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Reviewed by our gears Geeks:

THE BEST OCEAN KAYAK in 2020

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Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 22 different Ocean Kayak and write reviews of the best.

The result is 12 of the best Ocean Kayak on the market today.

Anastasia Hamurari

Travel and Gear Writer An ambitious writer with a thirst for content creation through storytelling.
torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Editor at DIVEIN.com Torben is a dive nut, with a passion for traveling and gear.
There are different kayaks available in the market. Each has different features depending on where you might want to use it. In calm waters, kayak with basic design and functionality will do. But if you are going to deal with strong currents and strong wind, you need to choose a kayak that can adapt to these elements.

Ocean kayak is now becoming a trend due to water sports popularity. These can vary from an inflatable, a tandem, or a sit-on-top option.

So, you may be asking the following questions:

  • What features should I look for in an ocean kayak?
  • Do I have to carry a life jacket with me?
  • How do I stay safe when kayaking in the ocean?
  • How do I anchor an ocean kayak?
  • Is it hard to kayak in the ocean?

To help you decide on which one suits you, we differentiate 12 ocean kayak in this hands-on guide. Instead of buying impulsively, take a look, and read the pros and cons of each model.

The Best Ocean Kayak In 2020

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Still unsure as to what ocean kayak to choose? We have answered the most popular questions about the ocean kayak in the last section of the guide.

Designed with adventurers in mind, Perception Kayaks Expression combines the versatility of the sit-inside kayaks and stability of sit-on-top kayaks. 
perception kayaks expression sit inside
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Perception Kayaks Expression Sit Inside Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 11ft. 7 inches 
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Dimensions: 139 x 25.8 x 14.5 inches
What we like:
  • The skeg is retractable, which gives you full control of the tracking
  • It is perfectly compatible with ocean surf
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for two people
Its cockpit is easy to enter, while the built-in cushy ‘chair’ is comfortable to sit on all day. You can push the seat forward, backward, up, or down, and expect it to obey you. The thigh braces are also adjustable, which provides additional support and control during paddling.

The manufacturer incorporated bungee cord storage spaces both in the front and in the back of the kayak so that you are able to safely secure your accessories. The TruTrak skeg enables you to stay on track with the wind and currents of the ocean. 

Carry your kayak by the handles attached to it and you will have no trouble transporting it from your vehicle to the water in one piece.     

This British-style touring kayak by Riot Kayaks is a true performance-oriented gear that will take your kayaking skills to the next level in no time. Featuring a retractable skeg and a pilot rudder system, Brittany is agile and fast. 

The custom-fit seating construction along with quick-lock foot braces makes it a stand-out watercraft that won’t compromise your comfort. 

riot kayaks brittany flatwater touring
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Riot Kayaks Brittany Flatwater Touring Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 16.5ft. 
  • Weight: 51 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Dimensions: 198 x 22 x 13 inches
What we like:
  • It is sharp and fast when cutting through the waves 
  • There is enough storage to keep everything you need and more on hand
What we don’t like:
  • Its narrow, rocket-like design might not be everyone’s cup of tea
There is plenty of storage – 2 rear and 1 front compartment – to keep your essential and non-essential items close to you, which is always a good thing to have. 

At 16.5 feet, this kayak is a rocket, except that it doesn’t fly you to space. There are hardly any other kayaks with this length, thus making this model a stand-alone item. 

If you’re planning on spending your free time exploring the wild waters of the nearby ocean or the sea, it makes sense to invest in this beast.     

The Prowler was developed by Ocean Kayak as a middle price-range watercraft that has a wide variety of uses. From fishing to ocean and sea kayaking, it has the power to navigate rough waters with elegance.
ocean kayak prowler angler
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Ocean Kayak Prowler Angler Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 13ft. 4 inches 
  • Width: 28 inches
  • Weight: 56 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
What we like:
  • Kayak’s hardware features side handles, paddle keepers, and a reflective deck rigging
  • The sit-on-top design maintains your comfort throughout the entire kayaking session
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for two people
At 28 inches wide, it is considerably narrower than most other kayaks, which enables it to stand up to big waves. The Comfort Plus seat integrated into the kayak is built from durable Nylon that is UV-resistant. It comes with stainless steel clips and brass that allows you to attach and detach it to your equipment. 

