Best Touring Kayak – Everything You Need To Know About Buying Touring Kayaks

Touring Kayak

Like the name implies touring kayaks are all about trying to cover as much distance as you can. So, if you are looking to do a little exploring on the water, these are the type of kayaks that work well.

Since you have a specific goal in mind, you need to find the best touring kayaks for the job.

This list consists of all those that fit the necessary requirements perfectly. There are certain factors that constitute a superior touring kayak. I find that stability, ability to move through different bodies of water, and maneuverability are of the highest importance.

best touring kayak
The Sea Eagle Razorlite 393rl

The kayaks below have all of these features.

Best Touring Kayaks

Sea Eagle Razorlite 393rl Kayak

Sea Eagle 393RL RazorLite Inflatable Kayak Pro Package
  • Fully constructed with drop stitch technology
  • 2 open and close drain valves, 3 one-way air valves
  • Large removable rear skeg, 6 D-rings to secure seat and footrest,
  • Front & rear spray skirts with carry handles
  • High performance kayak, with removable rear skeg, four part performance Paddle, tall seat back,...

The Sea Eagle Razorlite 39rl is an inflatable kayak.  Despite this, it is actually one of the best touring kayaks out there.

One of the main reasons for this is the design of the vessel. The rigid bow and stern molds allow the kayak to be incredibly fast in the water. You should be able to get about six miles per hour if you know what you are doing. It is not the bow and the stern that boast an unyielding structure, however.

For a good inflatable kayak, the Razorlite is incredibly good at holding its shape. The kayak is constructed from 1000 denier reinforced PVC, held together by drop stitch technology. This means that when the vessel is inflated, it maintains a rigidity that is incredibly similar to that of hard shell kayaks.
The other advantage of this kayak is its overall lightness, weighing in at just 33.5lbs. However, it is able to carry someone weighing around 250lbs as well as all of their gear.

These type of kayaks are also a great deal more comfortable than the traditional ones and the Razorlite, in particular, has a padded seating area. This kayak is equipped with everything that you may require for maintenance or repair and also comes with a three-year warranty.

The only downside of the Razorlite is the lack of designated storage. You should be able to fit in a backpack comfortably but you may find it difficult to store a lot of equipment.

  • 12 feet, 33.5lbs
  • Made from 1000 denier reinforced PVC
  • Drop stitch technology

Though it is not what you are necessarily looking for in a touring kayak, the Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 astounds in the stability category.
This is mostly due to the fact that the bottom of the vessel is almost completely flat. Also, the beam is 29 inches, which certainly helps.

This is not a kayak that you are going to find easy to tip over, even if you try.

The tracking is also notable and this is largely because of the addition of the drop skeg.

The Aspire 105 does well with winds but after a certain point, I did find myself having to work just a little bit to keep myself on course.
What cannot be faulted, however, is the maneuverability of the vessel. True, the kayak is not overly long but still, it involves just minimal paddling to get it to turn. If you are looking for something that is easy to handle, the Aspire 105 should be at the top of your list.

Another thing that cannot be faulted with this kayak is the comfort levels. The Phase 3 AirPro seating is quite welcome, especially on those longer trips.
Also, the foot brace system makes it easy to adjust the foot position to your ideal length. It might a bit snug for some kayakers who are tall and is better suited for people of average height.

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The kayak weighs a little under 50lbs so it is not something that can be carried all that easily. The plus side is that it can hold up to around 400lbs of passenger weight.

Last but not least, there is a hatch where you can store all of your items.

  • 10 feet, 48lbs
  • Able to carry 400lbs
  • Phase 3 AirPro seating

Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Kayak

Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak...
  • Well-rounded day touring kayak
  • Slender bow and slim deck line
  • Features a pilot rudder system
  • Advanced custom-fit seating system
  • Measures 14.5 feet by 22.5 inches by 12 inches and weighs 60 pounds
The Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV works well for those looking to head out onto the sea.
Although it works well enough in lakes and calmer waters, the kayak really comes into its own out on the sea.

In particular, I would say that the tracking improves when there are more waves. The Edge boasts a flat bottom which does offer some great stability for kayakers. However, the tracking can be a little off when you test the vessel out in calm waters. It is right at home out on the ocean with a few jaunty waves as the kayak just cuts right through them. Then, it takes a lot less effort to keep the kayak on the straight path.

