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Best Touring Kayak – Your Adventure Starts Here

  • Updated: November 13, 2019
Best Touring Kayak | Kayaker paddling on the sea

Choosing the best touring kayak is imperative if you wish to make your adventure an epic one!

Using a general or recreational kayak won’t have the same storage or comfort level for long expeditions.

Read next: Check out our review of the best kayak carts, kayaks for beginners, and sit on top kayaks.

Please note: This article contains affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page you won't pay a penny, but we'll get a small commission.

Best Touring Kayak - (Comparison Table)

Best Overall
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak (Yellow/Orange, 14.5-Feet)
Perception Kayak Carolina Sit Inside for Recreation
SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba SS Sit-in Kayak (Blue, 12-Feet)
Best Budget
Perception Kayak Access Sit On Top for Recreation
Brand & Model
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV
Perception Carolina 12
Dolphin Aruba SS Sit-in Touring Kayak
Perception Access 11.5
Type
Sit In
Sit In
Sit In
Sit In
Sit On
Paddlers
1
1
1
1
1
Capacity
158.75 kg (350 lbs)
147.5 kg (325 lbs)
150 kg (331 lbs)
179 kg (395 lbs)
136 kg (300 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Thermoform ABS
Polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene
Length
5.02 m (15.10 ft)
4.45 m (14.6 ft)
3.66 m (12 ft)
3.64 (12 ft)
3.53 m (11.6 ft)
Width
55 cm (21.65)
54.86 cm (21.6 inches)
66 cm (26 inches)
76 cm (30 inches)
78.74 cm (31 inches)
Weight
28.62 kg (63.10 lbs)
23.17 kg (51.1 lbs)
22 kg (49 lbs)
21 kg (47 lbs)
25 kg (55 lbs)
Best Overall
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
Brand & Model
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater
Type
Sit In
Paddlers
1
Capacity
158.75 kg (350 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Length
5.02 m (15.10 ft)
Width
55 cm (21.65)
Weight
28.62 kg (63.10 lbs)
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak (Yellow/Orange, 14.5-Feet)
Brand & Model
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV
Type
Sit In
Paddlers
1
Capacity
147.5 kg (325 lbs)
Material
Thermoform ABS
Length
4.45 m (14.6 ft)
Width
54.86 cm (21.6 inches)
Weight
23.17 kg (51.1 lbs)
Perception Kayak Carolina Sit Inside for Recreation
Brand & Model
Perception Carolina 12
Type
Sit In
Paddlers
1
Capacity
150 kg (331 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Length
3.66 m (12 ft)
Width
66 cm (26 inches)
Weight
22 kg (49 lbs)
SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba SS Sit-in Kayak (Blue, 12-Feet)
Brand & Model
Dolphin Aruba SS Sit-in Touring Kayak
Type
Sit In
Paddlers
1
Capacity
179 kg (395 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Length
3.64 (12 ft)
Width
76 cm (30 inches)
Weight
21 kg (47 lbs)
Best Budget
Perception Kayak Access Sit On Top for Recreation
Brand & Model
Perception Access 11.5
Type
Sit On
Paddlers
1
Capacity
136 kg (300 lbs)
Material
Polyethylene
Length
3.53 m (11.6 ft)
Width
78.74 cm (31 inches)
Weight
25 kg (55 lbs)

Top Touring kayaks

Best Touring Kayak Overall 

Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater

Riot Kayaks has made some superb kayaks and the Brittany Flatwater is no exception. This is an elegant touring yak that is suitable for the beginner and perfect for the experienced.

This makes this craft a fantastic investment if you want to start kayak touring or are looking to upgrade your current vessel.

This kayak is designed for sea voyages but can be equally at home in rivers and estuaries. With a retractable skeg, the Brittany is very stable.

There is a built in space for a compass, and with a built in rudder system, steering and navigation is a sinch.

  • Paddlers: 1
  • Has Skeg: Yes
  • has Rudder: Yes
  • Length: 5.02 m (15.10 ft)
  • Width: 55 cm (21.65)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Capacity: 158.75 kg (350 lbs)
  • Weight: 28.62 kg (63.10 lbs)

What we like

  • Rudder with a retractable skeg.
  • As good on the sea, as well as the river.
  • Easy lock and seal compartments
  • Very stable and tracks well.

What we don't like

  • The seat may be uncomfortable for some users after prolonged periods, but can be swapped out.
  • The rudder is functional but feels flimsy.

Best Touring Sea Kayak

Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV

With fully adjustable seating and foot grips, the Edge 14.5 LV is perfect for longer voyages.

This craft is fast in the water and with its rudder system, it’s very manoeuvrable. You will find the yak tracks well even in rougher waters.

