My 10 Best Touring Kayaks (Comparison & Buying Guide)

QUICK ANSWER: MY BEST TOURING KAYAKS

MY BEST TOURING KAYAKS COMPARISON:

Product:
Features:
Pros/Cons:
Price:
Best for stability and maneuverability
Best
NECKY CHATHAM 18-Foot TOURING KAYAK
  • Length: 18 ft
  • Material:  Fiberglass
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 53 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 350lbs
    • Extremely lightweight
    • great stability
    • waterproof bulkheads
    • maneuverable and speedy
    • Inadequate onboard storage
    • doesn’t track well
    Best for meandering rivers
    Best
    DAGGER STRATOS 14.5
  • Length: 14.6 FT
  • Material: High-density Gen 2 Polyethylene
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 57lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 315lbs
    • Rugged for heavy use
    • plenty of storage space
    • great stability well-padded thigh braces
    • Doesn’t track well
    • heavier than most alternatives
    Best for saltwater
    Best
    WILDERNESS SYSTEMS TEMPEST 170 ECLIPSE WHITE
  • Length: 15.5 ft long
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 54 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs
    • Adjustable skeg making it easy to track
    • a larger cockpit
    • waterproof hatches
    • well-designed backrest
    • Problem loading or unloading from the car because of weight
    Best for overnight fast expeditions
    Best
    EDDYLINE FATHOM
  • Length: 16.6 ft long
  • Material: ABS material
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 50 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 340 lbs
    • incredibly fast and efficient hull design
    • roomy interior
    • retractable skeg to improve tracking
    • easy to maneuver
    • seat adjuster is said not to stay locked
    Best as a versatile sit-in kayak
    Best
    PERCEPTION KAYAK CAROLINA TOURING KAYAK
  • Length: 12 ft long
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 49 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 275lbs
    • tons of comfort features
    • well-designed shape
    • stable
    • durable
    • the seat is less padded and that can be deal-breaker
    Best for a flatwater day trip
    Best
    RIOT KAYAKS EDGE 14.5 LV FLATWATER DAY TRIP KAYAK
  • Length: 14.6 ft long
  • Material: High-Density Polyethylene
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 60lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs
    • comfortable for longer trips
    • incredibly durable
    • rudder system for expert navigation
    • safe and great tracking
    • the cockpit is a little bit small for large paddlers
    Best comfort for longer trips
    Best
    WILDERNESS SYSTEMS PUNGO 120
  • Length: 12 ft
  • Material: polyethylene
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 51 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs
    • Easy to carry
    • stable
    • comfortable
    • tracks so well
    • durable construction
    • Relatively expensive
    A best balance between performance, great features, and overall value
    Best
    ADVANCED ELEMENTS ADVANCEDFRAME
  • Length: 10.6 ft
  • Material: PVC
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 36lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 300lbs
    • Durable
    • exceptionally comfortable
    • portable
    • stable
    • A little bit heavier than most inflatable in this category
    Best for calm and rough waters
    Best
    RIOT KAYAKS BRITTANY 16.5 FLATWATER KAYAK
  • Length: 16.6 ft
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 51 lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs
    • Retractable skeg
    • plenty of deck storage
    • incredibly comfortable
    • handle for easy lifting
    • Rudder mounted too high making it ineffective
    Best as a kayak with enough storage for weekend trips
    Best
    EDDYLINE SKYLARK
  • Length: 12-ft long
  • Material: ABS Plastic
  • Kayak WEIGHT: 41lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 295 lbs
    • Enough storage for a weekend trip
    • durable and lightweight
    • cuts through water so well
    • easy to manage both on and off water
    • Finish is said to scratch easily

    MY BEST TOURING KAYAKS REVIEWS:

    NECKY CHATHAM 18-Foot TOURING KAYAK

    • Length: 18 ft
    • Material:  Fiberglass
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 53 lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 350lbs
    • What I like: Extremely lightweight, great stability, waterproof bulkheads, maneuverable and speedy
    • What I don’t like: Inadequate onboard storage, doesn’t track well

     

