Traditionally, kayaks are made with a slightly unisex or male-skewed design, but the popularity of kayaking among women has necessitated a different approach. Newer kayaks have more specialized features, including special considerations for women such as shorter lengths and lighter weights, making them easier for single women to carry and transport. With smaller builds, wider hips, and lower centers of gravity, women need kayaks suited for their proportions. That’s why our team at The Adventure Junkies pulled together a list of the best kayaks for women to make it easy for you to find just what you’re looking for!

Whether you want to tour quiet hometown lakes or explore remote inlets, you deserve a kayak you can both carry and maneuver yourself. And if style and color matter to you, then you can find the fashion factor here too. Consider what features are most important to and what you’ll be using the kayak to find the right boat for you.

For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Lake Kayaks | Sea Kayaks | Lightweight Kayaks

Touring Kayaks | Kayaks for Beginners 

Kayaks for Kids | Kayaks for Dogs

Sit-On-Top Kayaks | Canoes | Tandem Kayaks

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Kayaking Gift Guide

 

Quick Answer - The Best Kayaks for Women

  1. Pelican Premium Athena 100X
  2. Scubapro Ocean Kayak Venus 11′
  3. Perception Tribe 9.5
  4. Emotion Kayaks Spitfire 9
  5. Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding
  6. STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable
  7. Pelican Fazer
  8. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100
  9. Perception Sound 9.5
  10. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10′ Sit-In

 

Comparison Table - Best Kayaks for Women

PictureNameTypeLengthWeight CapacityWeightPriceRating
Pelican Premium Athena 100XSolid Sit-In9’7”220 lbs34 lbs$4.6
Scubapro Ocean Kayak Venus 11′Solid Sit-On Top10’8”225 lbs44 lbs$$4.6
Perception Tribe 9.5Solid Sit-On Top9’5”300 lbs46 lbs$$4.8
Emotion Kayaks Spitfire 9Solid Sit-On Top9’350 lbs45 lbs$4.4
Oru Kayak Beach LT FoldingFoldable Sit-Inside12’300 lbs26 lbs$$$4.5
STAR Raven II Tandem InflatableInflatable Sit-Inside12’2”N/A38 lbs$$4.2
Pelican FazerSolid Sit-Inside10’275 lbs38 lbs$4.1
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100Solid Sit-On Top10’325 lbs55 lbs$$4.6
Perception Sound 9.5Solid Sit-Inside9’6”300 lbs38 lbs$4.3
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10′ Sit-InSolid Sit-Inside10’250 lbs31 lbs$4.1
PictureNameTypeLengthWeight CapacityWeightPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Women's Kayak

Pelican Premium Athena 100X

Specs
  • Length: 9’7”
  • Type: Solid Sit-In
  • Weight: 34 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 220 lbs
Features
  • Front and Rear Bungee Storage Platforms (for storing items you want to bring along)
  • Easy-Reach Storage Behind the Seat (so you don’t have to get up to reach your stuff)
  • Adjustable Seat and Footrests and Padded Knee Pads (for comfort)
  • Ergonomic Carry Handles (for two-person carry)
  • Drain Plug (to empty accumulated water)

BEST FOR: ALL-DAY FLATWATER KAYAKING

This kayak takes its name from the Greek goddess of wisdom and strength, traits this vessel personifies. The Athena is short and nimble enough to navigate winding channels and fast enough to paddle over long distances of flatwater, so you can show off your physical prowess.

The ‘yak also has the storage capacity and creature comforts that make all-day adventures possible. The ergonomic seating and extra legroom, for example, make it easier on your legs and lower back to tolerate longer trips. While you’re at it, you can express your bold personality with the creative tie-dye coloring.

Scubapro Ocean Kayak Venus 11′

Specs
  • Length: 10’8”
  • Type: Solid Sit-On Top
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 225 lbs
Features
  • Stable and Lightweight (easy to use)
  • Padded Seat With Lumbar Support (for comfort over long rides)
  • Molded Bungee and Dry Storage Compartments (so you can bring along the essentials)
  • Side, Front, and Back Handles (for single or two-person carry)

BEST FOR: SLOW-MOVING WATERS AND SLIGHT SWELLS

If planetary alignment has anything to do with kayaking, then you want the woman’s Venus for your first foray into kayaking. The Venus was designed by women for women, so you know you’re getting the most comfortable ride. The wide seat well, multiple foot rest positions, and lowered center of gravity all accommodate a woman’s body like a glove while the rounded V-shaped hull ensures you’ll always keep up with the boys.

