Knowing how to choose the best sea kayak is important. In order to have the right touring kayak with the right specifications for your trip you have to know what you are getting.
This will make all the difference and will allow you to enjoy safe day trip expeditions in the open sea, incident free. An activity that doesn’t seem to slow down in popularity in 2018.
One of my favorite inflatable kayak brands, Sea Eagle, has an expedition rated set of kayaks that are a beast in the water.
The top pick and the most ideal for long trips is the 420x Explorer. They are soon becoming one of the best ocean kayak brands in the market.
They realized early on there is a demand for their products and many used their solid inflatable kayaks for open sea trips, so might as well make one specifically for it. Its stable, lightweight, fast, and easy to maneuver. Which is why it’s our top pick this year.
However, if speed is your main concern then boy are you in luck. They have recently released one the fastest inflatable kayaks that can even compete with their hard-shell counterparts.
The 473rl RazorLite can go as fast as 6 MPH, paddling!
This is not a beginner kayak, and it is recommended for pro and experienced kayakers. If cutting through water like a hot knife on butter sounds like fun to you, then you sure found your match.
|Sea Eagle 473rl RazorLite||A+||Professional||Double|
|Sea Eagle 420x Explorer||A+||Intermediate||Double|
|Perception Essence 16.5||A+||Intermediate||Single|
|Wilderness Systems Pungo 140||A+||Intermediate||Single|
|Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5||A+||Beginner||Single|
|Hobie Mirage Island Tandem||A+||Professional||Double|
|Tahe Marine Reval 16.0||A+||Professional||Single|
|Necky Vector 14||A||Beginner||Single|
Sea kayaking is a very popular activity due to its relaxing approach to gliding across water and the excellent view it affords.
You may have probably noticed that flat-water kayaks are divided into two groups: sea touring and recreation. Sea touring kayaks are boats that are designed for strong winds, rough seas, and are capable of covering distance with minimal effort.
On the other hand, recreational kayaks are designed for use in lakes, bays and other protected waters. It is therefore possible to use a sea kayak for recreational use, but a recreational kayak cannot handle the rigors of long day trip expeditions that is done with sea kayaking.
With so many options on the market for sea kayak buyers in 2018, it is hard to decide exactly what type of craft to purchase. Your first step to buying a one is to organize your kayaking priorities.
Are you serious about kayaking or are you a casual kayaker with no illusions about your abilities. Are you daring or cautious? Do your paddle for the thrills, or for relaxation? Do you have a long range goal of extended kayaking expeditions or will you be content with inshore kayaking?
Getting the best touring kayak for you needs and experience level is therefore an important part of making the right decision besides reading touring kayak reviews on the internet.
Designed to help both novice and expert sea kayakers push their limits to new levels, this kayak offers solid tracking, but its unique design also enhances maneuverability.
According to the manufacturer, the Tru Trak skeg is the one feature that distinguishes this boat from the rest. It keeps the essence 16.5 tracking true and moving in a straight line in choppy water.
For improved user comfort, the Essence 16.5 comes equipped with an ergonomically designed ZONE EXP seating system which is fully adjustable for a personalized fit. The deck features 3 separate hatches for easy access to the three sealed bulkheads for ample storage of gear on longer trips.
Transporting the boat is a breeze thanks to its lightweight and retractable carry handles.
The Edge 14.5 LV flatwater day is a sit-in style, flat bottom canoe featuring an aesthetically pleasing low deck so you will never feel lot inside.
The hull offers a perfect blend of initial and secondary stability, which means that you will immediately feel comfortable in the boat regardless of your kayaking skill level.
The Riot Kayaks Edge comes rigged with accessories such as a gear net and flash-mount rod holders and this makes it ideal for kayak sea fishing in addition to other activities. However, check out our detailed fishing kayak reviews if your are interested in the best sea fishing kayak.
The seating system is customizable to allow the canoe to accommodate a wide range of users. For ease of steering, the kayak is equipped with adjustable sliding footraces, integrated thigh braces and a pilot rudder system.
