Choosing the Best River Kayak
River Kayaking is a popular activity for those who enjoy adventure, leisure, family trips and fishing and hunting. You will have to know which kayak will do the job whether you float with peace and blue skies or jump into rushing water.
Kayaking is much more accessible than pictures of people sailing from cliffs into raging waterfalls suggest. While most river tours include a mixture of currents, rivers are usually linked to white water. Climbing down a river generally involves long stretches of flat water dotted by speeds of class I and II that do not require the use of specially designed or sports kayaks.
Paddling along the river can expose you to a wide variety of environments, making it hard to believe you are still on the same river.
Kayaking on the river is so popular due to this.
You can rest one minute on slow moving flat water and then rush through heart pumping rapids the next.
If you want to mix it up and incorporate everything from adventure to relaxation and even fishing into one exciting paddle journey, you’ll still need the best river kayak.
Features to search in all-round “recreational” kayaking, and two sportsmanship models that take the best out of canoing.
The two types of kayaks are sit-on and sit-in kayaks. Some paddlers prefer a dry, secure sense of sitting inside, while others prefer sit-on tops (and don’t mind getting wet). It is advisable to compare the benefits of each style. In addition there are tandem and solo ships, as well as watercraft specialized in ocean (sea kayaks) and watersheds (sport kayaks). When it comes to the river kayaking, the waters can be a bit confusing, so it’s a good idea to compare size, characteristics and specifications.
Only one river kayak is difficult to choose, especially if you are new to the sports and do not know what you are going to do with it. Our options have been reduced to three categories:
Best River Kayak for Recreation
Riffles (small or rocky stretcher) and the constantly changing conditions of the rivers with swift currents, novice kayakers and non-adrenaline junkies find lots of adventure. Paddlers that use a longer, more stable boat or can switch on a dime can sail quickly into class III. We recommend several kayaks, which have a paddling experience in Class II – and even Class III – but a sports kayak and training is needed beyond this.
It’s a good idea to brush your quicks up. The classification classes used for rivers are class I (flat water with current or riffle, no obstacles), class II (large but regular waves, clear canals), and class III (larger waves, maneuverability and / or narrow channels). The most common classes are IV and V (require precise paddling, may have large drops). National geographical expeditions are being built around rapids of Class VI.
It’s a good idea to look past the “starter kayak” and to the expensive boats during river trips. Due to their lack of tracking and stability in fast and changing currents, the majority of recreational kayaks are difficult to maneuver.
The Sorrento Kayaking is a great river kayak when you kayak for scenery, fun and family connections and enjoy a day trip. It’s a leisure kayak, but of such good quality and comfort that a more expensive model can never be upgraded. The combination of practical features, retractable steering gears and a smart but stable design make Sorrento a big pleasure.
Sorrento models have a river-specific feature which you will not find in lower-end kayaks. A convenient handle near the seat releases a skeg (or rudder) in the back of the boat, which helps to paddle under windy conditions or current conditions. With a simple handle flip, the skeg can be easily retracted in shallow waters. Sorrento can therefore manage any depth of the river, sail currents and obstacles with ease, comfort and confidence.
The Sorrento is easy to use and is available in two sizes to increase its diversity:
The Sorrento 106sk should be selected for smaller paddlers, and the Sorrento 126sk for larger paddlers.
The 106sk version of Sorrento (10′ 3″) works admirably in swifter streams. Fast water experiences are similar to sports kayaks, as the paddler is low on the water. The spacious cockpit makes getting in and out easy, but the moderate beam 29″ makes it possible for most paddlers to use a shorter paddle to control it better.
The Sorrento 126sk is a superior tracking kayak with a long overall length (12’6″) and rudder which is very efficient for paddling A large legroom will be appreciated by the larger paddlers and a 28.5-inch beam will allow a kayaker with a longer paddle to cover significant distances in a record time. The superior ACS2 seat is standard in Sorrento models and is much more convenient than other kayaks in this class.
River Kayaking for Fun and Function
Kayaks were made for a multitude of river uses. Which option is preferable: sit inside or sit on the roof? Do you want to get something that is easy to use or a multifunctional model? For the best boat, you should look for one that has many features you can utilize, and is good to use from the beginning.
Purchasing a kayak is an investment that you want to get right, and defining your needs will help you make a better decision.
Some kayakers get confused about whether they should sit inside or on top of their boat. When choosing your design approach, keep in mind the trade-offs of each one. Anglers who like to go fishing in rivers will love the sitting-on-top approach because it provides them with stability and ample storage space.
It’s much easier to choose the appropriate fishing or hunting boat because there are so many choices in kayaks with stealth and storage capabilities.
The first step toward finding out what is out there is to understand that a great river kayak rolls with the rapids while gliding through calm waters.
Larger kayaks are better for river running. You can navigate class I and II rapids with ease, and class III rapids can be conquered if you are trained and prepared. Both are stable in swift-flowing water.
