Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that we earn a commission if you purchase a product or service through our exclusive links at no cost to you. For more details, please read our full disclosure.
It’s never too early to start getting ready for the upcoming summer, and I’m sure many of you enjoy kayaking at the lake. There are many kinds of kayaks and different features/details to look out for, so we have made a few lists in this article to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, or even just learn more about kayaks themselves.
I remember kayaking in summer camp, and it was the most fun. I enjoy kayaking more than canoeing. I find it’s much easier to control the water, and because it’s a lot flatter and closer to the water than a canoe, you have a smaller chance of it tipping/losing control in the wind.
I know browsing for kayaks, boats, and other summertime outdoor equipment can be fun but also too pricey and just not in the budget. So, we looked for you and found many high-quality, outstanding kayaks, all under $300.
So let’s jump right in.
Related Post: Best Kayaks for Under $500
Intex Explorer Kayak
First, on our list is the Intex explorer kayak. This is a 2-person inflatable kayak, and it’s a comfortable fit for anyone. This kayak comes with aluminum oars and will give you a good amount of space! The color when purchasing anything typically isn’t too important, but having a bright yellow kayak is much safer in case of an emergency, especially with young kids!
One of the best features of this kayak is the adjustable seats with backrests. Having a comfortable seat and backrest makes all the difference if you’re out on the lake for long periods and tired from paddling the kayak. This kayak makes paddling easier, simple to assemble, and the perfect fit for two adults.
Overall, this is a tremendous 2-person kayak for beginners and well-experienced kayakers!
- Maximum 400lbs
- 2-person capacity
- Comes with two oars
- Polypropylene material
- Item weight is 35lbs
- Dimensions (inflated) are 10ft 3 x 3ft x 1ft 8
Intex Challenger kayak
Next on our list is the Intex challenger kayak. This is a one-person kayak but also has a 2-person option as well! The weight of the single kayak is 220lbs, made of plastic material. This kayak is durable and safe for kayaking lakes or rivers. One of my favorite features of this kayak is the cargo net on the front. You can easily store any safety kits and equipment.
For the one-person kayak, you get one oar and two oars if you purchase the 2-person kayak. The bright green color makes this kayak more visible on the lake, and it’s the perfect amount of room and comfort for one person.
This kayak is easy to assemble, durable and safe. I highly recommend this one!
- 1-person and 2-person options
- Grey/blue/green colors
- Plastic material
- 30x15x108 inch.
- Length is 84 inches
- Square shape
- Item weight is 11.3kg
- A cargo net for storage.
- Durable and safe
Sevylor 2-Person Kayak
Next, we have the Sevylor 2-person kayak! This kayak’s weight limit is 400lbs, blue color, and has a lot of room for two people. This is a comfortable and durable kayak. Some 2-person kayaks only have a good amount of legroom for the front seat, but in this kayak, you get the same amount of room for both, making this kayak as comfortable as possible and the perfect fit. For two adults!
If you like to bring water bottles with you when kayaking, some first aid equipment, or even some snacks, it makes all the difference having more legroom/storage space to keep those.
- The weight limit is 400lbs.
- Blue color
- Durable and lots of room
- 2-person capacity
- Item weight 454g
- Good for fishing
- 10.8kg weight
- Polyethylene material
- 316.99 x 88.39 x 90.17 cm
Intex Tacoma Kayak
Next on our list is the Intex Tacoma kayak. This is a 2-person, heavy-duty kayak and comes with two paddles. The seats in this kayak are very comfortable, and overall it has a good amount of room. The design of this kayak is one of my favorites! This kayak has three separate air chambers, puncture-resistant vinyl, and a handle in the front if you need it.
The puncture-resistant vinyl is excellent on this kayak, ensuring more durability and better safety on the water.
- 2-person capacity
- Two paddles
- Output pump and bag
- Three separate air chambers
- Heavy duty
- Item weight 15.6kg
- Dimensions are 58.42 x 41.27 x 34.92 cm
- Puncture-resistant vinyl
Lifetime Wave Kayak
Next on our list is the Lifetime Wave kayak! This one is my favorite colored kayak on our list, being bright and vibrant pink. You can also get this kayak in blue! The weight capacity of this kayak is 130lbs, and best for youth.
One of the best features of this kayak is the finger handles on the sides. They will make it easier for younger kids to have a good grip, less chance of losing balance/falling off. There is a molded paddle cradle to help keep the paddle secured when not in use.
- Pink or blue
- 130lbs maximum weight
- 8.16kg item weight
- Youth sized kayak
- One person capacity
- Molded finger handles
- Paddle cradle
- Dimensions are 182.88 x 60.96 x 22.86 cm
- Paddle included
- UV protected
Intex Challenger Kayak
Next on our list is the Intex Challenger kayak. This is a 1-person inflatable kayak that comes with an aluminum oar and air pump! This kayak has a cargo net in the front, allowing you to store any equipment/items. This kayak is comfortable and spacious for one person, and the seat is inflatable with a backrest!
