7 Best Beginner Kayaks You Can Get For Around $300

Beginner Kayaks around $300

Can you get a beginner kayak for around $300? Yes, there are many models to choose from. We evaluated dozens of the low-end, high-value kayaks from the manufacturers for 2019. As a result, here is a buying guide of the 7 best beginner recreational and fishing kayaks.

Kayaking is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities today. New kayakers are joining with interests in outdoor recreation, shallow water fishing, and whitewater adventures. The relatively low cost appeals to many over other conventional boats.

When looking for the best beginner kayak it is better to try a minimal cost, yet good value model. This detailed guide will share some of the deciding factors to help you decide before buying your first kayak.

All the kayaks on this list are high-value products in the $300+ price range. There best water type and usage are recreational lakes and ponds, and slow-moving rivers and streams.

It’s important to include the following for any new kayak purchase:

  • PFD – personal floatation device
  • Paddle – check to see if one is included in the price
  • Most states do not require a kayak to be registered or wear registration stickers if it is non-motorized and 16 feet or less in length. Check your state for these regulations

It’s a great place to start

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#1 Tamarack Angler 100

The Lifetime Tamarack 10 ft. Angler Kayak is the Editor’s Choice for Best Beginner Fishing Kayak for all the right reasons. This sit-on-top fishing kayak has all the features you need for your fishing trip.

Comfortable seat that is wide, with easy access to the convenient center console. Our favorite feature is the back support to prevent tired backs! Two covered hatches are great for storing fishing tackle or sunglasses. Add a dry bag to keep valuables safe and dry.

Perfect for your first fishing kayak

Four T-bar transport handles make this kayak easy to lift and carry. Molded handles would have been a more comfortable option. It comes with pre-molded footrests but I prefer the adjustable foot pedals for more flexibility.

Good stability comes from the 31-inch width and the dual chines hull. This gives you the option to fish from either the sitting or standing position. You will come to appreciate the convenient paddle keeper, especially when casting! Two molded rod holders keep your rods stowed out of the way when paddling to your honey spot. The top-mount rod holder is great for holding your rod while you change lures or release fish.

Suggested Upgrades

Recommend six scupper plugs for really choppy conditions, especially the two underneath the seat (splashes the seat). Add a stadium seat with firm backrest provides better comfort. There is also plenty of room for adding a gear track to the left gunnel for cool accessories.

Specifications:

  • Category: Fishing Kayak
  • Type: Sit on top
  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 31″
  • Carry weight: 52 lbs
  • Max capacity: 275 lbs

Features:

  • Adjustable Padded Seat Back and Seat Pad for Comfort
  • Two Hatches for Added Storage Beneath the Deck
  • Two Flush Mounted Fishing Rod Holders
  • Deep Hull Channels for Tracking Performance and Chine Rails for Stability
  • Front and Rear Shock Cords
  • Multiple Footrest Positions for Different Size Paddlers
  • Front and Rear T-Handles for Easy Transport
  • Constructed of UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene
  • Stable Flat Bottom
  • 5-Year Limited Warranty
  • Paddlekeeper to Secure Your Paddle to the Kayak
  • One Adjustable Fishing Rod Holder

#2 Old Town Vapor 10

The Old Town Vapor 10 Kayak is the Editor’s Choice for Best Beginner Recreational Kayak. This is the premier sit-inside fishing kayak for this price point.

The long cockpit design makes it more of a hybrid than a true sit-inside. Sweep-across dashboard has a cupholder and two storage trays. A groove on each side of the cockpit makes a convenient paddle rest.

Old Town Vapor 10 water review

The seat and backrest are the best developed and comfortable on this list. There is a clever backrest adjustment on each side of the cockpit. Adjustable footrests are well made.

Two standard rod holders and a rear tank well are an included fishing necessity.

Screw-down pull straps transport this kayak well, although I prefer molded-in handles.

The best safety feature on this boat is the added styrofoam in the front and rear compartments. Sit-inside kayaks are known to take on water and sink when capsized.

