How to Choose a Kayak for Lakes After 2020
Kayaking on the lake can be peaceful and relaxing, but if you go out on the water with a poor-quality kayak, you may spend half the afternoon trying to get back to shore. There are plenty of kayaks to choose from, but how can you determine which one is the best choice for you?
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
Our favorite for 2020
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
A very close runner-up
Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
Great for exploring lakes and easy rivers
Here are some things to consider when comparing models:
- Durability: The most important thing to consider is the kayak’s durability. Most models designed for lake use are inflatable. They’re lightweight and easily portable, but they can easily be punctured or damaged if poor quality materials are used. Opt for a kayak built with puncture-resistant material and multiple chambers to ensure maximum durability.
- Comfort: Kayaking on the lake is very different from river kayaking, which can be intense. Comfort should be considered. Inflatable backrests and I-beam floors can make your trip more comfortable and pleasurable.
- Capacity: Do you kayak alone, or with a partner? There are models that can accommodate single passengers or two passengers. Aside from passenger capacity, weight capacity also needs to be kept in mind. The kayak’s weight limit can be found in the product description.
- Gear Storage: If you plan on taking gear with you, make sure you choose a kayak that has storage. Some models feature large cargo nets, while others have smaller nets or simple hooks to attach gear. Determine how much storage you’ll need and which type you prefer to find a model that meets your needs.
Choosing the right kayak can be a challenge. We’re going to help you find the ideal model for your needs. Here are our top favorite models for 2020:
Reviews – Our Favorite Kayak for Lakes in 2020
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – With a low profile, the Intex Explorer K2 is a low-profile kayak that’s ideal for use on lakes and gentle rivers. The adjustable inflatable seats include backrests for added comfort during use.
The Explorer’s sporty graphics provide high visibility when out on the water, and the heavy-duty vinyl is puncture-resistant for added durability. The two separate air chambers and Boston valves allow for quick inflation.
The I-beam floor offers rigidity and the removable skeg provides directional stability. The Explorer K2 can hold two passengers, and boasts a maximum weight of 400 pounds.
Two aluminum oars are included with this kayak as well as a high-output air pump.
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak – The Challenger K1 is a single-person kayak that’s durable, comfortable and provides ample space for cargo storage. With an eye-catching design, this kayak offers high visibility for added safety when out on the open water, and the inflated backrest provides added comfort.
The design of the cockpit provides space and comfort, while the I-beam floor offers added stability. A cargo net is included on the front of the kayak for storage of gear.
Like the Explorer K2, this model comes with a pair of aluminum oars and a hand pump.
With a 220-pound weight limit, this kayak is a great option for anyone who kayaks alone and needs space to store gear.
Intex Challenger K2 Kayak – The Challenger K2 is a two-person version of the previous model. Sporting the same look and design, this model offers high visibility, stability and durability.
Constructed with heavy-duty vinyl, the Challenger K2 is both UV damage- and puncture-resistant for added durability. Like with other Intex models, the inflated I-beam floor provides added rigidity and stability.
The two-seater design allows you to kayak with a friend and store your gear while you’re out on the lake. The two inflatable seats have backrests for comfort and stability.
The two grab lines on each end of the kayak allow for easy transport, while the 400-pound weight limit accommodates most users with ease.
Sea Eagle SE370K_P – Lightweight and portable, the Sea Eagle SE370K_P is NMMA certified and inflates in just eight minutes. With a weight of just 32 pounds, this kayak is easy to transport and comes with a storage bag.
Three one-way valves are included with this kayak as well as a self-bailing drain valve. High-frequency welded seams and an inflatable I-beam construction provides durability and stability. The hull features saltwater and sun resistance which further adds to the longevity of this model.
Included with this kayak is a pump, and this model takes just eight minutes to inflate.
With a high weight limit of 650 pounds, the SE370 can accommodate virtually every kayaker.
Coleman Quikpak K1 – The Quikpak K1 is another single-person kayak that offers quick inflation and easy transport. Lightweight and portable, the Quikpak is ideal for kayakers who want to get out and go without having to worry about packing a car-full of gear.
Constructed with 21-gauge PVC, this kayak has a rugged design that makes it ideal for use out on the lake. The tarpaulin bottom provides added puncture resistance, but the multiple air chamber design ensures that other chambers stay inflated if one is punctured.
With Coleman’s Airtight System, this kayak is guaranteed not to leak. The Double Lock system also uses two locking points, which allows for easy inflation and deflation.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Right Open Water Kayak for You
Still not sure which model to choose? Buying a kayak isn’t easy, especially when so many models have similar features. We talked earlier about some important things to consider when comparing models. Here are some other points to keep in mind when making your final decision:
- Weight and Size: Inflatable kayaks are portable, but they can still be heavy and large. Make sure the model you’re considering can fit in your vehicle, and that the weight of the kayak is light enough for you to carry.
- Accessories: Does the kayak come with any accessories? Most models include paddles, pumps and storage bags. If you don’t have a paddle or pump already, you may consider models that offer these extra accessories. Otherwise, you’ll need to add the cost of buying paddles and pumps to your purchase.
- Leak Protection: Does the kayak offer any leak protection features? Multiple chambers ensure that if one chamber is punctured, others remain intact to keep you afloat until you reach the shore. Some kayaks are built with special materials that offer extra leak protection. Ideally, you want a model that offers as much leak and puncture resistance as possible.
- Price: The price of the kayak is one thing that cannot be ignored, and will likely be the deciding factor in your final decision. Choose the best quality kayak in your price range. While it may be tempting to choose the lowest price model, you may regret your decision if the kayak doesn’t last at least a year.