Best Crossover Kayak of 2018 & Buying Guide

Purchasing a crossover kayak will give you the best of both worlds whether you want to paddle through narrow spaces or attach a motor and drift with ease. This type of kayak is much different than a traditional kayak as it has varying capabilities and strengths. Think of a crossover kayak as a mix between a recreational kayak and a river boat.

Finding a model that will fit your needs can be a tedious task when you don’t know what factors to consider. We aim to help bring you to the best crossover kayak by introducing the top 5 picks along with a helpful guide to choosing the perfect one.

Buying Guide

Using a Crossover Kayak

The awesome part about owning a crossover kayak is that it has multiple different uses. Here are several of the most common ways to use this type of vessel:

  • Boating – If you plan on taking casual day trips through the water and relaxing with friends, the crossover kayak is great for boating trips. You can tour through the open waters and enjoy a few cold beverages as you drift along. Most models allow you to attach a small electric or gas motor so you won’t need to worry about paddling.

SCOUT365 Portable Inflatable Boat

SCOUT365 Portable Inflatable Boat

  • Kayaking– For paddling through tight spaces and exploring new destinations, you can use a crossover kayak to navigate through the water. Some kayak come included with the oars so you can propel the vessel forward with a rowing motion.
  • Fishing– Both recreational and professional fisherman can use this type of boat to reel in their catch. Crossover kayaks provide the stability needed to stand up while fishing and not have to worry about tipping over the edge.

How Do I Choose a Crossover Kayak?

Saturn 12 ft Kaboat SK396

Saturn 12 ft Kaboat SK396

You will want a kayak that will last for a long time and serve the purpose for how you intended to use it. Here are some basic factors to look at when purchasing a crossover kayak:

  • Weight Capacity – Depending on how many passengers you plan on having in the boat, it is critical to make sure the model you are interested in will be able to safely fit your weight. Also, keep in mind how many seats or benches come included as that will dictate the number of people you can have inside.
  • Size – When purchasing a kayak, you need to think about the dimensions of the vessel when it comes to your intended use. If you plan on covering long distances, you may want to consider a larger kayak. For example, 15 foot model would cover distances much faster than a 12 foot kayak. On the other hand, if portability is important you may want to opt for a smaller, more lightweight model.
  • Frame and Floor Construction – It is important to look at the material that makes up the frame and cockpit floor, as it will often determine the longevity and durability of the kayak. Inflatable kayaks are often constructed of different types of PVC material that provides resistance against punctures.
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Features to Look For

Once you have a general idea of a kayak that will fit your intended use and preferences, here are some helpful features to look for when making your final decision:

  • Repair Kit – Inflatable crossover kayaks are generally pretty durable but there is always a chance that the material could be punctured. Purchasing a model with a repair kit included will allow you to fix a small tear or rip without searching around for a recreational store.
Saturn 15 ft Kaboat SK470

Saturn 15 ft Kaboat SK470

Saturn 14 ft Kaboat SK430

Saturn 14 ft Kaboat SK430

  • Splash Guards– When cruising through the water at faster speeds, splash guards can help to keep the passengers from getting wet. Some splash guards even offer heat protection to prevent the interior of the boat from overheating on a hot sunny day.
  • Included Gear– Buying a kayak with the rowing oars included can save you the hassle from finding the proper accessory. If you desire portability, you will want to buy an inflatable crossover kayak that comes with a carrying bag. Another helpful accessory is removable benches which can allow you to customize the interior based on how many passengers want to sit inside.

Is There Any Downside?

