The 5 Best Touring Kayaks: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide

man touring in a kayak

Finding the best touring kayak is tough work! You need to find a kayak that you feel comfortable in but also that suits your size, the nature of your adventure, and your overall budget. Combining all these factors can be easier said than done, but lucky for you we did this work! We created a list of the five best touring kayaks and included a buyer’s guide to ensure that you are more than prepared to make the right choice!

In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 Picks

Top Pick
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
Runner Up
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 | Sit Inside Touring Kayak | Multiple Storage Options - Phase 3 Air Pro Seating
Best Budget Pick
Perception Kayaks Conduit 13 | Sit Inside Kayak | Recreational Kayak with Front and Rear Storage | 13' | Sunset
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 | Sit Inside Touring Kayak | Multiple Storage Options - Phase 3 Air Pro Seating
Perception Kayaks Conduit 13 | Sit Inside Kayak | Recreational Kayak with Front and Rear Storage | 13' | Sunset
Price not available
Price not available
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Top Pick
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
Price not available
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Runner Up
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 | Sit Inside Touring Kayak | Multiple Storage Options - Phase 3 Air Pro Seating
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 | Sit Inside Touring Kayak | Multiple Storage Options - Phase 3 Air Pro Seating
Price not available
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Best Budget Pick
Perception Kayaks Conduit 13 | Sit Inside Kayak | Recreational Kayak with Front and Rear Storage | 13' | Sunset
Perception Kayaks Conduit 13 | Sit Inside Kayak | Recreational Kayak with Front and Rear Storage | 13' | Sunset
Price not available
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Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the 5 Best Touring Kayaks

Let’s explore some amazing choices to help you find the best touring kayak to elevate your kayak skills and ensure you have fun on your next tour.

1. Riot Kayaks Brittany Touring Kayak

Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with Skeg and Rudder (Yellow/Orange, 16.5-Feet)
  • Award-winning British-style sea kayak
  • Features a retractable skeg and pilot rudder system
  • High-performance custom-fit seating system
  • Dual density hatch covers plus day hatch cover
  • Measures 16.5 feet by 21.75 inches by 12.5 inches and weighs 51 pounds

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for an adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat, the Riot Kayaks Brittany is a fantastic choice for you! With unmatched speed and a long, sleek build this model is bound to turn heads as you zip by in the brightly colored, high-quality build.

It’s no surprise that this item well-loved with its skeg and rudder that allow you to swiftly glide across the water with ultimate control and minimal effort. This option is perfect for thrill-seekers who feel a bit more comfortable in their ride as it is slightly less stable but certainly moves quickly.

Moreover, this product is designed for comfort and touring with its comfortable padded seat and spacious cargo area. You will easily fit comfortably and be able to tuck your supplies where they will be safe from any damage as well.

This selection is large and weighs 51 pounds, so be sure to consider this if you are planning to be the one moving it about. However, it does cover up well and includes a hatch cover to make for easy storing.

If you have the extra money and want to buy a durable kayak with ultimate corrosion resistance and amazing speed, this is a wonderful option for you.

Pros:

  • Bright and unique design
  • Extreme speed
  • High-density and meant for durability

Cons:

  • Lacking stability in some areas
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Wilderness Systems Tsunami Touring Kayak

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 | Sit Inside Touring Kayak | Multiple Storage Options - Phase 3 Air Pro Seating
  • A touring kayak that excels in tight, twisting environments
  • Ideal day tripper for medium to large paddlers
  • Features the most comfortable kayak seat out there to keep you on the water longer; the adjustable, Phase 3 AirPro Tour Seat trims forward and back and has improved back strap routing for extra comfort
  • Easily adjustable Slidelock XL foot rests accommodate paddlers of different sizes; adjustable padded thigh braces add comfort and allow for a good connection with the kayak
  • Two mesh gear pockets on deck keep your important smaller items secure and within easy reach

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wilderness Systems are taking touring kayaks to the next level in the design and capabilities of their new tsunami touring kayak! This modern design features bright easy to spot colors that create a unique style perfect for reflecting your unique personality.

