When I say that kayak fishing is an expensive sport for beginners, do you agree?
I am sure you do. We strongly suggest that you first invest in a good inexpensive kayak to polish your skills and then move on to buy a fancy one.
Therefore, we have gathered here the best fishing kayaks under $400 for you so you can make a well-thought decision according to your needs and demands.
Now that we have reviewed the best ones, let’s look into detailed reviews of each.
Best Fishing Kayak under 400 – Top 6 Reviews
Following are the top best fishing kayaks under 400:
#1: Most Comfortable Fishing Kayak under 400 – Lifetime Tamarack Muskie 100 Angler Kayak Review
This is one of our team’s top favorite kayaks for fishing, thanks to all the amazing features it provides. It is made from a sturdy UV-protected high-density polyethylene and has multiple footrests to accommodate differently sized people.
Not only this, two storage compartments provide enough room to keep your goods and T-handles on the ends allow easy transportation.
Features of Lifetime Tamarack Muskie 100 Angler
- Dimensions: 120 inches L x 31 inches W x 14 inches H; Weight Capacity: 275 lbs.
- UV-Protected high density polyethylene as construction material
- Constitutes of stable flat bottom, deep hull tracking channels and chine rails for added stability.
- Two flush mount and one top mount fishing rod holders
- Two 6 inches storage compartments
- Padded seat with multiple footrests for all kinds of riders
- T-handles at front and rear and shock-corded paddle holders
If you are someone who is looking for a comfortable kayak with features that assist in fishing then this kayak is for you. It has fishing rod holders and paddle holders and enough storage capacity to provide one of the best experiences on water.
Most Comfortable Fishing Kayak under 400
The most comfortable fishing kayak under 400 is Lifetime Tamarack Muskie 100 Angler Kayak not only because it offers comfortable seating but also because its various features that help in fishing.
#2: Best Fishing Kayak with Most Storage under 400 – Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS Kayak Review
Next up we have Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS kayak. This is one of our team’s favorites because of its exceptional tracking and stability.
In addition to this it comes with two flush mount rod holders and one swivel rod holder so you can have the best time fishing. Its UV-stabilized fortiflex high density polyethylene makes it very durable as a hardshell kayak.
Features of Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS
- UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene as construction material
- Large open cockpit with adjustable seating and footrests
- Three rod holder: two flush mounted and one swivel
- Portable Accessory Carrier and and storage compartment to keep your things and water bottle holder
- Shock cord deck rigging and self bailing
- Retractable carry handles
If you are looking for an affordable hardshell kayak with a lot of storage space for your fishing trip then this kayak is for you. Not only does it have storage compartments but it also includes PAC for any additional stuff that you want to carry.
Best Fishing Kayak with Most Storage under 400
The best fishing kayak with most storage under 400 is Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS kayak because it includes storage compartments and a portable accessory carrier (PAC). With a weight limit of 250 pounds, there is a lot of room to carry your gear.
#3: Best 2-Person Fishing Kayak under 400 – Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Review
This kayak is one of the most suitable kayaks for two people. It is spacious with comfortable and adjustable seats. Not only this, it has a weight capacity of 400 pounds. This means it can carry two adults very easily.
Heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl and three air chambers make it very durable and provide added safety. In case of any damage or accident, multiple air chambers keep the craft afloat.
Features of Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Heavy duty puncture-resistant vinyl is used as construction material
- Three air chambers and inflatable I-beam floor adds safety and rigidity
- Spacious cockpit with adjustable inflatable seats
- Includes directional skeg
- Dimensions:10 feet 3 inches x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inches
- Boston valves are installed for easy inflation and deflation
If you are someone who is looking for a kayak for yourself and your partner then this kayak is for you. It has ample room to accommodate two full grown people comfortably and provide the best time on water.
Best 2-Person Fishing Kayak under 400
The best 2-person fishing kayak under 400 is the Intex Explorer K2 kayak as it is very spacious and offers maximum comfort to you and your partner on your fishing trip.
#4: Most Durable Fishing Kayak under 400 – Sevylor Quikpak K5 Kayak Review
This kayak is on our list because of its durability and innovative design. Not only is it made of 24-gauge PVC material but also has a tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover for additional protection.
