If you have been thinking about kayaking in the lake not far from your home, then you would probably want to do that in the best kayak for lakes.
Well, if you are just about to buy one, then we are here to help!
For today’s review, we have picked 10 amazing kayaks that we think are ideal for paddling in lakes.
And besides, we have prepared a list of several points that you’d need to keep in mind before buying a lake kayak.
Let’s see what those 10 kayaks have to offer!
Best lake kayaks compared
|Size (L x W)
| Aruba SS
| Journey SS
| Skipjack 90
|9’ x 32”
| Dirigo 106
| Sport Fisher Angler 100
|Up to 2
| Vapor 10
| Tsunami 140
| Razorlite 473rl
| Radar 135
Best lake kayaks reviewed
If the best kayak for lakes for you would be something that’s affordable, light, and compact, then Sun Dolphin Aruba SS may be the right pick for you.
Weighing just 27 pounds and being 8’ feet long, the Aruba kayak should be very convenient when it comes to transport and carry. And besides, because Aruba is so short, it is also very maneuverable.
Aruba SS kayak has a sit-in design, which means that you’ll get additional protection from water and cold. You’ll also be able to push into the hull with your thighs and knees to gain more control over the kayak.
However, because this kayak doesn’t have thigh & knee pads in it – as sit-in kayaks do usually – pushing into its hull may be a bit painful.
Also, keep in mind that this kayak’s got 260 pounds of weight capacity, so big kayakers may want to go for something more supportive.
And lastly, being just 28” wide – which is quite narrow for a kayak – Aruba may lack stability when compared to wider kayaks.
- Very maneuverable.
- Has a sealed hatch plus a small bungeed storage compartment.
- Lightweight and compact.
- The sit-in design ensures protection from cold and water.
- Only supports 260 pounds of weight: not for big kayakers.
- Doesn’t have knee & thigh pads to help you control the kayak better.
- May lack stability due to its narrowness.
The second contender for the title of the best kayak for lakes is the Journey SS by Sun Dolphin.
Sun Dolphin Journey SS kayak could be a good pick for those who are looking for a cheap kayak to fish on a lake with. This kayak would also be suitable for lighter fishing trips.
First of all, Sun Dolphin equipped the Journey SS kayak with 2 flush-mount and 1 swiveling fishing rod holder. Secondly, this kayak has 3 storage compartments: 1 sealed storage hatch, 1 stern bungeed shelf, and 1 bow bungeed storage well.
Such storage capacity certainly is nice for a small kayak like Journey SS, and it should be quite enough to accommodate all your fishing gear.
So while Journey SS kayak certainly is a nice and cheap fishing kayak, keep in mind that it has got just 250 pounds of weight capacity.
If you are a heavy kayaker, are looking to carry a lot of gear on you, and are going to catch a lot of fish, then this kayak may be insufficient for you.
- Fairly cheap.
- Has a dry storage compartment.
- Two bungeed storage areas.
- 2 flush-mount and 1 swiveling fishing rod holders.
- Supports just 250 pounds of weight.
- Not for big kayakers or big catch.
In case Journey SS wasn’t enough for you, maybe Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 will be.
Firstly, Skipjack supports up to 300 pounds of weight, which would allow you to carry more equipment and bring home bigger catch.
This kayak has also got 1 rear bungeed well and 2 sealed storage hatches that would come in handy if you have plenty of water-sensitive gear on you. In addition, it comes with 4 flush-mount rod holders and a mount for an optional swiveling rod holder.
Skipjack fishing kayak also seems to be pretty stable: that’s because it is 32 inches wide, which is quite wide for any kayak. On the other hand, it will lack speed and maneuverability when compared to some other kayaks we reviewed.
However, this kayak is just 9 feet long, so it should be more convenient in terms of storage.
The seat of this kayak is probably its weakest part: it isn’t very supportive since it tends to slip out of its position, so you may need to upgrade it.
- Comes with a paddle.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Has 2 sealed storage hatches plus a deep rear bungeed well.
- Wide and stable.
- Light and compact.
- 4 flush-mount fishing rod holders.
- The seat isn’t very supportive.
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Dirigo 106 is quite high in terms of pricing, but it certainly is an excellent option of a recreational kayak.
Dirigo 106 is the narrowest kayak on the reviews: it is 27.75 inches wide. This makes it the more maneuverable kayak among the ones we examined, albeit it will certainly lack in stability.
What may also be good news to you is that this kayak has a sit-in design, which means that you’ll be more protected from cold and water.
Interestingly, Dirigo 106 has quite an open and wide cockpit, unlike most sit-in kayaks. It is thereby easier to get in and out of this kayak.
Dirigo 106 also has quite a big stern sealed storage hatch, which would be able to take in bulkier items. Besides, it has a deck bungee to accommodate your backpack or whatnot.
The supportive seat of Dirigo 106 should also be remarked: it’s tough and has a contoured shape. During longer paddling trips, this seat would probably be able to provide more than enough support for your back.
In the end, if you are looking for a more maneuverable kayak, the Dirigo 106 may be that best kayak for lakes for your needs.
- Stern dry storage hatch.
