Kayaking is a great way to get out on the water with friends and family.
But it can be hard to find the right kayak for your group. Some are too small. Others have features that you don’t need or want.
We’ve put together this list of the best 3-person kayaks so that you can spend more time on the water. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on what kind of paddling experience you’re looking for.
You’ll find all of our favorite models in this guide, including details about their size, weight capacity, speed rating, and more.
Take a look at our recommendations below!
If you are in a hurry, here are our favorites:
Best 3-Person Kayak
Kayaking is a great activity that almost anyone can enjoy at any age. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for something fun and relaxing or adventure-seeking and adrenaline-pumping. There’s a type of kayak out there that will fit all your needs perfectly.
Whether you want to explore calm waters on a hot summer day or go fishing with friends on the weekends, these three-person kayaks are just what you’re looking for!
- 1000 Denier Reinforced Material
- Removable, high-pressure drop stitch floor
- Easy setup
- Weight capacity: 855 lbs
The Sea Eagle 420x Explorer has an 855-pound capacity that can accommodate up to three people. Or, if you want to take your furry friend with you and your partner, that works too.
The Sea Eagle 420x Explorer is perfect for newcomers and experienced kayakers alike. It is incredibly stable but fast enough to get you where you need to go. It works well in calm waters and is rated for up to class IV whitewater.
It is 14 feet long and 39 inches wide, making it one of the widest kayaks. In addition, it has a robust weight capacity, so you should have no problem fitting all of your gear with room to spare.
The Sea Eagle 420x Explorer comes in at less than 45 pounds when fully inflated. That is pretty lightweight for a kayak of this size. It is easy to transport and folds up compactly for storage.
The Sea Eagle 420x Explorer is made from durable PVC material that holds up well under heavy use. This makes it one of the best options for larger groups who want to go kayaking together regularly or anyone who likes to bring lots of gear.
The Sea Eagle 420x Explorer has a high-pressure drop stitch floor that adds rigidity and stability. It also has carry handles on each end, allowing you to transport them easily. And the adjustable seats give your passengers plenty of options for the best comfort possible!
The 420x is easy to inflate, and you can choose from various accessories. All packages include paddles, seats, a foot pump, and a carry bag. This kayak is great for families with kids or grandkids.
Easy to transport
It comes with paddles and a pump
Easy to setup
Robust carrying capacity
Can get expensive to add accessories
Vinyl could puncture
- Removable drop stitch floor
- Suitable up to Class II rapids
- Inflatable keel
- Weight capacity: 795 lbs
The Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack has a capacity of 795 pounds. It’s lightweight and easy to carry. The Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack has an open cockpit with grab handles at the front and rear of the boat, so you can easily transport it to and from the water.
The Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack is made with 1000 Denier Reinforced material with quadruple overlapped seams that can handle harsh conditions. The kayak is easy to inflate, and you can be on the water in about 10 minutes.
It has 16 self-bailing holes, so you don’t have to worry about water accumulating inside the boat if you are on whitewater. With the large, removable skeg, the 420x tracks well on lakes and rivers and is easy to paddle.
It comes with two paddles, a foot pump, kayak seatbacks, and a carry bag. The Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack weighs about 45 pounds. Complete with a high-pressure drop stitch floor that adds rigidity and stability to the kayak.
There are different accessory options to choose the best package for your needs. For example, this inflatable kayak is great for families with kids who want to get out on the water.
If camping is your jam, there is plenty of room and capacity to handle a lot of gear. The kayak folds up nicely, is compact for easy storage, and fits easily in most vehicles.
Easy to setup
Removable drop-stitch floor
Various accessories to choose from
You might want to add an electric pump, which adds to the cost
Extra accessories add to the price
- Heavy-duty PVC construction is rugged for lake use
- Tarpaulin bottom provides durable protection from punctures
- Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
- Boston Valve is double threaded for easy inflation/deflation
- Adjustable seats move to fit you; Carry handles make it easy to carry in and out of...
- Heavy-duty PVC construction
- Multiple air chambers
- Tarpaulin bottom
- Weight capacity: 490 lbs
The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak is a versatile, user-friendly kayak that can be used for many different excursions. You can use it to explore freshwater lakes and easy whitewater rivers!
