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7 Best Kayaks Under $500 (2021 Reviews and Guide)

In this post, we will look at the best kayak under $500.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a day on the water.  This guide will help you find a budget-friendly kayak for your next outdoor adventure.

Kayaks are a great way to explore the outdoors. You can often get to places that you otherwise can’t with a “regular” boat.  Even an expensive kayak will cost considerably less than other vessels.  But In this article, we are focused on a budget of less than $500.

With a kayak, you can get some exercise, go fishing, or spend a quiet afternoon relaxing on a lake.  You access remote areas of lakes and rivers or spend the night camping.  There are so many great activities you can do with a kayak.

Best kayak under $500

We have chosen a variety of different types of kayaks, including sit-on-top, sit inside, and inflatable. People have different needs, and there are a lot of options to choose from.

With that said, let’s get right too it!

#1 Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak Blue, 8'7" x 3'
  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge 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

Features

  • Sit on top kayak
  • 5-minute setup
  • Comes with a paddle and pump

Review

This inflatable kayak comes with everything you need to get started kayaking. This model includes a high-pressure hand pump, a paddle that breaks down for storage, and a backpack to carry your boat. This kayak is an all in one model that sets up in five minutes.

One of the cool features of this kayak is the backpack turns into the seat, which means less gear to carry.  There are multiple air chambers, so if one is punctured, you need not worry. Double locking valves make inflating and deflating easy.

There is a bungee tie-down on the front of the kayak, and easy carrying handles on the bow and stern.  Multiple footrest positions are great for different sizes of paddlers.

PROS

Comes with a backpack carrier
Paddle and pump are included
Durable bottom helps protect from punctures
Easy to store
Lightweight

CONS

Kind of sluggish in the water
Some users indicate the paddle is flimsy

Summary

This is one of the best kayaks under $500 because it’s easy to set up, comes with everything you need to get started, and won’t cost you a fortune.  You can take this to remote areas with the included backpack.  With a 400-pound weight capacity, this little guy is small but mighty.


#2 Intex Challenger K1 kayak

Sale
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye catching graphics...
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I beam floors add...
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of kayak; Inflatable seat...
  • Comes with 84 inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi output manual hand pump; Rugged...
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 108 inches (W x H x D), with 27.2 pound weight and 220 pound...

Features

  • 220-pound capacity
  • Comes with a pump and paddle
  • Easy to setup

Review

This inflatable kayak comes with everything you need to get started.  Included with the K1 is an 84-inch aluminum paddle, hi-output pump, carry bag, and a repair kit.  One thing that is often overlooked with an inflatable kayak is the repair kit, so thank you, Intex.

The cockpit helps to protect your legs from water spray and weather.  The comfortable, adjustable seat will allow you to be on the water for hours.  The paddle breaks down into four pieces for secure storage and transport.

There is a cargo net on the front of the kayak to secure your dry bag or other gear you bring with you.  The K1 kayak has two separate air chambers and an I-beam on the floor for added stability.

PROS

Lightweight
Durable construction
Comes with a paddle, pump and repair kit
Highly rated

CONS

Little back support with the seat
No footrest

Summary

If you are looking for a great all-in-one kayak package, the K1 is a great option.  Everything is included to get you on the water fast.  The kayak is well priced, easy to set up, and lightweight, making it one of the best kayaks under $500.


#3 Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak

Sale
Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak , Blue, 10' 4" x 2' 9"
  • 22-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
  • Airtight System is guaranteed not to leak
  • Mini Double Lock and Double Lock valves use two locking points for easy...
  • Spray covers block splashes to help keep you dry

Features

  • Rugged PVC construction
  • One or two paddlers
  • Holds up to 400 pounds

Review

With a removable middle seat, this inflatable kayak gives you the option to have one or two paddlers.  There is plenty of space for two people and your gear.  If you want to spend a day on the water, this is a great option.

This inflatable kayak comes with almost everything you need to get started; it doesn’t come with a pump.  But, you get a paddle and a carry bag.  The paddle is good enough to get you started, but it’s something you may want to upgrade down the road.

This kayak handles well on flat water you may want to add a skeg for better tracking.  It’s easy to inflate and is reinforced with multiple air chambers.  If you get a puncture, you can still make it to shore. Storing and transporting an inflatable kayak is super easy, and that is one of the main benefits.

The negative aspect of this kayak is that it doesn’t come with a pump or a repair kit. I recommend a high flow hand pump, or a pump you can plug into your car.

