Best Camping Kayak: A Beginner’s Guide in Making the Right Decision

When in the campsite, especially when there is a body of water around the area, such as a river or lake, kayaking is one of the best activities to enjoy. To have the best experience, it is important to make sure that you have a high-quality kayak that is also lightweight, making it easy to bring with you in the campsite.

What is the best camping kayak? If you want to know the answer to this question, read the rest of this post. We will share valuable insights that will make it easier to narrow down the choices. We will also briefly review five of the top options that are currently available in the market.

Types of Kayak

Camping kayak is not a category of kayaks. It can refer to any type of kayak that is portable enough, making it easy to be brought in the campsite. With this, the following are some of the most common types that you might want to consider:

  • Recreational Kayak: This is the best choice if you will be kayaking in calm water, such as in lakes. They are budget-friendly, making it an excellent choice for beginners. They can be stable, but when used in rough waters, they do not offer safety.
  • Touring Kayaks: If you expect to kayak in rivers or in bodies of water that are rough, this is your best bet. They also offer generous storage space, although they can be quite expensive.
  • Modular Kayak: This can be an excellent choice for camping because it can be quickly snapped into two to three segments, making it space-efficient.
  • Inflatable Kayak: Most of the options that we will recommend in this post belong to this category. They can be inflated or deflated, which makes them the best if you are looking for portability.
  • Sit-on-Top Kayaks: One of the defining characteristics of this kayak is the sealed hull, which also makes it easy to get on and off.

Choosing the Best Camping Kayak

Best Camping Kayak

As you try to evaluate the possibilities, the following are some of the most important things that should be given emphasis.

  • Portability: This should be on the top of the factors that you have to consider. A camping kayak should be lightweight and compact, which means that carrying it with you all the way to the campsite will not be too much of a burden. This is precisely the reason why we are recommending inflatable kayaks.
  • Comfort: Make sure that you will be comfortable when seated in the kayak, which will provide you with a better experience. The design of the seat is one of the most important. It will be good if it is cushioned and if there is a backrest. Also, be sure that there is more than enough room for your legs to stretch or move.
  • Capacity: You can choose from either a one or two-person kayak. There are some bigger kayaks, but not as common as the two. For some people, even if they are kayaking on their own, it is common to choose a 2-person kayak so that they will have enough room for the stuff that they have to bring with them.
  • Visibility: This is one thing that is often overlooked by many. Choose a color that will be highly-visible, whether in daylight or in low-light conditions. This will make it easy to be seen and rescued in case of an emergency.
  • Materials: Regardless of the type of kayak that is chosen, it is important to take a look at the materials that are used. It should be thick enough to withstand punctures, specifically for inflatable kayaks. For other types, meanwhile, it should not be easily prone to denting or warping, among other problems that will compromise safety and functionality.
  • Stability: This is an important concern for your safety and for ease of paddling as well. If it is unstable, there is a higher risk of flipping while you are kayaking.
  • Accessories: If you want the best value for money, choose a kayak that is inclusive of the gears and accessories that you will need, such as the paddles. For inflatable kayaks, it will be good if there is already an air pump, as well as a carrying bag.

Top Picks for the Best Camping Kayak

In this section, we will look at the notable features of five of the best options that are currently available in the market, as well as a few of their pros and cons.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

This is an inflatable kayak, which makes it a great choice for camping since it can offer unmatched portability. Among others, it is an exceptional choice because of the comfort that it can deliver. It can seat two people comfortably. The seats are adjustable and comes with a backrest, which makes it perfect even if you have to kayak for an extended period.

It also comes with removable skeg, which will allow it to deliver directional stability. You might also love the eye-catching and bright yellow exterior, which will make you more visible, and hence, it is great in terms of your safety.


  • Delivers high level of comfort
  • Complete with the accessories that you will need
  • Durable construction


  • Paddles are inferior
  • Bottom can buckle

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak

Although this kayak can be quite expensive, it will surely be worth your money. It is good enough for two people, although the leg room can be quite restrictive. It offers value for money since it is already inclusive of everything that you will need, such as paddles and a carrying bag.

The pump that is included is also a plus, which you can easily operate with the use of your foot. It also has an extra-thick hull, which will allow it to withstand the test of time. If you want to have peace of mind, it also helps to know that the manufacturer is offering warranty that lasts for three years.


  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Durable construction
  • Comes with a carrying bag


  • Expensive price
  • Leg room may not be enough

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-person Kayak

Ease of use – this is one of the reasons why we are including this product in our list of top picks. In about five minutes, the kayak will be ready to use without requiring too much on your end. There are double lock valves, which will make the deflation and inflation quick

You will also love the Airtight System, an innovative technology that guarantees no leaking. To add, the kayak is designed with multiple air chambers so that it will remain inflated and in its best shape all throughout the period of its use.


  • Quick to setup
  • Complete with different accessories
  • Comfortable


  • Material is not that durable
  • Not for tall people

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-foot Sit-on Top Kayak

This may not be an inflatable kayak, but the mere fact that it is lightweight makes it another deserving entry in our list of the best camping kayak. It is also a portable accessory carrier, which will make it double as an extra storage space.

You can also conveniently carry it on your back, which simply goes to show that portability is never a problem. The open cockpit design is also a plus for this kayak, which will allow you to enter and exit easily. Plus, you can extend your legs comfortably as you kayak.


  • Lightweight
  • Roomy interior
  • Made from durable materials


  • Not inflatable
  • No cushion on bottom of the seat

Natuworld Outdoor Camouflage Anti-mosquito Bees Fly Hat

A lot may instantly ditch the idea of buying this kayak because it comes with an expensive price. Nonetheless, if you carefully evaluate its features, you will realize that the price is worth it. Among others, one thing that we loved the most about this model is the intelligent design that improves tracking. This makes kayaking a lot easier and safer.

There are also three layers of materials that are used, which will guarantee that it can resist punctures. It also comes with adjustable seat with thick padding and high back to offer the best when it comes to support.


  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Has comfortable seat
  • Excellent back support


  • Expensive price
  • Too narrow for some users

Final Thoughts

You will have lots of choices from different brands, each claiming to be the best camping kayak. Nonetheless, you should not fall to their trap. Do no easily believe in their aggressive marketing tactics. Instead, you should be responsible enough to go through the possibilities and to decide beyond cost.

From the products that we have briefly reviewed in this post, if there is one that I can personally recommend, it would be Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. It is durable and comfortable, which will make kayaking a more enjoyable experience. Best of all, it excels in terms of portability, which is perhaps the most important for a kayak that you have to take with you when you go camping.


My name is William, a family man with two kids and the passion for camping. I started Pandaneo with sharing memorable camping experiences back as a newbie camper, introducing my family to the love for the great outdoors. As time passed, we started traveling across states, trying to hit as many campsites we can!