Best Touring Kayak For Multi-Day Adventures: Our Top 5 Picks

by Jason | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
Best Touring Kayak For Multi-Day Adventures: Our Top 5 Picks


Have you been planning a long trip down the river, but you haven’t got the kayak to handle the job? The thing is:

You can’t go long-distance kayaking with any old kayak. There just isn’t enough room to store all your gear, which is why you need to be looking at touring kayaks. 

The best touring kayak will offer you ample amounts of storage, so you can bring as much gear as you’d wish to bring with you.  

One of the best things about touring kayaks is they’re faster, more stable, and offer a lot more comfort when you’re paddling long distances. This makes your life easier and allows you to reach your favorite getaway location. 

That being said, there’s a lot of things you need to consider when buying the best touring kayak, which we’re going to cover further down the article. But first:

Let’s introduce you to some of the options you have available to you:

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 5 Best Touring Kayaks

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125

The Wildness Systems Tsunami 125 touring kayak was designed to excel in tight and twisting environments, which many touring kayaks struggle with. It was also designed for medium to large paddlers.

It was also designed to be comfortable, which should be music to people’s ears if they like to take long journeys. To do this, they included an adjustable Phase 3 AirPro Tour Set time with an improved back strap for extra comfort.

And to further the comfort, they also included an adjustable Slidelock XL footrest, which helps accommodate different size paddlers. To make things better, they also included padded thigh braces, which add to the comfort level and give you more control. 

The last thing I want to talk about is the storage options it comes with. It comes with two storage hatches, one large at the front and a smaller one at the rear. You also have two mesh gear pockets to keep things close by and a water bottle holder under the deck so you can stay hydrated.

Pros
  • Plenty of storage space, including a few dry spots, so you shouldn’t have any problems carrying all your gear with you.
  • I love how comfortable the kayak is; it feels like you can sit in there all day without too many problems.
  • The kayak is very adjustable, so you shouldn’t have any problems no matter how big you are.
Cons
  • There’s been a few complaints about the kayak turning up scratched and dirty. But, they’re not sure whether this is down to the seller or the delivery company. 

Perception Expressions 11.5

The Perception Expression kayak is a comfortable sit-inside kayak built for handling and secondary stability. Not only that, but it comes with the speed and storage capabilities that you would expect from any touring kayak.

At the rear of the kayak, you’ll find plenty of storage space with a sealed cover to ensure no water can slip inside. They also added flotation foam inside the holes, which gives you the extra buoyancy you need to stay in control.

One feature I really enjoyed using is the unique TruTrak skeg, which you can control from inside the cockpit, when the current or wind is getting a little unruly, the skeg help to keep you on track without using too much energy. 

Finally, they’ve used an easy to get in cockpit design that is also spray-skirt compatible, which helps you stay dry while kayak touring. You also have an extra-cushy seat with an adjustable backrest which provides excellent comfort.

Pros
  • The seat is exceptionally comfortable thanks to the ergonomic Zone DLX seat, which is adjustable and provides optimal support.
  • The thigh braces provide excellent support, make you feel more connected to the boat, and offer more stability.
  • Using the skeg from inside the kayak feels excellent and provides unmatched tracking abilities.
Cons
  • It arrived scratched, and some people were having issues with kayaking coming with dents.

Perception Carolina Sit

The Perception Carolina is a 12-foot sit-inside kayak that was built to be extremely comfortable while remaining versatile. Thanks to the increased stability, it’s now perfect for new paddlers, but the good thing is experienced paddlers can still enjoy the speed and agility.   

To add to the kayak’s stability, they added a bulkhead floatation foam which adds to the buoyancy on water. On top of that, the kayak comes with a sleek hull, which increases the speed and agility of the kayak.

One of the great things about this kayak is the storage options it provides. You have space at the bow and stern of the kayak that offers dry storage for your next kayak touring journey.  

The last thing I want to talk about is how much comfort the kayak provides. The ergonomic padding on the adjustable seat allows you to sit in the kayak for hours. It was also great to see the adjustability, which helps you get the perfect paddling position.