PROS

Easy to inflate and deflate
Easy to store and transport
Holds up to 400 pounds
For one or two paddlers
Rugged PVC construction

CONS

Doesn’t come with a pump

Summary

If you are looking for a kayak under $500, this one is worth a look. You get a quality inflatable kayak that is easy to set up and transport.  Have fun on your next kayak adventure with this kayak that is easy on your budget. Don’t forget to buy a repair kit.


#4 Ascend 9Rsport Sit-On-Top Kayak

Features

  • Rotomolded, tunnel hull
  • 4-point adjustable seat
  • 275 weight capacity

Review

The Ascend 9Rsport is a sit on top kayak with a custom tunnel hull design, giving the paddler a higher seating position.  The open deck gives you plenty of room to stretch your legs.

Built-in storage is limited on this boat.  There is a weathertight storage container in front of the seat.  The deck is very spacious, and there is room for a dry bag to store some gear. This kayak is best for day trips around the lake, and not so much for an overnighter.

The seat is comfortable and straightforward.  There is a four-point attachment so you can adjust the top of the seat for upper back support.  The kayak seat is 1″ closed-cell foam with a neoprene cover. The kayak is self-draining with six scupper drain holes (plug sold separately).

The kayak is 9′ long, weighs about 52 pounds, and is best suited for users 5’10” and under.

PROS

Large open deck
Comes with a nice seat
Bow and stern carry handles
Comes with molded cup holders

CONS

No footrest
Some users have experienced cracks near the cup holders

Summary

The Ascend 9Rsport is a basic kayak at an affordable price.  If you are looking to spend the day paddling on calm waters, this is a solid kayak under $500.

>==Click here to view at Cabela’s==<


#5 Ascend FS10 Sit-In Angler Titanium Kayak

Features

  • V-shaped hull
  • Large open cockpit
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Removable seat

Review

The Ascend FS10 sit-in kayak is designed with the angler in mind.  You can expect excellent maneuverability, stability, and tracking with this 10′ kayak.  The cockpit is easy to get in and out of, and the foot braces are adjustable.

The removable seat is easy to adjust, and you can do so with just one hand.  You wouldn’t expect a steel frame seat from a kayak at this price point.  The ergonomic seat and adjustable foot braces let you a comfortable position to paddle.

Storage is the name of the game with this kayak. As you would expect from a fishing kayak, there is ample storage for your gear.  There is plenty of room behind the seat for a kayak cooler, and then some.  You have bungee tie-downs on the front of the boat for a dry bag. You can even fit your lunch in the molded cockpit cup holders.

PROS

Lots of storage
Two fishing rod holders
Comfortable cockpit
Tracks and maneuvers well
Paddle holder
Handle grips on front and back

CONS

Does not come with a paddle
Users report that the front dips when you paddle

Summary

The Ascend FS10 is an excellent kayak under $500 to reach your favorite fishing spot. This kayak is best suited for flat water. It has a lot of storage space, and that helps set it apart at this price.

>==Click here to view at Cabela’s==<


#6 Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Comfortable for anyone: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable seat with backrest;...
  • Dimensions: Inflated size 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch; Maximum weight...
  • Directional stability: Removable SKEG for directional stability
  • Increased visibility: In case of emergency, bright yellow color helps visibility
  • Made for smaller bodies of water: Explorer k2 is made for smaller bodies of water...

Features

Review

This 2-person inflatable kayak includes everything you need to hit the water.  The kayak comes with two paddles, an air pump, carry bag, removable skeg, and removable (and adjustable) seats.

There are three separate air chambers and an I-beam on the floor. This gives the inflatable kayak stability.  With three air chambers, you will not get stranded if one of them is punctured.

Setup is easy with Boston valves to quickly inflate and deflate the kayak.  One of the best things about an inflatable kayak is it’s easy to transport and store. You can take the kayak with you in the trunk of your car and store it on a shelf in your closet or garage.

PROS

Quick setup
Comes fully equipped to hit the water
Includes paddles, air pump, and carrying bag
400-pound capacity

CONS

Seats don’t provide much support
Kind of sluggish in the water

Summary

If you are looking for a budget inflatable kayak, The K2 is a great option. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to spend a day on the water.  This boat is great for calm water, and even fishing out of.