- Protective sit-in design.
- Offers good maneuverability.
- Has knee & thigh pads.
- Supportive seat.
- May lack stability due to its narrowness.
If you were looking for a truly stable fishing kayak, then Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler 100 will surely interest you. Measuring 36 inches in width, this kayak delivers stability that would be enough for catching even bigger fish.
And you could really go for the bigger catch with this kayak! Thanks to its 500 pounds of weight capacity, not only would you be able to bring a lot of fish back home, but you could also take more gear with you for the angling.
In terms of storage space, the Fisher Angler 100 is good: it has a sealed rear hatch and a deck bungee, albeit the latter is a bit small. It has got 3 fishing rod holders as well, which certainly is nice.
Lifetime has actually designed this kayak to be both a 1- and a 2-seater, hence why they include 2 paddles with it. However, we feel that this kayak wouldn’t be a very convenient 2-seater since it looks a bit cramped.
Nonetheless, for those seeking stability, the Fisher Angler may be that best kayak for lakes.
- 2 kayak paddles included.
- Wide and stable.
- Supports up to 500 pounds.
- Rear sealed storage hatch.
- 3 fishing rod holders.
- A little on the heavy side: weighs 60 pounds.
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 is pretty much the sturdier and the slightly more stable alternative to Dirigo 106 we reviewed a bit earlier. It is a bit wider and can support up to 325 pounds rather than 300, as it was with Dirigo.
However, there are some other things that differ in this kayak as well.
So first of all, instead of a rear sealed hatch, Vapor 10 has quite a deep rear storage well. If you don’t need to have a watertight storage compartment, then Vapor 10 may be more preferable for you.
Besides, remember that we said Dirigo 106 had a wide cockpit? Well, the cockpit of Vapor 10 is even wider and more open. If you don’t like being constrained in a kayak that much, then this one may be the better pick for you.
What’s similar in the two kayaks though is the seat: the seat of Vapor 10 is a bit different, but it still is supportive and comfy.
There are two cons in Vapor 10 that we should mention as well.
First and foremost, it doesn’t come with a bungee net for the rear storage well. That’s a thing that you will need to get in order to keep your items safe while on the water.
And besides, it’s got a little design flaw: its drain plug is positioned in a place that doesn’t make much sense. To drain out all the water that got into the kayak from the lake, you may need to wipe it dry or vacuum it.
- The sit-in design protects from water and cold.
- Equipped with thigh/knee pads.
- Comfy seat.
- The drain plug is badly placed.
- Doesn’t include a bungee net for the stern storage well.
- May lack maneuverability for you.
Lakes can be quite big, and you may need to paddle in it fast. If that’s what you want, then a kayak like AdvancedFrame AE1007-R would be the right pick.
We have reviewed the shorter 1-seated version of this kayak in our reviews of best kayaks for the money, so you could check it out as well.
The first notable feature of this kayak is that it is inflatable, which means that it is more storage-efficient than its fully rigid counterparts.
To ensure that the hull is durable, Advanced Elements rigged this kayak with a foldable aluminum frame, and plus covered the hull with multiple layers of puncture-resistant material.
The inflatable nature aside, this kayak is also a fast vessel.
Being 15’ feet long, this kayak tracks fast and stable. Thanks to this, it is a great option for covering large distances in lakes or other large water bodies.
The weight capacity of this kayak is great – 550 pounds – which is why this kayak can support 2 paddlers. You could also take a lot of gear with you, but not the kind that is water-resistant: this kayak doesn’t have any watertight storage compartments.
You sure could get the deck conversion kit that makes this kayak sit-in to protect the gear better, but that still won’t be as effective as a dry hatch.
A thing to keep in mind is that Advanced Elements includes no pumps with this kayak. If you don’t have one, you will need to buy it.
And besides, remember that you’ll need to spend the time to inflate the kayak before actually paddling in it.
- Inflatable: very compact when deflated.
- Tracks fast and stable.
- Excellent 550-pound weight capacity.
- 2-seat design.
- Very light for the size: weighs just 52 pounds.
- Requires inflation.
- Doesn’t include a pump.
- No dry storage compartments.
- Not very maneuverable.
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140 is also a speedy and stable kayak, but it has a fully rigid hull, unlike the AdvancedFrame kayak that we’ve just reviewed.
Being a 14’ long touring kayak, Tsunami 140 is, again, a fast kayak, albeit it may be slightly slower than the AdvancedFrame kayak. Besides, Tsunami also has great directional stability.
Tsunami kayak can boast plenty of storage space thanks to its 2 large sealed storage compartments and several bungeed areas on the deck. During longer trips, you often need to carry more stuff on you, so the large storage capacity of this kayak is certainly a plus.
Besides, the longer the trip, the more water the kayak may take in, but the sit-in design of Tsunami is designed to prevent that.
Apart from cold and water protection, this kayak also delivers comfort thanks to its supportive and adjustable seat.
In addition, to allow better control over the kayak, Wilderness Systems has equipped this thing with padded thigh and foot braces.
Because this kayak is so long, don’t expect much maneuverability from it. Tsunami is all about speed and stable tracking.
