Water takes up about 71% of our Earth’s total surface area. This alone shows that there are more than enough things on water bodies that would catch your fancy. And what better way is there to explore the beauty of nature in and around the water bodies than by being up-close in a kayak?
Touring kayaks are preferred by many explorers because they are designed mainly for the purpose of exploring waters. These kayaks often have enough space to help keep whatever gear you might want to keep, they perform well on water, and they are often made to be extra comfortable because the manufacturers know that we would most likely be spending a lot of time in them.
But like any other common watercraft, there are many brands of touring kayaks. Some are really great, some others are not bad, while others are just completely useless.
To save you from getting a touring kayak that you wouldn’t be happy with, I have compiled a list of the best touring kayaks in 2019. But first, to help you understand the features of a touring kayak that make it stand out from others, I have prepared a short buying guide for you below.
Buying Guide – Things To Consider
Of course, there are always things to either ask yourself or know before arriving at the decision of buying a lot of things. But for touring kayaks, the things to consider are:
You will find that touring kayaks have different material. The most common include polyethylene, polycarbonate plastic, fiberglass, and kevlar.
Each of these materials have their own strengths and weaknesses. While polyethylene is strong and durable, it quickly fumbles if exposed to the elements when not in use. Polycarbonate does not have the durability of polyethylene but it is more resistant to scratch and easily repairable.
Fiberglass may not do well against scratches but its lightweight and its repairability are its strengths. Finally, kevlar is a really strong material, resistant to wear and extremely durable. However, it is quite expensive.
Sit-in or Sit-on
Kayaks often come in these two categories. Sit-in kayaks have front coverings where you can hide your feet in while sit-on kayaks don’t have such. A lot of touring kayaks come as sit-in kayaks.
The first thing you really have to consider is your budget. You could do a rough search of kayak prices on the internet so that you would have an idea of how much money you should prepare the kayak. You definitely do not want to go to the store and return home empty-handed because you didn’t budget enough money for the kayak of your choice.
But as much as you wouldn’t want to buy a kayak that wouldn’t empty all of your pockets, you have to make sure that you’re buying a kayak of good quality. Otherwise, you would need to buy a new kayak again in a very short time. Because of this, it is often advisable that you first speak to an expert kayaker or a kayak sales professional to know which kayaks should be good for you.
Tracking and Maneuverability
Another thing that is worth considering in a touring kayak is its ability to track well and maneuver easily. This is because touring kayaks are often not limited to a particular kind of water body. They can be used on oceans just as well as they can be used on freshwater.
Tracking is the ability of your kayak to go on a straight line. This is what makes your kayak cut through the waters and the winds easily without bulging or turning in every direction. A kayak that has a good tracking system also goes really fast.
As you may have already guessed, the maneuverability of your kayak is how easily and quickly it makes turns. Ideally, longs kayaks are great for tracking but not good at maneuvering, while it is the other way around for short kayaks. However, the really good touring kayaks strike a delicate but perfect balance between tracking and maneuverability.
When you are touring the waters, you may have the need to pack a lot of things apart from your gear. Even though you are not sure if some of these things are needed, you just don’t want to take the risk of leaving them behind only to find out that you need them halfway across the Atlantic.
Fortunately, touring kayaks are often designed to have enough space to keep your stuff. Some kayaks have hatches, watertight storage compartments, in their bows or sterns. Some others have bulkheads too.
In some other cases, some touring kayaks have deck rigging, such as bungees, straps and the likes, on their decks. You can just fasten your gear to these rigging and they would be safe and ready for your trip.
If you didn’t know before, here’s a piece of warning for you: never compromise on your comfort! It is really easy to get uncomfortable in a kayak. You really don’t want this discomfort, no matter how little, trust me.
Check if the touring kayaks have a really good seat. I mean, really comfy seat with a great backrest. Check for footrests and thigh and hip supports. Finally, see if the cockpit size fits you perfectly. Remember, never compromise on your comfort.
Advantages Of Touring Kayaks
I wouldn’t leave you without telling you why you really need a touring kayak. There are many advantages to it but here are a few:
- You can take a lot of extended kayaking trips with them. They are often designed to keep you comfortable for as long as you are in them. You can even take them out for camping.
- They often have large storage spaces to help you hold whatever it is you want to take with you on your trip.
- Touring kayaks are fast kayaks. Their long, slim construction allows for speed on the water.
The Best Touring Kayaks
Elegance and performance are both combined in the Edge kayak. It has a length of 14.5 feet, a width of 22.5 inches and a depth of 12 inches. It is also made with one of the best materials for building kayaks out there: polyethylene.
Comfort is assured with this kayak as it is fitted with an advance custom-fit seating system, an adjustable sliding foot braces, and integrated thigh braces. With these features, you can be sure to not feel the slightest inconveniences for as long as you are in the kayak.
It has a v-shaped hull that is specifically designed to track seamlessly on water. It also has a slim build which enhances its speed on the water.
When it comes to storage and keeping stuff, Riot Edge 14.5 touring kayak has two storage compartments on either end of the kayak.
- Optimized for comfort
- Slim build aids speed
- Tracks seamlessly
- Two storage compartments
- Quite heavy
Here is another high-performance touring kayak. It has a length of 15.5 feet and it is just 23.5 inches wide. It also has a weight of 57 pounds.
The first great thing about this kayak is that its manufacturers, Wilderness Systems, place the comfort of the ‘yakker at the top of their priority list. The spacious cockpit and absolutely comfortable and adjustable seats are a testimony to this.
Also, the thigh and hip support that comes with the kayak help to ensure that the user is really convenient for as long as they are in the kayak. The Tempest features three bulkheads and a watertight storage hatch, giving it a total weight capacity of 325 pounds.
Tracking is easy with the Tempest because of its design and its skeg rudder system. However, there is no compromise on maneuverability as the skeg can be removed to help ensure that the kayak turns as easily as possible.
- Really comfortable to be inside
- Skeg rudder system helps it to track with ease
- Offers storage compartment options and decent total weight capacity.
- Works without hitched in saltwater
- Quite heavy
Durability. That is the first thing that comes to mind when considering this kayak. With a 3 – layer construction, AdvancedFrame can withstand countless assaults and abuse before it begins to show signs of wear.
It has the characteristic lightweight of inflatable kayaks as it just weighs 36 pounds. This portability makes it easy to store and transport.
Kayakers that have had quite a lot of experience with inflatable kayaks would probably agree with me that most of them aren’t usually great at tracking. This is because of their lightweight and their tendencies to want to swerve when faced with tough winds and waves. However, this kayak has built-in aluminum ribs that equip it to be able to challenge the waves and the winds.
Finally, these kayaks easily rack up enough storage space to be able to attain a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds. This is quite uncommon among inflatable kayaks.
- Decent storage capacity
- Built-in aluminum ribs help it to track easily
I reserve the Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 touring kayak as my pick, and for the right reasons.
Firstly, the versatility of the kayak makes it a good choice of touring kayak. Its tracking is applaudable while its maneuverability isn’t bad in any way.
Another great thing about this kayak is the comfort of its seat. If you know me, you would know that I’m a sucker for comfort. So, it isn’t surprising that this kayak is my own pick of them all.