More people than ever before are enjoying kayaking as their top outdoor pastime and it’s easy to see why. There’s no better way to explore oceans, rivers and lakes from the water while still enjoying a  fantastic workout!

There are many types and styles of kayak, each with its own features and design, and each has been created for a particular purpose. While some designs have been designed especially for use on flat lakes, others have been designed to ride on the ocean’s surf, and so it can be difficult to know which is the right type for you.

This article looks at some of the top rated kayaks on the market for a range of purposes so you can make an informed decision.

Best Rated Touring Kayak

Although some touring kayaks are in the sit-on-top style, a sit-inside kayak is the best choice for touring. Their efficient hull design and the fact that they offer better protection from harsh elements makes them popular with tourers everywhere. If you read top touring kayak reviews, you’ll see that the Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 receives high ratings thanks to its low volume stern and upswept bow.

This model also features a low rear cockpit which is ideal for rolling techniques. Measuring 17 feet in length and with a 22” beam, it provides a great compromise between maneuverability and speed and it is also very stable when used in rougher waters. Not only that, but its TruTrak skeg system ensures that the user stays on course even in currents and cross winds while the sealed deck hatches are perfect for storing essential items.

Best Inflatable Kayak

For those who want to travel with their kayak but need to carry it with them, for example on a hiking or camping trip, an inflatable model is the perfect choice. Incredibly portable and easy to store, these durable and sophisticated boats are affordable and still move well in the water. One of the best inflatable kayaks is the Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame which has the sturdy frame of a folding model paired with the portability and lower weight of an inflatable. With its collapsible frame made from lightweight aluminum, this model is comfortable and speedy, being capable of maneuvering and tracking as well as any hard model.

Top Fishing Kayak

For keen fishermen who like to be out on the water, a fishing kayak, fully equipped with all of the essential accessories and features that are key to anglers is a must-have. Models which feature fishing rod holders as well as cargo space to store fishing gear come in a range of body shapes, however those with a wider body offer greater stability.

The Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14 has tons of room to store gear and is very stable, being a versatile choice for use on both flat lakes and choppy surf. One of the top features of this model is its bait tank which is in a center console. It features a plug to filter water in and to allow it to flow out, so live bait can easily be kept on board. It also features a casting platform allowing anglers to cast from a standing position.

Best Sit-On-Top Kayak

Sit on top kayaks have no part covering the lower body of the user and can be used for all kinds of functions such as surfing, recreation and fishing. This is a very safe design and as they are very stable, they roll less easily than a sit in model. Sit on top kayaks are best used in warmer climates since there is little protection from bad weather, and they are also a perfect choice for a beginner since there is no need to practice roll and exit techniques in order to operate them safely. These are also very affordable kayaks with the Perception R15 Pescador 12.0 being a top model.

Although it has been designed primarily for use by fishermen, it is perfect for recreational purposes too. Offering high quality at a cheap price, this model is very versatile, fun to use and can be used in all types of water. It also offers plenty of storage and ensures a responsive and smooth ride.

Top Kayak For Beginners

For those who are trying out a kayak for the first time, a beginner-friendly model is essential. One that is very affordable and also stable is a good idea and durability is also key. The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is very popular with newbies thanks to its convenient 10 foot design. A sit-in model, it is very affordable while still being durable and very maneuverable. Thanks to its wide body, it is very stable and its narrow sides and front allow for excellent tracking. As its body is lightweight and it has a very short length, it is also simple to move about when on land.