Recreational kayak

Best Recreational Kayak of 2018

With so many different kayaks available on the market you really need to have an idea of where you will be using the boat, We’ve identified a number of the best beginner kayaks in our Best beginner kayaks review many of these boats are ideal for a range of conditions and locations.

Now what we are looking at is the next step up moving from a general purpose kayak to a recreational kayak. Here we are looking at kayaks that will make good day touring boats. Still extremely stable and all between 9 – 12 ft in length. They will have a much better tracking and good speed to explore a lake or flat water river, they can even be used in the sea on calm days. Recreation is about enjoyment, take a picnic and a camera and experience the fauna and flora of your local waterway. Here we will be especially looking at Sit In designs from some of paddlesports leading brands.

 

Best Recreational Kayaks of 2018 Comparison:

Image Name Brand Length Width Weight Maximum Capacity
Axis Dagger Kayaks 10”6 28.5” 50 lbs 300 lbs
Tsunami 125 Wilderness Systems 12”9 26” 51 lbs 300 lbs
Fusion M River Tour Pyranha Kayaks 10”2 26” 46 lbs 242 lbs
Katana 9.7 Dagger Kayaks 10”4 27.25” 50 lbs 285 lbs
Carolina 12 Perception 12” 26” 49 lbs 275 lbs

 

Dagger Kayaks Axis 10.5

What We Say

Dagger has been a brand leader in kayak manufacture and design for a number of years part of one of the biggest group of manufacturers in the US Confluence understand what it takes to build a great boat. Whether its whitewater or touring, the Dagger brand brings confidence and quality from its premium lineup. The Axis is another fine example of the quality designs coming from this progressive company. We have already looked at the Dagger Zydeco in the best Beginner Kayaks so now we move over to the Dagger Axis. Building on the foundations of the Zydeco and improving them for a boat that not only looks great but offerers increased performance and comfort.

At 10.5 Feet the Axis is a good length to cut through the water with good tracking and the drop down skeg to aid this. The boat is very stable with a couple of storage options. In the rear, the large oval hatch is big enough for a day on the water even an overnight stop on the bank with space for a tent and stove.

On the front, the mesh deck cover and bungee offer a great place for spare bottles and maps anything you want to keep close to hand

The seat is the comfortable ConTour CFS-R which is both adjustable and secure allowing good support for all day on the water

The axis is our favourite recreational boat due to its versatility. It is at home on a lake or flat moving waterway as it is on the sea and coastal touring. The Axis makes an extremely good day touring boat to allow you to explore. Carrying forward speed yet still manoeuvrable to get in and out of smaller channels.

Manufacturers Information

Unprecedented versatility.

Amazing versatility on lakes, reservoirs, intercoastal waterways, and pond. The Axis provides excellent tracking from a height-adjustable drop skeg that keeps it moving straight. Defined chines add manoeuvrability, and the Axis accepts a spray skirt and can be fitted with thigh braces for more challenging environments. The Axis 10.5 is ideal for the eclectic paddler who appreciates relaxing day trips on the lake, but might also enjoy the challenge of a running river and is unmatched in its class

Experience what an “all water” kayak can do with the new Dagger Axis.

Specifications

Dagger Kayaks Axis 10.5
Specifications
Length 10”6
Width 28.5”
Weight 50 lbs
Max Capacity 300 lbs

What we liked

  • Premium feel to the boat
  • Very stable design
  • Glides well through the water
  • Good Storage
  • Very comfortable seating position

What we didn’t like

  • Max capacity only 300 lbs so not suitable for more than overnight trips

 

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 Kayak

What We Say

The Tsunami is the longest boat in this review at 12”9 it’s a little longer than I would usually count as a Recreational boat but when you look at both its heritage and other features it really is easy to see how well it fits. A perfect boat for larger or taller paddlers from Wilderness Systems another brand owned by Confluence and like Dagger producing some of the best touring boats available. You can see some of their other designs on the Best fishing kayaks Review. Over the years the Tsunami has changed and evolved sitting next to its bigger brothers the Tempest series for so long the Tsunami has been redesigned with the paddler in mind. Producing a quality day touring boat that has all the qualities of top end ocean designs. With its increased stability and comfort it is easy to see how the tsunami has been in the product line up for so long.

