The Best Touring Kayaks Of 2023 – A Buyer’s Guide

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: December 21, 2022
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Touring kayaks are best for paddling on open calm waters. What type of touring kayak you should buy depends on your kayaking skills and personal preferences. However, according to my years of kayaking experience, you should buy a longer and narrower kayak if you prefer speed and efficiency to stability. On the other hand, for better stability, you should opt for a shorter and wider kayak.

There are many touring kayaks. As a customer, you might wonder which the ideal one to buy is. They come in different sizes and shapes. The perfect touring kayak is one that will last long. It should also be pocket-friendly. The design should also give you enough storage for your items. Read on to get the guide to the top 10 touring kayaks. This article is an eye-opener for you to get an exemplary touring kayak.

Top 10 Touring Kayaks Of 2023 (Best Picks)

The best touring kayaks of 2021 are made from tough, durable materials and come equipped with lots of extras. They can be used on lakes, rivers, or the ocean and they’re designed to provide a smooth ride for all levels of experience. We’ve put together a buyer’s guide that will help you find the perfect touring kayak for your needs!

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best touring kayaks

My Top Picks For The Best Touring Kayaks

1. Intex Explorer K​​2 Kayak

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Item Weight‎ 35 Pounds
Seating Capacity2-Person

The touring kayak by Intex is budget-friendly. The dimensions are 20×36×123 inches in size. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak weighs 400 pounds. The model is inflatable with two paddles. The seat can be easily adjusted for comfort. The kayak is specially designed for lakes and small rivers. With a streamlined body, it is excellent for speed. It has a skeg that can be removed. This Kayak is suitable for beginners in the sport.


1. The price is affordable

2. It is comfortable due to the adjustable seat

3. The kayak can fit two people

4. It has a yellow color that is visible hence, guaranteeing the safety

5. The package comes with repair patches, paddles, and a manual air pum


1. It does not have a storage area

2. It is not long-lasting

2. BKC SK287 Angler Touring Kayak 

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Item Weight‎55 Pounds
Seating Capacity1-Person

The Angler Touring Kayak is a perfect combination of stability and maneuverability. It’s the perfect one-person touring kayak to explore various bodies of water with various levels of waves.

The BKC SK287 Angler Touring Kayak is a 14.75-foot sit-in kayak that is perfect for open water and wider river paddling activities. This roomy kayak is constructed from high-quality polyethylene material for strength and durability, while the integrated side handles ensure easy transportation. The kayak features a drain plug for easy portaging.

The SK287 Angler has a removable/adjustable seat and rod holders for fishing gear and comes with a carrying bag and is designed for open water paddling.

This Kayak is the ultimate fishing-inspired sit-on-top kayak. With a wide beam, ample storage, a large open cockpit, and a stable, sturdy design, the SK287 Angler is the ultimate kayak for fishing in open water!

3. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12-foot Sit​​-In Kayak

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Item Weight‎47 Pounds
Seating Capacity1-Person

The primary construction material is standard polycarbonate. The kayak is ideal for beginners. It measures 144×29.6×14 inches. It has a lightweight capacity of 47 pounds. The kayak has adjustable footpads and seats. The straight-line keel is responsible for smooth tracking in water. A storage compartment makes it possible to keep your clothes and other necessities.


1. It is easy to carry because of the few pounds it has

2. It has enough storage capacity

3. The retractable handles which keep it in a secure place

4. The seat gives unimaginable comfort during a long ride

5. It is budget-friendly


1. Experts cannot use this type of kayak since its meant for newbies

2. It is low in speed hence can do well with fishing

3. It is not strong enough for vigorous sports

4. Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak

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Item Weight‎36 Pounds
MaterialRip-stop Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
Seating Capacity1-Person

Kayak’s model is inflatable. Advanced Frame Kayak has dimensions of 35×21×12 inches. It weighs 52 pounds and can carry a maximum capacity of 550 pounds.

The kayak has three layers of polyester; hence it is sturdy. It can resist punctures because of the high-quality material. The keg has an advantage in tracking performance. The seats are padded and can be modified. The Advanced Frame Kayak has ample storage for other things.


1. The kayak can carry three people maximum

 2. The in-built aluminum ribs help in tracking

3. With the padded seats that can be changed, comfort is offered


1. Advanced Frame Kayak is costly

2. It cannot carry heavy people

5. Driftsun Voyager 2person tandem inflatable Kayak

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Item Weight‎27 Pounds
MaterialPolyvinyl Chloride
Seating Capacity2-Person

The size is 12 feet by 35 inches by i6 inches when fully inflated. The design is lightweight at 27lbs. The bottom is made of Tarpaulin PVC which is heavy-duty. This offers optimal protection against damages. The sharp-pointed bow makes up for high performance in calm and violent waters.


