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The Bottom of the Barrel: Kayak Brands to Skip

Kayak Brands To Avoid

Kayak Brands To Avoid

Updated on 7/10/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail ūüĎč Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott


Kayak Brands to Avoid:

  1. WaveSport: Known for slow speed and stability issues.
  2. Sun Dolphin: Not for frequent use, lacks comfort.
  3. L.L. Bean: Only for beginners, lacks a keel for stability.
  4. Tucktec: Complicated setup, not for rough waters.
  5. Field & Stream: Loose screws, poor customer service.
  6. Lifetime: Sluggish and not very sturdy.
  7. Pelican Sport: Stability problems, small hull.

Consider your kayaking style, experience, and budget when choosing a kayak, and read reviews from other buyers for insights into performance and quality. Prioritize safety and consider lessons if you're new to kayaking.

Hey there! Are you in the market for a new kayak? Well, you're in luck because I've compiled a list of some kayak brands you want to avoid. Trust me; you do NOT want to be caught paddling around in one of these losers.

First on the list is the "Leaky Kayak Company." Who wants a kayak that constantly leaks and leaves you in a puddle? Not me! And I'm guessing not you, either.

Next is the "Flimsy Kayak Co." These kayaks are made of cheap, thin material prone to tearing and breaking. One sound wave, and you'll be swimming back to shore.

Last but not least is the "Uncomfortable Kayak Company." These kayaks have such complex and stiff seats that you'll be sore for days after your paddling adventure.


All Jokes aside, let's look at what we have on this list.


Kayak Brands To Avoid At All Costs

Wave-Riding Sports

WaveSport manufactures kayaks for various activities, including fishing, diving, and sea surfing. However, although it offers a wide selection of kayaks, customers are unsatisfied with this brand.

A surprising number of folks are proud to brag about how low the quality of their kayaks is. You may already be familiar with the sport of whitewater kayaking. And everyone friendly with this sport knows that speed is the most critical factor in determining who comes out on top.

However, whitewater kayaks manufactured by WaveSport are rumored to have speed issues when used in certain conditions. One of our customers was unsatisfied with their whitewater kayak since it moved slowly and was difficult to roll when necessary.

One of the other customer issues was that their Kayak could not keep its line in place, which is a problem if you are worried about your safety and stability.

Only those just starting kayaking should consider purchasing a product from the WaveSport brand. On the other hand, if you are an exceptional performer, it is best to steer clear of these kayaks because they may impact your ability to do well.

Let's look at the main factors that led to us including this kayak brand on the list of those you should try to avoid.

Why You Should Not Do It

  • Unsatisfactory performance
  • Insufficiently long-lasting
  • Only for those who are inexperienced.


Sun Dolphin

The second brand that is one of the worst kayak brands, according to the reviews left by previous customers, is Sun dolphin.

Canoes, stand-up paddle boats, fishing kayaks, and paddleboats are just some of the different types of kayaks that Sun Dolphin, one of the most prominent manufacturers in the industry. Additionally, it is one of the kayak brands that provide kayaks at prices that are considered relatively affordable. When you get to this point, you need to consider whether or not it offers good quality at an affordable price.

According to reviews and feedback from several customers, Sun dolphin kayaks are only a good buy if used "occasionally." However, if you are the type who frequently goes kayaking, you should cross this brand off your list of considerations.

If you go kayaking frequently, one more issue could be a detriment for you: Sun dolphin is well-known for giving less comfort than their competitors. If you have been paddling for an extended period all day, the lack of bottom seat cushions on Sun Dolphin Kayaks can be a significant annoyance.

One of the significant drawbacks of Sun dolphin kayaks is that they cannot support a massive amount of weight, which indicates they are not appropriate for heavier individuals, such as adults, and are best suited for younger children, teenagers, or adults. The following list will hopefully make it easier for you to decide whether or not to purchase the Sun dolphin brand.

Why You Should Avoid It

  • Less comfortable
  • Not so much for the heavyweights.
  • You can not use it for routine.¬†


L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean is the third brand of Kayak that you should Orientate clear of, and we will explain why. L.L. Among manufacturers of low-quality kayaks, L.L. Bean is the second name.

It is crucial for paddling a kayak to have a keel since it prevents the Kayak from tumbling and propels paddlers forward. Nevertheless, you will be surprised if we inform you that L.L. Bean kayaks do not have keels. Many people have complained that the tracking on their kayaks is poor. A further drawback of using L.L. Bean kayaks for paddling as a sport is that they are pretty slow in comparison to other brands of kayaks.