#7 Ascend D10 Sit-In Red Kayak

 Features

  • Large, open cockpit
  • Plenty of storage
  • Tunnel hull design

Review

The Ascend D10 is designed to be stable and easy to paddle.  The large open cockpit comes with a steel-framed seat and adjustable foot braces. You can make adjustments for different sized paddlers.

For a sit-inside kayak, the D10 has plenty of storage. There are bungee tie-downs on the front and rear of the boat.  There is also a large sternwell which can hold a 36-quart cooler.  In the cockpit, you have a molded cup holder and two catch-all utility trays.

The boat is 9’10” and weighs about 50 pounds.  There are also carry handles on the bow and stern for easy transport. The kayak is stable enough to fish out of and is suitable for flat or slow-moving water.

PROS

Ample storage
Covered sternwell
Comfortable, steel-framed seat
Roomy cockpit
Tracks well

CONS

Heavier than other models
It can be a little slow to respond

Summary

This is an affordable, well-built kayak that will be a lot of fun.  There is a lot of storage space on the boat. The seat and foot braces are adjustable so you can get the right fit. Overall it is an excellent value for this price.

>== Click here to view at Cabela’s ==<


How to choose the best kayak under $500

Cost

In this article, we focused on kayaks under $500. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to buy a good kayak.  These $500 and under kayak have a lot of great features, and you can have a lot of fun with them. You can explore the lake, go fishing, or get some exercise.

You can spend a lot more money for additional features and accessories. Still, if you are in the market for an inexpensive kayak, there are plenty of great options to choose from.

These less expensive kayaks are great for kids or beginners who are just getting started.  If you are looking for a simple kayak without paying for extra features that you won’t use, there are many excellent boats to choose from.

If you have a strict budget, but you still want to enjoy kayaking, there are many boats available.  As you can see, even within this price range, there are options and features to pick from.

Durability

Durability is a crucial feature when choosing a kayak, a durable kayak will last a long time.  Durability comes from the materials used and the quality of construction.  As you can see from the list in this article, there are hard-shell kayaks and inflatables.  We will get into more details about these in a bit.

Just because you are looking to purchase a kayak for under $500 doesn’t mean that you will get a low-quality kayak.  Less expensive kayaks can last a long time with proper use and maintenance.

You should also be mindful that within this price range, there are varying degrees of durability.  Some of the entry-level inflatable kayaks will not last as long as hard-shell kayaks. They will not handle rocks or tree branches as well.

You must have an idea of where you will be kayaking, so you can choose the right boat that will be durable for the conditions.  Also, weather and water conditions can impact the durability of your boat.  UV rays from the sun can deteriorate certain materials faster than others. If you store your boat outside in the direct sun, that will impact the durability.

Number of passengers

My wife and I went back and forth on this when we bought our first kayaks.  Did we want a tandem kayak or two individual kayaks?  The number of passengers is an important thing to keep in mind.

Individual kayaks give you the freedom to go where you want when you want. You can still be part of the group or paddle with your partner, but you are not 100% tied to the same boat. Single kayaks ended up working well for my wife and me.

I suppose after twenty-five years of marriage we need a little space. With individual kayaks, I am free to go fishing, and she is free to do her own thing.  Mind you, we are never too far away from each other, but we still have our own space.

With a tandem kayak, you benefit from two people paddling, so if you need a break, the other person can pick you up for a while.  Sometimes there will be more space for gear on a tandem, even though there are two of you.

But, it doesn’t have to be you and another person.  What if you want to take your dog with you?  I see people kayaking with their dogs all the time. Some people have a single kayak and a small dog. Other people have a tandem kayak a bigger dog.

Remember that no matter how fast you paddle, you can never get away from your partner on a tandem kayak!

Portability

Whether you are thinking about buying a kayak under $500 or over, one thing to consider is portability.  How portable is the kayak?  If you buy a tandem kayak, you and your partner will need to load it on your vehicle, unload it and carry it to the water. Will you need a kayak cart to help you out?

If you buy a single kayak, will you be able to do the heavy lifting by yourself? One advantage an inflatable kayak has over a hard-shell kayak is portability.  You can put an inflatable kayak in the trunk of your car and take it to the lake or river.

Inflatables are typically lightweight and easy to tote around with you. You can blow them up on-site, even at the water’s edge.  Keep in mind how portable a kayak will be for you and your needs.

Transporting your kayak

There are many different ways to transport your kayak to and from home.  If you have a roof rack or a truck, it’s pretty easy.  But if you don’t have a roof rack or a trailer of some kind, you may need to get creative.