The Tsunami is fast through the water providing stability and comfort for long days on the water exploring. Perfect for slow moving rivers, lakes or ocean use the Tsunami is equipped with two large storage hatches to carry anything your adventure may bring.

The Seat is both comfortable and adjustable using the fast drying mesh to provide good airflow and comfort to your day out.

The Tsunami is also available in larger sizes. These larger sizes are better suited for bigger distances or ocean use. They will also be capable of carrying larger capacities for multi-day trips.

Manufacturers Information

THIS SWIFT AND AGILE KAYAK IS THE IDEAL DAY TRIPPER FOR LARGER PADDLERS.

An icon is reimagined in the all-new Tsunami. The aesthetics of the new Tsunami inspire performance and exploration with modern deck lines, while a focus on improving the paddler’s experience sees new features incorporated into the design – two removable mesh deck storage bags are perfect for stowing close-at-hand items, and an under-deck storage area provides another alternative for staging your favourite beverage. Small changes with big effects have also been integrated into the hull – the arched sidewalls and increased volume above the waterline have been improved to provide more confidence and stability, while the longer waterline has increased speed and efficiency. Available in three sizes, the Tsunami 125 is swift and agile, the spacious cockpit and deeper hull is the ideal day tripper for larger paddlers. A touring kayak that excels in tight, twisting environments.

Specifications

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 Kayak
Specifications
Length 12”9
Width 26”
Weight 51 lbs
Max Capacity 300 lbs

What we liked

  • Great pedigree
  • Good length and glide speed
  • Still easy to turn without use of a rudder
  • Plenty of storage in the hatches
  • Seat is supportive and comfortable

What we didn’t like

  • Slightly longer than other recreational boats
  • Less manoeuvrable than other recreational boats

If you want to take a look at the larger options the Tsunami is available in 5 sizes

 

Pyranha Kayaks Fusion M River Tour

What We Say

The Fusion River tour is one of the real crossover boats available that really suits the needs of its user. Being able to paddle a class ⅔ rapids before going for a spin out on the lake usually would need two totally different boats. But not with the modern breed of crossover boats. By mixing a manoeuvrable loose hull with extra length and a drop down skeg changes the characteristics of the boat hugely. This allows one boat to be super versatile.

I love having one boat to do so much it has been a bestseller for Pyranha for a number of years. The proven formula of allowing a paddler to really take their boat anywhere with some even tackling the Colorado River (Grand Canyon) in the Fusion

The fusion is available in 3 sizes, realistically most people will steer towards the Medium size as it fits well at 10”2 the hull can carry its speed and still lift and bounce over waves. The Outfitting is taken from many of Pyranhas other boats with a comfortable seat not as padded as other designs but better designed for performance. The Fusion has one large rear hatch and the option of a front deck pod. The deck bungees are ideal to hold small things whilst out on the water. The fusion is stable and offers confidence. It’s definitely a great boat for those looking to paddle in a variety of locations.

Manufacturers Information

As the name suggests, the Pyranha Fusion is a cross-over kayak which allows the paddler to enjoy two great areas of paddle sport, whitewater and touring. Super stable, fast and easy to paddle, the Fusion gives you the freedom to choose from some fun whitewater or checking out some estuaries or a sheltered bay.

The tried and tested Pyranha skeg system adds a great feature allowing you to track in a straight line and the drag reducing skeg box allows the water to flow straight out of the stern of the kayak. The Fusion River Tour features Fit 4 seat and high padded backrest for the ultimate comfort out on the water.

Specifications

Pyranha Kayaks Fusion M River Tour
Specifications
Length 10”2
Width 26”
Weight 46 lbs
Max Capacity 243 lbs

What we liked

  • Able to use everywhere
  • Secure seat and thigh braces offer a comfortable fit and extra control
  • Large rear storage hatch
  • Drop down skeg to aid tracking

What we didn’t like

  • Cockpit smaller than other recreational kayaks
  • Nose rides over waves as opposed to cutting through

 

Dagger Kayaks Katana 10.4

What We Say

The Katana from Dagger is another boat loaded and ready for action. The Katana is a popular crossover boat being available in two lengths the 9.7 and the 10.4. The katana is another boat which you can take with you no matter what your adventure brings. Paddle in waves or small rapids or out exploring lakes and slow-moving rivers the Katana is equipped with a drop-down skeg to switch the boat from nimble and manoeuvrable to on point and fast. The skeg helps the boat hold its line and carry its speed.