  • Limited Comfort – While crossover kayaks are a great solution for combining boating and kayaking activities, they are sometimes limited when it comes to passenger comfort. Most inflatable models have metal bench seating which can be hard on your body when sitting for long periods of time. The best way to avoid this is to look for a model that comes with seat padding or even purchase a seat cushion separately.
BRIS 12ft Inflatable Kaboat

BRIS 12ft Inflatable Kaboat

Top 5 Picks for Crossover Kayak

1. Saturn 12 ft Kaboat SK396 Inflatable Boat / Kayak Crossover Review

The Saturn 12 ft Kaboat SK396 is a versatile option for those who want a crossover between an inflatable kayak and inflatable boat. The design of this kayak is modeled with slim profile after Asian Dragon boats which allows it to quickly cover distances.

It measures at 144 x 42 x 14 inches and weighs a mere 48 pounds. The narrow width allows it to reach higher speeds even when compared with boats that have more horsepower. Constructed from 1100 Denier PVC material, this kayak crossover will provide lots of durability for its lifespan.

Triangular splash guards on the sides take it a step further to protect the insides from back splash as well as heat exposure. This model includes a hand pump for easy inflation as well as a repair kit incase the surface has a small puncture or tear.

If you like to kayak standing up, the high-pressure inflatable deck floor provides enhanced stability for rowing and cruising. This option will have all the riding gear you need to embark on a fishing trip, simply bring along your fishing rod and bait.

The boat comes included with 4 fins for directional tracking, 1 set of rowing oars and 2 removable aluminum benches. If you want to purchase an electric motor separately, it can be mounted on to act as a “Ride Assist”.

This model is lightweight and won’t need much more than a small motor to help reduce rowing exhaustion. With this crossover kayak model, you will truly get the best of both worlds when it comes to water adventures.

Pros

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    Narrow width
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    Fins for added tracking
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    Heat protectant splash guards

Cons

  • Requires inflation
  • Motor not included

2. Saturn 14 ft Kaboat SK430 Review

The Saturn 14 ft Kaboat SK430 is a step up from the SK396 model with a longer length and a few additional features for a fun boating experience. For those who want an adaptable kayak crossover, this is the perfect choice and can easily be used as a dinghy for a sailboat or yacht.

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The floor is extremely rigid with drop stitch construction that makes it effortless to stand up and fish. Measuring at 14 x 42 x 168, this new boat comes includes with rowing oars so you can paddle through the water.

If you don’t want to paddle at all times, you can choose to purchase a motor separately to keep you moving through the water. This boat will hold up to a 10 HP gas outboard engine that can have you flying at speeds over 20 MPH. For easier portability, it is best to purchase an electric engine that is smaller in size.

When fully inflated the boat weighs 79 pounds and can be easily deflated for transportation or storage. Without the seats or oars, it weighs 60 pounds making it a lightweight solution for multiple passengers to enjoy water sports and fishing.

 This model comes in both grey and red colors giving you the option to choose your preference. You will even have room for extra gear as the interior cockpit is extremely spacious.

You can purchase a sail kit separately to attach to the boat if you want to sail through the ocean. If you want a versatile crossover kayak that can be used to row, paddle, motor or even sail, this will be a great choice.

Pros

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    Upgraded features
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    Stable flooring
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    Adaptable design

Cons

  • Sailing kit and motor must be purchased separately
  • Limited cushioning

3. Saturn 15 ft Kaboat SK470 Inflatable Kayak/ Boat Review

If you are looking for a larger inflatable crossover kayak, the Saturn 15 ft Kaboat SK470 is a great choice. Featuring heavy-duty 1100 Denier PVC, this model is strong enough to withstand frequent use.

If you are fishing, you can either sit or stand as you reel in your fresh catch. The flooring provides a stable foundation for multiple passengers to ride. It comes with 2 sets of oar locks as well as 3 aluminum bench seats which allows for tandem rowing with a friend or family member.

When navigating through shallow or narrow waters, this model navigates as a kayak while it doubles as a boat in deeper bodies of water. It provides high buoyancy which is great for multiple people to enjoy paddling through the water.

If you want to add on an outboard engine, this model is adaptable to a portable electric motor or gas engine. You can use up to a 10 HP engine, while this boat really only need a 3.5 HP to cruise 15-20 mph with 2 passengers on board.

