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A row of kayaks lined up against a wall.
Outdoor Getaways

10 Best Kayaks For Camping

There are many different types of kayaks that are used for various purposes. In this article, we will look at the 10 best kayaks for camping. 

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh lake water and trees in the morning. It is the best place to be! 

This is why camping is such a popular activity for many people. Canoes and kayaks allow you to have fun on the water with friends and family. 

If you’re looking for an off-the-grid adventure, then consider kayak camping. Here are our suggestions for some of the best kayaks for camping.

Friends kayaking.

10 Of The Best Kayaks For Camping

  1. Pelican Tandem Recreational Kayak
  2. BKC SK287 Angler Touring Kayak
  3. Wilderness Systems Radar 115
  4. Wilderness Systems PUNGO 120
  5. Perception Pescador Pro 12
  6. Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak
  7. Intex Challenger Kayak
  8. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak
  9. Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak
  10. Ocean Kayak Malibu

A lady kayaking near a cliff.

How To Choose The Best Kayak For Camping

Choosing the best kayak for camping depends on your paddling style and what type of water you plan to explore.

  • If you want a kayak that you can use for overnight camping trips, then it is essential to consider what kind of tent or sleeping bag you plan to bring along.
  • A great kayak should be a good fit! It should be comfortable, stable, and have ample storage space.
  • Most kayaks come in different sizes to accommodate varying body types. If your height is similar to the average person’s (5’10”), then there’s no need to worry about getting an extra-large kayak.
  • If you’re taller than average, it may be worth investing in a bigger model so that you don’t feel cramped while paddling.
  • You’ll also want to consider how much weight capacity each model offers before deciding which one is right for you. The more people use it at once, the higher the weight limit.

Friends on a kayak trip.

There are a few types of kayaks that you will likely see when shopping for a camping kayak. They include:

Sit-In Kayaks

Sit-in kayaks are great for fishing, touring, and light overnight trips. They are relatively easy to paddle and offer good maneuverability in calm waters. They also provide adequate storage space and may have small hatches to store valuables.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

The first thing to know about sit-on-top kayaks is that they’re pretty much impossible to capsize. However, they do tend to tip over more often than sit-in models. This can be a problem if your kayak has a lot of gear in it or if you need to cross large open bodies of water, especially in choppy conditions.

 What To Expect On A Kayak Camping Trip

Before you begin your kayak camping trip, you’ll want to consider the amount of gear you can pack. You can either load your gear in multiple bags or get a large waterproof pack that can be strapped to the rear of the kayak.

 You’ll also need to decide whether you’re camping on land or making your campsite on one of the islands dotting the waterway. If you choose to camp on an island, make sure it’s not a private island and that there are no restrictions in place that prohibit camping.

 Next, consider what kind of personal items you should bring, such as bug spray and sunscreen. These items should be kept in a separate bag from those holding your actual gear and supplies. 

As an extra precautionary measure, it’s good to have these items with you even if you plan to be near the shore.

Packing is one of the essential parts of getting ready for your kayak camping trip. To ensure you have everything you need, here is a list of things you shouldn’t forget:

  • An overnight bag or backpack filled with clothes, toiletries, and other personal items.
  • A waterproof bag filled with food and drinks.
  • A separate waterproof bag with an emergency kit.

A lady kayaking in clear water.

10 Of The Best Kayaks For Camping

Pelican Tandem Recreational Kayak

$456.13  in stock
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

At nearly 12-feet in length and with a 350-pound weight capacity, the Pelican Tandem Recreational Kayak is an excellent choice for two adults who want to get out on the water together. Weighing 50 pounds, this kayak is fairly easy for one person to carry down to the water, but it’s still heavy enough to track well when paddling. The adjustable padded backrests provide comfort, while the storage hatch in the bow gives you a place to stash gear for your day of paddling.


  • Great for families
  • Comfortable & lightweight
  • Ample storage capacity


  • Hard to maneuver when full
  • Storage is not airtight

BKC SK287 Angler Touring Kayak

$879.30  in stock
2 new from $879.30
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC SK287 kayak is a well-rounded tandem kayak with many features for the price. The BKC SK287 is a sit-on-top kayak that is easy to paddle and maneuver. It comes with everything you need to get out on the water, including two adjustable deluxe backrests, two aluminum paddles, and a U-shaped center console for storage. 


