Camping & Backpacking Reviews

Best Kayak for Camping

Woman paddling kayak
Written by Bertie

How do you fancy packing up your belongings and going camping for the weekend? Even better, what if you could combine this with your love of water and glide peacefully through the calm waters to your camping destination? Welcome to the world of kayak camping. 

Sounds good? We can help you choose the best kayak for camping. Our top pick would be the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak. We review the best camping kayak models and also share our tips on what to look for when buying your kayak for camping.

These are the best kayak for camping models available right now:

Which Are the Best Kayaks for Camping?

The best kayak for camping options available right now are below.

Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak—Best Overall

Specs

The Ocean Malibu 2XL is a mid-range priced kayak that’s made from molded single-layer polyethylene. It weighs 61 pounds, is 13 feet 5 inches in length, and 34 inches wide.

The kayak can have two paddlers in tandem onboard and is made in the USA. It’s a sit-on-top kayak, which helps with stability, and the maximum load capacity onboard is 475 pounds.

There are three optional hatches for storage space along with deck bungees to keep your essentials close to hand.

Verdict

What customers like about this kayak is that it’s a slightly longer version of the Malibu II kayak. This allows it a little more speed, and it tracks marginally better in the water than the previous version.

With this updated version of the Malibu kayak, you can have two people onboard paddling in tandem. If you’re paddling solo, you can remove a seat, no problem. It’s ideal as a family kayak with room for two adults and either a small child or a family pet. There’s plenty of room for gear, too, and the maximum load it can carry is generous at over 400 pounds.

Customers have found this kayak to be stable in the water, with lots of space on board for even the tallest of users. It’s a lightweight camping kayak, so it’s not a struggle to carry it when out of the water.

In Summary

The Ocean Malibu 2XL kayak is a great all-inclusive option to take on a kayak camping trip. It offers good value for money without compromising on speed, size, or weight capacity. 

This kayak is perfect for beginners and can be used for a family getaway without any issues. It’s lightweight and has carry handles on the sides for easy carrying. The seats are comfortable and can be moved for tandem or solo paddling. It’s got everything you need for a multi-day kayak camping trip.

The kayak is available in six colorways to suit all tastes and is a great all-rounder, giving you everything you need from a camping kayak.

Perception Pescador Pro 10.0 Kayak—Best Value

Specs

The Perception Pescador Pro 10.0 is a lightweight, molded polyethylene kayak, coming in at just 57 pounds. It’s made in the USA for a solo paddler, with a sit-on-top adjustable seat included.

The camping kayak is 10 feet 6 inches in length and 32 inches wide, which makes it stable and easy to maneuver. The maximum load capacity is 325 pounds, which is great for the size and weight of the kayak.

There’s one hatch included for storage and deck bungees on the rear. You can also purchase additional deck bungees for the front of the kayak to create extra storage space.

Verdict

Customers love the low cost and are surprised to find the kayak is still made to a high quality. The low price point isn’t reflected in the quality or the performance of the kayak.

The seat is super comfy and is adjustable, which is excellent for reclining when relaxing in the water. It’s a sturdy, stable kayak that tracks great in the water and is ideal as a first kayak for anyone looking to try kayak camping. 

There’s plenty of storage space onboard and accessory mount options, which customers appreciate for kayak camping trips. It’s also lightweight, so is easy to carry when alone.

In Summary

The Perception Pescador Pro 10.0 is great value for money and suitable for all flat water locations. It has all the features needed for a camping or fishing kayak and is suitable from beginner to serious angler.

It has six color options and has lots of storage space available as well as accessory mounts. It’s fast, stable and is also comfortable. What more could you need for a day fishing on your favorite lake or multi-day camping trips?

Old Town Predator 13 Kayak—Best Non-Slip Deck

Specs

The Old Town Predator 13 is specifically engineered both below and above the water to offer a revolutionary kayak. This gives it the perfect platform for camping, kayak fishing, and on-water sports. It’s made from a molded polyethylene and has a slip-resistant deck to avoid any mishaps, keeping you and your kayak camping gear dry.

The kayak is 13 feet 2 inches long and 33.5 inches wide, giving you a whopping  total of 53 inches of legroom. The maximum load capacity is 425 pounds. The kayak isn’t the lightest around, at 86 pounds, so it may be difficult to lift if you’re alone.

This is a solo paddler with a sit-on-top kayak seat with three seat positions. There’s one large hatch included for storage space and bungees on the deck for your camping essentials.

Verdict

What customers like is the stability and the non-slip deck, which means that you can stand up quite easily. They also love the huge amount of storage space available on this kayak for multi-day camping trips.

It tracks well in the water and is super stable and comfortable. The adjustable seat is a great plus as the higher option is great for visibility and the lower option when traveling. 

In Summary

The Old Town Predator 13 kayak is perfect for fishing or taking on a kayak camping trip, offering premium adjustable seating and a non-slip deck. There are six removable mounting plates, which will allow you to customize your kayak with ease. 

