Best Touring Kayaks

Touring Kayaks - Reviews & Guides For 2024

Our Top Touring Kayaks

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Touring kayaks buying guide

When you are too frustrated with the daily dose of stress and pressure, spending some alone time in nature with beautiful views is like a dream come true. You might think that there is no way to relax like this. But wait a second. Touring kayaks are here to make this dream true.

You can take all the gear that you can think of and hop in your kayak with a high storage capacity for a relaxing and soothing adventure. These kayaks will never let your down.

The only thing that you will regret is choosing the wrong kayak. You cannot simply go to the store and pick one or order any model online. You have to consider several factors and make an informed decision.

To ease your scrutinizing process, we have prepared a buying guide that contains all the useful information. You will find all the necessary details in it and will get answers to all your queries.

Let's start with a quick introduction and then dive into this guide to understand all the features.

What are Touring Kayaks, and how are they different from sea kayaks?

If you love exploring the appealing beauty of water and relish exciting water rides, then going on multi-day kayaking trips is the best you can do. But for this, you need the best touring kayaks to give you the best water riding experience.

Unlike regular kayak models, touring kayaks are fast, comfortable, and stable to paddle for several hours at a time. One of the best things about kayaking is the great number of activities that you can enjoy.

It allows you to reach scenic beachside campgrounds, silently explore the estuary (the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream) and relish breathtaking views that can't be seen from the shore.

If you ever plan to go on a long-distance kayaks tour, then getting the best touring kayak is the ideal choice you can make. Touring kayaks will easily cover large distances with ease and reach your favorite distance much faster.

But before making any purchase for Touring kayaks you need to consider some important factors; let's see what they are:

Key terminology to understand

Before the touring kayaks, there is some certain feature that needs to be considered. Here are some of them:

  1. Rocker

The bend or curve between the front and backside of the boat is known as a rocker. It is the curvature of the hull as it rises to the stern and bow.

This term is amicable to those skiers among you. The more rocker you have in your kayaks, the easier you can turn the boat. It changes the level of maneuverability. The higher level of rocker will allow you to control the water-vehicle easily as it will face less resistance from the water.

For touring kayaks, you will need a zero rocker. Most of the touring boats need to be flat as a board on the bottom. Why? Because the more your boat comes in contact with the water, the better the boat will track.

  1. Skeg

Skegness comes in different variants, from metal to plastic. Some skegs are retractable, and some are removable. Skegs help your boat flow in a straight line.

Skegs are useful in tracking. They do not turn sideways. The main control comes from depth.

They are set at a certain depth on your kayak. This depth impacts the turn of your kayak. If you want that your kayak should weathercock more, then you should increase the depth of the skegs.

They are installed using sliders. Typically, you will not find them on recreational kayaks. The main purpose of the component comes into play while tracking. So, you will find them on some touring kayaks.

  1. Rudder

Rudders are more popular than skegs as they can be used to help steer a kayak. But it is also a fact that they seem very familiar with skegs but different in one major way.

Rudders are meant to be actively steered to impact the direction of the boat.

They can be slipped down from their stored position on the top of the deck by use of hull lines that can be found alongside the cockpit.

Apart from this, rudders can be used to attain the same goals as a skeg, but you don't need to be used as such.

  1. Sprayskirt

A spray skirt is the quotidian touring and sea kayak accessory that helps you to keep water out of your kayak boat when paddling in rough conditions.

In any case, if the water is very choppy, you will need a spray skirt because waves may wash over the deck and could destabilize your boat.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Touring Kayaks


Whether it is a cheap plastic recreational kayak, white water playboat, or long sleek touring kayaks, there are varieties of kayak available out there.

But getting the one with the best quality material not only provides you the durability but also alters the comfort, safety, and other metrics.

So it is good to get answers to some crucial questions before choosing a kayak material. Where are you going to use the kayak? Strong whitewater, lake, ocean, or perhaps inshore? In the ocean? What are the dimensions of the kayaks? What gear is it going to take, and how much space will they accommodate?

After analyzing all these questions, you will get to know what material is more suitable for your touring kayaks. Apart from all these questions, there are different materials that are usually used in making kayaks. Here are some of the name:

  1. Polyethylene

Most of the recreational kayaks are usually made with polyethylene. Polyethylene is commonly known by the name of plastic. This material is heated to a very high temperature and molded into a strong well-textured material.

This material is amazingly flexible, durable, has a high threshold against sudden impacts, and can resist serious hard knocks. Polyethylene is highly recommended to use in rocky terrains or an area with high water currents.