It has built-in rod holders that will enable you to keep lines out while paddling.


The Edge 14.5 LV has duel density storage covers to keep food, and gear dry and secure. If you need extra packing space, there are bungee cords for on deck storage.

  • Paddlers: 1
  • has Rudder: Yes
  • Length: 4.45 m (14.6 ft)
  • Width: 54.86 cm (21.6 inches)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Capacity: 147.5 kg (325 lbs)
  • Weight: 23.17 kg (51.1 lbs)
  • Has Rudder: Yes

What we like

  • Very comfortable, and glides swiftly through the water.
  • Decent amount of storage for all your gear.
  • Easy to steer with excellent manoeuvrability.

What we don't like

  • Does not ship with paddles

Best Value Touring Kayak

Perception Carolina 12

This is a great kayak for the beginner or inexperienced. If you are more experienced this craft allows you the freedom to grow. Its stability and cockpit space are some of its best features.

Its short length and lightweight makes the Carolina easy to transport. Its comfortable seat and ample storage mean this is a great value for money yak.

  • Paddlers: 1
  • Length: 3.66 m (12 ft)
  • Width: 66 cm (26 inches)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Capacity: 150 kg (331 lbs)
  • Weight: ​22 kg (49 lbs)

What we like

  • Leak proof build with buoyancy built into the design
  • Extremely good handling
  • The light construction makes it very easy to transport.

What we don't like

  • Manoeuvrability and speed are not as good as some of the other models in its price range.

Best Touring Kayak For Beginners

Sun Dolphin Aruba SS

Great starter yak for the inexperienced kayaker looking to get into cruising. Although not suited to multi day touring, it's a good little craft for day travels.

The Aruba SS is fully capable of traversing the ocean waves but is equally good on lakes and rivers.

  • Paddlers: 1
  • Length: 3.64 (12 ft)
  • Width: 76 cm (30 inches)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Capacity: 179 kg (395 lbs)
  • Weight: 21 kg (47 lbs)

What we like

  • Most noticeable is this crafts stability.
  • Fully adjustable seat with dry storage.
  • A cup holder is a nice touch.
  • Moulded paddle holder

What we don't like

  • No accessories as part of the package

  • Not suitable for fishing.

  • No foot pegs can make steering difficult.

Best Budget Touring Kayak

Perception Access 11.5

This is a great touring kayak, that is good for fishing. The roomy cockpit allows for a good range of movement for casting and packing away the days catch.

Fishing rod holders make it perfect for keeping lines out while making your way to your destination.

The stability of this yak is one of its biggest features, and makes the transition between the shore and the water safe and easy.

The seating and padding that comes as default is indicative of a much pricier yat.

  • Paddlers: 1
  • Length: 3.53 m (11.5 ft)
  • Width: 78.74 cm (31 inches)
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Capacity: 136 kg (300 lbs)
  • Weight: 25 kg (55 lbs)

What we like

  • Very manoeuvrable
  • Lots of bungee cords for on deck storage.
  • This yak has good carry capacity
  • Moulded paddle holders

What we don't like

  • Scupper holes are are at water level
  • Limited below deck storage
  • Not particularly stable

Buyer's Guide For Touring Kayaks

Comfort

Considering you will be in the kayak for hours on at a time, choosing a yak that provides the right level of comfort is essential. If it’s too small it will spoil your excursion.

Choosing a craft that has customizeable foot straps, and adjustable seating will enable you to stay out on the water.

Capacity

Remember that the vessel you buy will need to hold not only your weight but the weight of all your gear. It is a good idea not to overload your kayak when setting out on long voyages.

Fit for purpose

You may think that all touring yaks are created equal, but this is not the case. Some are suited for river traversal, where others are designed to battle the ocean waves.

If you are looking to brave both the rivers and the sea, then lean towards a sea kayak rather than one designed exclusively for rivers.

Storage

Having enough storage for your journey is critical. There is no running to the corner store if you run out of provisions when you are miles downriver.

The compartments should be watertight, but also easily accessible. Choosing a yak that has on deck storage is a good idea if you are intending for multi-day excursions.

Other considerations

If you are touring solo, choosing a yak that is easy to transport will aid you in your initial setup process. as well as when you get back to shore. A yak that is heavy to lift when you are tired could put a damper on the end of your adventure.

Navigation may seem easy when you are always in sight of your vehicle, or familiar surroundings, but as the point of touring is to explore, having a reliable GPS could prove invaluable.

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Category: Paddle

About the Author Brad Pickering-Dunn

Hey, I'm Brad - the founder and editor of Watercraft Watch. My love for boating is what prompted me to start WatercraftWatch.com – helping people find the right equipment and supplies so they can enjoy their time on the water. I hope you find the articles on the site useful, and share in my love for boating.

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