Best Touring Kayaks: Expert Reviews & Tips

Touring kayaks are perfect for long, peaceful trips on flat water. They are built to go fast and straight, carrying lots of gear. To pick the best one for you, think about your size, where you’ll paddle, the water conditions, and your skill level.

Need help finding a top touring kayak? Our guide and reviews are here to assist. Eddyline’s Fathom and Delta Kayaks’ Delta 16 stand out with high ratings. Equinox by Eddyline Kayaks and Riot Kayaks’ Edge 14.5 are also popular choices. Wilderness Systems’ Tsunami 145 is loved by many, with a high rating from over 100 reviews.

Old Town’s Castine 140 is known for being stable, while Stellar Kayaks and Surfskis’ Stellar 18′ (S18) offers speed and stability for long tours.

Key Takeaways

  • Touring kayaks excel in speed, stability, and cargo capacity, making them ideal for long journeys.
  • Consider your size, trip type, water conditions, and paddling skills when selecting a kayak.
  • Top-rated models include the Eddyline Fathom, Delta 16, and Eddyline Equinox.
  • The Tsunami 145 by Wilderness Systems is highly popular, with extensive positive reviews.
  • Old Town’s Castine 140 and Stellar’s S18 are notable for their unique features and performance.

Introduction to Touring Kayaks

For longer trips on the water, you need a special kind of kayak called a touring kayak. These kayaks are designed for efficiency. They have longer, narrower shapes to move through the water easily. They are perfect for when you want to paddle for a long time. Various skill levels and body sizes can find a touring kayak that fits them well. They have many features to make your journey more enjoyable.

What Are Touring Kayaks?

Touring kayaks are made for adventures on big bodies of water. They are usually between 14 and 16 feet long. You can find them made of tough materials like roto-molded plastic or smooth fiberglass. The ones made of fiberglass usually include a special feature called a skeg. This helps with steering in windy conditions.

These kayaks work for everyone, from beginners to experts. And they are not just for fun. They are also good for exploring tough waters. Touring kayaks are longer than casual kayaks, which helps them move straighter. They can also hold a lot of gear for trips. This makes them a great choice for serious paddlers.

Why Choose a Touring Kayak?

Choosing a touring kayak means you enjoy challenging yourself on the water. These kayaks keep you stable, even when the water gets rough. They also have plenty of room to store your things for long trips. And they steer well in a straight line, thanks to their design.

If you’re thinking about touring kayaks, remember they are longer. They start at 14 feet and can be much longer for two people. Brands like Dagger, P&H, and Valley make some of the best touring kayaks. They offer options at different prices, from $1,500 to $2,900.

The Kayak Academy is known for its great sea kayaks and customer service. They believe finding the right kayak is more important than finding a perfect one. Demos are available from November 1st to February 28th. So, now is the perfect time to check out a touring kayak.

Top-Rated Touring Kayak Brands

top rated touring kayaks

Renowned touring kayak brands are known for their quality builds and top performance. Eddyline, Delta Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, and Old Town stand out among the top rated touring kayaks. Their unique features and high standards make them leaders in the touring kayak market.

Eddyline Kayaks

Eddyline Kayaks are famous for their sleek looks and toughness. The Fathom model, with 4.5 stars from 25 reviews, has a great hull and an optional rudder. This makes it a top choice for long trips. The Equinox also shines with 4.8 stars. It’s loved for its steady glide and comfy ride, placing it high among the top rated touring kayaks.

Delta Kayaks

Delta Kayaks impress by combining speed and innovation well. The Delta 16 has 4.7 stars for its quick moves and smart hull. It’s great for those who want to move fast. This puts Delta Kayaks at the forefront of touring kayak brands.

Wilderness Systems

Wilderness Systems are known for tough yet easy-to-use designs. The Tsunami 145 is beloved for its 4.5-star stability and roominess. It’s a popular choice for those who need a spacious, reliable touring kayak. Wilderness Systems’ kayaks are often among the top rated touring kayaks.

Old Town Canoe and Kayak

Old Town’s Castine 140 boats are famous for being super durable and comfy. They’re great for weekend adventures, with lots of space for your gear. This highlights Old Town’s image as a go-to touring kayak brand for long trips.

