When we consider going on a vacation or on a fishing expedition in the lake, a kayak is quite important. But getting one that fits the purpose and is worth the money may be quite tasking.
If you are not a professional in this matter, we know that it will not be easy to make a good purchase. Therefore, we have prepared a review of the best pedal kayak to buy in 2018.
Definitely, this type of equipment is not cheap. You have to make a comparison of the best pedal kayaks before making a hurried purchase and purchase a boat that does not suit your level of preparation.
This review is a result of hours of painstaking research. The products featuring in this article are highly-rated and considered the bestselling pedal kayaks on Amazon.
Table of contents
1. Best pedal kayaks 2018
Hobie ProHangler 14
Wilderness Systems 115
Ocean Kayak Malibu
Hobie Revolution 13
Hobie Mirage Sport
BKC UH-PK14 Pedal Kayak
2. Buyer’s guide of the best pedal kayaks
3. What are pedal kayaks?
4. Choosing a kayak: The seats and footrests
5. How to operate a pedal kayak for fishing
6. Pedal kayaks or paddle kayak: What are the differences?
7. Various types of kayak
Best pedal kayaks 2018
1. Hobie ProHangler 14
The ProAngler by Hobie comes with unbeatable features. Coming at around $3499, it is widely considered by reviewers, fishermen, and kayakers as the overall best fishing option.
It has the best stability and the largest standing space of all kayaks in the market. Kayakers have the freedom to walk through from back to front and vice versa without tripping.
However, its size definitely means it is going to be slower in water when compared to kayaks neatest to its class.
It is the best pedal kayak for fishing. However, this may not be as great for non-fishing activities as much as it is for fishing.
The price is only the major downside to this pedal kayak. And if you can afford this, it will be well worth the money.
What we like
• It features a railing system
• The can support the massive weight.
• The Mirage Drive 180 offers smooth water sailing.
• The chair is of a captain’s class and can take as much as 350lbs in weight.
•The manufacturer is a reputable brand.
What we don’t like
• Accessories of all Hobie’s products don’t come cheap.
• It is quite heavy.
2. Wilderness Systems 115
Coming with a pedal-powered drive at a price of around $2495, the Wilderness System is one of the best pedal kayaks which are great for the price.
If you think the price of the boat is a bit high for your budget, you can choose to purchase the drive later and purchase just the kayak.
It features an easily adjustable and comfortable radar seat.
The kayak is effective for fishing as it has enough of space for standing and track mounts made of aluminum by the sides.
The pedal kayak is a product of Wilderness Systems, a company which has been manufacturing water sports equipment since 1985.
Unlike the Wilderness Systems 130 model, the 115 is best suited for short distant kayaking in shallow waters. Its features give it better stability to stand up and fish while on the water. However, it has quite an ample space to contain loads. It is easy to transport and store after usage and it is very maneuverable.
What we like
• Offers maneuverability, stability, and speed.
•Boasts of a comfy Air Pro MAX seat and foot braces that can be adjusted.
• includes a cockpit outfitting with its paddle keeper.
• Offers very ample storage.
• The kayak can be bought without the rudder/drive, which makes it cheaper.
What we don’t like
• Weighing 79 pounds, it is a bit heavy and may be hard to load and unload it without help.
• A bit expensive than other pedal kayaks within its class.
3. Hobie Outback 2018
The Hobie Outback is a typical kayak for fishermen looking for stability and ability to fish quietly in the sea. The Outback has rod holders both in the bow and stern as well as a large cargo space.
Weighing 99 pounds, the kayak is specifically designed for fishermen. We advise you to keep scrolling down if you are looking for a kayak for sporting or vacation purpose.
It features Hobie’s patented Mirage Drive 180-degree pedaling system. It is capable of changing the direction of travel at much ease than other brands.
The Outback is fully equipped with fishing features, including the Lowrance system that facilitates the installation of the probe.
The Hobie kayaks bring your magnificent Vantage CT seat. You can recline, raise or lower it. It comes designed with a mesh fabric to prevent it from being wet during the fishing days. In addition, the kayak’s seat legs are removable and can be effectively used as a beach chair.
The Outback is very maneuverable thanks to its incredible folding rudder which is unique in this kayak.
