The Top 3 Kayak Picks for Beginners

July 26, 2023

Connor Merritt

Connor Merritt

Exploring our country’s beautiful rivers and lakes is a great way to experience the natural wonder of our world. There’s something pristine about being on the water and going with the flow of a river that you just can’t replicate anywhere else, and one of the best ways to get on the water is on a kayak. It’s one of my favorite ways to recreate in the outdoors; in fact, I just did a trip down the James River here in Virginia a little while ago, and it’s the highlight of my year so far. I try to help as many people get out on kayaks as I can and everyone I’ve taken tells me they love it! 

Now, you might think kayaking is too difficult or expensive to try out if you’ve never done it before, but I’m here to tell you that it’s actually easy and affordable — you just need to make sure you have the right gear to get started. So, if you want to experience the joy of kayaking, check out the kayaks below to get started.

Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayaks

Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayaks

The Intext Explorer K2 offers a great balance between affordability and performance. This makes it good for beginners, because it’s a high-quality kayak that won’t require as much of an upfront investment from new timers. It’s an inflatable tandem kayak that can comfortably fit two passengers, which makes it great for learning how to kayak with a partner. 

All inflatable kayaks are excellent for beginners because they are a lot wider than hard-shell ones, and I usually recommend them to people when they are particularly worried about capsizing. With an inflatable model like this one, it will be very difficult to even intentionally capsize. The Intex Explorer K2 is built from durable, puncture-resistant vinyl, with a streamlined and lightweight design, guaranteeing a safe and fun kayaking experience for all. Available for $249.99. 

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Sit-In Kayaks

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Sit-In Kayak

The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a single-person sit-in kayak designed specifically for beginners and newcomers to the sport. This is a more traditional hardshell design, and my personal kayak type of choice. While not as capsize-resistant as the inflatable model above, I find it offers more speed and control, making this a great choice for anyone more interested in that sort of thing.  

The kayak has a spacious cockpit and adjustable padded seat for ultimate comfort, all while ensuring a balanced and stable ride. This makes it difficult to lose control of the kayak, even for inexperienced boatmen. No matter where you are, the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 will give you a great first-time experience and make it easy to fall in love with the sport. Available for $279.99. 

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayaks

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 fishing kayak is specially designed for beginners with a passion for fishing — if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at kayak angling, this is the perfect pick for you. With ample storage space for all your tackle and superior stability it makes fishing a breeze. While I’ve never personally fished from a kayak, I see them all the time when I’m on the river and even have a friend who loves it. The one thing I know for sure is that, if you plan on fishing from your kayak, you must get a fishing model like this one; otherwise, you’ll be dead in the water fumbling about with no room for any of your equipment. 

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 comes with multiple fishing rod holders so you can make the most of your trips out on the water. In addition, the kayak has adjustable padded seats and footrests to ensure comfort during trips. Get out there and start fishing with the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 today. Available for $649.99. 

Once you choose one of the kayaks above, the next step is getting out on the water and learning how to kayak. I recommend starting easy, on a calm lake or Class I river, and moving up from there. If you don’t feel comfortable going alone, then find an experienced friend or outfitter to help you out as you get a feel for the basics. Once you’ve been on the water, you’ll be a skilled kayaker in no time, free to experience the joy of kayaking whenever you wish. 

Read about kayaking tips on iSportsmanUSA.


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