You are getting large storage space at the bow of the boat that can be sealed with a single click. This means you don’t have to leave behind any valuables that could be useful on the board. You will find a huge cargo storage area behind the seat where tackle boxes or a cooler can be safely placed. 

There is even a molded-in cup holder and two mounted fishing rod holders for those breaks you take in between active paddling. 

Perhaps the most lightweight ocean kayak on the market is the one developed by Oru Kayak.
oru kayak foldable
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Length: 12ft. 
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
What we like:
  • The easiest kayak on the market to transport 
  • It weighs less than any other kayak in this guide
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for strong currents and stormy weather
You don’t need a roof rack or a trailer to transport it from your house to the beach – it can be packed in a carrying case in under 5 minutes and thrown in the trunk of your car (or attached to the back of your bicycle). The installation takes no more than 5 minutes too – the foldable construction of the kayak makes it a handy on-the-go tool for drifting in the sea or the ocean.

It is made from the custom Polypropylene and is built to be rust- and UV-resistant. 

The possibility to fold it doesn’t take away from how mighty this kayak is. Rated at 20,000 folds, it meets and exceeds the U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel standards. 

With a 30-day money-back guarantee and 12-months of the manufacturer warranty, it is an investment that will pay off sooner than later. 

Pedal-driven performance at an unbelievable price’ is what Perception Kayaks says about the Pescador Pilot. We couldn’t agree more – it is indeed a 12’5”-inch beast that will suit paddlers with beginner and expert skills alike.
perception kayaks pescador pilot
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Perception Kayaks Pescador Pilot Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene (HDPE) 
  • Length: 12ft. 5 inches 
  • Weight: 95 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 475 pounds
  • Dimensions: 148 x 33.8 x 16 inches
What we like:
  • The pedal system can be removed 
  • The gear tracks allow you to add the accessories without having to drill the holes in the hull
What we don’t like:
  • It weighs a lot, which might impede solo loading and unloading onto the vehicle
The propeller mechanism doesn’t occupy your hands, but rather gives a workout for your legs (from which we all can benefit in moderate portions). 

The sit-on-top construction makes the boat spacious enough to fit you and plenty of your stuff. There is storage both in the front and in the back of the kayak, which means you don’t have to compromise on what to bring with you. 

A drink holder brings the organizational space to a whole different level – who would say ‘No’ to a refreshing beverage on a hot Saturday afternoon?      

The Brooklyn Kayak Company never disappoints with the equipment it puts out – this tandem kayak is the proof. Its sit-on-top design combined with the possibility of choosing between paddling or pedaling makes it an attractive find.
bkc sit-on-top tandem
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the BKC Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene 
  • Length: 12ft. 5 inches 
  • Weight: 68 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 440 pounds
  • Dimensions: 155 x 11 x 30 inches
What we like:
  • The waterproof storage space allows you to keep your keys, edibles, and other essentials in a dry place 
  • The twin paddle rests are great for when you want to free up your hands for taking pictures 
What we don’t like:
  • The price tag is high
The 12-inch length goes well with the unpredictable ocean and sea, while the 34-inch beam helps you stay put when the wind makes the waves go crazy. Even if you find yourself standing up in the middle of the ride, the likelihood of you falling over is low.

The 440-pound capacity means there is enough strength in this boat to hold two people and not budge. In case you decide to go fishing, there are three fishing rod holders that can be adjusted as per your preference. 

The flush-mount mechanism allows you to angle the rods for the better catch, which is always a nice bonus to have. No need to worry about the water splashes remaining in the boat – the eight scupper holes will quickly take care of the drainage.  