Kayak ModelBrandConsumer RatingTotal Reviews
Delta 16Delta Kayaks4.713
Tsunami 145Wilderness Systems4.5103
Castine 140Old Town Canoe and KayakNot RatedPositive Feedback

Features to Look for in Touring Kayaks

When picking a touring kayak, you have to look at some important things for the best experience. Let’s check out the key touring kayak features.

Hull Design

The design of the kayak’s hull impacts its performance a lot on the water. Touring kayaks usually have longer and narrower hulls. This makes them faster and better at gliding. They also do a great job at following a straight line, which is perfect for long trips on calm waters. The hull design plays a big role in how easy the kayak is to control and how stable it feels, especially in different water types.

Comfort and Fit

Kayak comfort is key for those long days out on the water. Touring kayaks are made with adjustable seats and thigh braces to fit you perfectly. This means less tiredness and more fun while you paddle. The seating area should be roomy for various body sizes yet snug to paddle efficiently.

Storage Capacity

One outstanding thing about touring kayaks is how much they can store. They have hatches and bulkheads to keep your camping gear and food dry. There’s also deck rigging for quickly reaching items you need often. This storage feature boosts the kayak’s practicality a lot.

Rudder and Skeg Systems

Many touring kayaks have rudders and skegs. A rudder helps you steer with your feet, which is super useful in wind or currents. The skeg drops down to keep the kayak moving straight, even in rough water. These features are vital for staying on your chosen path with accuracy and saving energy.

Hull DesignLonger and narrowerEnhanced speed, glide, and tracking
Comfort and FitAdjustable seats, thigh bracesReduced fatigue, customized fit
Storage CapacityHatches, bulkheads, deck riggingAmple space for gear and supplies
Rudder and Skeg SystemsFoot pedal rudders, drop-skegsImproved control and tracking

If you want to learn even more about touring kayaks, guides like this one are a great resource.

Best Lightweight Touring Kayaks

Choosing the best lightweight touring kayaks is important for paddlers. They need a kayak that performs well and is easy to move. The models below are known for their great features and design. They are the top choices for many people.

Eddyline Skylark

The Eddyline Skylark is all about being efficient and comfortable. It’s made from ABS plastic. This makes it strong but not too heavy. You can easily handle it on and off the water.

  • Weight: It weighs just under 41 lbs, so it’s light for carrying.
  • Material: The ABS plastic is tough and durable.
  • Design: It balances stability and easy turning, good for all types of paddlers.
  • Performance: It tracks straight and is stable, working well in different water conditions.

Delta 16

The Delta 16 is also a top kayak for touring. It’s praised for its maneuverability and great tracking ability. You can use it in quiet or rough waters.

  • Weight: It’s about 44 lbs, which is not too light or heavy.
  • Storage: There’s plenty of room for your gear, perfect for long trips.
  • Material: It’s made of UV-treated Thermoform, giving it a strong but light build.
  • Features: It includes a skeg system for better tracking and control.

After reading 35 reviews on 29 touring kayaks, the Eddyline Skylark and Delta 16 came out on top. They lead because they are light yet perform well. This shows they are great choices for those who want quality and easy transport.

Knowing what to look for in a lightweight touring kayak is key. The Eddyline Skylark stands out for its smart design. The Delta 16 is known for its versatile use. These kayaks show why they are popular among people looking for top-notch performance and easy handling.

Affordable Touring Kayaks: Balancing Price and Performance

affordable touring kayaks

Finding the right mix of price and quality is key for kayak enthusiasts. They want a good deal on touring kayaks but not at the expense of essential features. Let’s look at three kayaks that strike a great balance.

Old Town Vapor 10

The Old Town Vapor 10 scored 67 overall, focusing on stability and build quality (both 7.0). It’s 10 feet long, perfect for newbies, and built to last. Even with its affordable price tag, the Vapor 10 doesn’t cut corners on durability. It’s a great choice for those watching their budget.

Ocean Kayak Malibu 11.5

The Ocean Kayak Malibu 11.5 shines with a 71 overall score, thanks to outstanding glide, tracking, and build quality (all 8.0). It’s 11′ 5″ long and can carry up to 360 lbs, offering stability and durability. Combining top-notch features with cost-effectiveness, it’s perfect for budget-conscious shoppers looking for quality.