1. It is compact and easy to navigate the water

2. It comes with a full package of travel bag, aluminum paddles, hand pump, padded seats, and rear tracking fin.

3. It is long-lasting

4. Its inflation happens within a short time


1. It is expensive; hence, it does not come cheap

6. Sea Eagle Razorlite 393rl Inflatable Kayak Pro Package

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BrandSea Eagle
Item Weight‎30 Pounds
Material1000 Denier Reinforced Drop Stitch
Seating Capacity1-Person

The pro package includes an air pump, patch kit, double paddle oar, and carrying case. The kayak can be inflated for 7 minutes. It weighs 35 pounds; thus, it is light. The slim design does well in vigorous sea kayaking. It can survive tough waters because of the PVC make. Its dimensions are 12 feet by 1o inches by 28 inches.


1. Allows for speedy entry and exit due to the stern molds and rigid bow

2. It has drop stitch technology for a firm and stable kayak


1. The kayak has a budget that is overpriced

7. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

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Item Weight‎25 Pounds
Seating Capacity1-Person

It is inflatable and has enough space for one person only. It weighs 27.2 pounds. The size of the kayak is 30×15×108 inches. The seat is inflatable with a comfortable backrest. It is made from welded material that lasts for a while. It has a manual hand pump, repair patch, and aluminum oar. The bright green color is attractive to the eye. It can easily be spotted from some distance.


1. It has a cargo net to keep other gears.

2. It is extremely cheap

3. It is steady due to the beam floors


1. It cannot be used by advanced kayakers

2. Its durability is limited

8. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

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Item Weight‎44 Pounds
Seating Capacity1-Person

It has a smaller make as compared to other touring kayaks. It has an open cockpit that facilitates entry. The Portable Accessory Carrier can be used for storage. It is eye-catching due to its amazing blue color. The seating area is spacious and comfortable because of thigh pads.


1. It is pocket-friendly at a low cost

2. It offers comfort while paddling for long distances

3. Due to its lightness, it can be carried easily


1. It is only suitable for beginners

9. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

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BrandVibe Kayaks
Item Weight‎30 Pounds
Seating Capacity1-Person

The kayak is 13 feet in size. Weighing 75 lbs, it provides excellent stability. It has toe controlled rubber system which is pre-installed. This will conserve your energy during long paddles. It has a large storage capacity on the back hatch and oval hatch. It can carry one person but with high-end comfort. The color comes in blue camo which is unique.


1. It is firm for advanced kayaking

2. It has 4 gear tracks essential for rigging

3. the kayak can be used for a while without constraints


1. It has a high price which can go over budget

10. Eddyline Skylark

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BrandEddyline Kayaks
Item Weight‎41 Pounds
Seating Capacity1-Person

The dimensions are 12 feet by 26 inches. Eddyline Skylark has a weight of 41 lbs. The primary color of the kayak is pearl red. It is recommended for one person for the best performance. The hull is made from ABS plastic which is hard-wearing. It is, therefore, fit for heavy kayaks. It has two storage areas which are the hatches and big deck bungees.


1. The narrow feature allows it to paddle through the water

2. It is a durable kayak

3. It has abundant storage places


1. Skylark is the most expensive kayak on this list. Only one person can fit into the kayak

What Are Some Popular Day Touring Kayaks?

Popular Day Touring Kayaks

The following are some popular day touring kayaks:

* The Sun Dolphin Aruba SS Kayak is a rigid-hull inflatable boat with an adjustable seat and backrest that offers comfort for paddlers of all ages. It features two built-in, retractable rod holders on each side of the cockpit, along with open storage compartments to help you stay organized while out on your adventure. This kayak comes equipped with durable paddle blades which offer great maneuverability through the water, as well as dual stainless steel D-rings for attaching gear or securing a fishing pole!

* One Boat’s Day Touring Kayak model has been designed specifically for long-distance touring by combining stability and extreme tracking ability into one package. It also features a unique hull design that helps as a self-bailer, meaning you’ll have much less water sloshing around in the boat!

* The Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak is perfect for those who are looking to explore new waterways and get up close with wildlife. This kayak features our patented “Joystick” control system which makes it easy for anyone to maneuver whether they’re paddling or rowing. It’s also equipped with two built-in rod holders on each side of the cockpit so you can feel confident about your gear while out exploring nature.

* A newcomer to the list this year is Old Town Canoes & Kayaks’ Prospector model. Boasting impressive stability without sacrificing performance, it includes many convenient features like dry storage, footrests, and a watertight compartment for keeping your gear safe.

* The Native Watercraft Aurora is another great choice if you’re looking to get out on the water with someone who doesn’t know as much about kayaking. With two seats so that you can teach a friend or family member everything they need to know while paddling together, this boat also includes lots of extras like an anchor trolley system and paddle clips so it’s easy to store when not in use!

