How To Choose A Kayak For Beginners: 6 best options!

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How To Choose A Kayak For Beginners
Different Kayak For Beginners

Unless you are a professional kayaker, most of us would be classified as beginners on the waters. The kayak is a great way to test your skills on the open water and reach a few destinations that many people never get to. This is not to mention that the best kayaks for beginners can help you with fishing in lakes and rivers.

So what are the best kayaks for beginners, and how to choose one? Choosing a kayak can be daunting, and there are so many different kayaks on the market today that people often get lost. An inflatable kayak like the Intex Challenger Kayak is by far one of the ultimate options for beginners. It is inflatable and easy to transport around the country.

However, kayaks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and finding the right one for your needs can be something people struggle with. Some would love to use the kayak for fishing, whereas others would prefer to have speed.

This how-to guide would help you figure out which kayak would be your best option.

If you wonder what to wear when kayaking, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.

The table below compares the best kayaks for beginners in terms of length, width, and weight.

Best KayakLengthWidthWeight 
Intex Challenger K19-feet36-inches23.9-pounds
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 10510.6-feet32-inches55-pounds
Advanced Elements Convertible Tandem Kayak15-feet32-inches52-pounds
Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 R10.5-feet34-inches65-pounds
Oru Inlet Kayak10-feet30-inches20-pounds
Perception Hi-Five Kayak6-feet20-inches21-pounds
Table Compares the best Kayaks For Beginners In Terms Of Length, Width, and Weigh –

What To Look For When Buying A Kayak For Beginners?

Kayaks have plenty of features, and when you break down the different types, you can spend a full article on sit-on-top or whitewater kayaks. However, we have focused on the most basic features that beginners would need.

Here are a few essential features that you might only need when you are a beginner and should look for in a kayak.

1- Kayak Type

You will first need to consider the type of kayak you will need. Each kayak features a different type, and these types would work to ensure that you have the right type of kayak for your needs. Here are a few of the kayak types that you might want to look into:

  • Inflatable kayak
  • Touring kayak
  • Sit inside kayak
  • Sit-on-top kayak
  • Whitewater kayak
  • Pedal kayak
  • Tandem

2- Materials

Most kayaks are made from PVC or plastic, with the inflatable kayaks being made from rubber.

It is important to choose the right kayak materials for your kayak and to make sure that you understand that inflatable kayaks are a puncture risk.

3- Capacity

When looking at capacity, you will need to look at how many people can use the kayak and what the overall weight capacity of the unit would be.

It is important to make sure that your kayak has the right capacity for all your needs.

4- Accessories

Additional features like storage capacity and fishing rod holders would be extras that you could add when it comes to improving your kayak.

You will need to make sure that your kayak has all the extra features you need.

How To Choose A Kayak For Beginners
Beginners Kayaking

Best Beginner Kayaks On The Market For 2023

As a beginner, your might be fixed at simply buying a kayak. Whilst this could be daunting, many people would prefer to have one that works.

We have identified a couple of great kayaks that work and should offer you some of the best features. The following buyer’s guide will show you how we went about selecting them:

1- Intex Challenger K1

The Intex Challenger K1 is one of the ultimate budget kayaks, but it is not only a budget kayak. We have selected it for the top pick due to the exceptional features it brings to the table.

The kayak is around 9 feet in length and another 2.5 feet in width. It offers a cargo net that would make it easy to store your goods and pack them down in a duffle bag.

The Intex Challenger Kayak is not the most durable of all the kayaks you will see on the list, but it includes two air chambers to protect you if you sustain a puncture in one of them.

We recommend that you consider an additional puncture kit or ensure the kayak stays away from some sharper objects.


  • Easy handling
  • Packs into a duffle bag
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive


  • Lacks durability
  • Slow inflation process

2- Tarpon 105 By Wilderness Systems

Many people would prefer a kayak that lets them sit on top instead of having them sit inside. The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 is one of the most versatile sit-on-top kayaks on the market today, and it features a cruising design. It is one of the easier kayaks to maneuver through the water and would be great for those exploring.

Some of the great features of the kayak would include the numerous storage features. It can easily hold your GPS and fishfinder screens. Additionally, you can add a fishing pole to the unit as well.

One of the great advantages of a sit-on-top kayak is that you can efficiently walk around without any issues, and the kayak won’t tip.


  • Holds numerous gear items
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Durable construction
  • Flat hull design


  • Expensive

3- Advanced Elements Convertible Tandem Kayak

If you are looking for the best versatility in your kayak, the Advanced Elements Convertible Tandem Kayak is one of the top options.

It can work as either a single kayak or a tandem kayak, depending on how many people you are. One of the most impressive features is the weight capacity of the unit, which is around 550 pounds.

The kayak is one of the longest options on the market and spans around 15 feet, with 32 inches in total width.

Due to the multiple tracking fins, you will have exceptional stability and comfort when moving around. Remember that it is an inflatable kayak, and you should try to avoid sharp objects.


  • Holds 550-pounds
  • Ideal for tandem kayaking
  • Great tracking
  • Multiple storage areas


  • Heavy
  • Hard to set up

4- Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 R

When it comes to kayaking, Hobie has always been one of the leading brands on the market today. If you look at the Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 R, it is no different.

However, the kayak is one of the most expensive as well. One of the main drawing points would be the pedals, which would allow you to move the kayak forward comfortably. 

The hand-free design means that those that struggle with using the paddles could simply focus on using the pedals to improve their performance.

The kayak features numerous storage areas and can even be set up for fishing. The biggest downside is the price, which is one of the most expensive options on the market today.


  • Features a pedal design
  • Wide hull shape
  • Waterproof storage area
  • Durable


  • Very expensive

5- Oru Inlet

If you like traveling with your kayak, you might already be looking at an inflatable kayak. However, modern technology has allowed manufacturers to design the Oru Inlet Kayak.

This is one of the only foldable kayaks that can be folded and placed in your trunk. The upside is that it remains durable, and you don’t have to spend ages inflating the unit.

It is one of the lightest kayaks on the market today and features a length of around 10 feet, which also means that it would be much easier to maneuver than some of the larger options out there.

The open cockpit makes the kayak beginner friendly. We love the comfortable padded seat, which would make the journey more enjoyable.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Foldable design
  • Reasonably priced


  • Only holds 275-pounds

6- Perception Hi-Five

If you have children, it is best to introduce them to kayaking as soon as possible. The Perception Hi-Five Kayak is one of the best options for kids.

It can hold a maximum weight of 120 pounds and features a wide hull, which should make it more comfortable for your kids as well. It includes a paddle, and the overall kayak is durable.

The kayak might not be the ideal option for longer journeys due to the seat being made from polymer and no additional cushioning being added. However, it is small and portable, which means you can take the kayak on every camping trip.


  • Ideal for kids
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable


  • Uncomfortable seat

d also include storage nets for some of your larger cargo items.

What to read next:

Final Thoughts

Buying the best beginner kayaks can be a daunting process. However, we would recommend that you look into these kayaks and determine which one would fit your needs the best.

Let us know in the comment section if we have missed any of your favorites.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am VERY excited you are here! I am the guy behind I am passionate about reading, sports, and everything that allows me to enjoy the outdoors. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting

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