I think you will agree with me when I say:
Kayaking is an expensive sport, especially if you are a beginner. A kayak itself can be quite expensive and then buying the necessary gear can be an additional burden on the wallet.
For this, we have gathered the top ten most inexpensive kayaks for you so you can have fun at an affordable price.
Now that we have reviewed the best ones, let’s look into detailed reviews of each.
Best Kayak under 200 – Top 10 Reviews
Following are the best kayaks under $200:
#1: Most Spacious Kayak under 200 – Intex Challenger Kayak K1 Review
Intex Challenger K1 kayak is one of the most nimble and durable inflatable kayaks. It is designed to offer maximized cockpit space.
In addition, it also has cargo storage nets and grab lines on both ends. Storage area helps keep your gear close and grab lines play a vital part in pulling it out of the water.
Features of Intex Challenger Kayak K1
- Heavy duty, puncture-resistant 30-gauge PVC
- Two separate air chambers and inflatable I-beam floor for stability and rigidity
- Dimensions: 9 feet x 2 feet 6 inches
- Weight capacity: 220 pounds
- Spacious cockpit with closed deck
- Cargo net and grab lines
- Removable and adjustable seat with removable skeg
- Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation
- Includes high capacity foot pump, repair kit and a carry bag
This kayak is perfect for someone looking for an affordable and durable kayak to take out to lakes and calm rivers. It offers great stability and maneuverability, which makes it perfect for newbies.
Most Spacious Kayak under 200
The most spacious kayak under 200 is Intex Challenger Kayak K1 because it has an open spacious cockpit and with a closed deck and adjustable seat allows maximum comfort.
#2: Most Comfortable 2-Person Kayak under 200 – Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Review
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is one of the most ideal kayaks for 2-people. For two people it offers great rigidity thanks to its I-beam floor. Not only this it also has three air chambers as an added safety feature.
The kayak itself weighs 30.6 pounds but has a weight capacity of 400 pounds.
Features of Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Made from heavy duty rugged vinyl material which is also puncture-resistant
- Dimensions: 10 feet 3 inches x 3 feet; Weight capacity: 400 pounds
- Three separate air chambers
- I-beam floor to add rigidity
- Boston valves for easy assembly and disassembly
- Inflatable and adjustable seats
- Includes high output foot pump, carry bag and repair kit
If you like to go kayaking with your partner then this double seated kayak is for you. It is rigid to support both of the riders and is very comfortable to accommodate you and your partner easily.
Most Comfortable 2-Person Kayak under 200
The most comfortable 2-person kayak under 200 is Intex Explorer K2 kayak because of its adjustable and comfortable seating and spacious cockpit.
#3: Most Durable Inflatable Kayak under 200 – Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak Review
Sevylor Quikpak is known for its innovative tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover design to make their kayaks very durable.
The tarpaulin bottom prevents any damage caused by objects submerged in the water. In addition 21-gauge PVC construction material adds another layer of protection to the kayak’s body.
Another feature of its innovative design is its carry bag that turns into its seat when inflated.
Features of Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak
- 21-gauge PVC construction with tarpaulin bottom and polyester cover
- Comfortable seat that also acts carry bag when deflated
- Multiple air chambers keep the kayak afloat if one of them is damaged
- Airtight system is guaranteed to be leak-proof
- Double lock valves use two locking points for easy inflation and deflation
- Backrest and multi position footrest make the kayak very comfortable
- Drink holder and bungee storage area to keep your goods
If you are someone looking for a kayak that not only provides a fun time on water but also gives freedom of movement, then this sit-on-top kayak is for you.
Most Durable Inflatable Kayak under 200
The most durable inflatable kayak under 200 is Sevylor Quikpak K2 kayak because of its tarpaulin base and polyester cover that protects it from tides and currents and weather conditions.
#4: Best Leak-Proof Kayak under 200 – Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak Review
This kayak lets you enjoy the feel of a full sized kayak while also being super portable at the same time. Like any other good kayak, it also has multiple air chambers that add more safety to it.
Not only this, the main feature of this kayak is that it can be a made 1-person or 2-person kayak, thanks to one of the removable seats.
