Best Touring Kayak Review 2020
In this Guide
Whether you are an adventure enthusiast or a soulful explorer, if you want to explore nature at the intersection of the land and waters then Kayaking is your go-to option. It is becoming one of the most preferred nature-oriented activities amongst the millennials. And with the range of functionalities it offers, it deserves to be so. Whether you want to spend a day at a lake surrounded by peace and tranquility, or at the feisty rivers rocking along the waves and experiencing the thrill of adventure, kayaking never disappoints.
And not just the experience but it also offers to be a great workout for your body, mainly your arms and torso. Also, knowing that you are not using a fuel-powered vehicle amidst the water body makes you feel environmentally conscious and a conservationist (Am I right?).
To enjoy this multifaceted experience, the first and foremost thing we need to get is a kayak itself. And to make this decision easier for you, we will review the top 10 best touring kayaks out in the market. Not only will we put out the best options for you, but we will also explain what are the parameters to select the best kayak as per your interests, and what are the features which need to stand out for you to make that investment.
Features to Look Out for When Buying a Touring Kayak
The most important feature to choose the right kayak for you is to ensure it fits you properly while not compromising on your comfort. The cockpit of your kayak should be roomy with enough leg space but it should also grip you well so you do not roll on sides with those incoming waves. For the adventure lovers, their kayak should be more enclosed overall, with the less restraining hassle to jump off if the thrill gets overboard.
The second most important feature is its design leading to its maneuverability.
The more sleek and precise the design is, the more control it offers to its controller. Buoyancy and weight of the kayak are very crucial as well, as they need to be assessed in accordance with the rider’s body mechanics to ensure maximum safety.
Top 10 Touring Kayaks 2020
We will now go over our top picks with all being the market’s best but specific to your needs. With a detailed review of the features that each touring kayak offers, as well as its pros and cons you can decide which touring kayak suits you best.
Pelican Premium Sprint 140DT
|Ergonomic seating for added comfort||Would perform better in controlled waters|
|Easy to handle||Tailored for flatwater kayaking only|
|Preinstalled bungee cords|
|Flexible design to keep you afloat|
|More storing compartments|
|A quick lock hatch to keep your things safe|
- Length: 14 feet
- Weight: 55 pounds
- Width: 25 inches
- A Deeper Hull
- Rudder based Steering System.
- Sleek design for precise maneuvering
- Lightweight body
- Comes with bungee straps (for connecting protective gear with the deck)
This model is one of the most likable models for those serene and smooth kayaking day outs in peaceful lakes. The kayak’s deeper hull is the key to its popularity, allowing it to be easy on paddling and handling. With paddling being less of an effort and more of an enjoyable experience, it helps you to keep the direction of the kayak straight as well. Another promising feature of this model is the embedded rudder-based steering system that is controllable by your feet. It shares the burden of your torso and keeps your energy in store for longer. Its sleek design makes its maneuverability very easy to manage. Be it the direction or the speed, it all seems under control with this kayak. Also, it being lightweight makes it very easy to transport to your desired location and even docking in your garage or storage. However, its rigidity is not compromised in any sense, and the manufacturing materials are very reliable. It comes with bungee straps to connect your protective gear with the deck and ensure your safety. It also contains a number of storing compartments where you can keep your cell phone, a snack, or your handy items.
- It is compatible cockpit space with a V-chine deep hull and contains an ergonomic seating for added comfort and longer adventures.
- It is easy to maneuver with its rudder steering system and easy to handle with its unique style. It weighs only 55 lbs which makes it an excellent choice for your trips.
- It comes preinstalled with bungee cords and embodies a flexible design to keep you afloat.
- More storing compartments and a quick lock hatch keeps your things safe and secure.
- It would perform better in controlled waters as compared to tidal waves.
- It is particularly tailored for flat water kayaking only.
