Kayaking on rivers is an amazing experience in itself. There are so many twists and turns involved in river kayaking that it makes super exciting for newbies who have got tired of kayaking on Stillwater. Traversing along a river is a unique experience in itself. Most of the time, you will find the river a perfect place for fishing but things can change dramatically after a few turns. You could find yourself battling through whitewater. Yes, rivers are treacherous in nature and which is why you need to have a kayak that can withstand extreme conditions.
Best 7 Kayaks for Rivers
Choosing the right kayaks for paddling on rivers is not that easy. There are so many variants of rivers kayaks available in the market that it can make you feel confused. To help you out here have reviewed the best 7 rivers kayaks that money can buy –
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak is completely watertight and tracks really well on rivers. It has got lots of storage areas where you can keep your kayaking accessories. Made from High-Density Polyethylene, Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak is ruggedly built and is extremely durable. Easy entry is made possible thanks to its open cockpit. Known for offering maximum stability, Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak has got adjustable foot braces, paddle holder, protective thigh pads and comfortable seating area.
- Large storage compartments.
- Easy entry and exit.
- Not many handles which are disappointing.
- It is heavy and that means, loading and unloading can be taxing.
- Footrests are a bit on the shorter side for the lanky people.
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak is ideal for both river and lakes. This inflatable kayak can be fitted easily on a kayak roof rack or inside a trunk when deflated. However, there are few things that you need to keep in mind while using Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak for the first time and that is – it should be inflated hard in order to use on class 3 water. However, temperature and sunlight are some factors that you need to keep in mind while inflating it. Direct sunlight will cause inflation and cold water will cause deflation and that means, you need to carry a hand pump while doing river rafting with this inflatable kayak.
Made from PVC Tarpaulin, Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak can withstand impacts. To prevent abrasion, 1000D polyester reinforcements are used. To deal with issues like punctures, Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak has got 3 layers.
- Built-in aluminum ribs.
- Adjustable seats.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Weighs just 26 lbs.
- Maximum weight capacity is 250 lbs.
- Cleaning and drying is a bit taxing.
BKC RA220 11.6′ Single Fishing Kayak is extremely comfortable and tracks really well. Considered to be one of the best river kayaks for beginners, BKC RA220 11.6′ Single Fishing Kayak is extremely easy to set up. It rarely gets unstable in water even when the paddle is standing on it. The raised seat helps the paddlers stay dry.
BKC RA220 11.6′ Single Fishing Kayak is a versatile sit on a top fishing kayak that is known for its exceptional level of performance and for offering comfort. It has got four storage areas which are more than enough to keep your gears safe. Remarkably, out of these 4 storage areas, 3 are watertight and that means, you can keep your phone and other electronic items there safe.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 450 pound which is more than enough even for big guys.
- Ideal for multi-day fishing trips.
- Ample Storage Space.
- 450 lbs of load capacity.
- Twin flush-mount rod holders included.
- You might have to use a stand assist bar in order to stand on this kayak.
- It has got only two flush fishing pole holders.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak is ideal for paddling in both river and ocean. It is a little bit snug for large individuals but it is not that much uncomfortable at all. There is enough room for wiggling and stretching out. Tough to tip, Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak is highly stable and responsive. To allow the paddlers to track straight, a long center keel is included in the design. To allow all day paddling, the company has added a comfy seat that can be adjusted in 4 different ways. Easy to carry around, Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak weighs just over 44 pounds and it is just 9 feet long.
- Stable and durable.
- 325 Pound maximum carrying capacity.
- Ultra-Comfortable seat.
- A perfect combination of primary and secondary stability.
- Seats are not ideal for plus size people.
- Plugs Missing.
Perception Pescador Pro Sit On Top Kayak is designed to make your fishing trip a memorable one. This is a real deal for those paddlers who want to paddle in rivers just to catch some fish or spend some quality time alone. This river kayak tracks really well and offers an exceptional level of stability against all odds.
Perception Pescador Pro Sit On Top Kayak has ample space available for storing your important gadgets and accessories. The seta is extremely comfortable and it is removable by nature.
You can easily carry all your fancy fishing gears on this kayak as it has got large rear and front open storage. To carry additional items like tackle, cooler, etc, you can always use bungee lashings.
