The 14 Best Kayaks of 2020

This curated list of top kayak picks can help you find the perfect kayak for your next trip on the water.

There’s few things like hitting the water on a beautiful day. Enjoy your time in the great outdoors with one of the best kayaks from DICK’S Sporting Goods. Top rated and picked by our experts, there’s a kayak for every skill level and budget.

THE BEST SIT-IN KAYAKS

As the name suggests, a sit-in kayak has a cockpit-style design, allowing you to sit inside the boat. They help give you added shelter from the wind and water and tend to offer more space to store your items.  Take a look at our top five selections.

1. PELICAN MUSTANG 100X KAYAK

 

Feeling comfortable in your kayak is an absolute must. The Pelican Mustang 100X features a padded, comfortable seat, as well as a padded back. Looking to keep your equipment safe and secure? This kayak comes equipped with abundant storage space on the front deck. Want to snap some pictures of your nature cruise? The Pelican Mustang 100x Kayak comes with a smartphone holder right in the cockpit. It’s also one of the best kayaks under $500, to favor your wallet.

Shop the Pelican Mustang 100x Kayak.

2. Pelican Trailblazer 100 NXT Kayak

Are you a beginner on the water? The Pelican Trailblazer 100 NXT is perfect for new adventurers with an affordable price under $300. A kayak that’s easy to paddle and provides stability, this model from Pelican is great for calm waters. Not only does it come in a wide variety of colors but it’s also another great affordable kayak option. Whether your trip is long or short, this kayak is designed to provide comfort and plenty of storage space.

Shop the Pelican Trailblazer 100 NXT Kayak.

3. Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 Kayak

Looking for a kayak with for some character? Under $500, the Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 comes in a distinct tie-dye design, mixing some of your favorite colors. Relatively lightweight at only 44 pounds, this model has molded-in handles to help make carrying it to the water an easy task. This kayak is perfect for beginners and experienced kayakers, with features like tracking and quick maneuverability. The Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 is best for lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers and streams. It’s a great option for anglers, too, with good tracking ability.

Shop the Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 Kayak.

4. Pelican Mustang 120X EXO Kayak

 

If stability is at the top of your wish list for choosing the right kayak, then the Pelican Mustang 120X EXO could be perfect for you. An easier kayak to paddle, this model is another great option under $500. Designed with RAM-X ™ polyethylene and impact-resistant materials, this kayak boasts strength and durability. Need a kayak with more storage? Look no further. The Pelican Mustang 120X EXO features storage at the front, back and inside of your cockpit.

Shop the Pelican Mustang 120X EXO Kayak.

5. Perception JoyRide 10.0 Kayak

The Perception JoyRide 10.0 is designed perfectly for lifestyle-inspired paddling. Sometimes when you’re on the water, you have to stop, take in the scenery and, of course, snap the perfect selfie. Now imagine if a kayak had assistance with that selfie. This kayak includes a selfie slot to secure your device during the ride to tap into your photography needs. Built with two compartments, this Perception model has a thick bulkhead wall to help provide sturdiness, too. If you’re looking for a longer model, opt for the Perception JoyRide 12.0.

Shop the Perception JoyRide 10.0 Kayak.

THE BEST SIT-ON-TOP KAYAKS

Sit-on-top kayaks are versatile and are usually a good option for beginner kayakers. Explore our top six selections and find the right one for you.

1. Pelican Blitz 100X EXO Kayak

Ready to hit the waters for a relaxing ride? Consider opting for the Pelican Blitz 100X EXO. This model makes another great option for under $500 and is a great option for beginners. This lightweight sit-on-top kayak is made with superior tracking, great stability and is easy to paddle. Plus, the Pelican Blitz 100X EXO is a constructed with RAM-X ™ impact-resistant materials, making it a durable option. With four different foot placement slots, you can change up the way you want to sit for custom comfort.

Shop the Pelican Blitz 100X EXO Kayak.

2. Pelican Bandit NXT 100 Kayak

Learn the basics of paddling and tracking with the Pelican Bandit NXT 100. A kayak that’s perfect for beginners, this model is a great option for those looking to spend under $300. Want a kayak that’s as colorful as your personality? The Pelican Bandit NXT 100 comes in a variety of color options to suit your own style. Add more personal belongings to your ride with plenty of storage space, including a platform behind the seat, which features an adjustable padded backrest. This kayak is also a lightweight model, making it easier to carry from land to water.

Shop the Pelican Bandit NXT 100 Kayak.

