When I first began kayaking, I started with a paddle kayak, which was the only form of kayaking I knew of. I soon realized how inefficient, slow and cumbersome paddle kayaks can be. Paddle kayaks have hogged the spotlight in the water sports arena for too long. Pedal kayaks are powered by the lower half of your body, which is naturally much stronger than the top half of your body. Pedal kayaks are more powerful, swift, and more easily controlled. They are better for exploring, adventuring, and working out your body in the great outdoors. But not all pedal kayaks are created equal. In this article you’ll find some helpful tips and suggestions for the best pedal kayaks on the market.
|Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Kayak||No ratings yet!||$$$$$|
|Perception Pescador Pilot 12||No ratings yet!||$$$$|
|Native Watercraft Slayer 10||No ratings yet!||$$$$|
|Liquid Logic Manta Ray Propel 12||No ratings yet!||$$$$|
|Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak||No ratings yet!||$$$$$|
Why Buy a Pedal Kayak?
Pedal powered kayaks offer all of the benefits of other forms of kayaking, but with the added benefit of hands-free and simplified control. If you want to drink a cup of coffee on the water, or hydrate during a strenuous workout session, a pedal powered kayak makes that possible. You don’t have to keep track of added accessories like a large, bulky paddle. This frees up room for a more comfortable and sleek design.
Pedal Kayaks are ideal for either working out, exploring, or simply enjoying the water in a relaxed way. It is more natural and less complex to use the lower half of your body to propel a kayak. Using a pedal kayak doesn’t take special skill or training, so anyone can do it! Investing in a pedal kayak will help remove any barriers that stand between you and getting out on the water.
Another popular use for pedal kayaks is fishing! Avid anglers might not think of pedal kayaking at first, but pedal kayaks are actually perfect for certain types of fishing. The underwater propellers of self propelled kayaks are virtually silent which makes them ideal for sneaking up on and stalking fish. Their propellers displace very little water so you won’t scare away fish as you easily glide across the water.
Push Pedal vs. Rotational Pedal
While pedal powered kayaks are simple to use, they aren’t all operated the same way. There are two different types of pedal kayak. There are push pedal kayaks and rotational pedal kayaks. Both only require the use of the lower half of your body but they engage very different motions.
Push pedal kayaks are propelled only by your foot. All you have to do is push your foot forward on the pedal and the propellers in the water flap beneath your kayak. When you stop pedalling the kayak will slow down. When you begin pedalling your feet again it will require as much work as if you just started kayaking. There isn’t any momentum retained between pedalling sessions.
While push pedal kayaks, or foot pedal kayaks, only require a minute and relatively limited range of motion they can still be rather taxing because there isn’t any built up coasting momentum. Once you stop pumping your feet, your kayak will rapidly slow down. These kayaks are great for someone who wants to slowly glide along the water, drink a beer and watch the sunset. They aren’t the best if you’re looking for speed or a work out.
Rotational pedal kayaks move your legs in a walking motion. The motion requires you to engage your whole leg more fully than the push peddle kayaks. The propeller rotates in an uninterrupted motion, which creates momentum and even if you stop pedaling your legs for a minute you will maintain some speed and it won’t be as hard to start pedaling again.
Rotational pedaling is better for people who are hoping to cover some distance and break a sweat doing it. The full range of motion builds speed faster, but it also takes up more space in the kayak. With a rotational pedal kayak, you have to option of pushing for a work out, or you can simply move your body in a relaxed walking motion and enjoy the sights.
How to Decide?
Before you invest in your very own pedal kayak, it’s important to decide what kind of pedal kayaking you want to do. Each kayak will offer different features that will better fit different activities. Some kayaks are equipped with reverse motion capabilities, which makes it easier to maneuver and control. If you need your kayak to be used in shallow waters it’s important to consider the length and reach of the underwater propellers, and whether or not they will collapse into the hull if you need them to.
One common misunderstanding amongst beginners is the best way to establish stability on the water. Beginners usually assume that a wider and flatter hull will lead to the most stable kayak. But not necessarily! On rough or choppy waters, a flat wide hull will actually make your kayak more likely to flip over. A narrower and slimmer hull is more stable on choppy waters. If you’re only going to be kayaking on very smooth and calm waters a flat and wide hull will probably make a newbie feel more comfortable–just be careful if you bring your wide kayak onto rough waters!
Overall, you want to consider the comfortability, design, and functionality of any pedal kayak you are thinking of buying. A neat balance of quality, affordability, and function is key to finding the perfect pedal kayak for your unique goals and needs.
Pedal Kayak Reviews
Five Best Pedal Kayaks
This kayak has easily adjustable and ultra padded seating, to ensure the most comfortable ride. The seat design allows for maximum support so you can stay out on the water for long periods of time. It has horizontal and vertical storage options that are easily accessible so you can bring plenty of tackle with you. The newer versions have an H-rail mounting system for increased versatility and a tracking keel for improved tracking. You can also attach a sail to this kayak for increased speed.
- Holds up to 600 lbs
- Adjustable seat
- Ample storage
- If the wind is strong, the sail can make the kayak uncontrollable
- Stable, only on calm water
- Comparatively expensive
This pedal kayak is decked out with fishing features to make an all-day fishing trip as comfortable as possible. It has an included Pilot Drive pedal drive system that aids your pedaling efforts. The chair is constructed with easy to adjust knobs so you can fit your seat perfectly on-the-go. This holds one person and sits on-top-of the water.
- Stable on choppy water
- Comfortable seat
- Design of pedals creates a swaying effect when your pedal hard
- Lacking storage
- Difficult to stand in
This is the newest and smallest model in the Slayer family. It is small and maneuverable with an extra large rudder. It is equipped with reverse capabilities and the foot pads are designed to decrease sound. The groove track mounting rails on either side of the hull allow for endless possibilities of customization.
- Good storage
- Easy maneuverability
- Wide and uncluttered deck for standing
- Difficult for shorter people to use
- Not suitable for shallow water
- Not steady in choppy water
This kayak is specially designed for swift and easy maneuverability. You are able to go forward, backward, and slow down easily with the rotational pedals. This is a great kayak for both exercise, exploring and fishing. The ergonomic hull shape enhance the speed and precision of this kayak.
- Great maneuverability
- Easy-slide adjustable seat
- Only holds up to 325 lbs
- Lacks storage space
- Not easy to stand in
This tandem kayak is fitting with two adjustable seats with rotational pedals. This kayak can reach remarkable speeds in both forward motion and reverse. The seats can recline and there are three enclosed storage compartments on the kayak.
- Stable on the ocean
- Long distance coasting abilities
- Can be used with two people or one person
- Comparatively Expensive
- Only three height options per seat
- Difficult to transport
Which Kayak Is Best?
All of the five kayaks listed above are great buys, but the best kayak by far is the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler. While it’s designed specifically for fishing, it can be used just for sport as well. It’s comfortable seat, efficient rudder design, and ample storage make it the most comfortable way to spend a day on the water. It holds the most weight by far and it’s option of a sail makes this kayak fun and versatile option. Beginners will feel stable in this kayak and pros will have all the tools they need fish, explore or workout.
A pedal kayak might seem expensive to some, but if you’ve ever spent serious time on the water you know the countless benefits. Not only is it good for you overall fitness, but kayaking can be one of the most rewarding hobbies. It’s a great way to engage your body while relaxing your mind, so think about buying you pedal kayak as an investment in yourself. You won’t regret it!