What we like
• Has a hull made of durable polyethylene?
• Rounded V-shape offers stability.
• Rod holders.
• Features a collapsible paddle.
• The paddle is storable on board.
• Its rear and front hatches are water resistant.
• Compatible with the Lowrance fish-finding system.
• Rudder system offers maneuverability.
• Has a large weight capacity.
What we don’t like
• Paddle reported not to be as durable as the kayak.
4. Ocean Kayak Malibu
The Malibu pedal kayak from Ocean Kayak includes the PDL Drive System propulsion technique which allows you to go really fast-pedaling while your hands are free. It is one of the best pedal kayaks for vacation.
It is compact and has a fantastic turning radius. You can take a child and/or a pet in the loading area so that the family experience is total.
The PDL Drive System can reach up to 8 km/h with a ratio of 10.3: 1 for a very efficient pedaling. It fits in the kayak in just a few seconds and is locked with a few tabs to prevent it from leaving the compartment. In case of navigating in shallow waters, you can return the system to its position by quickly tilting the unit so that it does not touch the bottom.
The pedals are padded for greater comfort in pedaling and to prevent the feet from slipping in the turn. It includes a chest to store material in a dry and safe way as well as a special compartment for the mobile with lever closure.
It features a standard rudder that is controlled by a lever on the left side of the canoe. The lever on the right side allows us to raise and lower it comfortably. The seat adjusts in distance with respect to the pedals so that you can adjust it to the length of your leg.
It has rails on the sides so you can install rod holders, probe bases or camera brackets without having to drill the kayak. Simply by attaching the supports compatible with the rail system, you can equip your Malibu Pedal to your liking.
The kayak comes with the rudder installed so you only have to dock the pedal system and start enjoying.
What we like
• It has enough leg room for all kayakers.
• Great for solo or family kayaking.
• Highly customizable, thanks to its two 8-inch accessory tracks.
• Features 3 rod holders.
• Super responsive drive system which can maneuver shallow waters.
What we don’t like
• You may need help when transporting it as it weighs 100 pounds.
5. Hobie Revolution 13
The Hobie Revolution 13 is the most used kayak in Canary waters. It is a compact kayak with a fast hull that helps the sailor not to lose speed in the seas.
It offers great stability and a generous load capacity.
The Hobie kayaks advance thanks to its patented system of Mirage drive pedals, pedals Mirage Drive 180º. The drive system is able to change the direction easily.
In addition to improving the performance with its new drive design, it has a high engineering system which is within the grasp of fishermen.
The Revolution 13 is fully equipped with fishing characteristics, including the Lowrance Ready System that facilitates the installation of the probe.
Just like any other Hobie kayak, it features a magnificent and adjustable Vantage CT seat.
As a 2018 novelty, the manufacturers incorporate night vision signals. The side pockets are now anti-rubber hooks. In addition, it also features a new and renewed range of colors.
What we like
• It is lightweight and yet, can carry heavy loads.
• Features an adjustable and comfortable seat.
• Comes with plenty of storage space suitable for fishing.
• Includes the revolutionary Mirage Drive 180º
• The pedals are solid.
What we don’t like
• Built for open waters as it is not really great in terms of maneuverability.
6. Hobie Mirage Sport
If you need something compact this will be quite easy to load and unload from while giving you the fun on the water, then the mirage sport might be your choice. It is great for users with moderate body features and children.
The model features the comfortable Vantage CT seat. The kayak features a tough polyethylene cover which enhances its durability.
Like all Hobie model, the kayak features the specially made and patented MirageDrive pedal system that ST fins.
The Mirage Sport also features a sealed hatch and fishing rod holders like many other kayaks.
What we like
• It is compact for storage, loading, and unloading.
• Includes comfortable Vantage CT seat.
• Easy to handle by a beginner.
• Very lightweight.
• It is stable on the water.
What we don’t like
• Doesn’t accommodate heavyweight and not recommended for users above medium size.
• There are no handles on either side.
7. BKC UH-PK14 Pedal Kayak
The UH-PK14 by Brooklyn Kayak Company is 14-foot long and weighs 99 pounds.
