Best Kayak Brands for Beginners

Are you just starting a new pastime of doing kayaking in your free time? You’re in for a lot of fun ahead, but finding a kayak to buy as a beginner is harder than you think.

Thousands of brands are out there, making it nearly impossible to create a short list without guidance.

Take a look at what we think are the best brands for kayaking beginners like you.

Sun Dolphin

A lot of experts say Sun Dolphin provides many valuable features for kayaking amateurs. This goes solely on an affordable price, plus superior maneuverability on the water. 

Those are the only things that matter if you’re just starting. Other features you need will come later since you don’t need anything overly fancy to kayak on calm waters.

Sun Dolphin’s Aruba 10 model is known for encompassing all the best beginner features. While very basic in what’s available, it’s extremely lightweight, making it easy to control while you paddle.

Even better is it has a padded seat, making your first kayak journey a comfortable one. Plus, it holds up to 275 lbs if you need something with that capability.


Buying an inflatable kayak is a good way to kick off your first kayak adventure. Intex offers one of the best beginner inflatables, particularly their Challenger K1. 

Keep in mind this is a sit-in model, something you should get used to since more sophisticated kayaks you’ll buy later are typically built this way. Nevertheless, Intex makes their inflatables extremely durable thanks to using polyethylene as their main material on the hull.

When fully inflated, it weighs only 27 lbs. besides, making it extremely lightweight. You can basically pack this in a duffel bag, making it easy to transport your kayak to a more remote area.

To save you extra shopping time, Intex’s Challenger comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, plus other needed accessories.

Wilderness Systems

You’ve perhaps heard of this kayak brand if you’ve read us before. They excel in the beginner kayaker market thanks to being one of the most durable if you’re into longer excursions.

With their kayaks being longer and light, you have plenty of control here, including being able to take on slightly rougher water if you run into any. They’re also one of the most comfortable to sit in besides based on superior seat adjustability.

Watch out for their Pungo 120 model that offers many of the features above. At only 49 lbs, it’s not too challenging to carry. In addition, its storage capability is second to none. Up to 325 lbs. of weight can go in this kayak.

You’re set with this one if you try kayaking on slightly rougher water as you progress through your beginner status.


Another popular brand for all levels of kayaking also makes one of the best beginner fishing kayaks. 

Perhaps your first kayaking try on the water is to do some fishing rather than boat recreationally. We get that, and trying a Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 is your best bet.

No doubt you’ll prefer this sit-on model to start since it makes it easy to get in and out along embankments. The seating capability in beginner Perception boats are notable based on some features you can’t find elsewhere. On the Pescador, part of that includes being able to place the seat in a reclining position if you need a rest.

Durable materials and plenty of storage round off this Perception model. Ultimately, we can’t think of a better way to start your kayak fishing adventure with confidence.


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