7 Kayak Brands to Avoid & Most Reliable Makers in 2024

Whether you want to go fishing or have a thrilling water ride, kayaking has to offer something to almost every. It is not only a good exercise but a perfect way to spend some quality time on the water. 

Kayaking is a sport that has gotten everyone into it. And with its popularity, the number of Kayak manufacturers has also increased.

More the manufacturers, the more your chances of getting scammed are. So, how do you find the best one among the bad ones?

The answer is quite simple. Just get to know about the brands you have to avoid while buying. And you will end up with the best kayak.

WaveSport, Sun Dolphin, L.L. Bean, Tucktec, Field & Stream, Lifetime, and Pelican Sport are the worst Kayak brands to avoid in 2022.

Kayak Brands to Avoid


List of 7 Kayak Brands to Avoid

1. WaveSport

Whether we talk about fishing, diving, or sea surfing, WaveSport manufactures all kinds of Kayaks. But despite having a variety of Kayaks, the users of this brand are not happy with it.

You will find many people singing praises of their extremely poor-quality kayaks. You might have heard about whitewater kayaking. And anyone who knows about this sport knows that speed is the essential thing to win.

However, whitewater kayaks made by WaveSport are claimed to have problems with their speed. A user complained that their whitewater kayak was very slow, and it was challenging to roll when needed.

Another complaint was that their kayak could not hold the line, which is not good if you are concerned about your safety.

WaveSport is an excellent brand to try only if you are a beginner in kayaking.

However, if you are a great performer, these kayaks might affect your performance, so it is better to stay away from them.

Let’s look at the overall reasons that have made us include this in the list of kayak brands to avoid.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Poor performance
  • Lacks durability
  • Only for newbies

2. Sun Dolphin

According to the consumer reviews, the next brand that is one of the worst kayak brands is Sundolphin.

Sun Dolphin is one of the leading manufacturers that produce various kayaks, such as stand-up paddle boats, fishing kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats.

Moreover, it is also one of the kayak brands that offer kayaks at a very reasonable price. And that is where you have to think about whether it offers high-quality at a low cost or not.

Many users have said that Sundolphin kayaks are only a good choice if you keep it for “once a while” use. But if you are someone who goes kayaking regularly, then this brand should not be on your list.

One more thing that can be a drawback for you if you are a go kayaking regularly is that Sundolphin is quite famous for providing less comfort.

Sun Dolphin Kayaks don’t have any bottom seat cushions, which can be pretty irritating if you have been paddling for a long day.

One of the biggest problems with Sundolphin kayaks is that they don’t have a very high weight capacity. That means they are only suitable for lightweights, such as kids, teens, or young adults.

Overall cons of this brand have been mentioned below to make the decision easier for you.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Less comfortable
  • Nor for heavyweight
  • Not for regular use

3. L.L. Bean

The third kayak brand to avoid that we will tell you about is L.L. Bean. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that L.L. Bean is the second name of poor-quality kayak producers.

According to some users, the main focus of this brand was never on quality. And that might be the reason that a lot of their products have been discontinued.

Keel is essential for kayaking as it keeps the kayak from turning side to side and helps it move forward. However, you will be surprised if we tell you that L.L. Bean kayaks don’t have a keel on them.

That is why many people complained that their kayaks didn’t track well. Also, compared to other kayaks, L.L. Bean kayaks are pretty slow; a negative aspect is doing kayaking as a sport.

If you are a beginner kayak once in a while, this might be a great choice. However, don’t consider these if you are serious about kayaking.

Before we move on to the worst brand, look at the drawbacks of L.L. Bean kayaks.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Only for beginners
  • Keel is absent
  • Poor quality kayaks

4. Tucktec

The next brand worst brand we have on our list is Tucktec. This brand is famous for its foldable kayaks. The term foldable kayaks might sound cool, but in reality, it isn’t.

When we are talking about foldable kayaks, the only kayak brand we can trust on with our eyes closed is, Oru Kayak and that’s it.

Tucktec is famous for its fascinating kayak designs, but that is also a drawback as many users have said that it takes them quite long to set up their kayak once on the water.

One problem with foldable kayaks is that compared to typical kayaks, their setup is quite hectic. Because of one mistake, your kayak would be sinking in the water.