Pros
  • The kayak is lightweight and maneuvers very well, making it perfect for beginner kayakers.
  • It was great to see ample storage available in the kayak, so you don’t have to worry if you’re on a long journey.
  • There’s plenty of room inside the kayak, and the adjustability of the kayak means you can get a good fit.
Cons
  • Again, a few people are claiming their kayak turned up damaged, but this could be down to the delivery company.

BKC SK287 Angler Touring Kayak

If you’re looking for a sit-inside touring kayak that allows you to fish, then this is the kayak you should be looking for. At the rear of the kayak, you have two-rod holders built into the kayak, which is perfect for trolling the river. 

One of the great advanced elements of this day touring kayak is the foot pedal-operated retractable paddle. The good thing about it is that you can control the kayak without using your paddle. Again, this is an excellent feature for when you’re fishing. 

You also have two storage compartments to make use of when you’re on a trip. The compartment at the rear is the largest, while the front is slightly smaller, but you should have more than enough room. 

So, if you’re looking for a kayak that comes fully loaded with accessories, this might be the option for you. It comes with everything you need to get started and a lot more.

Pros
  • The kayak is highly streamlined, making it extremely easy to pick up some speed without too much effort.
  • It is very durable, which is excellent when considering how affordable the touring kayak is.
  • Although the kayak is exceptionally long, it’s still effortless to maneuver and shift your body weight when needed.
Cons
  • One of the downsides was it felt like the kayak was floating a little bit low; it would be great if they added more foam.

Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Touring Kayak

If you haven’t got the room at home to store a hard-shell touring kayak, you’re going to have to look for another option. And that’s why you should be looking at the Driftsun Almanor inflatable sit-on-top touring kayak. 

They designed the kayak with durability in mind, using a rugged 600D polyester construction and an I-beam design with 24-gauge air bladers in the hull. Thanks to this protection, you don’t have to worry about getting a puncture.

Another great thing about this touring ‘yak is you can fit two people inside. And to make things better, the seats are incredibly comfortable. They used EVA padded seats, which provide a high level of support and cushioning. 

The final thing I want to mention is this kayak comes with everything you need to get started. This includes the pump, a quick-release fin, adjustable foot braces, paddles, and much more.

Pros
  • The kayak is very quick to inflate and pack away, so you don’t have to spend ages on the side of the river.
  • You get everything you need in the pack to get yourself paddling, so you don’t have to make extra purchases.
  • The tracking was excellent, considering it’s an inflatable kayak; it didn’t feel like you went off the path too much.
Cons
  • The inside of the inflatable touring kayak feels a little bit tight and doesn’t have much storage space.

Our Top Choice

Honestly, this is quite a hard decision to pick the best touring kayaks from the list above. They all have certain qualities that might apply to someone. 

And I hope my touring kayak reviews have helped you find the right one for you.

But for me, it has to be the Perception Carolina touring kayak. One of the most significant benefits is how much storage space you have inside the kayak. 

You have two storage compartments in the kayak, one at the front and one at the rear. And between them, you have more than enough storage space for a weekend away or longer.

The thing I really love about this touring kayak is how adjustable the seat is. It made it super easy to find the most comfortable position for paddling. On top of that, the adjustable seat is extremely comfortable, which makes it a pleasure for long-distance journeys.

What To Consider Before Buying The Best Touring Kayak

Okay, you’ve had a look at some of the best touring kayaks on the market, but how do you choose the best one for you? 

Well, luckily for you, this section will explain everything you need to know. You see… 

To find the right touring ‘yak for you, there are a few things you need to consider beforehand, so don’t go anywhere! 

Type Of Adventure

One of the first things you should think about when choosing your touring ‘yak is what type of adventures you are planning to take on. You see: 

Many of the top kayaks are pretty versatile, but there are still some subtle differences that make their design slightly better suited for certain activities.  

