Best Kayak for Lakes

Kayaking on the lake is one of the most relaxing activities you can do in nature. Whether you’re fishing out on the lake, navigating the waters with others around you or you simply want to explore the lake in a stress-free manner, choosing a kayak that’s specifically designed for lakes can be difficult.

Here are some of the best kayaks for lakes along with a winner and runner-ups at the end. You’ll also find some information that can be helpful throughout your browsing process.

Best Budget Choice

#3 Challenger Series

4/5

Best Pick

Oru Beach LT Small

#1 Oru Beach

5/5

Best Premium Choice

Perception Pescador kayak

#2 Perception Pescador

5/5

Best Kayak for Lakes Reviews

 

1. Oru Beach LT Kayak (Top Pick)

Oru Beach LT

>>Check Price on Oru<<

5/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Foldable
  • Length: 12’
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Hull weight: 26lbs
  • 10-year UV treatmen

The ORU Beach LT Kayak is labeled as our top pick because of its overall convenience, durability and stability. This foldable kayak is convenient because of its ability to be folded and then carried within the ORU pack that’s included. It features durable construction that’s made out of a five millimeter, double-layered, custom-extruded polypropylene material.

Not only is this material able to withstand some wear and tear, but it’s also treated with a 10-year UV protective covering. This helps to keep the kayak’s appearance and performance protected from the sun. It measures 12 feet and holds one person with a 300-pound weight capacity. Unlike other kayaks, this foldable ORU kayak only weighs 26 pounds, making it extremely easy to haul around in any type of vehicle or on your back.

Pros:

  • Only weighs 26lbs
  • Features a 10-year UV treatment for protection
  • Constructed with a foldable design that fits into the ORU pack

Cons:

  • Takes between 5-10 minutes to set up

 

2. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Pedal Kayak (Premium Pick)

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Pedal Kayak

>>Check Price on Austin Kayak<<

5/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Sit-On-Top
  • Length: 12’
  • Weight capacity: 525lbs
  • Hull weight: 74lbs
  • Pilot Drive propeller system drives the boat forward and in reverse

For a premium kayak, you should consider the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Pedal Kayak. This boat offers exceptional, high-quality features that can benefit everyone in various types of waters. Not only is it available in a range of colors, but it offers features that optimize any fishing experience.

For instance, the pedals are equipped with a Pilot Drive Propeller system that allows the kayak to move forward as well as in reverse. The wide base of the Perception Pescador gives any fishermen the stability they need to even cast while standing. And this boat includes a transducer scupper and a rudder that gives you even more control over the kayak’s direction and performance in the water.

Lastly, the chair itself is worth purchasing this sit-on-top kayak, since it’s made with a zonal mesh fabric that’s able to promote cooling and offer optimal airflow. This kayak measures 12 feet and is capable of holding one person. Its weight capacity is 525 pounds, making it stronger than all the other kayaks on this list. And it weighs 74 pounds.

Pros:

  • Capable of holding up to 525lbs
  • Made with a propeller system that drives the kayak forward and backward
  • Includes a transducer scupper and rudder

Cons:

  • More expensive than most other kayaks on the market

 

3. Intex Challenger Series (Best Budget Pick)

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Inflatable
  • Length: 11.5’
  • Weight capacity: 400lbs
  • Hull weight: 23.9lbs
  • Streamlined design

If you’re looking for lake kayaks while on a budget, then you should consider the Intex Challenger Series. This kayak is the most adorable one on this list, and it’s equipped with features that cater to its looks. More specifically, it features a streamlined design that gives the boat the ability to travel faster through the water, making it easy to paddle compared to other budget inflatable picks.

It’s also constructed with a rugged vinyl material that’s both puncture and UV resistant. As for the colors, this inflatable kayak is highly visible in the water with its bright colors and sporty design. There are two air chambers in its structure that you can easily inflate with the high-capacity air pump.

If you develop damage at all, you can use the included repair patch kit. The Intex Challenger Series measures 11.5 feet and is capable of holding two people. Its weight capacity is 400 pounds, and it only weighs 23.9 pounds.