Not only is the kayak itself beautiful, but the performance is also unparalleled! This quick-moving kayak has ultimate responsiveness to even the closest environments with many curves and bends. You can feel secure and safe in the kayak which has space for not only you but your items as well.

Your items are ultra-secure in this kayak due to the additional mesh pockets that are in the design for your belongings. You will have easy access to your items but not have to worry about losing them or having them damaged in the process of a kayaking tour.

The kayak also places a priority on comfort with its passed seat which has support not only underneath but also throughout. Your back and legs will find themselves secure and supported as you enjoy the comfortable ride.

This kayak has immense details with two extra storage areas and even a water bottle holder built-in! Moreover, there is a footrest and other ergonomic features to ensure you have plenty of space.

Also, the materials here are nothing short of rugged while still appearing perfectly sleek. This kayak can handle bumps along the way as you fly down the water enjoying every moment in safety and security.

Pros:

  • Bright and Unique Design
  • Fast-moving and adapts to any environment
  • Additional storage and features for convenience

Cons:

  • Smaller than some similarly priced kayaks
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. Perception Carolina Touring Kayak

Perception Kayak Carolina Sit Inside for Recreation
  • Bow and stern bungee deck rigging
  • Bow and stern hatches
  • Zone knee and thigh pad
  • Keepers foot brace system
  • Zone DLX seating system

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Perception Carolina touring kayak is the perfect sit-in design for adults looking to elevate their adventures. Although the kayak is still relatively pricey, it is lower in price than some other leading competitors with similar features and dimensions.

This kayak can do it all and is curated to allow you to expand your adventures beyond your usual go-to environment. This design is highly versatile and balances speed with stability, making it a more friendly choice for newly-intermediate riders still finding their skills in the world of kayaking.

However, this stability is not a trade-off for speed and thrills. This long kayak allows you to quickly move throughout the water while feeling safe and secure.

This kayak also places a unique function on comfort. Not only does the seat and main compartment itself have additional padding, but the seat is also adjustable to lean forward or backward. Additionally, you can adjust up or down to best suit your comfort. The padding of the seat also provides support for your legs.

This kayak has plenty of storage that is enhanced by the adjustable seat and is guaranteed to keep your belongings dry and tucked away beneath the seat. Your items will be easy to access and items you won’t need as much can be stored under cover in the hull at the front or back of your new kayak.

This kayak has been tested by experts for durability and safety and has proven its leak-proof design and impact-resistance so you can have peace of mind in riding along. At only 49 pounds, this particular model of average size and shouldn’t be too difficult to tote around.

Pros:

  • Average price, above-average features
  • Enhanced comfort throughout the kayak
  • Easy to transport
  • Stability is enhanced which makes it more friendly to newer kayakers

Cons:

  • The long length can create speeds that are overwhelming for some at first
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

4. Perception Expression Light Touring Kayak

Perception Kayaks Expression 11.5 | Sit Inside Kayak | Light Touring Kayak with Adjustable Zone Seating | 11' 6" | Salsa
  • Your Perfect First Sit-Inside Touring Kayak - Made in USA
  • Adjustable premium seat with extra-cushy ergonomic padding
  • Seatback adjusts forwards, backwards, up, and down
  • Tilt-adjust seat bottom supports thighs in the perfect paddling position
  • Quick-adjust footrests accommodate paddlers of all sizes

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Perception Expression Light Touring Kayak is the perfect balance or someone looking for a new touring kayak without breaking the bank or complicating matters too much. This touring kayak is incrediblly durable, but keeps it simple in its designs and features which is what allows it to be classified as a “light touring kayak.”

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of this option is its price. This model costs quite a bit less than the competition due to its no-frills interior, but do not worry; its exterior does hold up and is proven to be impact-resistant to handle active waters which is to be expected of any touring kayak!

Moreover, the simple design is still bright and beautiful to look at. Additionally, the outside is known to not deteriorate or chip over time.

