Best Kayak For Camping (Our guide for 2021)

One of the best things about camping is that you have easy access to so many great outdoor activities. Whether you are into climbing, hiking, watersports or kayaking, there is something for everyone. When it comes to the latter, you could always hire a kayak but having your own means that you are free to explore any body of water without restriction. 

But it is important to factor in a few things before you take to the water and start enjoying yourself. We have spent some time looking for the best kayak for camping and we’re pretty confident that we’ve discovered some excellent options, and we’d love to share them with you. So grab a cup of tea, sit back and take your pick!

The Best Kayaks For Camping

Camping on it’s own is a wonderful adventure, but with the addition of a kayak, you are able to traverse waterways and potentially find hidden camping spots that are well off the beaten track. Otherwise, you might simply like to pitch your tent and spend your days out on the water. Whatever takes your fancy, we are confident that these kayaks for camping will more than meet your needs. 

OUR TOP PICK

Intex Explorer K2 Two-Person Kayak with Oars + Pump

This is an inflatable kayak made from thick vinyl which has excellent durability and will stand up to many challenges. At just 48cm at its widest point and weighing just a little over 16kg, this is the perfect option for those who may need to carry the kayak over dry land. 

Furthermore, the streamlined design means that controlling the vessel is incredibly easy, even for beginners. The floor boasts an L-beam design which gives the kayak incredible stability. With room for two people, this is the ideal kayak for couples adventures or a weekend away with a friend. 

It boasts a bright yellow design for better visibility, making this incredibly safe to use. The kayak is quick and easy to inflate and deflate so when it comes to loading everything up in the car to go home, you won’t be left messing around. 

  • Great for mild waters.
  • Two-person kayak
  • Excellent stability and durability
  • Streamlined design for easier control
  • Adjustable seats for added comfort
  • Easy inflate/deflate
  • Repair kit included
  • It may not be suitable for rougher waters

BEST VALUE

Bestway BW65115 Hydro-Force, Cove Champion Kayak with Oar, 1 Person Capacity, Colour

If you’re a solo camper with a sense of adventure then this solid and reliable kayak may be right for you. It comes in a bright design for increased visibility and safety and features a bucket-style adjustable seat for both safety and comfort. 

The oar is made from high-grade aluminium making it extremely durable at the same time as being beautifully lightweight. This gives you greater control and a more enjoyable experience that won’t leave you exhausted. 

The kayak is an inflatable design that is easy to inflate and deflate and is made from a superbly high-quality material that has been tested for its durability. What’s more, it has undergone rigorous water resistance testing so you know there won’t be any leakages. 

  • One person kayak
  • Comfortable and adjustable seat
  • Lightweight paddle included
  • Durable material
  • Lightweight
  • Not ideal for extreme adventures

EDITORS CHOICE

Conwy Kayak Menai Single Person One Man Sit on Top Kayak

If you are a serious adventurer who needs something robust and up for any challenge then this solid, sturdy kayak may be right up your street; or river. 

The Conwy kayak boasts a durable body with an ergonomic design that meets every aspect of your needs perfectly. It has watertight storage compartments that are extra deep giving you the opportunity to carry everything you will need. 

The kayak also has a carry handle for portaging and is relatively lightweight when you consider the stability and build-quality of this vessel. This is a kayak designed for longer journeys and is suited to a variety of water types including rivers, estuaries and lakes. 

If you are at all concerned about the robustness of this kayak then you’ll be pleased to know that the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the hull. 

  • Durable design
  • Excellent level of stability
  • Suitable for various types of water
  • Easy to carry
  • Good storage options
  • Only has one seat


Riber Standard Sit On Top Kayak - Ideal for Beginners - Starter Pack - Multiple Colours (Green)

We think that this is a great camping kayak for people who are new to this activity. It has everything you need in a sturdy and stable kayak without a ridiculous price tag. One of the main features that makes it so good for newbies is the full-length keels which give you excellent manoeuvrability. 

The kayak features a handy storage compartment that is watertight and excellent for keeping valuable items. It has a 100kg weight capacity and one seat which is perfect for solo campers or those that are part of a larger group of kayakers. 

The kayak comes with a lightweight paddle as well as a backrest for added comfort. It is lightweight and easy to carry; perfect for longer adventures. 

  • Comes with everything you need to get started
  • Watertight storage compartment
  • Brilliant control and ease of movement
  • Very stable 
  • Bright green for visibility on the water
  • The user has to sit on top which could be less comfortable. 
  • Available in Red, Blue & Green


Intex Challenger K1 Kayak 1 Man Inflatable Canoe with Aluminum Oars and Hand Pump

This kayak isn't called the challenger for nothing. This is a sturdy, well-made piece of equipment designed for a single user with a wealth of interesting features. The inflatable kayak comes with a hand pump making it easy to inflate and three air compartments to ensure even distribution of air. 

