Kayaking is a fun activity and a good choice for staying fit. Also, its portability can be part of your every adventure travel. So, it’s a lot of different things, but affordable is not one of them when it comes to most types of kayaks.
Many people don’t even start kayaking as a hobby due to budget restrictions. Instead, people get the cheapest gym membership for the workout equipment like a recumbent bike or buy the best pedometers for shoes to exercise. First, though, you need to buy the best kayaks for the money that doesn’t break your wallet.
That’s why we will review the five best kayaks for under $200.
What are the Top Reasons to Buy a Kayak?
Kayaking is suitable for all ages and a good way to meet new people that like to paddle. In addition, kayaking can be a great stress reliever.
Here are five more reasons why you should buy a kayak to fit your next outdoor adventure:
Cardio with Low Impact
Kayaking is a great activity for some cardio with low impact. It’s easy on your legs and hips, so it’s an good alternative to biking or running. Likewise, paddling is low impact, but it will build up your heart rate for a great cardio workout of your muscles.
Kayas are pretty durable and can be taken on your various trips. There are different shapes, sizes, and materials based on what you’ll do with them. For example, there are inflatable kayaks that you can conveniently fold and pack in a closet or under a bed. You can also buy whitewater kayaks made of hard plastic material that’s much heavier.
Workout for your Core
Are you looking to build your six-pack abs? Well, with kayaking, you can achieve that in a brief period. Thanks to rotational paddling, your core muscles are going to do some fat-burning workouts.
Your arms will be noticeably different once you get into kayaking. It’s because your arms will do a lot of activity, and you’ll slowly build muscle tone.
Enjoying the Nature
Apart from all the workouts, you’ll get to explore nature in the great outdoors. In addition, you’ll get loads of vitamin D through the sun that you can do on almost all bodies of water.
What are the Best Kayaks for Under $200?
A $200 Kayak is a mid-range price that’s meant for the budget-friendly outdoors person.
1. Intex Challenger – Best Overall
- Aluminum oars
- Weighs 35 lbs
- Inflatable material
- UV resistant
- 400 lbs weight limit
The Intex Challenger K2 kayak is an excellent choice for budget-friendly kayaking under $200. It’s sporty, fun and comes with a very streamlined design which makes paddling easier. In addition, the kayak will be highly visible on the water due to its bright green and various sporty graphics.
The Intex Challenger also includes a couple of lightweight and durable aluminum oars. Moreover, you will get a high-quality pump to inflate or deflate your kayak conveniently.
It’s constructed with quality and rugged vinyl to take on the outdoors. The durable material can handle hard rocky bumps and resist punctures. Plus, it’s UV resistant to guarantee its long-term resilience.
There’s plenty of legroom for two adults. Last but not least, you’ll get a repair patch kit if you do end up puncturing the kayak.
- Highly durable vinyl construction
- Includes a pump to inflate and deflate the kayak
- Quality aluminum collapsible oars that are incredibly lightweight
- Designed for fast waters and speedy kayaking
- Lightweight design is excellent for traveling
- Single skin construction
- Difficult to repack in the carrying bag when wet or sandy
2. Sevlor Quikpak – Best Budget/Single Person
- Easy backpack carry system
- Durable construction
- Single-person kayak
- 400 lbs weight capacity
Sevylor Quickpak is a great choice for single-person kayaking and only takes 5-minutes to set up. It’s a simple process, and you’ll be on the water in no time!
The $100 kayak is designed for heavy people with a weight capacity of 400 lbs. But the good thing is that the kayak itself doesn’t weigh much. Therefore, you won’t have any trouble carrying it from your vehicle to the lake.
It has a special backpack design to unpack it into a kayak. Sevylor is constructed with a 21-gauge PVC. The rugged kayak can handle rocks and stones in shallow water.
On the bottom, Sevylor has used tarpaulin, which ensures durable protection against any punctures. So, it’s a pretty good option for nearby white water kayaking. In addition, it has multiple air chambers, and if one chamber gets punctured, the other one will remain inflated.
There are double lock valves on the kayak with double locking points to ensure you can easily inflate and deflate. It also features a comfortable backrest to lean backward and relax while enjoying your ride.
- Quick setup
- Easy to carry and is lightweight at less than 20 pounds
- Made of 21-gauge PVC
- Tarpaulin on the bottom resists punctures
- Backrest makes your ride extremely comfortable
- The included paddle is not very durable
3. Sea Eagle SE330 – Best Inflatable Kayak
- Inflatable design
- Weighs only 26.5 lbs
- Weight capacity is 500 lbs
- Quick assembly time
- Rear skegs for speed and tracking
The Sea Eagle inflatable kayak is lightweight and perfect for training kids due to its stability. It has plenty of room for two and is great for a family of all ages.