Dagger Stratos 14.5
|Strong body||Length overboard for short individuals|
|Added durability||Cords not available|
|Maximum storage space|
|Protective thigh braces embedded|
|Easy to handle|
- Length: 14.6 inches
- Weight: 57 pounds
- Width 24.5 inches.
- Durable in usage and materials used
- Enlarged Hatch space
- Braces with padded support for thighs
- Handles at both ends
This model is a great choice if you are looking to kayak your day at a wide river which ends up at an arm of a marine adventure. Whether the tides are passive or on a roller coaster, this kayak will not disappoint you in providing an exceptional experience. It is longer in length which allows it to cover more surface thus ensuring greater maneuverability. Its cockpit is well spaced with padded support for your thighs, to keep them from any kind of bruise or harsh tug. Dagger Stratos is made to be put into the rough waves and offer you the thrill of a lifetime. On the other hand, it is also appropriate for calm waters with its added length. The handles at both ends are excellent for frequent travelers since they offer tighter support for its docking and jotting, and for its easier transportation. With all these features, the added hatch space in the front and the back ensures maximum storage space for all of your belongings you’d like to take along on your adventure and keep them dry.
- It has a strong body with greater strength.
- With added durability, it offers maximum storage space for your gear and accessories. It comes with protective thigh braces to offer greater comfort.
- Easy to transport & handle, it is a great deal for the money and the quality.
- The length of this model can be overboard for short to medium height individuals.
- And the cords are not available (you will have to dock them yourself).
Wilderness System Tempest 165
|Ideal for small paddlers||Padded support is not available|
|Possesses compass mounting on its body||Cords have to be attached manually|
|Compact and sleek design|
|Extra storage capacity without making the rider feel heavy|
|Reflective safety lines to minimize wilderness accidents|
|Six adjustable points for a customized fit|
- Length: 16.6 feet
- Weight: 55 pounds
- Width: 21.5 inches
- Added Compass Mounting (for precise navigation)
- Reflective Safety Lines (on the kayak)
- Retractable Handles (on both ends)
- Added Storage space with hatch covers
This model is specifically designed for those adventure explorers who like to go all out in the open waters. Mainly for the smaller paddlers, it offers a great range of motion and an even greater range of thrill. Whether you want to go into the wilderness and feel the nature up close or experience the throbbing waves at their core, this should be your go-to option. It offers a mounting for your compass too on its front so you navigate your routes without the need of checking your device and the fear of getting it wet or sunk. This kayak has an incredible feature which is the reflective safety lines all over it. These lines help you stay noticeable from afar and make it easier for you to be in that wild setting. The handles are retractable which means your kayak does not have those fixed accessories at the front and rear ends but rather acquires a very smooth and sleek design. However, the handling is not compromised and the handles can be retracted whenever needed to ensure easier transportation. Another very interesting feature of this model is the extra storage space it offers for all your stuff within its well-conceited compartments, making it a perfect go for those long adventures.
- Ideal for small paddlers, a special feature of this model is that it possesses a compass mounting for placing your compass.
- Compact and sleek in design, it offers extra storage capacity without making the rider feel heavy.
- The reflective safety lines on this kayak minimize wilderness accidents, and the ergonomic handles can easily retract inside the body when not needed.
- Padded support is not available
- The cords have to be attached manually
Delta Kayaks Delta 14
|Lightweight||Handles are not embedded for transporting|
|Multi-purpose seating system|
|Easy on legs and thighs with built-in paddings|
|Side buckles make it easy to put it on and off quickly|
|Storage capacity both at the front and the rear end|
|Two rigging areas for your cords and attachments|
- Length: 14 feet
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Width: 23.75 inches
- Extremely Light Weight
- Versatile Seating System
- Extra padding for Legs and Thighs
- Two-point Bungee Cords Docking
- Spacious and Reliable Storage Capacity
If you are looking to go far at some river rafting spree or for a long vacation trip and want to keep the things light on-the-go, then Delta Kayaks Delta 14 is for you. With weighing as little as just 45 pounds it is extremely easy to haul and to transport. And when on waters, it feels as if you are afloat with no added burden. This also allows you to go to greater lengths when kayaking and cover more of those nature-filled areas. The versatile seat in this model is adjustable for each individual as per the need, making sure you are well-placed in your position. The added paddings for your legs and your thighs offer that extra nudge of comfort we all crave for when kayaking for longer distances. And with that, the roomy storage capacity complements your trips to keep more of your belongings with you. This model also offers maximum support and the two bungee cord docking points ensure you remain steadfast and safe while devouring those feisty waves. All in all, it is a perfect choice for those who would like to devote their weekends to kayaking.