The kayak holds up to three people and has a carrying capacity of 490 pounds. So there is plenty of room for everyone to sit comfortably and have enough space to bring their gear.
The Boston Valves make it easy to inflate and deflate the boat. In addition, the tarpaulin bottom protects from punctures, making this boat suitable for launching in various environments.
The adjustable seats are awesome for all levels of kayakers, from beginner to expert. In addition, two air chambers give you a backup inflatable chamber if one is punctured.
The kayak folds up easily for storage, and the handles on the side make it easier to carry in/out of the water.
The kayak is great for camping, fishing, or whatever activities you enjoy. It is easy enough for one person to paddle and launch solo. Additionally, the Big Basin is great for two people and gear, but squeezing three people can be tricky (depending on the size of the people).
The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak does not come with a pump or paddles, so that is an extra expense.
Folds down easily for storage
Lots of room
It can fit two people and a child (or dog)
Doesn’t come with a paddle or a pump
Not as high weight capacity as other models
- Recreational Kayak – 12’ Foot Two Person Tandem Kayak is Perfect for Fishing,...
- Tough and Rugged Design – Hull is constructed from Single Piece Rotomolded UV...
- Adventure Ready – 4 Flush Mount Capped Rod Holders and 2 Mounting Points for Scotty...
- Fully Outfitted – 4 Fixed Carry Handles for Easy Transportation, Two Paddle Park...
- Package Includes – (2) Adjustable EVA padded seats w/ High Back Support, (2)...
- Rotomolded UV Resistant High-Density Polyethylene
- Adjustable high back seats
- Comes with paddles
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs
The Driftsun Teton 120 is a hardshell kayak that can handle up to two adults and a child. Or, if you want to take your pup along, that is an option too.
This is perfect if you are looking for a 3-person kayak to take along on your family adventures! This kayak weighs 72 pounds, which isn’t too bad for such a large kayak, but it can be hard to cartop.
It has plenty of storage space. The best part is that there are two storage hatches, so your gear can stay dry. You will love having room for all your fishing gear or just plenty of space for snacks and drinks.
With a capacity of 500 pounds, there is room for up to three people with plenty of room. Of course, that depends on how big the people are.
With a padded backrest, the adjustable seats allow you to change the seating arrangements if you need to accommodate different size passengers.
The hull is durable UV-resistant high-density polyethylene that is strong and sturdy. Because of the high-quality material, this kayak is very durable.
Molded footrests are great for different-sized paddlers or if you need to stretch your legs. Carry handles make transporting this kayak easy. The Teton 120 is one of the best 3-person kayaks on our list. It’s perfect for a fun day on the water.
Can handle up to two adults and a child (or dog)
Great 3-person kayak to take along on your family adventures
There are two storage hatches to keep gear dry
It has plenty of storage space
Heavy to transport
Takes up a lot of space when you store it
- THE PERFECT KAYAK FOR OUTDOOR FUN: Our Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC TK122K tandem kayak...
- FULLY LOADED ACCESSORIES: Our kayak comes equipped with 2 soft padded seats, 2...
- CRAFTED FOR STABILITY: Our Roto Molded single Piece High density polyethylene...
- BUILT-IN FISHING ROD HOLDERS: 2 flush-mount rod holders and 2 articulating rod...
- WATER RESISTANT STORAGE: Keep all your valuables dry inside the BKC TK122K's dual...
- Rotomolded polyethylene construction
- It comes with paddles, rod holders, and adjustable seats
- 34-inch beam
- Weight capacity: 770 lbs
The BKC TK122K is a monster of a kayak that sports plenty of storage, is built to last, and is fairly easy to maneuver. With a 770-pound weight capacity, this kayak is great for two paddlers plus one child. Or you can replace the kid with a dog if you want.
It sports a full roto-molded polyethylene shell, making it super durable and stable. It’s essential to have a stable kayak if you have kids or dogs on board.
The kayak has two contoured seats with back support, accessory tracks, and a flip-up padded seat cushion for comfort. In addition, it comes with dual watertight storage compartments, four fishing rod holders, and other accessories.
