Best Recreational Kayaks of 2020 – Our Best Picks

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Updated on

Lets find the top Recreational Kayaks for most types of Water - 

For a kayaking trip, summer (or anytime!) is no doubt the best time of the year. Come again? 

You don’t own a kayak? Well, today is your lucky day because we’re going to introduce you to everything you need to know in order to choose your first kayak. Interested?

In this article, we will review a few possible options you have for buying a kayak. By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll know what to look for and where can you find the best recreational kayak for you!

For more experienced kayakers, this article contains options for you or your family. We’ve got it fully covered!

When shopping for a kayak, you will encounter so many kinds of kayaks out there. These kinds will picking out a kayak a daunting task. Moreover, not every manufacturer makes it clear what activity each kayak is suitable for. That’s why we’re going to walk you through what you need to know right now. 

What is a recreational kayak?

A recreational kayak is a kayak that the occasional/casual paddler uses. This sort of kayaks is suitable for flat water conditions such as a lake or slow moving river. Kayakers use recreational kayaks for recreational activities, such as like exploring, exercise and site seeing. However, recreational kayaks may not be suitable for fishing and definitely not white water rafting.

Top 5 Recreational Kayaks of 2019



Let’s dive deep into the secret kayak world.

We are going to walk you through a lineup of top rated recreational kayaks. Here are our 3 favorite kayaks with expert analysis and our buyers guide below.

No matter what kayak you end up purchasing, make sure you always wear a kayak PFD .

Our Top Picks


Budget Friendly

Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak with Padded Backrests
  • Super easy to manuever
  • Perfect kayak who has dog
  • A better family kayak you will ever have

Our Best Pick

ocean kayak frenzy
  • Works well even in stormy condition
  • Fitting are made of metal and super awesome
  • Very stable and durable seems to years after years. 


My Top Recreational Kayaks Of 2019 Reviewed


best recreational kayaks
Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Frenzy At A Glance:

  • Weight Capacity: 275-325 Pounds
  • Length: 9 Feet
  • Bow And Stern Carry Handles
  • Padded Seat Back For Comfort

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Overview 

For Many Reasons, Expert Kayakers Consider Sit On Top Kayaks As Some Of The Best Options For Recreational Kayaks. No Doubt, Sit On Top Kayaks Are Versatile, Easy To Use, And Self-Bailing. When I First Started Kayaking, I Immediately Found Open Design As My Type Of Kayak.

Sit On Top Kayaks Come With Tons Of Space, A Comfortable Seat, And Two Large Deck Lashings. The Large Forward Deck Lashing Of This Kayak Offers Plenty Of Storage. In Addition, This Makes It A Good Design To Carry Your Dog With You.

It Weighs 43 Pounds, Which Is Pretty Suitable For An Affordable Recreational Kayak. Ocean Kayak Utilizes What They Call A “Tri-Form Hull”. It’s Because The Frenzy That Gives The Kayak Excellent Steadiness Plus Superior Tracking And Maneuverability.

One Feature I’d Like To Note Is The Replaceable Rear Skid Plate. Skid Plates Need Be Replaced When Your Kayak Is Overused. You Can Change The Skid Plate If This Kayak Becomes Worn From Use. Very Handy, Isn’t It? 

This Kayak Comes With The Molded Drink Holders As Well. It Leaves A Nice, Homey Touch. The Ocean Frenzy Is Our Top Pick For The Best Recreational Kayak.

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak, Sunrise

Old Town Kayaks Vapor At A Glance:

  • Weight Capacity: 275-325 Pounds
  • Length: 10 Feet

Old Town Kayaks Vapor Overview 

 A Single Layer Linear Of Polyethylene Gives This Kayak A Durable Construction. It Has A Firm Well That Allows You To Gain Easy Access To A Cooler Or Other Items. The Old Town Kayak Vapor Is Designed For Any Single Person To Enjoy Recreational Paddling On Quiet Water. 

As This Is A Single Person Kayak, You Want To Be Careful With Carrying Too Much Weight. Additionally, The Old Town Vapor Is Perfect For Slow Rivers, Ponds, Lakes, And Other Recreation Friendly Water. 

This Is A Single Layer Polyethylene Boat. As A Result, Its Cost Will Be Easy On Your Wallet. At An Inexpensive Price, You Are Achieving A Light And Strong Kayak. If You Love Kayak Fishing, Then You Must Be Carrying Angling Gear. 

A Gear Vestibule Behind The Cockpit Will Allow You To Store Your Fishing Gear And Other Stuff. The Space Should Be Enough. But, A Little More Dedicated Storage Space Would Have Been Nice.

You Can Expect Adjustable Seat And Foot Pegs In Kayaks These Days. But, It Felt Good To See Them Included – They’re A Prerequisite For Comfort! Old Town Is Celebrated For Manufacturing Quality Kayaks And The Vapor Is The Best Recreational Kayak You Will Find. 

Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak with Padded Backrests

Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak At A Glance:

  • Can Function As Both Solo And Tandem
  • Weight Capacity: 500 Pounds
  • Comes With 2 Soft Backrests And 2 Double Sided Aluminum Paddles
  • Raised Seats Keeps You Dry And Away From The Water

Lifetime 10 Foot Manta Tandem Kayak Overview

 This Kayak Is Highly Versatile. It Allows You To Paddle Single Or Double Person (Tandem). And, A Sit On Top Design Makes The Lifetime 10 Ultimate Choice In Versatility. I Commend Back Rests That Make The Kayak More Desirable.

The Only Gripe I Have With The Seating Of This Kayak. It Is Not Going To Be Comfortable For Longer Trips. So, People Who Would Want A Fishing Kayak, This May Not Be The Perfect Choice For Them. However, The Kayak Is A Solid Option For The Lake House Couple. Lifetime Also Tout The Tunnel Hull Design As “Almost Impossible To Tip Over”.

Good To Know!

I Would Say This Two-Person Kayak Is At Its Best For Short Trips. So, Couples That Want The Flexibility Of A Sit On Top Kayak May Explore This Option. Yes, You Have To Sacrifice Some Comfort Though.

The Lifetime Includes Paddles, So This All In All Looks Like A Good Package. The Manta Is One Of My Top Options For The Best Tandem Recreational Kayak. It Should Be Yours Too!

Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Yellow, 11 Feet 6 Inches

Ocean Kayak Scrambler At A Glance:

  • Weight Capacity: 300-350 Pounds
  • Length: 11.6 Feet

Ocean Kayak Scrambler Overview

This Kayak Tracks Well On Flat Water. So, Flat-Water Kayaking Fans Will Find This Kayak Really Suitable. It Can Swells 6″ Cam Lock Hatch For Dry Storage

As The Name Suggests, This Is, Of Course, A Sit On Top Kayak. That Means You Will Enjoy More Leg Room And Flexibility For Paddlers. An Easily Accessible Gear Compartment Is The Testament For Tons Of Space. 

Shock Cord Lashing Keeps Your Stuff Free From Water. You Can Store Your Gear With Shock Cord Lashing To Keep Your Stuff Waterproof! An In-Deck Waterproof Storage Proved Adequate For Storing My Phone Or Keys.

The Flexibility And Options That Sit On Top Kayaks Offer To Users Are Overwhelming. An Adjustable Seatback For The Kayak Is Like A Blessing For Me. It’s Because I Won’t Have To Spend All Day Sitting Upright Without Back Support.

Considering The Price Tag, The Ocean Scrambler Is The Best Recreational Sit On Top Kayak. Many Are Aware Of Kayaks’ Price Tag. They Will Find This Quality Kayak Suitable For The Price Tag. 

Old Town Heron 9XT Recreational Kayak
Old Town Kayaks Heron At A Glance:

  • Weight Capacity: 250-325 Pounds
  • Length: 11 Feet
  • Flexible Comfort Flex Seat With Added Padding
  • Stern Hatch Provides Storage For Gear
The Old Town Kayaks Heron Evokes Lots Of Memories. Back In 2014, I Used To Work For The Local Parks Department In Austin, TX. We Used This Exact Kayak For Rentals. The Majority Of My Customers Used To Pick This Kayak Over Anything,

It Is Because The Old Town Heron Is Reliable, Useful, And Nearly Indestructible!

I Adore The Built-In Water-Resistant Drywell Behind The Cockpit. There Is Also Stuffing On The Edges Of The Cockpit. Your Knees Are Likely To Make Contact With The Edges. It’s Great To Feel Something Cushioning Your Knees. 

A Critical Feature In My Mind. Overall, I’d Say This Boat Comes With Plenty Of Features For Any Recreational User. The Nicely Designed Seats Should Be Considered A Bonus Compared To Many Competitors. 

If You Asked Me What My Top Pick Is For The Money, I’d Pick The Old Town Heron. 

Quick Comparison among the Recreational Kayaks

Recreational Kayak Name

Weight Capacity

Length

Paddlers 

Includes Paddle

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Kayak

275-325 pounds

9 Feet

Solo

No

Old Town Kayaks Vapor

275-325 pounds

10 Feet

Solo

No

Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak

500 pounds

10 Feet

Tandem 

Yes - 2 Paddles


What to Consider before Purchasing a Recreational Kayak 

Easy Entry and Exit

A good recreational kayak will be easy for kayakers to enter and exit. Kayakers will be able to track well with this type of kayak. But, these kayaks will not be suitable for longer touring kayak. However, recreational kayaks stay stable and are difficult to tip over. These kayaks maybe most importantly be easy to paddle!

Water Surface

You’ll find recreational kayaks as the plastic ABS kayaks at most local liveries. This type of kayaks is designed to be affordable. Kayaker are able to navigate these kayaks moderately well on most flatwater. While I’ve relied on this type of kayaks for a few camping and fishing trips, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Final Note

Recreational kayaks will be excellent if you’re looking for affordable boats, suitable for short trips. You can go an occasional weekend family or friends trip with these kayaks.


They’re not usually intended to embark on a whitewater voyage, hold gear for long trips, or be outfitted for fishing.


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