Moreover, Tucktec kayaks are only good for you if you go kayaking in lakes and rivers; otherwise, it is a big no.

If you are still confused, go through the cons mentioned below.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Set up is not easy
  • Not for rough water
  • It can be dangerous if not watertight

5. Field & Stream

“Field & Stream” what did you think of first when you heard about this brand. Doesn’t it sound too fancy to be a kayak brand? Well, that is because Field & Stream was a magazine producer.

Field & Stream is quite famous for its “all things outdoor” informative articles. And they do have a lot of fans as well. However, there aren’t many admirers of their kayaks.

Some common problems users have complained about this brand are that their kayak screws are not tight, and the handles are prone to falling.

Apart from these issues, the biggest concern is their poor customer service. Many users said that there is no proper response from the company if anyone reaches out to them to discuss their problems.

Overall, the drawbacks of this brand are discussed below.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not durable
  • Not reliable
  • Poor customer service

6. Lifetime

Some people think Lifetime is considered one of the best kayak brands, while some say otherwise. However, the decision is yours because this brand has gotten both positive and negative reviews.

No matter how popular it is, it does have its fair share of problems as well. The real problem arises mainly with the lightweight kayaks of this brand.

Some kayaks of this brand can turn quickly in water due to their weight. Some users have said this it is difficult to go fast as they don’t track straight like those longer kayaks.

Moreover, another drawback is that they are comparatively slow, so you should think twice before going for this brand for those who are not fans of slow-speed kayaking. 

Another thing that people complain about kayaks by this brand is that they are not so strong.

Have a look at the cons that we have extracted from several consumer reviews.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Comparatively slow
  • Difficult to turn
  • Not secure

7. Pelican Sport

Pelican Sport is known as one of the kayak brands that are famous for producing high-quality kayaks. However, there are some problems that people having this brand’s kayaks have faced.

The hull at the floating-point is relatively narrow for some models and has a sharp angle, making it difficult to stay stable.

The seat in some kayaks is too far back. And one user said that their Pelican Sport kayak was too lightweight, making it a little wobbly.

We have mentioned the overall drawbacks of this brand below. Have a look.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Stability issues
  • Hull is narrow
  • Too far back seating

So, these were 7 of the worst kayak brands that you should stay away from. Now that you have made it here, how about we tell you about a few of the best kaya brands that are worth it? Sounds interesting?

5 Most Reliable Kayak Brands

Well, then let’s bring you to the 5 most reliable kayak brands. Let’s dig in.

recommended Kayak Brandss

1. Oru Kayak

Oru Kayak, located in California, is one of the best kayak brands that you’ll find. With each model designed for a different purpose, the Oru kayak has a wide variety of kayaks.

These kayaks are perfect for those sick of dragging heavy kayaks everywhere as they are pretty lightweight and foldable. These kayaks also perform great as compared to those rigid kayaks.

If you are a fan of adventures and are looking for a kayak that you won’t worry about carrying, this is the brand you need.

2. Ocean Kayak

Ocean Kayak is one of the most well-known makers of “sit-on-top” kayaks. From stand-up paddling boats to fishing boats, Ocean Kayak has everything for you.

Kayaks of this brand are known for their innovative features and are known as the “King” and “Queen” of sit-on-top kayaks.

3. Intex Recreation Corp.

Intex Recreation Corp., based in the USA, is known as one the most budget-friendly inflatable kayak brands. This brand’s primary focus is on providing high quality and value.

Apart from that, it is also one of the most experienced kayak brands. If you need a budget-friendly and highly well-made kayak, then Intex is your brand.

4. Wilderness systems

This Carolina-based kayak brand is one of the BEST kayak brands you’ll see. Wilderness is known for its award-winning designs, premium quality performance, and top-notch supplies.

If you are looking for a kayak that is lightweight, stable, and can handle the wilderness you are up to, then this is the brand that will match all your standards.

5. Malibu Kayaks

Malibu was made on the principal to “create better kayaks than what was the norm at the time.” And it is not a lie to say that it has stuck to that principle till today.

Malibu Kayaks tend to offer few the most budget-friendly, unique, and all-purposed kayaks perfect for all types of paddlers.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Kayak Brand

Buying a bad kayak could easily cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars and cause you more frustration than any good thing you could buy.