The brand is known for its ocean-oriented gear, and the Caper Classic kayak is not an exception. The many peculiar features are well-thought-out, which makes it a piece of standout equipment in the world of ocean kayaks
ocean kayak caper classic
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Ocean Kayak Caper Classic Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene 
  • Length: 11ft. 
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Dimensions: 132 x 31 x 18 inches
What we like:
  • Its roomy cockpit makes it comfortable to hang in the kayak all day long
  • The click seal bow hatch keeps your stuff hidden, meaning that your electronic devices won’t be damaged from the contact with water
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for two people
This one-person kayak can withstand up to 325 pounds of weight – the perfect amount that can hold all of your items and, possibly, a furry friend too. 

The Tri-form hull is sturdy and is built to last, even if you are planning on using it every weekend. The sit-on-top design means you are in control of the device, which, in turn, gives you an extra boost of confidence in your kayaking skills. 

The click seal bow hatch is designed to keep your gear dry regardless of how intense the waves get. Since Caper can be easily thrown on top of the car, you don’t have to invest in a kayak trailer. Instead, get a roof rack that will cost a fraction of the trailer and will still get the job done.

The Emotional Stealth 11 is as stable on the water as any other high-end kayak is. The 11-inch length gives you just enough surface to work with when drifting through rough waves. 
lifetime emotion stealth
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Lifetime Emotion Stealth Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene (HDPE) 
  • Length: 11ft. 
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Dimensions: 132 x 30 x 14 inches
What we like:
  • The self-bailing scupper holes help in draining the water after a long day of kayaking
  • Front and rear storage allow you to bring plenty of essential and non-essential items on board
What we don’t like:
  • The kayak is significantly heavier than other models in this guide
Lifetime equipped this piece of equipment with a skeg wheel for increased tracking and four side handles for easy transportation.  With or without a helping hand, you’ll have no issues bringing your kayak to the ocean.  

 Comfort is guaranteed by the adjustable padded back seat and footwells, with a secure foot bracing mechanism. You also have rear storage for keeping your cargo next to you at all times. 

Crafted from high-quality Polyethylene, this kayak will last you quite some time before you start noticing any signs of wear and tear. It might be the UV protection embedded into the boat’s material or the 5-year warranty from the manufacturer – whatever it is, you are set for good.

You have probably already heard about Sea Eagle if you are into water sports. If you haven’t, however, read through our description and get ready to invest in this water equipment ASAP.
sea eagle 370 deluxe inflatable
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Sea Eagle 370 Deluxe Inflatable Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Molded Plastic
  • Length: 7ft. 10 inches
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 650 pounds
  • Dimensions: 34 x 19 x 11 inches
What we like:
  • This model of the kayak can hold up to 3 people
  • It is easy to haul because of the low weight
  • You can inflate/deflate it within the span of 8 minutes 
What we don’t like:
  • The stability is not great in windy conditions
Similar to Intex, this kayak is inflatable and is made from saltwater and sun-resistant material. Weighing merely 32 pounds, this piece of equipment can hold much more than you would think. 

Not only can it withstand up to 650 pounds of weight, but it can also carry your on-board essentials and possibly even a pet. Featuring 2 molded skegs, this kayak won’t be damaged by rocks that suddenly appear out of nowhere. These skegs are built from molded plastic that stands the test of time, and so are the other elements of the kayak. 

The integral 5-tube l-beam floor is there to help you speed up when you want to and stop and take a break.

The Ocean Malibu sit-on-top recreational kayak is a true gem for water lovers – its comfort-plus seats don’t allow any slippage during the ride. The large open cockpit enables families with a small child to embark on days-long trips without having to leave anyone (or anything) behind. Rhino Nautic 570 is the typical saddle type rack that comprises four rubber cradles equipped with three grip-infused joints for watercraft securing. The system is reminiscent of the 2 claws holding from under the gear.
ocean kayak malibu sit-on-top recreational
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-on-Top Recreational Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 13 ft. 4 inches
  • Weight: 68 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Dimensions: 144 x 34 x 20 inches
What we like:
  • The seat rests are quite large, which allows people of all shapes and sizes to comfortably paddle in this kayak
  • Lifetime warranty gives you peace of mind
What we don’t like:
  • Paddles are not included
The overlapping foot wells give your foot comfortable rest while your hands are busy paddling through the lake. With 500 pounds of weight capacity, there is nothing this kayak is missing. 