  • Great for long distances
  • Multiple accessories are included
  • Water-resistant storage


  • For solo travel only
  • Unstable in choppy conditions

Wilderness Systems Radar 115

 out of stock
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

Pure stability. The Radar 115 is the most stable, efficient, and user-friendly recreational kayak in the Wilderness Systems lineup. Its large open cockpit makes it easy to enter and exit and the adjustable seat provides hours of paddling comfort. The Radar 115 is designed to take you where you want to go.


  • Versatile
  • Very stable
  • Comfortable seating


  • Accessories sold separately

Wilderness Systems PUNGO 120

$1,219.00  in stock
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

The Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 is perfect for speed, maneuverability, and stability. The most popular kayak in the Pungo lineup, this boat has been newly redesigned with updated outfitting, a new keel configuration, and updated colors.


  • Customizable dashboard
  • Ergonomic seating


  • Might be too small for taller paddlers
  • Sits too low when in water

A lady kayaking in clear water from below.

Perception Pescador Pro 12

$1,099.00  in stock
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a sit-on-top kayak that is great for recreational and fishing use. Several features usually found on more expensive kayaks enhance the boat’s versatility and performance. These include the adjustable Vantage CT seat, the Keepers foot brace system, and the skid plate.


  • Available in multiple colors
  • Leak-proof construction
  • Customizable seats


  • Unstable in choppy conditions

Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak

 in stock
3 new from $539.00
Free shipping
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

This foldable kayak is the perfect size for a lake or the ocean. It’s rugged enough to take out on any body of water but lightweight enough to throw in your car with ease. You can launch from a beach, dock, or pier, and it will track so well you’ll be paddling circles around any other boat out there. 


  • Travel-friendly
  • Adjustable foot and backrest


  • Unstable in choppy conditions
  • Not ideal for long paddles

Intex Challenger Kayak

 in stock
8 new from $89.39
3 used from $60.47
Free shipping
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

The Intex Challenger Kayak is great for experiencing lakes and mild rivers solo. Lightweight and compact, this kayak is a breeze to assemble and lets you bring the fun of kayaking wherever you go!


  • Travel-friendly
  • Affordable price
  • Fits two comfortably


  • Vulnerable to puncturing
  • Hard to deflate and repack when wet

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak

$710.00  in stock
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

This new style of inflatable kayak combines the best of both worlds: Rigid bow and stern offer better tracking and performance, while the versatility of an inflatable kayak makes it ideal for touring, fitness, or just having fun. The Advanced Elements Sport Kayak is a versatile inflatable kayak designed for recreational paddlers who paddle on lakes, rivers, and slow-moving streams. The sport kayak features a rib-frame design that provides increased paddling performance.


  • Comfortable & lightweight
  • Quick set-up time


  • Very sturdy for an inflatable kayak
  • Easy to store

Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak

 in stock
1 used from $699.99
Free shipping
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

Built for two, this inflatable kayak includes high-pressure spring valves that allow you to inflate and deflate quickly. The adjustable seats will help you stay comfortable while paddling, while the removable fin provides extra tracking. 


  • Comfortable padded seats
  • Accessories included
  • Dog friendly


  • Heavy once inflated

Ocean Kayak Malibu

$999.99  in stock
as of March 3, 2024 4:37 pm

The Ocean Kayak Malibu is an excellent choice for couples who want to take the kids on their next paddle adventure. This versatile sit-on-top kayak has lots of room and plenty of storage options. The bow and stern seat wells fit smaller passengers and have bungee deck lacing to secure gear.


  • Fits two people
  • Dog friendly
  • Versatile


  • Heavy and hard to transport

Kayaks on the beach.

What Kayak Camping Gear Will You Need On Your Trip?

You don’t need much. You can be pretty minimalistic and still have a fantastic experience, but you will want to bring some things. From the clothing you wear to the essential gear you need to survive, we’ve got it covered.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • A dry suit or paddling suit and dry top will keep you warm in cool weather or cold water.
  • Waterproof shoes: You will get wet when kayaking, so plan accordingly.
  • Paddle jacket: A good paddle jacket is a must for any kayaking trip! It keeps your core warm and dry while allowing your arms to move freely.
  • Paddling gloves: Your hands may get cold and wet depending on the temperatures and conditions outside. A pair of waterproof paddling gloves will keep them warm and dry.
  • Base layers/socks/underwear: These should be made of wool or synthetic materials, not cotton, as cotton gets wet and stays wet, which means if it gets cold out that night, it won’t keep you very warm! 

There are a lot of variables to consider when you’re choosing which kayak is best for camping. That’s why we broke them all down for you to be an informed buyer. 

We hope this resource helps and allows you to make the right decision for your needs!