Ask yourself this question: 

Are you going for day trips, or are you going for a multi-day kayaking trip? 

If you plan on going for day trips to your local lake or river, you might want to choose a smaller touring kayak. They’re lighter and easier to maneuver, which should do you great for day trips.

On the other side of things, if you’re going on a longer multi-day trip, you should look for a longer touring kayak. Thanks to the abundance of storage, it provides more room for you and all your equipment.

Skill Level

Another thing you need to think about when looking at the best touring kayak is your skill level and experience. Due to the shape of the kayak, they are not very user-friendly because they have less stability. 

In other words… 

If you can’t use the proper paddling techniques and have good personal stability, you’re going to find it very difficult to use an advanced touring kayak.

If you’re not very experienced, try finding a shorter kayak with a broader V-shaped hull to make it easier for you.

Material 

One of the most important things to think about is what material your kayak is made from. The material the touring ‘yak is made with will directly affect the performance, which is why it’s worth thinking about.

In general, you find three materials being used:

  1. Polyethylene 
  2. Composites 
  3. ABS 

So, let me explain a little bit more about each material, so you know what to expect:

Polyethylene – It’s one of the most commonly used materials for kayaks. Polyethylene is a very flexible material, which offers abrasion resistance at a low cost. The problem with it is it’s very susceptible to UV damage, which means you have to store it in a place with minimal sunlight (Learn more about storing your kayak outside).

Composites – These are things like carbon fiber or fiberglass and are considered to be premium materials. Composites outperform all other materials but are a lot more expensive, usually costing people out of the equation.

ABS – It’s also known as a thermoplastic polymer and can be considered an upgrade to polyethylene because it offers more UV protection. Thanks to the extra UV protection, it provides a longer life for your kayak. It’s also more lightweight but slightly more expensive.

Weight Capacity

If you’re thinking of buying a touring kayak, chances are you’re going to be taking a lot of things with you. This is why it’s essential to think about how much weight it can hold before sinking to the bottom of the river.

When you’re looking at weight capacity, I always try to get something that can hold more than I’d ever need to. Doing this will help prevent the kayak from sinking when it’s full of equipment. 

Remember, your boat still needs enough room inside to operate correctly without being overloaded. Ideally, there should be over 20 lbs. free of load.

Length 

Choosing the right length that works for you isn’t easy, but the main thing is you need to be comfortable with it. So, you have to keep a few things in mind:

If you buy a kayak under 14’, you’ll find it a lot easier to maneuver and carry out of the water. But, if your kayak is over 14’, you’ll find it very efficient when you paddle far away from shore, but a lot harder to carry it out of the water. 

And it’s not just the length you should think about:

You also need to think about the width of your beam. It needs to be thick enough to withstand waves or rapids and thin enough to be fast through the water. 

Storage Space

If you’re planning to take a long trip in your touring kayak, you’re going to need enough space for all of your equipment. And this is why you need to think about the storage space your kayak provides. 

Ideally, you should have dry storage solutions in the back and front of your kayak so you can store all your valuables without the fear of them getting wet.

Another great thing to look for is deck bungees at the front of the boat, so you can bring some extra gear with you while being easy to get to.

Cockpit

This is one of the things that tend to be overlooked when people are looking at touring kayaks, which is unfortunate. Having a cockpit that’s easily accessible and very convenient makes your life a lot easier.

You should be looking for a kayak that has a big enough cockpit to get inside easily without feeling too restricted. 

Skeg And Rudder

If you’re not great at tracking or controlling the direction of your kayak, you might want to think about finding a kayak with a skeg or a rudder

A skeg is a small fin at the rear of your kayak and cuts through the water while also maintaining your course.

On the other hand, a rudder is a system that allows you to maneuver the kayak without having to use your paddle. Some kayaks have foot paddles, which makes it extremely easy to control the direction of your kayak.

Chines

Not many people know too much about chines, but it’s helpful to understand what they do and why you might need them.