Features of Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak
- Rugged 22-gauge PVC construction
- Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one of them is damaged
- Airtight System is guaranteed to be leak proof
- Mini double lock and double lock valves use two locking points for easy assembly and disassembly
- Spray covers protect the rider from water splashes
- Fits one to two people thanks to removable middle seat
This kayak is loved by our team when it comes to parents taking their kids out on the water. If you are a parent who would like to take your young ones kayaking, then this kayak is for you. It can handle an adult and two kids easily.
Best Leak-Proof Kayak under 200
The best leak-proof kayak under 200 is Sevylor Fiji 2-person kayak because of its sturdy construction and airtight technology that makes it very durable.
#5: Best Kids Kayak under 200 – Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak Review
This hardshell kayak is one of the best options for kids. It is 6 feet long and has a weight capacity of 130 pounds. It is also very lightweight and weighs not more than 18 pounds.
Features of Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak
- Constructed from high density polyethylene
- Molded finger handles on each side of kayak for easy transportation
- Swim-up step allows easy re-entry on kayak from the water
- Reverse chine for enhanced stability
- Flat bottom hull and twin-fin design for good tracking and stability respectively
- Moulded paddle cradle and moulded foot rests
If you are looking for a kayak for your little one, then this craft is for you. It is safe, and loved by our team for kids.
Best Kids Kayak under 200
The best kids kayak under 200 is Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak because of its perfect length and width, hull design and bottom that makes it highly suitable for kids.
#6: Best Streamlined Kayak under 200 – Intex Challenger K2 Kayak Review
Moving on, Intex Challenger K2 is yet another one of the best inflatable kayaks. It is a two-person craft that moves very smoothly over the water. Its streamlined shape makes the ride very nimble.
It is made from 30-gauge vinyl, which is UV and puncture resistant. This increases its durability. Its increased length not only provides enough space to accommodate two adults and carry 400 pounds of load, but also improves tracking.
The bright color and two air chambers act as additional safety features to this kayak.
Features of Intex Challenger K2 Kayak
- 30-gauge heavy duty vinyl as construction material
- Two separate air chambers to keep the kayak afloat in case one punctures
- Inflatable I-beam floor increases rigidity of the kayak
- Installation of Boston Valves for quick and easy inflation and deflation
- Dimensions: 11 feet 6 inches x 2 feet 6 inches
- Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Spacious cockpit and closed deck with removable and adjustable seats
- Cargo net at the front side and grab lines on both ends
- Removable skeg to add more to directional stability
- Includes high capacity foot pump, two aluminum paddles and repair kit
If you are looking for a kayak that you and your partner can both take out for kayaking then this kayak is for you. It offers exceptional tracking, rigidity and stability for two people, which makes it one of the perfect choices for kayaks.
Best Streamlined Kayak under 200
The best streamlined kayak under 200 is Intex Challenger K2 Kayak because it offers nimble movement and a good balance between its length and width.
#7: Best Lightweight Hardshell Kayak under 200 – Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8 Kayak Review
Sun Dolphin Aruba SS is an 8 feet long sit-inside kayak, which is made from a UV stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene. This kayak is exceptional when it comes to stability due to its shorter length.
Not only this, polythene is a relatively lightweight material which makes it super easy for the kayak to be taken to the kayaking site.
It also includes a dry storage area that you can use to store your goods. This means that it can also be used as a kayak for fishing.
Features of Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8
- Dimensions: 8 feet in length and 2.3 feet wide
- Weight capacity of 260lbs
- UV stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene construction
- Recessed drink holder and carrying handles
- Built in paddle holder and adjustable foot braces
- Storage and shock cord deck rigging
- Adjustable padded seat with comfortable seating area
If you are someone who is looking for a hardshell kayak and is also a newbie then this is for you. Its short length and wider breadth make it very stable.
Best Lightweight Hardshell Kayak under 200
The best lightweight hardshell kayak under 200 is the Sun Dolphin Aruba 8 SS because it’s polythene construction makes it very lightweight yet durable.
1. Basic Types of Kayaks
Before you go ahead and buy the kayak of your choice, you should know the various types of kayaks that are manufactured. This will help you make a wise decision depending on what you will be doing with the kayak and where you will be kayaking.
For example, will you be kayaking for fun, or fishing, or using it to go for a swim, etc.
After you have considered these factors, you can make a well-thought decision regarding the purchase of your kayak. To help you out, following are the basic types of kayaks that you can choose from:
- Sit in Kayaks
Sit in kayaks – as the name suggests – have a closed cockpit that lets you sit inside of it. These kayaks have a depression in the hull that acts as the sitting area. The paddler’s lower body is inside the hull.