3. Perception Access 9.5 Kayak

The Perception Access 9.5 has a pontoon styled design and is great option for beginners and intermediate kayakers. Built for lakes, ponds, rivers and light surf, you can take this kayak out on many adventures. This sit-on-top kayak features a padded back molded-in seat and foot wells to help provide added comfort for longer days on the water. You can safely store even more of your belongings too with front and rear storage. If you’re looking for a longer model, check out the Perception Access 11.5 Kayak.

Shop the Perception Access 9.5 Kayak.

4. Perception Hi Life 11.0 Stand-Up Paddle Board Kayak

Can’t choose between paddleboarding and kayaking? Now you don’t have to! The Perception Hi Life 11.0 is a two-in-one model that’s made for both activities. This versatile design is perfect for cruising, fishing or relaxing. For kayaking, this model features an elevated seat with a thick-padded cushion for comfort. For those wanting to paddleboard, this model is made with a grippy surface deck for cushioning support when you do decide to stand up. Whether you’re kayaking or taking advantage of the paddleboard option, store your refreshments and keep them cool with the under seat cooler recess.

Looking to swim, too? This option features a rear swim deck with lowered sides. This can help swimmers get back in their kayak and continue the journey.

Shop the Perception Hi Life 11.0 Stand-Up Paddle Board Kayak.

5. Body Glove Bullet Inflatable Kayak Package

Paddleboarders, you’ve got another option on this list! Stand or sit in the Body Glove Bullet Inflatable Kayak Package. This kayak can be transformed into a paddleboard by simply unclipping the adjustable seat. A durable option with great tracking due to the fin underneath, the Body Glove Bullet Inflatable Kayak Package is great for beginners, intermediates and advanced kayakers. An option that’s lightweight but doesn’t give up durability, this model features high-quality construction that easily cuts through the water.

Shop the Body Glove Bullet Inflatable Kayak Package.

6. Perception Crank 10.0 Pedal Drive Kayak

A great option for cruising down a lake or pond, the Perception Crank 10.0 Pedal Drive is the go-to option for kayakers that want to explore lakes, ponds and calm coastal waters while also getting a leg workout. This sit-on-top option is designed with effortless pedaling made to easily pedal the kayak forward or backward without removing the drive. But don’t forget to bring along your paddle as well. When you don’t need it, you can place it on the side paddle park, which will secure your paddle and keep it away from the water. Coming in multiple color options, the Perception Crank 10.0 Pedal Drive is a great option for anglers, due to bountiful storage space. Get comfortable in you captain’s chair, which can be folded or adjusted, and hit the waters.

Shop the Perception Crank 10.0 Pedal Drive Kayak.

THE BEST TANDEM KAYAKS

What is a tandem kayak? This option has two seats within the boat, making for the perfect partner kayaking experience. These are our top three selections.

1. Perception Rambler 13.5 Tandem Kayak

Bring along your friend for your next trip on the waters with the Perception Rambler 13.5 Tandem Kayak. This option is perfect for any skill or level. A sit-on-top model, it comes equipped with UV-abrasion protection and a thick body to help provide durability. It’s molded-in footwells can help offer comfort and stability within the kayak as well. A durable option with a thick, strong body design, the Perception Rambler 13.5 Tandem was manufactured with less waste to provide an eco-friendly element to your nature adventure.

Shop the Perception Rambler 13.5 Tandem Kayak.

2. Field & Stream Blade Tandem Kayak

Carry this two-person kayak from land to lake with a partner and enjoy your next recreational trip on the water. Want to bring along your electronic equipment to capture the journey? The Field & Stream Blade comes with an action camera mount and dual paddle keepers. This kayak has lots of additional recreational features like convenient carry handles, a removable hatch, drain plug and built-in cup holders. Adjust your foot and back rests for a comfortable, relaxing journey.

Shop the Field & Stream Blade Tandem Kayak.

3. Pelican Blitz 130T Tandem Kayak

Ride the waters with not just one friend, but two friends! The Pelican Blitz 130T has room for a total of three passengers, with eyelets for adding that third seat. Need a kayak with stability and strong tracking abilities? This model is the perfect ride for you. Even with an added third seat, the Pelican Blitz 130T has plenty of space for storing snacks, equipment or gear. This option also provides durability with a solid construction with multi-layered polyethylene.

Shop the Pelican Blitz 130T Tandem Kayak.

Still unsure of the right style for you? Check out our kayak buying guide to help choose.

Ready, set and paddle! Now that you’ve found the perfect kayak for your next aquatic adventure, it’s time to get some additional gear. You can’t kayak without a paddle and vest! Pro Tips has your guide to choosing a kayak paddle and picking out a life vest.