Perception Tribe 9.5

Specs
  • Length: 9’5”
  • Type: Solid Sit-On Top
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Features
  • Stable Yet Maneuverable (easy for beginners)
  • Generous Padded, Adjustable Seat (goes easy on your back)
  • Front and Back Bungee Storage Compartments (for storing essentials)
  • Multiple Footrest Positions (to help with paddling stability)

BEST FOR: INCREASING SKILL LEVELS ON FLATWATER

The shorter length and lighter weight design of this version of the Tribe makes the kayak more manageable and maneuverable for a woman. The stability of the kayak allows you to advance from a novice to an intermediate paddler with growing confidence. That same stability allows you to jump off and re-enter the boat easily when you want to stop off and swim at the local sandbar.

Emotion Kayaks Spitfire 9

Specs
  • Length: 9’
  • Type: Solid Sit-On Top
  • Weight: 45 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
Features
  • Padded, Fold-Down Seat (to make rides more comfortable)
  • Two Bungee Storage Tanks (to hold the essentials)
  • Additional Below-Deck Storage Compartment
  • Multiple Footrest Positions (for better leverage)
  • Padded Front and Back Handles (to carry to the water)

BEST FOR: RECREATIONAL KAYAKING WITH PIT STOPS

You might not expect this 9’ kayak to hold up to 350 lbs and still track well, but the Spitfire defies generalizations, just like you. The weight limit leaves enough room for you, your must-haves, and perhaps a small canine stowaway. Meanwhile, the ‘yak offers both stability and speed for newcomers who like thrills.

If you’re the type of person who likes to stop for nature-watching, fishing, or relaxing too, then you’ll appreciate how the fold-down seat and paddle holder let you stop, move around, and lay back in a reclined and comfortable position.

Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding

Specs
  • Length: 12’
  • Type: Foldable Sit-Inside
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Features
  • Collapsible Into Included Backpack (minimal storage and set-up)
  • Easy Single-Person Assembly and Carry
  • Stable and Long-Lasting (for prolonged enjoyment)
  • Cushioned, Adjustable Seat (to reduce pressure on your glutes)
  • Large Open Cockpit (so you can stretch out)

BEST FOR: CITY DWELLERS WITH ADVENTUROUS SPIRITS

This amazing kayak is made out of tent-like material that collapses and folds up into its own storage backpack, so you don’t have to bother with roof racks. While that might sound risky to the untrained kayaker, the rigorous research and painstaking design ensure a reliable ride. Though it might take a bit of getting used to navigating, you’ll find this kayak offers a fresh opportunity for city-dwellers to explore the open water.

STAR Raven II Tandem Inflatable

Specs
  • Length: 12’2”
  • Type: Inflatable Sit-Inside
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: N/A
Features
  • Two Removable Padded Seats (for 1-2-person configurations)
  • Comes With a Hand Pump, Carry Bag, and Repair Kit
  • Padded Front and Back Handles (to carry to and from the water)

BEST FOR: FLATWATER EXPLORING WITH A PLUS ONE

Modern advances make inflatable kayak options just as sensible as solid models, with the advantage of being easier to store and transport. The Raven is made out of heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant material with state-of-the-art seam sealing technology to help ensure your ride stays afloat. You get that extra peace-of-mind when you take a child, friend, or partner on the water with you.

Pelican Fazer

Specs
  • Length: 10’
  • Type: Solid Sit-Inside
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 275 lbs
Features
  • Comes With a Paddle
  • Adjustable Padded Seat (to give your bum a break)
  • Molded Footrests With Multiple Positions (to find the best fit)
  • Storage Hatch With Bungee Tie-Down (for your treasures)
  • Ergonomic Carry Handles (for two-person carry)

BEST FOR: BUDGET-CONSCIOUS MINIMALISM

With a beginner-friendly price and design, this kayak gets you on the water without any fuss. You don’t need anything fancy: just a simple boat and a paddle will do. The stable bottom and padded seat allow you to get used to the sport at your own pace. Just load up the simple storage hatch with a few essentials and drop the kayak in the water wherever you please. No batteries, gas, or excuses required.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

Specs
  • Length: 10’
  • Type: Solid Sit-On Top
  • Weight: 55 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
Features
  • Large Front and Middle Storage Tanks (to keep your bait and catches nearby)
  • Rear Bungee Storage (for tackle and other gear)
  • Padded, Adjustable Seat with Ventilated Mesh (for extended comfort without overheating)
  • Adjustable Footbrace System (to find the most comfortable foot position)
  • Sliding-Track System (allows you to accessorize without drilling holes)

BEST FOR: FISHING AND RECREATIONAL ADVENTURES

One handy feature of a sit-on kayak like this is that it allows you to sit, kneel, and lean over the sides when you’re fishing or exploring the water. While this model is a bit on the heavier side, it makes up for it with ample space to move around and storage for all your gear. 

