Kayak Reviews


Here at the Kayaking Journal, we've compiled a series of reviews on various kayaks and kayaking accessories. These reviews are subjective and admittedly unscientific. They are based on our own experience with these products, as well as comments we've received from other paddlers.

We've tried to provide a fair assessment of these products--pointing out both their good and bad points (as we've experienced them)--and we are not paid to promote any particular product over another.

Modern kayaks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and the boat you choose should match your needs and skill level (and of course, your pocketbook).

Test Drive Before You Buy

Most people wouldn't think of buying a car without taking that car for a drive around the block first, and you should think the same way before shelling out your hard earned money on a kayak or canoe.

Once you've decided on the type of boat you're interested in (see our kayak buying guide for more on this) , then see if there's a local paddling shop or kayak outfitter in your area where you can look at some kayaks firsthand. Make sure the boat has everything you're looking for as far as features, quality, price, etc.

Then, see if you can take the boat out on the water. Some kayak shops have a body of water nearby where you can "test drive" the boat in question. Another option is to see if you can rent a similar model for a day and take it out on the water and really run it through its paces. When test driving a kayak or canoe, try to tested in a variety of different situations, and see how it performs in waves, in a crosswind, etc. Also cut capsize it a few times to see how it handles in a roll.

Also be aware that kayak reviews, just like reviews of any other product, are highly subjective. A boat that 9 people absolute love, can be a real turkey to the 10th reviewer. Paddlers come in all shapes, sizes (and dispositions), and so consider carefully before taking a single negative (or positive) review to heart.

Some things to consider when reading reviews of canoes or kayaks are the quality of workmanship, how the hull of the boat responds to hard use over time, how comfortable the boat's seat and cockpit are, how the boat tracks in a crosswind, how well the skeg or rudder operates, how the boat performs in a roll, how well the hatches seal, how easy the boat is to transport, and more. And most importantly, do paddlers of this particular kayak brand tend to be loyal owners, or are they looking to switch to a different brand the next time they purchase a boat?

Our advice is to shop around when considering a kayak purchase, and take one out on the water if you can. Look for "demo days" in your area, or see if there's a rental shop where you can take the yak you're interested in out for a few hours and run it through its paces. Also talk to other paddlers in your area and find out what their experiences have been with this particular boat.

Then, when you've made your decision to buy, don't be afraid to negotiate a better price if the circumstances warrant it.  Buying a kayak is sort of like buying a car (especially a high-end kevlar or composite boat) so there's almost always room to maneuver on the price. Another tip is to buy during the "off season" when you can, as dealers are often more willing to negotiate on price, especially if they're trying to move out last years models.

Kayak Reviews

Cobra Kayaks -- Product Review
Cobra kayaks - great fishing yaks and fun on the water too.

Current Designs Kayaks -- Product Review
Current Designs has been building quality sea kayaks for almost 30 years.

Dagger Kayaks -- Product Review
Dagger kayaks feature innovative designs and cutting edge technology.

Eddyline Kayaks -- Product Review
Eddyline Kayaks have been known for manufacturing quality sea and touring kayaks for over 40 years.

Heritage Kayaks -- Product Review
Heritage kayaks are great entry-level recreational and fishing yaks.

Hobie Kayaks -- Product Review
If you're into fishing and general recreational use, and are looking for a unique propulsion system, check out Hobie kayaks...

Inflatable Kayaks -- Product Review
Find out why an inflatable kayak or canoe could be your best option, especially considering the price and convenience...

Jackson Kayaks -- Product Review
Jackson Kayak makes lightweight, quality kayaks that are a load of fun on the water.

Liquid Logics Kayaks -- Product Review
Liquid Logics builds whitewater kayaks that are rugged, affordable, and a blast to paddle.

Malibu Kayaks -- Product Review
Malibu Kayaks are quality rotomolded sit-on-top kayaks for fishing and recreational use.

Necky Kayaks -- Product Review
In the market for a sturdy, great performing boat at a reasonable price? Then take a look at Necky Kayaks.

Ocean Kayaks -- Product Review
If you're in the market for a sit-on-top kayak, you should consider the line of Ocean Kayak boats.

Old Town Kayaks -- Product Review
Old Town Canoe is a venerable company with a loyal following..

Pelican Kayaks -- Product Review
Pelican kayaks - great entry-level boats that won't break the bank.

Perception Kayaks -- Product Review
Perception Kayak has been an industry leader for over 25 years -- and for good reason

Pyranha Kayaks -- Product Review
Pyranha Kayaks manufacturers a full line of high-performance, affordable whitewater kayaks

Sea Eagle Kayaks -- Product Review
If you're looking for a rugged and affordable inflatable kayak or boat, Sea Eagle offers just the product.

Wilderness Systems Kayaks -- Product Review
Wilderness Systems kayaks are worth a second look


Shop For Paddling Gear On


    Submit A Review

    Do you have a comment (good or bad) related to one of the products listed on this page? If you do, you can use the contact us page to submit your information, and we'll add it to our site ASAP. Thanks and happy paddling!


    Want to see what the mad scientists are cookin'?