Ultimate Pedal Kayak Buying Guide

Pedal kayaking is fun! It can be exciting, adventurous, or even be relaxing depending on what the buyer is looking for. I suppose shopping in general can make us feel all those emotions as well. Before you taking the plunge and buying your first (or next) kayak we’ve compiled an in-depth buyers guide to help equip you with enough information to make an informed decision.

With kayaks, there’s different strokes for different folks and if your stroke is a pedal drive kayak, there are many factors to consider. Whether to buy an expensive or inexpensive model, a new pedal kayak or a used one, one or two seats, small or large, serious enthusiast or hobbyist level, basic or outfitted for fishing, are all matters to look into when considering the best pedal kayak for you.

assorted color kayaks on shelf

Photo by Bruno on Unsplash

Things to Look for in a Pedal Kayak


The size and speed of a kayak can vary considerably based on the intentions of the manufacturer. Pedal kayaks can be as small as eight or nine feet and weigh as little as 25 pounds, or they can be as long as 13 or 14 feet and weigh in at upwards of 100 pounds, making the larger ones more challenging to store and haul.


Many kayaks, particularly smaller and more lightweight models, are one-seaters. They are meant to be operated by one person using pedals and an oar, and it is essentially impossible for another person to ride in them. Amongst the longer ones, many tandem models can be enjoyed and operated by two people at once. However, tandem pedal kayaks are a very popular trend right now.

Fishing Accessories

Some pedal kayaks come with accessories such as fishing rod holders, fish finding transducers, and tackle storage that make them attractive options for fishermen. These extras are unnecessary for the non-fisher and casual enthusiast. Fishing in a pedal kayak is growing quickly as anglers realize how much better it is than fishing in a regular kayak.


Depending on size and design, storage capacity can seriously vary on a pedal kayak. Those who plan to go on a casual jaunt may not need much cargo space except perhaps for a cooler and life jackets; those who fish or plan to go on a long excursion in the water may want more extensive cargo space.


Some seats have more padding, back support, and ergonomic design than others. It may not be necessary to have the best seating to spend an hour or two on the water. Those who want to take longer trips will require more comfortable and supportive seating, which is often found on larger and more expensive models.


For many, particularly fishermen and those going on long journeys, stability is a serious factor to consider. A good pedal kayak should always have stability when the operator is sitting, and many of the larger, more expensive models are advertised as stable in reasonably calm waters when the user is standing for activities such as fishing.

Those interested in purchasing pedal kayaks need to consider primary stability (relating to back-and-forth motion) and secondary stability (relating to how easily a boat flips or capsizes) when making a kayak purchase. The last thing anyone wants is to finish up in the water.


This may be one of the least important aspects of buying a kayak for some, but there are those who like to consider the visual aspects of the item. Many kayaks come standard in camo finishes, black, or basic primary colors such as red, blue, and yellow. Custom finishes are available, although often these are found on more pricey models.

Kayak Pedal Drive Types

There are two main types of drives for pedal-driven kayaks: push-pedal and rotational pedal. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. We break down the two different types of drives in our ultimate guide to pedal kayaks.

Major Brands

Buying Advice for Pedal Kayaks

As with so many large, serious purchases, shipping is free with many online stores. This may make for the best buying option, particularly if it is difficult for the buyer to take home large objects due to transportation, disability, or other issues. Many online stores also have competitive pricing on these options, making it easy to find a good price.

Buying a kayak is not a matter to be taken lightly whether the buyer is looking for something small and easily stored in the garage or a major-sized boat for adventuring and fishing. There are many options available, and it always pays off to take some time and carefully go over the options available.

Best Pedal Kayak for Long Distance: BKC PK13 13’ Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

Pedal kayaks have a multitude of uses and are a favorite among many hobbyists. They’re much easier to use, speedy, less fatiguing, and quieter than their pedal-powered counterparts.

It’s great to have an idea of some of the best options out there before deciding on a purchase. We think the BKC PK13 13’ Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak is a great kayak.

Check out the BKC PK 13 Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak review.

Key Features

The Brooklyn Kayak Company brand is one often associated with exceptional boating quality — they have a long history of manufacturing water-based products, geared especially to pedal-powered kayaks. They claim their PK13 13’ kayak has a number of features:

BKC PK13 Solo Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

w/Instant Reverse Pedal Drive, Rudder System, Paddle, and Upright Aluminum Frame Backrest Support Seat

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What We Like

All the features of the kayak worked perfectly. There are a number of features that stand out on the PK13 kayak.