Where this kayak truly has a chance to shine is in the luxury that is inside. The seat allows you to adjust back or front to be comfortable and you can change the height as well if you would be more comfortable.

Seat adjusting is not all this kayak has to offer in regard to comfort. There is padding throughout the entire cabin that is also adjustable to cushion your legs, bottom, and back as you kayak. Additionally, this sleek design is easy and unintimidating to enter and exit which makes it a safe option for those still getting comfortable in their kayak.

While this length of the expression kayak is a bit shorter than some others, it offers enhanced stability that can support you and encourage you to try new adventures at a comfortable pace. However, do keep in mind that if you are looking to tackle higher speeds or more intense rapids a longer kayak may be a better option for this particular activity.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic interior is crafter for comfort
  • Simple design with easy entry and exit
  • Plenty of room, which is aided by the adjustable seat

Cons:

  • Not nearly as quick as other models due to its short length
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

5. Perception Conduit Touring Kayak

Perception Kayaks Conduit 13 | Sit Inside Kayak | Recreational Kayak with Front and Rear Storage | 13' | Sunset
  • Fun, fast and versatile – the best sit-inside kayak for larger paddlers
  • Spacious cockpit provides room for most paddlers
  • Padded seat with adjustable height back offers superior comfort and excellent ventilation for long trips
  • Corded front and rear deck storage for items at a quick, easy reach
  • Large rear dry storage with watertight cover carries all your daily gear

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are wanted to enter the world of touring kayaks by moving forward with the purchase of your own while still being mindful of your budget, the Perception Conduit touring kayak is the ultimate choice for you. At roughly half the price of its competitors, this purchase is a wonderful first step as you grow in your kayaking skills and seek to move beyond simple, recreational kayaking.

The length is perfect for higher speeds with solid stability. While you won’t be flying as fast as some of the advanced models, you will quickly move across the water while being comfortably supported with minimal bumps along the way.

Moreover, if bumps do occur you are in good hands! This kayak has been tested to meet safety standards and be impact resistant to keep you safe while you are mastering your skills. Not having to worry about rocking about will allow you to relax and try your best as you paddle along.

Additionally, this kayak includes seating that is designed for you to sit back and relax. With padding all throughout you will be comfortable and dry. Your seat can be adjusted for your comfort as well so that everything feels as it should be and you adjust quickly to your new kayak.

Finally, this model is incredibly durable. While some expect a more affordable kayak to have a trade-off of durability, this one certainly does not.

The kayak is constructed with high-density materials that allow it to resist UV, impacts, abrasion, and many other irritants. Additionally, this kayak can thrive in both saltwater and freshwater adventures which will allow you to try new things without damaging your new purchase.

This is a spacious and well-rounded option for most any rider, but especially those still getting comfortable with touring kayaks and working within a stricter budget.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable compared to other similar models
  • Stability is a priority
  • Durable and receptive to both freshwater and saltwater environments

Cons:

  • Not as high-speed as some other kayaks
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Buying Guide

In order to choose the best touring kayak to elevate your adventure, let’s dive into the central components and features that should guide your purchase!

Cater to your Environment

Knowing where you will take the kayak is key in deciding what type of kayak you truly need. It is rather intuitive that some adventures demand more features than others and customizing to your needs (as best as you can) is the best way to ensure that the kayak works for you and has great longevity.

For example, if you know you will be in rougher waters or exposed to waves or currents, it’s best to find a kayak with more support to ensure you stay inside and don’t get too soaked. Additionally, knowing what elements your kayak will be exposed to can help you choose materials that will be able to withstand these types of weather without deteriorating beyond what should be reasonably expected.

Touring kayaks can easily handle lakes, bays, rivers, and some ocean use. Their durability is designed for more intermediate skill level riders and you must keep this in mind and ensure you have the training and skill level in order to safely use one.

Sit-in vs. Sit on Top Kayaks

The two primary types of kayaks are sit-in kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. Touring kayak designs are typically sit-in given that they can handle more active waters and are more secure. However, the price reflects these advances.