And yeah, this kayak is also quite pricey, but it’s definitely worth the price Wilderness Systems asks for.
- Exceptionally fast and stable.
- The sit-in design protects from cold and water.
- Plenty of storage space.
- Comfortable seat.
- Padded thigh and foot braces.
- Weighs just 53 pounds despite its size.
- Will lack maneuverability.
Sea Eagle is renowned for their durable inflatable kayaks, and Razorlite 473rl is not an exception.
Constructed from reinforced PVC, this inflatable kayak is designed to withstand harsh conditions. For lake paddling, this would probably be an overkill since lake waters aren’t rough typically.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to have a sturdy kayak in any water, right?
Aside from being durable, this inflatable kayak is, needless to say, very compact and portable when deflated.
Like Tsunami 140 and AdvancedFrame AE1007-R, this kayak tracks fast on the water. In fact, since it is 15’6” long – longer than any kayak we reviewed – it may also track the fastest among the kayaks on the list.
Razorlite 473rl is also able to support an astounding 750 pounds. That’s well beyond what most people would need for kayaking, even if they are geared up to their max.
Since this kayak is a 2-seater, Sea Eagle kindly includes 2 paddles with it. Besides, they also include an air pump with this thing.
When it comes to the downsides, this kayak is, first of all, rather expensive, though it isn’t the priciest kayak we reviewed today.
Besides, Razorlite 473rl doesn’t have any dry storage compartments, so you’d need to take a dry bag with you to keep your stuff safe.
And, obviously, it requires inflation before paddling.
In spite of its frankly minor downsides, the Razorlite 473rl is a worthy contender for the title of the best kayak for lakes.
- Tracks well and fast.
- Compact and portable when deflated.
- Supports astounding 750 pounds of weight.
- Extremely sturdy.
- Has 2 seats.
- Includes 2 paddles and an air pump.
- Requires inflation.
- No dry storage compartments.
- Won’t be very maneuverable.
And in the end, if you are ready to spend any money to get the best kayak for lakes, then Wilderness Systems Radar 135 pedal fishing kayak could well be the ideal pick for you.
Its most remarkable feature is the included pedal drive system. What it would allow you to do is kayak hands-free while holding your fishing rod or taking a photo of the surroundings.
Radar 135 also has a lot of storage space in it thanks to its long stern bungeed well, as well as center and bow sealed hatches. And yeah, this kayak also supports up to 475 pounds of weight.
Aside from those great benefits, Radar fishing kayak also has some great customizability to boast.
Radar 135 has accessory mounts in the front, middle, and the back. You could install anything that a fisher would need, starting from fish finders and ending with a motor to propel you faster.
The seat of this thing is also rather notable: it has got multiple seating positions, UV-resistant and breathable textile, and, most importantly, great back support.
All this beauty costs a fortune though, which is the main downside of Radar 135. Oh well, you get what you pay for.
But if you have the need for such a monster, then it would certainly be worth the buck.
- Excellent comfort and durability.
- Supports 475 pounds.
- Wide and stable.
- Plenty of storage space.
- Customizable: can be complemented with a motor, electronic devices, etc.
- Includes a pedal drive.
- Very expensive.
- Weighs 90 pounds.
Picking the best kayak for lakes
So now, we are going to provide general guidelines on how to pick the best kayak for lakes. For more general info on kayak buying, check out our kayak buying guide.
There are 3 things that you need to determine before choosing a kayak for lake paddling:
- What your budget is.
- The kind of an activity you will be doing.
- What you need from the kayak.
What is your budget?
The first thing you should probably do is estimate how much money you can afford to spend on a kayak for lake paddling.
You can’t buy a kayak that costs more than you can afford, right? And besides, if you know what kind of a price range you need, you’ll have much fewer kayaks to look through.
So, make sure that you have a budget before moving on.
What will you be doing in a kayak?
Then, understand what you will be doing while paddling in a lake.
Will you be fishing in the kayak? If so, then that best kayak for lakes would need to be a fishing kayak, obviously.
Will you be going across the lake from one shore to another to reach some destination? For such an activity, you would probably need a fast touring kayak.
Or maybe you will be paddling in the lake for fun every once in a while with your friends and relatives? Then a recreational kayak would most likely be sufficient for you.
Fortunately, we have featured such kinds of kayaks on the reviews, so you could pick one of them if you like it.
What do you need from a lake kayak?
Now that you have established what kind of a kayak you need and what your budget is, you would want to understand what kind of features you require.
Will you be carrying water-sensitive gear with you? Will you be paddling alone or with someone else? Maybe you want a lake kayak that would take not so much storage space in your garage?
These are the kind of questions that you’ll need to answer when looking for certain features in kayaks.
It is not really possible for us to write down a complete rundown of such questions because every kayaker will need something different. It is you who needs to decide what you need.
Well, if you have found that best kayak for lakes, then you should probably go get it.
If that isn’t the case, don’t worry: it’s okay if you spend the time to find the right kayak. After all, buying the wrong kayak is an expensive mistake to make.
So make sure to think over your future purchase thoroughly so that you do get the absolute best kayak for lakes!