Its speciality is that the carry bag turns into a seat when the craft is inflated. Moreover it has multiple air chambers so that at least one of them keeps the kayak afloat in case of an accident.
Features of Sevylor Quikpak K5 Kayak
- 24-gauge PVC construction with tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover
- Multiple air chambers and air-tight leak-proof system
- Includes a spray cover to keep you dry from water splashes
- D-rings and bungee storage area lets to carry your gear
- Double Lock valves use two locking points for easy inflation and deflation
This kayak is for those people who like to travel light. With its innovative design, it is very easy to transport and its 5-min setup lets you spend more time on water.
Most Durable Fishing Kayak under 400
The most durable fishing kayak under 400 is Sevylor Quikpak K-5 kayak because it uses rugged 24-gauge PVC. In addition, it has a tarpaulin bottom to protect it from any damages caused by bumps in the water. The polyester cover also provides additional protection.
#5: Best Tandem Fishing Kayak under 400 – Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak Review
Moving on, this kayak is another good-quality sit-on-top inflatable kayak that our team loves. It is a convertible kayak. It can be used as a single or a double.
Moreover, it is made up of tough 600 denier nylon cover with triple layered bottom which makes it very durable. It also includes heavy duty D-rings to secure down your fishing gear and goods.
Features of Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak
- Convertible two or one person inflatable kayak with I-Beam floor
- Made form a sturdy 600 denier nylon cover with triple layer bottom
- The two seats are sturdy, adjustable and nylon covered
- Includes D-ring tie downs and elastic cords on both ends for securing gear and goods
- Two soft handles for easy carrying
- High pressure boston valves for quick inflation and deflation
- Includes two detachable seats, removable skeg, bellows foot pump and carry bag
This kayak is for you if you kayak solo or even with your partner. It is spacious and sturdy for two people. Also, it is very rigid and durable so you can bring your dog along if you want.
Best Tandem Fishing Kayak under 400
The best tandem fishing kayak under 400 is Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak because it is a convertible. You can take it out for a solo run as well as with your partner. It is spacious and has enough room for two people to ride comfortably.
#6: Best 3-Person Fishing Kayak under 400 – Sevylor Big Basin Kayak Review
Sevylor Big Basin is the ultimate kayak for three-people. It has a big open cockpit so you can sit on top of it. As many other Sevylor kayaks, it is also made from heavy-duty rugged PVC and has a tarpaulin base. Additionally, it has a polyester cover to protect it from any other damage.
This three-person kayak does not feel confined at all but in fact promises a good fishing trip for you and your friends. It has comfortable and adjustable seats and an air-tight system guarantees no leaks at all.
Features of Sevylor Big Basin Kayak
- Heavy-duty rugged PVC construction with tarpaulin base and polyester cover
- Multiple air chambers to keep it afloat in case one punctures
- Comfortable and adjustable seats
- Boston Valve is double threaded for easy inflation and deflation
- Carry handle to easily transport it to and from water
- Includes spray covers to keep the rider dry in addition to a leak-proof air tight system.
This kayak is for you if you like to go kayaking with your friends. It can hold three people very easily. This kayak is for you and your friends to have fun on water.
Best 3-Person Fishing Kayak under 400
The best 3-person fishing kayak under 400 is Sevylor Big Basin Kayak because of how comfortable and accommodating it is for three people.
1. Inflatable vs hardshell
If you are new to kayaking then deciding between an inflatable kayak and a hardshell kayak can be a challenge. Therefore we have gathered the following pros and cons for both of them so that you can make a well informed decision.
This decision usually depends on the type of kayak that you want, if you have enough storage area, site of kayaking etc.
- Construction Material
Hardshell kayaks, also known as, rigid kayaks are usually made from wood, plastic, fiberglass or a composite called Kevlar. Whereas inflatable or blow up kayaks are made from synthetic rubber or plastic polymers.
Here is the thing:
Construction material directly relates to the weight and durability of the kayak.
Hardshell kayaks are heavier than inflatable kayaks. A hardshell kayak can weigh around 55 pounds whereas an inflatable kayak weighs around 25-27 pounds when inflated.
Coming to the durability of the two crafts: Do not be fooled by the rubber or plastic construction of the inflatable kayaks. Blow-up kayaks have proven to be just as durable and strong as hardshell kayaks.
