Best Lake Kayak of 2018 & Buying Guide

Adventuring out into the lake can be a blast, especially when you have a kayak to explore the waters. Buying a lake kayak will be a great investment for your weekend activities, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the calm current. Both recreational users and professional fisherman will get plenty of use from this type of vessel.

We know it can be difficult to find the best option with so many different kayaks available online. Our goal is to simplify the buying process and bring you to the best lake kayak faster so you can be ready to take it for a spin when it arrives. We’ve gathered the top 5 picks along with all of the factors you will need to consider when making your final decision.

Buying Guide

Using a Lake Kayak

There are many different ways that you can use a lake kayak. Here are a few of the most popular uses:

  • Recreational Kayaking– Whether you want to venture out alone or spend time with friends, kayaking can be a great recreational activity to explore the outdoors. You can paddle through the water while seated in the kayak and enjoy the fresh air.
Sea Eagle SE370K_P

Sea Eagle SE370K_P

  • Vigorous Exercise– Kayaking can be an excellent way to get an intense workout for your upper body. When paddling, you are engaging virtually all of your upper body and core muscles and control the speed of your vessel.
  • Fishing– For a day of fishing on the lake, there are some models that are designed for use as a fishing kayak. You can sit or stand while reeling in fish and paddle out to new destinations.

How Do I Choose a Lake Kayak?

Intex Challenger K1

Intex Challenger K1

You want a lake kayak that will fit your intended use and provide enough functionality for your situation. Here are the basic factors to consider when narrowing down your options:

  • Size and Weight Limit – Think about whether you plan on visiting the lake by yourself or with a friend as that will influence if you are looking for a one passenger or tandem kayak. It is always important to look at the weight limit to ensure the kayak will accommodate your weight as well as any other passengers you plan to bring onboard.
  • Comfort– If you value comfort, you will want to choose a lake kayak model with comfortable seating options and enough room to stretch out your legs. For added comfort, some models have adjustable foot braces that allow you to customize the foot rest to your foot size.
  • Storage Space– When looking at different kayak options, take a moment to think about what type of gear or belongings you will want to bring along for the ride. If you are using the kayak to fish or plan on bringing more than just a few things, you will want a model with extra storage space.
Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot

Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot

  • Portability – If you need a compact solution for kayaking, you may want to consider an inflatable model that can be deflated for easy travel. For those who have more storage space or a dock, polyethylene kayaks provide more durability and can still be portable with carrying handles. The weight of the kayak also makes a difference when it comes to portability.

What Features Should I Look For?

Once you’ve thought about the basics, you will want to look at options that make your kayaking experience both convenient and memorable. Here are several features to look for when purchasing a lake kayak:

  • Included Accessories – It is extremely helpful if the lake kayak you are buying comes included with the oar. This will eliminate the chance of buying a paddle is the wrong size or doesn’t work well with your particular kayak. If you are buying an inflatable kayak model, it is good to have a carrying bag included for easy portability.
  • Fishing Rod Holders– If you are using the kayak for fishing in the lake, fishing rod holders can be a convenient feature. It is best to have multiple holders including flush mount and swivel mount rod holders that allow you to bring along more than one rod.
  • Drain Hole– It can be a pain if your kayak is constantly wet with inches of water. To avoid the cockpit from filling up with water, a self-bailing drain hole is great for draining the excess out of the inside.
  • Skegs– Skegs are designed to improve the tracking and speed of the kayak. Some lake kayak models have removable skegs that allow you to control the level of traction while you are in motion.

Best Lake Kayak Reviews

1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Review

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is an excellent choice for sole passenger adventures in the lake. This inflatable kayak is a portable solution for those who don’t have a dock or storage space for a full-size kayak.

It comes included with a manual hand pump that will inflate the lake kayak in a matter of minutes. This model measures at 30 x 15 x 108 inches when fully inflated which is a great size for one passenger weighing up to 220 pounds.

The design on the kayak is a bright green, blue and black color scheme with an attached net to store your extra gear. When you are pulling the kayak in or out of the water, you can use the attached pull line for easy movement.

With a spacious cockpit, you will have room to stretch out and feel comfortable while paddling through the water. If you encounter any sharp obstacles, you won’t need to worrying about the vinyl material being damaged as it is designed to withstand puncture and abrasions.

In the rare case that the surface does get damaged, you will be able to quickly fix a minor tear or rip with the included repair kit. For your convenience, this model also comes included with an 84 inch aluminum oar so you won’t need to trouble yourself with purchasing one separately.

The removable skeg will help with directional stability especially when you are navigating through shallow waters. Weighing at only 27.2 pounds, this is an extremely lightweight option that will be easy to travel with for any trip to the lake. If you are looking for an inflatable lake kayak that provides both comfort and durability for one, this one will provide long lasting adventures in the water.

Pros

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    Extremely portable
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    Attractive design
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    Includes accessories

Cons

  • Requires inflation
  • Not designed for tandem kayaking

2. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Fishing Kayak Review

If you enjoy fishing, the Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Fishing Kayak will provide plenty of convenience for your trips to the lake. Often when waiting for a catch, it is helpful to have more than one line in the water.

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With this model, you can secure multiple fishing rods with the two flush mount rod holders along with one swivel rod holder. There is lots of storage space including shock cord deck rigging, dry storage compartment and a portable accessory carrier.