The front bungee deck gives the possibility to bring all of your sunny day essentials and stay entertained the whole trip. Use the handles on both sides of the kayak to feel secure if you are a beginner – you are then guaranteed to stay put in the boat! 

If you are in search of a tandem kayak for beginners that has an attractive design and a top-notch quality, you are looking at the right kayak. 

The Perception Rambler sit-on-top recreational boat can be paddled on slow-moving rivers, lakes, and ocean bays with no exceptions. The 13.5-foot length provides you with roomy molded-in seats that are comfortable to hop in and out.

perception rambler sit-on-top recreational
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Perception Rambler Sit-on-Top Recreational Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 13.5 ft.
  • Weight: 78 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 550 pounds
  • Dimensions: 162 x 34 x 15.5 inches
What we like:
  • The several footrests allow people of all sizes to fit into the kayak
  • With 4 additional deck loops, you can configure kayak for a solo trip
What we don’t like:
  • You have to purchase paddles separately
  • Some users complain about the cheap quality of the seats
You will find front, back, and side handles integrated into the boat for your safety. There is also a kids seat for those young outdoor enthusiasts. 

Crafted from high-density Polyethylene that has a UV-protection embedded into the material, this kayak is made to last and remain scratchless after many uses.

The saltwater-optimized hardware protects the gear from getting rusty and developing dents, which, in turn, prolongs its life. You can stuff it with your on-board essentials via the bungee cord lashes, and be sure nothing gets lost along the way.

This sit-on-top kayak by Vanhunks is a steal for outdoor lovers who cannot imagine spending weekends in the countryside without some sort of on-water activity. You can bring your kids or a pet for that much-needed break from your loved ones. 
vanhunks voyager
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Vanhunks Voyager Kayak:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Seats: Aluminum
  • Length: 12 ft.
  • Weight Capacity: 550 pounds
  • Dimensions: 145.7 x 34.2 x 13.8 inches
What we like:
  • Both seats are fully padded and adjustable
  • The material of the kayak is UV-resistant 
  • The 1-year warranty on all parts of the equipment gives it credibility
What we don’t like:
  • The rear seat blocks the cup holder 
Measuring 32 inches wide, this kayak comes with an aluminum seat that can be reclined for sunbathing, or kept up for focused paddling.   

When you decide to relax on the beach or camp bonfire, you can remove the seats completely. There is large rear storage for keeping your valuables safe no matter what turn the weather takes. The Voyager is built to withstand up to 550 pounds of weight and remain stable even during the tricky turns. 

It has comfortable handles that help you conveniently carry your water gear down to the water. With paddles, scupper plugs, molded-in rod holders, d-rings, and cup holders included, there is nothing you need to purchase separately before embarking on your kayaking trip.  

Questions & Answers:

1. What features should I look for in an ocean kayak?

While some models are designed to provide you with the highest speed possible, others are aiming at making you comfortable enough to kayak all day long. Depending on the priorities you set for your ocean kayak, one model will be a clear winner, whereas the other will be a definite loser.

It’s is, therefore, important to analyze features like stability levels, construction quality, the shape, length and width of the boat, and the cockpit style. This way you will find out what can be compromised and what is non-negotiable for you.

There are two types of stabilities at the base of every kayak examination: primary and secondary stability. The primary stability measures the watercraft’s stability in the resting state when in the flat waters, while the secondary stability measures its ability to stay put when tipped on one side. A good-quality ocean kayak needs to have great secondary stability so that it stays afloat in the wild ocean waters.

