5 best kayaks for camping in 2023: psst we paddled the Suwannee River in our favorite
Our roundup of the 5 best kayaks for camping
If you’re in the market for a kayak and want to use it while camping, these 5 kayaks will be perfect for you.
They are all rugged and durable enough to handle any rapids or rough waters that might come your way on an overnight trip.
They also have extra features like storage compartments, dry hatches, and high weight capacities that make them perfect for campers!
In a hurry? Here’s our top picks for best kayaks for camping.
Best sit-on-top kayak for camping
- made in the USA
- plenty of gear storage
- easy carry design
- length: 9.5 feet
- weight: 46lbs
Best sit-in kayak for camping
- sit-in design
- deck space for gear storage with included bungees
- carrying handles for easy transport
- length: 10.75 feet
- weight: 41lbs
Best budget kayak for camping
- inflatable design
- supplied with pump and repair patch
- weight: 39lbs
- length: 12 foot
What do I need to know about Kayak camping?
Kayak camping is a fun, affordable way to go camping with your friends or family, but being prepared will help you get the most out of your experience.
One thing that kayak camping requires is some extra gear. You’ll need to pack a tent, sleeping bag, and all your other camping supplies.
It is also important to pack some extra food and water, in case you get stranded on the water for an extended period of time.
Another thing you will want to consider when kayak camping is the weather. Make sure to check a weather forecast before going out on the water.
If you are kayak camping in a coastal area, make sure to check a tide chart as well.
These things will help you know what time of day is best for paddling and when it would be safest to get off of the water.
When packing your gear into your kayak, you’ll need to decide whether you will want to keep it in a dry bag or not. When kayaking, water can splash into your kayak and cause damage to anything that is not waterproof.
When kayak camping, it is important to decide between a two-person or a one-person kayak.
A two-person kayak can hold more weight and gear but may be harder for you to paddle on your own.
5 best kayaks for camping
1. Perception Tribe 9.5 Kayak
Perfect 1-person camping kayak with plenty of gear storage
The Perception Tribe 9.5 Kayak is your perfect choice for a fun day on the water and is our favorite kayak to take camping.
This top-quality kayak is designed specifically for beginner to intermediate paddlers, and with its front and rear tank well storage, you can take all of your camping gear along with you.
The center storage hatch is perfect for keeping your keys and other small items safe and dry, while the built-in drink holder ensures that you stay hydrated during your adventure.
The ergonomic seat design features padded cushioning for optimum comfort on both long and short kayak camping trips.
2. Pelican Sprint XR Kayak
Perfect for intermediate kayakers expecting choppy waters on their camping trip
Looking for a kayak that can keep up with your adventurous spirit?
The Pelican Recreational Sprint 100XR Kayak is perfect for intermediate to advanced kayakers.
It comes with plenty of room on the deck to strap down your gear, and includes a padded seat cushion and adjustable backrest cushion for better support.
At 41lbs in total, the Pelican Sprint 100XR is a super lightweight option with plenty of stability and durability. This is largely thanks to its use of Pelican’s patented RAM-X PREMIUM material.
It features a Deep V Chine Hull for better stability in choppy waters, so if you’re planning a camping trip that involves the sea or relatively rough rapids, this is a great choice.
3. Driftsun Teton 120 Kayak
A large 2 or 3-person kayak designed for camping and/or fishing
The Driftsun Teton 120 Kayak is the perfect choice for those who love spending time on the water.
The rear tank well storage with bungee allows you to keep your supplies close at hand, while the dual watertight storage hatches with inserts provide safe and dry storage for your belongings.
With four fixed carry handles for easy transportation, two paddle park holders to secure your paddles when not in use, and a molded center cockpit seat, this kayak is designed for ultimate comfort and convenience.
Featuring 4 flush mount capped rod holders and 2 mounting points for Scotty accessories, this kayak provides plenty of space to store gear for fishing if you want to squeeze another activity into your trip.
4. Oru Foldable Kayak
The most convenient, transportable kayak imaginable
Looking to get out on the water but don’t want to deal with the hassle of transporting a traditional kayak?
Look no further than the Oru Kayak. This foldable kayak is easy to transport and perfect for beginners or experts alike.
The origami-style folding of the Oru means it can easily fit into the back of even the smallest of trunks, or be conveniently transported to water in an Oru carry case.
And let’s not even get started on the weight. At 26lbs it’s one of the most lightweight kayaks on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less durable. Oru uses state-of-the-art materials to produce a super lightweight but sturdy kayak.
The front and back of the kayak feature tonnes of space to store your camping gear and essentials.
Plus, they undergo extensive strength and durability testing and are rated up to 20,000 folds.
5. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
A fantastic budget kayak for those weekend camping trips
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is perfect for a fishing camping trip or just cruising around on the water.
This kayak is made with tough laminate PVC and a polyester core, making it resistant to damage from abrasion and impact.
High-pressure inflation provides extra rigidity and stability so you can paddle with ease, while the high-pressure spring-loaded valves make inflation and deflation quick and easy.
The kayak also comes with two footrests, two integrated recessed fishing rod holders, two adjustable bucket seats, and a removable mounting bracket for additional accessories.
There is plenty of storage space in the bow and stern of the kayak, as well as stainless steel d rings for tying down your gear or dry bags.