    DAGGER STRATOS 14.5

    • Length: 14.6 FT
    • Material: High-density Gen 2 Polyethylene
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 57lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 315lbs
    • What I like:  Rugged for heavy use, plenty of storage space, great stability well-padded thigh braces
    • What I don’t like: Doesn’t track well, heavier than most alternatives

     

    WILDERNESS SYSTEMS TEMPEST 170 ECLIPSE WHITE

    • Length: 15.5 ft long
    • Material: Polyethylene
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 54 lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs
    • What I like: Adjustable skeg making it easy to track, a larger cockpit, waterproof hatches, well-designed backrest,
    • What I don’t like: Problem loading or unloading from the car because of weight

    EDDYLINE FATHOM

    • Length: 16.6 ft long
    • Material: ABS material
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 50 lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 340 lbs
    • What I like: incredibly fast and efficient hull design, roomy interior, retractable skeg to improve tracking, easy to maneuver
    • What I don’t like: seat adjuster is said not to stay locked

     

    PERCEPTION KAYAK CAROLINA TOURING KAYAK 

    • Length: 12 ft long
    • Material: Polyethylene
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 49 lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 275lbs
    • What I like: tons of comfort features, well-designed shape, stable, durable
    • What I don’t like: the seat is less padded and that can be deal-breaker

     

    RIOT KAYAKS EDGE 14.5 LV FLATWATER DAY TRIP KAYAK

    • Length: 14.6 ft long
    • Material: High-Density Polyethylene
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 60lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs
    • What I like: comfortable for longer trips, incredibly durable, rudder system for expert navigation, safe and great tracking
    • What I don’t like: the cockpit is a little bit small for large paddlers

     

    WILDERNESS SYSTEMS PUNGO 120

    • Length: 12 ft
    • Material: polyethylene
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 51 lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 325 lbs
    • What I like: Easy to carry, stable, comfortable, tracks so well, durable construction
    • What I don’t like: Relatively expensive

    ADVANCED ELEMENTS ADVANCEDFRAME

    • Length: 10.6 ft
    • Material: PVC
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 36lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 300lbs
    • What I like: Durable, exceptionally comfortable, portable, stable
    • What I don’t like: A little bit heavier than most inflatable in this category

     

    RIOT KAYAKS BRITTANY 16.5 FLATWATER KAYAK

    • Length: 16.6 ft
    • Material: Polyethylene
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 51 lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs
    • What I like: Retractable skeg, plenty of deck storage, incredibly comfortable, handle for easy lifting
    • What I don’t like: Rudder mounted too high making it ineffective

     

    EDDYLINE SKYLARK

    • Length: 12-ft long
    • Material: ABS Plastic
    • Kayak WEIGHT: 41lbs
    • Maximum Capacity: 295 lbs
    • What I like: Enough storage for a weekend trip, durable and lightweight, cuts through water so well, easy to manage both on and off water
    • What I don’t like: Finish is said to scratch easily

     

    HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR TOURING KAYAK:

    MATERIALS

    As when you are buying a kayak for any other purpose, you also need to consider the kind of material that your touring kayak comes made from. For touring kayak, we have three main materials; ABS Plastic, Polyethylene, and Composites. To help you know which material is the right one for you, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each one of them. It is the only way to tell which one will actually work for you.

    • POLYETHYLENE PLASTIC: Because of its affordability, this is one of the most popular materials in the market today. This material is relatively resistant to abrasion and scratches. However, it is actually one of the heaviest. It doesn’t also come with UV protection; so you can be sure of this material being damaged by UV. If you will put your money on a touring kayak made from this material, ensure you have it covered at all times when you are not using it.
    • ABS PLASTIC: Compared to polyethylene, this one is a bit expensive but also with the same level of durability. ABS plastic is incredibly light and also comes equipped with UV protection. So if you don’t want your boat to fade after being exposed to sunlight for an extended length of period, you now know what you exactly need. Still on ABS plastic material; we have also seen another two-tone design which is basically two pieces of molded ABS plastic. They are bonded together to give you an incredibly watertight design.
    • COMPOSITES: Kayaks made from this material sit right at the high end of the price range. They are quite expensive. When it comes to composites materials we are talking about carbon fiber and fiberglass. This specific material does so well than ABS and polyethylene plastics. Despite coming with high price tags, boats made from composite materials are quite prone to major impact against hard objects like rocks.