Sit-in kayaks are useful in the sense that they can be used in cold as well as warm waters. You can also attack a spray skirt to prevent the water from coming in. This will not only keep you dry, but will also block the wind, keeping your legs warm.
Most of the sit-in kayaks have foot braces for you to find the most comfortable position while paddling. Contrary to mass-opinion, sit in kayaks do have a roomy cockpit and are not confined as some people might believe.
Sit on top Kayaks
In sit-on-top kayaks, as the name suggests, you sit on top of the hull. The hull has a slight depression as to mark the seating area. As a beginner, you might feel like opting for a sit-inside kayak, but we highly recommend that you choose a sit-on-top kayak.
Here is the thing:
As a beginner, you may feel that a sit-inside kayak is too confined. A sit-on-top kayak gives you the freedom of complete movement, which is crucial in the learning process.
Moreover, most of the sit-on-top kayaks are made wider as compared to their sit-inside counterparts. This makes them more stable and perfect for newbies.
One downside to a SOT kayak is that you can use it in warm waters only. However, if you live in a place where the water is always warm then it will be a good investment.
You can take out the SOT kayak for fishing, swimming, surfing and all different kinds of water activities.
Recreational kayaks can be sit-on-top or sit-inside kayaks. If you are someone who is looking for a kayak to leisurely have fun at lakes and rivers then you should get a recreational kayak.
These are designed to be more stable and offer good maneuverability. This is done by an increased beam, which also lessens the chances of capsizing.
If you see yourself as a new paddler, taking pictures on the lake and enjoying the scenery in peace, then this kayak is for you.
As kayak fishing becomes popular, many kayaks are being launched with a lot of fishing features incorporated in them. If you are looking for kayaks for fishing, then you might want to keep an eye out for these features.
They can include paddle holders, fish rod holders, flush and top mounts, storage hatched to keep fishing supplies and gear.
Here is the deal:
You may think that these features are not very important, but they are. When you are on the water fishing, you would want maximum assistance. These are the features that will make your fishing trip fun and easy.
Another great thing about fishing kayaks is that they come in both sit-inside and sit-on-top configuration. We usually recommend that you opt for a sit-on-top kayak as they allow more room for free movement.
A recreational kayak can also double as a fishing kayak because of the stability it offers. Improved stability allows you to cast fishing lines even while standing in your kayak.
2. Where will you be kayaking?
As we mentioned before, this is a very important question to ask yourself: Where will you be kayaking? In a lake, a river, ocean or sea?
Here is the reason why:
Each kayak is made to tolerate the type of water it will be used in. Similarly each of these kayaks has its limit. These are designed and modeled to face the kind of water they will be used in.
Kayaks usually say what water they are suitable for in their manuals. Every water body is assigned a class according to the turbulence of water in it. For instance:
‘Class A’ water means complete still, this can be a lake. Any small, lightweight kayak will give you a good time on such water. Moving on, we have class I, II, III and so on until VI.
Class I refers to calm waters such as a calm river or a calm lake with light waves.
Class II is moderate waters. They have medium to quick water with rapid waves, and may also have rocks and ledges. These can include faster rivers.
Class III is fast rivers with turbulent waters.
As the class goes on so does the difficulty level and demand for more skill and safety.
Stability of a kayak means how stable or steady a kayak feels. It is measured in two folds:
- Primary stability: When a kayak is put on clam steady water
- Secondary stability: When leaned up on its edge or a side to a point upto capsizing
A number of factors affect the stability of your kayak, such as its width, its hull shape and center of gravity.
Keeping weather conditions and other measurements aside, a wider kayak is no doubt more stable than a thinner kayak. Similarly, a flatter hull promises a more stable ride than a V-shaped hull.
We recommend new kayakers to opt for a wider kayak. Once they have a hold of it, they can move to a high-end kayak. However, the downside of a wider kayak is that it is much more difficult to take a turn in it.
Tracking of a kayak refers to how straight a kayak moves. A back-of-the-hand tracking test is to stop paddling and see if it still moves straight. If it does, then it features good tracking.
Tracking ability of a kayak depends upon the length of the hull. Longer the hull, greater is its tracking ability. For a novice paddler, a longer hull can help in tracking. However, it also means that you will have to compromise on maneuverability.
