If you are a beginner kayaker or looking for a kayak to combine kayaking with camping, then keep on reading. This article will help you find the best kayak for camping solo or with loved ones. Our best kayak for camping reviews ranges from overnight camping to multi-day trips. We also share a buying guide for a camping kayak near the end of the article.
So, let’s jump right to it!
IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…
|Product||Brand||Unique quality||Weight||Max. weight capacity||Buy|
|SEA EAGLE 370 DELUXE||Best inflatable kayak for camping||32 lbs||650 lbs||Check Price|
|PERCEPTION OUTLAW 11.5||Best kayak for camping and fishing||77 lbs||425 lbs||Check Price|
|WILDERNESS SYSTEMS TSUNAMI 175||Best kayak for multi day trips||68 lbs||400 lbs||Check Price|
|LIFETIME TAMARACK ANGLER 100||Best kayak for river camping||51 lbs||275 lbs||Check Price|
|OCEAN KAYAK ZEST TWO EXPEDITION TANDEM||Best tandem kayak for camping||75 lbs||600 lbs||Check Price|
Table of Contents
Best Kayaks For Camping Review
Best inflatable kayak for camping
The Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe lets you bring along a friend when you set sail, or at least has room for a lot more gear! There is plenty of room for carrying your gear during your kayak camping adventure. Also, the high weight capacity ensures that you can pack a lot of equipment that you may need during your trip.
Next to being spacious and favorable weight capacity, there’s also an optional sportfishing package. This comes with a multi-purpose storage box and two-rod holders.
On durability, the kayak is constructed out of heavy-duty 440 denier nylon fabric. This makes it durable on the water and for sharp objects such as rocky bottoms and dog nails. For extra safety, it has three air chambers to guarantee flotation even if punctured.
As for the drawbacks, the back support of the seats is average and will not protect your back for a long period. A solution to this problem is purchasing the deluxe inflatable seats. They are designed for superior back support.
Since it is an inflatable kayak, you will be sitting a little higher than the traditional hard-shell kayaks. This also means that you will be susceptible to more wind impacting your tracking.
Best kayak for camping and fishing
The Perception Outlaw 11.5 is a reasonably large kayak designed to accommodate even the tallest kayaker. There’s quite a bit of room to move around within the kayak and has a tank well for holding your gear.
The kayak gives DIY enthusiasts the ability to customize the kayak to their needs like mounting trolling motors to the stern of the kayak. This gives you a lot of room for adding more features as your skill level increases. So, it’s a great option for beginner kayakers, as you don’t need to buy a new kayak for camping.
The kayak has no storage compartments beneath the deck. So. your camping gear has a strong likelihood of getting wet. Though, there are options to add more storage, such as saddlebags or mounting.
The robust design does make it a bit slow to move through the water. Yet, with the silent traction pads on the bottom, fish won’t hear you coming.
Finally, the two double-barreled rod holders allow for up to four rods at any time. The kayak was even designed with standing in mind and is stable enough to allow you to fish while standing up. So, next to using this kayak for camping, it’s also perfect for kayak fishing.
In case you are planning on using your kayak for fishing as well, then be sure to read our article on the best affordable fishing kayaks.
Best kayak for multi day trips
The Wilderness Systems Tsunami 175 is a sleek touring kayak for cutting through the water in style. The rudder enhances stability and speed in the water, allowing you to cover long distances and make the most of a multi-day camping trip.
The bottom of the kayak has a V-shape which is ideal for speed while maintaining stability. You’ll also paddle in comfort with the adjustable footrest and the padded mesh seat that also helps your back to breathe.
There’s room for gear in one of the three internal storage hatches, and it’s possible to use the bungee cords or bags on the deck for extra storage. With a 400-pound weight capacity, you can pack all the gear you’ll need as well for the journey.
With the kayak being so long and heavy, it can be difficult to bring on land and may be best left in the water. In case you get into a scruff moving the kayak on land or otherwise, the skid plate should keep your ride safe.
Best kayak for river camping
The Tamarack Angler 100 is a sit on top kayak that is ideal for camping as well as going fishing. This camping kayak has ample storage for gear, even though some of it may get tossed around a bit as you paddle. The flat bottom should help with stability and will prevent some of that movement.
The design is relatively lightweight, and the two T-handles make it easy to move around on land. This comes with the downside of having a lower maximum load capacity, so you’ll have to plan carefully about which gear to bring along.
The water-resistant seat has a nice cushioned backrest and a thin cushion seat, which will keep you comfortable for a couple of hours. In case you plan on using the kayak throughout the day or need a wider seat, you can easily replace the seat with another.
Best tandem kayak for camping
The Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition Tandem kayak’s larger size allows for multiple occupants at any time. It safely and securely fits two adults and a child or a small pet as well. That said, the seats struggle to handle larger individuals and can lead to a lot of comfort in a short amount of time.