It features a set of rotational pedals. Hence, this will require more effort from you, especially from the start, if you want the sail to be non-stop.
Meanwhile, the pedaling will become easier when there are about 2 people on it. The kayak is very fast yet stable on the water.
It features two seating units with pedals on both ends, which makes it one of the fastest pedal kayaks around. It allows the kayakers to tear down any waterway in tandem with the utmost impunity.
The seats are quite comfortable and molded ergonomically as they are adjustable according to the seater’s body type.
In fact, the BKC UH-PK14 can accommodate as much as 660 pounds of weight. Hence, it is not just one of the fastest; it is also one of the best kayaks according to robustness.
The BKC model has molded rod holders and enough storage space. A kayaker can pilot this model, when necessary, except that it is better sailed when there are two people by the pedals. However, it’s not really so hard to keep it in motion when there’s only one person on board.
What we like
• Two persons can pilot it in tandem.
• It is lengthy but lightweight.
• It can support as much as 660 pounds of weight.
• It is very fast when piloted in tandem.
• Reasonably priced for its features.
• Available in multiple colors.
• Features paddles.
• Comfortable and ergonomic seats.
What we don’t like
• The pedaling system is hard for just one kayaker.
• Storage space may not be enough for two people.
• The underside rudder may make it unsuitable for shallow sails.
Buyer’s Guide of the Best Pedal Kayaks
What are pedal kayaks?
The pedal technology in kayaking is an original concept, which makes it even easier for kayakers who are not experts.
Instead of paddling, you ride a recumbent bike on pedals equipped with fins that move the boat forward.
You give the direction of the kayak with a joystick, connected to saffron at the back. Your hands are free to fish and take pictures while moving at a good pace.
Pedal kayaks are ideal for those who love long sails by the river or beach. They are a good alternative for people who want to navigate without the effort of their arms. These types of kayaks reach a good speed and the use of a rudder and freedom in the hands makes them comfortable when fishing.
They reach speeds much higher than those of conventional fishing kayaks.
Choosing a Kayak: The Seats and Footrests
When sailing in a kayak, comfort and good posture will allow you to enjoy the ride. For this reason, you should choose a boat with comfortable seats and a good backrest. There are models where the backrest and the seat can be removed, in the case you want to travel alone and do not need the other seat.
Many backs are made of EVA foam. It is important that you choose one covered with a breathable fabric to keep you cool. As for the footrests, there are kayaks that include a preformed space for your comfort and safety.
How to Operate a Pedal Kayak for Fishing?
Although it seems like a pedaling system very similar to a bicycle, the pedal kayak for fishing can contain two pedaling systems that are very different from each other, and which require different efforts.
Push pedal kayaks: With a short movement, we can push the pedal and this makes the fins move. The good thing about this system is that it leaves us more space and the legs usually have enough strength when pushing. One of its cons is that when we stop pushing the pedal, the fin stops. And when we resume pedaling, it takes more force to start it back.
Rotational pedal kayaks: These are more similar to a bicycle. The gear system moves the propeller continuously. The pedaling is usually less stressful and a much higher speed is achieved by the conversion of the energy that comes from our legs.
When we stop pedaling the propeller keeps turning a bit. This helps us to resume the pedaling without a greater effort, unlike the pushing system that requires more force when starting again.
These fishing kayaks are ideal for those who love trolling!
Pedal Kayaks or Paddle Kayak: What are the Differences?
The differences between a pedal kayak and paddle kayak are easy to identify.
While pedal kayaks feature special drive system that is driven almost like a bicycle, paddle kayakers use paddles in driving the boat.
We look at the benefits and downsides of both techniques of kayaking:
Pros and cons of pedal kayaks
If you are interested in fishing in deeper waters or you have to take long trips to get to your favorite fishing spot, pedal kayaking can be the ideal boat you can buy. You can travel a greater distance in higher speed without having a special wear.
The hull of these kayak models is designed to have better navigability, and integrate a rudder.
However, you have to be careful with the use of kayak pedals in shallow water, rocks, and corals. Obstacles below the water can stop the boat when you’re not careful.
The pedal kayak offers kayakers hands-free sailing, hence, making them free to concentrate on fishing or engaging in other kayaking activities.