L.L. Bean can be a good kayak brand if you are learning to kayak for the first time. However, if you are serious about kayaking, you shouldn't consider this option.

Please look at the disadvantages of L.L. Bean kayaks before we go on to the brand that we consider the worst.

Why You Should Not Buy It



Tucktec is number two on our list of the worst brands we carry, and this manufacturer is well-known for producing kayaks with foldable seats. Although the idea of "foldable kayaks" may give the impression that they are cool, in practice, they are not.

Oru Kayak is the only kayak brand we can put all of our faith in when it comes to foldable kayaks; no other kayak company even comes close.

Tucktec is well-known for producing kayaks with unique designs; nevertheless, this is also a limitation since many customers have noted that it takes them a considerable amount of time to set up their kayaks once they are out on the water.

One disadvantage of foldable kayaks is that, in comparison to regular kayaks, setting them up is a more complicated process. Your Kayak would sink in the water if you didn't fix that one mistake first.

In addition, Tucktec kayaks are only helpful for paddling on lakes and rivers; if you want to use them in the ocean, you should look elsewhere.

If you are still unsure, read through the arguments listed below.

Why You Should Not Buy It

  • Tucktec kayaks are not simple to set up.
  • Tucktec is not for use in turbulent water
  • If it is not watertight, it poses a potential risk.


Field & Stream

When you first heard about the brand "Field & Stream," what was the first thing that came to mind for you? Isn't it a little pretentious to be the name of a kayak brand? You see, the reason is that Field & Stream used to publish a magazine.

Field & Stream is well known for its educational articles about "all things outdoor" and has a significant following. However, kayaks aren't very popular with most people.

Users have frequently voiced dissatisfaction with Field & Stream brand's kayaks, specifically that the screws on their kayaks are loose and the handles are prone to sliding.

Aside from these problems, one of my primary concerns is their subpar customer assistance quality. According to many consumers, the company does not provide an appropriate answer to anyone who contacts them to address their issues. 

Let Us cover Field & Stream brand's negative aspects in the following paragraphs.

Why You Should Not Buy It

  • Field & Stream is not durable
  • It is not dependable
  • Field & Stream provides Poor service to the customer(s)



Some believe Lifetime brand is one of the top kayak manufacturers, while others hold the other opinion. However, the choice is ultimately up to you because the Lifetime brand has been reviewed in favorable and unfavorable ways.

No matter its widespread use, it will always have a certain amount of issues to contend with. The problem is primarily caused by the lightweight models of this manufacturer's kayaks.

Because of the weight of some Lifetime brands' kayaks, they can make sharp turns in the water. Some users have commented that going quickly with these kayaks is challenging since they don't track straight like longer kayaks.

Another disadvantage is that they move very slowly, so individuals not fans of kayaking at a slow pace should consider the Lifetime brand before purchasing it. One further problem many people don't like about Lifetime kayaks is that they aren't as sturdy as some other brands.

Let us look at the negative aspects we have gleaned from the feedback of several customers.

Why You Should Not Buy It

  • Rather¬†sluggish¬†in comparison
  • Turning can be a challenge.
  • Lifetime kayaks are not secure.


Pelican Sport (singular)

Pelican Sport is recognized as one of the kayak brands renowned for its ability to produce kayaks of superior quality. However, owners of kayaks manufactured by Pelican Sports brand have reported experiencing a few issues.

Some versions have a relatively small hull at the point where it floats, and it also has a sharp angle, making it challenging to maintain stability.

Some kayaks have seats placed too far toward the rear of the Kayak. Additionally, a customer mentioned that their Pelican Sport kayak was on the lighter side, which caused it to be unsteady at times.

Below is a discussion of the general cons of purchasing the Pelican Sports brand. Have a peek.

Why You Should Not Do It

  • Pelican Sport has problems with stability.
  • Its Hull is not very wide.
  • ¬†They placed Pelican Sport Seating too far back.
  • Now that we've covered the seven worst kayak brands available, we strongly recommend you steer clear of them. Since you have made it this far, how about we tell you about some unique kayak brands worth the investment? Does it sound Gorgeous!?


Five Top Kayak Brands & Amazing Kayak Brands

So, these are the top kayak brands, the five most dependable kayak brands. Start digging!