Speaking of stability, the narrow bow really helps to keep the kayak upright, even when it gets choppy on the water. The maneuvering is good although it is a little clumsy if you are not used to a kayak of this size.

While the price tag may be a little high, you are getting great quality for it. The kayak is constructed from polyethylene which makes it quite durable and likely to last longer.

The cockpit is roomy and most people will not find it difficult to fit in there. The seats are also surprisingly comfy. Although they are not necessarily plush, you will not have to endure soreness after a long journey.

The Edge is on the heftier side, weighing around sixty pounds.

This can make it difficult to move the kayak from your vehicle into the water.

  • 14 feet, 60lbs
  • Polyethylene construction
  • Pilot rudder system
  • Custom fit seating

Ocean Kayak Zest Two Touring Kayak

Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition Tandem Sit-On-Top...
  • Capacity: Seats two adults or two adults and a small child or pet, 500-600 lbs. maximum capacity
  • Seating: Comfort Plus seats and molded-in foot braces
  • Storage: Stern oversized tank well with bungee, bow deck bungee
  • Side carry handles, Bow and stern carry handles, molded-in cup holders, two side-mounted paddle...
  • Perfect for a day trip or a weekend adventure
The most notable feature on the Ocean Kayak Zest Two is that it is completely performance oriented.

Once I got it out onto the water, I was taken aback at just how fast this kayak is.

The sheer length of the vessel certainly helps but this narrower and longer hull helps in one other way too.

You and your partner are going to find that your paddling is greatly improved, allowing you to move that much faster. This is the very same feature that helps with the impressive tracking of the vessel as well.

Of course, it is the size of the kayak that also makes it a little bit more cumbersome to turn and maneuver in certain spots.

One thing that you will not be short of in this kayak is storage space. There are two large tank wells, complete with a bungee cord. Also, if you want to, this kayak has plenty of accessories to add on, even more, storage space.

This is definitely a vessel that you want to choose if you have longer legs as there is plenty of space to stretch out – even with two people in the kayak.

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At 70lbs, this is not a kayak that you can really expect carry with ease. However, the benefit is that it can carry up to 600lbs in passenger weight.

“This newer version has been given an update with padded seats”

These are quite thin and may get a bit uncomfortable after a while, however.

  • 45 feet, 70lbs
  • Two tank wells
  • Side mounted paddle keepers

This is the definitely the vessel that you want to set off in if you are looking to take a long trip on your own.
The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 is incredibly versatile. This means that regardless of what type of kayaking you want to do, this is the vessel for you.

What the designers have managed to get down pat is the balance between the length and the width. Typically, you wouldn’t expect the boat of such a length to be all that fast. However, since the dimensions are evened out, the Tarpon actually ended up being a lot faster than I expected.

This does compromise the stability of the kayak a little bit, nonetheless.

While it is stable, you may not want to move around too much in the vessel. One thing this kayak is not short on is space. There is a storage area for everything you may need. Smaller pieces of equipment can go in the mesh pockets. If you are looking to keep something dry, there are two sealed hatches that you can use for this purpose.

It is also equipped with an accessory system that allows you to add other modifications as well.

As with most Wilderness Systems kayaks, the Tarpon has a Phase 3 AirPro seat which makes it one of the most comfortable kayaks to sit in, especially for long periods of time.

The foot brake system makes it easier for you to make adjustments according to your desired length.

  • 10 feet, 55lbs
  • Storage hatches, mesh pockets
  • Phase 3 AirPro seating
  • Adjustable foot brace system

Riot Kayaks Brittany Kayak

Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5 Flatwater Touring Kayak with...
  • 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
If you want to primarily use your kayak out on the ocean or where there are waves, then the Riot Kayaks Brittany is a good fit.

This is not a vessel that is necessarily suitable in calm waters. This is largely due to the flat bottom feature on the kayak. What it adds in terms of stability, it takes away in tracking.

However, this is only when the water is relatively flat. When out on the sea, this kayak cuts through the waves with ease. The retractable skeg comes in particularly handy in such situations. A little bit of wind will not deter this kayak.