* If there are multiple people wanting their own space in the boat but still want some company from time to time, then consider getting something like Old Town Canoes & Kayaks’ Caper 13 model. This versatile sit-on-top touring kayak is great for spending time on the water with one another and can be rigged up to allow you to paddle together.

* If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, then take a look at Wilderness Systems’ popular Discovery series kayaks like the DOLCE or DJANGO models which are designed specifically for touring. These boats offer lots of space so that it’s easy to bring along all your gear while still being lightweight enough to carry down from your vehicle!

* The Native Watercraft Aurora is another great choice if you’re looking to get out on the water with someone who doesn’t know as much about kayaking. With two seats so that you can teach a friend or family member everything, they need to know while paddling together.

The Touring Kayaks Buying Guide

When selecting a touring kayak, there are some factors to consider. You should bear in mind the following things.


Touring kayaks are priced differently. The cheapest ones are from as low as $50. Others are expensive at $2,000. Before purchasing one, try to figure out why they are assigned those prices. Sometimes, cheap kayaks are not durable. This is because of the material they were built from. An inexpensive material will give you a low-priced touring kayak. It is a good idea also to buy what is within your range. What you afford is what you will get. The best kayaks are priced somewhere between $400 and $750. This is how you can get value for money.


The kind of material that the kayak is made from determines how long it lasts. The best one is polyethylene. It is closely followed by polycarbonate plastics. Other kayaks can be built from fiberglass which is light and easy to maintain. Kevlar is also great, but it doesn’t come cheap. It is the most durable material used for kayak construction.


The size of the kayak will give you a lot of benefits. You will get coziness, safety, and a cockpit to suit you. Size also goes hand in hand with the shape. The narrow kayaks can be limiting if you are big. On this account, a smaller person will be suited for a small size. As for people with a big size, they equally need a spacious kayak. This will make them comfortable at all times.

Level Of Expertise

There are kayaks meant for beginners while others are for experts. If it’s your first time, you should get the smaller ones preferably at 10 feet long. The small ones are good with calm water. Advanced people can go for the large ones from 12 to 13 feet. They can spread out and navigate with hard waters.

Rudder Or Skeg

A rudder can control the navigation of the kayak. A skeg assists the kayak to go in a straight. This means that with a skeg when you need to change direction, you will use your paddle and body. , on the other hand, gives an automatic change of direction. However, sometimes rudders might malfunction. Skegs have a limitation in that they take up space in the kayak. Consequently, a rider should learn how to paddle on their own without relying on the two.

Removable Skeg

This depends entirely on where you are going with your kayaking adventures as there are many different types for different purposes. If you want something that has better speed than stability (which may be helpful if you plan to cover long distances), we recommend looking at an open-deck frame design, and these will have less storage space but be more comfortable in paddling.

Tracking Fins

Tracking Fin is a device that attaches to the bottom of most touring kayaks and helps keep them on course. The fin is pushed by water in one direction, but also makes it easier for your boat to turn with just a little more force

The fishing kayak has been designed specifically for fishermen and may be helpful if you are looking for something stable enough to stand up without fear of tipping over as well as having lots of storage space below deck.

If you want an all-in-one type vessel with a wide variety of uses (fishing, surfing, camping), then we recommend getting either a recreational or hybrid model which will have some speed capabilities at least. These boats often come equipped with large open decks were storing items should not be a problem.

Adjustable Foot Braces

This feature is a must because it makes the kayak more comfortable and provides you with a way to adjust to a variety of different circumstances.

As you’re paddling, your boat will be pulled in one direction by water but it also allows for easier turning when there is just a little bit more force from coming at an angle.

If that’s not enough stability then consider getting some sort of foot brace system or another form of leg support like kneepads or rubber blocks which can help prevent injuries while out on the open waters.

Some models even come equipped with built-in buoyancy chambers that allow you to complete any necessary repairs so long as they are within reach (and if not, we recommend buying something similar).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How Do I Balance A Touring Kayak?

Balancing your kayak is vital. You should do it when you start the kayak. The storage hatches and the bungee should not be overloaded. This is because it will make one side of the kayak heavier than the other. Organize your items in a way that they can balance up.

2. What Is The Ideal Kayak Size For Women?

The perfect size is 11 to 13 feet. The kayaks of these sizes are easy to paddle. They are long; hence they are steady in the water.

3. What Is The Best Speed For Touring Kayaks?

The average speed varies from one person to the other. Beginners and experts have different speeds. Generally, 3 to 4 miles per hour is the approximate speed. Experts can go up to 7 to 10 miles an hour. It all depends on your skills.