The seats are adjustable for the most comfort and has footrests for any size kayaker. For the size, this camping kayak moves surprisingly quickly through the water and is portable on land thanks to handles on the sides, front, and back.
The interior of the kayak is quite spacious even with two adults inside, so there’s plenty of room to place gear. There are also two spacious bungee-corded areas to keep that gear secure.
With a maximum load capacity of 600 pounds, there shouldn’t be an issue taking on two people and whatever else you’re bringing.
How to choose a kayak for camping
Kayak camping is one of the best ways to adventure outdoors. It allows you to explore some of the most beautiful scenery that isn’t accessible on foot or by car. For instance, you can set on a kayak camping adventure to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (home to over 1,000 lakes).
Luckily, much of the same camping equipment you would use for backpacking also works for kayak camping. with the added benefit that you don’t need to carry the weight during your trip.
Yet, unlike backpacking, you will need to invest in a kayak that is adequate for camping as well. To help you make the right decision, here are five factors to consider when choosing a kayak for camping.
Imagine that you are out on the water paddling to your next destination when you suddenly notice that your kayak is slowly sinking. Even worse, you have exceeded the maximum load capacity making your kayak sink even faster. Still, it is still a long way till you reach the closest shoreline.
This is a tough situation to be in and as any sensible person would point out, it is best to avoid it at all costs. In most likelihood, leakage will occur at the bottom of the kayak. So, you should make it a habit of always inspecting the hull of the kayak before and after each kayaking trip. When inspecting, search for any cracks or severe scratches that could lead to a leak.
Using a kayak cart each time you drag the kayak into the water will also help reduce damaging the hull of the kayak. Some kayaks have a replaceable keel, which is the part of the kayak that is most susceptible to damage. If your camping kayak doesn’t have this feature then you will need to buy a new kayak once there’s a crack.
In summary, you should invest in a camping kayak made of materials that can absorb impact. Yet, it is also important that you treat it with care every time you use it.
If you prefer having your camping kayak next to you as you set up camp then you should consider investing in a kayak that is portable. This means purchasing a durable inflatable kayak, a folding kayak, or a plastic kayak that doesn’t weigh a lot.
If you choose to go for a plastic kayak then consider using a kayak cart for dragging your kayak. This will reduce the damage inflicted on the hull of the kayak. But also reduce the weight you have to carry and thus potentially avoid back injury. This is particularly true when the kayak is loaded with fishing and camping equipment.
source: paddlinmag.com | Photo: Paul Mason
If speed is a necessity for you then there are a few things you can do to achieve this, starting with the shape of the kayak. Since the bottom part of your kayak is the one in contact with the water, how it is shaped will determine how fast you move forward. A V-shaped hull has less water resistance as opposed to a rounded or flat hull. As such, a V-shaped hull increases the kayak’s ability to cut through water and results in better speed.
The second aspect of a kayak that influences speed is its length. Long kayaks have a lower pull that the water sends to the hull of the boat. So, investing in a long but thin vessel would be the most efficient way for increasing your speed when kayaking.
However, there will only be a significant change to speed if we’re talking about cutting off or adding 1-2 ft. to the length. An example of such a kayak would be a touring kayak also referred to as sea kayaks, though they’re certainly not restricted to the ocean.
As a final thought, it is important that you also invest in a paddle made of fiberglass or carbon fiber so that your arms don’t get tired too quickly.
For more information on how to choose the right kayak paddle, check out this article.
But before you read through, remember one thing: the speed of kayaking lies not only on the equipment but also on the skills of the paddler. That’s why you should watch the following video, illustrating how to paddle with proper technique.
As you might know by now, there’s a trade-off that you have to make between stability and speed when choosing a kayak. A stable kayak will often have a rounded hull which makes it more stable by having more points of contact with the water. Since you’re planning on going camping with a kayak, it is advisable to go for a kayak that has a rounded hull. This way you don’t need to worry about tipping the kayak when carrying your camping equipment.
Also, adding a rudder/skeg at the stern of the kayak will help keep the kayak on a straight track when moving forward while paddling with a crosswind. In case your kayak camping adventure consists of double-digit mile days, then it is best to search for a balance between stability and speed. You want to spend a small amount of energy kayaking while feeling stable and safe on the kayak.
Before packing your camping kayak with all your gear, it is important that you have a kayak with enough storage capacity. The ideal situation would be the ability to store on top as underneath the deck. This is to avoid your kayak looking like a yard sale and preventing the loss of all your equipment in case the kayak tips over. So, look for a kayak with a large rear tank and front hatch.
Also, before packing your camping equipment into the kayak, make sure that the total weight with you included doesn’t exceed the maximum load capacity. This is an important factor but is often overlooked.
The bulkier items like your tent should be stored underneath the deck, while on the deck should be items that you will use throughout the day such as food. In both cases, however, it is important to store your camping equipment in dry bags. The reason being that water can also penetrate the deck and damage your equipment stored underneath the deck. Here’s a short and practical video showing how to pack a kayak for camping.
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