What We Don’t Like 

The only thing we could find a complaint with is that there isn’t easy access to the inner hull. If you want to be making additions to the kayak yourself it’ll be hard for this reason, as drilling holes to make attachments is useless if you can’t get inside to screw.


Overall, the BKC PK13 Angler 13′ Solo Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak is a great kayak and is heavily geared for those who enjoy long-distance fishing with rods or light trolling. It’s suitable out at sea or on quiet lakes — whatever your style may be. The quiet operation and effortless pedaling make for a great long-distance fishing experience.

Best Pedal Kayak for Fishing: Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak

Bonafide SS127 Ultimate Sit on Top Fishing Kayak

With Built in Storage , HiRise Seat , Hybrid Cat Hull Design For Maximum Stability

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The Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak is an exceptional pedal kayak due to its unique design. The Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak has been expertly machined to get maximum stability and performance. It also comes with all of the great angler features you would expect from a fishing kayak.

Bonafide describes the SS127 as having been designed for “Ultimate Fishability.” This kayak has a comfortable design as well with ergonomic contours specially designed to make it glide through the water with as little effort as possible.

One can expect quality from this fishing kayak and Bonafide delivers with this beautiful kayak. It does come in a grey color only which is a bit of a drawback but the two-tone grey and dark grey styling are very sharp-looking.

Check out the Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak Review


The high-quality materials of this Fishing Kayak are lighter than comparable kayaks and the Bonafide SS127 weighs only 75 pounds. It is a 12’ 7” fishing kayak with a width of 33.5.”

The Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak utilizes a Hybrid Cat Hull design that has more angled contours as opposed to smooth arcs.

This fishing kayak is designed to store the most gear possible while remaining able to cut effortlessly through the water. There is no better kayak for taking on fishing trips when it comes to comfort, storage, and luxury. The Bonafide SS127 performs on every front.


The Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak is loaded with additional features for anglers including a Fat Grip bow handle with comfort insert and a Fat Grip retractable stern handle with comfort insert. There is also a YakAttack Aluminum GearTrac for attaching all your favorite fishing tackle or even a cooler or backpack.

It has a sliding under-seat Junk Drawer and a DryPod with transducer through-hull scupper.

There is also a bow hatch with Doubleheader hinges and multi-rod and paddle management points.

There is always a great amount of storage and value that one can expect from a Bonafide and the SS127 is no exception. It has a capacity of 475 pounds inside its Hybrid Cat Hull design.


There are few things that cut through the water better than a Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak. The Hybrid Cat Hull design is the most optimal for cutting through the water with the least amount of paddle power possible.

Although it is powered by paddles, it will not sap a whole lot of energy to propel this 75-pound fishing kayak through the water. It is quite easy to work up momentum and get the pedals rolling to the point where you are cruising miles in just an hour or two. Get to your favorite campground faster than ever before with the Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak.

Few other fishing kayaks on the market offer so many features. The Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak takes the cake and even has a side carry handles with paddle storage. It even has low profile deck fittings and a SeatRack positioning system that is proprietary to Bonafide.

Best Lightweight Pedal Kayak: Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 Pedal Fishing Kayak

The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10, generally designed for fishing on lakes, is one of the most convenient pedal kayaks on the market.

Native Watercraft is one of the top brands in its sector, and its professionalism and experience are evident in this product. The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 is a high performance, multi-purpose kayak with excellent stability.

It comes in four beautiful designs:

Check out the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 Pedal Fishing Kayak Review

Key Features

The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 is the lightest 10’ pedal fishing kayak in the market, weighing in at only 62 pounds (without the drive unit). This very lightweight means that the kayak is easily maneuvered and very practical to carry and store. It could be stored on the back of a pickup or on top of almost every car. If helpful, here is our guide on how to transport a pedal kayak.

A kayak that is light like this is also very fast; this kayak can cover 4.2 miles per hour with relaxed pedaling and go up to 5.2 miles per hour with faster pedaling! The pedal system works both forward and backward; there are no more awkward turns of the boat in the water in order to change direction.

This kayak is also very comfortable to sit in and feels rock-solid stable. It’s designed both for small and tall people; nobody will feel out of place or uncomfortable on this kayak. The seat is horizontally adjustable in order to fit everybody.

It’s possible to bungee cord the paddle to the side of the kayak in order to have it handy and to not lose it. The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 has also an open bow trunk for storage and comes with scuppers for drainage that are very useful in case of waves.

What We Like

The lightness of the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 Pedal Kayak is one of its best features. It’s easy to transport it and it’s very fast on the water. It’s important to note that this product is also very solid and stable, and has a significant capacity (400 pounds). This means that everybody can be comfortable on this boat and that many accessories and other requirements can be brought on board during fishing excursions.


