Purchasing a kayak can be a fun purchase and it is important to choose a kayak that is perfect for where you want to ride, and how. There are different types of kayaks such as ones that the rider sits in, one that the rider sits on top of and inflatable kayaks. Each of these have different features and it is important to keep them in mind when making looking for the best kayak for rivers.

The Best Kayak for Rivers

Best Wakesurf Board

Sundolphin Aruba Kayak
  • 1 Person
  • 10 Foot
  • Hard Shell

Second Best

Sundolphin Bali Kayak
  • 1 Person
  • 10 Foot
  • Hard Shell

Best Buy

  • 1 person
  • 9 Foot
  • Inflatable

Table of Contents

  1. Sundolphin Aruba Kayak
  2. Sundolphin Bali Kayak
  3. Intex Challenger Kayak
  4. Why Use a Trolling Motor?
  5. What to Look for When Buying
  6. Saltwater vs. Freshwater Kayaks

#1. SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak

The Sundolphin Aruba 10-foot sit-in kayak is an amazing kayak for those that are looking to hit the rivers. The kayak has a weight limit of 250 pounds and is 120 x 30 x 13 inches long. It is light and easy to carry, and it has an easy entry so getting in to the kayak will not be a hassle.

This kayak is perfect for lakes and rivers and it is made of UV stabilized, patented Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene to keep the kayak strong for many seasons. The Sundolphin Aruba has a high back so that your body is always supported in the kayak and features an adjustable seat, and adjustable foot braces to fit almost any size person.

The Sundolphin Aruba has a storage hatch to keep your belongings safe and dry and a water bottle holder so that you can stay hydrated while in the water. This kayak has tracks and paddles that are stable and easy to use.

The Sundolphin Aruba weighs 40 pounds so it is easy to carry and has carrying handles that make the trek from the car to the river easy and hassle free.

According to amazon.com, the Sundolphin Aruba 10-foot kayak has a 4.0 out of 5-star rating, with over 168 different reviews. Many of the customers rated this kayak high because of the size of the kayak being perfect, the ease of carrying, even for one person, and the price meeting the quality of this kayak. One customer said, “I am 6’1” and 220lbs and this kayak does a great job staying afloat and tracking is actually surprisingly good for its size…” -M.A. Mazur (4-star rating).

#2. SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on Top Kayak

The Sundolphin Bali SS 10-foot sit-on Top Kayak is a strong, lightweight kayak that has an open cockpit to allow easy entry for any kayaker. This kayak is easy to carry and includes carrying handles and weighs only 44 pounds. This kayak is 120 x 30 x 11 inches long.

This sit-on top kayak features material made of UV-stabalized, patented Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene to keep the kayak working for seasons to come. The open cockpit has comfortable seating and foot wells that are graduated so any size kayaker can enjoy.

The Sundolphin Bali has a portable accessory carrier that can be used to store extra items and also features a storage compartment with a shock cord so that your items can stay dry and your kayak can be hooked to the deck when not in use.

This kayak has paddles and tracks that give the kayak extra stability and paddle holders to keep the paddles from getting lost in the fun.

Amazon.com gave the Sundolphin Bali SS Sit-On Top Kayak a 3.5 out of 5-star rating with durability and style being some of the best features. Others felt that this kayak was worth the money because of the stability and ease of use. One customer commented, “Awesome! Great Kayak! Easy to use and very stable…” -D Williams (5-star review).

#3. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak

The Intex Challenger K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak is built of heavy-duty material and puncture resistant vinyl to help keep the kayak working for seasons to come. This kayak has separate air chambers and an inflatable I-beam floor for to help keep the kayak strong and dependable.

The Intex Challenger K1 is 9-foot-long and has a width of 2 foot 6 inches and holds a maximum weight of 220 pounds. It includes 1 paddle that is made up of aluminum material and is collapsible to make carrying simple, a closed deck, removable seat that is adjustable so it can fit almost any size rider, removable skeg, grab lines on both ends of the kayak and a cargo net. The Intex Challenger K1 also comes with a pump and a carrying bag to make inflating and going home a breeze.

This kayak features patented Dura-Beam technology, which has high-strength fibers that helps the fibers to not stretch or break for years to come. The material is welded for added safety, making sure that the kayak will not sink and is made with stylish designs to keep you looking good on the water.

The Intex Challenger K1 has a low-profile design, and the cargo net so that the rider can store their gear, and an inflatable floor and backrest to keep the rider comfortable for as long as they are on the river.

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak, has an amazon.com rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars with customers loving the price and the durability of the kayak. Other customers loved the fact that it was easy and quick to blow up and that the kayak dried quickly after inflating.

What Kind of Kayak is Best for Me?

Kayaks come in two styles, a sit on and a sit in and these come in styles that can fit one or two people. Both the sit in and the sit on have many of the same parts, such as the top of the kayak or the deck, the bottom of the kayak or the hull, the front or the bow and the back or the stern.   Both the sit in and sit on styles come with foot pedals, most of the time adjustable for different size riders, and seats, as well as grab loops, rudders and skegs. But, there are also many differences between a sit in and a sit on kayak, and it is important to decide which one fits your kayaking needs before making a purchase.

Sit-on-Top vs Sit-In Kayaks

The most notable difference between the sit in and sit on kayak is that the sit in kayak is enclosed around the person and inside the sit in kayak you will find the seat, and foot peddles that are most of the time adjustable to your length.

The sit in kayak keeps your body lower and shelters it from the wind so it is a warmer ride than the sit on kayak. If you are looking to kayak in cooler weather, keeping dry is important and the sit in kayak helps to keep water from spraying on the rider while paddling.

Even though most sit in kayaks are stable, getting out of a sit in kayak that is overturned can be a bit challenging and tricky, so this is always one con of having a sit in kayak. Sit in kayaks are very roomy inside and are easy to use. Sit in kayaks can be good for slow, small rivers, but they are also good for exploring rough waters because of their durability and stability and the deep cockpit.

Sit on kayaks are very user friendly because they are stable and easy to get on without having to feel confined to the cockpit. When deciding your purchase, it is important to decide if you want to easily get off the kayak to take a swim, or if you are looking to stay in the kayak most of the time. The sit on kayaks make it very easy to dismount and to take a quick swim if it gets too hot.

The sit on kayaks have small holes that allow the water to drain out without having to bail the water out. The biggest con of the sit on kayak is that you will most likely get wet in the process of kayaking. Sit on kayaks are better for small, slow moving rivers because they are recreational kayaks and suitable for kayakers of all ages.

Kayak Length

Once you decide if you are going to purchase a sit on or sit in kayak, length is the next important consideration. A longer kayak that is skinnier is faster and a wider kayak will be more stable but slower.

Other considerable factors when purchasing a kayak are weight and material. It is important to make sure that you have a kayak that will last and that it is easy to haul to and from the water. After a long day of kayaking, the weight of carrying the kayak can be nothing less than exhausting.

Inflatable kayaks are another great option. These types of kayaks are easy to carry and are comfortable to ride in. They can be carried in a backpack and blown up once you get to the river and they are very strong and easy to use. Inflatable kayaks are not as fast as hard-shell kayaks, but the pros of having one can be endless.