Perception Pescador Pro Sit On Top Kayak can be dragged on the ground easily thanks to the addition of replaceable skid plate. Chances of getting damaged in the process are very slim.
- UV and abrasion resistant.
- Long-lasting performance.
- 2-level seat adjustment.
- Hands-free storage.
- Beginners might have to struggle a little with its stability but its speed compensates that easily.
Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Sit On Top Fishing Kayak is known for its agility, stability, and speed. Unlike other river fishing kayaks, Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Sit On Top Fishing Kayak allow you to stand on it without affecting the stability of the kayak in one way or the other. It has a hauling capacity of 425 pounds and that means, you can carry all your fancy fishing gears.
Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Sit On Top Fishing Kayak has to the slip-resistant deck and the sleek design of its hull makes it super-fast. During the long paddling course, you can conserve a considerable amount of energy by making proper use of its toe-controlled rubber system.
- Adjustable foot braces.
- Breathable fabric.
- Toe-controlled rudder system.
- 10 x Scupper Holes
Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak flaunts a rotomold injected body that makes it puncture and crack resistant. To simplify transportation, two carry handles are included in the design. This giant Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak can easily be fitted in the back of your vehicles.
Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak has got two storage areas and one airtight compartment to allow paddlers to carry all their gears. No matter how bad the weather is, Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak will not make you feel disappointed. It is on the heavier side but its weight has nothing to do with its stability on the water.
- Adjustable kayak seats.
- Cup holders included.
- Rotomold 12.2 foot kayak
How to Choose A River Kayak?
Finding the perfect river kayak for your next escapade is not as easy as it transpires to be. There are so many factors that you need to take into considerations that you might find it overwhelmingly difficult to pick a kayak that can meet all the requirements of river kayaking.
1. Kayak Length
The bigger, the better right? Well, not always my friend. In the world of river kayaking, you need to opt for shorter kayaks as they are easy to move around. Go for 8 to 12 feet of kayaks as they are easy to maneuver. 14 feet kayak may look tempting as they provide more space but they can be extremely hard to handle when things will start going wrong.
2. Kayak Width
Wider kayaks tend to offer more stability on the water which is good. But there is a catch to it and that is, wide river kayaks move a little low. So, in case, you are aiming for speed, you might feel disappointed.
Maneuverability is a factor that you need to take into consideration while selecting a river kayak for your next trip. Rivers tend to have sharp turns and strong currents and which is why you need a kayak that can be maneuvered easily and effortlessly. Don’t rely on your kayaking skills too much because that can put you in a tough spot if your kayak is hard to move around.
Underwater objects like boulders and trees branches can make your river kayaking trip a nightmare. Since you will have little time to react and change the course of your kayak, you need to have a kayak that can be maneuvered easily without putting too much effort in the process.
Since the river will provide all the propulsion that you need, do you really need to invest in a kayak which has been developed to provide maximum speed? Well, rather than focusing too much on speed, you need to find a river kayak that focuses both on stability and performance.
No matter how long you have been kayaking, there is no way you can spot all the underwater objects while paddling in a river. Getting hit by underwater rocks or sticks is very much a part of river kayaking and there is no way you can avoid it. Things can get even messy if you run into the shallow ground. A good river kayak should be able to deal with such complex situations without getting hammered in the process.
A river kayak should ideally be made from PVC plastic or heavy-duty Polyethylene plastic. These two materials are known for proving the strength and they are extremely lightweight as well.
· PVC Plastic
PVC plastic is primarily used to produce inflatable kayaks. However, inflatable kayaks made from PVC plastic are not as sturdy as their close counterpart – Polyethylene inflatable kayaks. But still, PVC inflatable kayaks are strong enough to withstand impacts from sharp underwater objects. The major advantage of PVC kayak is that they are extremely easy to repair and you don’t need to have any kind of specialized skills in order to repair a kayak. Moreover, PVC inflatable kayaks are extremely lightweight and thus can be moved around easily.
Polyethylene is widely used to make kayaks all over the world because Polyethylene can easily withstand abrasions and impacts from underwater objects. No matter how roughly they get treated, Polyethylene kayaks will last long. The main drawback of Polyethylene kayaks is that they are on the heavier side and repairing these kayaks demand advance level of skill sets.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.