It has a built-in paddle cradle and heavy-duty bungee rigging for all your gear. In addition, the kayak is fitted with footrests to fit different sizes of paddlers and comes complete with paddles.
BKC TK122k is one of the best kayaks in this price range. The quality and stability are great, as well as the storage space that lets you comfortably fit all your gear. In addition, it has many features that make it an excellent purchase, particularly for fishing and camping trips.
Big enough for everyone in your group to have plenty of room
Lots of storage space
Built to last
Easy to maneuver
Super durable and stable
The price is higher than other models
Takes up a lot of space when stored
- I-beam construction
- Suitable up to Class III rapids
- 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking
- Weight capacity: 650 lbs
Yet another Sea Eagle kayak is on the list. The Sea Eagle 370 has a weight capacity of 650 pounds. This kayak is perfect for families or anyone who wants to bring their dog along for the ride.
The Sea Eagle 370 can comfortably hold anywhere from 1-3 people and two people, plus a dog. It has skegs in the bottom of the hull to track smoothly without veering off to one side or another. It’s made with an inflatable I-beam that helps to make it super sturdy.
This is a good kayak for someone who wants something affordable, lightweight, and easy to set up and store. You can take the kayak with you in a car or an RV.
The kayak is easy to inflate and deflate so that you can be on the water quickly.
The seats leave a little to be desired, but you can choose a different package that includes upgraded seats. Sea Eagle has different package options, so you can customize the boat.
It has paddles, a foot pump, a carry bag, and one inflatable kayak. I recommend upgrading to an electric pump so you don’t have to worry about inflating the kayak with a foot pump.
Great for the whole family
Easy to set up and store
Can be taken in a car, RV, or boat
Seats are not very comfortable for long trips
skegs are plastic, can wear down over time
- 600-denier ripstop polyester
- Rod holders installed on the seats
- Removable floor
- Weight capacity: 550 lbs
The Aquaglide Chinook 120 Inflatable kayak is designed to be used by two adults and one child or one adult and two children. But, of course, if you want to take your dog with you, that’s an option too.
The kayak is made from durable HexShell 600-denier ripstop polyester. This ultra-durable material can last for a very long time. In addition, the material is also puncture-resistant, which further illustrates the durability of this kayak.
Its stability and tracking are impressive, considering its lightweight design. The Aquaglide is a good option for stronger boaters who will be doing more intense water-related activities, such as fishing.
This three-person kayak has plenty of room for storage and is comfortable, so you can relax while you’re out on the water. The seats are adjustable so you and your partner can find a comfortable position.
I recommend a 12-volt electric pump so you can inflate the kayak quickly and spend more time on the water.
There are front and rear bungees which are great for dry bag storage. A quick-release fin improves tracking to keep you going straight on the water. The kayaks have two cushioned seats and supportive backrests for hours of comfort on the water.
Aquaglide Chinook 120 Inflatable Kayak is a good option for families
There are front and rear bungee cords for dry bag storage
The kayak can be a bit heavy
It can take some time to inflate
How to Choose the Best Three-Person Kayak
You should consider things before buying a 3-person kayak, like weight capacity, stability, and storage, to name a few.
Of course, if you put three people in a kayak, you must ensure the kayak’s weight capacity is adequate. For example, if a kayak’s capacity is 450 pounds, and three 200-pound people are paddling it, you could have a problem.
Make sure the kayak supports the paddlers and all the gear you take with you.
You want a kayak that’s going to last for many years. You don’t want to buy a kayak only to have it break down quickly. Try to find kayaks made from high-quality materials such as polyethylene, fiberglass, or composite.
If you are looking for an inflatable three-person kayak, you will most likely have the choice of PVC or Hypalon. Both are durable and will last a long time if you take good care of them.
It better be comfortable with up to three people sitting in your kayak. While the seats might be adjustable, how comfortable will they be for you and your partners?
If you plan on spending time in your kayak, ensure the seat supports you comfortably. You don’t want to have sore muscles after paddling all day.
Some kayak manufacturers will include upgraded seats and backrests. Consider these when making your decision.