Five Top-Rated Kayak Manufacturers

Five Top-Rated Kayak Manufacturers

Oru Kayak: Inflatable Kayak Brands

Oru Kayak

Oru Kayak

Oru Kayak, which has its headquarters in California, is widely regarded as one of the premier manufacturers of kayaks. There is a great deal of variety in the Oru kayak lineup because each model was developed with a specific objective.

Because they are relatively lightweight and foldable, Oru kayaks are an excellent option for paddlers sick of the burden of lugging big kayaks around everywhere they go. Compared to those rigid kayaks, the performance of Oru inflatable kayak brands is far superior.

Oru is the brand you want if you enjoy having exciting experiences and are searching for a kayak you won't have to worry about taking.

Ocean Kayak

Ocean Kayak

Ocean Kayak

"Sit-on-top" kayaks are manufactured by Ocean Kayak, one of the industry's most well-known brands. Ocean Kayak is your one-stop shop for everything you could need, offering everything from stand-up paddling kayaks to fishing kayaks.

Ocean's particular brand's sit-on-top kayaks are hailed as the "King" and "Queen" of the industry due to their cutting-edge design and feature set.

The Intex Recreation Corporation

Intex Recreation kayak

Intex Recreation kayak

Intex Recreation Corp., which has its headquarters in the United States, is widely acknowledged as among the brands of inexpensive inflatable kayaks with the best reputations. Providing superior quality and exceptional value is this brand's fundamental goal.

In addition, Intex Recreation Corp. is one of the kayak brands with the most years of industry experience. Intex is the brand for you if you are looking for a kayak that won't break the bank but will still provide a superior kayaking experience.

Wilderness systems

Wilderness systems

Wilderness systems

Wilderness systems kayak manufacturer, which has its headquarters in North Carolina, is widely considered among the industry's elite. Nature is well-known for having designs that have won awards, products that work exceptionally well, and excellent supplies.

Wilderness is the brand that will meet all of your requirements if you are searching for a kayak that is not only lightweight but also stable and capable of withstanding the challenging wilderness that you want to explore.

Malibu Kayaks

 Malibu Kayaks

Malibu Kayaks

Malibu Kayaks was founded on creating better kayaks than what was available then. Since then, it has remained true to that philosophy.

Malibu Kayaks has a reputation for providing some of the most cost-effective, one-of-a-kind, and versatile kayaks on the market, making them an excellent choice for every kayaker.

Consider These Common Mistakes When Purchasing Kayak Brand 

Avoiding These Common Mistakes When Purchasing a Kayak Brand

Avoiding These Common Mistakes When Purchasing a Kayak Brand

Avoiding a terrible kayak may easily cost you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, and give you more frustration than anything else you could buy. On the other hand, acquiring the appropriate Kayak can introduce you to a new realm of exciting new experiences.

It doesn't matter what kind of kayaking you do; having a kayak built to last will make your excursions much more enjoyable. In this tutorial, I will provide you with an outline of some of the factors you should consider while purchasing a kayak.

Determine What Your Needs Are:

You first need to consider the kind of kayaking you want to do and the essential qualities in a kayak for that kind of kayaking.

  • What are your plans for the day? Would you also like to visit rural areas?
  • Is your Kayak for fun or competition?
  • Will you fish in the ocean with your Kayak or play with it?
  • Can you handle some unpredictability, or do you require something stable?
  • What is the size of the Kayak you anticipate needing? When you kayak, how far do you plan to go?

These questions, among others, should be answered before deciding what type of Kayak you need.

Be Aware Of Your Financial Constraints.

Once you have determined the style of kayaking you want and the qualities you require in a kayak, it is time to start thinking about your financial constraints.

As a paddler, I have seen that most new paddlers underestimate the cost of funding their excursions.

It is especially true if they travel on day trips or participate in weekend getaways with friends and family. 

As soon as they are out on the sea and cut off from all financial support sources, they learn that their "fun" money disappears as quickly as they earned it.

After a while, they realize that the costs associated with purchasing food, replacing lost or broken gear, and paying for repairs can quickly mount up.


How Long Have You Been Working In Kayaking Field?

The second item you need to consider is how much previous experience you have when it comes to kayaking. If you have never been kayaking before, you should think about it before getting into a kayak that is more than 12 feet long.