Inside the Katana is comfortable and offers plenty of adjustment with the ConTour ergo system to get just the right fit. Once fitted the boat offers much more control than some of the larger recreational boats.

The rear hatch offers a good level of storage to use the boat for a day or even overnight trips on the water.

The Katana is a really good boat for those looking to explore no matter where they go they want to get out and experience. The versatility of using in waves or rivers then taking to the ocean or lake is something only offered by a few kayaks.

Manufacturers Information

Endless adventure…limitless possibilities

A crossover kayak that truly excels in any water, the Katana was designed to inspire confidence in the paddler with a balanced rocker profile for speed on the flat and manoeuvrability in whitewater. The hull is designed for initial stability while the bevelled and flared side-walls create secondary stability. The rounded stern deck shape, taken from the Mamba design, sheds water easily, making it forgiving in moving water. The Katana also offers a more spacious cockpit than traditional whitewater designs for a less confining feeling. Removable bulkheads and reinforced hatches offer unparalleled gear storage, while the drop skeg adds speed and stability.

The 9.7 is perfect for smaller paddlers or paddlers who do not need the added storage capacity of the larger model.

Specifications

Dagger Kayaks Katana
Specifications
Length 10”4
Width 27.25”
Weight 50 lbs
Max Capacity 285 lbs

What we liked

  • Very comfortable ConTour Ergo outfitting with leg lifter for support and comfort
  • Drop down skeg to aid tracking
  • Large rear hatch for extra storage
  • Bungee deck lines for securing bottles or maps

What we didn’t like

  • Smaller cockpit than other recreational kayaks
  • Narrower fit than other recreational kayaks

 

Perception Kayaks Carolina 12

What We Say

The Carolina has been a firm favourite for a number of years. This latest offering has been redesigned both to carry its speed and offer maximum comfort. The Carolina is at home on quiet waterways or out exploring coastal coves the hull is extremely stable and the seat is both comfortable and offers a good level of support with adjustment both vertically and horizontally to provide the ultimate support

The footrests are large keeper XL style which offers easy adjustment and large enough to rest on comfortable.

A really nice feature of boats the Carolina along with the 2 large storage hatches these are compartmentalized sections offering storage and buoyancy to the boat

The Carolina at 12 foot is the smaller size with a larger Carolina 14 also available, The Carolina 12 holds its line and tracks really well with is slight V Hull which is a more traditional ocean shape. The Carolina can be upgraded at a later date with the addition of a rudder for extra control.

The bungees and deck lines are well positioned to be able to store both small items and larger items like split paddles securely.

Overall the 12 foot Carolina is a really good option for someone looking to cover a bit of distance and enjoy the glide speed and comfort. With the option to load up for an overnight camp always possible.

Manufacturers Information

The most versatile touring kayak ever.

The Perception Carolina 12.0 kayak category-leading comfort and versatility makes it the best value in touring kayaks. The incredible stability is perfect for new paddlers, while the experienced will appreciate its speed and agility. The lighter weight of this 12-foot design makes it easy to carry and more manoeuvrable as you explore quiet coastal and inland waterways. Full days and overnights are a pleasure thanks to spacious dry storage and the deluxe comfort of a six-way adjustable seat.

Specifications

Perception Kayaks Carolina 12
Specifications
Length 12”
Width 26”
Weight 49 lbs
Max Capacity 275 lbs

What we liked

  • 2 large hatches provide plenty of storage opportunities
  • Rudder Ready
  • Comfortable adjustable seat and backrest
  • Large pedal footrests
  • Padded thigh braces

What we didn’t like

  • Deck is quite high so leg position can become uncomfortable
  • Thigh brace padding can make it difficult to put a spray deck over.

 

If you still need som help choosing your next Recreational Kayak have a look at our Buyers Guide

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