Chines are lateral lines that run from the bow and stern and separate the hull from the side but vary in design. They also determine a massive part in the design, stability, tracking, and maneuverability.

You’ll also find that chines are separated into two categories:

  1. Hard
  2. Soft 

Hard chines have a crease that breaks at the bottom and the side of the hull. They help to retain better speed, tracking, and stability. 

On the other hand, soft chines don’t have any creases and are more progressive or rounded, making the boat a little slower.

Budget

The last thing I want to discuss in this section is the budget. It’s essential to understand your budget and stick to it. 

The cost of the kayak can vary greatly depending on the material, how much storage, and the features that come with it. So, you have to think about what features will make your kayaking experience easier. 

When it comes to price, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $2,000+, so make sure you stick to your budget.

What Are Touring Kayaks Good For?

If you’re new to the kayak world, and you’ve heard about touring kayaks, you might be wondering, what are they good for?

And this is what I want to explain in this section: 

Touring kayaks are ideal for people that want to take long trips in your kayak. Due to the long design, they tend to be more streamlined, making it easier to paddle and taking a lot less effort to get going. 

On top of that, they also tend to be a lot faster than your average kayak, which means you go a lot further in less time. 

Another great thing about touring kayaks is their large size; you have a lot of space to store equipment for long weekends away. Ideally, you’re looking for a touring kayak that comes with two dry storage spaces. But this does depend on how far you’re traveling. 

Another great thing to look for is bungee cords on the bow and stern of the kayak, so you can attach some extra gear if you need it. 

The last thing that’s great about touring kayaks is the extra features that come with them. Some touring kayaks come with skegs and rudders, making them significantly easier to keep in a straight line with little effort from the paddler.

What Is The Difference Between A Sea Kayak And A Touring Kayak?

Okay, you’ve been looking at sea kayaks and touring kayaks, but you can’t really tell the difference. And I’m not surprised, at one point in time, touring kayaks and sea kayaks were very interchangeable. 

But now, they have a few subtle differences that the untrained eye might not notice. So, let’s take a look: 

The main difference is usually found in the hull. You see, sea kayaks have to contend with ocean swells and waves, which touring kayaks rarely have to deal with.

On a sea kayak, you’ll notice it has a more rocker design, which helps maneuver over the ocean easily. If you’re not sure what I mean by rocker, let me explain: 

A kayaker with a rocker hull resembles a banana when you look at it from the side. 

Another thing you’ll notice is that sea kayaks tend to be a little bit thinner than touring kayaks which allows them to cut through waves and water a lot easier. 

The last thing is that touring kayaks tend to be easier for beginners than sea yaks because they have a wider hull and thus feel more stable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can You Take A Touring Kayak?

You’ve just brought your touring kayak, but now you’re wondering where you can take it. And to be honest, you can use a touring ‘yak on any body of water. 

Most people like to take them across large lakes or rivers. The trick is to make sure you’re not going through rapids. They aren’t the most stable kayaks, so it can be tricky to go through the white water. 

On top of that, the extended design makes sit hard to maneuver past rocks quickly and can easily get stuck.

And to make things better, they also make pretty good sea kayaks as long as the waves aren’t too rough.

Skeg Or Rudder (Or Neither)?

When choosing between a skeg or rudder or neither, it comes down to personal preference.

Using a skeg will help you stay on track, which is great if you’re not great at paddling and waiting in a straight line.

A rudder is also an excellent addition, especially if you plan to fish while kayaking. It will allow you to change direction without using your hand. 

If you’re an experienced kayaker, you might want to go with neither as you have the skills to handle the job.

Is A 10ft Kayak Big Enough?

For some people, a 10ft touring kayak will be more than enough and easier to control for a beginner. But, if you’re looking to travel with a lot of gear, you might need to look for a longer kayak, so you have enough room. 

What Are The Best Touring Kayaks?

Any of the kayaks I’ve mentioned above will do a great job as touring kayaks go, but if you’re looking for a few more options have a look at:

– Wilderness Systems
– Riot Kayaks Edge

Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.