This model is available in five color options. They all offer dual-tip rod holders, rod retainer bungees, and paddle storage space, so there’s no chance of losing your camping gear.  

Advanced Elements Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak—Easiest to Store

Specs

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is an inflatable kayak made from triple layers of rip-stop material. There is an aluminum frame and six chambers that create a sturdy kayak for camping.

It has advanced inflatable valves for easy inflation and can carry a maximum load weight of a huge 550 pounds. The weight of the kayak is just 56 pounds, and it folds up into the carry bag to fit into the smallest of car trunks. The kayak is 15 feet long and 34 inches wide.

The kayak can be used for tandem paddling, or for a solo traveler, the seats can be removed. It includes paddle holders and has handy pockets behind each seat for storage options.

Verdict

Customers like the fact that this kayak is easy to inflate and can be inflated in less than 20 minutes. It moves well on the water and can be used on coastal routes as an ocean kayak without any issues. It handles like a solid kayak and is easy to maneuver once you get your tandem paddling in sync.

The kayak can hold up to 500 pounds of weight on board and has enough storage space for multi-day kayak camping trips. However, the seats can be uncomfortable if used for many hours, and it’s heavy to carry if you’re using it alone. 

In Summary

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is a good inflatable kayak that can be used for both tandem and solo paddling. It’s made from strong, durable material and has reinforced bow and stern seams for extra strength.

If you’re looking for a camping kayak that’s easy to store away in the colder months, this is ideal. It’s easy to set up and inflate; however, you should note that the pump is purchased separately.

Feelfree Moken 10 Lite Kayak—Easiest to Transport

Specs

The Feelfree Moken 10 Lite is a single paddler kayak with a sit-on-top seat. It’s made from molded polyethylene and is available in six colorways. It’s a smaller kayak, at just 10 feet 4 inches long and 31 inches wide. 

It’s lightweight in design at 55 pounds but can hold up to 353 pounds onboard. It’s also easy to transport with its wheel in the keel and side carry handles. The lightweight design doesn’t compromise the stability in the water.

There are two hatches included for storage space, along with deck bungees. It also includes two rod holders and a track system for easy customization.

Verdict

Customers love the wheel in the keel for easy loading and unloading. They also like the fact that the kayak is lightweight and can be carried easily. The seat is adjustable and comfortable, even if sat for a few hours.

Stability is good, and the kayak is easy to maneuver, especially in tight spots. It’s not as fast as other kayaks; however, it manages well in moving water and flat water. 

The kayak is relatively cheap, so it won’t break the bank when first starting out with your kayak for camping.

In Summary

The Feelfree Moken 10 Lite kayak is smaller and lighter than previous versions and is great for short coastal trips or on flat water. It’s easy to transport due to the wheel in the keel and the side carry handles, so there are no issues when taking kayak camping trips alone.

There’s plenty of storage space onboard with a large front oval hatch, and there are deck bungees available for your essentials that you want to keep close. The deluxe seat keeps you comfortable for a long day fishing or when traveling further distances. 

The camping kayak is available in six different camo colors, so there’s a color to suit everyone.

Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak—Best for Weight

Specs

The Wilderness System Aspire 105 is a high-performance kayak suitable for beginners up to intermediate paddlers. It’s an incredibly lightweight kayak, weighing just 48 pounds. The kayak is made from molded polyethylene in the USA and is able to carry up to 400 pounds onboard.

It’s suitable for the solo paddler and is a sit-inside kayak. It’s shorter than the average kayak at 10 feet 6 inches and only 29 inches wide. The kayak is easy to handle and maneuver, with excellent stability. 

It comes with one large storage hatch as well as deck bungees. There’s also a molded dashboard with bungees to keep smaller, essential items close to hand.

Verdict

The customers like the performance of this kayak and are impressed with the stability for such a speedy boat. They also like the fact that it’s so light in weight and has carry handles to make it easy to carry.

The kayak handles the water well even in rougher, windy conditions. It tracks straight and is easy to maneuver, so it’s great for those paddlers looking to expand their kayaking experience and move beyond the flat waters.

The seat is adjustable and comfortable to sit in for hours if needed. It’s also easy to get in and out without losing any stability and tipping.

In Summary

The Wilderness System Aspire 105 is a perfect kayak for those looking to expand their paddling experience to rougher waters. It gives you the stability and balance needed, along with speed and performance.

It’s a lightweight model that is easy to carry for kayak camping. It has lots of storage for all your kayak camping gear, keeping it dry in the large storage hatch. The kayak is made in five striking colors, giving you personality as you paddle.

3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 105 Fishing Kayak—Best for Fishing

Specs

The 3 Waters Big Fish 105 fishing kayak for camping is a single paddler, sit-on-top kayak that offers a stable platform. It’s suitable for use on the river, lake or ocean and is a great performing kayak. It’s made from molded polyethylene and is heavier than other kayaks at 89 pounds. 

