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Best Kayak for River Camping




River Kayaker Aerial View.

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River Camping can be an excellent way to take your existing enjoyment of camping and to expand it into new territory. Traversing your way through lakes and up rivers and setting camp somewhere new can be very rewarding.

But what exactly would you need from the Kayak that would allow you to traverse these waters? Within this article, we will give you some options to consider and things to look out for from products you may want to buy.

Want to dive deeper into Camping? You should take a look at our Camping hobby guide!

Top 5 Kayak for River Camping

5. Must-Have Option

Pelican – Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak
  • Upgraded Features: Additional storage in this kayak includes a front hatch with bungee cord and a rear tank well with mesh deck cover to give you plenty of space to store your personal items. Features also include a cockpit table with compartments and a bottle holder as well as molded footrests for your comfort.
  • Stable: The shallow V-chine hull offers better manoeuverability and tracking while giving you increased secondary stability. This kayak is made for the recreational paddler looking for better performance.

4. Budget Option

Kokanee Sit-On-Top Kayak, Lime, 10’6″
  • Constructed of UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Versatile Design Allows for Solo or Tandem Paddling
  • Two Adjustable Quick Release Seat Backs for Comfort
  • Multiple Footrest Positions for Different Size Paddlers
  • One Hatch for Added Storage Beneath the Deck

3. Fan Favorite

Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Fishing KayakSit-on-Top KayakLightweight one Person Kayak9.6 ft
  • A multi chine flat bottom hull ensures the stability needed when casting lines and reeling in fish.
  • Measuring 9’6″” and weighing only 44 lb, the SENTINEL 100X ANGLER is incredibly easy to transport and store

2. Editor’s Choice

1. Most Popular

Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak, Tan, 120″, Model:90237
  • Constructed of UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene. Stable Flat Bottom. Deep Hull Tracking Channels. Stability Chine Rails
  • Multiple Footrest Positions for Different Size Riders. Adjustable Padded Seat Back and Seat Pad for Comfort. Front and Rear Shock Cord Straps
  • Two Flush Mounted Fishing Rod Holders. One Top Mount Fishing Rod Holder

Buyer’s Guide: Kayak for River Camping

What is the price of a Kayak for River Camping

A crucial aspect in considering whether you want to purchase a product is how much that product costs. Especially when a product is $100 or more you may want to know if this price is worth it.

In the case of a kayak, you will find that a decent product for river camping will usually be between $100 to $150 for one that carries a single person.

Couple kayaking together in mangrove river

Of course, this price can increase depending on features and how many people it is intended to carry, but for a single person going river camping the $150 price point is well worth it.

Is Maximum Load important?

Whenever you consider a kayak for any kind of activity, you must consider also the maximum load that the kayak can handle. If you were to fail to consider the maximum load into account you could potentially sink your kayak.

To avoid causing your kayak to take on water and sink, you must make sure that you remain within the maximum load of the kayak and do not exceed it.

This not only applies to the weight of yourself, but also the weight of whatever you are carrying with you on the kayak, and so as you can see it is important to consider the maximum load whenever you board your kayak.

Will the Kayak have any storage?

If you plan to use your kayak for river camping, then you will most likely want to consider whether or not the kayak has any storage and how much of it does it have.

Different kayaks will handle storage in different ways that you may want to take into account depending on your specific use case.

Female hiker inserting a waterproof bag with the things into the kayak

For example, you may want a kayak that can store things in cut-outs within the kayak itself that are sealed with rubber gaskets to keep your items dry. This could be useful in rainy conditions or if you aren’t so confident in your kayaking skills.

Alternatively, some kayaks will have a bungee cord that you can use to allow yourself to tie down your items on top of the kayak which can lend the kayak to a light design.

Is comfort important on a Kayak?

Another good point to consider on a kayak is whether or not it will be comfortable to use. You don’t want for the place you are to be seated for maybe hours at a time to be uncomfortable, after all.

Some kayaks can try and improve your comfort whilst using them by implementing features such as padded seats and adjustable backrests to try and give your more control over the seating arrangement.

These features can often cost more money, however, so if you have a budget to stick to then you may have to consider what is more important to you and if you aren’t spending much time in the kayak that maybe you could have a little less comfort for more savings.

Will the Kayak have good tracking?

One feature that a kayak can offer that may not seem obviously important is how good the tracking on the kayak is. The tracking refers to how well the kayak will stay in a straight line whilst paddling.

The tracking can greatly affect how well you perceive the kayak to be in getting you from one place to the next. After all, if you are constantly dipping from left to right, you will actually end up expending more energy as you will be covering a greater overall distance.

As the overall experience of traversing the water on the kayak is one of the most important and fun parts of river camping, you will want to keep an eye out for kayaks that can advertise good tracking so that you can get the most out of your time outdoors.

How hard will the Kayak be to carry across land?

Especially in the case of using your kayak for river camping, you will have to take into account how easy your kayak will be to carry across the land when you disembark to set up camp.

Closeup of two men carrying red kayak to river

Most kayaks will be made of lightweight materials that will allow you to be able to carry the kayak with relative easy. The main issue for carrying the kayak will often be having somewhere to hold onto rather than the weight of the kayak itself.

However, you will often find that kayaks will come with some kind of handle or cutout designed so that you will be able to take your kayak and carry it without all too much trouble.

It is definitely worth looking into the features that a kayak can offer you to make the task of carrying it from one place to the next easier for you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, you will find that there are plenty of amazing options when it comes to kayaks for river camping.

Whether you value comfort, storage, or good tracking, you will find that there is a kayak out there that suits your needs.

Hopefully, this article has been useful in giving you some good options for a kayak to buy and some of the things to look out for when considering one for purchase.

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