On the other hand, getting the right kayak can open up a whole new world of adventure for you.

No matter what type of kayaking you do, a high-quality kayak will make your adventures much more enjoyable.

Kayaks to Avoid

In this guide, I will give you an overview of some of the things you should consider when buying a kayak. 

# Know your needs:

The first thing you need to think about is what type of kayaking you want to do and what features you need in a kayak.

  • Do you just want to go out on short day trips, or do you want to explore remote areas?
  • Do you plan to race your kayak or just go out for fun?
  • Are you planning to use your kayak for ocean fishing or just for play?
  • Do you need something that is stable, or are you willing to accept a little instability?
  • What size boat do you plan to run? How far do you plan to take your kayaking?

These questions and many others need to be answered before determining what type of kayak you need.

# Know your budget:

Once you know what type of kayaking you want and what features you need in a kayak, it is time to start thinking about your budget.

I have found that most people who are just getting into kayaking underestimate how much their adventures will cost them.

This is especially true if they decide to go on short day trips or just take part in weekend outings with family and friends.

However, once they find themselves on the water without any form of financial support, they soon discover that their “fun” money quickly disappears.

They quickly find out that buying food, replacing lost or broken gear, paying for repairs, and so on can really add up.

# How much experience do you have?

The next thing you should consider is how much experience you have in kayaking. If you have never kayaked before, you should think long and hard about getting bigger than 12 feet into a kayak.

It would be best to start off with a kayak that is less than 6 feet and work your way up from there.

On the other hand, if you have some experience, you should definitely consider getting into a larger boat. The benefits of having some kayaking experience are twofold.

  • First, it will make your adventures much more enjoyable.
  • And second, it will give you an enormous sense of pride knowing that you have the skills to handle almost any type of situation that comes up. 

# What type of kayaking do you want to do?

Now that you know your budget, how much experience you have, and what features you need in a kayak, it is time to start thinking about the actual type of kayaking you want to do.

There are many different types of kayaking, and each has its own unique characteristics. Some people like to race their kayaks. Others just like to go out for fun. Still, others like to use their kayaks for ocean fishing or just for play.

# How much stability do you need?

The next thing you should consider is how stable you need your kayak to be. Do you need a stable platform to stand on or a Kayak that is somewhat unstable?

If you plan to take your kayaking to the next level and race your kayak, you will almost certainly need a very stable kayak.

On the other hand, if all you want to do is have fun on short day trips or just take part in weekend outings with family and friends, you can get by with something less than perfect stability.

# What size kayak do you want to run?

Another thing you should consider is what size kayak you want to run. A large majority of people who are just getting into kayaking want to run a boat smaller than 20 feet.

 However, once they gain some experience and discover what they are capable of, many of them end up running kayaks larger than 30 feet.

# Test it out on the water: 

The next thing you should do before making any type of purchase is test it out on the water. If you have some experience, I suggest that you take a long weekend, go out with your friends and family, and have an entire “fun” weekend without any financial responsibility.

This way, you will be able to determine if the kayak is stable enough for you and if you like the feel of the kayak. 

# Read reviews from other buyers: 

The last thing you should do is read reviews from other kayak buyers. There are several websites that allow people to post their reviews of different products, including kayaks.

 All you have to do is type in the name of the product that you are interested in into any of these search engines, and you will come up with hundreds (if not thousands) of reviews.

You can also ask other kayakers or anglers who have purchased the same type of kayak that you are considering to give you their opinion.

Types of Kayaks | Which Type Should You Buy?

There are many types of kayaks on the market, and the right choice depends on your personal preferences and needs.

worst Kayak Brands

Thus, it is important to know what you want before you go shopping. Therefore, in this post, I will discuss different types of kayaks and help you decide which type is best for you.

1. Paddle-Power Kayaks:

These are the most common types of kayaks, and they are perfect for people who love the water but do not want to get their hands dirty.

All you have to do is paddle these kayaks, and they will take you where you want to go. These are also a great choice if you do not have a lot of time to learn as a beginner.

Paddle-powered kayaks come in both folding and non-folding varieties. Folding varieties are easy to transport and store, while non-folding ones are usually very stable and can carry a heavy load.

2. Sit-On-Top Kayaks:

Sit-on-top kayaks have become very popular because they combine the stability of a sit-on-top kayak with the maneuverability of a sit-in kayak.