If you are just getting started with kayaking, it is recommended that you get one that is less than 6 feet long and then work your way up from there. On the other hand, if you have prior experience, you want to consider moving up to a more capable kayak. Two distinct advantages come along with having some previous kayaking experience.

As a second benefit, you will feel tremendous pride when you realize you can cope with any challenge. 


If You Go Kayaking, What Kind of Paddling Do You Wish To Do? Fishing Kayaks?

It is time to start thinking about the kayaking you want to do now that you know how much money you want to spend, how much experience you already have, and what qualities you require in a kayak.

Kayaking can take on various forms, each with its own distinguishing traits. Many enjoy competing in races with their kayaks, and others want fun. Others, though, like to use their kayaks for fishing in the ocean or simply for recreational purposes.


How Much Consistency Do You Require In Your Life?

It would be best if you thought considerably of an environment you want your Kayak to be in.

Do you require a relatively steady kayak to stand on, or do you prefer a more stable platform?

If you want to take your kayaking to the next level and compete in races with it, you will probably require a kayak with a high degree of stability.

If, on the other hand, the only thing you want to do is have fun on short day trips or take part in weekend vacations with family and friends, you can get by with something less than perfect steadiness.


What Size Kayak Do You Wish To Run?

Another item you must consider is the kayak size you wish to kayak.

People who are just starting kayaking tend to be interested in paddling kayaks that are less than 20 feet long.

However, once they have gained some expertise and discovered what they are capable of, many go on to paddle kayaks that are longer than 30 feet.


Give It A Try On The Water 

The next thing you should do before making any purchase gives it a try on the water.

 Take A crucial step. I recommend you take a long weekend, go out with your friends and family, and enjoy a "fun" weekend without financial responsibilities. You should do this if you have some expertise in the field. By doing so, you will be able to establish whether or not the Kayak is stable enough for your needs and whether or not you enjoy the sensation of paddling the Kayak.


Read Reviews Written By Previous Purchasers For Good Kayak Brands

The last thing you should do is read reviews from earlier kayak purchasers.

On several websites, people can express their opinions and evaluations of various things, including kayaks.

You need to enter the name of the Kayak in question into any of these search engines, which will present you with hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews to choose from.

You might also inquire about the viewpoints of other kayakers or fishers who have recently purchased a kayak comparable to the one you are contemplating buying.


Different Varieties Of Kayaks And Which Kind Should You Purchase?

Many kinds of kayaks are available for purchase, and the one that's best for you will be the one that best suits your preferences and requirements.

Therefore, before shopping, you must know what you are looking for. As a result, I have decided to write this piece to examine the various types of kayaks available to assist you in selecting the most suitable model for your needs.


Paddle-Power Kayaks: 

1. Paddle-Power Kayaks:

1. Paddle-Power Kayaks:

These are the most common kayaks, ideal for people who adore the water but do not want to get their hands dirty. Paddle-power kayaks allow the paddler to propel themselves through the water.

Paddling these kayaks will get you where you need to go; you only have to tell them where you want to go. If you are a novice and do not have much time to devote to learning, Paddle-Power Kayaks are an excellent option for you to consider.

Both a folding and a non-folding variety of kayaks are powered by paddling. Folding models are convenient for transporting and storing. However, non-folding models are typically relatively stable and can support significant weight.


Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are becoming increasingly popular because they combine the stability of sit-in kayaks with the maneuverability of sit-on-top kayaks. One reason is this. 

Sit-On-Top Kayaks offers waterproof protection, so you can get out and explore new places while maintaining watertight security. Moreover, Sit-On-Top kayaks are relatively stable, so you won't feel seasick even in turbulent conditions.

Beginners or people taking short trips should not use them since they are more challenging to paddle than other kayaks. However, touring the world is much easier when you don't have to carry all your supplies, so it's ideal for those wishing to see the world. On the road, you can easily purchase whatever you need.


Hybrid Kayaks

In the same way that sit-on-top kayaks have a deck, hybrid kayaks also do.

However, hybrid kayaks have an in-line or tunnel hull beside the deck. Because of this combination, they are exceptionally steady and exceedingly seaworthy.

Hybrids are perfect for paddlers of all levels. Because Hybrids are simple to steer and have a high level of stability, you can travel in any direction the current takes you. In addition to this, they have a sizable storage area, which means you won't have to be concerned about running out of space to place your belongings.