If you buy an electric motor separately, it will last for several hours of cruising before you need to use the paddles to get to your final destination. Passengers will have plenty of space to stretch out their legs with larger distances between the aluminum bench seats.

This boat measures 14 x 42 x 180 inches and weighs 85 pounds fully inflated. It comes with a medium size bag for portability when deflated and will save you from worrying about storage space when compared with a full size boat. This model is an excellent option if you want to travel through the lakes with a companion.

Pros

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    Fits tandem passengers
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    Adaptable to a motor
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    Reaches high speeds

Cons

  • Seats are not padded
  • Manual hand pump for inflation

4. SCOUT365 Portable Inflatable Boat Review

The SCOUT365 is a portable solution for your kayaking and boating trips. This model is great for urban dwellers that don’t have the space to store a full-size boat. This adventurous kayak crossover provides a rugged method of transportation through the water.

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Measuring at 12 x 3.5 feet when fully inflated, this boat provides extra stability when navigating through shallow areas. If you want to stand up and fish, the width helps you to feel stable while casting your fishing rod.

It holds a weight capacity of up to 500 pounds which is plenty to accommodate both you and a friend. This model comes with virtually everything you need to start your water expedition including oars, 2 aluminum seats, repair kit, carrying bag and padded seat.

Inflatable in less than 10 minutes, the SCOUT365 will have you ready for boating in no time. It comes deflated in a small carrying bag which is convenient for bringing to and from your vehicle.

The boat is extremely lightweight, weighing at 80 pounds during shipping and rolls up to a compact size when not in use. It is best to inflate the kayak with a portable hand or foot pump so you have full control over the level of inflation.  

If you don’t want to worry about exhausting yourself paddling through the water, you can buy a small motor separately to move through the water at a steady pace. The maximum size motor that you can use for this crossover kayak is a 3.5 HP engine. For those who need a crossover kayak that can fit in the back of their car, the SCOUT365 is an excellent choice.

Pros

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    Extremely portable
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    Padded seat for comfort
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    Includes oars

Cons

  • Not a full size boat
  • Wider width

5. BRIS 12ft Inflatable Kaboat  Review

The BRIS 12ft Inflatable Kaboat is a crossover kayak that can be used for many different water activities such as fishing, kayaking and drifting. You can either use it a traditional kayak and paddle through any body of water.

Alternatively, if you want to use it as a boat this model will work great with a small gas motor or cheap electric trolling motor. The neat part about owning this model is that it is inflatable and will fit into a medium size bag when not in use.

 Instead of having to worry about renting a boat or kayak, you can bring this one along for every camping trip. This model is exceptionally stable which gives you a firm foundation for standing up while fishing.

If you need to get through small spaces, this crossover kayak is narrow enough to fit measuring at 12 ft x 3.8 ft. It can hold up to 2 adults with a maximum weight capacity of 660 pounds which should be plenty to hold all of your fishing gear.

The outer tubes and floor fabric are constructed of 1100 denier 0.9 PVC material which is puncture resistant and designed to last. If the boat does happen to get damaged, it comes included with repair kits to patch small holes or tears.

You also will like the fact that you won’t need to purchase oars for rowing separately as they come included with the boat. This inflatable crossover kayak is easy to maneuver and even has a drain valve to keep it from filling up with water.

Pros

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    High weight capacity
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    Spacious interior
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    Includes oars

Cons

  • Slightly bulky when bagged
  • Motor sold separately

Conclusion

When it comes to versatility, the SCOUT365 Portable Inflatable Boat is the best choice for a crossover kayak. This model can hold multiple passengers and comes included with helpful accessories such as a carrying bag and oars. It will provide stability for standing up while fishing and is a super portable option for both kayaking and boating. With a large weight capacity, if you are using it for fishing it will be able to hold plenty of extra gear.