It can be difficult to pick the right kayak that makes for a pleasant and relaxing experience on the water. With so many choices available, it’s easy to overpay for a kayak jam-packed with features that might not add to our trip on the water. In this guide, we researched and review the most comfortable kayaks found on the market. We also look at considerations for what makes a kayak comfy.
Reviews of the Most Comfortably Kayaks
The Liquid Logic Manta Ray is a lesser-known kayak, designed for comfort and utility. It’s got a heftier price tag, but way more features than typical kayaks more experienced kayakers can appreciate.
One of the reasons the Manta Ray is a comfortable kayak has to do with how the seating is arranged, completely different compared to typical sit-in kayaks with cushions or sit-on-top kayaks that make use of framed chairs. The Manta Ray seat in the cockpit makes you feel like you are one with the boat, which makes paddling much easier and comfortable. The only drawback is that if water gets in the kayak, you will be sitting in water.
There are also adjustable foot pedals for you to adjust your feet placement to your liking, a couple of storage hatchets in the front, center, and backside, bungeed compartments, scupper plugs, tracks, and a decent size bungeed tank well.
The Intex Challenger kayak is arguably one of the most comfortable kayaks due to its inflatable nature, using a durable heavy-duty vinyl plastic with air to provide a soft cushioned seating and kayaking experience. The kayak also handles well and is very stable for many types of activities. Since it’s an inflatable, it is also easy to store and super light for transport.
The Intex Challenger is a simply designed inflatable sit-in kayak that is frequently used by kayakers for a wide range of purposes. It makes for a great all purpose kayak, from fishing to recreational and touring. It comes with a simple, cargo net storage compartment in the front (bow) of the boat, an aluminum paddle, a manual hand pump, and a repair kit. There is also a tandem two-seater Challenger model K2 available.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK219 is a top of the line fishing kayak, built to seat up to three people for either fishing trips, travel, or recreational family fun. This is one of the few kayaks on the market that is designed to make use of nearly 90% of the boat surface. It is very stable and can be great for both calm and rough water, and from closer inspection kayakers can find the kayak is made for quality and long-term use. The kayak also tracks better as a lengthier model despite its wide deck that is also great for holding equipment.
The kayak comes with two aluminum paddles and two padded seats (with rear storage pouches) that use straps to be held in place. The UH-TK219 also has six rod holders, with four flush-mount rod holders, and two adjustable swivel rod holders in front of each seat. It has multiple storage areas with watertight hatches in front of each seat, a sizeable rear bungeed cargo area and bungeed paddle parks along the side. The UH-TK219 weighs 70 pounds, and have a maximum weight capacity of 440 pounds.
The Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost is one of the most popular kayaks for very good reasons: it is feature rich, tracks very well, and is very stable as a boat. It comes with the popular Hero framed chairs that can be adjusted to different notches for different heights. Unlike other kayaks, the use of a chair keeps your butt out of the water if any gets onto the deck. The Sea Ghost is also rich in storage compartments, from deep tank wells to dry hatches and paddle storage along the side. The kayak is however heavy and can be a two-person job for transporting, weighing in at 62 pounds for the 11-feet and 74 pounds for the 13-feet.
This kayak is one of the ultimate fishing angler boats available on the market, with transducer ports, mounting points, and a pre-installed toe rudder system for making maneuvers in water easy. Fishing trips can be a comfortable and enjoyable breeze with a large bungeed tank well in the back, rear hatch, and a front oval-shape hatch to store gears. The large center console is also a storage space in and of itself. If you are looking for a long-term reliable kayak that has the vote of confidence from many fishers, the Sea Ghost is a suitable choice for you. Besides the 110 model (11-feet), kayakers who want more space can also enjoy the Sea Ghost 130 model (13-feet).
The Sun Dolphin Journey is a light-weight, sit-on-top kayak designed for fishing, but can be used for recreational, touring, and other kayaking activities. It doesn’t track or balance perfectly, but it is a starter kayak that can get you on the water easily and is stable enough for enjoyable trips in the water.
The paddle and seat should probably be upgraded, as the paddle tends to bring water into the kayak while the seat only has padding on the backrest. Any extra waterproof cushion will help for longer trips. Otherwise, the way the kayak is designed offers a very proven comfortable seating arrangement, and its adjustable foot braces help make this kayak comfy.
It comes with an aluminium paddle, it has drain plugs, bungeed tank well, several self-bailing holes, adjustable foot braces with thigh pads, a swivel rod holder in the center console, a hatch in the middle (note: not 100% waterproof even though it has a sealer), padded backrest, two rod holders behind the seat, and a large dry storage space in the back that can be removed completely or towed through water. Aside from the 10-feet model, there is also the Sun Dolphin Journey 12-feet for those who want more space.
Shopping Guide: 4 Considerations For A Comfy Kayak
Padded Seating and Back Support
A large part of what makes a comfy kayak is the chair we sit in. It doesn’t feel good to sit on hard plastic or kayak for hours without any back support.
We want to look for a kayak that either has a built-in chair with sufficient waterproof padding for the butt and back, or is a removable chair so we can purchase and install our own higher quality seating.
Some kayaks use straps to provide back support while others use metal frames to do so. Sit-in kayaks would opt for using the kayak itself to provide back support. Generally speaking, we would opt for either metal frames or a sit-in kayak for adequate support, especially for heavier individuals.
If the kayak comes with a framed chair already, you might also be interested in upgrading it to a padded backrest that comes with zippered pockets for carrying other smaller gears and equipment such as this seat.
Enough Leg Space and Wiggle Room
Whether you are short or tall, owning a kayak with sufficient leg space can be the difference between an enjoyable experience on the water or a prolonged aching for leg space. On average, we find kayaks at 10-feet to offer enough leg space and to be the top-selling kayaks on the market.
For individuals who are 6-feet or greater, you might be interested in a kayak that is greater than 10-feet. We found tall individuals shop for 12-feet or greater, or choose to opt for tandem kayaks to ensure they have enough room to stretch their legs.
Tandem kayaks also offer more space to work with, and storage compartment opportunities to bring fancier or bigger equipment. They also generally support greater weight.
Ease of Entering and Exiting The Cockpit
A lesser consideration from most shoppers is getting into and leaving the cockpit of the kayak.
Most kayaks are either sit-on-top where the kayak is generally flat or wide open for easy accessibility. Alternatively, there are kayaks that are sit-in which may be the better choice. Sit-in kayaks are offer kayakers a climb-in experience for placing their legs inside the kayak. As an added bonus, the seat backrest tends to be against the kayak itself for greater back support.
Although most kayaks are built for easy climbing onto or into, there do exist kayaks with cockpits too small to climb into. Heavier set individuals should be keen to shop for kayaks that make entering and exiting easy for both comfort and safety.
Optionally, Feature Rich Design For An Enjoyable Kayaking Trip
Aside from sitting comfortably, having enough leg space, and ease of access to the cockpit, a large part of a comfortable kayak has to do with having access to features that make our trip on the water enjoyable. If, for example, we go fishing, we want to make our life easier with space to hold our tackle box, carry other fishing gear, and have a place to hold or mount our rods and paddle.
Some features you can look out for when it comes to a comfortable kayak are:
- Notches for adjusting seat position and height, to keep you out of any water or to provide you with some height
- Adjustable leg pedals, to get the right length for your legs
- Slide tracks to mount accessories (like RAM, Scotties, YakAttack, etc.), like a GoPro camera to record your adventure
- Storage compartments such as dry hatch, tank wells, or cargo nets