As it is the case with any high-end watercraft, fishing kayaks can be quite expensive. With that being said, you can still find decent options at a very reasonable price. In this guide, we will review some of the best fishing kayaks under $500 and we will help you pick a decent model that will not burn through your budget.
The features of the best fishing kayaks under $500
Identifying the characteristics of a good mid-range kayak can be tricky. Models at this price point tend to vary widely and figuring out what features to look for is not always a straightforward process. To help navigate this market, we have narrowed everything down to these few points.
Compact and Lightweight Design
Compact kayaks are simply better for a host of reasons. First of all, they are generally easier to transport and can be stored just about anywhere. More importantly, their efficient design gives them a lot of maneuverability and provides the user with better and more precise control.
A great fishing kayak should be able to hold at least one adult and extra accessories and equipment without giving out under the weight. To stay on the side of caution, aim for a model that can carry a minimum weight of 200 pounds.
Needless to say, the build quality of your kayak should be immaculate. It is hard to accurately assess this aspect from the product description alone. Therefore it is advisable to read customer feedback to check if there are any complaints about poor stitching, flimsy assembly, or major design defects.
The level of comfort provided by the kayak plays a major role in determining the quality of your fishing experience. Great fishing kayaks should come equipped with well-designed seats that are fairly spacious and padded enough to provide ample support for your back.
Like with any product, sticking to the established brands in the space is the safest bet to ensure high-quality and reliability. While some up-and-coming manufacturers offer some interesting options, the lack of a track record in producing durable and long-lasting kayaks makes them a risky investment. Opt for renowned names such as Advanced Elements and Sevylor if you want to avoid any quality-related issues down the line.
Reviews of the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500
For such an affordable option, this kayak has a lot going for it with regards to practical features and overall performance. It boasts a sleek design that cleverly combines an exquisite yellow finish with grey outlines and its compact shape gives it a wide range of maneuverability. Moreover, it is equipped with several elements that are effective in improving stability and control. These include the pointed bow that features a rocker and a removable tracking fin that boosts the kayak’s speed and agility in the water.
Another great characteristic of this kayak is the great level of comfort it offers. Thanks to a spacious sitting area and removability of the seats, this model can accommodate up to two people at the same time. Besides this, the seats come with a soft backrest that is specifically designed to provide good and consistent support regardless of the activity you are engaged in. Moreover, this model is equipped with a rear drain plug that facilitates the draining and cleaning of the kayak.
As we have mentioned above, one of the main qualities of the design is its remarkable compactness. As a matter of fact, the kayak’s dimensions are so narrow that you can fit it in your car with relative ease.
- The maneuverability of this kayak is impressive
- The seats are well-padded and highly comfortable
- It can accommodate up to two people at the same time
- The polyester construction is very durable
- The kayak is remarkably stable
- It is compact and easy to transport
- The skeg feels relatively flimsy and prone to coming off easily
- The level of comfort significantly decreases with tandem use
This is probably the most versatile option on our list. This kayak comes in a full package that includes an array of accessories and it is ideal for various water activities and sports beyond fishing. Everything you need to kayak is in this package; a heavy-duty paddle that is easy to maneuver, a practical multi-Purpose Storage Box with two-rod holders, a powerful A41 Foot Pump, and a small repair kit. It can fit up to 3 people at the same time and can accommodate a staggering weight limit of around 650 pounds.
On top of being very stable and easy to control, a huge selling point of this kayak without a doubt is its high build quality and overall durability. A solid PVC construction makes last a long time. And has the ruggedness to tackle any body of water in an effective manner. More impressively, this quality did not come at the expense of lightweight construction as this kayak is relatively light and easy to transport overland. Considering the affordable price, this is definitely a package that is worth the consideration of every fishing enthusiast.