The kayak is 10 feet 6 inches long and 33.5 inches wide and holds a 380-pound maximum load capacity onboard. The seat is adjustable, and you can sit high up or lower to the floor, depending on which is most comfortable. The kayak has a reinforced standing platform to allow you to stand with ease.

Verdict

What customers like about this kayak is the stable platform and the fact that you can move the seat out of the way for more space. The seat is comfortable, and you can sit higher for better visibility or lower when paddling.

There is lots of storage in the kayak, with one large hatch included and many deck bungees to hold your gear in place. The downside to the kayak is the weight; it’s difficult to lift when alone as it’s pretty heavy.

In Summary

The 3 Waters Big Fish 105 fishing kayak is perfect for kayak camping trips and fishing trips as it offers a standing platform and high seating. It also has two rod holders and two pairs of accessory tracks for easy customization. It’s at a low price point with good performance.

It comes in five different camo colors to easily blend into your surroundings. Plus, it has a removable sonar pod to enable you to easily install electronics such as fish finders. 


What To Look for in a Kayak for Camping

Kayak camping adds that extra adventure to your normal camping trip and allows you to travel away from the man-made trails. There’s no need to carry your camping gear around with you, giving you that bit more freedom.

There are many things you need to look at when choosing the best kayak for camping. We have listed the things that you need to know below. 

Balance and Stability

Stability is important when choosing the best kayak for camping. You should make sure that you won’t tip over when getting in the kayak or when moving through the water. Wider kayaks are generally more stable than narrow ones; however, this also comes down to balance and weight distribution. 

You want to be able to enjoy your surroundings when kayaking and you don’t want to have to stress about tipping over—especially when moving about the kayak or stopping for a photo opportunity or snack. A sit-on-top kayak is easier to get on and off and also provides good stability.


Speed

A long, narrow kayak will generally be faster in the water than a short wider kayak. However, if you’re a beginner, balance and stability should be more important than speed. A sit-in kayak keeps your body weight lower, so it increases the speed at which you can move through the water.

Technique plays a large part in the way that you move and the speed that you move through the water. Keep practicing, and it will become second nature.

Material and Durability

Kayaks can be made from different materials. The chosen material influences the stability, weight, durability, and speed of your kayak for camping, so make your choice wisely.

Plastic

Plastic or polyethylene is molded into shape and is a lightweight, durable material. It’s flexible and resistant to impact, so is suitable for rough terrain.

This material is less expensive than others, which is great when you’re just starting out. However, it should be a good quality plastic and should be stored correctly; if not, the shape could be distorted. 

Composite

Composite kayaks are made from layers of materials. The most popular materials used are Kevlar (aramid), fiberglass, and carbon fiber. These are more expensive but are tough and long-lasting, so they're worth the extra if you use them regularly.

They offer excellent performance on the water as they are fast and responsive; they also look amazing. Kayaks made from composite materials are popular with kayak enthusiasts as they are responsive to different kinds of water surfaces.

Inflatable Materials

Inflatable kayaks are generally made from PVC or Hypalon. The material used needs to be tough to reduce the risk of any punctures. If looked after, these materials can last a long time and are durable. 

PVC can be welded for a more solid structure, whereas Hypalon is glued. However, Hypalon has better resistance to UV rays than PVC, which should be coated with a UV protective spray.

Storage

Storage is a vital element of choosing a kayak for camping. Most kayaks will have storage hatches and bungee ropes on the deck to hold your camping gear in place. 

Storage hatches should be used to keep your items dry while paddling through the water. However, they’re not the easiest to access when maneuvering, so you should make sure that everything that you need is close at hand, stored under the deck bungees.

Many kayaks have paddle holders for when you stop in the water. This limits the chance of you losing your paddle. Fishing kayaks also have rod holders to place your rods in them while waiting for the fish to bite.

Weight

Weight is important in a kayak for camping. Not just the weight of the kayak itself but the weight capacity onboard the kayak. 

The weight of the kayak affects how easy it is to carry or transport on your camping trip. It also impacts how stable the kayak is in the water as well as how easy it is to maneuver. Speed is also impacted by the weight of the kayak and the maximum load capacity onboard. Weight onboard should be distributed evenly to assist with balance.

Our Favorite

Our choice for the best kayak for camping would be the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2XL Tandem Kayak. This kayak for camping offers space for the family and tandem paddlers onboard. It’s a speedy, stable kayak that’s ideal for those just starting out.

It’s good value for money and is longer in size, so is excellent for taller paddlers. The seats are comfortable and adjustable; if you want to paddle alone, you can remove a seat. If you want to bring your child or pet along for the day, that’s no problem. 

The runner-up has to be the Perception Pescador Pro 10.0 Kayak, a fast, stable, and comfortable kayak for solo campers on a budget. 

Best Kayak for Camping

About the author

Bertie

I’m Bertie and I’ve been enjoying the wilderness for as long as I can remember. I get out camping, hiking and backpacking whenever I can. And when I can’t, I enjoy writing about outdoor-related stuff!

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