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5 Best Cheap Kayaks for Summer Camping

5 Best Cheap Kayaks for Summer Camping

Many RVers supplement their equipment by adding a cheap kayak. This lets them enjoy waterways, river rapids, or seashore exploration during their camping adventures.

But a cheap kayak can be frustrating as well as dangerous. And a more expensive kayak may not transport well in your RV. How can you make the most of that tranquil mountain lake while still enjoying a quality kayak?

We’ve discovered ways to find a “cheap” kayak and will show you the five best on today’s market.

Let’s dive in!

What To Look For When Buying a Cheap Kayak

The word “cheap” congers up a wide variety of images. In our examples here, we’re referring to inexpensive kayaks, not lesser quality ones. After all, you’ll be using it in water, and you can’t skimp on quality when it comes to Mother Nature! We’ll only be suggesting those boats deemed safe and inexpensive.

First, here are some considerations that could help you find a kayak that will fit your personal needs and budget.

Cheap Kayak Reviews

Start your research by reading reviews from seasoned kayakers. Word of mouth is surely the most direct way to uncover the assets and detriments of different models and manufacturers. If an experienced boater falls in love with a kayak, you’re sure to hear all about it.

Likewise, if someone discovers a flaw or problem, they’ll definitely inform other boaters about it. So seek out reviews for cheap kayak options and ask those who’ve been on the water a while for their opinions and suggestions.

Pro Tip: If you’re considering a canoe, here’s a kayak vs canoe comparison.


Think about the way you intend to use the kayak before you consider purchasing one. Will you be shooting the rapids on a river or fishing from one in a lake? Do you plan on having a partner (human or otherwise) on the boat? Are you looking for stability or maneuverability in the water?

Another consideration should be about the type of kayak that best suits you. Are you more interested in an inflatable kayak, one where you can sit on top of the boat, or one that you sit ‘in’?

All these questions will help you narrow down your cheap kayak selection. For example, if stability is your concern, longer boats that allow you to sit on the deck are more stable. But there’s a trade-off for stability, and that’s mobility.

Generally speaking, shorter, sit-in kayaks are much more maneuverable in the water. If you plan to pull off two sports at once by fishing from your kayak, they make a specific boat just for that purpose. River kayaks are usually much shorter and almost always of the “sit-in” variety. So make your choices based on how you’ll use your new kayak.

Think also about weight. Most boats are rated by the total amount of weight they can carry. That includes you and any gear you might bring along. Some kayaks are made for tandem boaters, and others are created specifically with anglers in mind with rod pockets built-in. But remember, your tackle box, cooler, and bait are additional weights, as well.


One big concern of RVers is how to transport a kayak. They already have limited space. And, if they choose anything other than an inflatable boat, they may have to carry their kayak inside their rig or put a rack on their vehicle to get it to the water.

An additional consideration about portability is actually carrying the kayak from your transport vehicle to the water. Many boats weigh over 50 pounds and, although some have handles, they can still be difficult to carry if you’re doing so alone. 

5 Best Cheap Kayaks

Here are five of our favorite cheap kayaks for your shopping pleasure.

#1 – Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak

As far as inflatable kayak choices go, the Intex Challenger is tops on the list for affordability. Coming in at barely $90, this nine-foot cheap kayak is made of rugged vinyl, with an inflatable I-beam floor. A seat with a thick backrest will certainly help any kayaker feel comfortable taking this out on the water.

The Challenger comes with a 7-foot aluminum oar and a manual hand pump. It measures 30 inches wide and 108 inches long, weighs 27 pounds and can hold up to 220 pounds.

#2 – Pelican 100 10-Foot Kayak

This ten-foot-long hard plastic sit-in kayak by Pelican is a great option for those who like long trips on flat water. With storage under the front hull and on top of the stern, boaters can take some cargo along with them.

The kayak comes with a padded sit-in seat and backrest and adjustable footrests and bungees to hold items. The Pelican 100 weighs in at 36 pounds and will hold up to 275 pounds of weight. Its cost is $200.

#3 – Lifetime 10-Foot Kayak

Another sit-in kayak that’s priced right, the Lifetime 10-foot, has a hard plastic shell with various footrest positions. The seat back and pad are cushioned and adjustable, and the hull is flat, providing better stability for beginners and intermediate kayakers.

This 10-foot boat has a rear tank well with bungees to hold small cargo items and weighs 46 pounds, carrying up to 275 pounds. With handles on both the bow and stern, the Lifetime kayak is easy to transport, and it’s reasonably priced at $188. 

#4 – BestWay Hydro Force X2 Inflatable Kayak

This tandem inflatable is a good way to take a buddy along on a float trip. With two inflatable seats, two aluminum paddles, a hand pump, and a removable fin, you’ll be set for a day of enjoyment on the lake. Made from thick PVC material, this cheap kayak has plenty of room in the bow and stern to bring along lunch, and the handles on either end make hauling the boat to the water much easier.

The Hydra Force X2 is 10.5 feet long and three feet wide, weighing in at 17 pounds. It’s also durable enough to handle up to 350 pounds. The price for this package of fun is $260.

#5 – Intex Dakota 2-Person Kayak

Another option for a tandem kayak is the Intex Dakota. This inflatable is manufactured from heavy-duty vinyl and can hold up to 400 pounds. You can remove the inflatable seats with backrests to carry more cargo, and the floor has an I-beam for rigidity.

The Dakota comes packaged with two aluminum oars, two skegs, one hand pump, two dry bags, and a carrying case. When inflated, the boat measures 10’ 3” long and three feet wide. It weighs 30 pounds, and the retail cost is $260 – the highest of our cheap kayaks.

Get Out On the Water with a Quality Cheap Kayak

There’s really no reason every water lover can’t enjoy kayaking with the variety of inexpensive boats on the market today. You should have no problem finding one to fit your specific needs, but be sure to consider how you’ll use and transport the kayak before making your final selection.

Then, when that new boat makes its maiden voyage, all that will be required of you is a little paddling! 

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  1. Tim Woody says:

    Another kayak worth mentioning is the TuckTek. It is collapsible similar to the better known Oru, but very affordable – $350 for one or $650 for two. They can be found at

  2. David says:

    The Pelican 100 in your link is $482, not $200.