But even with all these specifications, these plastic kayaks boats need to be reinforced with protective finishes to protect against extreme UV rays.

  1. Composite

Composite material based kayaks are mainly built from multiple layers of kevlar/Aramid, carbon, or fiberglass/graphic fabric combination and sometimes with the combinations of all three.

During the manufacturing process, several layers of fabric are added to the mold. With the help of vacuum sealing, all the layers are sealed and left for curing. After this, the final product is developed by fusing the deck and hull.

As there are different options of material available in the market, performance altering metrics vary with them.


Weight is another thing that you need to give before acquiring any touring kayaks. The studies show that the average weight of a recreational kayak needs to be 35 pounds, which is 16kg.

And 65 pounds (27kg) for a tandem kayak, and if we talk about the fishing kayak, then it should be no more than 120 pounds(54kg). But most average kayaks weight is 20 pounds (9kg)

But as you find the touring kayaks, the weight will depend on the usage means what your plan to use it for is. So it is good to study your options before going to the one for you.

Because weight is the biggest factor in the everyday use of your kayak. At the end of a rugged paddling day, you might not desire to lug 50 pounds around yourself.

Or, in worse scenarios, you may end up dragging your new kayak on the ground because of its heavyweight. So you should check the wait and, most importantly, your requirements before getting a new touring kayak.

Steerage System

Checking a steerage system before purchasing a touring kayak is a foremost thing that your need to be careful about.

Going on water rides and exploring the lakes and seashores not only rejuvenate your senses but will also give you a sense of freedom.

Imagine yourself sitting on your kayak in the middle of the lake or sea and adoring the beautiful sunset or sunrise (Depends on the time) Or listen to the relaxing music of the wave and the soothing breeze.

This all sounds like a dream, right? But it can be possible if you choose the perfect touring kayak boat for yourself.

So choosing a kayak with the steerage system is the best thing you can do to relish every moment of water riding.


Having the right amount of space and storage on your kayak is vital. If you are going to spend some me-time on your kayak boat, then there are certain things which you may need to carry with you.

But if you don't have enough space in your boat to carry small things for you, it will never be worth purchasing.

Moreover, you also need to check the gear that you are going to carry with you. The kayak should accommodate all the gear and should have enough space for you too.

Hatches can keep your essentials safe, while bungee ropes outside the kayak can increase the capacity too.

The bottom line is, it is always good to have a kayak with storage as you can store all the gear that you will need at the time of paddling or some kind of emergency situation.

Sinkage Level

The sinkage level of the kayak indicates the weight that needs to be placed on the craft to make it sink an inch into the water.

The weight that needs to make it sit an inch lower in the water is known as the sinkage level of the kayak. The higher the sinkage level, the better stability your kayak will provide.

This shows how much weight is needed to make a kayak sit an inch lower in the water. A top-level indicates that the craft of kayak will have greater steadiness.

But if the level is low and you are sailing rough water, then there are high chances that the water will come inside the craft and cause trouble, or in the worst case, your kayak could flip.

So it is good to be smart enough to pick a kayak that offers you a high sinkage level so that you can enjoy your ride without any trouble. And just focus on enjoying the beauty of your surroundings.


No one in this world doesn't like comfort or who doesn't think about his/her comfort while making any product purchase. Of course, we all think about it, whether it is about the comfort of the shoes, buying a camping tent, or touring kayaking.

Touring a kayak is considered best when it provides you complete security and a comfort level while paddling. So make sure that the kayak you purchase is the one you can fit into easily and comfortably.

The more comfortably fit sit-in kayak, the more easily you can control your kayak. There is a kayak available in the market which offers adjustable seats, which allows you to customize the fit of the kayak according to your body shape.

So you can choose between the normal and adjustable seat. But only testing the comfort of the seats is enough. You also need to check if the cockpit is suitable for you not.


When you are buying touring kayaks, several things need your consideration, and checking the weight capacity or weight limit of a kayak is one of them.

Every kayak comes with a weight limit. For instance, a typical recreational kayak boat has a limit of 250 to 300 pounds. A touring kayak has a limit of 350 pounds. A tandem kayak has a limit of 500 to 600 points, while a sit-on-top kayak has a weight capacity of 350 to 400 pounds.

So when purchasing a touring kayak, it is essential to consider the total capacity. If you know about the capacity, you can make a quick decision as you already know your requirements.

But keep one thing in mind don't push your kayak in the matter of weight means don't overburden your boat to enjoy the safe and comfortable trip.