When choosing between the materials, you will find the majority of kayaks are built from either fiberglass, polyethylene, wood, or a combination of them. Those made from fiberglass are typically the most expensive due to their low weight and high strength, while those crafted from polyethylene are the cheapest. Kayaks made from wood are generally harder to find and are often custom made, which drives their prices up. The optimal choice for the general public is composite (mixed materials with epoxy layers) or polyethylene kayaks. 

The factor affecting the stability of your kayak the most is its shape. While round-shaped kayaks work best in flat waters, v-shaped kayaks are perfect for ocean waters. There is the possibility for a round kayak to tip over, which is why it’s not the preferred option for those planning on kayaking mainly in the wild ocean. V-shaped models, on the other hand, are built to withstand strong currents and are generally easier to navigate.

Because you need sharp gear when drifting through the waves, your ocean kayak will most likely be longer than other types of kayaks. We recommend choosing the model that exceeds 11 feet in length for that desired speed and maneuverability. As for the width, ocean kayaks greater than 19 inches are generally the safest way to go. This width will decrease the likelihood of you falling into the ocean, which is particularly common for beginners.

The cockpits that involve sit-on-top designs have to be left for lakes and fishing purposes. The preferred cockpit design for ocean waters includes the relatively tight space that holds you in and doesn’t restrict your movements. You don’t want ocean water to enter your watercraft and weigh it down, so go for the kayak with a cockpit that will allow you to easily paddle through the waves.

2. Do I have to carry a life jacket with me?

Although safety regulations tend to vary from one location to another, it is recommended that you wear a life jacket when kayaking in the ocean. It can be any other inflatable device that will keep you afloat in case of an emergency, but it has to be with you at all times. If you are not wearing it, make sure it is stored in your deck or in the rear bungee cord storage space for those ‘just in case’ situations.

If you are a beginner, it should be a no-brainer for you to be wearing a life vest when kayaking in the ocean. You never know how stormy it might get, and it’s generally better to be safe than sorry when it comes to water sports.  

3. How do I stay safe when kayaking in the ocean?

Besides having a life vest on the board with you, there are a couple of other safety precautions to take when venturing out in the wilderness. Getting to know your kayak and checking the weather conditions before departing on a kayaking trip constitutes a part of the pre-departure preparations. For instance, it is generally not recommended to go kayaking when the water temperature of the ocean drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (unless you are a kayaking professional with excellent knowledge of your surroundings).

You have to educate yourself on the ocean currents and tides before you go kayaking in the ocean. The last thing you want to happen is for the waves to pull you away, without any idea what to do to get safely back to shore. For the same reason, you might want to kayak within swimming distance to the shore. It’s always a safer choice  not to go too far, especially if the weather seems to be changing frequently  throughout the day.  

4. How do I anchor an ocean kayak?

You might want to anchor your kayak in the middle of your trip, and to do so you will need a combination of an anchor, an anchor line, and a foam float. First, you will have to attach the 50-100 feet anchor line to the anchor and place the foam float on the opposite side of the line. Second, make sure the flukes are open and cast away from the gear. 

Once nothing stands in your way to anchor the kayak, let the construction you just built sink to the bottom of the ocean. Secure the line by tugging onto it and tying it to the kayak. Kayak experts recommend making a figure 8 pattern for maximum security.   

5. Is it hard to kayak in the ocean? 

Ocean and waves go hand in hand, which means that you will have to deal with some ‘obstacles’ when kayaking in the ocean. Since ocean kayaks are designed to withstand stormy weather and windy conditions, you shouldn’t have trouble navigating in the water even when it gets rough (and it will get rough). 

You have to be prepared to handle waves under 3 feet as it can be difficult for a beginner. To take some precautionary measures, feel free to bring a helmet with you for the scenario when the big waves capsize your boat. 

Now that you know what makes an ocean kayak worthy of buying, it is your turn to make the final decision. Which models will you narrow down your search to, and which ocean kayak will be a winner?  

If you already have an ocean kayak or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

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