The shock cord deck rigging is helpful for securing loose fishing gear while the dry storage compartment provides a water-tight seal for small belongings. The portable accessory carrier can be used as another place for extra storage or as a backpack.

There is no shortage of comfort in this kayak which is ideal for long days of water exploration. When you are seated in the cockpit with a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds, the foot braces are adjustable to fit any size feet.

This kayak measures as 13 x 30 x 120 inches and weighs 40 pounds which is fairly lightweight for a 10 foot kayak. You can easily carry the kayak in and out of the water with the retractable carrying handles.

It is made from a durable Fortiflex polyethylene surface that is much more rugged than standard vinyl or plastic surfaces. When you want to get to those excluded fishing spots in the river, the Sun Dolphin Journey is the perfect vessel to get you there.

Pros

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    Fishing rod holders
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    Lots of storage space
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    Attached carrying handles

Cons

  • Less portable than inflatable kayaks
  • Limited weight capacity

3. AIRHEAD AHTK-1 Montana Performance 1 Person Kayak Review

The AIRHEAD Montana Performance 1 Person Kayak is another excellent choice for 1 person to embark on a water adventure. This inflatable kayak is the ideal size for lakes and moderate white water currents.

The 9 foot model holds up to 300 pounds which will fit you and your gear for a safe ride. Constructed from 840 denier nylon material, the surface is both UV and water resistant for enhanced durability.

You won’t have to worry about the corrosion of the nylon hardware or stainless steel parts as they are designed to last for a long time. There are 4 fins attached to the bottom of the kayak which help with tracking and stability when moving through shallow waters.

The inflatable seats provide extra support for your back while sitting for long periods of time. The cockpit even has neoprene elbow guards to rest your arms. With a bright orange design, this lake kayak has great visibility for safety purposes.

For added reinforcement on the bottom, there is tri-laminate material to provide extra durability through remote areas. This kayak is easy to inflate with two large Boston valves and three main air chambers.

The tubular l-beam flooring features both comfort and buoyancy to keep you floating above the water. To secure extra gear on the edge of the vessel, there are 6 D-rings on the front and back as well as a stretch net. If you are looking for a kayak that is both lightweight and durable, this is the one to go with for your lake trips.

Pros

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    Bottom fins for stability
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    Lightweight and portable
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    Plenty of storage

Cons

  • Doesn’t included pump
  • Paddle must be purchased separately

4. Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak Review

The Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak is the complete package if you want to travel along the lake with multiple people on board. This kayak will hold up to 3 passengers with a maximum weight capacity of 650 pounds.

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It comes included with 2 deluxe seats, a foot pump, carrying bag and repair kit. With the foot pump, the kayak inflates to it’s full 12 foot x 6 x 34 inch size in less than 10 minutes.

It also has inflatable spray skirts that keep the water from splashing up into the cockpit. If water does happen to accumulate in the kayak, you can use the self-bailing drain valve to drain the inside.

On the bottom of the kayak, there are 2 skegs for better tracking and speed while navigating through the water.This model is constructed from 38 Mil K-80 PolyKrylar which provides added resistance against sun and saltwater.

It is NMMA certified for it’s reliable design and safe structure. When inflated, the kayak weighs 55 pounds which will allow it to move through the water with ease.The 5 deluxe one-way valves allow for quick deflation and you can simply roll up the material to put it inside the carrying bag.

You won’t need a place to dock the boat or a large truck to transport as it will be able to fit securely in your trunk or vehicle. If you and your partner or friend want to embark on an all-day kayak adventure, this is the perfect kayak model for fun in the water.

Pros

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    Includes carrying bag and foot pump
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    Enhanced tracking and speed
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    High weight capacity

Cons

  • Large when inflated
  • Long paddles

5. Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak Review

The Ocean Kayak Frenzy Recreational Kayak is a durable option for water activities. This model is 9 feet in length and weighs only 43 pounds. With the attached handles, it is easy to carry in and out of the water.

If is made from a strong polyethylene surface and can be transported on top of your car or in the back of your truck cab. This may not be an inflatable model but still provides plenty of portability for travel.

The tri-form hull provides enhanced tracking, stability and maneuvering which makes this an all-around great model for lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. For your comfort, the seat has thick padding to support your back and rear.

If you want to bring along a beverage for added relaxation, the molded cup holder will be fit one can or small bottle. This lake kayak comes in three different design options including envy, sunrise and yellow.

You climb inside and sit on top of the seat surface as this model will hold a maximum weight range of 275 to 325 pounds. The total dimensions measure at 108 x 31 x 18 inches which provides plenty of space for a wide range of kayakers.

Even though this is a smaller model, it still has plenty of storage space with bow deck bungee cords and a stern tank well to secure your belongings. If you want a durable kayak that will be fitting for solo expeditions, the Ocean Kayak Frenzy is a popular pick.

Pros

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    Multiple design options
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    Portable
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    Built-in cup holder

Cons

  • Holds only one person
  • Short length

Conclusion

The clear winner out of these lake kayak models in the Sea Eagle E370 Inflatable Kayak as it gives you the most versatility for comfort and seating options. Instead of being limited to one seat, you can bring along 2 other passengers for an exciting day out on the water. This kayak comes included with plenty of helpful features such as the self-bailing drain valve, skegs and carrying bag. It can be deflated for easy travel and provides a complete solution for exploring the lake with your friends.