Best Kayak for Camping

For those with an adventurous heart, camping and kayaking are thrilling individual hobbies that are favorites of thousands across the world. By combining the adventure of kayaking with the peacefulness of camping, you have got yourself one of the best outdoor adventures.

Kayaking is undoubtedly one of the more unique ways of discovering the best camping spots. By kayaking the waterways, you have the freedom to explore beautiful inlets, coves, islands, and beaches which make for perfect and often quiet camping spots. No matter where you plan on going camping, there are certain qualities you should look out for when deciding on the best kayak for camping!

Best Kayak for Camping – Who Should Get these?

Those who are planning for a kayak camping trip, or who wants to improve their camping experience and safety would benefit from this article.

Best Kayak for Camping – What to Consider

Location

Gracefully and tactfully combining kayaking with camping is a tricky but essential art. This will become incredibly important before deciding on which kayak is best for camping. Prior consideration of the type of kayaking you think you will spend the majority of your time doing is essential. Without it, you may end up buying a kayak that is mostly unsuitable for this task. There are certain things you need to consider regarding the location before deciding on the best kayak for camping that suits your personal needs.

Weather

Always consider the weather should before buying anything that will be used in the outdoors. It is important to consider the type of weather that is most common for the time of year you plan on heading out on your kayaking and camping adventures. The weather will generally be relative to how far inland your experience is, or what currents and streams are nearby if you plan on adventuring the coastline. 

As a general rule of thumb when buying kayaks, you are going to want a kayak that is strong and durable. Durability becomes especially important if you are considering doing overnight kayaking trips where storms can develop overnight. The last thing you want is to find yourself with a damaged kayak, and no way to safely reach your destination. 

Sea/ Lake/ River

There are different needs for finding the best kayak for camping, depending on where you plan on adventuring. If you are planning on doing most of your kayaking on the sea, then a sit-in kayak or touring kayak will probably be best. These will help ensure that any swells or waves won’t damage or dampen your camping equipment. 

However, if you are planning on kayaking on flat water, such as a lake or river, then a sit-on-top kayak can be considered here. If you are planning on doing a combination of camping trips across a variety of bodies of water, it would be best to choose a touring or sit-in kayak just so that you can be prepared for all eventualities. 

Storage

Storage is a crucial component when deciding on the best kayak for camping. The ideal kayak will have enough storage options, both internally and externally, to store all your camping equipment, food, water, and other necessary supplies. When deciding on which equipment and supplies to bring with you, it is always best to pack as light as possible. In bringing unnecessary items, you risk losing out on stability, speed, and comfort.

Internal Storage

The type of storage a kayak offers can vary, with a disparity between the size and number of internal hatches. These internal hatches are perfect for smaller objects that may need to be within easy reach when paddling. The hull is the ideal place to store bulkier camping equipment. Those items stored in the hull shouldn’t be used during your paddle. Be aware of equal weight distribution when storing items in the hull as you don’t want the kayak to become unstable. 

External Storage

Most kayaks come with some option for utilizing the deck for storage. Some kayaks come with a rear tank, which is a space behind the seat that can hold more items and equipment. These usually come with bungee cords for added security. Other kayaks may not have this rear tank but will have bungee cords at the front and back. Utilize external storage for items that you will use while kayaking, however, sometimes bulkier items may have to be stored here. 

Comfort

The longer your kayaking trip, the more likely you are to have an unpleasant adventure if you are ill-prepared. Comfort is an often overlooked quality when deciding on a kayak for camping, so be sure to take it into account. A cushioned seat and backrest can make all the difference for those longer kayaking trips. An adjustable backrest is even better as you may find that as the journey progresses, your back needs will change. 

Stability

When choosing a kayak to use for mainly overnight camping trips, it is important to keep stability in mind. No matter how great a packer you are, or how lightweight your gear maybe, the weight will eventually add up. It is therefore crucial that you log the weight of your equipment and supplies to ensure that you do not exceed the kayak’s capacity. 

Any added weight, especially if unevenly distributed, will result in a less stable kayak. As such, it is important to consider where best to store your equipment and supplies where it will have a lesser impact. 