Another advantage of a long kayak is that you will find it faster. Moreover, it will be more efficient as it will move farther with each stroke and would require less effort as compared to a shorter kayak.
When looking for a kayak to buy, you should make sure that it is durable and will last you a while. Kayaks are not something that you buy everyday. So, you would want to spend your money on something that gives you good value for it and lasts a while.
We have seen that a good durable kayak can last about 10 years if maintained properly and kept with care.
Durability largely depends upon the material your kayak is constructed from. Many affordable kayaks are made from fibreglass, carbon, Kevlar or other composite materials. These will make your kayak super lightweight, but can not take harsh usage.
However, other than wood, many affordable kayaks are made out of plastic. Plastic can tolerate the heavy usage and can last you a long time.
When it comes to inflatable kayaks, do not be fooled by its material. Inflatable kayak technology has improved the durability of kayaks a lot.
An experienced kayaker knows that in rocky waters, an inflatable kayak is the one that will bounce back and not be damaged. Multiple layers of PVC, sometimes together with tarpaulin and multiple air chamber design has made inflatable kayaks just as durable as hardshell kayaks.
1. Should you get a sit-on-top kayak or a sit-inside kayak?
If you will be kayaking in cold water, a sit-inside is a better choice. It offers cover from cold water splashes. If you are going to be kayaking in warm waters or during summer time, and do not care about getting wet then a sit-on-top kayak is a good choice.
2. How do I choose a kayak as a beginner?
As a beginner, look for a kayak that is wider, hence more stable. You may have to compromise on speed but you will learn how to get a hold of your craft. In such a case, a sit-on-top kayak is a good choice as these are usually wider. These also offer you freedom to move around easily.
3. How much does a good kayak cost?
A good inexpensive kayak usually costs $150 or more. Professional kayaks may cost somewhere between $1000 to $4000.
4. What should I be aware of while kayaking?
You should be aware of the following things while kayaking:
- Changing weather
- Tides & currents
- Dress for submersion
- Always wear a PFD (personal flotation device)
5. How long does a kayak last?
With normal usage, not being dragged over hard surfaces and taken care of properly, it can last up to 10 years. It will be as good as new, if it is maintained properly.
6. How do I store my kayak in the garage?
For your kayak to last long, store it in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Make sure you wrap it in a tarp and keep it balanced. Unbalanced kayaks can become damaged or dented.
7. What are some basic kayaking tips?
Keep the following tips in your mind:
- Know your and your kayak’s limits
- Make sure to lower your risk of hypothermia
- Be visible and be aware of local boating rules & regulations
- Take a paddling class and try to paddle in groups
- Always create a float plan and tell a friend. Mention where you will be and how long you will be gone for.
- Practice rescue techniques and always keep the right safety gear
8. How should I dress for kayaking?
Make sure you follow the following tips for dressing up for kayaking:
- Dress for water temperature, not the air temperature, opt for a dry suit or a wetsuit.
- Wear layers, especially on the upper part of the body.
- Do not wear cotton, as it tends to hold water and will keep you wet.
- Dress for protection from the sun
9. How accurate are kayak weight limits?
Manufactures usually mention maximum capacity weight limits on their kayaks. Instead of that we need to figure out what is the practical performance weight limit of the kayak. It is usually 30%-35% less than the maximum capacity weight limit.
10. What happens if I exceed the weight limit of my kayak?
A lot of things can happen if the weight limit is exceeded in your kayak. Your vessel will begin to go lower and lower even if it is not becoming water-lodged. Sinking kayak loses its stability and may eventually capsize.
The winner of our roundup is without a doubt Intex Challenger K1 kayak.
Here’s the reason why:
The durability, comfort and ease of portability offered is unmatched. Not only this, it is very affordable and a perfect choice for a novice kayaker. Since it is inflatable, it makes a great choice for condo or apartment dwellers.
It takes not more than 10 minutes to set up using the included hand pump. When we used the electric pump it took us half the time, only 5 minutes. Similarly, it is super quick and easy to deflate.
It paddles perfectly on lakes and calm rivers and is a perfect kayak to improve your skills.
Last but not the least, it is very easy to take care of and simple to maintain. Just make sure that you deflate and dry it properly from all sides before packing it back and you are good to go.