It also comes with a lightweight aluminium paddle that is easy to use and gives you a great deal of control over what is an already easy to manoeuvre kayak. The paddle has a great grip and a reinforced, welded support. 

This is a very lightweight piece of equipment making it ideal for portaging yet the high-quality materials mean that it has an excellent degree of durability. The low-profile deck and L-beam floor mean that this kayak is incredibly stable. 

  • Luxury design for maximum comfort
  • Great stability
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Strong yet light oar
  • Comes with a hand pump
  • The inflatable design may not be suitable for more demanding waters. 

Things To Think About When Buying A Kayak For Camping

It’s all well and good throwing your money at the first kayak you see but the truth is that not all of them are suitable for campers. Before you make a commitment to any particular model, it is imperative that you take the time to look over the features to ensure that it will meet your needs and be safe. 

Maximum Load

If you have a serious amount of heavy camping equipment, there is very little point in buying a kayak that cannot handle this. It simply will not be able to manage the load and will serve as a serious safety hazard. 

When a kayak is overloaded, it will be much more difficult to steer but more importantly, there is a significant risk of it capsizing. Not only will this mean damaging or losing your camping equipment, but it could be dangerous for you, especially in rough waters. 

We would always advise going for a kayak for camping that has a higher weight capacity than what you need. Pushing the kayak to its limits won’t do you any favours but having that bit of wiggle room where the load is concerned can be the difference between a successful trip and one that ends in disaster!

Comfort

While you may spend more time on land on a traditional camping adventure, kayak camping will see you spending many hours on the water. This could go on for several days so it is important that you find a kayak that offers ultimate comfort. 

The ability to adjust the seats is great and you may want to consider how much legroom you have. You might also want to look at whether the seats are cushioned, especially if you plan on spending long hours in the kayak. The seats should also not cause friction on your skin.

Storage

If you are going to be transporting your camping gear from A to B using your kayak then it is vital that you have enough storage space to do this. Even for those who simply want a way to get out onto the water for fun, you may want to take snacks and other essentials.

Depending on the length of your trip and what you are taking, you may need a kayak with more generous storage. But it isn’t just how much storage you have that is important but also the quality of the storage. For example, being on the water, you will want to make sure that there are watertight storage sections for valuable items. 

Furthermore, you may wish to consider your camping equipment. If you are planning a kayak camping holiday then using lightweight tents, bedding and other gear is going to be preferable and won’t put such a strain on your kayak. 

Performance

Before committing to any particular kayak, you should look at what it’s intended use is. For example, a kayak that is designed for use on placid waters will not serve you well on a fast, white-water river and vice versa. 

If you know where you will be camping, you will be able to do some research on the type of waters you can expect to explore. Using a kayak that isn’t fit for purpose will never see the best performance. 

Durability

Potentially one of the most important features of a good kayak for camping is its durability. The last thing you want when out on the water is to notice damage or holes in the body of the kayak. 

The great outdoors is often a harsh environment and a poorly-made, flimsy kayak is likely not to last for more than a single adventure, if it gets that far. For those of you who want something that will stand the test of time, investing in a well-built, sturdy kayak is always going to be the best option. 

There are inflatable kayaks out there and while these may be good for day adventures or family fun, they would not be as suitable for multi-day trips where there is a high risk of significant damage. This is especially true if you will be on rough waters or areas where there are a lot of rocks.

Kayak Speak

When it comes to buying a kayak for camping, you’ll often notice a lot of jargon. If this is your first experience of kayak camping, it can feel overwhelming. Our list of quick jargon busters will help you to better understand what you are looking at. 

  • Initial stability refers to how stable the kayak feels when you first get into it. You may then hear about secondary stability which refers to how well the kayak holds up when it is on edge. 
  • Sinkage level refers to the amount of water that is displaced per kilo inside the kayak. This is why it is important to evenly loud the vessel as uneven sinkage could spell disaster. 
  • Tracking refers to the kayak’s ability to remain straight when moving. 
  • When you need to carry your kayak over dry land, this is referred to as portaging. For this reason, it is advisable to look for a kayak that is relatively lightweight and easy to carry.

Conclusion

If you want to take your camping adventure up a notch then adding in a kayak to explore areas that you simply couldn’t reach on foot is a great way to do this. However, with so many kayaks for camping on the market, it can be tricky to find the right one. 

We have put together a list of the best kayaks for camping as well as a wealth of useful information to help you choose the right vessel for you. Happy sailing!

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