    WEIGHT CAPACITY

    Touring means you are going to be out there at the sea or river for an extended period of time. For that, you need to carry quite a number of gears and other essentials as well.  This is where the weight capacity of your boat comes in. So when you are out there shopping for the best touring kayak, you might want to ensure you take your time and take a quick look at the manufacturer’s weight capacity of that particular boat and consider the weight of all the things you will carry. You might also want to add your overall weight to get a clear picture of how much weight capacity you will actually need in a touring kayak.

    LENGTH OF YOUR BOAT

    When it comes to the length of your boat, this will largely depend on the type of paddling you plan on doing. For example, it is a well-known fact that longer kayaks tend to move fast and efficiently through the water. They also offer a lot of storage space. So if you are looking at achieving top speed, you can’t go wrong with a longer kayak.

    Additionally, it is important you remember shorter kayaks come with high maneuverability. They are also quite easy to transport from one location to another. So for great portability, you know what to go for.

    The kind of length to go for will determine exactly what you need. For example, if you have plans of paddling for long-distance or you are just planning on taking your boat on different expeditions, you will want to put your money on a boat with a little extra length. With that, you will be able to paddle with so much ease. You will also have great storage space. On the other hand, if you know you will be doing those very short trips, a shorter boat will make a lot of sense.

    WIDTH

    The width of your boat is directly related to the amount of stability you will get. Normally, a very wide boat means you get great stability. Typically, a wider boat comes highly recommended for beginners. These are the people who need something that can aid them to achieve that perfect balance. On the other hand; for serious kayakers; people who have been doing this for years, narrow hulls will be much better. Such hulls offer an advanced level of maneuverability as well as speed.

    COMFORT

    Since you will be paddling for hours and hours, most touring kayaks put a lot of emphasis on comfort. For enhanced comfort, here are some of the things you need to be on the lookout for when buying a kayak.

    • Cockpit size: When it comes to this, you might want to take the dimensions of the cockpit into great consideration in relation to your own body size. Here you might need to think about the distance between your own feet and that of the front part of the bulkhead wall. You need something you can move your feet freely and not feeling like you are cramped in a corner.
    • Seat: This one thing you will remain seated on for hours and for that, you need to make sure it is very comfortable. An adjustable seat comes highly recommended. You need something that allows you to move forward or backward as you look for that comfortable position. Additionally, it must be well padded. You can’t even start to imagine what you can net from that.
    • Backrest:  This is another useful feature in a touring kayak. A decent backrest will ensure you get proper posture. Plus, it will help relieve lumbar pressure, making you feel more comfortable.
    • Footrest:  This is another great feature you need in your touring kayak. A well-designed footrest often helps stabilize the paddler to give you a sort of resistance for your lower body.

    STORAGE

    When we talk about touring kayaks, the first thing that comes into our minds is larger storage capacity. Most of these boats come with sizeable bows and hulls, giving you internal space to put your gear and other essentials. At times, that onboard space is not enough to store everything you have and you might want to consider other storage options the boat comes with. For this very reason, here are other storage options you might want to ensure your touring kayak comes equipped with.

    • Hatches: Some kayak comes with hatches while others don’t. So if you need more storage space, ensure the boat you buy comes with these onboard doors. This will actually give you great access to an incredibly watertight storage space normally located on the bow and hull. However, while this could actually give you more storage space, make sure it is watertight as that will not only serve as added buoyancy but also prevent water from getting into the boat.
    • Bulkheads: They are located in the bow and stern of your boat. They are buoyancy chambers and can also provide extra storage space.

    Final Words

    So as you can see; when it comes to finding the right touring kayak, there is no going around it. You need to figure out what your needs are and work onwards. After all, once you know what you need, you will get a boat that will meet your needs.

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