Pros:

  • Easy to see in the water with the bright colors and sporty design
  • Capable of fitting up to 2 people
  • Only weighs 23.9lbs
  • Most affordable kayak on this list

Cons:

  • Takes up to 10 minutes to inflate

 

4. Sea Eagle Razorlite 393rl (Premium Inflatable Pick)

>>Check Price on Sea Eagle<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Inflatable
  • Length: 12’
  • Weight capacity: 500lbs
  • Hull weight: 35lbs
  • Quadruple overlapped seams

Offering the most high-end inflatable construction, the Sea Eagle Razorlite 393rL is the most recommended inflatable kayak for individuals that have a higher budget. It’s constructed with three separate air chambers that keep you safe at the water’s surface even if the structure develops a hole.

The Sea Eagle has quadruple overlapped seams that keep the kayak’s material durable and stable throughout various water conditions. And it’s made with 1000 denier reinforced vinyl. As for the performance, this kayak has a removable rear skeg to give you more control over the direction and speed of the boat, and it has a high-pressure drop stitch floor that gives you enough stability to even stand on.

The Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak measures 12 feet long, can hold one person and it has a weight capacity of 500 pounds. It only weighs 35 pounds to carry, and it comes with a carry bag to easily transport the boat from your vehicle to the lake.

Pros:

  • Can hold up to 500lbs
  • Features an inflation time of only 7 minutes
  • Equipped with 3 air chambers for safety and convenience

Cons:

  • Seat isn’t adjustable for comfort

 

5. Feel Free Lure 13.5 Kayak (Most Comfortable Seat)

Feelfree Lure 13.5 Kayak

>>Check Price on Austin Kayak<<

4.5/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Fishing
  • Length: 13.5’
  • Weight capacity: 500lbs
  • Hull weight: 107lbs
  • Removable sonar pod

Specifically designed for all-day kayaking trips, the Feelfree Lure Kayak comes with a comfortable seat and optimal fishing features. The seat is removable, multi-positioned and is extra-wide for optimal comfort. The boat features a multi-use console behind the bow hatch and a removable sonar pod for electronics.

The boat itself measures 13.5 feet and can hold one person. It supports up to 500 pounds and weighs 107 pounds altogether. There’s even an insulated cooler that you can use to store either drinks or fish.

Pros:

  • Features a multi-use console behind the bow hatch
  • Comes with an insulated cooler for drinks or fish
  • Includes a lid with a cutting board

Cons:

  • Weighs more than other kayaks, so it may be difficult to transport

 

6. Lifetime Tamarack Angler (Best Budget Fishing Kayak)

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Fishing
  • Length: 10’
  • Weight capacity: 275lbs
  • Hull weight: 52lbs
  • Deep hull tracking channels

Available at an affordable price, this Lifetime Kayak is designed for delivering an optimized fishing performance for anglers of any experience level. It features a stable bottom that you can even stand on, and there are multiple footrest positions for comfort. The seat is padded and can be adjusted to fit anglers of any height.

For all-day fishing trips, there are three rod-holders on the kayak, two of which are flush-mounted. And there a deep hull tracking channels that make the boat easy to control at faster speeds. The Lifetime Tamarack Fishing Kayak measures 10 feet, can hold one person and can support up to 275 pounds. It only weighs 52 pounds for easy handling.

Pros:

  • More affordable than other fishing kayaks
  • 3 fishing rod holders in total
  • Features a stable flat bottom

Cons:

  • Only has a weight capacity of 275lbs, which is less than most other fishing kayaks

7. Old Town Loon 126 (Best Sit Inside Option)

Old Town Loon 126

>>Check Price on Austin Kayak<<

4/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Recreational
  • Length: 12.5’
  • Weight capacity: 450lbs
  • Hull weight: 56lbs
  • USB charging port

Catering specifically to lakes, the Old Town Loon kayak features an advanced design that can be customized to fit your particular needs. This recreational kayak has a super plush ACSZ seat that’s adjustable, supportive, vented and padded. And there’s a removable work deck that can be used either for preparing bait or setting up camera gear.