Best feature alert: comes with an anchor trolley.

Suggested Upgrades

Recommend an anchor or stake out pole to make use of the anchor trolley. Get the optional rear hatch upgrade from Old Town.

Specifications:

  • Category: Recreational Kayak
  • Type: Sit inside
  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 28.5″
  • Carry weight: 47 lbs
  • Max capacity: 325 lbs
  • Cockpit width: 19.5″
  • Cockpit length: 48″

Features:

  • Adjustable Comfort Flex seat
  • Glide Track foot brace system
  • Stern day well
  • Molded-in cockpit tray with cup holder
  • Molded-in paddle rest
  • Built-in carry handles
  • Thigh pads
  • Drain plug
  • Skid plate

#3 Pelican Sentinel 100x Angler

The Pelican Sentinel 100x Angler is one of the best beginner fishing kayaks that is designed for spending lots of fishing time because of its features and responsiveness.

The center console is my favorite feature. Dual cup holders and a utility tray are on top of a console which lifts up for additional storage below.

Pelican Sentinel 100x Angler water review

The adjustable foot pedals are well-made. Four scupper holes make for easy drainage in choppy water.

There are t-bar handles front and back. Molded handles would have been a better and more comfortable solution. There is a black net in lieu of a front hatch, which I prefer a hatch. The side lift handles are on the inside of gunnels and are not as easy to use.

Suggested Upgrades

Plenty of room on the gunnels for adding gear tracks for handy accessories such as cup and rod holders, and camera mounts. I suggest scupper plugs for heavy water conditions.

Specifications:

  • Category: Fishing Kayak
  • Type: Sit on top
  • Length: 9’6”
  • Width: 30″
  • Carry weight: 45 lbs
  • Max capacity: 275 lbs

Features:

  • 2 accessory eyelets
  • 2 paddle tie-downs
  • Adjustable ERGOFORM™ backrest with seat cushion
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Carrying handles
  • Drain plug
  • Flush mount rod holders
  • Molded carrying handles
  • Smartphone holder
  • Storage platform with mesh deck cover
  • Console with injected cover
  • Storage platform with ExoPak
  • Limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty

#4 Pelican Trailblazer 100

The Pelican Trailblazer 100 is a serious recreational kayak that is designed for extended time on the water. Beginners will enjoy the simple yet elegant design and roominess.

Some may find the molded footrests less functional than the adjustable foot pedals other kayaks on this list. But the Pelican quality comes through in all details.

Top Pelican for the value and price

The wide cockpit is roomy enough for the larger riders. The dashboard has a nice storage tray.

Suggested Upgrades

Hard plastic seat and backrest could use an upgraded seat cushion with extra padding.

Specifications:

  • Category: Recreational Kayak
  • Type: Sit inside
  • Length: 10’
  • Width: 28″
  • Carry weight: 35 lbs
  • Max capacity: 275 lbs
  • Cockpit width: 20.5″
  • Cockpit length: 42.5″

Features:

  • Adjustable ERGOFORM™ padded backrest
  • Bungee cord
  • Carrying handles
  • Drain plug
  • Dual-position bottle holder
  • Molded footrests
  • Storage platform with bungee cords

#5 Perception Sound 9.5

A good beginner fishing kayak that has some features you would only expect in boats at a higher price point. The Perception Sound 9.5 maneuvers well, even without a skeg or rudder.

What makes this a ready-to-fish kayak is a good size rear tank well perfectly fits a medium-sized cooler. The front dashboard has a nice molded-in tray for a fishing tackle box or other gear.

There is a convenient paddle keeper on the right side and across the dashboard. I especially like the storage tray underneath the seat and cupholder at the front of the seat.

Transporting is a breeze with the Sound’s molded front and rear lift handles.

One feature you will appreciate the most is a raised backrest. Firm with plenty of support.

Suggested Upgrades

The pair of RAM solo mount accessories provides the flexibility of adding additional rod holders, cup holders, and GoPro camera mounts.