The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 is a top pedal kayak and perhaps the best lightweight kayak for solo fishers. Its lightness and speed are its best features.

Best Pedal Kayak for Shallow Water: Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 Foot Pedal Fishing Kayak

Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5' Pedal Fishing Kayak Seagrass Green
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If you are looking for a kayak that can handle shallow water, then you should look at Hobie. It is a kayak by which all others can be judged. The Hobie Passport is easy to use and great fun.

It is designed for relaxation with the features to make kayaking by pedal enjoyable and easy. With just moderate pedaling effort and a little concentration on the steering, it can go through any waterway. It has an easy-to-use steering system, and it navigates easily with fingertip control over a twist-and-stow rudder. The rudder adjusts easily with the fingertip control and even novices can get a handle on how to steer this kayak fairly quickly.

The best thing about it is that it moves easily through shallows and weeds, which allows the kayaker to reach the most remote parts of every waterway. It is “easy on the legs,” requiring only moderate effort to pedal through the most challenging aquatic environments. When faced with a shallow grassy section of a waterway, the kayak can seamlessly drift over the shallow waters without getting stuck, and it only requires a modicum of increased effort to pedal through these types of straits.

Check out the Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 Foot Pedal Fishing Kayak Review


The Hobie has Mirage Drive and a suspended mesh aluminum frame seat. It also has two accessory mounting racks, which can be used for fishing poles or even as tripod mounts for camera work. It is well equipped for nearly every usage one could think of.

The Mirage Passport is also promoted as a fishing pedal kayak, so it is definitely aimed at this niche of the outdoorsman. It is also fairly lightweight at just 75 pounds, which includes the seat and pedal drive. Removing those drops 10 more pounds, and at 65 pounds, it can easily be transported onto a car roof or carried by two people. It is more cumbersome than heavy, but with proper management, it can be moved anywhere and stored on top of a car or in a truck bed with great ease.


The portability and durability of this kayak make it the easy choice, and it can also be affordably placed onto a 12-month payment plan to make it easy to pay for. One certainly will have few to no regrets after paying off this beautiful kayak, which is durable to last and if it does not, it comes with a warranty from Hobie.


The kayak at first seems a bit costly since it is well over a grand, but for all it offers, it is actually quite a bargain. It promotes such an easy and relaxing time, and it is the perfect kayak for navigating many freshwater ecosystems.


The Mirage Drive Classic is aimed at providing an easy-pedaling experience with all the tools to stay on path with a great steering system. It enables the users of it to pedal to places other small crafts cannot reach, which can be a tremendous advantage in some fishing situations.

Fish like to go places boats cannot, but the Hobie takes fish up on that challenge and provides a way to find the fishes’ nests and reel in the real monsters that hide in the shallows. What more could a kayaker ask for?

Best Pedal Kayak for Offshore Fishing: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Kayak

Hobie 2020 Mirage Pro Angler 14
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Kayaking has gained many fans in the past decade. This success can be attributed to pedal kayaks. They offer speed, stability, ample storage, maneuverability. Most importantly, pedal kayaks can be customized. They can be designed with specific features for certain activities, such as offshore fishing.

Offshore fishing isn’t an easy task; neither is selecting an ideal kayak for this activity. We’ve heard of people going more than a mile offshore for pedal kayaking from the shore, encountering waves, and having to bring large fish back to the beach.

While we don’t recommend this, when considering a kayak for offshore fishing, you need to consider factors such as the available storage, dimensions, mounting areas, among others.

For a serious angler practicing offshore fishing, this is the ultimate pedal kayak. The following features make it the best kayak for offshore fishing;

Key features

What we liked

In 2019, Hobie launched the 2020 Pro Angler 14 that now has the MirageDrive 360 pedal system, and kick-up fins.  These make this new model very powerful, maneuverable, and easy to control. Offshore fishing has never been better with this kayak. It also comes with a retractable transducer shield. Tackle boxes are quite crucial for offshore fishing. The Mirage Pro Angler 14 has two medium-sized tackle boxes and a storage area below them. It also has an inbuilt transducer mount where you can mount your fish-finders and make your fishing more successful.

What we didn’t like

There comes a time where you may need to paddle the kayak. This may be through the waves as you leave the shore. It’s a bit difficult to paddle this kayak since it’s quite wide. We also think that this pedal kayak could use more space, especially for those who need it for offshore fishing. It’s also quite heavy for some people, but not too heavy for those accustomed to carrying heavyweight.