- The package offers a tremendous amount of value for the money
- The PVC construction gives the kayak immense durability
- The kayak boasts a carrying capacity of 3 people
- It comes with a practical repair kit
- The skegs are exceptionally durable and stable
- The kayak is easy to maneuver
- The design of the kayak might be too generic for some people
- The package does not come with detailed instructions
This NMMA certified kayak is a decent option for anyone who wants an affordable 3-person kayak. As far as versatility is concerned, few models can match this one. Owing to its durable PVC construction and efficient compact design, this kayak is capable of gliding across any body of water in a stable fashion. Moreover, it is easily maneuverable and its control does not require a significant amount of physical effort.
Besides the great stability and amazing control that it offers users, the kayak comes with several interesting elements that add to its performance and overall functionality. An example of this is the tarpaulin bottom that is reinforced in a way that protects it from punctures and other types of damage. Additionally, it is equipped with multiple air chambers which prevent sudden deflation and features an airtight system that is adequately sealed to stop leaks.
Some other great characteristics that make this model worth the money include the Boston Valve that is effective for the inflation and deflation process. The adjustable seats can accommodate all users regardless of shape or size. And the practical spray covers that deflect water splashes and ensure that you remain dry at all times.
- The design is characterized by compactness and durability
- The kayak is quite stable and easy to control
- Comes equipped with a Boston valve that makes inflation and deflation extremely easy
- The seats are adjustable for maximum comfort
- The tarpaulin bottom is resistant to punctures
- The spray covers keep you dry by shielding you from water splashes
- Many users were a little underwhelmed by the company’s customer support
- The fabric that covers the sides of the kayak is poorly knitted
The fourth option in the list is another great model from Sevylor. Like the previous kayak reviewed above, this model is quite versatile and its build quality is simply immaculate. Thanks to a top of the line 18-gauge PVC construction, the Coleman Colorado has the capacity to tackle a wide range of water-bound activities in a smooth and effective manner. More importantly, the kayak is remarkably easy to maneuver, and it is characterized by a high level of stability.
Like all offerings from Sevylor, this model features several extra features that are not typically found in the sub $500 price range. A prime example of this is the quality of the floor. Unlike many similarly priced models, the Sevylor features a high-end 1000D tarpaulin bottom that is extremely solid and stable. On top of this, it comes with a thick 840D nylon cover that protects it from damage and erosion.
Like the previous model, the kayak is equipped with the same leak-proof, airtight system and multiple air chambers design. However, the Coleman Colorado 2 does come with a few features that are not found in other options from the company. This includes the set of D-rings that can be used to attach other equipment, the spacious mesh storage pockets, and the trolling motor fittings that can enhance your fishing capabilities.
- This model offers good value for the money
- The D-rings allow you to attach extra equipment to the kayak
- The mesh pockets are spacious and can hold most of your essential belongings
- It is equipped with trolling motor fittings for better fishing capabilities
- It has an airtight system that prevents leaks
- The nylon cover protects the bottom from punctures
- Customer support is not responsive enough
- The warranty only covers electrical and mechanical issues rather than the kayak itself
The last kayak on our list is one of the lightest models on the market. Designed for lakes and moderate water currents. Easily one of the top picks for anyone who wants a light and affordable fishing kayak. Weighing less than 40 pounds, the Airhead Montana can provide a wide range of maneuverability. Its overland transport requires little effort on your part. The most impressive thing about this kayak is that despite its light construction, it can handle up to 500 pounds of weight. This is mainly owed to a semi-rigid heavy gauge PVC construction that effectively combines durability and lightness.
When it comes to the list of features that are included in this kayak, it is safe to state that you are getting more than you paid for. Good build quality and immense durability aside, Montana kayak is also equipped with a tubular I-beam floor that ensures more comfort, high buoyancy, and a decent amount of tracking. Furthermore, it has 2 Boston valves that guarantee a fast and effortless inflation/deflation process.
- The construction of this kayak combines lightness and durability
- It is equipped with two Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation
- It has a carrying capacity of 500 pounds
- The highly visible orange is ideal for safety
- It has a front and back spray covers that protect you from splashes
- The tubular I-beam floor provides good comfort and high buoyancy
- There are some miss-stitched parts on the bottom of the kayak
- The bladders make maintenance less convenient
As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a decent fishing kayak offering performance, durability, and comfort. Read each review attentively before picking the model that fits your needs and preferences.