1 is the best to use on the flatwater, especially lakes and small ponds.

It is stable, maneuverable, but won’t withstand as good against waves or rough wind blows.

The best thing about this kayak, is that, even though it is pretty small and is inflatable, it has a decent 400 lbs capacity.

The kayak, probably, won’t do for a sport events, as it can’t gather high speed, but it will serve great for paddling and having fun on the water. Just remember to read instructions on how to attach the seat carefully, as it can be struggle at first.


  • Fast setup
  • Durable materials
  • Cool backpack system
  • Portable
  • Large capacity


  • Not fast

Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater – Best Recreational Touring Kayak For Tourism!

Water tourism is a fun type of recreational activity you could perform with a good touring kayak. As it might take a little longer than a small water kayak trip, you need something extra comfortable and durable.

Photo of Riot Kayak Brittany

Brittany kayak designed by Riot Kayaks is a 1 person sit-in kayak, created specifically for touring.

This is the longest kayak in our list, as it is 16.5 feet long. But you do need an extra stable and durable kayak if you are going to spend few days in it paddling.

The Brittany has solid and extra sturdy construction with the retractable skeg.

It is even described by the manufacturer as a sea kayak, as the stability level allows it to withstand ocean waves.

Second most important feature the touring kayak must have is the presence of a big storage space.

You will certainly find enough storage compartments here. The biggest one is located in the cockpit and it is surrounded by bungee cord, so you can put stuff there as well. All separate compartments (1 in the front and 2 in the back) have lids to keep your stuff safe.

And the last, but not least, is your comfort during the trip. Custom-fit seating system will allow you to paddle for a long time without sore back.

Though we would recommend adding a softer backrest for more comfort.

The Brittany kayak has ton of additional positive features, like safety straps, paddle hook, suregrip thighbraces etc.

This is a great kayak for touring and a long time investment.

You can find more information here.


  • Extra comfortable and stable
  • Can perform in the sea and rough water
  • Big storage space
  • Thought-through safety system


  • High price
  • No paddles included

Buyer’s Guide: How To Pick The Best Recreational Kayak?

So, why do you need a recreational kayak in the first place? How do you use it and why is it so special?

In simple words, recreational kayak is a kayak you would spend a weekend or a day off on the water. Paddling, taking a trip down the river, touring or getting into the small competition with your friends. Anything you can imagine, while spending fun time on the lake or sea shore.

Of course, if you want something more specific, like fishing kayak or sport kayak, these might be too simple or lacking something for you.

So, how to pick the most versatile and useful recreational kayak? And what to pay attention to while picking?

First of all, you must follow the main rule for picking the best kayak: your kayak must be durable and stable! These are the features your life could depend on.

Recreational kayaks often have a retractable skeg which will help you to handle the kayak on long-distance trips.

Recreational kayaks can have different shape, and it often depend on the size of the kayak: smaller kayaks can be almost flat, especially the sit-on-top ones, while long kayaks commonly have a rocker shape.

Buying the recreational kayak, you still need to think beforehand on how will you use it, as many features can depend on that decision. For example, if you want to get yourself into water tourism, you might need a touring kayak with lots of storage compartments. While the big storage space is not that important in the matters of few hours paddling on the lake.


Nowadays you can find great recreational kayaks for any taste and budget. Think carefully on what do you want to receive from your kayak and how are you going to use it. This will help you to choose the best kayak out there.