The new technology has brought new puncture-resistant and abrasion-proof construction materials to tackle any obstacle in the water.
This is no hidden information that hardshell kayaks do cost higher than inflatable kayaks. This is due to the fact that wood and fiberglass cost more than synthetic rubber and plastic polymers.
A good inflatable kayak with all the good features may also cost you a little more but it will provide more durability. It will be tougher and leak-proof.
In addition to this, inflatable kayaks also have very low maintenance cost. While materials like wood and fiberglass are more prone to damage, they are also more expensive to fix.
On the other hand, inflatable kayaks have redundant air chambers to prevent any leak and lower the chances of tear. Also, most of the inflatable kayaks come with their own puncture repair kit resulting in low maintenance cost.
- Safety Features
A hardshell kayak comes across as a more durable and tougher kayak that it is, in water. One of the advantages of hardshell kayaks is that they can be paddled in almost all kinds of water, even in sea and fast flowing rivers. Inflatable kayaks do not offer this kind of versatility.
However, an inflatable kayak is a very good choice in manageable waters. We have noticed that over the past decade, a lot of improvement has been made in inflatable technology. We now have inflatable kayaks that can handle Class III and IV waters as well.
One of the safety features that we love about inflatable kayaks is ‘multiple air chambers’. This is a very smart way to ensure safety of the kayakers. In case one of the air chambers is damaged, others keep the kayak afloat.
- Storage Space and Transportation
Here is the thing with hardshell kayaks:
They require a lot of room for storage. I will be straight with you, you need a spacious place such as a garage to store your rigid kayak.
For an inflatable kayak, you can store it in a duffle bag or a carry bag and keep it in your cabinet. If you are a condo or apartment dweller then an inflatable kayak is the best choice for you.
Moreover, transporting your kayak to the water body can be a hassle if it is a hardshell craft. You will need a roof rack or a trailer to carry your kayak to the fishing site.
In case of an inflatable kayak, you can just keep it in the trunk of your car or lay it flat on the back seat when travelling.
This is one of the drawbacks of inflatable kayaks. They require time to set up and be ready. Usually, with a good manual pump, inflatable kayaks require 5-10 minutes to be up and running.
Similarly, they require some time to deflate. So, you will have to get out of the water 10-15 minutes early for the proper tear down of your kayak and packing.
This is where hardshell kayaks are at advantage. All you have to do is unload and launch it in the water. This lets you spend more time on water.
When it comes to proper maintenance and taking care of your craft, hardshell kayaks require more attention.
First of all: They need a proper place for their storage. Secondly, after taking it out of water, it is important to clean and dry it out completely.
In case of blow-up kayaks, deflation and drying it up is all that you have to take care of.
- Tracking and Stability
Tracking and stability are related to the length, width and shape of your kayak.
A wider kayak offers more stability, due to a lower center of gravity. Inflatable kayaks are wider than their hardshell counterparts. Therefore, we recommend an inflatable kayak to a newbie kayaker.
However, the downside to a wide kayak is slower speed.
The length of the kayak is directly related with its tracking. Tracking is how well a kayak moves straight or stays on track. Hardshell kayaks are usually narrower and longer than inflatable kayaks. Longer kayaks are also faster. However, they are harder to control and maneuver.
Hardshell kayaks cut through the water more easily, therefore track well.
In conclusion, it is important to find a balance between the length and width of your kayak that suits you.
- Which kayak should I get as a beginner?
Considering all the factors mentioned above, it actually comes down to what kind of kayak you want and where will you be kayaking.
Inflatable kayaks are a good way to start with kayaking. They offer better stability for a novice rider and are more affordable.
As a beginner, you are probably going to start at a calm lake or a calm river, making an inflatable kayak a better choice. Once you have polished your skills and have gained experience you can upgrade to a longer hardshell kayak.
2. What makes fishing kayak a fishing kayak?
- Storage Space
For your kayak to be suitable for fishing, make sure it has ample storage space. It can be in the form of storage hatched, D-ring ties or bungee storage. This is necessary to keep your fishing gear and should be accessible easily.
- Fishing Rod Holders
These are not a must, but extremely helpful. If your kayak doesn’t have them, you can easily have them installed later.