Additionally, sit-in kayaks often have more space in the cargo for you to have your belongings and coverage for said belongings as well. They overall offer more control for the ride and a straight exterior. If you are intending to use the kayak for extended purposes we highly recommend selecting a sit-in kayak as this is the best for touring and elongated trips if you want your kayak to last.

Price

The price of kayaks can vary widely but the most important thing to understand here is that the price is often directly correlated to the durability and longevity of the new kayak. Particularly if you are seeking higher-level adventures and perhaps rougher terrain, spending less now to buy a kayak may cost you more in the long run.

However, that is not to say you cannot find an affordable touring kayak. You can absolutely do so, but you have to ensure you don’t cut corners and buy a recreational kayak or make a random purchase to save some money. Look for key features and ensure your kayak has them before simply jumping at a good deal.

However, do keep in mind that a higher price does not always mean higher quality. In fact, many specialty kayaks are incredibly expensive but can be absolutely useless if they don’t relate to your activity or purpose, so remain levelheaded and prioritize features before locking in on a price as an indicator of quality.

Size

Choosing a size that suits you is crucial in selecting a kayak that is going to fit you and allow you to comfortably move along the water. There are certain terms used to describe the length of a kayak.

High-volume is for those who are generally larger in size. This does not just refer to weight, but also to whether if you have longer legs or a larger build in general.

Shorter kayaks are often more conducive to those still mastering kayaking and learning your skills. While they do not move as quickly as larger volume kayaks, they are safer and still serve your needs.

However, do not forget to consider you need space for your cargo as well. In the main cabin, you will need plenty of room to store your belongings throughout your tour.

Materials

There are a wide variety of materials that kayaks can be made of with common themes of resistance to corrosion and durability. The higher the strength of the material, often the higher the price will be. However, the material can also impact the weight and portability components which are important to consider if you will often need to be moving it from one place to another when it is not in use.

Many kayaks are made from various types of plastic and polyethylene to ensure their stability and durability. Pay close attention to the features of the materials that comprise your kayak and ensure they are compatible with the types of water and environments you plan to use the kayak in.

Style

When purchasing your own kayak, you can do some customizing per your personal preferences and style. While it is safe to say that functionality and durability are far more important than style, it is your purchase, and incorporating your own style can be fun!

Luckily, more and more companies have started to create unique designs and colors for their kayaks to give them a new appeal sand sense of style. Once you find a kayak that meets all your other basic needs, feel free to have fun and choose a kayak that is easily visible but that offers a bit of your own personal style in the process!

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the best touring kayaks.

Will I be able to stay warm and dry using this touring kayak?

Touring kayaks are designed to prevent the feeling of being soaked by water and cold throughout the tour. Although some splashing is unpreventable when getting in and out of your new kayak, the sit-in nature of touring kayaks is ideal for keeping you warm. Additionally, many kayaks also offer thermal protection inside and temperature control, so if you are worried look for these features!

If I have never kayaked before should I get this type of touring kayak?

You should have experience and some basic skills before purchasing any touring kayak. Due to their ability to handle slightly rougher terrains and quick speeds, these kayaks are ideally designed with intermediate skill sets in mind. Most importantly, always ensure you are abiding by general kayak safety rules and do not push yourself or try anything dangerous.

Conclusion

Selecting the best touring kayak can be overwhelming and a big decision. By now you probably have kayaked a few times and want to have your own kayak that has the potential to elevate your adventures, withstand the elements, and keep you safe while you have fun on the water. With the help of our buyer’s guide and our list of the five best touring kayaks, we fully believe you will be able to do so!

Our highest touring kayak recommendation is the Riot Kayaks Brittany kayak. This model goes above and beyond and includes both a skeg and a redder to make it suitable for even the most insane adventures. If you can manage the steep price, this purchase is right out of a dream!

However, if you need an option that is more budget-friendly but still of high-quality, take a look at the Perception conduit touring kayak. At around half the price of some major competitors, this kayak still offers amazing performance and durability for those looking to master their skills in new environments.