Wilderness Systems Pungo 120

The Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 impresses with a 76 overall score, excelling in glide, stability, and comfort (all 8.0). At 12′ 2″ long, it can carry 325 lbs, making it versatile for various water activities. It’s known for its unmatched performance in touring kayaks, offering a comfortable, stable, and versatile paddling experience at a fair price.

Touring Kayaks for Beginners

beginner touring kayaks

Looking for the right kayak as a beginner? Think about stability, comfort, and how easy it is to use. The Eddyline Fathom, Riot Kayaks’ Edge 14.5, and Wilderness Systems’ Tsunami 145 are top choices. They make learning to kayak smooth and secure.

Eddyline Fathom

The Eddyline Fathom is known for its stability and easy paddling. It has a 4.5-star rating from 25 reviews. Perfect for beginners, it tracks well and is easy to turn. Its light build makes it easy to handle and comfy seats ensure long trips are a joy.

Edge 14.5 by Riot Kayaks

The Edge 14.5 by Riot Kayaks gets a 4.6-star rating from 38 reviews. It’s a balanced kayak, great for both speed and stability. It has roomy compartments for your gear on longer trips, ensuring you’re prepared.

Tsunami 145 by Wilderness Systems

The Tsunami 145 by Wilderness Systems is a favorite among beginners, with a 4.5-star rating from 103 reviews. It’s loved for its big cockpit and adjustable features. This kayak fits you just right, making control and comfort easy. Its steady hull helps new paddlers learn with confidence.

The Eddyline Fathom, Riot Kayaks’ Edge 14.5, and Wilderness Systems’ Tsunami 145 are great starter kayaks. They focus on safety, comfort, and ease to welcome you to kayaking.

Advanced Touring Kayaks for Experienced Paddlers

For skilled paddlers, advanced touring kayaks are a must. These kayaks are fast, stable, and precise, perfect for tough waters and long trips. Let’s look at three top models for those who know their way around a paddle.

Stellar 18′ Touring Kayak (S18)

The Stellar 18′ Touring Kayak (S18) shines with a sleek look and great performance. It’s light and efficient, meaning it’s super fast and tracks well. Paddlers love its durability and how easy it glides through any water.

Current Designs Solstice GTS

The Current Designs Solstice GTS is designed for experienced kayakers. It’s stable and handles with precision in different water types. Plus, it has an adjustable rudder for better maneuvering on long trips.

Seaward Kayaks Chilco

The Seaward Kayaks Chilco is praised for its high performance, beauty, and reasonable price. It targets skilled paddlers, offering speed, stability, and space. Its hull is well-designed, making paddling smooth even in challenging waters.

Touring Kayaks Buying Guide

Choosing the right touring kayak can make your paddling so much better. This guide breaks down all you need to know. It covers the kayak’s size, what it’s made of, extra accessories, and what to think about for different waters.

Choosing the Right Size

Size is key when picking a touring kayak. The longer the kayak, the better it is at cutting through the water. Longer ones also can hold more stuff. But, shorter kayaks are simpler to turn. The depth affects how stable it is and how much you can carry.

It’s important not to load your kayak too much. This keeps it moving efficiently, which is crucial for longer trips.

Understanding Materials

The material of your kayak determines a lot, like its weight and cost. Kayaks made of polyethylene are strong and cheap but heavy. ABS plastic is lighter, more UV resistant, but costs a bit more.

For a lighter kayak, go for materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber. These are pricier but easier to carry. Think about your budget and how you’ll use the kayak when picking the material.

Additional Accessories

Certain accessories can make kayaking safer and more fun. Having adjustable seats and comfy thigh braces is a big plus. Adequate storage for your gear matters too. Rudder and skeg systems help you steer better, especially in different water types.

Considerations for Different Water Types

The kind of water you’ll be on guides your kayak choice. If you’re mostly on big, open waters, you need a kayak that holds its course well, like the Eddyline Fathom. For rivers and smaller areas, a kayak that can turn easily, such as the Delta 16, is a better fit.

Picking the right kayak for the water you’ll be in boosts your fun and safety.