The touring kayaks are created with one thing in mind, and that is performance. These kayaks are purposely built to be outfitted and efficient to emphasize safety, performance, storage, and fit.

Usually, a touring kayak is 14ft and above. Before choosing a kayak yourself, just keep one thing in your mind that the narrower and the longer a kayak is, the more efficient it will perform.

But one thing makes a trade-off there, Lengths may add capacity and efficiency but decreases maneuverability. A narrow kayak may be quick, but it is less stable and offers less room.

So whenever you head out to purchase a kayak, you must consider the weight of yourself and all gear you may take with you.

Hull Shape

There are many designs and features available in touring kayaks, and everyone has their specification and features. So choosing the one is the crucial task that needs to be done perfectly.

So again, it is suggested to get the one that suits your requirements and easily fits in your budget. But this doesn't mean that you should consider the one that easily fits in your pocket.

Don't ever make a compromise with the quality of products just for the sake of saving money. When it comes to choosing the shape of the kayak, the hull shape is the most preferred by professional kayakers. There are three components available in hull shapes. Here is the name of some:

  1. Full hulls

They are primarily used for the sit-on-top kayaks and are most stable as compared to other hull designs when entering and exiting the boat.

  1. Rounded Hulls

As the name specifies, these hulls come with round edges and provide the kayak a torpedo shape that results in increased speed of your kayak due to the less water resistance.

  1. V-Shaped Hulls

As compared to round hulls, these hulls come in a V shape that allows the hull to better cut through the water and makes them very effective at tracking in straight lines.

Skill Level

If you are a professional kayaker and are well aware of every small thing about their feature, then you barely need any guidance for purchase.

Because you are capable enough to get the best one for yourself, but it cannot be the same for a beginner or for the one who doesn't know about the basics of purchasing the kayak.

To make this consideration, it is always suggested the beginners take the help of a professional to purchase the perfect kayak that easily fits in your needs.

The skill level and the years of experience of a professional can give you the best suggestion and make your purchase successful.

Type of Adventure

Before choosing a kayak for the sea or lake, you'll need to consider where and how you are going to use it. You are purchasing them for an adventure or just to fulfill your case.

There are plenty of top-rated touring kayaks available in the versatile market. But there are still differences in design that will make them suitable for certain activities.

For example, if you are planning to go out on a short or single day trip on your local lake, then short, lightweight touring kayaks are the most suitable option for you to choose.

On the other side, if you are going on a multi-day kayak trip like camping trips, you should go with the longer and faster kayak that comes with the abundance of storage.

Kayak Transportation

Because of the size, touring kayaks can be a problematic option for you to transport. Except you get an inflatable that you can set up on the spot, you will need a long kayak to get down to the water.

Due to this, many touring kayaks for the sea require roof racks, even if you are transporting them with a truck or car.

If you don't like the concept of a roof rack in any way, you can go with the kayak trailer that will let you transport several kayaks at once.

Cockpit Design

There are a few kayak plans on paddling lights, including specific cockpit designs. To get the optimal performance and comfort, you will need a kayak for the sea that easily fits according to your body size.

The opening of the kayak needs to be large enough to let you get in and out easily. This means it should be flexible enough to easily fit according to every person's size, no matter if the person is fat or thin.

Less space around in the kayak means that you will have more control over the kayak, which is essential to deal with the choppy water.

On the other side, sitting on the top touring kayaks offers you enough space to position your legs comfortably.


  1. What is the benefit of short paddles in touring kayaks?

Short paddles will cause less fatigue and are easy to maneuver. Also, they are light in weight and will not add extra pressure on your arms.

  1. Is the color of my kayak play any role while deciding on a particular model?

Yes, bright colors have higher visibility and thus will allow others to locate you from a distance. It will increase visibility and safety. In case of any emergency, the locating parties can locate you quickly. So, try to opt for bright colors like yellow, orange, or fluorescent green.

  1. What do you mean by edging in kayak terminology?

It is the process of adding a tilt to the kayak so that one side remains out of the water. It increases the maneuverability of the kayak and allows you to turn it on your wish more easily.

Final verdict

So, here is everything that you need to know while selecting the best model. We have all the aspects of the kayak in this guide in an organized manner. You can quickly skim the features and get a better understanding of touring kayaks.

With proper familiarity, you will never fall into the bear trap of the market. Hopefully, you will get answers to all your questions and queries.

All you need is to purchase the best model and pack all the gear for your upcoming adventures. / - © Copyright 2020