However, hybrids do not have the same amount of storage space that sit-ones do, so you should not use one of them if you intend to embark on a lengthy journey.


In-Line Kayaks

Kayaks with elongated hulls are exceptionally seaworthy vessels. They are, however, more accessible to paddle than sit-on-tops or hybrid kayaks, despite being less stable.

Therefore, In-Line kayaks are ideal for novice paddlers and shorter excursions. Due to their spacious storage compartments, In-Line kayaks won't run out of space for your belongings.


Sit-In Kayaks

The sit-in kayak's Hull is exceedingly maneuverable, contributing to the Kayak's ease of paddling. While hybrid and in-line kayaks are known for their stability, sit-in kayaks are known for their speed.

Sit-In Kayaks are also incredibly seaworthy and relatively stable, enabling you to travel in any direction the tide takes you. In addition, they have a vast storage area, so you will not need to worry about not having enough space to put your belongings inside.

On the other hand, transporting one of the Sit-In Kayaks is more complex than transporting an in-line or paddle-powered kayak. Therefore it is not recommended for use on extended journeys.


Canoe-Type Kayaks

Canoe-style kayaks feature a hull longer than sit-in kayaks, making them an excellent choice for exploring uncharted territory.

Because the storage compartments in Canoe-Type kayaks are so roomy, you won't have to worry about running out of space for your belongings, even if you bring many of them.


Dinghy-Type Kayaks

Canoes and kayaks of the dinghy variety share many similarities; however, kayaks of Dinghy-Type typically have two decks rather than one. Because of this, they are exceptionally steady and exceedingly seaworthy.

As a result, they are an excellent choice for paddlers of varying skill levels. In addition to that, transporting and storing them is a breeze. Dinghy-Type also has a vast storage area, so you will not need to worry about not having enough space to put your belongings inside.

There are many more variations of kayaks, but Dinghy-Type kayaks are the most frequently used. We hope that after reading this brief description, you can choose the sort of Kayak most suited to your needs and preferences.


Why Shouldn't Some People Kayak?

Kayaking is a fantastic sport that people frequently participate in on the weekends to get in shape or enjoy. Despite that, your safety might be at risk if you aren't careful. 

Some Of The Primary Drawbacks Of Kayaking:

  • Kayaking entails inherent risks
  • I am participating in activities where the possibility of being capsized comes with inherent dangers.
  • The requirement for more equipment comes at a hefty price.
  • Getting started can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with this activity.
  • To become skilled at kayaking, you must put in significant¬†practice time.
  • The most important risk involved in kayaking is the potential for injury. It is imperative to remember if you are not a kayaker with a lot of expertise. Before you ever consider venturing out on your own, it is essential that you first receive¬†some training, especially if you are just getting started in the kayaking field.
  • ¬†


So, this brings us to the conclusion of the article. From our review, we hope you can learn which kayak brands to steer clear of and which ones to look into further when purchasing.

During reading, you might have picked up on the fact that we have discussed a few of the more well-known kayak manufacturers. They are undoubtedly famous kayak brands, but we rated them as lower quality for various reasons.

We also discovered that when shopping for a kayak, some of the most important factors to consider are the Kayak's weight capability, level of durability, level of comfort, and hull design. Therefore, when you buy a kayak in the future, ensure you seek these aspects. We have also provided some recommendations for the most reputable kayak manufacturers so that you can make an informed choice and pick the one that satisfies your requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Kayak's Customer Service Compare?

Generally, if you're buying a kayak, all companies will provide impeccable customer service. Unfortunately, if things go bad and your kayak does not live up to its price, they all become unavailable. Among them are Pelican and Field & Stream. Getting in touch with them is hard, and they're nearly impossible to reach through written correspondence.

What Kayak Brands Should I Focus On?

Kayak brands are plentiful, and you'd be surprised to know how many of them are reliable. The following are a few to name: Oru Kayaks (Best foldable Kayak) Perception Kayaks Delta Kayaks Vibe Kayaks Wilderness Systems They offer excellent customer service and guide users through the website to choose the right kayak. Kayaks are classified into types to find what you need for your family and yourself. Finally, they all have a decent warranty, easy registration, and no hassle.

Which Kayak Brand Is The Most Reliable?

For us, it's the Perception Kayak. Despite being made for layman customers, their website is flawless and easy to navigate. A great user experience allows users to easily find their local kayak vendor, with a kayak suitable for almost any terrain and water speed.