You have to be able to drive, carry, and walk with your kayak, and its weight is important. Even those who aren’t especially strong can carry the Sorrento to the river’s put-in and back to the car after a day of paddling because it only weighs 45 pounds. Transporting the larger Sorrento between the shoreline and the car top is quite a challenge, and it’s impossible without help.
The Sorrento’s large rear hatches can serve as a great substitute for touring kayaks on multi-day river excursions. Click Seal technology is used to keep your gear dry, and it can store all your belongings for an overnight trip. Still water, current, and riffles are easy to deal with in these kayaks, while they can also tackle whitewater.
You’ll see the price jump: recreational kayaks cost 400 to500, whereas the Sorrento starts at 800. When customers are deciding on a river boat, the main things they pay attention to are style, capability, and what it can do. While “play boats” only cost200 and can be used to get in a quick paddle close to the shore, they have a number of disadvantages when used on longer trips, including increased difficulty with steering and navigating.
Kayaks used for recreation need to be good at maneuvering, able to move quickly, and must be able to maneuver gracefully in class I – III rapids while maintaining a steady line and pace in calm waters. To help the boat sail straight and maintain its speed in calm water, a feature only found in recreational river kayaks is the secret weapon. This makes the performance-boosting retractable skeg a huge contender.
Best River Kayak
Over the last decade, the number of fishing kayak options has nearly doubled. Kayaks that are used by fishermen and women have gotten new materials and design innovations that they benefit from. Before, recreational kayakers outfitted their boats with features such as nets for fishing. So manufacturers put rod holders into their equipment.
Nowadays, there are different kayaks on the market that have been specifically tailored to suit the needs of anglers. The best selling designs are those that are wide, flat, and open-sided. For smooth cruising on the river and steady casting while standing, look to the Topwater 120 with its DoubleU hull.
This fishing boat has everything one needs, including places to store tackle, rod holders, mounts for accessories, and a transducer mount for installing a fish finder quickly. The back open tank is perfect for your fishing crate, while the bow hatch offers a dry place to store your things.
A wider, more spacious seat is possible because of the generous deck, which is more comfortable to sit on. The ElementAir seat in the Topwater 120 can be placed in a high or low position, providing excellent air circulation. Sitting and standing in the high position is easier because it puts your legs in a more comfortable position, while paddling is more comfortable in the lower position.
Best Multi-Use River Kayak
You’re going to want a kayak that is easy to maneuver, practical, and not boring to paddle when you’re on long stretches of flat water. It should have an advantage over many traditional canoes in terms of fishing and hunting.
Anglers and hunters have a hard time finding a boat that is big enough to be a stable platform in calm waters but small enough to navigate faster water, eddies, and currents. To haul gear while they camp, kayakers need the extra storage space that can be found in kayaks that are capable of handling multiple uses.
Predator MX Angler
The Predator MX Angler is a multi-purpose kayak that can tackle a variety of river fishing challenges. It has a ton of storage space. We chose the Predator MX (“mixed conditions”) because of its versatility and ability to perform in various river conditions.
The Predator MX Angler is a twelve-foot long fishing kayak with a wider beam of 34” that includes a lot of features and has moderate length. It casts accurately, has great casting stability, and has multiple extra features. Let’s talk about some of the Predator MX’s additional features in the next part.
There are many different kinds of multi-purpose vessels, one of which is inflatable kayaks. The Predator’s ability to handle swiftly in the water and being capable of traversing in any location are both lost on the Inflatable River Kayak when compared to the Predator, which lacks the speed of the inflatable.
Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman
The Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman is a fantastic example of a high-quality mix of features that makes it perfect for water sports, including fishing, paddling, and carrying gear. With its rugged, durable construction and ultra-lightweight design, the 119 Solo Sportsman can be portaged, unloaded, and reloaded without assistance.
The development of this boat, which has sold in great numbers over the years to recreational and fishing enthusiasts, is still receiving improvements even though it is already widely considered to be near perfect. Kayak canoes, like this one, are a common form of canoe.
When implemented correctly, the hybrid style incorporates several characteristics often found in kayaks. Just like their sit-on-top kayak cousins, hybrid kayaks are stable, so they are easier to get in and out of. They are able to glide over obstacles and through shallow water, where other canoes may be unable to pass. As an added bonus, crossovers are easy to carry around: whether toted on two wheels or carried by one arm, crossovers are wonderful companions for solo adventurers.
And finally, the paddler can sit low in the water, do powerful, twin-bladed paddle strokes, and rest on footrests. In other words, they paddle very well.
The Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman has a completely open, modular design, which provides lots of space for storage of gear such as tackle crates, decoy bags, and pet items. The complete measurement is 11 feet 9 inches, and it is 32 inches wide and weighs 56 pounds. The kayak-style seat is set back slightly to better balance and provide a more stable position. Because of its padded back and the ability to alter the seating, canoe seats are traditionally less comfortable than the seats in most boats.