Furthermore, this kayak has dry storage and a USB charging port that most other kayaks don’t offer. It measures 12.5 feet and holds one person. It supports up to 450 pounds and only weighs 56 pounds.

Pros:

  • Seat is removable, padded, supportive and adjustable
  • Comes with a removable work deck that’s customizable
  • Equipped with a dry storage and a USB charging port

Cons:

  • More expensive than some other recreational options

 

8. Intex Dakota (Top Adventure Pick)

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Inflatable
  • Length: 10.3’
  • Weight capacity: 400lbs
  • Hull weight: 30.6lbs
  • Includes 2 dry bags and a carry bag

We recommend the Intex Dakota Tandem Kayak for all your lake adventure purposes. It holds up to two people, comes with two 86-inch oars and includes a hand air pump that’s extremely lightweight. The inflatable design of this kayak is capable of supporting up to 400 pounds in weight, and there are three separate air chambers for optimal safety.

Both of the seats are removable so you can go out alone, and there are easy carry handles on each side of the boat for transport. The kayak only weighs 30 pounds and comes with a carry bag, so you can easily carry the boat alone or with another person.

Pros:

  • Capable of holding 2 people
  • Equipped with a long and short skeg for straight-line tracking and turning
  • Constructed with 3 air chambers for optimal support

Cons:

  • Only measures 10.3’ long so it won’t travel through the water as fast as others

 

9. Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL (Best Hardshell Tandem)

Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak

>>Check Price on Austin Kayak<<

4/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Ocean
  • Length: 13.5’
  • Weight capacity: 475lbs
  • Hull weight: 61lbs
  • Molded-in side carry handles

The Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak features a polyethylene material in a long, tandem design. This makes it travel through water faster than most other kayaks on the list. Its 13.5-foot design also features molded-in side handles that you and another person can easily carry from your car to the lake.

Moreover, both of the seats are removable so that you can either use the kayak alone or with someone else. There are also bungee lashings that help to keep your belongings secure inside of the boat. The Ocean Malibu Kayak can support up to 475 pounds.

Pros:

  • Long tandem design lets it travel faster through the water
  • Includes two comfortable seats that can be removed
  • Bungee lashings keep your belongings secure

Cons:

  • It’s a bit heavy to haul

 

10. Old Town Hero Junior (Best Kids Pick)

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

3.5/5

Features:

  • Kayak type: Recreational
  • Length: 7.5’
  • Weight capacity: 115lbs
  • Hull weight: 35lbs
  • Tag Along Tow System

Old Town Canoes and Kayaks designed this Heron Junior Kayak specifically for kids. It measures 7.5 feet long, and it can fit one child inside. The shorter design makes the kayak easy to maneuver through the water, and the seat is padded and contoured to fit smaller children in particular.

Lastly, this boat features a Tag Along Tow System that allows you to tow the smaller kayak behind another boat for kids that become tired paddling easily. It’s capable of supporting up to 115 pounds and it only weighs 35 pounds.

Pros:

  • Cheaper option for kids
  • Only weighs 35lbs
  • Equipped with a tow system that lets the kayak attach to another boat for when kids get tired

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a paddle

 

Choosing the Best Lake Kayak

How Big is the Lake?

You’ll first want to consider how large the lake is that you’re planning on kayaking in. For larger lakes, you may want to use a kayak that’s bigger and features a longer design. The larger kayaks with a touring design are capable of traveling longer distances easier because of their ability to glide faster.

On the other hand, for smaller lakes, you may want a short kayak. Shorter recreational kayaks are not only cheaper, but they feature more comfortable features that are suitable for all-day kayaking trips on the lake. This video can help you to better understand which type of kayak would be the most suitable for the lakes you’re traveling on.

Types of Kayaks

Sit-Inside

Sit-inside kayaks are great for lakes because they tend to be more comfortable than other types. They’re available in a range of different styles, but they’re capable of moving fast and tracking straight in the water. That being said, they can travel straight through a lake’s calm and cool waters.

They also have a wider, open cockpit that you can sit inside. This gives you more protection from the debris that may be in the water and around you, and it also helps to keep you dry with your legs under the deck.