- It is an exceptional model that weighs only 45 pounds (yes it says it all).
- It offers a multi-purpose seating system, and is easy on legs and thighs with built-in padding.
- With generous storage capacity both at the front and the rear end, it accommodates your gear and stuff conveniently.
- Two rigging areas for your cords and attachments are also available.
- Handles are not embedded for transporting
Delta Kayaks Delta 15.5 GT
|A versatile model for thrill and tranquility||Unavailability of padding|
|Modest hull maintaining the right balance||Cords are to be manually mounted|
|Sleek design with a refined structure|
|Tested shock-proof body|
|UV protection ensuring longevity|
|Built-in rescue feature to ensure your safety|
- Length: 15.6 feet
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Width: 24.25 inches
- A unique hull design (to ensure mobility and velocity)
- Integrated rescuing system
- UV protected structure
- Resilient and shock-protective body
- Sleek Design (with reduced overboard)
- Compact hatches
The one size fits all is now a reality in kayaks too. This particular model – the Delta 15.5 G is suitable for all kinds of Kayakers out there. It is designed with such ingenuity that it is the perfect fit for all kinds of paddlers. It ensures that your kayaking experience is not compromised on the basis of your adeptness with this beast, and whether you are a beginner or an avid thriller, it will mold itself as per your needs. The unique hull design of this kayak is the key to its versatility – allowing a combination of mobility and velocity. The body of this model is made to last with its shock-proof technology. And it does not just end here, the body is further finessed with a UV protection system which ensures that the material and the pigment stay up to the mark, even if it is used as frequently as every weekend. Another very interesting feature of it is the embedded integrated rescuing system which allows you to get back on the kayak as soon as you fall off, making the process easier and safer. The compact hatches cut back the excessive weight carrying and make it feel even lighter than it already is. Also, it gives off a sleeker look and increased maneuverability when speeding through those tough turns and corners.
- It is a versatile model for both thrill and tranquility. With a modest hull maintaining the right balance, it has a sleek design with refined structure.
- Tested shock-proof body and UV protection ensures its longevity.
- It contains a built-in rescue feature to ensure your safety.
- Reduced deck boards make this kayak more compact, and the systemic hatches reducing snags is what makes it stand out in the crowd.
- Unavailability of padding is a shortcoming, and the cords have to be manually mounted.
Eddyline Sitka LT
|Strong maneuverability||Padding could be added for legs|
|Designed for greater precision and swift motion||Docking points for cords are unavailable|
|Skegs included for a well-informed journey|
|Comfort booster with adjustable back support|
|Plentiful storage compartments|
- Length: 14.6 feet
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Width: 23.5 inches
- Sleek design with the maximum thrill
A shallow hull design (closer to the surface)
- Embedded Skegs with re-tractability
- Adjustable back support
- Extra storage capacity
Eddyline Sitka LT is a particular model designed for those who love speed and challenges. Being a decently sized kayak, it offers its riders the adrenaline rush they crave for. Most suitable for the rough and open waters, this model does not let you compromise on the experience. Its sleek design makes sure that it is consistently swift in motion and lets you through all of the track with maximum control. The sharp turns in the course where the maneuverability is often drained are where this model comes into play and showcases its mettle. The shallow hull design provides the rider with more strength to take charge of the kayak and encounter those audacious waves head-on. More so, the back of the seating is also adjustable to reduce the shock of those twisting jerks and maintain the comfort of the rider. It also offers embedded skegs that are retractable to have a clear idea of what to expect out on waters. To leave on such an adventure without the supplies and gear is not a mistake you should make, and therefore to keep your stuff at your disposal, this model offers adequate storage capacity both at the front and at the end and ensures it remains safe and dry.