You can either paddle or fish at a time. So it’s important to have at least a fishing rod holder. Paddle holders can also prove to be very useful.
As fishing requires you to stay in a spot for long stretches of time, a rod holder can be helpful so you do not get tired and fatigued.
- Flush Mounts
Flush mounts are another great feature to have in your kayak for fishing. You can use it to mount a fish finder or a camera.
When selecting a kayak for fishing for yourself, we do not recommend that you compromise on comfort.
It is very important that your fishing kayak is comfortable, spacious, has all the features to assist in fishing and the storage areas are easily accessible.
Fishing requires you to spend long stretches of time on water. Make sure that the seating of your kayak is padded and back support is good. You would want your fishing trip to be fun and relaxing. Choosing a kayak that offers maximum comfort results in a fun trip. Otherwise you will end up frustrated and tired.
4. Safety Tips to Remember
Following safety measures should always be taken when going on a fishing trip:
- Plan your trip beforehand and alway share it with someone. Then stick to your plan. This includes where you are, how long will you be gone, etc.
- Be prepared for weather conditions. Check the weather beforehand. Check the water temperature, not air temperature.
- Dress appropriately. Wear a dry suit or a wet suit if needed. Choose a long sleeve shirt in case of warm conditions.
- No matter how safe your craft is, always wear a Personal Floating Device.
- Stay hydrated, bring water and snacks.
1. Are sit-on-top kayaks better for fishing?
Yes, sit on top kayaks can be better than sit-inside kayaks for fishing. Sit on top kayaks do not feel very confined and provide room for free and easy movement.
2. Can I use lake kayak in the ocean?
No, a lake kayak should not be used in the sea or ocean. However, a sea or ocean kayak can be used in a river or a lake, although not very effectively. A lake kayak is designed for a lake, to handle calm and manageable water conditions. It can not tolerate waves and currents of an ocean and it will be dangerous to do that.
3. What should I look for when buying my kayak for fishing?
When buying your kayak for fishing, make sure it has ample storage, it is comfortable to sit in, and offers good tracking and maneuverability according to your experience.
4. How much does a good kayak cost?
A good kayak for beginners can cost a little higher than $150. The figures usually stay in three digits. A professional kayak for fishing and whitewaters can cost from $1000 to $4000.
5. Is a cheap kayak worth it?
We believe that a cheap kayak is not worth it. Unless you find a good kayak at an affordable price, we recommend that you rather buy a second hand kayak to polish your skills and then move on to a new one for yourself.
6. Are inflatable kayaks durable?
Yes, inflatable kayaks are durable and just as good as any conventional kayak. They are safer and reliable as the technology advances.
7. Is it necessary to learn to swim for kayaking?
Even though swimming is not required for kayaking, capsizing happens. In case it does, it’s important that you know how to swim. When starting kayaking, choose a calm river or a lake. Do not go whitewater or ocean kayaking if you do not know how to swim.
8. Is it necessary to get a kayak with rod holders?
No it is not necessary, however it is a very helpful feature and can make your fishing trip a lot fun and a lot less tiring.
9. How is a white-water kayak different from touring kayak?
White-water kayaks are designed to handle rapid currents in fast flowing rivers. They are usually shorter and have a round bottom that helps in turbulent water.
Sea kayaks or touring kayaks, are very narrow and have a V-shaped front end to cut the water waves. They are fast, but at the expense of stability.
10. Is a double-person kayak a good choice?
A tandem or double person kayak is a good choice if you go kayaking with your family. However, most of the time you will find yourself kayaking alone. So, it is smart to invest in a single or two single kayaks, instead of one tandem kayak.
The clear winner of the round up is Lifetime Tamarack Muskie 100 Angler Kayak. This is our team’s hot favorite because of the comfort and the features it offers.
Fishing requires you to sit in one spot for longer periods of time. This is the reason, your kayak should be comfortable, have enough room and accessories to assist you in fishing. This kayak has three rod holders, one top mount and two flush mounts.
Our winner has the perfect length to width ratio, for it to track well as well as offer good stability.
In addition, it has two 6-inch storage compartments to hold your gear. These compartments are easy to reach and are very accessible while you are on water. Very few other kayaks come with these many features and that too at a super affordable price.