Sit-On-Top

Sit-on-top kayaks are beneficial for lakes because of the calm waters. The lack of cockpit makes the passenger vulnerable to getting wet when the water splashes. But lakes have calmer waters where the kayakers don’t have to worry about that. They’re also great for lakes and those of you that want to swim because they’re easy to get in and out of.

Sit-on-top kayaks are more user-friendly than sit-inside boats since they’re more stable and don’t make you feel confined inside of the kayak. They’re also more convenient because they have supper holes that allow the kayak to drain water out on its own. With sit-inside kayaks, you’ll have to manually do this.

What are the Best Types of Kayaks for Lakes?

What size kayak

Touring

Available in either a sit-inside or sit-on-top design, touring kayaks are specifically beneficial for bigger lakes. Their long, thin designs make them travel through water at faster speeds, making them great for those that have to reach destinations quicker. Touring kayaks are also great for those of you that want to engage in longer paddling excursions since their longer design makes them easier to paddle without getting tired as quickly as other designs.

They usually have high-end tracking systems as well as a rudder and skeg that can help you to better control the direction of the kayak when there are high winds or stronger water currents .

Inflatable

Most inflatable kayaks are beneficial for day-time use on lakes of all sizes. They feature several air-filled chambers that can keep your kayak afloat, and some even feature a beam or a spine that gives them a more high-quality performance. If you have a standard inflatable kayak, then they’re beneficial for daytime use and for relaxing in calmer waters. But if your kayak has more high-end features, like the Sea Eagle 393rL, then you can use these for different purposes other than recreational.

woman in beginner kayak looking at mountains, best kayak for lakes

Recreational

Recreational kayaks are the most common type of lake kayak since they’re versatile and feature the most comfortable setup. They have a large cockpit and they’re easy to control. Even more, they’re equipped with features that make then stable and durable in the water, so they’re able to withstand any lake water conditions.

Fishing

Fishing kayaks are usually more expensive and come with features that cater to the overall fishing experience. Most fishing kayaks will have higher weight capacities because anglers need to carry heavier gear with them. And they’re also usually equipped with more versatile setups on the interior of the kayak, like rod holders, cutting boards, work decks and even a wider base for anglers to stand on.

Fishing kayaks are usually equipped with more high-end designs that can withstand the water conditions of any lake, so you can use them in most lakes. If you’re looking for a fishing kayak, think about all of the gear that you’ll need and consider whether a particular kayak can support that gear.

Tandem

Lastly, tandem kayaks are also becoming more popular to use on lakes. They’re capable of holding two people at one time, so you can explore lakes with your friend or family member. They feature a longer design that can usually travel through water at faster speeds. But you should have some paddling experience before you consider using a tandem kayak since you’ll have to paddle similarly to the person you’re kayaking with to keep constant and safe speeds.

Final Thoughts

Overall, finding the right kind of kayak for your lake excursions can be a difficult process. Not only do you have to think about the main type of kayak that will be best for you, but you have to consider a range of other features that go along with each of the particular kayaks. After reviewing this guide, we hope that you’ve gained some knowledge of what boat would be the most convenient for you.

Above all, we’ve named the ORU Beach LT Kayak as the best one on this list. It’s foldable and lightweight design make it convenient for practically everyone to use. Its 12-foot long structure makes it easy to track throughout the water, and it’s constructed from a puncture and abrasion-resistant polypropylene material that’s been treated with UV protection.

If you’re looking for a higher-end kayak that costs a bit more, then we also name the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Pedal Kayak as the #2 runner up. This kayak offers exceptional features specifically for fishing purposes. The Pilot Drive Propeller system along with the transducer scupper and rudder gives you optimal control over the direction of the boat. And the vented seat offers maximized comfort for all-day fishing trips on the lake.

Lastly, if you’re needing a more affordable option, then you may want to consider our third runner-up: the Intex Challenger Series. It’s the cheapest lake kayak on this list, and it features a lightweight design. This inflatable kayak is easy to paddle with its streamline design, and it comes with everything you need to easily venture out onto any lake for hours at a time.

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