If you’re new to kayaking and want to try it out for yourself, I highly recommend this one! It’s safe, heavy-duty, and you can never go wrong with storage space, especially if you’re out on the lake and by yourself.
- 220lbs maximum weight
- 1-person capacity
- Item weight is 11.9kg
- 84 inches in length
- 274.32 x 76.2 x 33.02cm dimensions
- Green/blue color
- Heavy duty
- A cargo net for storage
Intex K2 Kayak
Next, we have the Intex Challenger k2 kayak. This kayak is very similar to the previous one. The only difference is that this kayak has a 2-person capacity! So, if you like the design and features of the previous kayak but want a two-seater, this one is great!
This kayak comes with an oar, pump and the bright green colors make it more visible on the lake. You get a cargo net for storage, two comfortable seats, and backrests included. This is an outstanding 2-person kayak, heavy-duty and comfortable.
- 2-person capacity
- Blue/green color
- Cargo net
- Paddle included
- Dimensions are 274.32 x 76.2 x 33.02 cm
- Length is 41cm
- Width is 32cm
- 17.3kg item weight
Sevylor Quikpak Kayak
Next, we have the Sevylor Quikpak kayak. This one is the best, most practical for packing, the easiest, and the most portable. This kayak comes with a paddle, pump, and storage bag. The weight limit is also higher with this kayak, being 400lbs.
The setup will take you no longer than five minutes. It’s durable, blue, and also great for fishing! There is a small storage net on the kayak’s front, and the seat is very comfortable.
This is the absolute best 1-person kayak on the list today, and I highly recommend it.
When traveling alone, especially out on the water, you want the best quality boat/kayak possible. Storage compartments are a big thing, essential. When traveling alone, you want lightweight things, making them easier to carry and travel with. This kayak is the easiest to pack up and transport!
- 1-person capacity
- 400lbs weight limit
- Portable and comfortable
- Paddle, pump, and bag included
- Storage net
- Blue color
- Item weight is 18lbs
- 5-minute setup
- 102.96 inches in length
- Great for fishing
- Item weight is 8.16kg
- 261.62 x 91.44 x 76.2cm dimensions
Pelican Solo Youth Kayak
Last on our list today is the Pelican Solo Youth kayak. This is a sit-on-top kayak for youth, with a weight limit of 100lbs. This is the second youth kayak we have on this list, and both are great options if you want to get a kayak for your kids!
There is a handle on this kayak to carry it more easily, and it’s lightweight, which is perfect for younger kids. There is a place to put the paddle on the kayak when you’re not using it, so you don’t need to worry about it getting lost.
The kayak includes a bottle holder, a three-piece paddle, and even a safety flag that can be placed onto the kayak when your kids are out on the water for safety purposes.
- Sit-on-top kayak for youth
- 100lbs weight limit
- Carry handle
- Paddle holder
- Three-piece paddle
- Safety flag
- Yellow color
- 182.88 x 60.96 x 22.86cm dimensions
- 8.62kg item weight
- Best for beginners
Types of Kayaks
There are five types of flatwater kayaks, so we’re going to give you a thorough run-through on what they are, and the differences between them.
- Sit-on-top -Sit-on-top kayaks are great for quickly getting on and off, being able to simply flip it over if it tips, and it’s safer not having your legs and feet closed in. This can be a suitable type of kayak for beginners, youth, and you can practice balance.
- Recreational -Recreational kayaks tend to be more comprehensive, have more room in the cockpit area, giving you more comfort, and they’re typically lighter than other kayaks, which makes them easier to carry and transport. A recreational kayak is also usually cheaper than others.
- Pedaling -This one is pretty self-explanatory, but a pedaling kayak is controlled and moved by pedals (like on a bicycle,) and controlled by your feet/legs. This is an excellent kayak for youth/kids with supervision that are beginners, and it’s also a great kayak if you’re wanting a good leg workout!
- Touring -This is the best type of kayak you can get if you kayak long distances. It has a rudder/skeg that allows you to control the direction and stability of the kayak easily,, even in strong winds. This is also a sit-in kayak and has decent cargo space.
- Inflatable -Typically, inflatable kayaks are used for fishing or recreation, and they usually only have a 1-person capacity. Inflatable kayaks typically are shorter/smaller than a tandem kayak but great for packing lighter, easy to carry, and a good size for one person!
Things to Consider
There are many types of kayaks with many different features, but what about the specifics? Here’s a list of more in-depth features and details you will want to consider when shopping for a kayak.
Looking at the weight capacity when buying a kayak is very important. Some kayaks are made specifically for youth up to 100lbs, whereas some others are made for adults, but can still vary between 200-400lbs. You also should keep in mind the weight capacity if you’re getting a 2-person kayak.