The award winning Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 epitomizes the modern kayak design: blending speed with impeccable stability, tracking and maneuverability in a wide range of conditions.
Its hull lines are very similar to British kayaks and this means that the Wilderness Tempest offers more chine area for amazing secondary stability.
Its Phase3-XP seat is easily adjustable for better lock in for carved turns and to relive fatigue on long handles. For extra control and comfort, the kayak features an ergonomic ratcheting backband and the exclusive Slidelock footrail system is comfortable, rugged and easy to adjust.
The canoe has impressive storage features with three storage hatches opening into the cockpit to allow you to stow away and access supplies with ease.
The Tahe marine is one of the most evenly balanced kayaks on the market. The boat offers a good blend between speed, handling and stability – the icing on the cake is that this balance changes depending on how skilled the paddler is.
This is because it comes fitted with a retractable rudder + skeg, so you can choose how to steer the boat according to your skill.
The Tahe Marine Wind 535 sit-in sea kayak was obviously design for longer expeditions as evidenced by the 2 conveniently located oval hatches for gear storage.
This boat is safe and steady – perfect for beginners – but it can also bring a lot of joy to experienced sea kayakers.
This canoe was designed for experienced sea kayakers looking for a sit-on top that is great for both night and day sea touring.
The boat features adjustable foot braces and side thigh straps to help experienced users maneuver the craft but beginners can also steer the craft on rough water with relative ease thanks to the option rudder system that the Yellow and Sunrise models are equipped with.
The ruddered models are also fitted with a 6 inch day hatch in addition to the adjustable nylon tank well and mesh pouch for gear storage. You can also check out our best selection for Sit On Top kayaks with reviews, videos, and tips to help you choose the right sit on top kayak.
This is probably the most expensive sea touring ‘yak available. However, considering it is a tandem touring kayak that you can go sailing with, its truly is worth its multi-functional price tag.
In case you are interested, it also comes in a single seat version, if that is something you prefer.
Your current kayaking skill level
Some of the best sea kayaks are long, slender, responsive and demanding. If you are still learning the ropes, it may be better to go with a wider, more stable kayaks as these are normally more user friendly. Remember, your skill will improve depending on the level of enjoyment from kayaking. You can always get something more challenging as your skill improves.
While some gurus argue that beginners should start with a high performance kayak in order to develop proper techniques, kayaking on large water bodies carries large risks – breaking surf, tidal currents and strong winds can all conspire to turn a pleasant paddle into a nightmare. That’s why proper water safety is key to having a great experience especially in the new year after 2017.
What is the typically weight you expect to carry in the kayak?
This is determines by the kayak’s “designed displacement”. The fact that your kayak has lots of room below deck doesn’t means that it will handle well in the rough sea when stuffed full like a Christmas goose.
This includes both maneuverability and tracking. While exceptional maneuverability is important in confined areas, it is less so in the open sea. This means that superior tracking is preferable when choosing a sea kayak.
Length – Sea kayaks are typically longer than other kayak types. When shopping, ensure that the kayak is at least 3.5 meters long but it shouldn’t exceed 5 meter. Longer kayaks require ore time to get up to speed but paddle easily on long trips.
Width – The width should be chosen based on your size and the amount of gear you intend to carry. Ideally, sea kayaks should have widths ranging from 50 cm to 90 cm. wider kayaks are more stable, harder to flip over and easy to enter or exit. On the other hand, narrow units are lighter, faster, but less stable.
Kayak Weight Limit – While portaging may be a minor issue to kayaker, you will still have to lift the kayak into your car. Interestingly, lighter kayaks also tend to handle better in rough water, are easier to paddle and turn easily.
Today’s sea kayaks are made with precision and advanced materials so they could handle any condition the fierce oceans will bring. Before embarking on your adventures, be sure the read through my sea kayak reviews and other kayaking tips before purchasing your next touring kayaks.