Unfortunately, if you don’t already have a way to transport your kayak, adding a roof rack can be expensive.  So you spend under $500 on a kayak, but now you have a spend hundreds more on a rack. Your budget-friendly hobby is not so inexpensive anymore.

An inflatable kayak is easy to transport; put it in your trunk or back seat of your car.  Not so much, with a hard-shell kayak. Just keep this in mind when you are shopping for your economical kayak.

Storing your kayak

Storing a kayak might not be the first thing you think about, but it will be once you get it home. I didn’t think a lot about it when I bought my first kayak, and I wish I would have.  We have a garage and a decent amount of outdoor space, but two kayaks can take up a lot of space.

We used to store them under our covered patio, but my wife didn’t exactly like having them where everyone could see them.  Then we tried a couple of DIY solutions to hang them up from the ceiling in the garage.  Some of the contraptions were more hassle than they were worth.

We finally figured out a great solution.  The moral of the story is to think about storing your kayak before you jump in and buy one.

Inflatable kayaks are very easy to store, in a closet, or on a garage shelf. As long as you make sure it is completely dry before you put the inflatable away.  That’s one of the great things about an inflatable kayak, it’s easy to transport and store.

Hard-shell kayaks are not so easy to store.  If you don’t have a garage or have a smaller living space, this can be challenging.  They won’t fit easily under your bed! Before you spend $500 on a kayak, think about where you are going to keep it.

What accessories are included?

If you are looking for a kayak under $500, check to see what accessories come with it.  Some budget and entry-level kayaks will come with a paddle, a seat, and other accessories. This is really nice because then you don’t have to spend extra money on these items.

If you buy an inflatable kayak, make sure it comes with a pump or need to buy one separately.  Keep this in mind when looking for a kayak, in any price range.

Type of kayak

There are different types of kayaks, and we will talk about a few of those next. We will cover some of the pros and cons of each type. Click here for an in-depth article on types of kayaks.

Sit inside

A sit-inside kayak is a pretty standard or “traditional” kayak. You sit in the bottom of the boat, and your legs are undercover. The area you sit in is referred to as the “cockpit.”

Pros:

  • Your lower body is more protected from the weather and water spray
  • You can buy a skirt to put over the cockpit to protect your lower body from water and weather
  • Your legs, butt, and feet are in contact with the kayak, giving you greater control

Cons:

  • Harder to get in and out of than sit on top kayaks
  • You have to bail water yourself

Sit on top

Sit on top kayaks don’t have a cockpit-like the sit-inside kayaks do, so your lower body isn’t covered. You literally sit on top of the kayak. These kayaks are good for fishing or getting back on if you happen to fall overboard.

Pros:

  • Lots of deck space and storage
  • Easier to get back on if you go for a swim or fall overboard
  • You sit up higher
  • Great for warm weather
  • Self-bailing

Cons:

  • Not great for cold weather
  • You can get wet from water that enters through scupper holes
  • You are more exposed to the elements and water

Inflatable

Inflatable kayaks have come a long way over the years.  We are not talking about a pool toy here. Inflatable kayaks are durable and very portable, making them great for a lot of people.

Pros:

  • Easy to transport and store
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to inflate and deflate

Cons:

  • They have to be completely dry before you store them
  • You have to inflate and deflate every time you use it
  • Can puncture

Storage space on the kayak

Storage space on a kayak is minimal, so you must have a place to store the items you bring.  Even with a kayak under $500, you will get shock cord (bungee) tie-downs, on the front and/or back of the boat.

You may even get a hatch storage compartment.  Sometimes there is room behind the seat to store a cooler or fishing gear.  Some kayaks will come with fishing rod holders.

A dry bag is a must to keep your valuables from getting wet.  You can put things like your wallet, phone, car keys, etc. in a dry bag and then secure that with your bungee cords on the boat. If you need to take extra clothing, a dry bag is critical. The moral here is to see how much storage you think you need on your kayak before purchasing one.

Conclusion

Best kayak under $500 - Multiple kayaks on a rackPin

There are some great kayaks under $500.  You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy some time on the water.  Keep in mind what features are important to you when it comes to your kayak.

Also, make sure you have a way to transport your kayak to and from the water. This is often an overlooked part of buying a kayak.

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, please let me know. Always wear a lifejacket when you are on the water!

Steve Morrow Founder of Paddle About
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve is an avid kayaker and founder of Paddle About. When he is not on the water, Steve enjoys outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, and hiking with his family. Read more.