They are great for people who want to explore new places because you can get out and walk around while staying dry. These types of kayaks are also very stable and will keep you from getting seasick even if the water is rough.

However, they are not as easy to paddle as other kayaks, so they are not good for beginners or short trips.

On the other hand, they are perfect if you want to travel the world because you do not have to carry all your supplies with you. You can simply buy what you need along the way.

3. Hybrid Kayaks:

Hybrid kayaks are like Sit-on-tops in that they have a deck, but they also have an in-line or tunnel hull. This combination makes them very stable and very seaworthy.

Hybrids are great for paddlers of all levels. They are easy to maneuver and have excellent stability, so you can go where the current takes you. Plus, they have a large storage area, so you will not have to worry about running out of room to put your stuff.

However, hybrids do not have the storage space that sit-ons do, so they are not good if you plan to take a long trip.

4. In-Line Kayaks:

In-line kayaks have an elongated hull which makes them very seaworthy. On the contrary, they are not as stable as sit-on-tops or hybrids, but they are very easy to paddle.

Thus, they are perfect for first-time paddlers or for short trips. These types of kayaks also have a large storage area, so you will not have to worry about running out of room to put your stuff.

5. Sit-In Kayaks:

Sit-in kayaks have a very maneuverable hull which makes them very easy to paddle. Where in-line and hybrid kayaks have stability, sit-ins have speed.

They are also very seaworthy and very stable, so you can go where the current takes you. Plus, they have a very large storage area, so you will not have to worry about running out of room to put your stuff.

On the other hand, they are not as easy to transport as in-line or paddle-powered boats, so they are not good for long trips.

6. Canoe-Type Kayaks:

Canoe-type kayaks have an even longer hull than sit-ins, and they are perfect for exploring new places.

These kayaks also have a very large storage area, so you will not have to worry about running out of room to put your stuff.

7. Dinghy-Type Kayaks:

Dinghy-type kayaks are very similar to canoes, but they usually have two decks instead of one. This makes them very stable and very seaworthy.

Thus, they are perfect for paddlers of all levels. They are also very easy to transport and store. Plus, they have a very large storage area, so you will not have to worry about running out of room to put your stuff.

There are many more types of kayaks, but these are the most common ones. Hopefully, after reading this brief description, you will be able to choose the type of kayak that is right for you.

Disadvantages of kayaking

Kayaking is an incredible sport that is often done for exercise or for fun on the weekends. But it can also be dangerous if you are not careful.

The major disadvantages of kayaking are:

  • The potential danger involved in paddling
  • The risks associated with participating in activities where there is a risk of capsizing
  • The need for more equipment that does not come cheap
  • It’s not easy to get into this sport if you’re new to it
  • You will need to invest a considerable amount of time to get good at kayaking

The biggest danger of kayaking is getting injured while paddling. This is especially true if you are not an experienced kayaker. If you are just starting out, I would strongly suggest you get some kind of training before you even think about going on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do kayaks flip over easily?

No, kayaks don’t flip over easily. This is a common misconception regarding kayaks, believing that they will easily flip over when in one. This is far from the truth! Kayaks are designed to be stable and can hold up to the weight of many people. They also have thick, durable skin, so flipping them over is nearly impossible.

Will a kayak sink if filled with water?

Yes, it will. This is because the volume of water in a kayak is greater than its volume.

Is Kayaking Safe?

The truth of the matter is that kayaking is an activity that can be dangerous to individuals with certain medical conditions. It may be wise for people with any sort of health problems to avoid kayaking in general, but it should also not be completely dismissed if they do decide to try it out. Kayaking could pose serious dangers in the form of collisions or falls during or after a ride.

Final Words

So, that will be all for the article. We hope that our review has helped you know about the kayak brands to avoid and find the best one.

While reading, you might have noticed that we have mentioned some pretty popular kayak brands.  They are indeed renowned kayak brands, but certain aspects made us consider those brands as worse.

We also found that when you are buying a kayak, comfort, hull design, durability, and weight capacity are a few things that are a must to consider. So, the next time when you buy a kayak, do look for these features.

To help you make your decision, we have also suggested a few of the best kayak brands. Choose the one that fits your standards.

Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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