Our Verdict

The MirageDrive 180 and 360 offer high speed and quiet propulsion. It is easy to pedal for a long distance without getting tired. The kayak is quite long, covering more ground as you go offshore. The 14 feet length and 38-inch width are quite spacious, offering greater space for storage. The H-Rail mounting tracks are useful for mounting any electronic or rod holder. The length also allows you to store up to 6 rods horizontally. This kayak may be considered heavy, but this weight accounts for the high stability it has. You can easily stand as you cast, and the floor has anti-slides to make sure you don’t fall. The skeg and double steering feature make this kayak easy to maneuver even in strong wind. Overall, we believe that this is one of the best offshore fishing kayaks. It meets all the criteria and exceeds our expectations in performance and durability.

Best Premium Pedal Kayak with a propeller: Native Watercraft 

After being an angler for some time, you may grow out of the basic pedal kayaks. You may think of getting one of those kayaks with advanced features and a slightly higher price. If you’re at this level, you most probably know a lot about kayaks by now. Nevertheless, we feel obliged to update you on the best kayaks across all levels. Some of the advanced features you might find in a kayak include;

However, not all premium kayaks are worth the money, so you need to be careful. Below is one of the best premium pedal kayaks that we’ve come across; Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10.

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10

Native Watercraft was the second company to break into pedal kayaks. After Hobie’s mirage success, Native Watercraft craft introduced its propeller drive system which was faster and easier to use. They aimed at making high-performance kayaks that you would still enjoy as you use them. The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 is one of the products of this innovation.

The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 is powered by a rotational pedal drive system. This allows you to sail hands-free as you fish, film, take photographs, and even read. Native Watercraft kayaks are known for being light making them easy to transport. You can just tie it on your car, or at the back of your truck. Their lightweight, as well as, their glide shape makes these kayaks some of the fastest in the market.  From the looks of it, this is a kayak that has been designed for fishing.

Key features

What we didn’t like


This kayak is ideal for people who are looking for a better experience. It’s not the basic kayak; it has advanced features such as speed, great stability, advanced fishing gear, advanced storage, and maneuverability. You might find that the gear can be overwhelming for the 10 feet kayak. If this is the case, you can opt for the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 12 or 13. They are more spacious. But we think this is the best luxurious kayak you can have.

Best Premium Pedal kayak with Mirage Drive: Hobie Mirage  Outback

Hobie 2020 Mirage Outback
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Hobie creates kayaks for anglers across all levels, from beginners to the most experienced. Now the Mirage Outback is luxurious. For starters, it is one of the most expensive kayaks on this list. This is a kayak that you need to be sure of what you want before purchasing it. It also highly rated on Amazon. It exhibits the following features;


There are pedal kayaks for people from all walks of life. There are those with basic features for normal kayaking, and there are advanced for the experienced anglers. When looking for a luxurious pedal kayak, check the features it has in comparison to other kayaks, you should also consider the cost. The Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 has advanced features like excellent sped, great stability, fishing gear, lightweight, and a wide deck for storage. The Hobie’s cutback is also quite expensive, but it features the kick-back rudder, kickback fins, and dual steering system.

Best Pedal Kayaks for Beginners: Hobie Mirage

Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5' Pedal Fishing Kayak Seagrass Green
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ir?t=pedalkay 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B084CST9VXYou could never go wrong with Hobie’s pedal kayaks. They make a wide range of kayaks for a wide range of users, from beginners to the more experienced. The Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5′ pedal kayak is made with a beginner in mind. It’s easy to use and affordable. It exhibits the following features;

What makes it ideal for a beginner?


Most kayaks have advanced features and are quite expensive. However, as a beginner, you only need the basic functions of a kayak. These are speed, stability, comfort, storage, resilience, and is easy to use. The Mirage Passport 10.5 brings you these basic features at an affordable price. This kayak can also be used by all members of the family, from kids to the elderly. As you advance, you can buy extra accessories for the various kayaking activities you’re involved in. You can also consider purchasing one of Hobie’s advanced kayaks.

Other companies that offer kayaks for beginners include;

I’ve included many links to Amazon for these kayaks, but they often end up out of stock. The next, and probably better place to check first is directly from REI as their selection is massive for these high-quality pedal kayaks. I’ll include our promotional link with a discount offer below:

Article Author
Robert Walker has been a Kayak enthusiast for over a decade. He's owned several different Kayak's, but only recently got into Pedal Kayaks in the last few years. This website is Robert's way of sharing his passion for Pedal Kayak's with the world.