- It’s appropriate hull design ensures stronger maneuverability with greater precision and swift motion.
- Skegs are included for a well-informed and safe journey.
- It is a comfort booster with adjustable back support and plentiful storage compartments.
- Padding could be added for legs
- Docking points for cords are unavailable
Delta Kayaks Delta 17
|More leg space and more comfort||Handles are not be used as tie-down support|
|Weighs just 50 lbs making it super easy to handle||Added padding is unavailable|
|Powerful body and shock-proof design|
|UV protected structure|
|Weighs just 50 lbs making it super easy to handle|
|Powerful body and shock-proof design|
- Length: 17 feet
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Width: 22.5 inches
- Extra-large structure
- Solid and Shock-proof body
- Adjustable seat for a better experience
- Low profile front hatch
- Lower rear deck
Delta Kayaks Delta 17 is the one for those bigger paddlers who would prefer more leg space and a comfortable ride over flat waters. Its extra-long structure spanning over 17 feet gives you the most needed streamline kayaking experience you have been on the look for. The larger skeleton, however, does not compromise on the swift motion and the easy maneuverability. Rather it allows the kayak to be more in control and aligned with the directional strides you would like. This model is made of shockproof and solid material which ensures longevity and combats the harmful effects of ultraviolet erosion. The embedded adjustable seating system allows the user to personalize the kayak as per the required comfort and body structure. A low profile front hatch makes it handier to pick out the essentials on the go, and a lower rear deck makes it viable for smooth rolling. If you have not been satisfied with any kayak so far due to your large size and your larger than life experience, then don’t think more and try Delta 17.
- It is a large kayak which offers more leg space and more comfort.
- Weighing just 50 lbs, it is super easy to handle and maneuver. With a powerful body, UV protection and a shock-proof design, it is a model which is worth your money.
- It has a customizable seating for added convenience, a low profile front hatch for easier reach, and a lower rear deck for better rolling.
- Handles can not not be used as tie-down support
- Added padding is unavailable
|An efficient kayak for adventure enthusiasts||Docking points are unavailable|
|Optimized Hull for greater control||Gear has to be installed manually|
|Integrated Skeg for added support||No padding makes the extended journey tiring|
|Large leg space and appraised mobility|
|Day Hatch for keeping your things safe and dry|
- Length: 16.6 feet
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Width: 22 inches
- Large Front Deck (for maximum mobility)
- Powerful Hull (ensuring improved control)
- Embedded Skeg (also retractable)
- Day Hatch (for better storage)
This model is specifically designed for prolonged tours along the river currents. Whether you’d like to take an overnight adventure or a simulation of extreme thrill over certain days, this kayak will not let you down. Rather it will lift your spirits to ensure a well-rounded and safe experience. It lets you cover a broader area at an accelerated speed owing to its unique design and features. Its sleek body ensures fast mobility with greater control. Maneuvering along the tides is made easier with this model as the water conditions take a turn over the journey. To further this quality, it contains an embedded skeg as well which is also retractable to provide deeper support amidst unfavorable conditions and keep the kayak on track. For added comfort, it contains a larger leg space for those who feel at unease in other kayaks when kayaking for a longer period. Since it is a perfect option for overnight trips, it provides an even greater feature which is its day hatch. In it, you can pack whatever you would like to consume during your far-reaching and explorative journey, and it will remain dry and safe. All in all, it is a great investment for the risk-takers.
- An efficient kayak for adventure enthusiasts, it has an optimized Hull for greater control, and integrated skeg for added support.