Best Kayak for Camping: Our Picks

Below is our list of the best kayaks for camping, that are specifically chosen and ranked based on the qualities mentioned above. 

Perception Carolina 12

This extremely versatile sit-in touring kayak is one of the best kayaks for camping. It offers a large amount of storage, both internally and externally, thanks to two sets of bungee cords. 

Overall Score: 4/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 4.5/5
  • Stability: 4.5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Durability: 4/5

Pros:

  • Adjustable seat
  • Thigh pads for added comfort
  • Is the spray skirt compatible?

Cons:

  • No drain plug

Perception Pescador Pro 12

If you are looking for the best kayak for camping on flat water, this is the best one for you! This sit-on-top kayak is built with comfort and fishing in mind. It has plenty of open storage for all your camping needs. 

Overall Score: 4/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 3/5
  • Stability: 4.5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Durability: 4.5/5

Pros:

  • Adjustable seat
  • Replaceable skid plates
  • Spacious cockpit
  • High max capacity

Cons:

  • Is open top which would not be great for days with a swell
  • Quite heavy (most seat on top is pretty heavy, this one is just a typical one)

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 165

Designed with multi-day trips in mind, this beautiful, long touring kayak is perfect for all your camping needs. There are plenty of storage options available, and the kayak is exceptionally comfortable, which is necessary for those longer overnight trips.

Overall Score: 4/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 4/5
  • Stability: 3.5/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5
  • Durability: 4/5

Pros:

  • Comes equipped with a rudder
  • Has replaceable skid plates

Cons:

  • Is quite narrow

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13

As one of the best versatile sit-on-top kayaks, the Prowler 13 is perfect for both flatwater and rougher water. This kayak has some of the best storage options on the market with plenty of internal and external options. 

Overall Score: 4/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 5/5
  • Stability: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Durability: 3.5/5

Pros:

  • ● Very secure storage
  • ● High max capacity

Cons:

● Has fixed foot braces

Ocean Kayak Venus 10

Designed with a woman’s center of gravity in mind, this kayak is extremely compact and easily maneuvered due to it being lightweight. This kayak is perfect for those shorter kayaking and camping trips that don’t require lots of equipment and supplies.

Overall Score: 4/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 3.5/5
  • Stability: 4.5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Durability: 4/5

Pros:

  • ● Comfortable seat with padding
  • ● Lots of space

Cons:

● Does not have a high max capacity, therefore, is only suitable for smaller people

Riot Edge 14.5 LV 

Featuring internal and external storage options, this narrow touring kayak is ideal for those shorter camping trips. The kayak is extremely streamlined, and as such, reacts well in all weather and water conditions. 

Overall Score: 4/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 4.5/5
  • Stability: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Durability: 3/5

Pros: 

  • Has a rudder system
  • Has drain plugs

Cons: 

  • Kayak is narrower than most other kayaks
  • Isn’t incredibly lightweight for its size

Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12

Lightweight and versatile, this durable and robust kayak is perfect for those not overly accustomed to kayaking. The kayak isn’t entirely sit-in, so it is the ideal stepping stone for those moving from sit-on-tops to sit-in kayaks. 

Overall Score: 3.5/5

  • Performance: 4/5
  • Storage: 3/5
  • Stability: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Durability: 4/5

Pros: 

  • Fun and vibrant colors
  • Perfect for beginners due to its easy entry and exit
  • Large seating area

Cons:

  • Seals on the internal hatches are not watertight

Best Kayak for Camping – Additional Tips and Information

Always Go in Group

Always go in a group is probably, one of the most important rules to keep yourself safe and sound. Having company is the best way to keep the trip fun and safe!

Check You Gears Before Every Trip

Do make sure you check all your gear before heading out, from life jackets, the kayak, all the buckles, the compass… The last thing you want to happen is when you are out in nature and you found some of your gears are not functioning properly.

Bring a First Aid Kit

Always pack a first aid kit that’s with enough meds and necessities for treating the whole group. If you are going for a 2 days trip, normally I would suggest you prepare a spare set because it may be a long trip.

Best Kayak for Camping – Final Words

I hope you found this article useful for preparing your kayak camping trip. This is one of my favorite activities and I hope you will enjoy it as I do.

Have a great Trip out there! Cheers!