Any paddler will tell you that kayaking is one of the best ways to explore our nation's waterways. But with so many kayaks out there — each designed for different purposes — it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
Generally, inflatable kayaks are great for storage; fishing kayaks are ideal for anglers, and traditional kayaks can accommodate all sorts of on-the-water adventures. If you need help deciding which one to buy, learn more about the eight best kayaks on the market in today's blog post.
The Top 8 Kayaks to Buy in 2023
Looking to purchase a kayak in 2023? Here are our top picks:
1. Wilderness Systems Pungo 120
The Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 is an ultra-versatile kayak perfect for touring and paddling long(er) distances.
First-timers will love how stable and easy paddling is, and the comfortable seat, ample storage, and innovative dashboard (with a dry box and cupholders) make the experience even better.
The Pungo comes in three sizes: 10.5 feet compact, 12 feet for small and medium paddlers, and 12.5 feet for large paddlers.
You can purchase the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 for $1,219.
2. Old Town Vapor 10
Compared to other sit-in kayaks, the Old Town Vapor 10 is incredibly affordable and makes for a great first boat. This 10-foot boat has a flat bottom and impressive maneuverability, durability, and stability – making it a terrific choice for novice paddlers.
This kayak is renowned for its dependable performance, spacious cockpit, carrying handles, and cozy seat. Therefore, it's beloved by anglers and recreational paddlers alike.
You can purchase the Old Town Vapor 10 for $649.99.
3. Itiwit Adult X500 V2 1-Person Inflatable Kayak
The Itiwit X500 Inflatable Kayak is impressively stiff thanks to its drop-stitch technology. It's portable and weighs under 40 pounds, which makes transportation and storage a breeze. Measuring 150 inches in length, 25 inches in width, and holding up to 275 pounds, it's ideal for intermediate paddlers.
Personally? We love this inflatable kayak's quick inflation time; it takes just three minutes with a hand pump. And when it's folded up, it conveniently fits inside a backpack – adding another versatility layer.
You can purchase the Itiwit Adult X500 V2 1-Person Inflatable Kayak for $1,299.
4. Bonafide P127
The Bonafide 9127 is one of the best fishing kayaks on the market. The unique, hands-free, pedal-driven system is ideal for reeling in big ones. And with a front-storage well, detachable console with a built-in MiniTub, and rear hatch, plenty of places to store your catch.
Also, the Bonafide P127 features two flush mounts tailored to your fishing gear and a standable platform and deck traction.
Purchase the Bonafide P127 for $1,099.
5. Backcountry Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak - 2023
The Backcountry Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak 2023 is built for three people with a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds. This kayak is lightweight and durable, thanks to its single-layer polyethylene construction.
In addition, it boasts secure footwells, comfortable seats with adjustable backrests, convenient molded-in handles, and a skid plate for easy transportation.
This is one of the best tandem kayaks for families. Purchase the Backcountry Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak 2023 for $1,999.99.
6. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a high-quality rig that doesn't break the bank. It's ideal for river adventures and comfortably accommodates two people. Plus, it's lightweight (37.6 pounds) and easy to transport/assemble.
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is constructed from robust vinyl and has all the necessary accessories. Paddlers will enjoy the comfort of two inflatable seats — with adjustable backs and height options — and the removable skeg for easy navigation.
Purchase the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak for $195.99.
7. Perception Kayak Expression
Are you looking for a supportive kayak ready for any water adventure? The Perception Kayak Expression is sturdy, lightweight, lengthy, and equipped for any excursion – including the ocean!
The Perception Kayak Expression combines the maneuverability and stability of touring kayaks with expedition kayaks' speed and storage. Beginners will love the spacious sit-in cockpit and stability, and seasoned paddlers will appreciate the speed and maneuverability. Therefore, this rig is great in both open water and tight(er) spaces.
Purchase the Perception Kayak Expression for $1,069.
8. Vibe Sea Ghost 130
This 13-foot kayak weighs just 71 pounds, yet it has a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds. It's made of rotomolded, single-piece, high-density polyethylene and measures 33.5 inches long.
The Vibe Sea Ghost 130 has plenty of storage options, including rod holders, gear tracks, paddle parks, cargo hatches, tackle tray holders, and a transducer port. Additionally, this single-person kayak features a comfortable Vibe Hero Seat and a pre-installed rudder kit.
Purchase the Vibe Sea Ghost 130 for $1,299.99.