- A large leg space and appraised mobility makes a viable option for those thrilling trips.
- It also contains a day hatch for keeping your things safe and dry.
- Docking points are unavailable.
- There is no secondary padding.
Perception Kayak Carolina Touring Kayak
|Blend of traditional design and contemporary features||More of a general kayak|
|Effective Hull System|
|Adjustable Cockpit (both the seat and the back)|
|Precision oriented Front Base|
|Quality Product (trusted by many)|
|Padding for thighs and knees for added comfort|
- Length: 14 & 12 feet
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Width: 26 inches
- 2 available sizes: 14 feet and 12 feet
- Spacious carrying capacity
- Embedded Bungee Cord System
- Reflective Cord (for safety)
- Dynamic Design
- Long front end (to ensure fast mobility)
If you are one of those kayakers who love the traditional kayaks and find it hard to move on to those contemporary styles, then worry not anymore. We have the perfect kayak for you and it is Perception Kayak Carolina Touring Kayak. Made in the USA, and most suitable for the larger paddlers, this is the most versatile kayak available which encompasses a traditional design along with all the contemporary features. With an extremely comfortable seat and an adjustable back, it ensures the user feels relaxed at all times. Whether you want to spend a summer day on flat waters or want to enjoy the thrill at the coastal locations, this kayak serves the purpose. It has a dynamic design consisting of a larger and longer front end to strengthen its buoyancy and maneuverability, and a shorter rear end to minimize the drag and friction. It contains an embedded bungee cord system to safeguard you while you are on your adventure, and even a reflective cord to make sure you are visible particularly at night. The cockpit is spacious for easier movement and contains padding for thighs and knees. To say the least, this multifaceted kayak is prominent equally among the beginners and the avid paddlers.
- A blend of traditional design and contemporary features, this kayak has an effective hull system with adjustable cockpit (both the seat and the back).
- Its precision oriented front base is its highlight.
- A quality kayak (trusted by many) with guaranteed comfort and padding for thighs and knees makes it a strong option to consider.
- More of a general kayak (whereas specialized products are winning over the market now)
Perception Kayak Rambler Touring Kayak
|Large cockpit with sit on top feature||Difficult to haul and transport|
|Excellent material and protection||Lacks embedded protective gear|
|Neon colors are popular in demand|
|Molded-in footwells share the joy and effort|
|Appropriate for all experience levels|
|Easy to maneuver and easy to control|
- Length: 13.5 feet
- Weight: 78 pounds
- Width: 34 inches
- Spacious Cockpit
- High-Quality Material
- Impact-resistant Body
- UV protected Surface
- Versatile Functionality
- Multiple footrests
- Additional seating capacity (for a partner or a pet)
This model is not the average joe of kayaks but is rather a very specialized one with multiple features making your kayaking experience a memorable one. One of its most promising features is its sit-on-top style which allows you to have a very roomy and comfortable cockpit. Where some people prefer a more compact sitting space, others feel claustrophobic in such a situation and prefer to have a spacious kayak. Rambler touring kayak has been made keeping this same motive and hence is largely preferred. It is made from high-quality abrasion-proof material which ensures its longevity. It is a powerful boat that resists marine damage and is even UV protected. Often available in neon colors, it is highly likable amongst the millenials. This kayak is used in all sorts of flat waters, be it lakes, rivers, or even seas. Ideal for long trips, it comes with an exceptional feature of multiple molded footwells and even an extra sitting space for a partner or a pet. Rambler is one of those models which can be enjoyed by all sorts of individuals, whether you know how to kayak or not.
- With a large cockpit and the sit on top feature, this kayak is an excellent option to consider.
- It ensures quality material and maximum protection.
- Available in neon colors, it is popular in demand.
- Molded-in footwells reduce the tiring of the riders and make it appropriate for all experience levels.
- Easy to maneuver and easy to control, it is a perfect model for the seasonal kayakers.
- It lacks embedded protective gear, and weights 78 lbs.