Specifications:

  • Category: Fishing Kayak
  • Type: Sit inside
  • Length: 9’ 6″
  • Width: 28″
  • Carry weight: 38 lbs
  • Max capacity: 300 lbs
  • Cockpit width: 21.75″
  • Cockpit length: 40.6″

Features:

  • Comfortable cockpit with Perception’s Zone Seating System
  • Padded adjustable backrest and padding for your legs
  • Unique tri-keel hull tracks well and adds stability
  • Dashboard with molded-in areas for gear
  • Place to park your paddle
  • 2 RAM Solo Mount accessory locations (accessories not included)
  • Self-bailing gear storage well has ample space for dry bag, small cooler or fishing gear crate
  • 2 molded-in rod holders are within easy reach just behind the cockpit
  • Comfortable, molded-in bow and stern carry handles
  • Drain plug at the stern

#6 Sun Dolphin Aruba 10

The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a great all-around kayak for the first-time Yaker. It has a good balance as you paddle through a lake or pond.

It has adjustable foot pedals and foam thigh pads for added comfort. The rear storage compartment is not watertight, so you will need to add a dry bag.

It is a flat bottom boat which is stable and not tippy, but slow when paddling.

Recommended for riders under 200 lbs for this kayak.

Suggested Upgrades

Add a front bungee lashing to keep your gear securely in place. A stadium seat is a great addition since it is sold without a seat pad. Some people have added a 10″ hatch with a dry bag in the rear compartment.

For fishing purposes, you can add a pair of flush rod holders and leash clips behind the cockpit.

Specifications:

  • Category: Recreational Kayak
  • Type: Sit inside
  • Length: 9’ 7″
  • Width: 29″
  • Carry weight: 40 lbs
  • Max capacity: 250 lbs
  • Cockpit width: 17″
  • Cockpit length: 35″

Features:

  • Shock cord deck rigging
  • Large open cockpit
  • Carrying handles
  • Paddle holder
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Protective thigh pads
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Storage compartment
  • Water bottle holder

#7 Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5

The Perception Swifty Deluxe 9.5 is an excellent beginner kayak with basic fishing components such as molded rod holders and a fishing rod rest on the front dashboard. This makes for a good beginner fishing kayak.

There are integrated foot pedals inside the hatch for stability while paddling. There should be plenty of room for a 20-liter dry bag in the bow since there is no dry storage included for this boat.

https://youtu.be/w6Ofg3EX8Fw

This kayak does not come with a skeg or rudder option, so you will be required to use a paddling technique to track your kayak in the direction you want to go. Expect it to track ok when the water is smooth and not when it gets choppy.

It is a flat bottom boat which is stable and not tippy, but slow when paddling. Small to medium-sized riders (around 5’8″) give good comfort reviews of this kayak.

Suggested Upgrades

Do you hind side a favor and add a seat pad. Add a dry bag in the rear compartment.

Specifications:

  • Category: Recreational Kayak
  • Type: Sit inside
  • Length: 9’ 6″
  • Width: 28.5″
  • Carry weight: 44 lbs
  • Max capacity: 325 lbs
  • Cockpit width: 22″
  • Cockpit length: 42.25″ Category:

Features:

  • Built for fishing
  • Molded-in dashboard
  • Stable hull design
  • Quick maneuverability and good tracking
  • Multi-chine hull
  • Molded-in handles
  • Keepers foot braces
  • Padded seat back and seat pad
  • Molded-in rod holders
  • 10” round hatch
  • Drain plug
  • Deck rigging
  • Paddle park
  • Five-year limited manufacturer’s warranty

Summary

There are many kayaks for beginners around the $300 range. For 2019, we have taken the best 7 beginner kayaks.

This review guide can be used when choosing and buying your first kayak. This includes fishing and recreational kayaking. Other kayaks such as inflatable, tandem and touring models did not meet the price criteria and didn’t make the list.

Tracy Villarreal

I'm the owner of Active At The Beach. I grew up in a beach town in which I was fortunate enough to spend tons of time around the sea and the beach.

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