The propeller system needs more space than rigid or conventional kayaks. We strongly advise that you do not consider using pedal kayaks in the shallow water.
Another downside is that a pedal kayak needs more maintenance than a normal kayak, especially if you install a propeller system. You have to maintain it after each exit in salt water and apply zinc anodes to prevent corrosion.
Another downside is that pedal kayaks are more expensive than paddle kayaks.
Pros and cons of paddle kayaks
While pedal kayaks are best suited for fishermen, paddle kayaks are great for those on vacation. In addition, they are often used in water sports.
Asides the constant need to hand-paddle with the hands always busy, paddle kayaks are simple to use.
Paddle kayaks require fewer steps and little maintenance than when compared to the pedal variants.
These kayaks are much more affordable. While pedal kayaks can cost $2000 at least, prices of paddle kayaks can go below $500.
On the negative side, paddle kayaks are not great for windy currents. They keep the kayaker busy with paddling while using the hands less in other non-paddling related activities.
Paddle-powered kayaks are not also suitable for long distance.
Various Types of Kayak
In this same order of ideas, there is a type of kayak for each discipline.
The forms and types of kayaks have evolved over time.
Currently, there are many types of kayaks. Each is duly adjusted to the characteristics of the place where kayaking will be practiced.
Among the main types of kayaks, the following stand out:
• Fishing kayaks: To carry out fishing activity, you can use either a sea kayak, a cruise, or a self-emptying kayak. The most important thing is that it should be stable equipment and that you have enough space to store your fishing equipment.
There are people who love fishing in kayaks who decide to adopt the equipment exclusively for fishing. They make personal modifications, such as adding some kind of propulsion or structure to hold the rods. The fishing kayaks are more stable and have more space for better maneuvering.
• Inflatable Kayaks: These types of kayaks are the most economical on the market. They fit people who have limited budgets or who simply do not have space to store their kayak.
The inflatable kayaks have an elongated shape. They are also recognizable with their material.
The behavior of these kayaks in some environments is not the best. This is why they are recommended for calm waters.
In addition, they are known for their ease of transportation and their low prices.
• Foldable kayaks: These are ideal for transporting due to their ability to get folded. They are stronger than inflatable kayaks. However, the opinions on this type of kayaks are very controversial. It is advisable to try this kind of kayaks well before jumping to buy them.
• Sea kayaks: The characteristics of the sea kayak are similar to the crossing kayaks with the difference that they were designed for the sea.
Sea Kayaks do not always have lockers and are ideal for long trips in calm sea waters.
• Self-emptying kayak or sit-on-top kayaks: These types have the peculiarity that the crew member, once seated, he can keep his legs free. This allows his free movement and offers him greater ease when getting off.
Additionally, this type of kayak is designed so that people are sitting higher than other types of kayaks. The material with which they are constructed is made of a very resistant plastic.
These kayaks are ideal for lakes, rivers or calm seas. Because of their stability, they are the most sought after by beginners in kayaking. However, these kayaks are not the most suitable for long distance crossings.
• Closed kayaks: The designs of the closed kayaks are the most similar to those original kayaks that were used many years ago. The kayak uses an accessory that fulfills the function of preventing the entry of water. These kayaks are extremely versatile and are known for their many variants of materials.
• Cruising kayak: This type of kayak is designed for any voyage, whether in the sea, river or lake. This kayak emphasizes its stability and weight. It is also much more comfortable and allows the crew to carry the load needed to venture on the crossing.
The design of these kayaks allows cruisers to travel long distances through calm waters. Additionally, they have a length of more than 5 meters, with approximately 55 centimeters in width, which makes them ideal, thanks to their stability.
• Recreation kayak: It is a versatile boat, ideal for starters in this sport. Generally, they are self-emptying but you can also get the closed type, which works well for sailing in the sea.
• Pedal kayaks: These types of kayaks use pedals as a method of propulsion. They allow one to keep the hands completely free, and travel long distances at a considerable speed.
The pedal kayaks are often used by those going to sea for pleasure, thanks to the safety provided by their mechanism.
Pedal kayaks are highly priced but you would need a lot of research to get the best pedal kayak. With this review, we hope you can find it easier purchasing your dream kayak.