The Brittany is also quite fast, the lengthened bow helps with this and you will be able to gain some real speed. That being said, it is not the easiest kayak to maneuver and beginners, especially may struggle with it.

This can be a difficult kayak to carry around with you. It is over sixteen feet long and weighs just over 51 pounds. Therefore, getting to remote shores may be a little tricky.

There is actually a decent amount of storage space for a kayak that is narrow. The bigger pieces of equipment can be secured with a bungee. Anything that you want to keep dry can be put in the well-sealed dry hatches. The cockpit of the Brittany has enough of room to make kayakers of varying heights quite comfortable.

The adjustable seating is not very user-friendly and is difficult to work.

  • 5 feet, 51lbs
  • Retractable skeg
  • Custom fit seating system

What to Look for when choosing The Best Touring Kayak

Perhaps the first thing that you should consider when looking to purchase a good touring kayak is your skill level.

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Typically, these type of kayaks are meant for those who have at least a bit of experience when it comes to kayaking. This is are not great kayaks for first-time users or for those who have just gotten started. They are best suited to individuals who have spent at least some time trying out various kayaks.

If you do want to find the best that money can buy, here are some factors to look at:

The Kayak Material

There are technically two options to choose from when it comes to kayak hull material. The first is the most common – polyethylene which is a type of plastic. The reason that polyethylene tends to be quite popular is that it is a cheaper option for manufacturers. At the same time, it is also durable and is good with handling minor dings and scrapes. This durability does come at a cost nonetheless and this cost is weight. These type of kayaks tend to weigh a little bit more. This is may be an issue if you are looking for a vessel that is easy to carry and hike with.

Then there are kayaks made of composite materials. These are a lot lighter which is why kayakers who like portability tend to prefer these kayaks. The composite also has a smoother finish which could come in handy as the kayak moves through the water. As the material itself is quite pricey, you can expect your vessel to be just as expensive. Composite kayaks are also not the toughest vessels around. If you want something that will hold up well and are prone to cracking.

Comfort and Size

You may notice that the kayaks that I picked out had focused a great deal on comfort. This is not a coincidence. Getting a touring kayak usually means that you will be making plans for longer trips. As a result, you could spend hours in the vessel. This is why comfort is quite so important. The more comfortable the kayak or the cockpit is, the easier it is for you to spend time in it.

In terms of seat comfort, you should focus on two things. The first is perhaps the most significant and this is back support. If these part of the seat is not high enough or doesn’t have enough padding, you are going to feel the strain after a while. Then, of course, there is the seating itself. You should remember that not all padded seats are the same and they provide varying levels of comfort. If you really do intend on spending a long time in your kayak, you should stay away from molded seats.

As you can imagine, how much room there is on the kayak or in the cockpit can also impact how comfortable you are. After all, you need to be able to stretch out and not have to feel squashed. If you are in a sit-in kayak, however, it is important that the kayak remains a bit snug, nonetheless. This is to improve the stability of the vessel and to make sure that you are safe.

The Skeg

Tracking is quite important when it comes to touring kayaks. You don’t want to have to fight to keep the vessel on its course or you will tire out quite soon. Some kayaks track better than others, even without a skeg. Something that is quite common with touring kayaks, however, is a retractable skeg. Some people choose not to have it but it can come in quite handy. This is especially true if the kayak is sporting a relatively flat bottom. A skeg also allows for greater control in bad weather. Therefore, it is not something that you may want to dismiss straight away.

Storage Space

A recurring theme with touring kayaks is endurance. This is precisely why you should think about how much storage space is available on board as well. If you are going to spend hours on end on the water, you are going to need supplies. There are different types of storage and you will need to think about what you are carrying with you to decide what is best for you.

Tank wells tend to be the most common type of storage option. This is accompanied by crisscrossing bungee cord that you can use to secure the items. Tank wells are great for bigger pieces of equipment, for instance, like an extra paddle or similar gear. If you want to carry food with you or want to store something that needs to be kept dry, then you will need to consider kayaks with hatches. Not all hatches provide equal amounts of protection from water so you will need to examine them carefully.

This is everything that you need to know about touring kayaks as well as a list of ones that will work well for you. You are now more than capable of choosing the one that is just right for you.

This page was last updated on 2022-08-29. Affiliate links and Product Images are from Amazon PAAPI

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