How to know which touring kayak is the best for me – A Buyers Guide
Know Where You Want to Go for Kayaking
Kayaking can be of many different types: Flatwaters Kayaking and High-Performance Kayaking are the major categories. For touring kayakers, flat waters are the best option. However, it is to be known that even flat waters kayaking is of various types: sea kayaking and slow tourist kayaking. If you are a beginner then it is to be advised to start your adventure with serene sea kayaking and then move on to the more popular one – tourist kayaking.
It is very crucial to consider your budget when you are buying a kayak or wishing to accessorize it. Kayaks can cost as low as $250 and as much as $2500. Often times, we are restricted by our budget and tend to buy a cheaper option. However, it is important to realize that a cheaper product will also have a shorter life and will be of moderate quality. A decent Kayak will cost you around $700 – $1100 which will come with most promising of the features and A grade quality. Don’t tend to move to ridiculously expensive options if you are a beginner or an occasional kayaker. Plus you always have the option to accessorize your kayak later on when you become a pro at it.
Key Features of Kayak you Would Want to Keep in Your Mind
Go for a shorter one if you are a beginner. As your adroitness increases, your maneuverability will increase as well, and then you may shift to a larger one. If you are likely to kayak every month, then go the larger ones as they do have more space for storage and seating.
A rudder is an accessory that helps you gain better control of your kayak. It is planted at the most rear end of your kayak and allows you to direct the kayak in the preferred direction. So if you plan on to kayak in larger currents then rudder is a good option to consider.
Like rudder, the skeg is also an accessory that gives even greater control of the kayak. But more than controlling directions, it helps with the safety of your kayak in rough weather conditions. So if you are an avid kayaker who likes to take the adventure head-on, then skeg is an excellent consideration.
The slim and narrow shape is the most appropriate for a kayak as it ensures maximum maneuverability with the least amount of drag.
The more comfortable the seating the better the experience. Additional padding for thighs and knees makes your kayaking experience even better.
For greater control over your kayak, your cockpit needs to fit your body properly. With a closer and restrained cockpit, your control over the kayak enhances and you can take better charge of your moves and turns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between a touring kayak and a sea kayak?
In earlier days, both touring kayak and sea kayak were considered to be the same. But with kayaks being more specialized, there now stands a difference between them.
A touring kayak is designed for the flat waters where the tidal waves are not much stronger and is more inclined towards lakes. However, a sea kayak is designed to handle the ocean currents as well and is mostly used by advanced kayakers.
What is the ideal size for the paddles of your touring kayak?
The paddle you use for your kayak should not be too large with respect to your body ratio. If you are an average-sized individual, you should go for a medium-sized paddle, which will make sure you do not get exhausted after rowing a couple of meters.
Always make sure your paddle is lightweight with an ergonomic rod. This allows you to have a strong grip and make swift strokes, and enjoy your kayaking experience.
Is a touring kayak easy to manage once you are in waters?
A touring kayak is easy to handle and offers a great experience, but a few safekeeping checks should always be made before you embark on your kayaking journey. Make sure you wear a life jacket, attach your bungee cords across (get a manual cord if your model does not come with a set), and put equal weights in both the front and the rear storage compartments of your kayak. This is very important advice since unequal weight distribution may leave your kayak unbalanced.
Are rudders necessary for your touring kayak?
Rudders are just like fins that keep your kayak in a linear direction. They are not necessary but an excellent addition to your touring kayak. If you are not well experienced, you can easily slide off with the waves and struggle with keeping your kayak straight. Therefore we recommend rudders, especially for the beginners, since it provides added support to stay on your path and do not let your kayak off-track particularly in choppy waters.
Kayaking is a great activity that offers not just an outdoor experience but a full-body workout as well. Also, it is a great way to spend your time – closer to nature. There are tons of options to choose from when it comes to buying touring kayaks. Compare and contrast all of them, analyze your needs and interests, and only then make an informed decision.