Make sure you have enough space for people and your gear, so you are not super squished. When you spend time near people or dogs, it must be comfortable to enjoy your day on the water.
Stability is vital in making sure everyone remains safe. The last thing you want to do is tip over while you’re out on the water, especially when multiple people use the kayak.
If you’re looking for a three-person kayak that your children or grandchildren can use, choose one with good stability. Something stable enough they won’t tip over if they lean the wrong way.
Some people prefer a large three-person kayak for fishing and want something easy to stand up in. A kayak with better stability will also handle choppy waters better.
Some of these kayaks are pretty darn heavy so keep that in mind. Also, you will need to portage the kayak from your vehicle to the water and back again. Sometimes it can be a long way to get on the water.
Many people choose inflatable kayaks because they are easy to take on the road. Usually, inflatable kayaks are lightweight compared to hardshell kayaks.
Hopefully, if you are paddling a large kayak, you will have someone who can help you carry the kayak to and from the water. Keep this in mind when considering a 3-person kayak.
Inflatable kayaks usually come with skegs. A skeg is a fin on the back of the kayak that helps you turn and stay straight when you are out on the water. Sometimes they are permanently fixed to the kayak, and some are removable.
Consider a kayak with removable skegs if you plan on using the kayak in areas that may have shallow waters. Be sure they are easy to attach and remove when you need them. You don’t want to fight with your fin or have to take it off before you get in and out of your kayak.
The Sea Eagle 420x and 465ft both have removable skegs. It is important to remove the skeg if you plan on hitting some whitewater rapids.
Yes, size is important when it comes to kayaks. If you are looking at a three-person kayak, you will want something large enough so that the paddlers have room to move around.
If you are a first-time buyer, consider how much of a kayak you need. You can always take fewer people with you, but not more people if your kayak is too small.
If you like paddling with your dog but don’t want your furry friend in your lap, try getting a kayak with a removable seat so your pup can sit on the floor in front of you.
Consider if you want the room to bring camping gear or other equipment. You will want enough space to fit yourself and two others, plus any equipment you might need for the day.
Pump (hand, foot, electric)
Let’s face it, hand and foot pumps require a lot of work. If you plan on using your kayak a lot, you will get a serious workout with a manual pump.
A foot pump or a hand pump is still efficient, and many are dual-action, meaning you are pumping as you move up AND down. But this still requires some work to inflate your kayak.
If you want the easiest solution, an electric pump is the way to go. With an electric pump, all you have to do is plug it in and push a button to inflate your kayak. Easy peasy.
An electric pump may cost more, but you will save a lot of time, especially if you plan to use your kayak a lot.
Some electric pumps require batteries, while others plug into an outlet in your car. Often you can use your car battery. It’s nice to have a dedicated battery for your pump, though.
You might want to consider getting rechargeable batteries for the pump so that it’s easier to use over and over again.
Sea Eagle sells a pump designed specifically for use with their inflatable kayaks. You set the PSI on the pump, which will automatically shut off when it reaches pressure.
A pump like this can be a big time saver!
Storing a kayak can be a huge pain. Rigid kayaks are awkwardly shaped and can be very heavy. It’s best to store them in a garage or basement to protect the kayak from UV rays.
Storage racks are pretty easy to install. Having something sturdy and safe to store your kayak on is always nice.
People buy inflatable kayaks because they fold down tight and are easy to store. You can store an inflatable kayak pretty much anywhere. When you have finished using your kayak, you can fold it up and tuck it away in the corner of your garage or closet.
Using a kayak cart
So, the kayaks on this list are large and difficult to carry around. I highly recommend using a kayak cart to move your kayak. Your back will thank you.
If you purchase a rigid kayak or an inflatable kayak, you will benefit from using a kayak cart. You can load all your gear into the kayak and roll it to the water with a cart.
You don’t need to make extra trips back and forth to your car and worry about someone stealing your yak or your gear.
A kayak cart can be a lifesaver.
We hope this article helped you find the best three-person kayak. The right kayak depends on what you are using it for and who will be paddling it. Consider your kayak’s storage, size, and weight when shopping for one.
Best of luck on your next kayaking adventure!
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.