The inflatable design only weighs 26.5 pounds, so carrying it won’t be an issue for you. However, it’s a large-sized kayak for under $200, so you might need an extra pair of hands when transporting it.
The Sea Eagle uses 33-mil Polykrylar and a high-frequency welded seam. So, your kayak is not going to puncture or break apart during your whitewater adventures.
The bottom has an I-beam construction and two rear skegs for tracking and speed. It allows the kayaker a surfboarding type of experience while gliding across the water.
It will only take about 6 minutes to inflate, and you’re ready to set sail. Your Sea Eagle purchase includes an oar, a foot pump, and a carrying bag.
- Great for family use
- Excellent for teaching and training kids to kayak
- Only six minutes to inflate
- Better tracking with two rear skegs
- 5-tube I-beam floor that can better handle rocks
- No D-rings or storage net to carry if two people are in it
4. Lifetime Youth Wave – Best Kayak for Kids
- Great for kids
- 130 lbs weight capacity
- Only weighs 18 lbs
- Convenient finger handles
- 5-year limited warranty
The Youth Wave Kayak for under $200 is designed for kids five and up. Its molded finger handles make it easy to carry and transport. A swim-up step allows the rider to enter the kayak from the water.
Lifetime has used quality polyethylene in constructing it and a high-density material that ensures superior durability and strength. In addition, there are multiple convenient footrest positions for different types of riders.
The high-density polyethylene kayak is impact-resistant and ultra-stable. It also ensures controlled tracking, so each 72” floatable paddle will take much less effort.
- Quality materials are used in the construction
- Durable and impact-resistant
- Very stable
- Easy to maneuver
- Swim-up deck at the back
- Different footrest positions for different kayaking styles
- Cannot add a seat to this kayak
5. Bestway Hydro-Force Best Kayak for Fishing
- Wraparound grab ropes
- Comfortable backrest
- Weight capacity of 330 lbs
- Two carry handles
- Plenty of storage
The Hydro-Force by Bestway is a top choice for fishing with a kayak under $100. It’s an inflatable design and comes with a double-sided paddle. The best part is, this kayak comes with built-in oar clasps, so you won’t lose your oars while you focus on your next catch.
It has separate holders designed for your fishing rod, so you have a place to keep your rod while kayaking. You’ll find different storage compartments as well. It’s one of the best cheap fishing kayaks under $100.
The kayak is designed to drift along the waves on any water from a lake to a river. So you don’t need to buy a heavy-duty kayak just because you want to fish. And, of course, you can use it specifically for kayaking, thanks to its lightweight construction and inflatable design.
It has only a single seating capacity and comes with a weight load capacity of 330 lbs. But there’s plenty of room for you to place your gear and stuff on it. Your purchase also includes a heavy-duty double-sided paddle along with an air hammer hand pump as well as a repair patch.
There’s a cockpit with a wide opening, and it features an adjustable seat with a backrest to provide additional lumbar support. Therefore, you can conveniently sit in it all day and wait for your catch of the day.
- An excellent choice for fishing while kayaking
- Comfortable backrest
- Lightweight aluminum oars
- Removable fin
- Heavy-duty PVC material
- The skeg connection is somewhat weak
What are my Options When it Comes to Budget Kayaks?
A limited budget doesn’t mean you have limited options. First, you need to understand what you’re going to use your kayak for. You can either go for a sit-in kayak or a sit-on-top kayak. With the prior, you’re sitting inside the kayak with cockpits, which are great for speed.
You’re sitting inside the hull, and it’s ideal for protection against the elements, but you’ll have restricted mobility. The latter allows you to sit on top of the hull, which means you’ll have greater mobility and more space.
The risk of capsizing is low, but you’re more exposed to elements in these kayaks. In addition, there are inflatable kayaks that offer exceptional portability as you can inflate and deflate them with air pumps.
Which is the Best Material for Inexpensive Kayaks?
You need to look for polyethylene because it’s pretty resilient and handles rocks pretty well. But puncture-resistant inflatable kayaks made of PVC are also recommended due to their durability.
Should I go for Longer Kayaks or Broader Ones?
Longer kayaks are better for speed and tracking, while broader kayaks are better suited for stability. Longer kayaks have shorter hulls, more maneuverability, lightweight as well. Broader kayaks are recommended for still water kayaking and fishing.
Best Kayaks Under $200 Summary
In our opinion, the best kayak under $200 is the Intex Challenger. It’s a long kayak built for speed and tracking, so it is a top choice if you’re an experienced kayaker. On the other hand, the Sevylor Quikpak is a good kayak for newbies.
See our guide on how to save $10,000 in a year.