4. How Does The Touring Kayak Differ From The Sea Kayak?

A sea kayak is explicitly made for the sea. The style mainly sits on top so that you won’t fall over. More emphasis while making sea kayaks is put on stability. The spray skirt maintains dryness. The touring kayak on the other end is made for calm water. They have narrow bodies for easy navigation and firmness. Touring kayaks cannot be used in the sea due to extensive water swells.

5. Should I Buy An Inflatable Kayak?

Inflatable kayaks are commonly used. They come at cheaper prices. This is the main reason why they are bought by several people. An inflatable touring kayak is not as durable as you may think. Within a short time, it gets punctured. Getting it back to its original shape might be difficult. Instead of repairing it, you can opt to buy a new one. With an inflatable kayak, you will keep replacing it after a short time. This would cost you more if you didn’t buy it in the first place.

6. What Is The Average Storage Capacity Of Top Touring Kayaks?

This is one of the most important questions to consider when buying a touring kayak, and it’s actually not much different from what you’ll find with recreational models. The average storage capacity for these types of boats usually falls somewhere between 50 – 75 gallons, depending on how many bulkheads are installed in your boat.

The solution? Make sure that whichever model you buy has plenty of space for all the gear that you plan to bring along! You don’t want to have to constantly unload items before going ashore or even while paddling over long distances because there isn’t enough room on board.

7. What Is The Average Weight Capacity Of Some Popular Touring Kayaks Found On Amazon?

The average weight capacity of some popular touring kayaks found on Amazon is between 175-200 lbs. The best way to find out what your boat’s maximum load limit will be is to look at the specs when purchasing it online or in-store. Kayak manufacturers usually list the number somewhere in their description, and this information can also often be found on a sticker located inside the cockpit as well.

8. What Is The Hull Design And Stability Features Of A Touring Kayak?

Kayaks are made of various materials, but most often they’re going to be constructed from either plastic or fiberglass.

Some people will choose one material over the other depending on where they plan to use their kayak and for what purpose it will serve them.

A composite hull is lighter than any material that can sink easily in open water (which includes aluminum), so if you’re planning on using your boat out in the ocean then this would be a better option. A heavier weight may also provide more stability while paddling when there are rough seas present- just remember that added weight means less physical mobility!

However, as with anything else, there are always pros and cons associated with these different options.

9. Do You Have To Be An Experienced Paddler To Drive A Touring Kayak?


Both composite and plastic kayaks are relatively easy to use, but it is always best to consult with a professional paddler before attempting any water sport. They will be able to help you decide which boats would suit your needs the most based on what type of waters you plan on using them in as well as provide some tips for beginner boaters.

10. Should I Get A Single Or Tandem Touring Kayak?

It depends on what you will be using the kayak for. If you plan on paddling with a partner, then get a tandem touring kayak; if not, buy a single person.

-Learn what makes these boats different from each other as well as their pros and cons so that when it comes time to purchase one new or used one, we have narrowed down our choices

-Find out which is right for your needs by asking yourself some questions before going into any stores (make sure this includes checking out reviews first)

11. Is A Longer Or Shorter Kayak Better?

If you talk about a touring kayak, then the size of the boat doesn’t matter. The size of the kayak that you choose will depend on your height and weight, as well as if you need to transport it or not.

-If a longer kayak is easier for you to paddle from one place to another, then go with that length

-A shorter kayak may be better if transporting isn’t an issue so you can still see what’s in front of you when paddling without having to turn around frequently just like a tandem boat would do

-Consider whether or not this model has skegs (a set of blades) at the bow and stern; this help make steering more stable and provide increased control over where the yak goes compared to models without them

12. What Is The Recommended Length For A Woman’s Touring Kayak?

The recommended length for a woman’s touring kayak is 13 feet.

But which size would be best? A long or short boat will not matter if you can’t fit in it! Touring Kayaks come in different sizes, so make sure that anyone you get fits your height and weight. For example, extra-long ones are great because they have more stability since there’s less surface area to catch waves. But on the other hand, they’re hard to carry around with all their parts attached. Short models offer plenty of features to cope up with your paddling need more often these days.

13. Is The Color Of The Kayak Important?

It’s important to know that the color of your touring kayak does not affect its quality. In general, it is better for you to get a brightly colored kayak if you’re worried about visibility in case of an emergency which would provide more safety than a plain one.

A kayak should be bright and visible from far away! If necessary change out the paddle with a large orange flag on top or something similar so they can see you coming before they run into your boat accidentally.

Final Notes

The best touring kayak is Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. It has a reasonable budget, and it offers high-class comfort. The rest of the touring kayaks are distinct. They have varied sizes and function differently. The prices are also something to select from. As a buyer, you should consider whether it’s your first time in the sport. Those who are experienced will prefer larger kayaks. Beginners will shop for the smaller touring kayaks. For safety reasons, it is paramount to practice in tranquil water. This way, you will be secure, and the kayak will be in good hands.

Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API