If you’re reading this, you’re likely ready to move on from renting your kayak. Maybe you want the freedom of being able to go for a paddle whenever you want. Or perhaps you are planning a long kayaking expedition. What ever the reason, we’re here to help you find the best sea kayak for you.

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we pride ourselves on making sure you get the most out of your outdoor adventures. Whether that’s kayaking in the Pacific or snorkeling in the Atlantic, we’re here to improve every one of your adventures.

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

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SUPs | Inflatable SUPsPaddles

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QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SEA KAYAKS

1. DELTA KAYAKS DELTA 14

2. ORU KAYAK BAY FOLDING

3. EDDYLINE EQUINOX 

4. EDDYLINE FATHOM 

5. OLD TOWN CASTINE 140 

6. DAGGER ZYDECO 9.0

7. EDDYLINE SKY 10

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SEA KAYAKS

PICTURE
SEA KAYAK
BEST FOR
HULL SHAPE
WEIGHT CAPACITY
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SEA KAYAK
BEST FOR
HULL SHAPE
WEIGHT CAPACITY
PRICE
RATING
Delta Kayaks Delta 14
Overall
V-shaped
340 lbs
$$$
3.8
Oru Kayak Bay Folding
Overall
V-shaped
300 lbs
$$$
4.6
Eddyline Equinox
Overall
V-shaped
360 lbs
$$$
5.0
Eddyline Fathom
Advanced
V-shaped
340 lbs
$$$$
5.0
Old Town Castine 140
Advanced
V-shaped
375 lbs
$$$
5.0
Dagger Zydeco 9.0
Budget
Rounded
220 lbs
$
4.5
Eddyline Sky 10
Budget
Rounded
250 lbs
$$
4.5

 

 

SEA KAYAKS REVIEWS

DELTA KAYAKS DELTA 14

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Open-ocean kayaking, from flatwater to mildly choppy currents

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 340 lbs

BUILD MATERIALS: Thermoformed ABS Plastic

PROS: Fantastic for kayaking in open ocean waters where currents and swells change frequently

CONS: Can be hard to find outside of REI

 

 

 

ORU KAYAK BAY FOLDING

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Coastal kayaking and navigating to destinations where you have to walk on land

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 300 lbs

BUILD MATERIALS: Polypropylene

PROS: Ultra portable, can be folded and self-packed

CONS: Not ideal for rocky outcrops or kayaking over coral

 

 

 

EDDYLINE EQUINOX

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Taking out on a whim, even if the water conditions are somewhat rough

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 360 lbs

BUILD MATERIALS: Carbonlite ABS Plastic

PROS: Lighter than most sea kayaks for easy transportation

CONS: Often in high-demand and can be hard to get a hold of

 

 

 

EDDYLINE FATHOM

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Quick overnight trips featuring plenty of cargo space

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 340 lbs

BUILD MATERIALS: Carbonlite

PROS: Great for an adventurous kayaker with intermediate experience

CONS: Price

 

 

 

OLD TOWN CASTINE 140

Check out the latest price on:
AmazonREI

BEST FOR: Deftly maneuvering through rough water 

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 375 lbs

BUILD MATERIALS: Rotomolded Polyethylene

PROS: Tracks well, ample storage, easy adjustability, comfortable seat

CONS: Not the most beginner-friendly design

 

 

 

DAGGER ZYDECO 9.0

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Calm coastal flatwaters

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 220 lbs

BUILD MATERIALS: Rotomolded Polyethylene

PROS: Inexpensive way to get into kayaking

CONS: Lower weight capacity than most

 

 

 

EDDYLINE SKY 10

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Estuaries and calm fresh and salt waters

BUILD MATERIALS: Thermoformed ABS laminate

WEIGHT CAPACITY: 250 lbs

PROS: Fantastic build quality and above average storage compartments

CONS: One of the more expensive budget-minded kayaks out there

 

 

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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SEA KAYAKS

LOOK FOR A SUITABLE SINKAGE LEVEL

Whether you’re a beginner paddling through flatwater or an advanced kayaker capable of handling choppy currents, it’s good to have a kayak with high sinkage level. The sinkage level of a kayak is determined by how much weight is needed to make it sit an inch lower in the water.

The higher the capacity, the more weight the sea kayak can bear. If you’re using your sea kayak for sport, a lower capacity will suffice.

If you’re using your sea kayak for recreation, you’ll want one with a high value. That way, you can rest easy and not worry about tipping your kayak.

 

LOOK FOR BUILD MATERIALS

Most sea kayaks from popular brands are made from materials that can sustain different weather conditions. However, lesser known budget brands tend to cut corners when it comes to this aspect.

Even some major brands, which offer budget-friendly sea kayaks, have been known to use sub-par materials. Be on the look out for exposed steel and unsealed wood components.

Keep in mind that Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) plastics and polyethylene are great. Take a look at Kayarchy.com to see a full list of recommended build materials.

 

V-SHAPED OR ROUNDED HULLS

Since sea kayaks will be in more turbulent water, they need to be able to cut through those wakes with ease. Unlike freshwater kayaks, which can have rounded and flat hulls, sea kayaks should have v-shaped hulls.

This will ensure they can literally cut through waves, big and small. V-shaped hulls help with stability as well. But, rounded hulls are also acceptable under certain conditions like kayaking through closed coves, coastal flat waters and estuaries.

 

LENGTH AND WIDTH OF KAYAK

For open-ocean coastal kayaking, narrow, medium-sized kayaks perform best. Their slim widths allow them to navigate through calm and somewhat rough waters with ease.

Having a sea kayak between 11 and 14 feet will help keep it steady as well. Kayaks used for flatwater can perform fine at shorter lengths. Tandem style sea kayaks can measure upwards until 20 feet long. Check out this guide to widths and lengths for more details.

 

SMALL COCKPITS

Unlike other general purpose or modular kayaks, sea kayaks need to have small cockpit openings. In fact, the cockpit should be just wider than your waist.

It should be comfortable enough for you to sit in and move around about, but not too tight as to be uncomfortable or inhibit movement. These small cockpit shapes will help prevent seawater from coming in. Sea kayaks used for recreation in flatwater can have larger openings though.

 

FLATWATER VS. CHOPPY CURRENTS

The type of water you’ll be kayaking through plays a big part in your decision-making process. For flatwater, like the ones found around mangroves and closed-off coves, budget and sit-on-top kayaks are fine.

However, only kayaks with waist cockpits and V-shaped hulls should be considered if you plan to tackle choppy currents.

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