Here is a comparison of some top-rated touring kayaks based on their consumer reviews:

ModelRating (out of 5)Reviews
Eddyline Kayaks Fathom4.525
Delta Kayaks Delta 164.713
Eddyline Kayaks Equinox4.835
Riot Kayaks Edge 14.54.638
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 1454.5103


Finding the best touring kayak combines knowledge with personal taste. Touring kayaks are often around 16-17 feet long. It’s key to understand that the longer a kayak’s waterline is, the faster it can move with less effort.

There are many kayak models, each with its own strengths. It’s crucial to know that every kayak has both good and bad points. Trying different kayaks can show you which one fits you best. Your height, weight, and how you paddle play a big part in choosing the right kayak.

For different types of kayaking, like sea kayaking or calm waters, the way you paddle is very important. Prices for kayaks can vary a lot. This is why getting advice from experts and checking out specialized stores is a good idea. The perfect touring kayak will match your skills and love for adventure. It will make your time on the water more fulfilling and help you connect with nature.


What Are Touring Kayaks?

Touring kayaks are for long distance on open waters. Such waters might be lakes or oceans. They’re designed for speed and to keep you dry. They can carry a lot for extended trips.

Why Choose a Touring Kayak?

Touring kayaks are great for those who want to explore more. They’re safe on different waters, go straight, and hold lots of gear. This makes them perfect for adventures that last a day or many days.

What Are Some Top-Rated Touring Kayak Brands?

Top touring kayak brands are Eddyline, Delta Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, and Old Town Canoe and Kayak. They’re known for their quality, features, and lasting design.

What Should I Look for in a Touring Kayak’s Hull Design?

Look at a kayak’s hull shape and length for how it will handle. Longer, narrower hulls offer better efficiency for long trips. They help in staying on course and being steady through the water.

What Makes a Touring Kayak Comfortable?

For long trips, comfort in your kayak is vital. Seats you can adjust, thigh braces, and foot pegs are key. They help you paddle without getting too tired or sore.

Why Is Storage Capacity Important in Touring Kayaks?

Having enough space to store your camping gear and food is a must. Good touring kayaks keep your things dry and safe with sealed compartments.

What Are Rudder and Skeg Systems, and Why Are They Important?

Rudder and skeg systems help you steer and stay on track in tough conditions. A rudder turns with your feet, while a skeg is a blade that helps keep your kayak stable.

What Are Some of the Best Lightweight Touring Kayaks?

Top lightweight touring kayaks are the Eddyline Skylark and Delta 16. The Skylark is perfect for balance and the Delta 16 offers good tracking and storage. Both are light and easy to handle.

Are There Affordable Touring Kayaks That Still Offer Good Performance?

Yes, for great value, consider the Old Town Vapor 10, Ocean Kayak Malibu 11.5, and Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. They’re affordable yet dependable, offering space, comfort, and stability.

Which Touring Kayaks Are Best for Beginners?

For new paddlers, consider kayaks like the Eddyline Fathom, Riot Kayaks’ Edge 14.5, and Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145. They’re easy to use and build confidence with their stability and comfort.

What Are High-Performance Touring Kayaks for Experienced Paddlers?

Experienced paddlers might like the Stellar S18, Current Designs Solstice GTS, and Seaward Kayaks Chilco. These kayaks are fast and nimble, made to handle rough waters with advanced features.

How Can I Choose the Right Size Touring Kayak?

Picking the right size kayak means thinking about how it fits you and your needs. Look at legroom, cockpit space, and how much weight it can carry for a comfortable and smooth ride.

What Materials Are Commonly Used in Touring Kayaks?

Kayaks are usually made of polyethylene, composite, or ABS plastic. These materials are chosen for their strength, light weight, and how well they perform on the water.

What Additional Accessories Should I Consider for Touring Kayaks?

Bring along a great paddle, a comfy PFD, dry bags for your things, a spray skirt for rough waters, and either a compass or GPS for navigation. These accessories enhance your kayaking experience.

How Do Different Water Types Affect Touring Kayak Selection?

Your kayak choice should match the water you’ll be in. Choose something simple for calm waters and something tougher for the open ocean. Features like skegs and rudders can help in rough conditions.
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