The vessels optimize the space they have. For example, the Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman has padded arm rests on each side, which includes trays for lures, shotgun shells, and tools. Rod holders also sit on the arm rests, so you can safely remove a lure. To mount their fishing equipment, tackle, cameras, and other gear, users can simply put the gear on the forward thwart gear track mount. They can also hold their fishing rods in the flush mounted rod holders found on the back thwart.
Fishing kayaks are generally 12′ to 14′ long, big enough to store tackle, have a wide enough beam to keep the boat stable, and are long enough to glide smoothly over flat water.
To enhance river kayaking with a fishing kayak, it is important to look for extra features, such as footbraces and cupholders that will make it easier to retrieve fish from the water.
Boat design is essential to navigating rivers. The Predator MX Angler sports a tri hull, which changes to suit the currents, eddies, and conditions. The unique feature helps distinguish it from other fishing kayaks.
The Predator MX Angler has many attributes that combine to make it extremely stable. To avoid slipping on the deck, they made it out of Exo-Ridge material. It is possible to use a “lift-up” strap to offer extra support. The wide beam helps prevent sway and wobble. Because of its length and advanced tracking, it tracks in the water, while storing equipment, mounting accessories, and performing a variety of tasks. The Element Seating system’s 15-inch height gives it the same amount of comfort as many living room loungers.
The sealable (Click Seal) front storage hatch, as well as a sealable bow hatch, is included in the Predator MX Angler, along with the other features of this kayak, such as dual side tackle holders and side rod bungees. It is equipped with six mounting plates that are all removable and can be positioned to hold or secure any items.
The rear and side molded handles were missed by the Predator MX Angler, which was seen in the absence of molded rear and side handles as well as standard scupper plugs. There’s also an adjustable foot peg system at the start. One significant problem with the kayak is that it is a little heavier than the standard for other models.
A two-wheeled kayak carrier makes it simple to carry even if you can only make it short distances to the water with your kayak on your back. Who is the target audience for and who would enjoy this type of boat? If you’re looking for a boat with incredible stability and capacity for people who want to go out and fish in rough water, the Predator MX Angler is your best choice. The Discovery Solo 119 Sportsman, a lighter weight hybrid river kayak, is best for smaller paddlers who want a kayak that is comfortable and is suited for fishing in small bodies of water only once or twice a year.
Do you want to take a leisurely float, battle white water, fish, or stalk your prey? The right kayak is perfect for your adventure. You need to know what you want to achieve in order to find the ideal option. Old Town has a wide variety of kayaks, so if you’re interested in learning more, you should read our guide.
A river excursion can be perilous because you are at the mercy of the water’s whims, having to navigate your way between obstacles, and being constantly bombarded by rocks and other dangers. To avoid flipping in rapids, you’ll need to prioritize stability as a survival tactic.
The ability to hold a rock-solid center is particularly important when it comes to fishing while using a kayak, and one that is short and wide is preferable in this regard.
It must serve as a stable fishing platform that can maneuver through even the swiftest rivers and other features such as eddies and currents.
A river kayak’s stability is influenced by the beam, the hull’s width. When talking about how stable a kayak is, width has a direct correlation with the kayak’s stability.
Keep this in mind when searching for a kayak that is best for paddlers, particularly newbies and anglers.
Wider kayaks are a bit slower in comparison to their speed.
You’ll be carried along no matter which way you face unless you paddle against the flow. If a narrow hull doesn’t matter in terms of stability, it may be a good option.
Don’t Overlook A River Kayak’s Length
One way to determine how easy a kayak is to move is by studying the hull curve, which goes from bow to stern. River kayaks with rocker profiles are more maneuverable because the hull lifts above the water, and thus you can turn easily.
Consider how long the kayak is before you begin your search. According to common knowledge, smaller kayaks are more nimble and have greater maneuverability.
That’s why they are made with a pronounced rocker and are short even when compared to “stubby” ones. I would put the sweet spot of best kayaks for rivers somewhere between 8 to 10 feet, and anything more than 12 feet is excessive.
Longer boats have more limited maneuverability than smaller boats. This is especially true in tight turns and narrow rivers. So, if you’re wondering if you should buy an ocean kayak (also known as a sea kayak) or a touring kayak for river trips, know that either one will work well.
One sign of a kayak’s maneuverability is the shape of the rocker from bow to stern. River kayaks with a more rocker-profile hull, which has more height in the water, are easier to maneuver.
It’s crucial to think about the kayak’s length. In general, short kayaks are more agile and maneuverable.
That’s why whitewater kayaks are small (even short) and are loaded with rocker. 8 to 10 feet seems to be the optimal length for river kayaks, though nothing bigger than 12 feet.
It is difficult to navigate on boats greater than 12 feet long. This is especially true when you are dealing with small and curvy waterways. A touring kayak, which is ideal for rivers, has enough hull to accommodate a large person and still be nimble enough to maneuver a lot of smaller rapids.