Material varies on how heavy-duty the kayak is. If you’re wanting a lighter kayak that’s easier to carry and transport, the material may be higher in price compared to a heavier kayak. In my opinion, it’s more practical to have lightweight equipment if you can, but it’s all about your preference and budget as well.
Polyethylene, composite, and wooden are a few of the most common materials used in kayaks. For affordability, polyethylene plastic is typically the most expensive. Composite materials are made of fiberglass and are the best material to get, being lightweight, and overall an outstanding performance.
Durability is a pretty obvious one, but this ties in with the quality of the product, and anything you buy that will be on the water, significantly longer distances should be durable and of the best quality. Not only for safety reasons but for your money’s worth as well.
Rudders and skegs are some of the most important things to consider if you’re wanting a kayak for long distances. Without a rudder/skeg, you will find it very difficult to control the kayak and its directions in the harsh wind.
Related Post: Best Sandals for Kayaking
After discussing types of kayaks and what to consider, in my opinion, I’d have to say the top type of kayak would be the touring kayak simply because you get the rudder/skegs to ensure control of the kayak in the harsh winds, and more stability. The best material for a kayak to get, I would say, is composite materials. They’re more lightweight, made of fiberglass, and have a great performance.
Another thing you may want to look for, more specifically if you have younger kids kayaking/learning, is the colors on the kayak. If you buy a kayak with brighter colors, it will be much easier to see out on the water. So, if you’re worried about your kid’s safety and having trouble spotting them out on the lake, consider getting a kayak with bright colors or patterns, like green, yellow, or even a bright white would be easy to spot in the evening.
If there’s one key feature that I would say to look out for with every kayak you browse, it would be the weight capacity/limit. The last thing you want is to buy a kayak that has too low weight capacity or is made for youth. So for safety purposes, always look and make sure the kayak is made for your age range and weight capacity.
Although purchasing a kayak may seem like too much, or even a waste of money for the season, there are a ton of advantages. If you or your family usually rent kayaks at the lake, beach, or a resort in the summer, you will save yourself money in the long run and less hassle.
Another advantage is being able to go on adventures whenever you’d like, whether that’s with friends, family, or by yourself. Any of you who love to post photos of your summertime adventures, especially out on the lake, at the cabin, and in a kayak or boat, have even more reason to post every outing on the water!
For those of you who may be looking for a new hobby, or just a fun way to work out, that’s another excellent reason to try out kayaking! You get a workout and a fun adventure all at once.
Frequently Asked Questions
Canoe vs. Kayak?
The difference between a canoe and a kayak is very obvious and significant, but here are the main differences. First off, for canoeing, the paddle is only one-sided, whereas kayaks have two-sided paddles. With kayaks, you can choose to buy one to sit in or on. Whereas with canoes, you can only sit in.
One thing I don’t like about canoeing is how non-sturdy they can feel. All it takes is a strong wind, and it’s harder to control, more accessible to tip. I love that kayaks have better control in those situations and more stability.
What should you bring?
With every adventure and outing, it is always good to go prepared and bring any essentials you may need for safety purposes. When kayaking, you may not have much storage on the kayak itself, but you can pack more if you can bring a backpack. Otherwise, some kayaks have added storage spaces!
Some things you may want to bring with you include a water bottle, bandaids or a small first aid kit, snacks (granola bars, etc.,) Extra change of clothes, sunscreen, and you may want to seal certain items, like your phone or jewelry, in bags to avoid getting them wet.
If you’re kayaking alone, it’s extra important to remember what to bring in case of an emergency or getting stranded. Always have a snack, something warm to wear like a hat, and try to bring a phone with you as long as it can be sealed in a bag safe from the water, charged, and hopefully in service.
How much experience do you need?
Kayaking is very easy and something you can get better at over time. With that being said, it is not smart or safe to go out kayaking if you are not a strong swimmer. Always wear or bring a life jacket for added safety.
Is kayaking safe for kids?
Kayaking is both fun and safe for kids. I suggest getting a two-person kayak for younger kids to help when it comes to supervising them and always have them wear life jackets. Ensure your kids know any safety tips and instructions needed for the kayak they use.
You can find some kayaks (one we have listed above) with puncture-resistant material. This will ensure more safety, make you feel less worried about your kids on the water, and make the kayak more durable. Also, again, keep in mind the weight capacity for the kayak. Kids probably won’t go over the capacity, but they might, so look out for that!
What to wear?
This depends a lot on the weather, but typically it’s best to wear tighter clothes like a wetsuit when kayaking. It can get very windy, so it’s less of a hazard and distraction when your clothes aren’t blowing in the wind like crazy. If you want to wear a hat, you can do that too, and if it’s cold out, always bring extra warm clothes or a hoodie. The last thing you want is to be stranded out on the water, freezing with no change of clothes. And losing service/signal is more common than we’d like it to be.
That is it for our article today on the Best Kayaks Under $300. I hope you found this article helpful, learned some new facts and things to look for, and even found the perfect kayak for yourself. Make sure to share this with your family and friends. Thanks for reading!