When you get the urge to move, the Tarpon 100 has great get-up-and-go capabilities. The specialty hull shape capitalizes on stability, tracking, and responsiveness, all the performance features you want in this floating explorer.

Perception Sound 9.5

Specs
  • Length: 9’6”
  • Type: Solid Sit-Inside
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Features
  • Padded, Adjustable Seat (for comfort on longer trips)
  • Drain Plug (to empty out accumulated water)
  • Molded Dashboard Storage (for smaller items)
  • Two Molded Rod Holders (for kayak fishing)
  • Bungee-Corded Storage Well With Drainage (for dry gear)

BEST FOR: RECREATIONAL PADDLING ON SLOW-MOVING WATERS 

Take your love for the outdoors to a whole new level. The Sound gives you an intimate, up-close experience with nature using all your senses. You’ll feel comfortable against the padded seat and leg rests as you listen to the water passing underneath you and smell the sweet summer air. Get a taste of kayak fishing with the built-in rod and gear holders or just glide and watch the landscape pass beside you.

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10′ Sit-In

Specs
  • Length: 10’
  • Type: Solid Sit-Inside
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
Features
  • Large Open Cockpit (allows you to adjust your position)
  • Padded High-Back Seat (to make longer rides more comfortable)
  • Adjustable Foot Braces (for extra leverage)
  • Front and Back Carry Handles (for two-person carry)
  • Rear Storage Chamber (for your personal items)

BEST FOR: GRAB-AND-GO KAYAKING ON A WHIM

The Sun Dolphin is one of the most popular, tried-and-true kayaks on the market for beginners. The price and features are perfect for the casual paddler. The lightweight design is easy to carry over your shoulder or with the help of a partner. Without any preparation, you can be on the water enjoying the lake in no time.

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A KAYAK

PRICE

It’s always important to take your budget into consideration when purchasing a kayak. Kayaks range in cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on how much you want to invest in your sport. For a beginner who just wants to paddle the water occasionally, a lower price point may be sufficient. For someone who appreciates more features and intends to progress at the sport may want to choose a boat on the higher end.

 

WEIGHT

Many women are used to picking up heavy weights at the gym and toddlers at home. Consider how much weight you can comfortably lift, and compare that to the weight of your kayak, especially if you want to carry your ‘yak by yourself. If you have a partner to help you lift your boat, then you can go a little heavier.

 

PASSENGER SIZE

Your height and weight both affect how your kayak handles. Most kayaks have adjustable footrests to account for height, but you should also sit in the kayak when you get it to make sure it’s comfortable. Also, be sure to check the weight limit on your boat to make sure you’re within range or your boat may sink too low and not track well.

 

TYPE

Kayaks come in several different types: inflatable/solid and sit-in/sit-on. Modern inflatable kayaks are made of durable, puncture-resistant materials and take up very little storage space. Solid kayaks require no set-up but can cause storage and transport inconveniences.

The difference between sit-in and sit-on kayaks is the cockpit. You sit inside the open cockpit of a sit-in kayak and you sit on top of the closed cockpit of a sit-on kayak. Sit-inside cockpits tend to feel more stable and move more efficiently while sit-on cockpits don’t fill with water when tipped and feel less claustrophobic.

Click here for more in-depth expert advice on how to choose a kayak.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

COCKPIT

The cockpit refers to the area of the kayak where you sit. As explained above, the cockpit is either open, where you can sit inside, or closed, where you sit on top. Open cockpits may also be larger or more snug. Large cockpits give you more freedom of movement while snug cockpits give you more control in rough conditions.

FOOT BRACES

Kayaks usually have adjustable foot pegs or molded footrests where you rest your feet. The position of your feet is critical in how well you paddle. Footrests give you leverage, keeping your body stable with each paddle stroke. Learn more about how to find the right foot position here.

HULL

The hull is another name for the bottom of the kayak. The shape of the hull affects the way the kayak handles the water. Flatter hulls are more stable while narrow, V-shaped hulls allow for higher speeds. Longer hulls track straight nicely while shorter hulls turn easier. Learn more about hull shapes here.

DRAIN PLUG

Like the plug on your tub, the drain plug empties water from your kayak. Splashes from waves and paddle backsplash can accumulate in the cockpit, but the plug allows you to empty the water when you get back to shore.

ERGONOMICS

Ergonomics refers to the efficiency and comfort of an item. Ergonomic carry handles make it easier to carry your kayak while ergonomic seats help you achieve proper posture. These slight adjustments make it easier to use and transport your boat.

 

READ MORE

For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Sea Kayaks | Lightweight Kayaks

Tandem Kayaks | Touring Kayak Paddles

Budget Kayak Paddles | Kayak Paddles

Kayaks for Lakes

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